Internet choice: May 2012

Although I share links to interesting articles at Google +, I try to write a round-up post here once a month, to provide a little more detail of what I’ve enjoyed or found annoying over the past month online.

The Good Library blog: in an excess of Jubilee and Olympics celebrations, a succinct view of why we should instead be spending the money on books and libraries. No hope of that of course, but it’s a sentiment with which I have sympathy.

Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet, sounds as if it is a fascinating book from this brief Observer review. There is a more in-depth account in a Q&A with the author at Metropolis (for which the author is an editor), in which the book is described as “an evocative trip to the heart of the Internet, a look at both the physical connections behind the web and the complex almost ad hoc infrastructure supporting it”.

I’ve stopped reading the Language Log a good while ago as it has lost its way in a wealth of judgemental detail. Nevertheless, this post about e-book “editing” is hilarious. “The Nook edition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace (in its English translation) has been de-Kindled, quite literally. Every instance of the text string kindle has been replaced by Nook.” This is one of the problems with our current “spell check” generation, where nobody can spell any more as they all rely on auto-correct (see this BBC article). However good an auto-spell-checker (and my colleague Jeremy tells me that Swipe for Android is “almost making the ‘art’ of spelling redundant”) I would challenge any of them on matters such as “out” or “are” for “our”, “their” for “they’re” and so on, but now I’ve read the Language Log post, I’d also challenge it on nonsensical commercial censorship grounds!

From the plethora of (mostly silly) articles about the James Daunt/Waterstone’s decision to sell Kindles and provide free wi-fi for customers to download directly in-store, perhaps the best was one by Martyn Daniels of the UK Booksellers’ Association, who writes “the reality is that the deal is not just about digital, and online it about really knowing what your customers want and not what you think they want.” (His point being that Waterstone’s have now kissed their customers goodbye, though of course many people already browse in bookshops and order the books they want from Amazon on their smartphones while in-store.) Indeed, the commenter who writes that the next step will be that Amazon will buy Waterstone’s may have a point! For another perspective, see “James Daunt “doesn’t get” reaction to Amazon partnership, denies ever calling Amazon the “devil,” and lashes out at publishers”, an article at Melville House.

The Guardian carried an interesting comparison between the original (1963) and updated selections for the new Penguin English library.

Mad Bankers part 94. Via the BBC, “Andrew Bailey, a director of the Bank of England who will soon become the City’s top regulator, has said that free banking is dangerous and needs to be reformed by the government.” How ridiculous. Personal customers are a cheap resource for banks, as branches disappear and everyone performs their transactions with machines – yet are subject to constant targeted marketing. How about Mr Bailey doing something much more important, concerning the billions of pounds the banks have lost owing to their own greed and incompetence? Too hard for him, I suppose, whereas it is easy to flick a switch and charge personal customers unfair fees. Incidentally, there is an informative post at Sifting the Evidence blog at Nature Network, by two economics students, on real vs nominal interest rates and how the economics editor of the Sunday Times gets it wrong. And if you are really into all this stuff, or are like me and reading about it in frozen but fascinated horror, the Huffington Post has a blog on A Survivor’s Guide to the End of the Euro, by Simon Johnson.

“When the Guardian was print-only, subs had three or four deadlines a day. Now every minute of the day is a deadline.” Excellent, and true, article by the Corrections editor on the changing role of the sub.

Finally, the latest visualizations. Tornado tracking at O’Reilly Radar – beautiful. And the Guardian is creating an interactive map of Britain’s best bookshops (while they exist!) and literary locations (a better long-term bet). Take a look.

Internet choice: previous posts.

Making life difficult

We live in uncertain times as currencies topple, banks seem uncontrollable, and politicians have lost our respect for being unable to deal with these admittedly complex situations. Some problems, however, are less difficult to solve – not that this stops people from producing them, for no apparent motive other than to create a controversy where none is, in fact, to be found.

