LibrarianShipwreck

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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Thirteenth Week

Do not be ridiculous none shall look back on these wretched times and call them the good old days though perhaps we shall someday recall them as the days during … Continue reading

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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Twelfth Week

If you have forgotten how to make small talk here is a reminder: instead of speaking of the plague comment on the weather, rather than talk of variants mention local … Continue reading

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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Eleventh Week

That we cannot personal responsibility our way out of this pandemic does not mean that you are relieved of all personal responsibility during this pandemic. * For quite some time … Continue reading

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“Technology in the Present Tense” – Notes from a Weary Luddite

“The future is not a blank page; and neither is it an open book.” – Lewis Mumford   1. Here is a confession from a weary, self-identified Luddite: For someone … Continue reading

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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Tenth Week

Repeat after me: I won’t get sick that happens to others not to me my coworker with the loud laugh acquaintances from school my cousin twice removed neighbors of my … Continue reading

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Balance of Terrors – on Günther Anders

“You should not begin your day with the illusion that what surrounds you is a stable world.” – Günther Anders It has been 70 years since Bert the Turtle instructed … Continue reading

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Emily Drabinski for ALA President

Our dear friend of the LibrarianShipwreck, Emily Drabinski (who you may remember wrote a guest post about the LIU faculty lockout in 2016), is running for president of the American … Continue reading

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“I’m so sick of Y2K!” – A review of Y2K: The Movie

“I’m so sick of Y2K!”   Contrary to the stereotype that every disaster movie begins with the experts being ignored, there is at least one disaster movie that begins with … Continue reading

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“Things Just Go On” – More Theses on Doomscrolling

“That things just go on is the catastrophe” – Walter Benjamin. One of the risks of declaring victory is the possibility that your declaration will prove to have been premature. … Continue reading

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Look Around – Yet Another Piece about “Don’t Look Up”

Truly, I live in the dark times! The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs Has simply not yet heard The terrible news. – … Continue reading

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Inventing the Shipwreck

“Our societies have become arrhythmic. Or they only know one rhythm: constant acceleration. Until the crash and systemic failure.” – Paul Virilio “Conversations about technology tend to be dominated by … Continue reading

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My Favorite Books from 2021

“We read books to find out who we are.” – Ursula K. Le Guin   I would like to say that I spent 2021 alternating between reading related to my … Continue reading

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Against Technological Inevitability – On 20th Century Critics of Technology

“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

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The Magnificent Bribe

“The bargain we are being asked to ratify takes the form of a magnificent bribe.”- Lewis Mumford (1964) “Nearly 50 years ago, long before smartphones and social media, the social … Continue reading

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Specters of Ludd – A Review of Gavin Mueller’s “Breaking Things at Work”

A specter is haunting technological society—the specter of Luddism. Granted, as is so often the case with hauntings, reactions to this specter are divided: there are some who are frightened, … Continue reading

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Imagine the End of Facebook

“On the one hand the computer makes it possible in principle to live in a world of plenty for everyone, on the other hand we are well on our way … Continue reading

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Librarian Was My Occupation – Remembering the Occupy Wall Street People’s Libary

In the fall of 2011, the angry shout of “we are the 99%!” could be heard echoing in localities big and small across the US. The movement had seemed to … Continue reading

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Don’t Fall for Facebook’s Trojan Horse

“What we use is not ours simply because we use it.” – Erich Fromm “With the release of its own smart glasses last week, Facebook seems to have learned from … Continue reading

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The Climate of Despair – Climate Change, COVID-19, and the Feeling of Impending Doom

“It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.” – Walter Benjamin   Whenever the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues … Continue reading

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Mergers, acquisitions, and my tinfoil hat

[nb: this is by your long-lost second blogger, who relocated to a large state university two years ago, rather than by the usual fellow who’s been keeping this boat afloat … Continue reading

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All our grievances do, in fact, remain connected

[hi, long-lost other writer here, apologies for the long absence] Two things got libraryland heated last week, and at first glance they have little to do with each other. First … Continue reading

