Tag: Technology

Privacy Cultures

In “USS Callister,” a much-discussed episode of Black Mirror, a reticent computer programmer collects DNA around his office from discarded objects like lollipops and coffee cups. He uses that DNA to ...

The Book Is a Time Machine

When we are not actually holding them, books are things over which we like to wring our hands. They stand, in their very solidity, for what might be precarious ...

Purgatory Is for Real

If heaven, as the Talking Heads lyric puts it, is a place where nothing ever happens, it has nevertheless powered numerous books up American best-seller lists. In the past decade, several titles have ...

Our Drones, Ourselves

Drones have changed modern warfare almost beyond recognition. In the 19th century, the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz likened war to “a duel on a larger scale,” but drones do away with ...

We Like Short Shorts

We seem to be in an age in which short forms have risen from minor to major cultural commodities. On November 30, 2017, word went out on the internet that Vine, a defunct video-sharing platform ...

Digital Lies, Real Ghosts

We’ve all obsessed over someone who isn’t there: fictional characters, an absent lover, the dead. The verb “obsess” means to haunt, harass, or torment, as an evil spirit. But we are usually the ...

Ask the Kids

Professors, K–12 teachers, and parents are worried. College students listen to lectures online and feel no need to open a textbook. High school students seem emotionally fragile, worrying about their ...

Robot and Juliet

What makes us fall in love with technology? In those enchanting early days, new tech can seduce with expanded horizons, allowing us to travel faster and farther, or connect across longer distances; and we appreciate this ...

World without Antibiotics

Sepsis: a systemic response to infection. The body gone wild. A reaction disproportionate to its cause, one that refuses to respect the division between hearts and limbs. Diagnosing sepsis requires a sense of proper proportions. And in Surgeon X, a comic series ...

The World Silicon Valley Made

A repairman at the Shenzhen electronic bazaar treks from stall to stall, gathering inexpensive camera modules, casings, glass displays, batteries, and motherboards, and then, with only a screwdriver ...

The Big Picture: Trump on Twitter

On its face, Twitter appears to be a quintessentially democratic medium. It promotes individualized expression, helps build social networks, and, until recently, seemed to epitomize the decentralized ...

Is Handwriting History?

Have you got a pen? My answer to such a question, following some clumsy digging in my backpack, is increasingly no. Sometimes, embarrassment giving way to defensiveness, I wonder why anyone bothers ...