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Building bridges is difficult but important, rewarding and inspiring. It requires vision, skill, hard work, good plans, and collective responsibility.

Coal mining has a history of influencing social, political and economic change. The fuel that powered everything for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, it employed millions in dangerous, gruelling, low-paid toil. It also brought great wealth to those that owned both the mines and, in many ways, the workers.

In the 1910s, the fatality rate of Colorado miners was over double that of their colleagues in the rest of the US. The state’s mine owners, chiefly the Rockefeller company, paid miners by tonnage rather than for their time, so work on safety was left wanting. In 1912, the miners of the Colorado fields went on strike for a year. John D Rockefeller Jr paid the National Guard to force the miners back to work. …


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Robbie was struggling to adjust to working from home.

In the mid-1700s you knew you were somebody if you had an exclusive audience with a robot. European nobility, according to the stereotypes, were usually fey, bored and yearning for novel distractions (when they weren’t at war with each other). Although some tried their best, acting as patrons of the arts and sciences, fancying themselves as refined polymaths. Both groups, for different reasons, adored an automaton.

The 18th century craze for man-made creatures was one of many endeavours that drew science, art and religion together. Priests and scholars debated what it meant to create something that appeared to be alive. For those unfamiliar with automata, they were elaborate, complex, largely clockwork creations (apart from the fraudulent ones with people inside them) that imitated living things. Animals were popular (particularly De Vaucanson’s Digesting Duck), but naturally so were humans. Lifelike in appearance (though rarely to scale), the makers built them to show off their ingenuity and technical skills, sometimes to reflect on the nature of life, but also to amaze and gain favour with influential people. …


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Within the terabytes of business-related content that has assaulted our inboxes, updates, and newsfeeds over the last five months or so, at least 83% (the author’s estimate) of it has related in some way to ‘dealing with a crisis’. From mental health to management to strategic pivots, the analyses of the effects and potential solutions have been myriad and often confusing. One thing, however, flows through almost all of the advice: culture. That most ephemeral of concepts; much debated, unique to every group, and rarely fully understood. …

About

Simon King

Communicator. Manager. Consultant. Collaborator. Writer.

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