The UK booksellers’ association, for example, is upset with a charity bookshop “for offering titles by best-selling authors and…approaching publishers directly for stock”. An un-named charity (presumably Oxfam) is attacked for having more branches than the UK’s “largest speciality bookshop”. Booksellers are having a tough time, but attacking the trireme of charity shops is quite laughable, given battleship Amazon. The vast majority of books sold in charity shops comes from the same place as the rest of their stock – from donations of goods by people who have previously paid for them. If a few publishers are using charity shops as an outlet for remaindered stock or for discounted “best-selling” books that (shock, horror) are not really “best selling”, readers are not complaining. And of course, struggling booksellers could have done what Amazon did, had they seen the necessity at the time, made a similar level of investment in online selling and come up with an Amazon-marketplace-like concept. A classic case of innovation not coming from within. The association says that it is going to explore alternatives to pulping unsold books – but what is better than a charity shop or a library for books that don’t sell? I look forward to finding out what they come up with.

In another piece of madness, a self-published author is suing a reviewer, Amazon and Richard Dawkins after unfavourable comments were posted about his book, a snip at £52.68, The Attempted Murder of God: Hidden Science you really need to know, by “Scrooby” (who has since revealed his real name – surprise, surprise, the same as the name of the publisher on the book’s Amazon page). The offending reviews have been removed for legal reasons, but of the eight remaining (at time of writing), six award the book one star and are very negative, unsurprisingly to me. The text of the one five-star review reads:

Read the first two chapters online of this and immediately thought that I would bulk buy a shipload and send them as joke Xmas presents. How anybody can waste their time and energy trying to decipher any of the meaningless crud contained within the said written dirge is well beyond me. I give this a five star rating for any person that can understand any of the waffle contained between the front and back cover deserves the Victoria Cross, let alone five stars!

It does seem somewhat bonkers that someone can inflict their self-published (probable) drivel on the world, and then sue the world if the world does not like what it reads. Not to mention the importance of allowing reviewers to express their opinion – particularly in this case of a book that sounds as if it has no scientific basis but is claiming to have some – rather than this situation: “Mr Jones, 28, a father of three from the West Midlands, cannot afford representation and is having to defend himself alongside barristers acting on behalf of co-defendants Amazon and Richard Dawkins”. (I hope I don’t get sued now.)

Time for an off-topic rant?

It is ages since I’ve written an off-topic rant, though I have been tempted once or twice ;-). Those temptations have now got the better of me, so please don’t mind if I just let off a bit of steam against the silly things that people in what passes for the government here are saying – plus the banks and a charity.

1. Single mothers are blamed for the recent riots for not bringing up their children with proper discipline. Rubbish! J K Rowling is (was) among many sterling role models for single parents. Many people find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own – a situation in which overwhelmingly the mother is looking after the children while the father(s) disappear, often providing no, minimal or meagre financial support. Most mothers are highly responsible for their children and do their best for them, whatever the circumstances. If anyone needs to be “blamed” for family break-ups, I submit that it is not (usually) the mother – she is the person left to carry the can.

2. Why has UNICEF now produced yet another patronising, superficial report, this time telling British parents what a bad job we are doing for working too many hours and giving our children too many gadgets compared with Spain and Scandinavia? As usual with these reports, the conclusions are based on a survey of 250 people; as well as being unrepresentative it is simply ignorant, in failing to consider relevant factors such as the cost of living necessitating work and the influence of US TV and its materialistic culture on an English-speaking nation compared with a non-English speaking one. But more to the point, I have been giving UNICEF a monthly donation for about 20 years because I believed it to be helping children living in poor countries and/or conditions, not for producing mindless reports for the media to shout about. I am going to stop my donation and give it to some other organisation that helps those most in need, as a small gesture of protest.

3. Iain Duncan Smith, a Tory minister, tells the “middle class” (his term) that it is our fault in some ill defined way that people live in poverty because we turn a mass blind-eye. Another load of rubbish. The “middle classes” are an easy target because we are too busy working, paying our taxes, educating our children, maintaining our living environment, and so on, to respond to this type of drivel. The truth is that it is these “middle classes” who pay our government’s salaries, part of which is to provide leadership and strategies to help all those in our society to maintain or improve their lot. Motes and eyes come to mind here.

