'The Meta-Blog' logo, Paul Mobbs in a workshop
A work in ‘progress’

‘The Meta-Blog’

‘Ramblinactivist’ Paul Mobbs’ work-related occasional blog – examining the troublesome and often difficult meanings behind today’s news and events rather than repeating the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the mass/social media.


Welcome to my ‘difficult’ work-related occasional blog, where I seek to explore the technical and statistical reality of the contemporary world.

This page lists the last year’s blog posts and videos. Most posts are available as both: HTML (web) pages; A4 PDF files; and occasionally an audio podcast to download. Video posts are usually a shorter page or script with a link to the video hosted on YouTube.

In addition, I also have an historical book review blog, ‘A Book in Five Minutes’ – examining older texts to see how they still have great relevance to today’s debates.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.14: ‘Food for Free’ (1972) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.14, 16th June 2022:

‘Food for Free’ (1972)

The 1970s surge in ecological awareness saw many books published on our relationship with the natural world. ‘Food for Free’, by Richard Mabey, was published fifty years ago in 1972.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13: ‘Silent Spring’ (1962) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13, 24th May 2022:

‘Silent Spring’ (1962)

An historically significant book, its hypothesis proven right, its message undimmed by the passing of six decades – and yet it is so seldom discussed today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12: ‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12, 6th May 2022:

‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971)

In this review of ‘Rules for Radicals’ I’m not going to list those ‘rules’. Nor the oft-neglected list of ‘means and ends’. That’s because, if you read the book, that’s not the point of these lists. Alinsky’s philosophy is broader than that.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.11: ‘A Short History of Progress’ (2004) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.11, 13th April 2022:

‘A Short History of Progress’ (2004)

This is the last in a series of three ‘techno-critical’ reviews, examining the excuse that underpins the whole project of industrialisation: ‘Progress’ – looking at Ronald Wright’s 2004 book that, 18 years later, still provides well-observed (if bleak) view of the future.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.10: ‘My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization’ (1994) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.10, 29th March 2022:

‘My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization’ (1994)

This second in a techno-critical review trilogy might seem unrelated to the previous book on ‘The Luddites’, and yet it provides the same kind of criticism from a completely different angle – that of ecopsychology, and the trauma that the modern lifestyle creates for many of those subject to it.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.9: ‘Rebels Against the Future’ (1995) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.9, 16th March 2022:

‘Rebels Against the Future’ (1995)

In the late 1990s, on the back of the rising and soon-to-burst dot-com bubble, the media often featured Kirkpatrick Sale. His 1995 book, ‘Rebels Against the Future’, presents a detailed history of the Luddite movement, and what that historic movement represents to our ‘modern’ society today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.8: ‘The Conquest of Bread’ (1906) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.8, 28th February 2022:

‘The Conquest of Bread’ (1906)

Peter Kropotkin’s 1906 book doesn’t just challenge the power elite. At its core it challenges the general approach of ‘the left’, and the left's infatuation with lofty ideals rather than the basic needs and conditions of the people.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title slide of 'A Book in 5 Minutes' espisode 7 ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.7, 19th January 2022:

‘The Deep Ecology Movement’ (1980)

Forty-two years on from its publication, Bill Devall’s paper and its clear critique – now realised in the predicted failure of the movement to make change – deserves a much greater audience.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand holding a copy of ‘This Land is Our Land’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.6, 7th November 2021:

‘This Land is Our Land’ (1987)

A book which traces an arc of how the shift from Feudalism into Capitalism, via the reciprocal Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, not only changed the landscape, but also created many of the social ills that still afflict society today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Opening scene from the 1993 TV production of 'Stark', by Ben Elton The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.18, 25th October 2021:

‘Forgotten, but not gone’ – How governments have deliberately ignored the safety of contaminated sites in England, and why climate change makes this worse

This is an over thirty-year long story about my involvement with contaminated sites, and helping communities to get action to clean them up. This tale is innately connected to my home town, Banbury. It’s an average small town; a backwater on the border between the Midlands and the South East. Yet in the 1980s, this place taught me about the issues of waste and land contamination. Not because it was exceptional, but because these issues affect communities across Britain.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

A hand holding a copy of ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.5, 4th October 2021:

‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ (1971/2004)

Murray Bookchin foresaw the rise of consumerism, and the changing dialogue in society towards a politics of ‘post-scarcity’. ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ is an anthology of Bookchin’s essays around this theme.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

General Jack Ripper, from 'Dr Strangelove' The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.17, 2nd October 2021:

‘Weaponising Space Debris’ – Britain, DARC, and the military’s control of space

Britain is to become part of a US network to ‘dominate space’. The UK government are promoting this as a way to create greater ‘security’ for our technological lifestyle. The reality about what this system is for, and the US military’s strategy behind it, is somewhat different to that public message of greater security.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

A hand holding a copy of ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.4, 20th September 2021:

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ (1971)

I think there are very few books that you can truthfully say, ‘this book changed my life’. When I first came across it almost forty years ago, this one changed mine. It explained clearly to me what it was I needed to know to eat well.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand hold a copy of ‘Ecological Economics For Humanity’s Plague Phase’ ‘A Book (or report) in 5 Minutes’, no.3, 15th September 2021:

‘Ecological Economics For Humanity’s Plague Phase’ (2020)

Each morning the Sun comes up. We instinctively know this. The problem is that in the modern world, people sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference between: Natural phenomena – like the Sun rising; and the grandiose myths we tell ourselves – like the functioning of the economy.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand takes a copy of 'The Limits to Growth' from a shelf ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.1, 1st September 2021:

‘The Limits to Growth’ (1972)

Published in 1972, and shrouded in controversy since that date, ‘The Limits to Growth’ is the most successful econometric projection ever made, and a groundbreaking ecological book that the environment movement itself has a deep-seated fear of discussing in public.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Image of a happy drone The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.15, 12th August 2021:

‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a drone’ – Are you selling your soul to whack the YouTube algorithm?

YouTube has become a warped subliminal marketplace; a confidence trick of misdirection. Digitally disembodied people pretend to be your best friend, while the platform they use fleeces your computer of as much information as possible in order to commodify your soul.

Click here to download the PDF version.

Go to the YouTube video accompanying this post.

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