Life as an Extreme Sport

Vision Does Not Require Technology

A large part of the charm in Vannevar Bush’s paper As We May Think is reading a 60-odd year old article and identifying the technology he predicted. Polaroid and digital cameras, virtual reality glasses, the TCP/IP protocol, cochlear implants, hard drives and eBook readers are a sample of ideas that could be read and extracted out to what we have today. (For example, take this passage: Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them [sounds into the nerve channels of the deaf] without the present cumbersomness of first transforming electrical vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly turns back to the electrical form? With a couple of electrodes on the skull… It is an abstract of cochlear implants.) What really struck me about Bush’s article was not so much the ability to predict technology, (science fiction has done that for years), but that it clarified

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A New Type of Work, An Old Type of Man

The socialization of the worker to the condition of capitalist production entails the social control of physical and mental power on a very broad basis. Education, training, persuasion, the mobilization of certain social sentiments… and psychological propensities… all play a role and one plainly mixed with the formation of dominant ideologies cultivated by the mass media, religious and educational institutions, and the various arms of the state… It’s long been a criticism of our public education system that its function is primarily to create highly socialized factory drones. Following a Fordist model, children are raised to be comfortable in warehouse-like settings that accustom the child to working in factory life. Taking direction from the teacher easily translates into taking direction from a foreman, and the indoctrination of school pride (often played out via support for sports teams) can be seen as conditioning to support the company and instill habits of

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If Postmodernists Are Reacting Against Modernity, Are Fundamentalists Postmodern?

No one exactly agrees as to what is meant by the term, except, perhaps, that ‘postmodernism’ represents some kind of reaction to, or departure from, ‘modernism’. – David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity If modernity/modernism can be defined as a result of the Enlightenment and characterized by a seriousness of scientificism and rationality (empiricism), then literary critic Terry Eagleton’s definition of a playful and self-ironizing postmodernsim would play very nicely into the idea of postmodernism as a secular reaction to modernity, the flip side to the 1910s-1920s development of fundamentalism as the religious response to modernization. The editors of the PRECIS 6 architectural journal certainly plays into this idea of postmodernism “as a legitimate reaction to the ‘monotony’ of universal modernism’s vision of the world’ (Harvey 9). If modernism is an embodiment of the scientific revolution, “with the belief in linear progress, absolute truths, the rational planning of ideal social

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modernity and the war on drugs

A quick entry (although I have a backlog of topics to write on, lucky me) before I lose the thought to my fried short term memory: One of the reasons the so-called war on drugs never achieved its goals of stopping drug use is that it was fighting a war without an opponent. This is not to say that there was no opposition, but that those dealing in the drug trade were operating on such a different level than the government, the analogy of books and pages and even libraries becomes meaningless. The government’s war on drugs is a decidedly modernist conception, a vertical column of rigid infrastructure that they expected their opposition to also adhere to. By contrast, those trading in drugs are following a more horizontal organizational style, focusing on distributed systems and cell based communications – all very postmodern. By framing their offensive on a modernist conception

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Architecture is the Choreography of Our Connectivity

Phillip Thurtle, (the last time you will probably see me use his last name), can take pleasure in knowing at least one person actually listened when he said “someone should write that down, that was good!” – someone did, and it was good, if obscure out of context, and has now been immortalized on the glorious internet as the title of my first “serious” post. After my original, and if I do say, quite charming, post, I’ve hit a bit of writer’s block. There is, after all, serious pressure on my part to live up to the clever wit I demonstrated. Then again, this is what has kept me from writing a few papers that are at this point well overdue – the basic fear (or knowledge, take your pick) that I can’t top something, be it myself or expectation, and so why bother. That insecurity out of the way,

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