4. Chris Hulne (Lib Dem energy minister) lambasts us for paying too much for our energy. He says we should be switching providers to cheaper ones, taking advantage of deals. What a load of hot carbon dioxide. Price-comparison websites are a nightmare in this regard in terms of how much information one has to provide to even get the comparison, as are the people employed by the charlatans who run our energy companies to knock on our doors at night to persuade us to change from one to another provider. And what happens if one does change to a cheaper gas or electric company? It puts its prices up after a few weeks so one is worse off than before. Mr Hulme would be better off regulating these companies better so they don’t charge so much in the first place, and while he is about it he could stop British Gas from making its minimal direct debit deduction much more than the energy consumed, only providing a “refund” once a year.

5. Banks are fodder for endless rants, but the recent report that almost but not quite recommends a split between investment and retail banks misses some tricks on the sharp practices of these odious institutions – odious because they use people’s money excessively to further their own profit motive, and they use technology to bamboozle the customer (so stupid as they even bamboozle themselves in this way, as yet another disastrous “rogue trader” has just demonstrated). Banks persuade customers to use online banking by reducing the number of branches, staff, etc, but they blatantly use the technology to foist loan offers on you every time you log on, providing no means to switch off this irresponsible garbage. Further, banks provide savings accounts at a certain amount of interest, but then “close” that type of account and reduce the interest payments to near-zero, often without bothering to inform savers. Therefore, to avoid being fleeced, one has to keep watch, and go through all the hassle of going to a bank, waiting to see some “advisor”, being pitched for all kinds of unwelcome “services”: all hoops to jump through to switch into another account that pays the same-ish, relatively meagre, rate of interest as the first account. Surely ending these sleazy practices are simple reforms to achieve that would be welcomed by every suffering customer?

Fishing in Utopia by Andrew Brown

The last book I have read (completed) in 2010 is a non-fiction book about journalist Andrew Brown’s relationship with Sweden (the book’s subtitle is “Sweden and the future that disappeared.”). It is part travelogue, part socio-economic commentary, part autobiography and part fishing saga (the man is obsessed with the sport, or is it hobby?) The book is told in chapters divided by theme, so for the first half is not chronological. At the start, Brown is in Sweden with his girlfriend Anita, staying with her father in the 1970s/80s. He spends a lot of time fishing as he’s a non-national and can’t be employed. Soon, he and Anita marry and move to a satellite “town”, she is a nursing auxilliary and he works in a factory making wooden pallets to support Volvo parts. The descriptions of their life and work are quite compelling, as are Brown’s observations of Swedish society at that time, though he has the irritating habit throughout of extrapolating his own (necessarily limited) experience to the whole country, and he isn’t reluctant to make sweeping generalisations about the country and its people. (The Sweden of Abba, Ikea, Bergman or tennis, for example, is not mentioned in this section, but these elements were all there, even dominant, at that time).

Soon it emerges via “flashback” chapters that Brown is a public-school dropout who spent part of his childhood living in the very rich part of Stockholm when his parents were in the diplomatic service. As an aimless young man, Brown became a volunteer nursing auxilliary in a Leonard Cheshire home where he met Anita: this section is compelling to read.

After a few years, Brown gets bored with his menial job and sparse existence (understandably) and begins to write journalistic pieces, selling them to the Spectator (a British establishment current-affairs and opinion magazine). Eventually, his marriage disintegrates and he gets a job as religious affairs correspondent for a new UK national newspaper, The Independent.

Because of his son, Brown does not lose his Swedish connections, and many years later returns to try to write a novel, staying in the far north. His descriptions of the remote farm annexe where he lived for a summer, and the lifestyle of the local people, is engaging, although I personally could have done without the fishing. After this, he decides to tour round the country, visiting all the people who were his family and friends 20 years ago, to see what happened to them and their country. He finds a land full of immigrants, who in his opinion are forming the region’s new life-blood. He tells the reader that Sweden as a nation is no longer fruitlessly aspiring for everyone to be equal, as was the general assumption when he was a young man there, but because of the collapsed manufacturing and service sectors, is now accepting of a “two-tier” society in common with many other Western countries, in which full employment is an alien concept to many young people, and in which drug abuse and obesity (Macdonalds comes in for considerable stick) are prevalent.

I found this book to be a curate’s egg. Some of it is really fascinating to me, as I’ve read so many Swedish novels in translation and I enjoyed the perspective and context provided here about the routine ways of life of the people. The sweeping opinions expressed so confidently can be both grating and interesting – there are two long passages about the Martin Beck novels of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo which are articulate criticisms, but only tell part of the story of these superb but, in retrospect, politically naive novels. As another example of the lack of perspective shown in this book, no other Swedish novelists (crime or literary) are mentioned, as if Sjowall/Wahloo speak for the whole country at that time.

