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Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield review – luxury communism, anyone? | Books | The Guardian
What seem to be potentially anarchic, liberating technologies are highly vulnerable to capture and recuperation by existing power structures – just as were dissident pop-culture movements such as punk. Greenfield makes this point with particular force when discussing automated “smart contracts” and the technology of the blockchain, a kind of distributed ledger that underlies the bitcoin currency but could be used for many more things besides. “Despite the insurgent glamour that clings to it still,” he points out, “blockchain technology enables the realisation of some very long-standing desires on the part of very powerful institutions.” Much as he scorns the authoritarian uses of new technology, he also wants to warn progressives against technological utopianism. “Activists on the participatory left are just as easily captivated by technological hype as anyone else, especially when that hype is couched in superficially appealing language.”

Critical resistance to all these different colonial battalions is based on Greenfield’s observation, nicely repurposing the enemy’s terminology, that “reality is the one platform we all share”. If we want to avoid the pitiless libertarianism towards which all these developments seem to lean – unsurprisingly, because it is the predominant political ideology among the pathetically undereducated tech elite – then we need to insist on public critique and strategies of refusal. Radical Technologies itself is a landmark primer and spur to more informed and effective opposition.
***  review  technology  book  books  criticism  speedbird  trends  futurism  future  critique 
27 days ago by gpe
Postmodernism Did Not Take Place: On Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life - Viewpoint Magazine
But that hasn’t stopped Peterson from airing his views all over North America and the internet, including fawning profiles in the Guardian and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In spite of his failed attempt to give his politics intellectual heft, it should be obvious to any reasonable person that his worldview is unfounded on its face. Consigning the right to determine someone’s gender to the eye of the beholder places excessive faith in the immediacy of perception and the universal equivalence of cultural norms, besides being obviously unkind. His blustery objection to the gender-neutral singular “they” puts Peterson himself in opposition to “Western civilization,” given that the construction appears throughout canonical English literature, including the works of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Peterson’s fixation on the chemical foundations of biological sex and measurements of cognitive intelligence is not pragmatic, but metaphysical, attempting to extract essential qualities from social behavior.

Peterson’s attempt to buttress these reactionary positions with readings of contemporary philosophy, now preserved for posterity in the pages of 12 Rules for Life, is not without precedent. But the tendency finds its most thorough realization in his zealotry. Peterson goes beyond Lilla, Chomsky, and Buchanan, arguing that what he calls “postmodern philosophy” is not merely a symptom of social unease, but its cause. By charging this poorly defined discourse of postmodernism with shaping contemporary society and bending the arc of history, he is doing precisely what he has accused his adversaries of doing: imposing a world of ideas upon the actually existing world, one which is more complex than he has the ability to grasp.
education  marxism  critique  review  postmodernism  philosophy  *** 
27 days ago by gpe
The Refusal to Make Things Easy for Anyone | Online Only | n+1
For an age where more people are porn-literate than literature-literate, the nerdy Roth may prove to be his most transgressive persona in posterity, although there’s another candidate for the role. As all the tributes pour in and multiply in thousands of bytes on our screens, there’s another thing that no one has really mentioned: his political astuteness. His satirical Nixon speech, where the president refuses to step down if impeached, published in the New York Review of Books in June of 1973, makes for chilling reading for anyone still anticipating Trump’s eventual removal from office. The hatred of small-mindedness, of base opportunism, of attempts to restrict, segregate, or control is there throughout the work, but anyone who doubts his political imagination should read I Married a Communist for its sympathetic evocation of working-class Newark and Gary, Indiana, of labor organizers and Communist-inspired actors, and for its sharp portrayal of the gossip and innuendo traders who abetted McCarthyism and the smear campaigns of Trump’s professor of the dark arts, Roy Cohn. Or there are the chilling portraits of the West Bank Settler, Mordecai Lippmann, in The Counterlife and the Mossad agent Smilesburger in Operation Shylock, which trace a different perversion of the Jews with as much depth, insight, and hard judgment as any vigorous opponent of the Occupation might wish to have composed.
And then there’s the question of health care and bodily frailty, which is pretty much a constant theme in the novels. Although not a political issue when Roth first started subjecting his alter-egos to prostate tumors, neck and back pain, or heart problems, reading these novels now is to get a snapshot of a world in which the clinic is an institution that works to uphold people’s dignity when they’re at their most undignified, an element of civic grandeur even attaches to it. As much as he hated and feared illness and death, Roth at least understood and, to a certain extent, believed in medicine as a sustaining institution and possibly the only professional locus of human compassion.
