This past summer, The Lost Palace allowed people to explore the lost Palace of Whitehall, 300 years after it burnt to the ground, of which only the Banqueting House remains.
Historic Royal Palaces worked with Chomko & Rosier, and a diverse team of collaborators including theatre makers Uninvited Guests, sound artist Lewis Gibson and app developers Calvium, to create an experience that allowed visitors to uncover the lost palace on the streets of central London.
Oh look! Everything got magically better while I was taking a break and everything is fixed and the Lib Dem victory will set us on a course towards a political future which looks more like a light at the end of the tunnel rather than every single train ever invented hurtling down said tunnel towards us at 100mph!
HA! OF COURSE NOT! Everything is still awful, but frankly I’ve basically checked out for Christmas already and so I don’t care one iota. It’s almost literally impossible that the next month of my life can be any worse than the corresponding period last year, so on that basis I am going to declare 2016 officially DONE, and the remaining 29 days in this calendar month to be a weird sort of liminal space - consider this 2017’s waiting room, if you will.
And while you wait, you’ll need distractions and entertainment and FOOD FOR THOUGHT - consider the following, then, the yellowing, dog-eared Readers Digests of this particular antechamber - let’s not dwell on what exactly the appointment we’re waiting for entails, or indeed what’s making the sounds coming from the other side of that door which, now we mention it, is bulgingly unpleasantly with all sorts of dreadful portents. This, my children, is WEB CURIOS - it’s all probably going to be OK, I promise you.
I recently witnessed a chanting mob of disgruntled Deliveroo riders who had gathered outside the company's headquarters in London to protest against an intended pay cut that would reduce their hourly wage from £7 (€ 8.30) to £3.75 (€4.45) per delivery. The demonstration was the latest eruption of employee dissent within the on-demand economy as workers respond to severe wage cuts and other challenges to their employment rights.
Platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo operate at the forefront of the recently established 'gig economy'. As the popularity of on-demand apps increases, more and more young people are attracted by the short, flexible working arrangements offered by these platforms. Uber claims to have over 160,000 drivers globally, while the food delivery company Foodora has gone from 3 to 600 employees in the Netherlands in under a year. However, rapid expansion comes with hidden costs. Many on demand companies circumvent traditional employment rights by hiring staff as independent contractors on zero hour contracts that give employees little or no entitlement to holiday, sick cover or changes to pay. In addition, freelancers (or independent contractors) are required to possess their own insurance, complete their own taxes and encouraged to work on a fixed rate rather than an hourly or minimum wage.
Recent criticism of Facebook for removing a post containing the iconic image of a naked girl during the Vietnam War isn’t the first time it has been accused of censorship. Yet at the same time, it is regularly rebuked for failing to remove quickly enough hateful, illegal or inappropriate material, most recently by the German government.
The difficult job of deciding whether or not to publish something – or to withdraw it – used to fall to the human editors of print publications, broadcasters and websites. Now that so many of us access news and entertainment through social media sites such as Facebook, the forces that control what we do and don’t see have shifted. But Facebook’s increasing use of computer algorithms means it has more editorial responsibility, not less – despite what the company wants us to believe.
Africa’s mobile market, second only to that of the Asia-Pacific region, has huge potential for growth.
Figures published by the global GSM Association in Tanzania are breathtaking. Every five years, the group collects data from its 800 network carriers. Putting these figures together with research carried out in the Sahel region provides an illuminating picture of mobile use across the continent.
According to the GSMA report, by the end of 2015, nearly half of the 1.17 billion-strong African population (557 million people) had some kind of mobile phone plan. They now amount to 12% of all individual subscribers in the world, and make up 6% of global revenue – a 70% increase when compared to figures published by the same source just five years earlier.
Well, I got that pretty spectacularly wrong, didn’t I? Two years of ‘look, guys, calm down, IT CAN’T POSSIBLY HAPPEN’ doesn’t half make you feel like an idiot when you wake up with a wall-eyed hangover to discover that in fact you know nothing about anything and that a startlingly large proportion of the US population decided that what they really wanted to do with the next four years was to fcuk each other, us and indeed themselves with knives.
