LibrarianShipwreck

"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – the Fifty Sixth Week

The less we speak about the plaguethe more we sayabout the plague times. * Only a cynic refuses to be impressed by the well executed cleanup that occurs in the … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Fifty-Fifth Week

Forgive meI do not meanto ruin your weekwhen it has only justbegunbut you should knowthat the case number(yet again)are rising. * After more than a yearunhappily stuckinsidehow easy it isto … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Progress for the status quo – on the Chamber of Progress

“There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory.” – Neil Postman A … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Fifty-Fourth Week

That which makesthe tragedy unbearableis that the worldcarries on. That which makesthe tragedy bearableis that the world carries on. * Two signs hangin the shop’s windowthe first reads“mask required for … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Fifty-Third Week

Let not your excitementfor your impending vaccinationconvince youthat this avoidable tragedythat this historic failureshould in any waybe hailedas a success. * When first they told meto stay homeI was willing … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Fifty-Second Week

It is not that this week marks the anniversary of the plague but that this week marks the anniversary of our no longer being able to pretend that the plague … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Broom-Scrolling? Assume-Scrolling? Bloom-Scrolling? – what comes after Doom-Scrolling?

“The true path is along a rope, not a rope suspended way up in the air, but rather only just over the ground. It seems more like a tripwire than … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Fifty-First Week

Though words of warning had been spoken they were said at a low volume you can be forgiven for failing to hear them over the loud assurances not to worry … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Fiftieth Week

Some outlets claim that half a million have died as of yesterday. Some outlets will claim that half a million have died by this day’s end. Some scholars quietly suspect … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

“into the lifeboats” – a review of Nomadland

“You could not have been born at a better period than the present, when we have lost everything.” – Simone Weil Having been forced to flee, a weary traveler returns … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

How to keep from getting distracted when you are trying to read

There is far too much going on these days. Truly, the world is being very inconsiderate. How can someone like yourself be expected to get any reading done when there … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

The joke was on us – reflections on Trump’s presidency

“There is laughter because there is nothing to laugh about. Laughter, whether reconciled or terrible, always accompanies the moment when fear is ended. It indicates a release, whether from physical … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

Authoritarian and Democratic Technics, revisited

“The viability of technology, like democracy, depends in the end on the practice of justice and on the enforcement of limits to power.” – Ursula Franklin I. Is technology a … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

My Favorite Books from 2020

“The only thing that goes against my pessimism is the fact that we still carry on thinking today.” – Max Horkheimer 2020 was a really great year…for books. For just … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

A Hell of a Year – Reflections on 2020

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer 2020 was a hell of a year. … Continue reading

Featured · 3 Comments

“The Tree of Science” an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “L’arbre de la science” [Part 3]

“Indeed, what is the seduction of the flesh beside the seduction of science? Nothing; for the seduction of the flesh may well ruin a man, a people, a nation, an … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

The Cassandra Conundrum

“We hate the people who try to make us form the connections we do not want to form.” – Simone Weil   One Let us begin with a riddle. Question: … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

“The Tree of Science” an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “L’arbre de la science” [Part 2]

“Destruction by invasions is forever over; the barbarians who will put our human cycle in powder form will be the forces and energies of nature, these giants who have come … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

“The Tree of Science” an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “L’arbre de la Science” [Part 1]

When the locomotive of progress carries us away, it is quite permissible to ask the mechanics who direct it to be prudent and to moderate its speed before having assumed … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Technology and the society we want to build – a review of the second edition of Langdon Winner’s “The Whale and the Reactor”

The announcement that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan would be donating $300 million to help address some of the challenges COVID-19 poses for the 2020 elections was met with a … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Theses on Doomscrolling

‘Tis sweet, when, down the mighty main, the winds Roll up its waste of waters, from the land To watch another’s labouring anguish far, Not that we joyously delight that … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Flamethrowers and Fire Extinguishers – a review of “The Social Dilemma”