Or there’s The Plot Against America which, although superficially a counterfactual historical novel about what might have happened had a Lindbergh style anti-Semite and outright Nazi sympathizer won the presidency in 1938, captures the transformation of the United States from a Republic of Hope to the post–September 11 Republic of Fear that we still inhabit.
**  review  literature  criticism  history  roth 
july 2018 by gpe
Best Linocut Inks for Block Printing on Paper and Fabric — Linocut Prints | Block Printing Techniques | Recommendations for Lino Tools and Supplies by Boarding All Rows
Winner - Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink

Hands down the best overall ink on the market for lino printing, in my opinion. It's the ink that I've gone back to time and time again over the years. It has all the benefits of traditional oil-based ink but because of its special formulation, it comes without the cleanup hassle. Here's how to clean your inked brayer. Hold the brayer over the sink and squirt a fair amount of dish soap on it (no water, yet!) and rub it all around until the ink is completely coated with soap. Then rinse it all under warm water, rubbing it off with your hands. Done. Let it dry.
printing  ink  list  ***  review  linocut 
april 2018 by gpe
Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets / Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) / Before and After Science Album Review | Pitchfork
Eno is one of the smartest artists who’s ever made a pop recording. His is the kind of smartness that can trip itself up through overthinking, or make for art whose interest is mainly formal. But he dodged that bullet thanks to his other great obsession, which is giving up his conscious mind’s control. He had a particular fondness for setting up systems complicated enough that they could take him somewhere unpredictable; he famously never wrote down his synthesizers’ settings, in order to avoid falling into habits with them. Eno often sang his songs before he figured out what their lyrics were, composing them sound-first and word-second so his subconscious concerns could bubble up. “It is important to remember that all my ideas are generated by the music,” he told an interviewer in 1977. “The music is the practice that creates the ideas that generate the discourse.”
process  1970s  ****  creativity  review  brian.eno  music  control  pitchfork  art 
august 2017 by gpe
Mønster review on Typographica
But Mønster is easily misunderstood, even by its ostensible “reverse contrast” kindred, which are in fact decidedly banal in comparison. It’s no coincidence that designer Sindre Bremnes’ fellow Monokrom founder Frode Helland has questioned the rigidly contrarian modus operandi of virtually all reverse-contrast designs, and Mønster is anything but formulaic. It announces its quixotic nature from its very first letter: ‘M’, which is neither here (conventional contrast) nor there (reverse contrast), but elsewhere. Instead of following ductal logic, or its mere mechanical flipping, Mønster explores its own path through our forest. Illogical? No, simply something new, something… higherlogical.
review  typography  font  mytools  *** 
march 2015 by gpe
Los Angeles Review of Books - Sphere Theory: A Case For Connectedness
"QUOTING THE POET Jean Paul, German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk remarks at the beginning of his controversial essay “Rules for the Human Zoo” that books are like “thick letters to friends.” Weighing in at over six hundred pages, Sloterdijk’s Bubbles, published in the original German in 1998 and finally translated into English late last year by Wieland Hoban for Semiotext(e), is a very thick letter to a friend indeed. And it is only the first volume to be translated of Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy: the other two are due for an English release over the next year or two. Each volume uses the motif of the ‘sphere’ in different yet complementary ways to refer to “spaces of coexistence” between and among human beings. Bubbles is devoted to micro-spheres, the most intimate of originary spaces: the womb; the relationship between lovers; and that between God and the human subject. The second and third volumes deal with other kinds of spheres: the world considered as a single cosmopolitan macro-sphere, and then our contemporary decentralized network of social and cultural spheres, in which the concept of a central, self-structuring totality — religion, myth, science, enlightenment — has collapsed, and we find ourselves living in a complex sea of fragmentary yet contiguous spheres, which Sloterdijk likens to a “foam.”