Anyway, NOONE needs my opinions on this or indeed anything any more - I hereby promise never to predict anything again, or if I do then to keep VERY VERY QUIET about it. Man, what a sh1tshow.
Still, it’s not all bad - the Black & British stuff I’ve been working on at the BBC launched, despite Newsbeat’s attempt to fcuk me over with fried-chicken based content, I’ve worked on some brilliant live radio and I have the afternoon off. So, you know, the world is probably fine.
With that cheery thought in mind, then, let’s gaze right at the heart of the blossoming mushroom cloud of web looming large on the horizon - feel the hot nuclear wind of INFORMATION zooming towards you at pace, and, er, don’t mind that ripping feeling as it takes the flesh from your bones and leaves you standing, cold and alone, in what is set to be a very, very cold winter indeed. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!
(Oh, by the way, if you’re reading this then I imagine you have already signed up - but if you want to read this, you’ll have to sign up to Imperica now. It takes 2 mins and they won’t spam you, honest).
(Oh, and I’m not around next week, just in case any of you care) (no, I know).
This week’s edition of Web Curios is specially dedicated to the person or people who somehow contrived to absolutely screw the project me and a whole team of people have spent the past quarter working on, approximately 12 hours before it was going to go live. THANKS, PERSON OR PEOPLE! You fcuking idiot(s). For those of you who I’ve not already bored with the anecdote, this (blistering hot and very funny, for which props to Mr Rants’n’bants here) take may give you a clue.
Anyway, no matter. Hopefully it will all get sorted on Monday and we’ll only have lost a week, and anyway as long-term readers doubtless know I am WELL zen and therefore minor setbacks like this won’t even touch the sides. It’s all going to be FINE. Fine, I tell you.
Which is exactly the sort of attitude we all need to adopt as we careen headlong towards BIG YANK DECISION DAY, and close our eyes and cross our fingers in the hope that we can’t have two seismically stupid democratic decisions in the English-speaking world in one year. That said, if next time you read this there’s a Trump presidency then at least you can all laugh at me for being so utterly, spectacularly wrong with my whole ‘oh, no, it’s impossible that he should win’ rhetoric. So, you know, small mercies.
Oh, and a further update on WHAT HAPPENS NOW WITH IMPERICA can be found here - basically it's all good stuff, and you can now chuck a few quid their way if you'd like to put some money where your eyeballs are.
Anyway, as per usual I need to get moving - let’s get this show on the road! And when I say ‘show’, I mean the full-on sideshow geek experience - step back, kids, this chicken blood gets EVERYWHERE. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!
HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE! There’s a slight air of demob-happy devil-may-care about Curios this week (only in my head; the following links’n’prose is, be assured, as depressively turgid as ever, so DON’T WORRY) as next week a project I have been working on for the best part of three months drops and I get to go back to being a part-time wageslave again rather than TOILING for 5 full days each week (yes, I know that that’s the norm, but some of simply don’t have the constitution for it. What’s that? The sound of no violins whatsoever? FINE).
Brief bit of housekeeping before we kick off this week - THANK YOU to everyone who filled in the Imperica Reader Survey thingy which I’ve been pimping here for the past few weeks - the summary of what you all said can be read here, but the upshot is that I GET TO KEEP DOING THIS, at least for a bit, for which infinite thanks (tbh I would totally have carried on anyway, as I am now at the point where sometimes it feels like the routine of this thing is the only element of my life tethering me to something resembling sanity, but that’s not the point). Thanks, seriously, it’s very much appreciated.
Anyway, enough of that - veered worryingly close to sincerity there, and we can’t have that oh no siree. Step once again into the bathysphere as we prepare to sink to ever lowe depths, plumbing the web’s very own Marianas trench(es) for the weirdest, toothiest specimens of webspafffish (this one really doesn’t work at all, does it? Hey ho) - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!