Brown’s fascinating account of Olaf Palme’s life, rise to power, assassination and its aftermath again seems only to tell one side of the story. Perhaps the most successful chapters are Brown’s descriptions of the various older Swedes he meets, where he lets them and their various traditional ways of life emerge from the page. As for his socioeconomic assessment, the fact that Sweden (in common with other northern European countries) is currently doing very well economically after weathering some hard years (as I read in the Times business pages today, for example) goes to show that one should not be too confident in condemning a philosophy of government or the viability of a whole country.

I purchased my copy of this book. It was originally published by Granta in 2008. It was reviewed in The Guardian (by Jeremy Paxman), The Sunday Times (by John Carey) and, of course, The Spectator.

Andrew Brown has a blog at The Guardian, which seems to be mostly about religion and ethics and another one (less frequently updated and on more scientific topics, heavily featuring science/religion spats) called Helmintholog (presumably after C. elegans, the nematode, about which Brown wrote a book).

Andrew Brown at Wikipedia.

What to read, or what not to read

Although I am annoyed with The Times today*, there is one comment and one article that I thought worthy of note. The comment is in a column by "sensible lady" Libby Purves. The title of the column is "Our trigger-happy reaction: blame the cops". The piece opens:

"The Raoul Moat affair reminds us how hard it is to deal with people unafraid to use their powerful weapons, impervious to the feelings of others, violently touchy about their own reputation and who harbour an irrational grudge against the police. I refer, of course, to large sections of the media and blogosphere".

Spot on, say I. Substitute the word "police" above for "scientific establishment" (publishers, research institutions, etc) or "scientists", and the sentiment epitomises many scientific bloggers and many people who blog about scientific issues. Not all, thankfully, but a great number. It is most saddening. It's also fair to apply this same condemnation to much of the way science is reported in the media by professional journalists. Again, there are some rays of light (not least in The Times itself, which has a very good science editor), but in the main, it is depressing.

The article that took my interest has the derivative title "The girl with the knuckleduster rings", with the introduction: "She doesn't have a dragon tattoo but Finland's hottest crime writer will soon be as well-known as Steig Larsson" 

and "Sofi Oksanen's works have made her a runaway success in Finland and a heroine in Estonia, but she has been accused of "Russophobia" ". All not very original.  I have read a review of Purge (Atlantic) previously and decided it probably was not for me, but as I was on the train reading the paper anyway, I thought I'd read on in case there was any new information in the piece. It does not start well, opining that Larsson has a "Nordic rival in the publishing world; a younger, more "literary" author from Finland who is fascinated by themes of sexual violence, the repercussions of misogyny and the satisfaction of in-your-face revenge."  Oksanen has won many Finnish prizes for Purge, her third novel, as well as this year's Nordic Council Literary Prize, said to be the Scandinavian equivalent of the Booker. The novel has been compared to Atonement and The Reader, capturing the conflicts of the Second World War and the universal horrors that war inflicts on women. It is about a pensioner, and what she did to survive the arrival of the Soviets in Estonia in 1940, and a young Russian woman who is "trafficked" to Germany, escapes, and makes her way to the pensioner's home, where violent revelations occur. The Times feature-writer, Viv Groskop,  says that the tone reminded her precisely of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the way that sexual violence against women is graphically and horrifically depicted – a step too far, the writer seems to think. I will give this book a miss, based on this article. Although I don't mind such themes in the books I read, there was not much indication in this article that there were redeeming features or a real point to going through the experience of reading harrowing material. Stieg Larsson's trilogy, of course, did describe some violence towards women in a graphic fashion, but only a very small part of it, and the vast majority of the novels concerned campaigning and positive forces. Purge sounds unremittingly gloomy.

Grove Atlantic also publishes another book that has just won a prize (the Found in Translation award) but does not look as if I'll be reading: Pornographfia by Witold Gombrowicz, translated from the Polish by Danuta Borchardt (winner of the prize). " Witold Gombrowicz wrote Pornografia after leaving his native Poland for Argentina in 1939 and then watching from afar as the German invasion destroyed his country. Translated for the first time into English from the original Polish by award-winning translator Danuta Borchardt, Pornografia is one of Gombrowicz’s highest regarded works—a richly imagined tale of violence and carnality set in wartime Poland." More here, but it is strong medicine – too strong for me. Maybe crime fiction is not as horrific as "literary" fiction, these days!