“The myth of technological and political and social inevitability is a powerful tranquilizer of the conscience. Its service is to remove responsibility from the shoulders of everyone who truly believes … Continue reading

Featured · 19 Comments

How to Prepare for This (totally normal) Fall Semester

The start of a new academic year is a thrilling and exhilarating moment! Professors and students come together to explore new topics, investigate complex issues, and continue down the path … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

What teaching online taught me

“In the race between education and catastrophe, which Mr. H.G. Wells pointed out long ago, we can already see the finish line. And at the moment, catastrophe is in the … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

It is later than you think – the COVID-19 catastrophe is already here

“Don’t be a coward. Have the courage to be afraid. Force yourself to produce the amount of fear that corresponds to the magnitude of the apocalyptic danger.” – Günther Anders. … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Facing Facebook

“Manufacturers and promoters always stress the liberating attributes of new technology, regardless of the specific technology in question.” – Ursula Franklin   While sailing through the cold waters of the … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

TikTok Will Not Save Us

Have you heard? Social media is good again! The last several years have been rather rough for the social media companies. These companies—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others—have gone from being … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

How to Move Your Books in the Middle of a Pandemic

When the world is gripped by a pandemic, there are many activities that need to be approached with a new level of caution. Masks, gloves, social distancing, especially thorough handwashing, … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

A Failure of the Imagination – COVID-19 and Catastrophe

“I have published these words in order to prevent them from becoming true. If we do not stubbornly keep in mind the strong probability of the disaster, and if we … Continue reading

Featured · 8 Comments

What is Happening In the Libraries While They Are Closed?

Libraries are generally fairly quiet places, and yet the near total silence that currently exists in many libraries is not the result of an overzealous librarian’s commitment to quiet. Instead, … Continue reading

Featured · 3 Comments

COVID-19, COBOL, and Y2K

One of the grim ironies of a disaster is the way in which it reveals just how little has been learned from past disasters. In some cases, these unheeded lessons … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

What studying disasters has taught me about COVID-19

“Civilization, the orderly world in which we live, is frail. We are skating on thin ice.” – Zygmunt Bauman.   For the last several years, when people have asked me … Continue reading

Featured · 12 Comments

Plague Poems – The First Week

It is said that during the plague the bard wrote King Lear. Perhaps, but how many did not live to see it performed? * When they said “go out” I … Continue reading

Featured · 55 Comments

How not to get sick at the library

There is nothing to be gained from obfuscation, so let us be clear, there is a growing level of concern about the coronavirus COVID-19. There is absolutely no reason to … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Democracy is too important to trust it to an app

It’s easy to ignore complex technological systems when they are functioning properly. So long as the system fulfills its basic promise of making it a bit easier or more efficient … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

The End of the World?

Except  this star there is nothing, I thought, and it Is a wasteland. It is our only refuge and this Is what it looks like. – Brecht   1. First, … Continue reading

Featured · 10 Comments

General Ludd in the Long Seventies – a review of Matt Tierney’s “Dismantlings”

The guy said, “If machinery makes you so happy go buy yourself a Happiness Machine.” Then he realized: They were trying to do exactly that. – Kenneth Burke, “Routine for … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

In Defense of Jonah

On December 17, 1972, at the occasion of his receiving the National Book Award, the social critic Lewis Mumford gave a rather odd acceptance speech. It featured many of the … Continue reading

Featured · 11 Comments

Hashtags Lean to the Right – a Review of Jen Schradie’s “The Revolution that Wasn’t”

Despite the oft-repeated, and rather questionable, trope that social media is biased against conservatives; and beyond the attention that has been lavished on tech-savvy left-aligned movements (such as Occupy!) in … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Be Afraid! But not that afraid? – on Climate Doom

People on social media would have really hated Cassandra. Her constant barrage of doleful warnings would just be dismissed of as hyperbolic and unhelpful. Those who did engage with her, … Continue reading

