Reading List 2

As summer draws to a close, so begins one of my most favourite times of the year. Autumn or fall, whatever you call it is a beautiful transitory time just before the chills of winter truly set in. Here are some things I read since our last reading list that will keep you occupied during this time.



The topic du jour in video games right now is of course Starfield, a game developed by Bethesda Softworks set in a brand new universe. I’ve read multiple reviews over the last couple weeks and I played the game a bit myself. I found myself agreeing with the reviews especially with what Alice Bell said in hers. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention another review that resonated with me. I didn’t put it in the list because I didn’t want to overwhelm the list with three reviews of the game.

Space. The medium frontier. These are the voyages of me, reviewing Bethesda’s big space RPG Starfield. It’s the company’s first new IP in almost 30 years (a claim that contains in it an inherent threat for Starfield 2), and though Bethesda has copied some of their own homework for some themes and factions, Starfield is indeed a spacefaring adventure of epic scale and sometimes surprising beauty. It’s this scale that makes Starfield feel unfortunately small and empty, a place that still has those fun little Bethesda side quests that escalate into something huge and absurd, but that can also swallow them whole in its cold, star-scattered grandeur.

Alice Bell

Two of the links in this list have the theme of humans doing their best to help each other during times of crisis and disaster rather than the Lord of the Flies style situation that often gets depicted in a lot of popular media.

Some of the most memorable weeks of my life were spent helping out with rescues and aid in the aftermath of the 1999 earthquake in Turkey that killed thousands of people. The epicenter was my childhood hometown, so I was very familiar with the place, and I rushed to help, unsure of what I would find. Instead of the chaos and looting that was rumored, the people had been mostly sharing everything with one another.

Zeynep Tufekci

We’ve come through 75 years where having neighbors was essentially optional: if you had a credit card, you could get everything you needed to survive dropped off at your front door. But the next 75 years aren’t going to be like that; we’re going to need to return to the basic human experience of relying on the people around you. We’re going to need to rediscover that we’re a social species, which for Americans will be hard—at least since Reagan we’ve been told to think of ourselves first and foremost (it was his pal Margaret Thatcher who insisted ‘there is no such thing as society, only individual men and women.”) And in the Musk/Trump age we’re constantly instructed to distrust everyone and everything, a corrosion that erodes the social fabric as surely as a rampaging river erodes a highway.

Bill McKibben

And what are unions if not people coming together in solidarity to help each other:

So this Labor Day is for laborers. There’s an abundance of reasons to celebrate today and tomorrow and the next day and every day from here on out as long as we organize to keep winning against the bosses and the owners. I believe that there are many ways to enter into the work of changing the world. From community organizing to defunding police to protecting abortion to climate justice. The list is nearly endless. But I also believe that every person who works can and should organize their workplace and help others to do the same. And none of us can deny the leverage and worker power that comes in the form of militant and democratic unions, especially when united together into a movement. We see that power growing all around us every today, and as it grows we see that we are not alone, nor are we powerless. More and more of us are realizing that there is power in a union, and that with that power comes hope for the working class and for our collective future. So I wish you a truly happy Labor Day, and as Walter Crane once wrote: “The cause of labour is the hope of the world.”

Joshua P. Hill

Meanwhile, surveillance capitalism continues to corrupt everything it can get its hands on:

Nissan earned its second-to-last spot for collecting some of the creepiest categories of data we have ever seen. It’s worth reading the review in full, but you should know it includes your “sexual activity.” Not to be out done, Kia also mentions they can collect information about your “sex life” in their privacy policy. Oh, and six car companies say they can collect your “genetic information” or “genetic characteristics.” Yes, reading car privacy policies is a scary endeavor.

It’s Official: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy by Jen Caltrider, Misha Rykov and Zoë MacDonald

That’s all from me. Until next time!