This last appears to have some affinity with other accounts of the so-called postmodern condition. But Sloterdijk violates the postmodernist contention that, as Jean-François Lyotard famously put it, we are past the age of “grand narratives,” and that overarching, totalizing structures of ideas have lost their explanatory power under the skeptical gaze of the postmodern subject. In his little book Im selben Boot [In the same boat], Sloterdijk refers scornfully to the “relief” of those who believe that grand narratives are no longer possible. Although those who don’t read German will have to wait a little longer to assess Sloterdijk’s grand sphereological narrative, Bubbles leads one to expect that Sloterdijk’s trilogy is nothing if not a giant meta-narrative, wheels within wheels, an heroically immodest exercise in universal history of the most defiantly, monstrously unfashionable kind."
sloterdijk  review  book  philosophy  2012  aeriality  ***  labr 
august 2012 by gpe
Bubbles by Peter Sloterdijk, translated by Wieland Hoban
"Bubbles is as much an essential guide to modern space as it is a philosophical epic about dwelling and thinking."
sloterdijk  ***  review  book  philosophy  2012  guardian  aeriality  space  theory 
august 2012 by gpe
Hal Foster on Peter Sloterdijk's Terror from the Air
"Sloterdijk calls the gas attack at Ypres "a spectacular revelation." However odd this language sounds, it is key to his argument, for here the very dynamic of modernity is to render explicit that which is latent, "in the background"--overlooked in our environment, unrepresented in our thought. At first obscure, his term for this process, explication, thus comes to crystallize his thesis, which is that rationality has long since become instrumental, in a way that makes scientific explanation and technological manipulation almost inseparable. (In this view, for example, the study of chlorine gas cannot help but lead to its weaponization.) For Sloterdijk this modern dynamic is also a vicious dialectic: "Modernity conceived as the explication of the background givens thereby remains trapped in a phobic circle, striving to overcome anxiety through technology, which itself generates more anxiety." In the explication of "atmoterrorism," the Ypres attack was quickly followed, in the early 1920s, by the development of Zyklon A, a designer gas engineered by German companies for the peacetime purpose of pest control. Enclosed spaces such as warehouses, ships, and railway carriages were now routinely fumigated with this hydrogen cyanide concoction, ridding them of all manner of vermin--rats, moths, mosquitoes, bedbugs, lice--even killing their eggs, their larvae, and their nits. This advance was immediately put to perverse civilian use in a gas chamber in Nevada, where, on February 8, 1924, a twenty-nine-year-old Chinese named Gee Jon, convicted of murder, was the first to be thus executed. Through the metaphor of Jews as "pests," the SS then fused these two applications, on a monumental scale, in "the gas chamber and crematorium industry in Auschwitz and other concentration camps." At every turn, according to Sloterdijk, product design was there to assist in new forms of environmental terror: For example, without the breakthrough of Zyklon B, a solid form of hydrogen cyanide that allows for its transportation before its conversion to gas, the technology of delousing might not have found its way quite so readily into the Nazi camps."
book  review  military  20thcentury  aeriality  sloterdijk  philosophy  space  environment  air  **** 
august 2012 by gpe
Ian Bogost - Aerotropolis
"Aerotropolis underscores the fact that the story of the twenty-first century will not be one of stories, at all, but of systems instead. The airport city is just one example, yoked to so many others like airliners to a hub. Living effectively under such conditions requires more than just new logistical and industrial infrastructures—it also demands new conceptual infrastructures, new ways of discussing and debating these new ways of living."
books  cities  review  urbanism  aerotropolis  aeromobility  dissertation  **** 
april 2012 by gpe
"How to Do Things with Videogames" by Ian Bogost (@ibogost) - book review by @serial_consign
"In the chapter on “transit” Bogost sketches out a history of the moving image that considers panoramas, how the advent of rail altered the experience of landscape and the broader implications of movement in games:
Instead of looking forward to a future in which the risky, laborious process of traversing a space could be lessened, in-videogame transit re-creates a past in which reality had not yet been dissolved into bits, but had to be traversed deliberately. Like the panorama show, the transit simulation is a kind of replacement therapy for an inaccessible experience of movement.

