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Category Archives: Government

AI and Drones and Bio-engineering, oh my! – A Review of A Dangerous Master by Wendell Wallach

Popular culture is lousy with tales of techno-science escaping human control. And as these stories — involving rebelling robots, murderous artificial intelligence systems, and genetically modified chimeras on a warpath … Continue reading

June 23, 2016 · 1 Comment

What Technology Do We Really Need? – A Critique of the 2016 Personal Democracy Forum

Technological optimism is a dish best served from a stage. Particularly if it’s a bright stage in front of a receptive and comfortably seated audience, especially if the person standing … Continue reading

June 16, 2016 · 25 Comments

Beyond the Prototype: Libraries as Convivial Tools in Action

How important are the technologies found in a library to the actual library? Are libraries simply places where various tools and technologies are used, or can libraries (themselves) be viewed … Continue reading

May 26, 2016 · 2 Comments

You Can’t Spell “Trending Topics” Without Control

Attempting to understand trends can easily give one an unpleasant headache. From fashion to music and from food to news articles – the reasons why a particular thing is trendy … Continue reading

May 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

Evidently, Democracy Disrupts the Disruptors

Anybody who has been watching the 2016 presidential primaries can attest to the simple fact that voting has consequences. Indeed, voters can propel a figure widely dismissed as “never going … Continue reading

May 12, 2016 · 3 Comments

Apple Is Not the Messiah

There is a lot of money to be made in crafting carefully manicured public relations campaigns for major corporations. Numerous large firms exist solely for the purposes of selling their … Continue reading

February 18, 2016 · 4 Comments

TOR, Libraries, and DHS: fuck that noise

Our dear comrade Alison Macrina at the Library Freedom Project had the fabulous idea to set up Tor relays in public libraries — after all, providing services and assuring patron … Continue reading

September 11, 2015 · 2 Comments

Treat Your Personal Library…Like a Library

Have you ever found yourself at a gathering at which a speaker says something along the lines of “it’s important to read”? Or perhaps you’ve found yourself at a gathering … Continue reading

August 27, 2015 · 3 Comments

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

Living in the Exterminable Epoch

The end of the world comes in a variety of flavors: the wrath of god, catastrophic storms, gigantic asteroids, unstoppable plague, climate change, nuclear Armageddon…and the list goes on. Particular … Continue reading

July 16, 2015 · 1 Comment

Has General Ludd been seen in France?

General Ludd has recently been sighted in France. At least that is what one might be led to believe based on stories about French taxi drivers protesting against Uber. After … Continue reading

July 8, 2015 · 1 Comment

To Do: Digital Rights in Libraries

[Hi, pirates. The following is a press release from our dear comrade Alison Macrina of the Library Freedom Project. If you are going to ALA, or live near the Bay … Continue reading

June 4, 2015 · Leave a comment

Laws Expire, Surveillance Remains

The technological landscape of today is quite a bit different from what it was in the fall of 2001. This point is so obvious as to be banal, but to … Continue reading

May 21, 2015 · 1 Comment

Confused about Copyright and Fair Use? That’s Understandable…

The folk singer Woody Guthrie would frequently attach a serious warning regarding copyright to copies of his lyric sheets. This sobering statement informed one and all that: “This song is … Continue reading

February 26, 2015 · 3 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

Seeing Each Other in the Candle’s Light

There is a Yiddish folk-tale that tells of a foolish man who gets lost in the woods during Chanukah: Having hoped to make it back to his home before sundown … Continue reading

December 17, 2014 · 1 Comment

Awaiting the Other Shoe

Patience ranks high amongst the virtues that are commonly celebrated. It seems to represent the coming together of a host of other vaunted values: selflessness, calmness in the face of … Continue reading

December 11, 2014 · 2 Comments

The Moral of the Story

When surveying the news of recent days, weeks and months it can be a rather troublesome exercise to ask the question: what is the moral of this story? Granted, not … Continue reading

December 4, 2014 · 19 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

Corrupting “The Corruption of Liberalism” – Brooks gets Mumford Wrong

The thought of public intellectuals may easily outlive their mortal bodies, their work enduring past the point at which they can still command much claim to a public. The work … Continue reading

October 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

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

Speeding Towards a Slowdown

When things change quickly an appropriately speedy response may be warranted – especially in cases where delaying for too long may result in the opportunity to act being missed. The … Continue reading

September 9, 2014 · 4 Comments

Back to School…With Much to Learn

Even if the first day of autumn is still several weeks away, the passing of Labor Day always seems to signify that summer has come to a close. And with … Continue reading

September 2, 2014 · 1 Comment

Hope Comes Pre-Installed

There is an odd dissonance playing out in the news of late – a rather jarring juxtaposition between euphoric promises and doom tinged proclamations. While a defining feature of the … Continue reading

August 12, 2014 · 6 Comments

Concerned about Privacy? Consider going Postal!

The contents of a mailbox can become amusingly mundane: bills, solicitations, catalogs, credit card offers, and assorted other odds and ends that wind up in the recycling bin without being … Continue reading

August 8, 2014 · 1 Comment

LIS WTF

Hold onto your hats, librarians, you’re hardly going to believe these two bits of news. Yes, they are that busted. ***** First, comes the saga of the Evanston, IL, public … Continue reading

August 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

Can We Have Our Cake without Soylent Goo?

What we are eating often remains a bit of a mystery. We may know what it says on the packaging or what it says on the menu – but when … Continue reading

July 24, 2014 · 25 Comments

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