*I was somewhat shocked to see in today's Times, the entire front page and several (pp 7 -11, inclusive) inside pages devoted to a syndication of Peter Mandelson's memoirs – publisher, unsurprisingly, Harper Collins (same owner). Apart from anything else, the man is a midget whose opinions and accounts are of little interest. My main objection is that it is usurping the newspaper role to do this quite so blatantly. It isn't "news", just some minor spin-doctor's opinion of events. Events that were so recent that they have not got any mature thought or consideration behind them. The time to publish your memoirs is after you have retired, when your contribution can be judged in proper perspective of recent history, not 5 minutes after you have left the building.

A few random things I found out yesterday

Both my daughters, one at high school and the other at university, have to run their essays and other written work through the institution's anti-plagiarism software procedure before submitting them for assessment and marking.

Iceland's three Mcdonalds' restaurants will close on Sunday because nobody can afford to eat there. According to Lyst, McDonald's Icelandic partner, costs have doubled since the krona dropped almost 80 per cent against the euro.

I was told that nobody on the infamous "Nick Griffin BBC question time" panel presented immigration in a positive light, but only as a greater or lesser "problem". Why am I not surprised by that? Disappointed, yes, but not surprised, even though I also learned yesterday that a survey by the Legatum Institute (of which I had previously never heard) ranks Britain as the 12th most prosperous country in the world, ranked by "wealth and happiness" and second in the world (top in Europe) for "entrepreneurship and innovation". Make the connection.

The urge to criticise

Watching the news of this year's Nobel prize winners appearing on Twitter and elsewhere over the past week has been a learning experience for me. The first couple (physiology or medicine and physics) were fine – the reactions were largely excited and congratulatory. But then came chemistry. Even before the announcement that Yonath, Steitz and Ramakrishnan had won for their studies on the structure of the ribosome, the twittosphere was replete with sarcastic wit about the fact that a biological discovery would probably win. And sure enough – the fact that the ribosome is a biological structure seemed more important to many twitterers and bloggers than the achievements of the prizewinners. As Nature put it:
"It is the third time in seven years that the chemistry Nobel has been awarded to crystallographers who have determined the structure and function of a complex biological molecule. "It does seem to be a recurring theme," says Thomas Lane, president of the American Chemical Society. But at its heart, this structural biology is "fundamentally chemistry", adds Jeremy Sanders, head of physical sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK, "even if many chemists had never heard of any of the winners"." A commenter at the Sceptical Chymist blog wrote: "To me, chemistry is the study of atomic and molecular structure and understanding how these structures affect the properties of molecules and molecular assemblies. In this respect, the work of Ramakrishnan, Steitz and Yonath falls right into the heart of what chemists do." Quite.

This was nothing, of course, to the reaction to the announcement that Herta Muller was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Many in the UK and America, myself included, had never heard of this writer. Rather than by reacting with curiosity and interest in her work, the main intent of twitterers seemed to be to sneer either at her or at the Nobel committee, implying that the award was not deserved in some way. I was glad to read a piece in the Guardian today correctly pointing out that "By awarding the 2009 Nobel prize for literature to Herta Müller, the Swedish Academy is not only honouring a beautiful writer, but also expanding our concept of Europe". (I'll refrain from commenting here about the non-winning, introspective, self-regarding US literature about the collapse of the American Dream, etc;-). ) I was also glad to read that the publishers Serpents Tail and Granta are to reissue two of Muller's books in translation. No doubt, as a result of the Nobel, more will continue.

And even this was a storm in a teacup compared with today's announcement that Obama is to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Frankly I'm nauseated by the constant carping nastiness and "jokes" on twitter today, and have "unfollowed" several people as a result – not because of any views one way or the other about the recipient, but because I wish that rather than impulsively and emptily criticising, people might bother to think or find out why the award is given, before jumping in to share their knee-jerk petulance with the world. I was impressed, both by a video interview between a very highly groomed American TV lady and the chair of the Nobel committee in which he explained their rationale for the award (unanimous, across the political spectrum of the committee members from left to right), and with another one of Obama's reaction speech (video embedded at link). There's lots of good in all of this if people care to listen, not least in the mood of consensus building, which is essential if the world is to make anything of the political, economic, social and environmental mess it is currently in.

