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Category Archives: Environment

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

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 · 6 Comments

“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 · 3 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

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 End of the World by Science” – an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “La Fin du Monde par la Science.” Part 4

“Why constantly elevate the edifice of civilization, and heap Pelion on Ossa? Do you still want to climb to the sky, do you not remember the lightning bolts of Jupiter, … Continue reading

December 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

The Courage to be Afraid – a review of Roy Scranton’s “We’re Doomed. Now What?”

“If people are not aware of the direction in which they are going, they will awaken when it is too late and when their fate has been irrevocably sealed.” – … Continue reading

July 18, 2018 · 7 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 · 13 Comments

“Atomic warfare means universal extermination”

In 1946, Lewis Mumford penned an article in The Saturday Review of Literature under the none-too-subtle title “Gentlemen: You are Mad!” Over the course of two pages Mumford denounced as … Continue reading

August 9, 2017 · 6 Comments

The Apocalyptic Turn

It is a desperate deed to upbraid despair for despair makes our life what it is. It thinks out what we flee from. – Erich Fried 1) Thinking about apocalyptic … Continue reading

July 11, 2017 · 14 Comments

“Thinking ad pessimum” – Notes Towards a Productive Pessimism

Even the Flood Did not last for ever. There came a time When the black waters ebbed. Yes, but how few Have lasted longer. – Brecht (“Reading Horace”)   1) … Continue reading

June 1, 2017 · 16 Comments

Prescience and Pessimism

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

November 10, 2016 · 29 Comments

Planned obsolescence comes for the headphone jack

Surprises are overrated. Well, probably not really, but such a shrugging sentiment seems warranted when it comes to the glitzy launch “events” held by tech companies. Lately, the things which … Continue reading

September 8, 2016 · 5 Comments

Into and out of the woods – a review of Captain Fantastic

Supermarkets, strip malls, smart phones, school – for many, such are the unexceptional features of daily life. And though some people may occasionally experience dissatisfaction with the society in which … Continue reading

August 22, 2016 · 6 Comments

Prefixes in Uncertain Times: Reconfiguring the Human in the Human-Built World

One could be easily forgiven for thinking that the present is a troubling time to be human. The specter of catastrophic climate change looms larger by the week, rapidly appearing … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 3 Comments

My Favorite Books From 2015

Best of the year lists are as much of a testament to what was missed as to what was actually experienced. For every [insert media format of your choice] that … Continue reading

December 30, 2015 · 11 Comments

The Ground Beneath the Screens – A Review of Jussi Parikka’s A Geology of Media and The Anthrobscene

Despite the aura of ethereality that clings to the Internet, today’s technologies have not shed their material aspects. Digging into the materiality of such devices does much to trouble the … Continue reading

October 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

What is the Problem to Which the Delivery Drone is the Solution?

Who amongst us has not gazed up at the sky and thought, “yes, those clouds and birds are a nice sight but what I really wish I was seeing is … Continue reading

July 30, 2015 · 8 Comments

Towards a Bright Mountain: Laudato Si’ as Critique of Technology

“We hate the people who make us form the connections we do not want to form.” – Simone Weil Repairing Our Common Home When confronted with the unsettling reality of … Continue reading

June 24, 2015 · 16 Comments

Rechargeable Ideology

Batteries are easily overlooked in our daily affairs, at least until they threaten to stop working. And when that moment arrives when (suddenly!) the little battery logo turns red or … Continue reading

May 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

But on the other hand…it’s a really nice day

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer 1. Nice days can be disorienting. The … Continue reading

April 22, 2015 · 4 Comments

Warding off General Ludd – The Absurdity of “The Luddite Awards”

Of all the dangers looming over humanity no threat is greater than that posed by the Luddites. If the previous sentence seems absurdly hyperbolic, know that it only seems that … Continue reading

January 7, 2015 · 9 Comments

Resolve to Remember 2014

Not many people will lament 2014 coming to a close. Certainly, as with any year, there are numerous individuals who experienced moments of great joy and personal fulfillment over the … Continue reading

December 30, 2014 · 2 Comments

Looking Up, With Our Feet Still On the Ground

It is important to look up. Not just from whatever it is that is occupying our attention at any given moment, but to look up as in “way up” – … Continue reading

November 19, 2014 · 1 Comment

Facing Reality – Reflections on the IFG’s Techno-Utopianism Teach-In

Occasionally, an acronym does the work of an entire argument. Case in point: FRED, which stands for Facing the Reality of Extinction and Doom. A good acronym need not be … Continue reading

October 28, 2014 · 7 Comments

On Telling Time

I. The very idea of an heirloom quality computer seems amusingly absurd. And yet this does not mean that any concept of passing pieces of technology across generations is laughable. … Continue reading

October 14, 2014 · 6 Comments

A Question of Priorities

Human ingenuity has been a source of all manner of creations that have filled people with awe. Yet, this awe has just as often been awful as it has been … Continue reading

October 3, 2014 · 2 Comments

Tilting at Windmills

To be critical of a society is to invite a variety of staid, boorish, and simply hostile responses. Common amongst these retorts are those that do not attempt to engage … Continue reading

September 30, 2014 · 5 Comments

“The Courage to Be Afraid”

Of the various emotions that we are alternately encouraged or discouraged from feeling – fear is one that occupies an odd position. After all, fear is a very powerful emotional … Continue reading

September 19, 2014 · 9 Comments

Placing Bets and Asking Questions

Though there was not terribly much question about it, there is now clear confirmation that “wearable technology” will be the next major front in technological society. While there had been … Continue reading

September 12, 2014 · 4 Comments

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