In a January 26th New York Times op-ed, "25 Years of Digital Vandalism" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/opinion/27Gibson.html?scp=1&sq=gibson%...), William Gibson reflects on the Stuxnet attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. As a genuine futurist, Gibson looks to Stuxnet as a sign of the times--and a bellwether for the future.
I've been reading Orvar Löfgren's and Billy Ehn's The Secret World of Doing Nothing (University of California, 2010) in preparation for the Spring semester. It's the first time I've used a work of ethnology (i.e., a comparison of different cultures) in the classroom, as opposed to the conventional, in-depth monographs that are the bread and butter of US anthropology.
The New York Times has been adding blog content to its online site. One of the most interesting (and most surprising) additions to the unfortunately named "Opinionator" section has been "The Stone," a forum edited by Simon Critchley, chair of the department of philosophy of New School in New York, that began in May.
I’m back from the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It’s almost time for my big professional meeting—the American Anthropological Association Conference—this year to be held in New Orleans. It’s like any other professional group, really, if perhaps a little scarier (doesn’t the thought of 6000 anthropologists gathered in one place kind of sound scary?). But my problems go beyond this.
Many of my colleagues working in the computer and information sciences are interested in sociology and anthropology. It makes me a little ashamed of my field—how many anthropologists reciprocate the attention? But, it’s what they’re interested in that is more problematic.
So, Steve Jobs presented several new Apple products on September 1 and, seemingly, everyone blogged about it in realtime. If you’re excited about “Ping,” so much the better. My concerns are with those of us in academics who are interested in the future of social technologies. Maybe we weren’t typing up vaguely obsequious blog entries about Jobs’s presentation, but we were still watching. Why?
What will be the future of the city? I like to think it will be vaguely utopian—like Jane Jacobs re-written by David Harvey, but in my less optimistic moments I can’t help but think of fantastic, dystopian spaces like Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”. But this betrays my own preconceptions--the instinctive way I discount culture (even though I'm a cultural anthropologist).
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