Clapham omnibus

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pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

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Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

I walked on wondering if soon the sky would fill with bombers, but instead the sirens sounded the all‐clear. And so the Second World War started with a false alarm; indeed in terms of war nothing much happened on mainland Britain for another nine months. There seems to be a close parallel between the events and the feelings we had then and those now. I was not quite that archetype, the man in the street or on the Clapham omnibus, but was close enough: a young man on a footpath, fairly sure that real war would soon begin even though there were still deniers, among them experts and politicians. Seventy years later events in far places, such as the melting of the Arctic ice, the collapse of glaciers in Antarctica, the droughts and famines across Africa, and the occasional extra‐fierce tropical storm give us now that same anxiety that the war in Spain and the incursion into Bohemia gave in the 1930s.


pages: 396 words: 107,814

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos

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Clapham omnibus, Claude Shannon: information theory, Douglas Hofstadter, Etonian, European colonialism, haute cuisine, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, natural language processing, Republic of Letters, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, speech recognition

In Britain, you just can’t escape the messages about region and class that come from anyone who opens his or her mouth. In the musical My Fair Lady, based on G. B. Shaw’s stage play Pygmalion, which itself rewrites a far more ancient myth, Professor Higgins asks, “Oh! why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?” We must answer, Oh! but they do, Professor Higgins. They teach them to declare themselves to be Geordies and Aberdonians, Etonians and lads on the Clapham omnibus, ladies from Morningside or fishermen from Newquay. If you are British, you just can’t not notice. Alongside its role as a planetary interlanguage in print, English speech—like any other—is a highly pixelated way of telling people who you are. That is something that all forms of human speech share, and it is perhaps the only thing that is truly universal about language. Every language tells your listener who you are, where you come from, where you belong.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour by Iain Gately

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Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America, 1835 If even the tech industry, which has made remote working a possibility instead of a dream, is insisting its workers are physically present on corporate premises, it seems there is little chance of commuting vanishing in the near or distant future. Even in the absence of compulsion, there are good reasons to expect it to persist. It empowers people to separate their work and home lives, and both require face time to function. Unless and until we evolve into creatures that have no such needs, and have erased the desires to hunt and gather from our nature, there will be a Clapham omnibus, or its latter-day equivalent, ferrying people between their places of labour and rest. Unless, of course, we won’t have to work in the future, or companionship goes out of fashion after, say, a deadly global pandemic. Would we then commute for nostalgia, or even pleasure? Has commuting worked its way so deep into our culture that we’d find it hard to give up absolutely? Or would we frown on it, as we do slavery and burning witches, as belonging to an ignorant, violent and primitive past?


pages: 297 words: 89,206

Social Class in the 21st Century by Mike Savage

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call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, deskilling, Downton Abbey, financial independence, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, income inequality, liberal capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, moral panic, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, old-boy network, precariat, psychological pricing, Sloane Ranger, The Spirit Level, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, very high income, winner-take-all economy, young professional

Questioner: So it’s a regional identity, as well, that is as, or more important, to you than … John: It – the regional identity, was to my advantage in certain situations, which I used to play to because they used to put my pointed questions down to Yorkshire brusqueness. One guy who always had me – and I mean I used to sit in the top executive committees on some of the things in the bank, and I know why I was there – I mean, he used to say I was the man on the Clapham omnibus, but no, it was to ask the awkward question, and then they could go out of the meeting and say, ‘Well, it’s just John being obnoxious’ to the guys. Thirty years on, those stereotypes still hold some relevance when glimpsed through the lens of the GBCS, but it has now been overlain by a more nuanced geography. Figures 8.6(a)–(e) uses a statistical mapping technique called a Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA) to show the geographical distribution of the elite group at the top of the new class model.23 The method returns four types of significant cluster: high areas of capital surrounded by other high areas (‘high-high’); conversely, low areas of capital surrounded by other low areas (‘low-low’); outlying areas of high capital surrounded by areas with low values (‘high-low’); and vice versa.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

We think our isolation of ‘broad features’ falls well short of being traitist. 18 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1958), See also Downie, ‘Professions and Professionalism’, 147. 19 We use the term ‘lay people’ throughout the book. It is not ideal. But we find it the best of a bad bunch of possible terms. For example, we do not like ‘ordinary people’, ‘non-professionals’, or indeed the lawyer’s ‘man on the Clapham Omnibus’. 20 As Freidson puts it: ‘the claims, values, and ideas that provide the rationale for … professionalism.’ See Eliot Freidson, Professionalism (2001), 105. 21 William Wickenden, A Professional Guide for Young Engineers (1949), 16. 22 Talcott Parsons, ‘The Professions and Social Structure’, Social Forces, 17: 4 (1939), 457. 23 See e.g. David Maister, Managing the Professional Service Firm (1993), and Charles Ellis, What It Takes (2013). 24 Thomas Marshall, ‘The Recent History of Professionalism in Relation to Social Structure and Social Policy’, Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 5 (1939), 325. 25 Lewis and Maude, Professional People in England, 17–19. 26 See e.g.


pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

A further reason for refusing limits based on purely subjective taking offence is that we now live in cosmopolis, and in cosmopolis we are bound to encounter things that offend some of us. In a global city such as Toronto or London, different and sometimes mutually offensive ways of life necessarily exist cheek-by-jowl. A late-night city bus may not exhibit quite the baroque array of behaviours seen on the Feinberg Express, but it will throw up some which the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus would find grossly offensive. This is, of course, even more true on the internet. The British newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore found—online, of course—an image of a cat sitting in front of a computer screen.71 It is captioned ‘OMG. I have been offended. And on the internets of all places’.72 (‘The internets’ is, I am reliably informed, cat-speak for ‘the internet’.) Especially with the prevalence of anonymous posting, the internet has become a global anthology of the offensive.