why we can’t have nice things

It's that old saying but one that might cut in two directions. Yes, "we" can't have nice things because "you" are always ruining them with your irresponsible behavior, lack of class, etc. But possibly we also can't have nice things because we're always getting crap shoved in front of us. Or both. Facebook is case... Continue Reading →

informally proposing a “materials rhetoric”

In the briefest terms, my idea here is conceiving of a materials rhetoric that is roughly analogous to materials science. I'll return to that in a moment but first a few detours. Since the 80s at least, rhetoric as concerned itself with "materialism" and far more recently with "new materialism." Materialism has generally been another... Continue Reading →

the most stupid superintelligence possible

I’m reading Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence as a kind of light reading tangentially related to my scholarly interests. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically a warning about the dangers of artificial intelligences spinning out of control. There are plenty of respectable folks out there who have echoed these worries—Hawking, Gates, Musk, etc. And Bostrom himself is certainly... Continue Reading →

ambient cybernetics of the noise floor

Sometimes you come across a term commonly used in other professions and it just strikes you as thought-provoking... or at least that happens to me, and it happened recently with "noise floor." Maybe that's a term you've heard many times before (if you're an engineer or work with sound or maybe as an audiophile). If... Continue Reading →

the ends of digital rhetoric

Two personal data points: a meandering FB thread about the future of the Computers and Writing conference; another conference conversation over the implications of asserting that "these days" everything is digital rhetoric. It's a related observation, taken one step further, that leads Casey Boyle, Steph Ceraso, and James J. Brown Jr. to conclude in a... Continue Reading →

distributed deliberation #rsa50

In the wake of 2016 US presidential election, many questions were raised about the role of Facebook in disseminating fake news. Mark Zuckerberg’s response, posted to Facebook, points to the challenge fake news presents. Identifying the “truth” is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources,... Continue Reading →

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