Culture

Don’t Feed the Trolls (October 21, 2017) - That inflammatory news blurb in your Facebook feed that’s got your dander up?  Or the one some acquaintances are circulating that’s got you thinking they’ve lost their minds?  Hold up a bit.  There’s this recent column in The Atlantic: “We’ve since learned that Russian trolls organized anti-immigrant rallies in two states, and posed online as… Continue reading Don’t Feed the Trolls
The Reflection in our Smartphones (August 27, 2017) - In Metamorphoses, the Roman poet Ovid tells an old story about Narcissus, a young man who rejected the advances of Echo, a nymph.  The unhappy suitor then wastes away to nothing but her voice. As it happens, Narcissus appears to have left quite a trail of broken hearts.  The goddess Nemesis heard the complaint of another… Continue reading The Reflection in our Smartphones
PublicDomainPictures.Net Size Matters (February 5, 2017) - During our years in a former church my wife and I heard repeated admonitions from the leadership to greet visitors.  Then a couple years ago we found ourselves looking for a new church community.  Now we were the newcomers visiting various churches.  In some of the communities I noticed an obvious personal connection between congregants… Continue reading Size Matters
Silicon Valley Dystopia (October 9, 2016) - “The new road to serfdom — actually, it’s more like a hyperloop — runs right through Silicon Valley.” via Silicon Valley has our backs This post by Nicholas Carr at Rough Type references a recent New Yorker profile of venture capitalist Sam Altman.  I share Carr’s skepticism and the profile is worth reading.  If I… Continue reading Silicon Valley Dystopia
Thought Leaders (September 9, 2016) - I’ve watched a bit of TED and there’s been quite a lot of good stuff on it.  As I’ve noted previously, the format of TED successfully makes use of the shrunken attention spans of modern culture.  But the packaging that makes TED work also suggests its effectiveness has very little to do with the actual… Continue reading Thought Leaders
Peaky Blindness (July 5, 2016) - In the course of our recent Netflix binging my wife and I started watching Peaky Blinders.  This is a BBC television series set in post-WWI Birmingham, England, and is centered around the activities of a street gang for which the series is named.  What the gang actually looked like is debated but the name is… Continue reading Peaky Blindness
A Little Less Greek (February 14, 2016) - On a recent foray into a used book store I stumbled over an excellent flyover of Roman history.  During my reading I was intrigued by the settlement of a political conflict in the Roman republic of the fourth and fifth centuries BC.  During that period a power struggle ensued between the hereditary aristocracy and the… Continue reading A Little Less Greek
Exploitation in Westworld (October 3, 2015) - Somewhere during the last couple decades the bartenders in the mainstream entertainment business slipped over a line. Sexual themes once seemed to be served up to be sipped in glasses of art (admittedly often in poor taste). Now they come straight up as shots of one hundred and fifty-one proof exploitation. A recent Time Magazine… Continue reading Exploitation in Westworld
Eighteen Minutes (May 5, 2015) - Attention spans are getting shorter. A comment highlighting this appeared in an April segment on TED Talks, broadcast on CBS news magazine 60 Minutes.  During the segment interviewer Charlie Rose queried TED curator Chris Anderson about the eighteen-minute time limit imposed on the talks.  Anderson responded that, “..it’s a coffee break…you can listen to something… Continue reading Eighteen Minutes
Loss of Context (April 8, 2015) - Exploring the world in comfort. That’s the theme of a recent commercial for the European travel company, Viking River Cruises. Scenes of Europe flow by to violin strains and a poetic cadence: “Sailing through the heart of cities and landscapes with Viking, you’ll see things differently. You’ll get closer to iconic landmarks, to local life… Continue reading Loss of Context
Grayed Out Boundaries (February 16, 2015) - I had no intention of addressing Fifty Shades of Grey , which was released in theaters in mid-February. The critics’ reviews seem generally poor. Much of the viewer reaction to the film (and the book) has to do with the thematic elements. While I have opinions about this enough has been said already on the… Continue reading Grayed Out Boundaries
Gone Boundaries (February 12, 2015) - While there are some films that really ought to be seen on a theater screen I can’t often bring myself to spend money on overpriced movie tickets. Last fall I relented and went to Gone Girl. The movie is coming around again through premium video services and is garnering awards. It’s a disturbing film, effectively… Continue reading Gone Boundaries
A High pH (November 21, 2014) - Once upon a time a ring from the wall telephone signified a crisis of some sort if it occurred outside of certain times. We just never thought to call anyone early in the morning, during dinner, or late at night. We stayed outside the boundaries of each other’s private spaces until such time as it… Continue reading A High pH
Pocket Protectors (November 14, 2014) - Technological progress seems to have a certain inevitability. Over the last twenty years large organizations have undergone a transition from the scattered use of mobile phones to wide use of cell phone to blackberries and now to smart phones. We started with typewriters, note pads, pens, and marginally useful green screen email. Now we have… Continue reading Pocket Protectors

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