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Hello lovely friends, happy Wednesday. The Snooker World Championship is just one reason why this is my favourite time of year. Which reminds me...

 The Attenborough Effect : As the first controller of BBC Two, David Attenborough bolstered snooker's popularity by deciding to televise it in colour. There's a symbiosis between colour TV and snooker: it's a game that's famously, comically, hard to follow in black-and-white. Meanwhile the gentle, chivalrous, traditions of the parlour game reflected positively upon a technological improvement that was initially not warmly received.

But this excellent commissioning decision back in the 1960s (and a string of others, not least Porridge, Civilisation and something called Monty Python's Flying Circus) isn't what has come to be meant by 'the Attenborough effect'. Blue Planet II was notable not only for stunning footage, but also a loud call to arms about the consequences of discarded plastic for marine wildlife.

The public responded: a chain of events leading to a wider public movement against single-use plastics; 53% now saying they've reduced the amount of plastic they use. The Attenborough Effect, then, has been to etch a single image into the public consciousness:
Picture of waste plastic bag floating in sea-water
Snooker commissioning and the war on plastic aside, the 'Attenborough Effect' might have been a few things. It could be using broadcast channels to drive awareness of the impact of humans on the planet upon which all life depends, for example. It could equally be advocating urgent action to prevent irreversible damage to the climate. Indeed, in Britain two-thirds agree there's a climate emergency.

Or the effect could be highlighting the plight of forest-dwelling creatures because of the demand for palm oil. Or using his notoriety to back environmental protesting. Or educating people on population and the need for smaller families.

Frustratingly, none of this is newly known; it's just not widely heeded, understood or acted upon. The Attenborough Effect is, perhaps, the ability to get people to listen. It's not surprising, perhaps, that he would wish to take the environmental message to the widest audience. ๐ŸŒฑ
๐Ÿ“บ The Gentle Side of Twitch: known as rambunctious, Twitch also has an emerging quieter side offering a more relaxed experience. It's evocative of slow-forms like BBC's All Aboard or Norwayโ€™s slow TV (incidentally I took the Bergensbanen in December; the finest railway journey I've found. Go, if you can).

๐Ÿ”“ A study of 36 mental health apps 29 were sharing data with Facebook or Google, many without disclosing that to users. The sad thing is literacy of privacy is low even amongst developers working with the most intimate data. Even if end-users are enlightened, how can they know who to trust?

๐ŸŒณ What Trees Tell Us is an interesting introduction to dendrochronology. Trees are full of historical data: labs around the world are learning about weather and climate patterns and the effects on us.

๐Ÿš˜ The Fight for the Right to Drive: in the face of automation the Human Driving Association opposes the creation of fully autonomous vehicles and advocates for a constitutional amendment that would protect peopleโ€™s freedom of movement and their right to drive their own cars.

๐ŸŽถ Maverick Sabre's latest album is very good.
 Plastic population : The trouble with the sudden public interest in waste plastic is it's a consumer trend that can be capitalised. Adidas will produce 11 million pairs of shoes this year containing recycled ocean plastic, but every pair made has a higher carbon cost than every pair already owned. Fashion startup LaBante makes a range of bags from recycled plastic bottles but again, buying more handbags has limited impact when you consider the cost of disposing whatever it replaces, plus the carbon cost of manufacture, shipping, etc. McDonald's is taking heat for swapping out plastic straws for paper, but has stopped short of withdrawing straws completely (as it has in Hong Kong).

These and other examples are the contemporary greenwashing, but some good does come out of it: work's being done to make 100% recyclable trainers and other complex products. The 'trick' to high recyclability is to reduce the variety of component materials, as effective recycling depends on reducing the complexity of waste. Ultimately, though, we need to use less stuff. ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ
 Finally : still perhaps the finest tube line, at least until the Elizabeth Line is finally ready, the Jubilee Line first ran 40 years ago today, "...and you don't even have to go on the Bakerloo". ๐Ÿš‡

Great Caesar's ghost, we've reached the bottom of the email. More for you next week. Do you know someone who likes interesting things? They can join in too at momorgan.com/blast. ๐Ÿ’Œ

Have you found something you think I'd like? Is there something you'd like so see more of? Or anything else; I'd love to hear from youโ€”hit reply! Meanwhile all back-issues are in the archive.


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