Could this thesis be any more clearly articulated than in Red Dead Redemption, where the 21st century leisure class faux-nostalgically gallop across a simulated American Southwest on horseback?"
videogames  review  play  ***  transit  mobility  history  nostalgia 
january 2012 by gpe
Press Release: Blue Sky Metropolis
"The aerospace industry’s impact on Southern California in the 20th century—and vice versa—will be explored in a new exhibition at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens this fall. “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California” recounts that transformative era through approximately 50 manuscripts, documents, and photographs drawn from The Huntington’s growing collection of aerospace- related materials and other private and public collections. The exhibition will be on view in the West Hall of the Library from Oct. 8, 2011, to Jan. 9, 2012."
book  california  los.angeles  *****  toread  tosee  review  2012 
january 2012 by gpe
A review from JSTOR: The Business History Review, Vol. 71, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 627-629
A review of a book called Concorde and the Americans: International Politics of the Supersonic Transport. (Owen 1997)
academic  review  book  aviation  concorde  sst  ***  jstor 
november 2011 by gpe
Robots in the Dance Troupe [VIDEO]
"The usual dancing robot is funny, but not terribly graceful. (After all, robots can’t move like humans.) But the dance troupe Pilobolus has incorporated robots in a lovely, graceful way. Pilobolus has long explored the way dance can be informed or enhanced by science; see its 2005 performance of “Symbiosis” at TED (“Does it trace the birth of a relationship? Or the co-evolution of symbiotic species?”).

Over the summer, Pilobolus has joined with the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab and its Distributed Robotics Lab to put on a piece called “Seraph” at New York’s Joyce Theater. “Seraph” features both human dancers and elegant, LED-bedecked quadrotors—four-bladed robotic helicopters. The bots are controlled offstage by expert quadrotors captains."
dance  art  review  aviation  slate  ***  video 
september 2011 by gpe
Pilobolus stretches our perceptions -
"“Seraph,’’ a preview performance, is a collaboration between Pilobolus and members of the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory. (Full disclosure: I teach writing part-time at MIT.) Performed by Molly Gawler and glistening plane-like robots, it explores how machines are us — in their relationships to one another and the people who make them. But though the robots fly, the piece itself never really gets off the ground."
dance  review  critique  aviation  boston.globe  art  *** 
september 2011 by gpe
‘The Clock’ by Christian Marclay at Paula Cooper Gallery
"“The Clock,” the widely praised 24-hour film by Christian Marclay that weaves together thousands of snippets from throughout the history of the movies (and, to a lesser extent, television), each clip marking the precise minute, or sometimes the second — with a glimpse of a clock or a watch or a snatch of time-related dialogue — in which the viewers are experiencing it in real time.<br />
<br />
Over the last three and a half weeks the exhibition has built itself into an unlikely kind of rock-concert phenomenon, with crowds lined up on West 21st Street as late at 2 a.m. on Saturdays, when the gallery remains open overnight to show the film in its entirety, in a makeshift theater space that seats about 80 people. And as the exhibition approaches its final weekend (it closes on Saturday), the crowds have continued to build."
time  art  nyc  review  video  nyt  ****  film 
march 2011 by gpe
Dusted Reviews: Chico Mann - Analog Drift
I really really want this album. Lots of videos for Chico Mann on Youtube if you're interested.
album  music  2011  ***  topurchase  tolisten  dusted  review 
february 2011 by gpe
Dusted Reviews: Steffen Basho-Junghans - IS
I can vouch for this album. It's dense with brilliant and imaginative guitar playing, most of which sounds accidental.
music  album  2011  ***  dusted  review 
february 2011 by gpe
Dusted Reviews: The Babies - The Babies
I'm trying to remember to bookmark the albums from 2011 that I love/want to own.
2011  album  music  topurchase  ****  tolisten  dusted  review 
february 2011 by gpe
De Botton’s ‘Week at the Airport’ and Hiss’s ‘In Motion’ -
"But Heathrow in 2008 opened a gleaming new passenger hub, Terminal 5, and Mr. de Botton, — though determined not to flack for BAA — cannot help being awestruck by it. He ignores the flight cancellations and lost-baggage nightmares that plagued Terminal 5 upon its opening, settling instead on the place’s physical beauty.

“The undulating glass-and-steel structure was the largest building in the land, 40 meters tall and 400 long, the size of four football pitches, and yet the whole conveyed a sense of continuous lightness and ease, like an intelligent mind engaging effortlessly with complexity,” he writes. “The blinking of its ruby lights could be seen at dusk from Windsor Castle, the terminal’s forms giving shape to the promises of modernity.”"
nyt  de.botton  book  review  airport  2010  travel  writing 
december 2010 by gpe
Book Review - The Last Boy - Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood
"Death is, in fact, the unexpected theme of this biography, & it emerges in the most unexpected places. Leavy’s most salient observation is of the day in June 1969 when the Yankees retired Mantle’s uniform number...:

“He had watched Gary Cooper deliver Lou Gehrig’s farewell address in ‘The Pride of the Yankees.’ Now he was standing in the same spot, invoking Gehrig’s parting words: ‘I always wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say he was the luckiest man in the world. Now I think I know how Lou Gehrig felt.’

