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Digital Sextant : The Street
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{ Category Archives } The Street

When nothing goes out of print, old and new lose much of their meaning (Lessons from The Long Tail)

Two lessons springing from the long tail (the idea that the digital age makes permanent publication of everything more possible). ONE: Shame, public consequences, satire Particularly interesting last week was the flameout of Pax Dickinson, the Chief Technology Officer of Business Insider.  For those who missed the brouhaha I point you to the summary at […]

Social Commentary, Juvenile Sketches, and Friendly Platitudes

It was a weird week for graffiti on my usual route to and from school.  A new artist with a marker showed up on the LaSalle platform, drawing crude, sexist images with strange social commentary.  For example, here’s one that includes the words wheather [sic] men LIE. I found this image on the subway platform […]

Snapshots of traffic police in Chicago

I don’t envy the job of traffic police in Chicago.  People drive fast, they ignore signals, they honk, they text, they act like idiots.  And your job is to stand there in the middle of the street and make them drive more sensibly.  Yikes.  That said, I’ve also seen a couple things that were alternately […]

The City & the City

by China Mieville Mieville flexes his inspiring, impressive author muscles again, making me jealous and happy at the same time.  He’s a great writer, and this book goes in a different way than many of his others have gone.  (To be fair, I’ve only read two others, Perdido Street Station and The Scar, which are […]

Chat Roulette

So, like the good humanities scholar I am, I’m writing about something without having tried it. ChatRoulette is a fascinating idea, both for its brazen webby-ness (chat with people you don’t know!), its instant and obvious trollery (dudez show their junk!), and the potential for hilarity.  The two funniest ideas I’ve heard out of it […]

Life in the City

Two anecdotes. One charming, one, um, not. Walking home from school on a snowy day last week, Avery pointed to a car still covered in snow and said “That car needs to be shaved.” Avery was comparing the snow to shaving cream and, since I get shaving cream off my face by shaving, so too […]

Godwin’s Law

I left my office last Friday to head home.  I armed myself against the outside world with my Shure ear-plug headphones and my librivox copy of Great Expectations. As Pip and I approached the corner across from the library, I saw a semi-circle of folks standing around a man lecturing.  It’s a popular corner–there’s usually […]

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Four people waiting to turn left

On my walk to work each morning, I usually pass a line of people waiting to turn left onto a busy street.  Today, I looked at the people in four of the cars: Bald, mid-thirties white guy with two-day beard and his finger buried in his nose.  Driving a gray Porsche or other care that […]

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when I needed you

Avery and I went out yesterday morning for a walk and, along the way, were good stewards of our neighborhood, picking up the candy wrappers left behind by less responsible (or less supervised) children than Avery. (To be fair, Avery is a terrible litterbug whom I’m constantly reminding: “No, we don’t drop Capri Sun pouches […]

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I Know My Rights

Riding the El home from work one autumn afternoon, a man walked into the car and sat behind me. I sat in bookish silence, staring down at the page without reading because the man behind me was talking on his cell phone. From his conversation, I gathered he was in his mid- or early-twenties. “Oh […]

Zombies at Manifest

Manifest is Columbia’s Urban Arts festival, a public performance held to celebrate all the cool and crazy work the students at my college do.  As part of it, the school has a program called “TICTOC,” which provides grants for students to produce performance art as part of the program.  One of my students applied for […]

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San Francisco Stories

I was in San Francisco for PCA 2008 last week. Some additional commentary on the panels will follow, but here’s a bit about my days in the city. I took a long walk around the city on Good Friday, about six hours, and enjoyed it immensely. The most striking thing about the city is its […]



…finds a use for things.