Featured · 8 Comments

From Megatechnic Bribe to Megatechnic Blackmail: Mumford’s ‘Megamachine’ After the Digital Turn

Without even needing to look at the copyright page, an aware reader may be able to date the work of a technology critic simply by considering the technological systems, or … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

“The End of the World by Science” – an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “La Fin du Monde par la Science.” Part 1

Remember these last words, they are the entire story of man in the past, they will also be his entire story in the future. – Eugene Huzar Translator’s Introduction Near … Continue reading

Featured · 16 Comments

Why the Luddites Matter

Chant no more your old rhymes about bold Robin Hood, His feats I but little admire I will sing the achievements of General Ludd Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire – … Continue reading

Featured · 45 Comments

Understanding Fascism – making sense of dark times – a reading list (expanded 10/20/17)

“No other method exists for acquiring knowledge about the human heart than the study of history coupled with experience of life, in such a way that the two throw light … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

An island of reason in the cyberstream – on the life and thought of Joseph Weizenbaum

The juxtaposition between the potential of technology and its actual manifestation can be rather jarring. Tools that promise to make tasks easier are used to automate people out of their … Continue reading

Featured · 39 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Ninth Week

In the winter it becomes dry so very dry in my apartment the skin on my hands cracks my throat grows raspy every winter I intend to but forget to … Continue reading

February 25, 2021 · 3 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Eighth Week

It is unwise to celebrate in the lifeboat mistake not your relief at being plucked from the waters with the safety of the shore you remain at sea and lifeboats … Continue reading

February 19, 2021 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Seventh Week

After so many weeks spent huddled indoors it is a strange pleasure to stay inside buried under blankets drinking hot beverages watching the world through your windows yet it is … Continue reading

February 10, 2021 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Sixth Week

Eventually a week will begin the way they used to with you rushing out the front door keys in hand already late hot coffee burning your hand as it spills … Continue reading

February 5, 2021 · 3 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Fifth Week

That you have become so accustomed to waiting for the world to get worse does not adequately prepare you for the moments when your fears come true. * In my … Continue reading

January 26, 2021 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Fourth Week

Where once every ten thousand deaths gave rise to despairing cries as such large round numbers easily quantified the tragedy eventually four zeroes no longer proved shocking and now ten … Continue reading

January 21, 2021 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Third Week

Some claim that we should be thankful to be in a new year but thus far the only thing that has changed is the date I have written on my … Continue reading

January 13, 2021 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-Second Week

Every winter sickness finds me though I get the flu shot take vitamin C supplements and always wear many layers every single winter sickness finds me this I try to … Continue reading

January 8, 2021 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Forty-First Week

You need not say thank you to those who threw you overboard to those who told you to tread water to those who left you to drown simply because they … Continue reading

December 28, 2020 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Fortieth Week

There have always been disasters made by men what sets this moment apart is that we know the names of the men who allowed this to become a disaster. * … Continue reading

December 21, 2020 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Thirty-Ninth Week

Numbering the dead there was a moment when every ghastly multiple of ten thousand was met with fresh headlines but that was a long time ago we were young then … Continue reading

December 16, 2020 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Thirty-Eighth Week

The month ends as it began with us shivering anxiously in our quarantined hovels as the plague marches through the streets outside. * Where once the smiling photographs from family … Continue reading

December 8, 2020 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Thirty-Seventh Week

When we read of how past civilizations were overwhelmed by plagues we scoff at their foolishness we sigh at their scientific ignorance we sadly shake our heads and then blithely … Continue reading

December 3, 2020 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Thirty-Sixth Week

Though you eagerly await (how could you not?) the arrival of a vaccine you must not forget that the plague has not yet departed. * It has been months since … Continue reading

November 27, 2020 · 2 Comments

Ne'er do wells

Archive

Categories

Creative Commons License

libshipwreck