“What was lost in all the huzzahs attendant to the occasion...was that he cast himself as a dying man....”

...the frequently admitted presumption of early death is part of his legend. While Leavy disproves his depiction of a family in which all the men died by 40, she also convincingly identifies this specific fear as the likely outcome of Mantle’s having been repeatedly sexually abused as a child by a half sister and neighborhood boys..."
mickey.mantle  baseball  history  death  nyt  review  book  * 
october 2010 by gpe
A Week At The Airport
"A Week at the Airport takes off when he is taken away from his desk to see the rest of T5, BAA’s crown jewel. “Standing before costly objects of technological beauty,” de Botton writes, “we might be tempted to to reject the possibility of awe, for fear that we might grow stupid through admiration.” Instead, the writer chooses to be awed, and he’s right to be. It leads to the best part of the book: in the middle of the night, he is taken out to the end of the south runway and stands reverently on the portion of the tarmac where planes touch down, the focal point of the whole extraordinary enterprise. It’s a near-religious site – certainly, more prayers are offered there than in any church in the land."
review  book  airport  religion  ****  dissertation  aviation  heathrow  london  uk 
august 2010 by gpe
Ill Fares the Land | The New York Review of Books
"Our problem is not what to do; it is how to talk about it." —Tony Judt, in this @nybooks essay /cc @glymmers
politics  books  society  economics  policy  review  country  land  essay  ****  liberal  conservative  dissertation  t  nybooks 
august 2010 by gpe
Film Analysis: Alejandro Amenábar’s “The Others”
"The director uses metaphors and German Expressionism to tell his story. Like many expressionistic films of the later stages of that era in German film history, the expressionism in ‘The Others’ lacks exaggeration but is still nonetheless very expressionistic. The film borrows themes of the lost genre by dealing with insanity, madness, mirrors and a dark urban setting."
movies  criticism  review  art  story  film  ** 
march 2010 by gpe
Best of the Decade #6: A.I. Artificial Intelligence | Reverse Shot
The epilogue of A.I. always breaks my heart. | "But if there’s a reason why A.I. belongs on this list, it’s due to this odd, disquieting epilogue, which suggests that all David needed to become truly human was to exist beyond us. We are a race smart enough to create David, but not smart enough to outlast him. Whose intelligence is artificial, then, and whose is real? David’s now human (he even cries), for all intents and purposes, but at the same time he’s also immortal, decidedly not alive in the most crucial of ways. The concluding frames of A.I., in which the creation of man lives on long beyond him, when the full scope of the film’s inquiry is laid out, always makes me feel small and fragile. What we are as human is precious, but by the same token not unique, not above mimicry. Perhaps, in the end, what makes being alive most special of all is our ability to fade into bittersweet end."
film  review  list  2000s  ***  best 
march 2010 by gpe
Ctrl-N/ journal » Blog Archive » On the subjective nature of mapping
"While we may think of geographic maps as amongst the more objective graphics, Stephen Boyd David reminds us of the subjective nature of mapping in this essay published in Emotional Cartography (Ed. Christian Nold). There is always some degree of subjectivity in an image. The way we see the world is channelled by language (Sapir-Whorf hypothesis), and linguistics have taught us that maps, like pictures and words, do not represent things, but shared ideas of things."
mapping  subjectivity  review  book  cartography  language  linguistics  power  *** 
march 2010 by gpe
EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer reviewed by Mark Rowlands
"It’s a tough question which boils down to this: is doing less harm good enough, morally speaking, when you can always do even less harm? I’m not entirely sure of the answer, and I suspect that it may be extraordinarily complex. But, if I had to give an answer, then I would have to say it is not good enough. Safran Foer’s position seems to commit him to the idea that it is good enough. His book is a brilliant synthesis of argument, science and storytelling. It is almost certainly one of the finest books ever written on the subject of eating animals. This is not so much because it contains new information, but because it presents old information in a way that is original and breathtaking in its vivacity. The qualified nature of his conclusion – contingent vegetarianism – suggests that he hasn’t quite understood just how convincing his book is."
