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Category Archives: Government

Life’s a Glitch – what the non-apocalypse of Y2K can teach us

As families watched from home, Dick Clark stood on the steps of the town hall hosting the final New Year’s Rocking Eve of the millennium. The excited crowd chanted the … Continue reading

September 1, 2022 · Leave a comment

Where We’re Going, We’ll Probably Still Need Roads – a Review of Paris Marx’s “Road to Nowhere”

You can learn a lot about your society’s relationship to technology by looking at its streets. Are the roads filled with personal automobiles or trolley-cars, bike lanes or occupied parking … Continue reading

August 12, 2022 · 1 Comment

Singing About the Dark Times – Theses on Doomerism

In the dark times Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times. – Brecht   It sure seems like things aren’t going particularly … Continue reading

July 29, 2022 · Leave a comment

Jonah, Cassandra, and the Doom-Sayers — Reading Lewis Mumford During the Pandemic

“If we would conquer the hell that now threatens to engulf us, we must not seek merely for a little less hell, we must not content ourselves with a sort … Continue reading

July 20, 2022 · 1 Comment

“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

February 25, 2022 · Leave a comment

“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

February 4, 2022 · 2 Comments

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

January 13, 2022 · 1 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

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

August 5, 2021 · 2 Comments

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

June 10, 2021 · 16 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 · 7 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 · 2 Comments

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

January 28, 2021 · 2 Comments

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

January 13, 2021 · 7 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

October 8, 2020 · 14 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

September 17, 2020 · 25 Comments

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

July 22, 2020 · 3 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

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

February 6, 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 · 14 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

“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 · 6 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 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

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

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 · 14 Comments

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