Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Image: AP/Gerald Herbert)

BAD TECH

Why was Donald Trump’s blog about as successful as many of his business ventures, or his stint in the White House? Therein lies the key to what works and doesn’t work on the internet. Trump pal Ben Carson’s own online scam… er, venture, has a peculiar name. Google, Facebook and IT activists criticise more German laws enabling the use of trojans — a favoured tactic of security agencies in Australia.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity firms anxious to promote themselves are the ransomware industry’s best friend (after the Russian government). And if you’re like me and you prefer your journalism with lots of links to source material so the reader can draw their own conclusions, you’ll know that link rot is a very real problem. Link what? The older an online document, the more likely the links in it no longer go to the intended webpages. A new study explores how serious the problem is (very) and what could possibly be done about it.

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

“It’s a boomer power-play.” People really don’t want to give up working from home (but what about businesses that rely on business having people in the office?). How governments are happily selling out film industry workers to secure blockbuster productions (and it’s one thing to sell them out for a Marvel film or Star Wars — but imagine selling workers out for the sake of Bored of the Things…) A meditation on money and the access to the law it buys, and why there’s probably nothing we can do about it. And how a New York Times correspondent pandered to the Nazis in the 1930s.

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WHAT’S NEW IN BOOKS AND THEIR BURNING?

A new book by David S Brown on Henry Adams, the waspish (in all senses) chronicler of 19th century America, makes the case for his relevance beyond an historical footnote to the Gilded Age. I thought the book did ample justice to a figure mainly interesting for his proximity to, and alienation from, tremendous political power and corruption, and LRB‘s Jonathan Parry equally seems to struggle with settling on a position — more a reflection of the subject than the author, one suspects. And at last — a return of Great Hatchet Jobs of Our Time: a reviewer looks at Malcolm Gladwell’s new book on the history of air warfare and bombs it back to the Stone Age. (Runner-up: Ben Brooker’s takedown of Jordan Peterson’s new pamphlet in Overland).

Plus: how the vile Saudi regime, along with China, exercises frightening censorship power in the US film industry, and a new European Union study shows how anti-Semitism (speaking of Henry Adams…) has surged online in Europe during the pandemic.

ENVIRONMENT

Will the return of bison to the Great Plains restore lost habitats? Even if Paris targets are met, climate change will cause 4% lower global GDP by 2050 — and much more if currently pledged emissions reduction targets aren’t significantly increased. Source: the raving greenies at… Swiss Re. The latest on the Californian drought, which is now the US West drought. Elon Musk is abandoning radar systems for camera-only systems for autonomous vehicles (I’m still calling bullshit on autonomous vehicles until they can be safely used somewhere other on a quiet road on a sunny Californian day — like picking up kids from school in the rain).

FINALLY

Has it really been 20 years since the best film of the 21st century, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive? Suzanne Enzerink explores how Lynch casts a critical gaze on both whiteness and misogyny. And how could we not mention the diner scene?

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Australia has spoken. We want more from the people in power and deserve a media that keeps them on their toes. And thank you, because it’s been made abundantly clear that at Crikey we’re on the right track.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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