Tag: Technology

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 ...

Choosing Growth

Recently, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt defended the withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord by alleging that the agreement had placed “constraints on the economy.” Rather ...

Even Broken History Is History

Last month the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, spoke movingly about the removal of Confederate monuments and “the cult of the lost cause” they celebrate. The “Free Southerners” in Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, which opens in 2074, are also a cult of the lost cause: …

Future Shocks

“The future’s not what it used to be,” sings Mickey Newbury in his 1971 hit of the same name. His song frames this witticism in romantically personal terms, but the insight has broad applicability ...

Audio Companions

Some years back, the cultural critic Stephen Metcalf noted, in a smart review of a new essay collection by David Sedaris, that we turn to radio for companionship. Companionship might appear to be ...

Our Metrics, Ourselves

In 1994, a doctor named Clifton Meador penned a satirical portrait of “the last well person” for the New England Journal of Medicine. The protagonist, bent on discovering every datum of unwellness …