food  book  review  philosophy  vegetarian  vegan  ethics  nonfiction  animal  *** 
march 2010 by gpe
In Which I'm A Writer, I Use People For What I Write
"In Casino and Basic Instinct she [Sharon Stone] is basically the walking embodiment of cocaine. Catherine Tramell's even got a giant mirror over her bed so you can watch her blowing you."
film  criticism  drugs  metaphor  **  review 
march 2010 by gpe
Chris Weingarten on music criticism
"You don't need a critic to tell you if something's good; you can listen to it."
criticism  twitter  future  trends  novelty  review  writing  music  art  internet  search 
march 2010 by gpe
Avatar :: :: Reviews
""Avatar" is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough. It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message. It is predestined to launch a cult. It contains such visual detailing that it would reward repeating viewings."
film  review  ebert  2009 
december 2009 by gpe
Flower (ps3) reviews at
Everything I've read tells me this game is amazing and too short.
gift  topurchase  game  metacritic  ps3  review 
december 2009 by gpe
“Up in the Air” review
"Airports are the seedbed for all that is most alien, angering, and atomized in our twenty-first-century days..."
airport  alienation  21st.century  new.yorker  film  review  transportation  ideas  **** 
december 2009 by gpe
Bleak Moments — NYT
From a user review: "...the better we understand our social environment - all aspects of it, not just the glossy or frantically extrovert depictions we are so used to having presented to us in TV or movies - the more rounded we may pretend that we are."
dissertation  quotation  knowledge  mike.leigh  nyt  review  understanding 
november 2009 by gpe
Typography, Philosophy and the Nazi Question
"Part of the problem – here’s a point we can focus on, maybe – is this sort of thing: “’You cannot read most of the important philosophers of recent times without taking Heidegger’s thought into account.’ Mr. Rorty added, however, that ‘the smell of smoke from the crematories’ will ‘linger on their pages.’” I think this is too much. The problem with Heidegger is not that you can smell the smoke from the crematories through the vaguely mystical ‘primordialness’ of it all, but that you can’t."
philosophy  criticism  review  heidegger  rorty  crooked.timber  typography  nazi  history  debate 
november 2009 by gpe
The Best Film of the Decade: Spike Lee's 25th Hour
"My film of the decade was an easy pick: Spike Lee’s 2002 masterpiece 25th Hour. 25th Hour is the most culturally relevant and important film of the past ten years; it floored me on a cerebral/emotional level as well as a cinematic one. Not only does this film tell us about where we are as a people post-9/11 -- and where we might go afterwards -- it also pulls us by our lapels and confronts us on a human level. It is a great story, told in the best possible way." (via roger ebert)
film  review  spike.lee  criticism  2000s  best  towatch  *** 
november 2009 by gpe
Mike's Rollerball and Fountain Pen Review
Wherein the reviewer names the Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen "the best fountain pen ever made."
fountainpen  review  writing  moleskine  reviews  topurchase  pens  paper 
september 2009 by gpe
DeLong, Scott and Hayek — Crooked Timber
"Thus, I think there is a argument against the Hayekians which is not very far from the surface of Seeing Like a State and which can be drawn out quite easily. First – Scott makes it clear that the processes of market development and of state imposition of standards goes hand in hand. Brad talks about how the very first example that Scott draws on – German scientific forestry in the nineteenth century – is intended to show the failures of state planning. But as Scott makes clear, the relevant failures are driven as much by the market as by the state – Scott writes about how the “utilitarian state could not see the real, existing forest for the (commercial trees)” and about how the <<forest as a habitat disappears and is replaced by the forest as an economic resource to be managed efficiently and profitably. Here, fiscal and commercial logics coincide; they are both resolutely fixed on the bottom line.>>"
james.c.scott  economics  planning  bureaucracy  food  hayek  crooked.timber  critique  criticism  review  politics  capitalism  commerce  market  science  positivism  jane.jacobs  book  toread  society  20thcentury  modernism  history  nyt 
september 2009 by gpe
The Best-Laid Plans
A review of James C. Scott's "Seeing Like a State". "For Scott, high modernism is the attempt to design society in accord with what are believed to be scientific laws. Typically, high modernists think that the best way to meet human needs is by expanding production in agriculture and industry. They want society to be governed not by the practical intelligence of its members but by scientific knowledge. Some believe that production itself should be planned. All are convinced that society must be reshaped according to a rational design. Seeing the apparent disorder of societies that are not governed by some overall scheme as a sign that they are not yet modern, they believe that in a truly modern society everything that is traditional or accidental will have been rendered obsolete."
