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Plague Poems – The Fourteenth Week

Upon being asked to accept the sacrifice of having to wear a mask many decided they would rather sacrifice their neighbors instead. * While buying groceries I overheard a man … Continue reading

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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

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Plague Poems – The Thirteenth Week

From history there is much we must learn for there is much we have failed to learn. Study the years of the past let those events leave their imprints upon … Continue reading

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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

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Plague Poems – The Eleventh and Twelfth Weeks

Some say that history will be made this week. Was not history made last week? Yes, history was made last week but this week we will not be able to … Continue reading

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Plague Poems – The Tenth Week

Only fools and optimists fail to make preparations for tragic possibilities. For every Plan A there must be a Plan B For every Plan B there must be a Plan … Continue reading

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Plague Poems – The Ninth Week

From the wreckage of the fall we shall look back upon these days and remember them as having been the good times. * None should be surprised to learn that … Continue reading

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Plague Poems – The Eighth Week

Freedom is not a concept that can be easily defined. But I am sure that there must be more to freedom than shopping. * You who enjoy the parks while … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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My Favorite Books from 2019

“Hungry one, reach for the book—it is a weapon.” – Brecht Of all the problems with which a person may find themselves constantly wrestling, there are far worse things than … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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Plague Poems – The Seventh Week

Before you face the new week pause and remember the horrors of the previous week. By this week’s end last week’s many tragedies will be forgotten displaced by new woeful … Continue reading

May 6, 2020 · 12 Comments

Plague Poems – The Sixth Week

Where once there were seven kinds of days now there are only two the bad days and the worse ones. How strange it is to long for the banality of … Continue reading

April 30, 2020 · 12 Comments

Plague Poems – The Fifth Week

There are many things I miss about how life was before the plague The simple pleasures of a meal at a restaurant a concert in a crowded hall embracing close … Continue reading

April 22, 2020 · 12 Comments

Plague Poems – The Fourth Week

If the experts are to be believed than this shall be a most difficult week. Was not last week also a most difficult week? Certainly, it was, but by this … Continue reading

April 16, 2020 · 12 Comments

Plague Poems – The Third Week

It is not that the days of the week have (truly) lost all sense of meaning. But that the anxiety and loathing we once felt regarding Monday is now applicable … Continue reading

April 9, 2020 · 12 Comments

Plague Poems – The Second Week

Needing the air, I briefly stepped outside. Fearing the others needing the air, I swiftly stepped inside. * If I had children I would tell them not to be frightened. … Continue reading

April 1, 2020 · 12 Comments

Who Listens to the Listeners?

It can be kind of fun to look through the record collections of your friends. Whether this collection consists of actual records, cassette tapes, compact discs, or just a lengthy … Continue reading

December 6, 2019 · Leave a comment

What to do if you Encounter Paranormal Forces at the Library

Have you ever found yourself pleasantly working in the library when suddenly the lights flicker and the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention? Have you ever … Continue reading

October 29, 2019 · 3 Comments

Facebook ≠ Democracy

‘Who rules here?’ I asked. They said: ‘The People naturally.’ I said: ‘Naturally the people but who really rules?’ – Erich Fried, “In the Capital.”   Mark Zuckerberg would like … Continue reading

October 18, 2019 · 3 Comments

The Sky Isn’t Falling – Franzen still has much to learn

One morning, as Jonathan Franzen was waking from (what were perhaps) anxious dreams about what climate change would mean for the future, he discovered that (on the Internet) he had … Continue reading

September 12, 2019 · 1 Comment

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