Guest Post: A new love for the very old

When I was young, my brother and sister and I caught salamanders in my grandparents’ garage and chased cats through the barn. The family farm was a big private playground, where we could poke at tadpoles in Nelson Lake (more like a large pond) and occasionally ride around on a giant lawnmower. More often than […]

Let a Vast Assembly Be

In 1908, a young Lithuanian immigrant named Pauline Newman got a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, then one of New York City’s biggest garment factories. She worked as a “cleaner,” trimming threads off the new clothes and boxing them for shipment. It was dull, tiring work, with bullying bosses who forced the workers to […]

Bell, Berners-Lee, and the Promise of New Technology

More than a century ago, Alexander Graham Bell recorded his voice on a waxed cardboard disc at a laboratory in Washington DC. This week, we got to hear this scratchy recording—and Bell’s voice—for the first time. Much of the recording involves Bell counting. He counts all the way up to 50, carefully enunciating each numeral. […]

Guest Post: Dumped! by Google

One recent Thursday morning, I logged into my email and made an alarming discovery. Instead of opening my inbox, Google directed me to a notice: Account has been disabled . . . . In most cases, accounts are disabled if we believe you have violated either the Google Terms of Service, product-specific Terms of Service . […]

Girl Swiping Finger on Screen

One of the annoying things about parenting is that experience is always ahead of science: Those of us raising kids today are dealing with circumstances, and dilemmas, that researchers will need years to understand. Maybe that’s why parents fortunate enough to afford iPads are fretting so much about how and how much our kids use […]

Seeing What We Want to See

Over the weekend, I listened to the latest episode of This American Life.  The segment was titled, “Where Your Crap Comes From” or “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory.” The entire show was devoted to an adaptation of Mike Daisey’s monologue, the Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. Daisey is a self-professed technophile and […]

The Youth Singularity

Little fingers swipe and stab at the iPad screen. An arrow traverses the “slide to unlock” bar and the monitor scrolls to the third page of apps, where YouTube’s icon zooms into yesterday’s search results. My one-year-old son chooses his favourite episode of Pocoyo – an animated, Spanish children’s show that’s been translated into English […]