LibrarianShipwreck

Libraries, Archives, Technology, Impending Doom

Category Archives: History

The problem isn’t the robots…it’s the bosses

Let us begin with two stories: Sam is nervous. Having applied for a job, Sam is now waiting to be interviewed for the position. Fidgeting slightly in the waiting room … Continue reading

March 17, 2017 · Leave a comment

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 · 1 Comment

Understanding Fascism – making sense of dark times

“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

January 20, 2017 · 2 Comments

And the technophiles scramble…

“You still have to learn the ABC. The ABC says: They will get you down.” – Bertolt Brecht 1. The folksinger Woody Guthrie was known for putting the words “This … Continue reading

January 12, 2017 · 1 Comment

Back to school…with much to learn…

Regardless of the particular month, it is always the right time to learn. Nevertheless, as it marks the beginning of the school year, the end of August/start of September stands … Continue reading

August 31, 2016 · 1 Comment

An island of reason in the cyberstream – on the life and thought of Joseph Weizenbaum

The juxtaposition between the potential of technology and its actual manifestation can be rather jarring. Tools that promise to make tasks easier are used to automate people out of their … Continue reading

July 27, 2016 · 5 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

Not Ludd, Just Ludicrous – The Luddite Awards are Absurd

The bestowing of awards often has a rather self-congratulatory aspect. After all, the giving of such honors is an opportunity for an industry to praise itself by touting the fine … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · 2 Comments

Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Anarchism and the Critique of Technology

What follows is the introductory section of an article titled “Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Reassembling the Anarchist Critique of Technology” which I wrote for the journal Anarchist Developments … Continue reading

January 14, 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 · 7 Comments

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, Alive as you or me. Says I, “But Joe, you’re ten years dead.” “I never died” says he. “I never died” says … Continue reading

November 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Social Construction of Acceleration – A review of Judy Wajcman’s book Pressed for Time

Patience seems anachronistic in an age of high speed downloads, same day deliveries, and on-demand assistants who can be summoned by tapping a button. Though some waiting may still occur … Continue reading

October 1, 2015 · 6 Comments

Loving Technology – Regardless of the Era (or Error)

Spending an afternoon at a Renaissance Festival presents an individual with the opportunity to indulge in a mythologized version of the past without having to worry about contracting any diseases … Continue reading

September 22, 2015 · 2 Comments

There’s an Apparatus for That – Reflections on Vilém Flusser’s book Post-History

Critiquing this or that aspect of society can be an invigorating experience. One simply selects a specific topic and sets about excoriating it, methodically ripping it apart with a mixture … Continue reading

September 10, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Robots are Coming! – A Review of Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

Armies of metallic soldiers attacking fleeing humans, monotone machines refusing to open air lock doors, malfunctioning androids on murderous rampages – popular culture has done much to disseminate anxiety inducing … Continue reading

August 19, 2015 · 4 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 · Leave a 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

Now Hear This! – A review of Thus Spoke the Spectacle

We know that the images flashing at us from the multitude of screens that surround us are trying to tell us something. To a certain extent the meanings are quite … Continue reading

June 8, 2015 · 3 Comments

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

Where Are They Now? The People’s Library Today

For many librarians the experience of reminding patrons to “please, return the books when you’re finished with them” is fairly common. After all, the idea of a person returning a … Continue reading

March 19, 2015 · 2 Comments

(Libraries and/or Archives) + fire = bad

While playing the somber game of “what is posing an existential threat to libraries and archives this week?” it can be easy to focus on slow destructive forces such as … Continue reading

February 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

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 · 7 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

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

How to Avoid Ruining a Book

“The club had a lending library. I was delighted by a poster that described in detailed words and in pretty colored pictures how many ways there were to avoid ruining … Continue reading

November 13, 2014 · 21 Comments

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

Emma, Utah, You, and Me

Pirates! One of your faithful librarian got laid off last Thursday, so you will probably be hearing more from me, as I try to fill the hours and days of … Continue reading

October 21, 2014 · 5 Comments

The Good Life or “the Goods Life” – The Thought of Lewis Mumford

Possessing tremendous foresight is not always an uplifting attribute. Likewise, a keen sense of hindsight may provide as much of an education in ruins as in woebegone romance. Yet it … Continue reading

October 19, 2014 · 13 Comments

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  • "Most people have no imagination. If they could imagine the sufferings of others they would not make them suffer so." - Ernst Toller 13 hours ago
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