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Technological Lessons from the Pandemic

“The public be damned is the private motto of the majority of our citizens: which means that they are damning themselves; and at a serious crisis like the present one, … Continue reading

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Theses on Technological Pessimism

We fly over the mountains As though there was nothing to it Great are the works of humans! But bread for all? We can’t do it. Child, ask why Can … Continue reading

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Theses on Techno-Optimism

“If you fall in love with a machine there is something wrong with your love-life. If you worship a machine there is something wrong with your religion.” – Lewis Mumford … Continue reading

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Burn it All – a Review of “Your Computer is on Fire”

It often feels as though contemporary discussions about computers have perfected the art of talking around, but not specifically about, computers. Almost every week there is a new story about … Continue reading

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They meant well (or, why it matters who gets to be seen as a “tech critic”)

“We need technology to live, as we need food to live. But, of course, if we eat too much food, or eat food that has no nutritional value, or eat … Continue reading

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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“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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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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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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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Ninth Week

Do not delay they say you need to have a plan for what you are going to do if you contract the virus (when you contract the virus) they say … Continue reading

April 22, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Eighth Week

By now we should know that if we wait to act until the hospitals are full than we have waited too long. * Take a shovel and dig the hole … Continue reading

April 15, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Seventh Week

Prophecy is easy as long as your predictions are modest bold claims are disproven firm dates are always missed the crises that are declared over have a tendency to persist … Continue reading

April 8, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Sixth Week

It is very challenging to see it coming when you have tied a blindfold tightly over your eyes. * As long as you’re up to it (seeing as the weather … Continue reading

April 1, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Fifth Week

For you who dwell in cities far from the ocean it is pointless to worry about sharks. For you who avoid venturing into the woods there is no need to … Continue reading

March 22, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Fourth Week

Do not mistake the coming of the spring for the departure of the plague. * Get out of your home you have been working from there for far too long … Continue reading

March 18, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Third Week

It is inaccurate to say that after the pandemic came the war for the pandemic has not ended it is more accurate to say during the pandemic a war as … Continue reading

March 11, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Second Week

Pour that bucket of water out in the bathtub hang the extinguisher back on its hook you stopped, dropped, and rolled but now it’s time to continue, to get up, … Continue reading

March 4, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-First Week

They have already allowed it to happen to the safety net as well as to the social fabric so it is just in keeping with their general stance that in … Continue reading

February 24, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Hundredth Week

One hundred thousand deaths is an incalculable loss deserving of the front page in its gray entirety nine hundred thousand deaths is a very different matter it is not that … Continue reading

February 18, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Ninth Week

If here in this exceptional land we were to observe a minute of silence for each life claimed by the plague in the course of the previous week we would … Continue reading

February 11, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Eighth Week

If they came to us and said the plague would end in thirty-six days or in four months we would be able to manage days could be counted down black … Continue reading

February 3, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Seventh Week

We blame the virus for the disastrous condition of our schools the catastrophic state of our hospitals the ruinous structure of our workplaces the collapsing authority of our institutions so … Continue reading

January 28, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Sixth Week

To learn to live with the virus is an easy thing all it requires is that you learn to ignore those dying from the virus. * Apparently it is encouraging … Continue reading

January 21, 2022 · 2 Comments

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Fifth Week

Let us hope that in this new year we will not need to learn any more letters of the Greek alphabet. * There was the colleague then the casual acquaintance … Continue reading

January 12, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Fourth Week

Perhaps it was selfish at the very least it was naive but I had really hoped that just for that day I would be able to forget the plague I … Continue reading

January 5, 2022 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Third Week

You who find yourselves unexpectedly ill after trying so hard after trying to stay safe after trying to be responsible must not view your sickness as a moral failing you … Continue reading

December 31, 2021 · 1 Comment

Plague Poems – The Ninety-Second Week

It was this week two years ago when we started to see stories ominous stories about a virus spreading but we did not worry for it was happening over there. … Continue reading

December 24, 2021 · 1 Comment

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