review  book  toread  planning  society  james.c.scott  science  positivism  20thcentury  modernism  history  nyt 
september 2009 by gpe
The Real Cost of Prisons Comix By Jenna M. Loyd
"The Real Cost of Prisons Comix (PM Press), winner of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s PASS Award, asks whether the billions of dollars invested annually in mass incarceration delivers on these promises."
justice  prison  race  book  comics  graphic.novel  incarceration  review  toread  crime 
september 2009 by gpe
Frankfurt On The Hudson | The New Republic
"After all, it is possible to see the whole endeavor of Critical Theory as being a way for these brilliant German Jews, assimilated to German culture yet rejected by Germany itself, to imagine a place for themselves outside of Jewishness and Germanness. Yet “the anti-Semitism project,” as Wheatland writes, “suggested an abandonment of revolutionary utopianism and the temporary adoption of American liberalism.” His important book ought to bring new attention to this highly suggestive part of the Frankfurt School’s story."
review  book  politics  critical.theory  philosophy  usa  influence  marxism  20thcentury  history  adorno  walter.benjamin  marcuse  horkheimer  literature  academic  sociology  theory 
september 2009 by gpe
What A City Needs
The brilliant Edward Glaeser, on "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City": "Jacobs’s greatest insight was that cities succeed by enabling people to connect with one another. Humans are a social species, and our greatest gift is our ability to learn from others. Many of the finest achievements of human civilization occurred because smart people learned from one another in cities. As Jacobs understood better than anyone else, the chance encounters facilitated by cities are the stuff of human progress. But Moses was also right that cities need infrastructure. People cannot just argue forever on an unpaved street corner. They need homes to live in and streets to travel along and parks for relaxation. Jacobs underestimated the value of new construction—of building up."
infrastructure  review  history  nyc  robertmoses  jane.jacobs  urban  architecture  development  politics  urbanism  planning  dissertation 
september 2009 by gpe
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Digital camera reviews - CNET Reviews
Seems to produce among the highest quality pictures in the point-and-shoot class.
digitalcameras  review  cnet  camera  photography  topurchase 
september 2009 by gpe
Wasting Away in Hooverville
A review of three books related to The Great Depression: "When Republicans announce that the New Deal failed--as they now do, over and over again, without any reproach from their own side--they usually say that the case has been proven by the conservative columnist Amity Shlaes in her book The Forgotten Man. Though Shlaes's revisionist history of the New Deal came out a year and a half ago, to wild acclaim on the right, its popularity seems to be peaking now. Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard recently called Shlaes one of the Republican party's major assets. "Amity Shlaes's book on the failure of the New Deal to revive the economy, The Forgotten Man, was widely read by Republicans in Washington," he reported. "So were her compelling articles on that subject in mainstream newspapers.""
thegreatdepression  depression  books  history  review  conservative  liberal  share  **  book 
april 2009 by gpe
Monopoly Killer: Perfect German Board Game Redefines Genre
"One day Teuber began tinkering with a new theme for a game: an uncharted island. In his original vision, players would slowly discover the island by flipping over tiles, then establish colonies using the indigenous natural resources. The game incorporated elements of other ideas Teuber was working on, but for some reason this one seemed special. "I felt like I was discovering something rather than inventing it," Teuber says."
discovery  creation  design  games  culture  wired  german  review  usa  trends  play  via:preoccupations  **  game  germany 
april 2009 by gpe
Two Paths for the Novel - The New York Review of Books
Netherland: "... the post–September 11 novel we hoped for." // Remainder: "Remainder is not filled with pretty quotes; it works by accumulation and repetition, closing in on its subject in ever-decreasing revolutions, like a trauma victim circling the blank horror of the traumatic event."
novel  fiction  review  9.11  narrative  realism  literature  *** 
february 2009 by gpe
Transcendent Thrill Drive (a glowing review of Transporter 3)
"It’s true visual wit. These are not stunts; they’re objets d’art. Somewhere, Buster Keaton is smiling and Spielberg should take notes." We'll see; it's in my Netflix queue.
