Category Archives: culture

Big-Data Big-Brother NewSpeak

There are, of course, those who say that this big-data psychometric neurosociological element had nothing to do with the Trump win. What do you think? Twig from this quote from Cambridge Analytica's own boast on their website on November 9 and go from there: “We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communications played such an integral part in President-elect Donald Trump’s extraordinary win,” said Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica. “It demonstrates the huge impact that the right blend of cutting-edge data science, new technologies, and sophisticated communication strategies can have.” The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine – … Continue Reading ››

Matter of Scale

Do aggregates of humans  in business suits lose their soul beyond a certain number under the same corporate roof?  Does the myopic quest for efficiency and profit to the exclusion of all other common good turn proper intention toward the dark side? Can we survive in the era of BIG?  Those were the questions rising in the steam from my first cup of coffee this morning. And so my morning pages took the shape of the following screed (also posted to for a potentially wider audience than you, mom. TLDR. But that's okay. I feel better now.) BIG IS KILLING US

John … Continue Reading ››

The Technosphere: The World We Have Created

Earth's 'technosphere' now weighs 30 trillion tons -- ScienceDaily "The word technology comes from two Greek words, transliterated techne and logos. Techne means art, skill, craft, or the way, manner, or means by which a thing is gained." And so, over the not-so-many millennia of our species' thumb-and-brain-powered rise to power, we've used our art and dexterity to shape the natural world of bone and sinew, fiber and ore, fire and fuel into over a billion different forms of future techno-fossil: 30 trillion tons of man-stuff. Most of this will outlive our civilization, buried in the strata of the unknown future. It … Continue Reading ››

Mt Valley Pipeline Hits a Speed Bump

In case you once followed the progress (or potential devastation) of the 42-inch Mountain Valley Fracked-unNatural Gas Pipeline but had wandered away from the topic, seeing its opposition as a spitting-into-the-wind lost cause, you might want to take a few minutes to come up to speed. It seems Mt Valley does not have a free pass to our forests, mountain vistas, ground water and precious places just yet. But the fox is now guarding the henhouse, even as likely thousands of late-indigenous Appalachians would put their own safety and freedom on the line, as my friend David Seriff (of a potentially MVP-impacted … Continue Reading ››

Leaf-blown: The Wind from Hell

leafblower noise fallows atlantic The guy lived two blocks away in our in-town community, so however agitated it made me, his nearest neighbors  probably took turns calling the sheriff's department every Saturday and/or Sunday morning in the fall and spring to complain (to no avail) when the leaf blower cranked up. Out of curiosity I walked up that dead-end block once just to see what massive landscaping project might require the use of a military-grade wind generator.  The homes and yards were modest and small there, as I expected. So the Blower Guy could … Continue Reading ››

Out of Chaos, Order

p1010502circumferential800 Structure--even frail and fragile and failing structure--seems preferable to sudden and complete disorder. The center does not hold. The old logic is suddenly devoid of common understanding. Change for its own sake yields a horrible tsunami of ambiguity and chaos where we could once see our way to the next thing. I'm staring at this sun-through-the-pines image from a rest stop somewhere in Kentucky on Sunday, looking for what it might say to me in yet another hour of traction-less spinning in the sand of current events. And I think about a conversation last … Continue Reading ››