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In the Future You Will

I know they’re AT&T ads, but I remember watching these and being so excited for the future. Yesterday, I actually looked up how much a virtual reality headset costs. My car drives on half electricity generated when I brake. These videos make me flush with gratitude for how tech has changed our world. But I also see that really nothing big has changed. The advances demonstrated in this video are largely conveniences meant to help people consume more quickly and work during their vacations, and making face to face communications obsolete through video screens. Almost everyone in these videos is alone. The in-person interactions are incidental. (The exception is the athlete receiving medical care, which stands out as a humane and very necessary deployment of tech. Sagefully, the patient’s health is of utmost importance to a major American corporate entity – his NFL team – making his recovery not a self evident matter of good fortune for a person and his family, but because he gets back on the field, the season is saved, blah blah blah.) Commerce will self-innovate, businesses will always look for ways to improve themselves to out compete the next business or address new needs and pain points for consumers. But tech and money can’t solve problems that exist between people. They can only make the conversations more predictable and less frequent, less intimate, they insulate the richest people from the poorest people, and provide a dim […]

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Iconoclasm in Kiev

Click over to the Guardian to see protesters in Kiev pull down the statue of Lenin, and read about how statues – invisible symbols of entrenched and assumed power in our everyday lives – becoming sitting ducks during an expression of revolutionary disobedience. Since the dawn of man, in our freest moments we have torn the idols down. Some pics from RT: Direct link to video:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/dec/09/kiev-ukraine-protesters-statue-lenin-video

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R.I.P. The Last Revolutionary Hero

‘Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I […]

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Not a Review: The Late Late Show at Bootleg

I try to see everything labeled ‘environmental/immersive/ambulatory’ that pops up in Los Angeles because I feel it’s the coolest thing theater has going for it. No other form can make you stand up, walk around, touch, feel, smell and throw yourself into a story or experience like the present art of theater. TV and video games can’t do that, and never will (my apologies to Virtual Boy.) And yet, how do we spend our time at plays?  Silent, seated, hands folded or clutching a program, policing the behavior of other […]

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Tearing Down the House

Imagine that you owned a house, and you discovered what might be a serious problem with its construction.  This is a problem that you yourself are not qualified to deal with – let’s say that it’s some combination of engineering and local construction code which only someone with intense training and experience could competently solve.  You call a contractor, or an engineer, someone who professes and certifies their expertise in exactly this sort of matter.  You pay this person to inspect the damage and give their honest opinion, and recommend […]

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Education and Open Source Art

Before Les Misérables and its story of youthful, futile rebellion fades again into popular irrelevance, I thought I’d share this sweet digital painting.  This scene, with its striking red flag, was composed in response to yesterday’s police incursion into a peaceful demonstration outside a government summit on education, after protesters threw snowballs at them. Through all the chunky and kinetic faux-brushstrokes, it shows an invincible and imposing police on horseback, riding roughshod over students who can do little but wave their banners and retreat. I highly recommend a browse through […]

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