Hot Cross Buns

It’s been a while! Both since the last newsletter and since I made these buns… but it doesn’t feel like it. Tim Harford has something to say about that below.

A year into the pandemic, I feel as if I can finally begin thinking ahead — with a time horizon of more than a week! And I realise many of the links I’ve collected over lockdown paint a pretty optimistic picture of the impending post-pandemic period. A world of cleaner air, greater equality, and plentiful turtles 🤞✊


Links

🧠 “We won’t remember much of what we did in the pandemic” — Tim Harford¹

🏡 Is working from home… working?²

🏔 What nature’s been doing while we’ve been indoors³

🌁 Have you ever looked up at a clear blue sky and seen little white dots dancing around? Turns out, I’m not alone!

🐙 Scan Thing is halfway towards copy and paste in real life

🍸 Listen to The Great Gatsby for free, read by the Planet Money podcast team


Projects

The past few years, my partner and I have been hopping around Europe in search of the perfect country⁴. Now, unsurprisingly, we find ourselves looking toward family. For me, home is the UK. And for my partner, a German, the UK’s mind-numbing, soul-destroying immigration laws are… less than appealing.

At some point I’ll put the details into a blog post with a melodramatic title, perhaps “The Couple Without a Country”.

For now, the synopsis is that I could have a dozen children, bring them to the UK, and all of them would have the right to burden the education and health systems unimpeded. But for their mother to join them? A healthy, working, tax-paying adult? Oh, that will be £8,000+, 6 years of bureaucracy, an arbitrary exam, and then… maybe she can stay 🤯


Are you not Entertained?

Dominion is a card game with serious replay-ability. My theory is that everyone has the same reaction when they first play:

“This looks complicated.”

“I get it!”

“Yeah, never mind, I don’t get it.”

By the end of every game, I’m filled with regret. But all I want to do is start the next round immediately.

You can play online but check out the rules first.


¹ Tim Harford has many excellent books. I just finished Adapt: a history of good experiments — like those around remote working in link number 2! The book has a particularly convincing chapter on how — much as I’ve grown to love non-milk milk — saving the planet will be achieved by countries, not individual consumer choices.

² The idea of people swapping tiny city apartments for ranches out in the country reminds me of a passage in The Five Giants. It argues that London’s children being evacuated to the countryside during World War 2 led to a breakdown of class barriers, and this drove forward the introduction of healthcare and welfare systems. There is hope!

³ Some of the same stories of nature making a comeback have been beautifully captured on video in David Attenborough’s The Year Earth Changed.

⁴ The grass is not greener on the other side.

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