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Category Archives: Capitalism

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

October 21, 2021 · Leave a comment

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

September 29, 2021 · Leave a comment

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

September 14, 2021 · Leave a comment

Reference desk: job list

Despite — and partially because of — the pandemic related turmoil of the last year and a half, there are a lot of library jobs out there right now. While … Continue reading

August 20, 2021 · Leave a comment

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

August 16, 2021 · 6 Comments

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

August 10, 2021 · Leave a comment

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

May 27, 2021 · 3 Comments

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

April 28, 2021 · 5 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

April 1, 2021 · 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

February 26, 2021 · 1 Comment

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

September 17, 2020 · 24 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

July 9, 2020 · 2 Comments

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

June 22, 2020 · Leave a comment

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

August 16, 2019 · 12 Comments

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Machine – a review of Aaron Bastani’s “Fully Automated Luxury Communism”

Flung back in time, to the year 2063, Captain Jean Luc Picard finds himself escorting a 21st century woman, Lily, through the starship Enterprise. As the year 2063 sees humanity … Continue reading

July 30, 2019 · 2 Comments

Stop Using “Google” as a Verb

Here is a hypothetical for you: imagine that someone asks you a question to which you do not know the answer. However, it is the type of question that you … Continue reading

May 23, 2019 · 2 Comments

“Cover Your Tracks!” – A Critique of the Privacy Project from The New York Times

Whatever you say, don’t say it twice. If you find your idea with somebody else: deny it. He who didn’t sign anything, who didn’t leave an image Who wasn’t there, … Continue reading

April 15, 2019 · 4 Comments

The Whale and the CEO – a Review of “The Inventor Out for Blood in Silicon Valley”

If you knew where you were going You would halt. If you knew What is planned for you You would look around you. – Brecht   Few are the things … Continue reading

March 22, 2019 · 1 Comment

“No one wants to see disaster coming, but those who look, do.” – A Review of “The Uninhabitable Earth”

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

March 4, 2019 · 4 Comments

Between Salvation and Doom – Notes on the Green New Deal

At a time when their fall was certain – On the ramparts the lament for the dead had begun – The Trojans adjusted small pieces, small pieces In the triple … Continue reading

February 11, 2019 · 5 Comments

Choose Very Carefully: a Review of Black Mirror – Bandersnatch

Manipulated comes from manus: hand We see ourselves manipulated and hope in this way to come to grips with our reality When it was really still hands manipulating us manipulation … Continue reading

January 10, 2019 · 27 Comments

A Disastrous Year – Reflections on 2018

“There is nothing more frightful than to be right. And if some, paralyzed by the gloomy likelihood of the catastrophe, have already lost courage, they still have a chance to … Continue reading

December 20, 2018 · 3 Comments

The technology giants didn’t deserve public trust in the first place

Amazon may have been expecting lots of public attention when it announced where it would establish its new headquarters – but like many technology companies recently, it probably didn’t anticipate … Continue reading

November 19, 2018 · 11 Comments

“Striving to minimize technical and reputational risks” – Ethical OS and Silicon Valley’s guilty conscience

Considering how proudly they declare that they are designing the future, technology companies seem almost comically bad when it comes to anticipating the consequences of the things they create. While … Continue reading

August 24, 2018 · 22 Comments

Challenging the Tech Companies from Within

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

June 28, 2018 · 7 Comments

All watched over by machines – a review of Yasha Levine’s “Surveillance Valley”

There is something rather precious about Google employees, and Internet users, who earnestly believe the “don’t be evil” line. Though those three words have often been taken to represent a … Continue reading

June 8, 2018 · 15 Comments

“Why don’t you go live in a cave?” – when technophiles cry troglodyte

Someone came to the stones and said: Be human The stones replied: We are not hard enough yet – Erich Fried[i]   1) Regardless of where arguments about the impact … Continue reading

May 18, 2018 · 20 Comments

Techlash! What Techlash?

In the early 1990s an assortment of activists and academics banded together in an attempt to challenge the direction in which high-technology, and infatuation with it, was taking society. And … Continue reading

April 27, 2018 · 13 Comments

The Nerd and the Inured

There’s no point being vague about it: Mark Zuckerberg won. Considering what could have possibly awaited the Facebook CEO when he testified before Congress he got off easy. Despite the … Continue reading

April 12, 2018 · 6 Comments

The Shackles of Digital Freedom – a review of Jack Lichuan Qui’s “Goodbye iSlave”

With bright pink hair and a rainbow horn, the disembodied head of a unicorn bobs back and forth to the opening beats of Big Boi’s “All Night.” Moments later, a … Continue reading

March 7, 2018 · 2 Comments

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