Category: Uncategorized

  • Social media = dessert.

    Candy makes a lousy meal. Sure, for a while, it’s delicious. But after a certain sugar threshold, sweets stop tasting sweet. Mucous builds up on your tongue. Your teeth ache. And it’s addictive; long after you’re gorged, you’re still digging congealed corn syrup nuggets from the bag. Social media is like that. You know you’re…

  • How to fix football.

    Football has problems. No, not the protracted labor dispute between the billionaires and millionaires. I’m talking about the grave health threat of concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). A career’s worth of head trauma takes its toll, leaving players with brain damage and devastating emotional instability. As these harmful side effects come to light, the…

  • A kink in the fire hose: Twitter search and ‘top tweets’

    The ‘top tweets’ feature undermines one of Twitter’s greatest strengths: disintermediated public access to primary sources.

  • Robot umpires

    Why do we still have human baseball umpires? Of the four major American sports, baseball seems best-suited to computerized referees (hereafter, “robots”). In hockey, football, and basketball, the action happens quickly, in multiple places, and in infinite variation. America’s pasttime moves slowly, focuses on a single location, and allows relatively little improvisation. Baseball umps stand…

  • iPad monism, ThinkPad dualism.

    For decades, there was a stark, definite division between physical objects and consumer electronics. Physical objects (couches and books and food) were sturdy and touchable and straightforward and simple. The computer was obtuse, button-infested, and brimming with circuitry. Apple blurred that line.

  • The library of the future

    The visionary librarian must reclaim her historic role as the community’s information curator and collaboration coordinator.

  • Smartphones: self-sedation, or self-improvement?

    Could a smartphone pull us back into the world rather than away from it? Could smartphones facilitate real life, instead of substituting for it? Can phones ‘nudge’ their users toward deeper, more genuine involvement in others’ lives?

  • The library’s demise: tearing down the temple

    “Tear down the temple; we’ve got shrines at home.” True enough; we can erect little altars to literacy on our bookshelves and nightstands. But how long can we justify this quaint luxury in a digital age? Printed books will become relics: hallowed icons mounted to the wall–first decoratively and then ironically. Spouting the “spiritual, not…

  • Wirelessness: victory or defeat?

    Within my lifetime, American homes will go cord-free. Wireless connectivity continues to advance, and wireless power isn’t far behind. Such progress will obliterate that rat’s nest of cables behind your workstation. That unsightly rash of outlets infesting your walls will be cured. Electricity and networking will recede into the ether. Whose victory will this milestone…

  • Technology’s unique vice

    If social media amplifies a particular vice, might it also amplify a particular virtue?