LibrarianShipwreck

"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Category Archives: History

Waiting for the Fail Whale – What Y2K can teach us about Twitter

“What we use is not ours simply because we use it.” – Erich Fromm   Breakdowns have an annoying habit of not arriving on time. It often seems as if … Continue reading

December 2, 2022 · Leave a comment

Theses on the Techlash

“The problem is not to use technology but to realize that one is used by it.”- Paul Virilio   Once a term gets widely adopted by the press, and earns … Continue reading

October 27, 2022 · 1 Comment

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

“Technology in the Present Tense” – Notes from a Weary Luddite

“The future is not a blank page; and neither is it an open book.” – Lewis Mumford   1. Here is a confession from a weary, self-identified Luddite: For someone … Continue reading

April 29, 2022 · 2 Comments

Balance of Terrors – on Günther Anders

“You should not begin your day with the illusion that what surrounds you is a stable world.” – Günther Anders It has been 70 years since Bert the Turtle instructed … Continue reading

March 24, 2022 · Leave a 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 · 1 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

Inventing the Shipwreck

“Our societies have become arrhythmic. Or they only know one rhythm: constant acceleration. Until the crash and systemic failure.” – Paul Virilio “Conversations about technology tend to be dominated by … Continue reading

January 6, 2022 · Leave a comment

My Favorite Books from 2021

“We read books to find out who we are.” – Ursula K. Le Guin   I would like to say that I spent 2021 alternating between reading related to my … Continue reading

December 15, 2021 · 2 Comments

Against Technological Inevitability – On 20th Century Critics of Technology

“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

November 18, 2021 · 3 Comments

The Magnificent Bribe

“The bargain we are being asked to ratify takes the form of a magnificent bribe.”- Lewis Mumford (1964) “Nearly 50 years ago, long before smartphones and social media, the social … Continue reading

November 9, 2021 · 2 Comments

Specters of Ludd – A Review of Gavin Mueller’s “Breaking Things at Work”

A specter is haunting technological society—the specter of Luddism. Granted, as is so often the case with hauntings, reactions to this specter are divided: there are some who are frightened, … Continue reading

October 21, 2021 · 3 Comments

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 Technological Pessimism

We fly over the mountains As though there was nothing to it Great are the works of humans! But bread for all? We can’t do it. Child, ask why Can … Continue reading

July 8, 2021 · 10 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 · 17 Comments

Burn it All – a Review of “Your Computer is on Fire”

It often feels as though contemporary discussions about computers have perfected the art of talking around, but not specifically about, computers. Almost every week there is a new story about … Continue reading

May 27, 2021 · 6 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

Broom-Scrolling? Assume-Scrolling? Bloom-Scrolling? – what comes after Doom-Scrolling?

“The true path is along a rope, not a rope suspended way up in the air, but rather only just over the ground. It seems more like a tripwire than … Continue reading

March 12, 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

“The Tree of Science” an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “L’arbre de la science” [Part 3]

“Indeed, what is the seduction of the flesh beside the seduction of science? Nothing; for the seduction of the flesh may well ruin a man, a people, a nation, an … Continue reading

December 10, 2020 · 1 Comment

“The Tree of Science” an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “L’arbre de la science” [Part 2]

“Destruction by invasions is forever over; the barbarians who will put our human cycle in powder form will be the forces and energies of nature, these giants who have come … Continue reading

November 12, 2020 · 2 Comments

“The Tree of Science” an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “L’arbre de la Science” [Part 1]

When the locomotive of progress carries us away, it is quite permissible to ask the mechanics who direct it to be prudent and to moderate its speed before having assumed … Continue reading

October 29, 2020 · 2 Comments

Technology and the society we want to build – a review of the second edition of Langdon Winner’s “The Whale and the Reactor”

The announcement that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan would be donating $300 million to help address some of the challenges COVID-19 poses for the 2020 elections was met with a … Continue reading

October 21, 2020 · 3 Comments

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