Techspoitation

Online writing is real

It's much easier to burn a book
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION It's been years since I've taught a writing class, and during those years writing has changed completely. Back in the 1990s, I taught writing at UC Berkeley using books and movies. My students would read the books to get a sense of how writing worked, and watch the movies to have something to write about. Read more »

Microhoo!

No room for the little guy in Big Web?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION For weeks now, analysts and armchair financial nerds have been mulling over what it will mean if software megacorp Microsoft buys Web monkey farm Yahoo! Would Microsoft-Yahoo! (known forevermore as Microhoo!) challenge Google to some kind of Web domination duel and win? Probably not. As much as I would love to see Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and Jerry Yang in some kind of unholy three-way Jell-O wrestling match, I know it will never come to pass.

Microhoo! won't ever have what Google has right now. Sure, Microhoo! Read more »

Pregnant men

Thomas Beattie isn't the first -- so why's he getting all the credit?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Thomas Beattie is actually not the first man to get pregnant. Almost a decade ago, a San Francisco transgendered man named Matt Rice got pregnant and had a cute son. Several years after that, I met another pregnant transman in San Francisco. He was telling his story, with his wife, at a feminist open mic. So why is Beattie getting all the credit, and why now?

Beattie is the first pregnant man most people will ever meet. Read more »

English is dead

My glee in the destruction of my own spoken language isn't entirely inspired by knowing language history
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION By the time English truly is a dominant language on the planet, it will no longer be English. Instead, say a group of linguists interviewed in a recent article by Michael Erard in New Scientist, the language will fragment into many mutually-unintelligible dialects. Still, some underlying documents will supply the grammatical glue for these diverse Englishes, the way Koranic Arabic does for the world's diverse Arabic spinoff tongues. Read more »

Color wars online

Why divide a gregarious social space into meaningless factions?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Imagine that you had a group of friends and acquaintances you saw every day at school or at work, and one morning instead of saying "How are you?" they suddenly started saying, "Have you joined one of our teams yet?" At first, you would dismiss it as some dumb joke you missed on The Colbert Report the night before. But it keeps going: "I'm on white team. But Bob's on blue team," your pal says to you later. Read more »

Hooker science

Are we still so Victorian that we think it's bad to pay large amounts for a few hours of skin-time?
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TECHSPLOITATION The outrage over former New York governor Eliot Spitzer hiring an A-list hooker makes me feel like throwing a gigantic, crippling pile of superheavy biology and economics books at everyone in the United States and possibly the world. Are we still so Victorian in our thinking that we think it's bad for somebody to pay large amounts of money for a few hours of skin-time with a professional? Read more »

The users are revolting

Each of these kinds of protests has its correlates in the real world: the symbolic prank, the grassroots protest, and the angry editorial
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION One of the social traditions that's carried over quite nicely from communities in the real world to communities online is revolution. Read more »

Your computer is doomed

In the future, your infamy will not be remembered. Is that comforting?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Ten years from now, surfing the Web won't require a computer. So says futurist Jamais Cascio, a researcher with Silicon Valley's forecasting think tank Institute for the Future. He's been following the development of the Web for years, serving as a consultant to Web industry groups such as Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox browser, about directions they might want to take their research over the next 10 years. Read more »

War on science

Science is crucial to the management of the nation, and without it we're no better than a medieval kingdom
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Over the past eight years, the lives of millions of people in the United States and beyond have been endangered by the US government. No, I'm not talking about the war in Iraq. I'm talking about the quiet, systematic war the government has been waging against science.

You may have heard about gross examples of the government censoring scientific documents. Read more »

You cannot afford Mars

Sure, we know it's not packed with cool aliens, but we haven't realized that hunkering down on another planet isn't going to solve our basic problems as humans
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Mars used to teem with life, but now it's a dead world. I'm not referring to actual Martian history, which we still know very little about. I'm talking about the way humans used to think of Mars and how they think about it now. As recently as the 1950s, Mars was packed with scary, incomprehensible creatures and hulking buildings set in a web of gushing canals. But now it's a cold, dry land full of rocks that are fascinating mainly due to their extraterrestrial nature. Read more »