Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.
1. 15 minute cities coming to America?
Doubtless you’ve all at least heard of the 15-minute city plan, and the furore that has erupted over it in the UK.
Earlier this year Oxford announced plans to divide the city into neighborhoods, and make it impossible to drive from one to the other. Essentially, in the name of the environment, they want to make it so people never stray too far from their homes.
It was met with a LOT of protest – as you’d expect. But all of those protesters have been dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, and at least five other cities have announced they will introducing the scheme in the near future.
…and this week we got a hint that it may be crossing the pond. Yesterday it was announced that New York City will be introducing a “Central Business District Tolling Program”, what we call the congestion charge in London. Drivers will pay up to $23 each time they take their car into the city centre.
If you want to some evidence this is just another aspect of the great reset, well here’s CNN saying so:
New York City is still clawing out of from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Congestion pricing advocates say it’s a crucial piece of the city’s recovery and a way to re-imagine the city for the future.
Several other cities are already in the planning stages for their own “Central Business District Tolling Program”. Something to keep an eye on.
2. QR Codes to access the Supermarket…
German-supermarket chain ALDI has started requiring a digital pass in order to enter some of their stores, as shown in this video recorded at a london branch:
Shut this down.
— Jennifer Arcuri (@Jennifer_Arcuri) June 8, 2023
The store is one of ALDI’s new “shop and go” outlets, which has no checkout counters, and requires an app installed on to enter, at which point they simply monitor what you take with the help of their instore cameras, and then charge your account the amount they think you owe.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are not comfortable with the shop-by-surveillance method, partly because it requires giving ALDI access to your phone, partly because it means they are literally monitoring everything you buy, partly because it means you can’t shop with cash and mostly because…well, it’s just creepy.
Defenders of the practice insist those that don’t like it can simply “go to a shop with old-fashioned check-outs”, but they miss the point: If we don’t oppose this practice now, eventually, there won’t be any of those left.
It will be an interesting acid test for what’s left of true capitalism to see if any supermarket chain decides to go against the grain and pledge to never go the app-based shopping route. Smart moneys on no.
A “former” US military intelligence officer has come forward claiming that the US government has recovered an “intact non-human craft”. His lawyer told the press the ship was “larger on the inside than out”, it “distorted space and time” and made some recovery workers ill.
…you know what? This is too much for TWitNN. Stay tuned for a longer piece in the next few days.
In the meantime, what do you think? Is there something real there? Or is it the silliest psy-op in the history of psy-ops?
BONUS: Not-at-all breaking news of the week
Yesterday, Sky News interrupted their coverage to insert a new banner that declared:
BREAKING: The UK has now exceeded the 30C mark.
OK, so for starters “the UK” didn’t exceed 30oC, one thermometer did…at Heathrow Airport. Everybody knows airports are much hotter than their surroundings, because of the wide, flat open spaces and tarmac and all the heavy machinery and jet exhausts…and you really don’t need me to explain any of this.
In summary, it being over 30 degrees in June would not be “breaking news” even if it were true. And it’s not.
BONUS II: Bye Bye Boris
Former-PM Boris Johnson has resigned his seat in Parliament, claiming he is being subjected to a witch hunt in the form of PartyGate and the Covid inquiry.
We don’t know what high ranking “consultant” or “manager” job he’ll be given at which bank/telecommunications giant/defense company yet, how much he’ll get paid for speaking engagements, what the title of his ghost-written autobiography will be or when exactly he’ll be made a lord…but does anyone really care?
All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention Canada extending pride month to “pride season” or the tech mogul using a teenager’s blood to try and stay young forever.
There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.
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