The Real People Who Serve As the Internet’s Depravity Filter

An incredible investigative piece in Wired by Adrian Chen reports on the lives of contract content moderators, folks whose job it is to go through content posted to online platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube, Whisper, etc.), and deal with the content that violates a platform’s policies or the law. And yes, we’re talking about the really bad stuff: Not just run-of-the-mill pornography or lewd images, but examples of humanity at its worst, from torture, sexual assault (involving adults, children, … [Read more...]

Jekyll and Hyde: Forefathers of Internet Trolls


There is a degree of serendipity to my first reading of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I downloaded it to my iPad mostly on a whim, thinking it might be a good idea to dip into some of the 19th-century science fiction to which I am almost entirely unread, save for Frankenstein. (Next up, War of the Worlds!) I expected, similarly to Frankenstein, a book-length recounting of Dr. Jekyll’s agony as he is compelled to rent himself in two. I presumed it’d be chapter after chapter of his t … [Read more...]

The iMortal Show, Episode 5: Where the Puck Really Should Be


Apple gives me feelings. You know this, surely. And after its October 16 event, in which the Infinite Loopers unveiled new iPads, showed off a Retina iMac, and tried their hand at “skits,” those feelings swung a little bit into negative territory. In this special, needlessly-long edition of the iMortal Show, I express some of those feelings. Chris Sawyer and Ken Kennedy join me to dissect the event, overthink the new products, and ponder the entire consumer tech industry. We pretty much solve ev … [Read more...]

The iMortal Show, Episode 4: Unprecedented Parenting

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Kids these days, with their pixels and their googles and their tweeters. But seriously, folks. Parents around my own age are among those straddling the line between the pre- and post-Internet world, the last generation of moms and dads who grew up without ubiquitous connectivity. With no preexisting template for how to raise a kid in a world of smartphones and social media, we’re left to make it up as we go along, to try and make wise choices for our kids while still figuring out how all of t … [Read more...]

Computers, Coats, and Chainsaws: Longevity and Turnover for Technology

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In an upcoming episode of the iMortal Show (which I promise is coming back soon – a new episode is being recorded this week), we’re going to discuss something that is often missed on websites like my own: products with longevity, objects and devices that are well-made and not intended to be changed over frequently in the way that smartphones are.I was inspired by a post at Tools and Toys, in which Chris Bowler explains the thinking behind his site, which features high-quality items that he be … [Read more...]

The Quest for Peace, Through Headphones

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I am told that I am poor at being “in the moment,” and I confess it to be the case. I am nothing if not riddled with anxieties, large and small. At my worst, I am engulfed in worries, drenched in waves of stomach-sickening dread, doubt, and guilt. But normally, just going about my day, I maintain a manageable baseline of unease; the quiet hum of preoccupation with Other Things always resonating, if just barely. I am told this is bad for my health, to say the least.I come by it all honestly, w … [Read more...]

Mars, Musk, and a Meditation

Image by NASA.

Ross Andersen’s interview with Elon Musk at Aeon, on Musk’s ambitions for Mars colonization, is a gem. “Interview” doesn’t do it justice; it’s part interview, part examination of the motivations (Musk’s and civilization’s) for a Mars migration, as well as a meditation on the humanity of such an endeavor.A big takeaway is how Musk sees a Mars trip not simply as a lofty goal of humanistic enrichment, but as a last and only best hope for a species tied to the unpredictable fortunes of a single p … [Read more...]

Perpetual Dislocation and the Angst of Techno-Conservatives

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Nicholas Carr is a thinker I struggle with. (I mean, I struggle with his thoughts as expressed in written form, I don’t struggle with him personally or physically. Just so we’re clear.) Ever since introducing the rhetorical question “Is Google making us stupid?” I’ve been skeptical of his, let us say “conservative” perspective on technology. By this I mean he is among those who have taken it upon themselves to serve as dampening pedals on the otherwise boisterous enthusiasm generally expressed fo … [Read more...]

The iMortal Show, Episode 3: Tender Feelings for My iPad

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The idea for this episode was to talk about our respective obsessions over our tech gadgets, but somehow we also got into brain folds and dopamine squirts and Members Only jackets. In the grand perspective, I assure you, it all makes sense.Dedicated to Jony Ive in his Infinite White Heaven, Episode 3 of the iMortal Show stars Gia Mora and Chris Sawyer.Your browser does not support the audio element.Subscribe in iTunes or by RSS. You can download this episode here.The iMortal … [Read more...]

Over My Dead Body


A college girlfriend of mine used to pride herself on being kind of pro-death. She wasn’t goth, per se, but she was certainly contrarian, and when we’d get into existential discussions (far too often for my late teenaged self who was more interested in physical explorations), she’d tell me that she wasn’t afraid of death.Well, I am, I’d tell her. The idea that everything ends, and you don’t even have the benefit of being aware that it’s over, it’s all too horrifying and confounding for me. No … [Read more...]