TECHSPLOITATION I didn't want to see it, and then I did. When Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest came out, I was beyond underwhelmed. But then the box office numbers started rolling in — it was the biggest weekend take in movie history — and I was intrigued. I kept wondering how Johnny Depp's prancing pirate Jack Sparrow could pack more punch than square-jawed Superman. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION In the Internet age, conspiracies are niche phenomena. All the classic conspiracies of yesteryear — the Kennedy assassination, ZOG, and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon — had mass appeal. And frankly they're not nearly as juicy as obscure, narrow-band obsessions plucked from the glowing pages of LiveJournal, such as the Ms. Scribe Harry Potter fanfic sock puppet conspiracy of 2003. The whole thing has been chronicled assiduously in an anonymously written e-book about Ms. Scribe's rise and fall, deliciously titled The Ms. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION If you think I'm done making fun of Sen. Ted Stevens from Alaska, then you are sorely mistaken. I have only just begun to mock.
In a rousing speech about why he would be trashing network neutrality provisions in the Senate's version of the new telecommunications bill, Stevens sagely pointed out that the Internet "is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck." Instead, he explained, "it's a series of tubes." And those tubes get all gummed up with icky stuff like big movies and things. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION In a recent New York Times Book Review screed, the proverbial old-white-male author John Updike offers a reader's digest version of the argument against online publishing. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION In the world of weird cultural appropriation that is the Web, nothing can compare to the strange tale of a Moldavian pop song called "Dragostea din Tei." It began in 2003 as a catchy disco tune by boy band the O-Zone, who sing in Romanian and look like a queer version of Duran Duran (or perhaps a queerer version). Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION In an alternate universe, the National Security Agency's database of every telephone call made over the past five years in the United States is being used in couples counseling sessions to prove that some guy really did say that mean thing his boyfriend says he said. But in this universe, where the government spies on you rather than keeping couples from breaking up over stupid shit, we must rely on our personal phone surveillance logs to preserve social connectedness.
That's why I've been having an etiquette crisis about my smart phone. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION I've been sorely disappointed by feminists' responses to genetic engineering. Like many life sciences, genetic engineering has its dark side — but that's no excuse for groups like Gene Watch to claim that the feminist position on genetic engineering should be "just say no." Why the hell shouldn't feminists seize the means of reproduction and turn them to our own best interests? Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION Here's what disturbs me: In light of recent revelations that the National Security Agency has been illegally collecting vast databases of information about every single phone call made in the United States since late 2001, only 53 percent of US citizens polled by Newsweek think the government has gone too far in its efforts to stop terrorism. That's a majority, but not a very large one. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION In downtown San Francisco, if you wander off Fifth Street down a small, twisting alley nestled among the sky-high monuments to money, you'll find a freshly installed steel door, the glowing numbers affixed to it bearing little relationship to the other addresses on the street. If you're lucky enough to get past the security cameras and locks, you'll find yourself at the edge of a huge warehouse space full of stages and sets.Read more »