The other day tech writer Clive Thompson wrote an excellent piece for this platform entitled “Wearable Computers Should Never Have Cameras.” Thompson’s piece was prompted by news of Facebook’s collab with Ray-Bans — surely an effort to create wearables which finally attain the cool factor. And I agree with every point he makes there about the privacy issues inherent with embedding cameras in wearable devices.
As he concluded, quite fairly, “Big tech firms have no interest in building technology that actually helps you think, which was the original vision of wearable computers. …
Do you know what the official national language of the United States is?
There is none.
That’s right. We have no official national language.
Now some folks have told me in the past, “Well, English is the unofficial national language.”
Right, so that means it’s not the official national language. And, yes, it’s true that some 78 percent of the U.S. population do exclusively speak English at home. About 230 million people. Impressive! So, admittedly, that does make English the sort of de facto national language of these quasi-United States. But it’s not the official national language.
Because we don’t…
Some part of you dies when you lose your faith. So, no wonder people fear losing it, because, really, who wants to die twice? It’s not a death of the body or mind, of course. Instead, we fear the death of family or friends or community or—really—our ties to these things. A rending of their connective tissue. Because losing our beliefs comes at a price.
When I was a child growing up within a small fundamentalist Christian community in Perth, Western Australia, I learned early that doubting your faith was a sin.
As a pre-teen in the 1970s, I attended…
“The movement to preserve the habitability of the planet for future generations must directly challenge the tribal power of nationalism and the chronic militarization of public discourse.” — Daniel Deudney, “The Case Against Linking Environmental Degradation and National Security”
Consider some sobering statistics. First, studies confirm that rises in temperature by as little as half a degree Celsius correlate with notable increases in the likelihood of violent conflict (Burke et al; Mach et al). Second, in 2020, six of the United Nations’ ten largest peace operations were stationed in countries most affected by climate change. Furthermore, by the middle of…
It’s taken a while but I think I’m finally learning not to take the bait. I’m sorry.
It’s nothing most of us haven’t done. I’m really just coming to terms with the impact of what I’m doing. What we’re doing.
I’ll use the example of Twitter, but this applies elsewhere, of course, including on Le Facebook.
After U.S. gymnast and all-round superhuman Simone Biles dropped out of the Olympics the other day, Charlie Kirk, conservative talk show host and general internet irritant weighed in with his thoughts. “We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles,” he said…
I love the sound of cicadas
Their sharp summer shimmer
Ricocheting through the neighborhood
Even here in Brooklyn
Not as impressive as in other parts, perhaps
But nonetheless there
Ancient, cacophonous and electric
A signal cast off unceasingly from their vacillating membranes
Maybe for me it’s nostalgia
As a child their music in the bush of Australia was ubiquitous, loud, almost deafening
But also an expected and omnipresent backdrop
So that even on a solitary walk through this hot dry land, you were never alone
Their immortal hum accompanying you from their affixed positions upon leaf, branch, stem…
Quite a mind boggling story recently: The FBI bought a fledgling encryption app called Anom about three years back and monitored criminals eager to use it for organizing various shenanigans, leading to some 800 arrests in 12 countries. The app was marketed exclusively to criminals — often by word of mouth and in person at nightclubs and similar venues. It came on a stripped down cell phone, hidden in a calculator app and was accessed via a pass code. Criminals apparently took to it like flies to cow pies. Arrests included law enforcement officers and even employees of the company…
In 2020, something happened, which offered a moment of hope for supporters of green energy technologies: For the first time in the United States, electricity generated by wind and solar technology exceeded that of coal. This change lasted only days, a blip really in our history of energy use and was certainly enhanced by the pandemic lockdowns. Nonetheless, coal consumption has been trending down for most of the past decade, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that wind and solar capacity will actually surpass both coal and gas by 2024. These developments gave us a glimpse of a future…
As someone who writes regularly about immigration, I’m curious about many of the Americans hoping to buy a fake vaccination card in order to travel to their business or pleasure destination of choice. Will they also sympathize with the immigrants who arrive here without documentation in the future in order to work the jobs which American businesses are offering them?
If their plans to jet around with fake papers are AOK because freedom, then surely they’ll understand why impoverished migrant workers might come here looking for work, hoping to figure out the legality part later on.
Because the market for…