Harrogate crime writing festival about to open its doors

Tomorrow (Thursday 23 July) is the start of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, in which "for one long weekend in July, the world of crime writing will descend again on this sleepy Yorkshire town"Tickets to most events are still available – or if you can't make it in person, you can follow CrimeFictionReader on Twitter (more here) for an "almost there" sense of excitement.  Ali Karim and Mike Stotter, Editor of Shotsmag, will also no doubt be providing lots of online reporting, mirth, excitement and ebullience.

The winner of the 2009 Condense-a-Crime Classic Competition, judged by Laura Wilson, has been announced. Many congratulations to Janet O'Kane for her Twitter-sized summary of Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.  
"Two of my patients having died in quick succession – the widow (driven to suicide), the squire (stabbed in the neck) – I was delighted when Hercule Poirot sought my counsel. While the police wasted time on the butler, the drug addict and the impoverished stepson, Poirot uncovered everyone's secrets. Even mine."
I'm sorry I won't be there this year – but for the programme and additional evidence of all the excitement I'm sad to be missing, see the festival's website.

Freemium as a bird

I like this comment by Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired magazine and author of books The Long Tail and the two-day-old, controversial Free, in response to some of the recent attacks on him and his latest project:

"I may have a somewhat rosy-tinted view of journalists as being largely drawn by intellectual curiosity, but they are also people, and they are people in the midst of a once- in-a-lifetime industry collapse. How the media industry has to reform is not yet clear. I don’t have answers for them."

Chris was interviewed by PW for an article about the stormy reception the book has received – mainly by people who haven't read it or who can't be bothered to work out his argument before reacting against it. (The unfortunate accidental lack of attribution of some Wikipedia passages didn't exactly add to the book's popularity.) Me, I'm well-disposed towards anything Chris writes anyway as he's always intelligent and original (he's an ex-colleague of mine from long ago when he was a News reporter at Nature, and has also done a distinguished stint at The Economist), but the fact that Malcolm Gladwell slated the book in a prominent review makes me think it probably is rather good.

PW interview with Chris Anderson on the meaning of Free.

The Long Tail blog, which has lots of posts about the book and how it is "free" (and why).

@chr1sa on Twitter.

Ann Pettifor on economic crisis and recovery

I'm too exhausted to post anything sensible tonight. Last night I went to a fascinating event organised by the UK resource centre for women in science, technology and engineering, on the recession. "The recession is having a major impact on science, engineering, technology and the built environment (SET) in the UK. Applications to study SET subjects are rising, while employment opportunities have diminished. Some sectors are harder-hit than others. Women in SET, alongside men, are facing reductions in working time, redundancy and unemployment."

There were several excellent speakers at the event, which was at the Institute of Physics, but I would like to highlight a speaker who is particularly inspiring: Ann Pettifor. From her Wikipedia entry: "In 2003 she correctly predicted the bursting of the credit bubble ("The Credit Crunch") in a book she edited for the new economics foundation The Real World Economic Outlook (Palgrave, 2003). You can find her blog about the crisis at In 2006 Palgrave Macmillan published her book The Coming First World Debt Crisis (Palgrave, 2006). She is a co-author of the Green New Deal, published by the new economics foundation in July 2008 – a set of policies to deal with threats posed by the Credit Crunch, Peak Oil and Climate Change."

Ann is an excellent speaker and inspiring (as well as friendly) person. She explained the economic crisis in terms that I (and the rest of the audience) could understand, suggested practical solutions, and explained how all the economists (each with two PhDs from Harvard) had not only not seen the crisis coming, but who have failed to realise the paradigm shift that has occurred and therefore have no idea what to do now. Whereas she says: "The best way out of the economic crisis is to cut interest rates, create jobs and raise incomes." After hearing Ann speak, I actually felt quite cheerful on the subject of the global economy for the first time in ages.

Brief biography of Ann Pettifor.

Ann Pettifor at the Huffington Post.