The Great Tech Novel
Let no woman say that Tech People — and here I mean the real architects of technological progress–can’t express themselves. Reading Larissa MacFarquhar’s epistolary article about Aaron Swartz in The New Yorker, I was struck, and moved, by how open Swartz and his friends were in their public and private writing. Swartz wrote raw, intensely personal things on his blog; Reddit is full of people expressing themselves in ways that are often shocking. But a novel requires something a little different.
It is my understanding that most writers feel some sense of being outside of things looking in. A good social novel requires a particular balance of alienation and access to be successful. (Tom Wolfe had to get invited to all those dinner parties; the tech novelist has to get invited to the Teach-Up.) Tech, the way it happens in San Francisco at least, seems to present some real deterrents to the access part of the equation. Tech companies, even when they are in the city proper, seem like compounds evoking non-disclosure agreements and badges and loyalty. The buses that ferry the workers from their San Francisco neighborhoods to their Peninsula offices are unmarked. I think these are insular, fortified environments in which it would be hard to achieve the balance of outside and inside status. And when you work twelve hours a day, how would you find the time?
2:35 am • 14 April 2013 • 2 notes
“Yet, moving back to the interaction with elevator interior design elements, it was noticed that interaction went hand-in-hand with social organisation. As a result of 30 elevator journeys (15 in each building) a clear social order could be seen regarding where people positioned themselves inside the elevators and how they interacted with the design features, such as mirrors and monitors. More senior men in particular seemed to direct themselves towards the back of the elevator cabins. In front of them were younger men, and in front of them were women of all ages. Men watched the monitors, looked in the side mirrors (in one building) to see themselves, and in the door mirrors (of the other building) to also watch others. Women would watch the monitors and avoid eye contact with other users (unless in conversation) and the mirrors. It was only when the women travelled with other women, and just a few at that, that women elevator users would utilise the mirrors. One interviewee even mentioned that she only looked in the mirrors when there was no one else in the elevator.”
— An uplifting experience – adopting ethnography to study elevator user experience | Ethnography Matters
11:00 am • 11 April 2013 • 5 notes
“It is often said that racism is the result of a lack of education, that it must be defeated by civilization and progress. Nothing points to the silliness of that idea like the Holocaust. “Civilization” is irrelevant to racism. I don’t even know what “civilization” means. When all your great theory, and awesome literature, and philosophy amounts to state bent on genocide, what is it worth? There were groups of hunter-gatherers wandering the Kalahari who were more civilized than Germany in 1943.”
— Humanism and Holocaust History - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
12:39 am • 11 April 2013 • 9 notes
“…digital memories will only remind us of the failures of our past, so that we have no ability to forget or reconstruct our past. Knowledge is based on forgetting.”
— Right to erasure protects people’s freedom to forget the past, says expert | Technology | guardian.co.uk
12:29 am • 11 April 2013 • 5 notes
Mariah Carey showers a fan in glitter.
12:06 am • 11 April 2013 • 8,898 notes
All of the shots. But 28 is great because I have the best friends.
12:17 am • 8 April 2013 • 4 notes
“And then there was his Facebook posting on Jan. 30. “Headed over to ucla for surgery — kicks off at 830 local,” Mr. Kuo wrote. “Favor?” “Do something outrageous today — give way more than reasonable to a homeless person, take the family out for an ice cream dinner. . . . And serve only ice cream, call someone you hurt and ask forgiveness, call someone who hurt you and give forgiveness . . . And send me a pic.” One after another, the photos began filling his Facebook page — many of them the faces of children delighted at the unexpected treat of having ice cream, only ice cream, for dinner.”
— J. David Kuo, onetime leader of Bush’s faith-based initiative, dies at 44 - The Washington Post
10:48 am • 6 April 2013 • 4 notes