26 July 2021


The other day, the billionaire Jeff Bozo earned quite a bit of flack for thanking all his thousands of employees and millions of customers who had given him the opportunity of flying up to space.

I was thinking of this while lying on the sofa after waking, still half somnolent, from my afternoon nap. In the background was the hum of the airconditioner, electric fans, the fridge, three computers and my silent phone. And I'm just lying here, and all this stuff is buzzing and whirring to keep me comfy and in symbiotic connection with the rest of the planet. And it's not only what I can hear: people are slogging-away 24/7 to ensure my coffee supply, fill my fridge with basic foodstuffs, pump my energy, water and gas, pipe in news, music and movies, and all the while I'm being served like a master by complete strangers working diligently for my general welfare, devoting themselves to discovering new vaccines and meds for my latent diseases, rolling out roads, guarding my gates, and schooling my grandchildren.

So much is going on, just while I lie here with my ears buzzing with the sounds of electronics and possibly with the background noise of all that human activity taking place just for me. I'm like the endpoint of an entire ecosystem about which I'm only dimly aware but without which I'd quickly drop dead. So I want to join Jeff in saying thanks to friends everywhere. Maybe I'm not a billionaire. But I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.


UK economy growing at fastest rate in 80 years, says forecaster - The Guardian
Yes, that will be a comfort to many Brits who hadn't noticed.

Foreign journalists harassed in China over floods coverage - The Guardian

Rising nationalism in China and hostility towards foreign media have made reporting increasingly difficult and risky for foreign outlets.

In the past 18 months at least 16 US journalists have been expelled, and at least four journalists – including the BBC’s John Sudworth and two Australian journalists – were forced to flee. Two others – Australian TV anchor Cheng Lei and Chinese Bloomberg journalist Haze Fan – were arrested and detained on undefined national security accusations.

They only sent John to China because he was complaining too much about flooded tube stations in London

Global phone hacks expose darker side of Israel's 'startup nation' image - CNN

Despite the ominous title, the Israeli-born writer is chuffed; she ends the article with a sweet note which is quintessential Israel:

"I think sometimes people come to curse and the outcome is there is a blessing because what happened at the end of the day, people remember that the best technology is Israeli technology, NSO," Bachar said. "That's what people three months from now will remember."