Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning

  I have no complaints about living in Maine. I find good music, good restaurants, good friends in the small city of Portland. I’ve taught inland and upstate in Bangor – just this side of Old Town, home of the classic canvas canoes I grew up with and rigged for sailing in a tidal river […]

ZiR
Categories: Fritz Tucker, ZiR | Add a Comment
Power to Intrude, Illustration by Ben Jennings, Prospect Magazine, February 2016

Two weeks ago I wrote about the relationship between privacy and power, and how may of today’s spokespeople for the oppressed focus more on stopping surveillance in the name of privacy than daring to call for surveillance of oppressors, or imagine ways that surveillance could be used to create a world devoid of oppression. Since […]

ZiR

Last week, I attended the Technology, Privacy, and the Future of Education symposium at NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication department. One panelist, NYU Sociology’s Richard Arum, addressed the impact of technology on education-as-vocation—a subject on which I recommend Sugata Mitra’s self-organized, child-driven pedagogy. The other panelists focused primarily on digital technology’s impact on educational administration. […]

ZiLL

  Kierkegaard appears unexpectedly on the “Opinionator” page of last week’s New York Times. He’s discussed in “The Stone” by a canny and sensitive philosopher, Katalin Balog. She finds the Danish thinker just under the surface of the Hungarian movie about the Holocaust, “Son of Saul,” which was recently awarded “Best Foreign Language Film” at the […]

ZiR
Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 2 Comments

A.k.a., Littlering   There is a strain of environmental thinking that proposes (with more than a little sense) that we need to learn how to do more with less. Or perhaps we need (yet again?) to discover how less is more. Fewer human beings always seems like a good place to start. There is of […]

ZiR

I was startled to read in yesterday’s Boston Globe that a scholarly paper on “the God particle” (the Higgs boson) had 5,154 authors. I wondered if they hired a stadium for the signing and celebration. I usually think of science as dancing with poetry. An odd couple, you’ll say, but I’ve learned from Thoreau that […]

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Categories: Article | Add a Comment

By Walter Cummins   Third in a series   Arobot killed a young contractor in a German Volkswagen production plant recently. While the worker was installing the stationary robot in its protective cage, the device suddenly struck out with a fatal blow. Apparently, this robot killing was the first of its kind in German manufacturing, with […]

Article

In 1949, the French writer, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau wrote a few lines about French politics at that time, lines that might help Americans today view their own political battles with more optimism than usual. In my translation: I know well that in 1949 politics are a big deal and the clashes of different […]

ZiR
Categories: Essay | 1 Comment
RealDoll prosthetic device, leg, being repaired

By Walter Cummins   Second in a series   Last time I wrote of the relationship of various prosthetic devices to the people who wear them. This time my topic is humanoids. At first glance, they may seem to be very different subjects. Prosthetics often and humanoids always, however, do share roots in robotics and […]

Essay
Categories: Fritz Tucker, ZiLL | 3 Comments

Greece is, in many ways, representative of the world right now. Its economy is floundering due to, among other things, bad loans taken out by self-interested ruling parties aided and abetted by Goldman Sachs. Greek unemployment has reached record highs despite employed Greeks working longer hours than any other members of the Eurozone. The German […]

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By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Essay

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A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

ZiR

February 8, 2017

How does the slogan “man is a wolf to man” fit in with your later, somewhat hopeful image of camaraderie in the class struggle? I mean, if your starting assessment of human nature is correct, then doesn’t the class struggle actually come down to one group of savage beasts fighting another, the exploited class merely comprising those wolves with less opportunity to express their lupine ferocity? And don’t the exploiters no less than the exploited regularly turn against one another, so that besides the strife of classes, there is also the strife of each wolf against every other wolf? Wha...

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Beyoncé

By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Article

December 13, 2016

Any doubts I may have had have been thoroughly quashed.

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Categories: Review | Add a Comment

By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Review

November 29, 2016

What a nice review ! I've read Bakewell and admire her courage and skill in mixing biography and philosophy in such an attractive way -- and I admire your skill in presenting the figures and themes of existentialism in an equally attractive way ! Mazel tov !

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