brand on thatcher

The Guardian carries a fine and more than worthwhile ↑essay by ↑Russell Brand. Here’s a snippet: When I was a kid, ↑Thatcher was the headmistress of our country. Her voice, a bellicose yawn, somehow both boring and boring—I could ignore the content but the intent drilled its way in. She became leader of the Conservatives the year I was born and prime minister when I was four. She remained in power till I was 15. I am, it’s safe to say, one of Thatcher’s children. How then do I feel on the day of this matriarchal mourning? BRAND, RUSSELL EDWARD. … Continue reading

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vintage tomorrows

  There’s a fine new book: ‘Vintage Tomorrows’ (Carrott & Johnson 2013). Here’s the official description: What would today’s technology look like with Victorian-era design and materials? That’s the world steampunk envisions: a mad-inventor collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions powered by steam and driven by gears. In this book, futurist Brian David Johnson and cultural historian James Carrott explore steampunk, a cultural movement that’s captivated thousands of artists, designers, makers, hackers, and writers throughout the world.     Just like today, the late 19th century was an age of rapid technological change, and writers such as Jules Verne and H.G. … Continue reading

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damascus it is

On 26 February 2013 TV2 of Denmark needed a backdrop for a report on the current conflict in Syria. As it seems someone at the station searched the web for a suitable picture and hit upon a beautiful vista of the old city of Damascus. But the picture shows Damascus as it most probably has looked during the time of the ↑third crusade (1189-1192). Above that the picture doesn’t depict anything from the empirical world, but is a still from the computer game ‘↵Assassin’s Creed‘ (Ubisoft Montreal 2007). Quite tell-tale is the wooden beam attached to the minarett at the … Continue reading

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wireless devices 1906

Kip W ↑unearthed the above wonderful, stunningly up-to-date ↑Punch cartoon (Williams 1955: 164) by artist ↑Lewis Baumer (1870-1963), which first was published in 1906! It’s great historical evidence for how early in the development of a given technology people not only speculate about the future trajectory of said development, but also think about possible social consequences of it. WILLIAMS, RONALD EARNEST. 1955. A century of Punch cartoons. New York: Simon and Schuster. via ↑entry at ↑boingboing … Continue reading

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einstein on sts

These quotes by ↑Albert Einstein (1879-1955) are a fine follow-up to ↵poincaré on sts: We have thus assigned to pure reason and experience their places in a theoretical system of physics. The structure of the system is the work of reason; the empirical contents and their mutual relations must find their representation in the conclusions of the theory. In the possibility of such a representation lie the sole value and justification of the whole system, and especially of the concepts and fundamental principles which underlie it. These latter, by the way, are free inventions of the human intellect, which cannot … Continue reading

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poincaré on sts

Well, it’s not really ↑Henri Poincaré (1854-1912)—eminent mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and philosopher of science—talking about science and technology studies (STS) proper. Rather he talks about the fundamentals of epistemology, the position of the natural sciences, and their relation to reality. And here we are at the core of STS. Wherever you read about STS it is stated that STS are founded on the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of science stemming from the former. The great achievement, absolutely indispensable for STS, was to relativize scientific knowledge and to look at it from a social constructivist vantage point. To … Continue reading

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stan lee cameos

  Two days ago, on 28 December 2012, ↑Stan Lee celebrated his 90th birthday: In collaboration with several artists, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and many other fictional characters, introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. Above is a montage of ↑his cameo appearances in Marvel superhero movies. A belated happy birthday to Stan Lee and many more cameo appearances to him! via ↑entry at ↑slashdot … Continue reading

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who is dead?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #52 Who is dead?     Simply leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE 1 (07 December 2012): As nobody seems fit to guess anything when Google’s image search … Continue reading

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war as text

Currently I am bit by bit re-reading Latour’s ‘We have never been modern’ (1993 [1991]). In one of the classes I am holding this term I am coercing the students to do this reading, and loyally I am joining in. Latour’s criticism of postmodernism induced an association inside me. Especially this paragraph: When we are dealing with science and technology it is hard to imagine for long that we are a text that is writing itself, a discourse that is speaking all by itself, a play of signifiers without signifieds. It is hard to reduce the entire cosmos to a … Continue reading

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