Tag Archives: Society

Sparkling Music for a Dishwater World: The Shins & the Limitations of the Indie Rock Narrative

Tropics of Meta

In March, Columbia Records launched one of its major albums of 2012, the Shins’s Port of Morrow. In the five years that had elapsed since the last full-length Shins release, the band, which became one of rock’s standard bearers with three terrific albums for Sub Pop Records between 2001 and 2007, underwent significant changes. Although two original Shins appear briefly on Port of Morrow, band founder, songwriter, and leader James Mercer remains the only permanent member. In addition to the new line-up, Port of Morrow is the first Shins album distributed by a major label. Mercer and the revamped band have generated extraordinary interest in the record, participating in a Columbia engineered program of multimedia promotion that has included live performance broadcasts (including a full hour on The Late Show with David Letterman), a nationwide tour, appearances at major festivals in the United States and Europe, consumer…

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Heidegger in Silicon Valley: Technology & the Hacker Way

Philosophy for change

Racing-with-machines‘Software is eating the world!’ US tech luminary Marc Andreessen declared in 2009, on the eve of launching his venture capital firm, Andreessen-Horowitz. This extraordinary claim has become the mantra of Silicon Valley startup entrepreneurs, codifying a new philosophy of tech entrepreneurialism and kickstarting a bold new era of ‘creative destruction’. Decoded it means: software engineers are world-builders – so look out! Bored with building apps, games, and websites, the latest generation of tech entrepreneurs are creating social operating systems for the societies and economies of the future. Take the sharing economy startup Airbnb, for example (recipent of $112 million in funding from Andreessen-Horowitz in 2011). Andreessen claims:

Airbnb  makes its money in real estate. But … Airbnb … has much more in common with Facebook or Google or Microsoft or Oracle than with any real estate company. … Airbnb is building a software technology that is equivalent in complexity, power, and importance to an operating…

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The War on Poverty at 50: How Far Have We Come, and Where Are We Going? (A Conference Report)

Tropics of Meta

war-on-poverty-08-story-top

One goal of studying the past is not to be trapped by history but to transcend it.

— Historian Michael B. Katz (1939-2014)

ToM regularly covers disciplinary conferences. Last week, the University of Pennsylvania hosted “The War on Poverty at 50: Its History and Legacy.” Your ToM correspondent spoke at the event while furiously taking notes during all the panels to produce the write-up you have before you. Videos of the event will be up shortly and embedded below. (Panelists, if you’re reading this, let me know if something’s missing or distorted, and I’ll modify this account immediately. I tried to keep these as brief as possible while conveying the major thrusts of the papers.)

The past few years have seen a resurgence of scholarly interest in the War on Poverty: LBJ’s signature polices and programs that addressed a number of spheres, including education, nutritional, health care, and job training…

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There Are No “Real Men” – The Search For A Role Model / How I Learned to Live Without One

Trial of the Century

Pride Weekend

I’m going to tell you a secret.

Since I was young, maybe 8 or 10 years old, I’ve never had a male role model.

To be clear, I did grow up with a father. My parents never split, and while they had their issues – I wondered at times if they should have divorced – for the most part I grew up in a stable environment. I disagreed with my dad (and still do) on plenty of things, but generally we get along and have made our peace on most of the details. Of course, I would do it differently if I had children…perhaps that’s a fairly standard response considering the generational gap (I’m 29, my dad is 72).

But, when I think about men I admired growing up there is an empty space.

Searching for role models

My dad taught me some important things, like the value of hard…

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