film  review  art  action  counterintuitive 
february 2009 by gpe
New Book: The Natures of Maps by Wood & Fels « Making Maps: DIY Cartography
"The careful interrogation of maps reveals that far from passively reflecting nature, they instead make sustained, carefully crafted, and precise arguments about nature. The Natures of Maps shows how maps establish nature, and how we establish maps. The power of maps extends not only from their ability to express the complexities of the natural world in an efficient and engaging manner, but in their ability to mask that they are an argument, a proposal about what they show."
maps  books  review  nature  topurchase  toread  ****  mapping  book 
february 2009 by gpe
The Mobile City » Blog Archive » Scott McQuire’s The Media City
"At the same time, it is possible to connect all these abstract coordinates with highly subjective interpretations and meanings. For instance through geoannoation software, or by connecting the objective reality of the grid with subjective experiences of a Flickr photostream. Through technological services, we can connect with absent friends and ‘broaden our horizon of social relations’ beyond those present nearby. McQuire calls this experience of place ‘relational space’. And ‘as urban structures cede priority to seemingly immaterial flows’, McQuire writes, ‘relational space has become the dominant experience of urban life.’"
books  review  mobile  technology  flows  geography  space  relationships  urbanism  stephen.graham  ****  book 
february 2009 by gpe
THE FUN YEARS, Baby, It's Cold Inside - Boomkat music download
"Each of these tracks begins with the fizz and snap of looped and popped vinyl and ends with a devastated, tumultuous re-arrangement of sounds, but it's the process from A to B that's almost impossible to fathom in one sitting."
review  music  album  topurchase  * 
february 2009 by gpe
The Logic of Collective Action
A good, brief summary and discussion of Mancur Olson’s book “The Logic of Collective Action."
collectiveaction  olson  books  review  summary  via:nielsen  organization  group  **  collective.action  book 
january 2009 by gpe
Augie March Would Not Like to Be Your Facebook Friend « Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes
"’s a little embarrassing to think that I’ve made any general statement about how class is portrayed in American literature without knowing Bellow’s big, beautiful book."
augiemarch  saulbellow  books  literature  novel  class  20thcentury  review  book 
december 2008 by gpe
The Four-Gated City by Doris Lessing
Mrs. Lessing's view of recent politics is not everyone's. Her view of the future (inevitably brutish and painful) is that it is the present: that we are all hypnotized, awaiting cataclysms which we are in fact living through now; that we are now - as we run and read - in the process of a rapid evolution; that we are mutating fast but can't see it, the chief characteristic of our race being its inability to see what is under its nose; that historians and scientists, in their timid traditionalism, feed our fantasy view of ourselves - suppressing truths about the human condition, about madness, about sanity, about the essential nature of the mind.
doris.lessing  literature  review  future  criticism  mind  politics  history  interesting 
december 2008 by gpe
A ’70s Cult Novel Is Relevant Again -
The novel, now being rediscovered, speaks to our ecological present: in the flush of a financial crisis, the Pacific Northwest secedes from the United States, and its citizens establish a sustainable economy, a cross between Scandinavian socialism and Northern California back-to-the-landism, with the custom — years before the environmental writer Michael Pollan began his campaign — to eat local.
environmental  ecology  books  toread  review  nyt  1970s  utopianism  philosophy  green  environment  book 
december 2008 by gpe
How to read John Ashbery. - By Meghan O'Rourke - Slate Magazine
And don't be confused by all the pronouns encountered in a single poem—the procession of shifting "you," "we," and "I" that is a hallmark Ashbery tactic. Traditionally, the different pronouns in a lyric poem are important because they fill in the latent narrative, helping you figure out whether the person being addressed is a lover, a daughter, the self, etc. But in Ashbery the pronouns are generic rather than specific. The "we" is an expression of the poet's flickering sense of solidarity with his fellow citizens, a stand-in for what he takes to be marginalized participants in American capitalism: those who love its products (the movies, T-shirts) but are suspicious of its processes; it represents the cautious identification of the individual with his society. The "you" is often a kind of companion self, a figure the speaker, in moments of feeling exiled, can address himself to. A typical Ashbery move is to retreat from this pluralistic "you" or "we" of identifying with others to an i
postmodernism  rorty  vocabulary  criticism  slate  poetry  ashberry  review  writing  reading  howto  postmodern 
december 2008 by gpe

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