When an early-adopter buddy of mine stopped by recently in his brand-new electric Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, I was stunned at how impressed I was. For one thing, unlike other electric vehicles (EVs) I have seen up close (mostly Teslas), this one looked and felt like a real car: it had a real dashboard with real switches and knobs, a real brake pedal, and an overall design that did not look like something an eight-year-old doodled after seeing Blade Runner 2049. More importantly, it was by far the fastest vehicle I have ever driven, so much so that by the end of a quick spin I had an idiotic grin on my face I could not quite shake. It was, as Matthew Eisler reports in Age of Auto Electric, the “EV smile.”
Book review of The BBC: A Century on Air, by David Hendy
The fact that science denial is deeply implicated in identity helps explain why science deniers are usually unmoved by contrary evidence that on a purely rational level should be extremely convincing.
Strengers, an Associate Professor of Digital Technology at Monash University, and Kennedy, a postdoc at RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, argue that if we proceed down the current path of making our digital assistants, fembots, gynoids, and voice-activated devices look, sound, and/or behave like simulacra of women, we risk reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes in ways that could rebound on real women.
Dr. Nolan and his colleagues were responsible for developing standards to protect against radiation exposure in the laboratory and during the Trinity Test in July 1945. The physicians were continually frustrated by their inability to convince the military about the dangers of radiation but “there is considerable evidence to suggest that the doctors were ever mindful of potential legal consequences and careful to take precautions to protect themselves and the military from future litigation.”
Social media companies have intentionally created platforms that actively spread disinformation. What can we do to protect our society against disinformation? A good place to start would be limiting how large and powerful these social media platforms can get.
Stefan Höhne dives into a wealth of letters—correspondence sent to the New York City Transit Authority in the period 1955–1968.
In Data Feminism, authors Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein do not merely deal with data. They pair data with feminism. Here, feminism is deployed as a “shorthand for the diverse and wide-ranging projects that name and challenge sexism and other forces of oppression, as well as those which seek to create more just, equitable, and livable futures.”
Good Pictures is about the advice given to photographers—mostly amateurs—on the techniques they should use to improve their work. Of course, the advice is intimately tied to technological developments in photography as well as the desire of camera makers to sell new products.
Oreskes’ answer to the question “Why Trust Science” is that science is trustworthy to the extent that the social process by which scientists vet research findings and reach (or fail to reach) a consensus about them is open to a diverse community of scientists with ample opportunity to make objections and critiques and have that feedback taken seriously.
The volume under review is a selection of declassified FBI documents, reproduced in facsimile, from the Cold War era files of 16 people (15 men and one woman) described as scientists.
The book documents Limbaugh’s formative role in turning an old technology into an instrument of power that transformed the Republican Party and political discourse in the United States. The talk-radio host proved to be a success as both a propagandist and a ratings builder. Station owners were quick to join his syndicated network and to hire personalities who combined Limbaugh’s smooth delivery, ability to empathize with his audience, biting humor, and relentless attack on all things liberal—real or imagined. Profit mattered but winning the “culture war” counted for as much if not more than Rosenwald cares to consider.
The author’s intention is to study cases that “suggest an architectural history of spaces that have been generated or extensively reconstituted by electric light.” His thesis is “the electric light changes the underlying nature of a space.”
Morris’s book is difficult to read, not only because it is written in reverse chronological order, but because he does not understand the technology he is writing about.
The public’s faith in science and technology has never been higher. Computer “apps” that explore things such as the frequency of, and point of origin of, COVID-related Google search terms, and Twitter posts, are being used to trace the progress of the virus and to predict the sites of further outbreaks. The United States has been roiled by the death, at the hands of the police, of George Floyd. Floyd’s killing was captured by an app that has been circulating throughout the globe that has acquired the near iconic power of the crucifixion. With the majority of the American people equipped to make audio–visual recording of police brutality and post them on social media, we expect that crimes such as this will certainly diminish.
Open technology communities are loosely organized, volunteer, online groups, focused on development and distribution of open or free software and hardware. “Hacking Diversity:The Politics of Inclusion in Open Technology Cultures” is a study of the efforts of open technology communities to “hack” the issues around the lack of diversity that pervades not only their volunteer communities, but also their related disciplines at large.
Damon Krukowski’s Ways of Hearing does for digital sound what Berger’s Ways of Seeing did for the reproduced image. He wants us to question what we hear, as well as what we’re no longer hearing, in the era of digital audio.
Albright’s book focuses on a group of Americans who live a life of digital hyper-connectivity. Mostly under age 50, this would include what are called Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979), Millennials (born between 1980 and 1999), and their offspring — some, as we have seen, still infants.
It is “seeing” that is most compelling when analyzing the relationship between architecture and race, especially, for example, when reexamined in literary works such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Adrienne Brown, a professor who specializes in American and African American cultural production at the University of Chicago, takes her readers on a journey that recounts seeing racial characteristics in the early period of American skyscraper construction.
RFID, even though it underlies electronic toll collection and other systems we interact with every day and is poised to become practically ubiquitous, is far less conspicuous. Jordan Firth’s A Billion Little Pieces aims to bring RFID into the foreground, giving readers a sense of what the technology is, how it is being and could be used, and how concerned we should be about its implications, especially those regarding privacy.