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Category Archives: US Politics

“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 · 3 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 · Leave a comment

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 · 3 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

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

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 · 8 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 · 4 Comments

Facebook – to delete, or not to delete?

‘Who rules here?’ I asked. They said: ‘The People naturally.’ I said: ‘Naturally the people but who really rules?’ – Erich Fried, “In the Capital.”   1. While many things … Continue reading

March 22, 2018 · 7 Comments

Betrayed by the giants

A common feature in thrillers is betrayal: that moment when suddenly one individual reveals that (surprise!) they are not actually the protagonist’s friend. Calamity ensues as the hero must face … Continue reading

November 2, 2017 · 2 Comments

Understanding Fascism – making sense of dark times – a reading list (expanded 10/20/17)

“No other method exists for acquiring knowledge about the human heart than the study of history coupled with experience of life, in such a way that the two throw light … Continue reading

October 20, 2017 · 4 Comments

It’s time to fix things – a review of “Move Fast and Break Things”

When the topic of monopoly is raised the first person that many people will think of is Rich Uncle Pennybags – that icon of monopolistic wealth accumulation – with his … Continue reading

June 29, 2017 · 7 Comments

Amazon is hungry for more

Here is a joke: Question – Why did the online retailer renowned for its super cheap prices buy a brick and mortar grocery chain known for its ridiculously high prices? … Continue reading

June 21, 2017 · 3 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 · 10 Comments

Is Internet access a choice?

Sometimes the most interesting questions about how technology impacts society are raised unintentionally. Case in point: on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) went on CNN to explain … Continue reading

March 9, 2017 · 2 Comments

The world according to Facebook

The majestic plural, the royal “we,” is deployed by individuals in high positions seeking to cast their own opinions as the views of a much larger group for whom they … Continue reading

February 17, 2017 · 18 Comments

Well…that happened – reflections on a joke

The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs Has simply not yet had The terrible news. – Brecht (“To Those Born Later”) Sometimes one … Continue reading

January 27, 2017 · 1 Comment

A Pessimistic Resolution

Every new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start, the promise that this year, unlike last year, we can finally get things right. Thus, the resolution-industrial complex … Continue reading

January 5, 2017 · 1 Comment

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 · 26 Comments

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 · 22 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

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

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

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

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

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

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