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Machines of Laughter and Forgetting - NYTimes.com
"The hidden truth about many attempts to “bury” technology is that they embody an amoral and unsustainable vision. Pick any electrical appliance in your kitchen. The odds are that you have no idea how much electricity it consumes, let alone how it compares to other appliances and households. This ignorance is neither natural nor inevitable; it stems from a conscious decision by the designer of that kitchen appliance to free up your “cognitive resources” so that you can unleash your inner Oscar Wilde on “contemplating” other things. Multiply such ignorance by a few billion, and global warming no longer looks like a mystery."
sts  technology  technology-effects  technology-critique  social  invisible  visibility 
march 2013 by tsuomela
No to NoUI – Timo Arnall
On the reasons for/against an 'invisible interface'
computer  design  interface  visibility  ux  usability 
march 2013 by tsuomela
Layers of Silence, Arenas of Voice: The Ecology of Visible and Invisible Work - Springer
No work is inherently either visible or invisible. We always “see” work through a selection of indicators: straining muscles, finished artifacts, a changed state of affairs. The indicators change with context, and that context becomes a negotiation about the relationship between visible and invisible work. With shifts in industrial practice these negotiations require longer chains of inference and representation, and may become solely abstract.
This article provides a framework for analyzing invisible work in CSCW systems. We sample across a variety of kinds of work to enrich the understanding of how invisibility and visibility operate. Processes examined include creating a “non-person” in domestic work
cscw  work  labor  visibility  technology  intellectual  creative-class 
july 2012 by tsuomela
Suspended Judgment: Humanity on full display
"The problem, or difference, that everyone was trying to point to is that India has not developed the practices and philosophies of hiding to the extent that America, and in other ways Europe, has. America is so good at hiding that even the claims to acknowledge injustice are themselves a hiding of American injustice: not only is the noting of poverty, caste, and pollution a displacing of subjectivity, it is also a hiding of American poverty, class, and consumptive pollution. So the differential problem is not Indian injustice and violence, which exists in equal measure in America, but that India does not hide a human essence towards violence and injustice, it has not developed the practices or philosophies to withdraw our injustice and violent essence from public view. It is, in other words, not modern in a Weberian, Protestant-rationalized way. "
american  culture  modernity  poverty  visibility  judgment  humanity 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Glimpses of a Cryptic God
"The more I study technology, the more I tend to the view that it is a single connected whole. Recurring motifs like container ships can turn into obsessions precisely because they offer glimpses of a cryptic God. An object for the devoutly atheist and anti-humanist soul to seek in perpetuity, but never quite comprehend.

I go on infrastructure pilgrimages. I write barely readable pop-theology treatises with ponderous titles like The Baroque Unconscious in Technology, and I do my little dabbling with math, software and hardware on the side.

But I still haven’t seen It. Just an elbow here, a shoulder blade there. And I make my modest attempts to measure those distances."
technology  philosophy  infrastructure  scale  perception  visibility  legibility 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Study Hacks » Blog Archive » The Calculus of Remarkability
"In my experience, most people are hesitant to adopt a power hitter approach to their projects — be it in academia or elsewhere. Assuming you have a fixed amount of time to dedicate to projects, you can either use this time to produce a large amount of solid work or a small amount of great work. To most, the first option seems safer, easier, and more satisfyingly productive.

The more I ponder Lieberman, however, the more I think that he’s stumbled onto a key insight: our hesitation about a big swing approach to projects is flawed. When you understand the true calculus of impressiveness, as I suspect Lieberman does, taking a small number of big swings becomes the only strategy that makes sense."
success  academic  career  visibility  scale  projects  ambition 
september 2011 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Connecting the dots
"There isn't very much transparency about the deep structure of almost any complex modern society. For most people their primary impressions of the society's functioning comes from the mass media and their own personal experiences. We each see the limited bits to which we are fairly directly exposed through our ordinary lives -- the newsroom if we happen to be a beat reporter, the university if we are professors, the play-and-learn center if we are in the business of preschool education. We gain a pretty good idea of how those networks of institutions and organizations work. But it's very difficult to gain a birds-eye picture of the social system as a whole."
sociology  society  vision  visibility  scale  understanding  education  structure 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Digging Into New York City’s Trashy History | OnEarth Magazine
Now it’s done so well every day that we don’t even think about it. But modern sanitation systems are actually really well thought-out, complex structures. When it’s not done -- say, when sanitation workers miss a pick-up even for one day -- it’s unusual enough that people get really upset, as they should. But it’s like that Buddhist saying about housework -- it’s invisible because you only notice when it’s not done. So I’m not saying san men should be called heroes, necessarily, but it wouldn’t hurt to appreciate them a little more.
infrastructure  visibility  city(NewYork)  urban  history  anthropology 
november 2010 by tsuomela

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