Distraction Free Reading

Weekly Round-up | March 31st, 2017

We’re back to full steam on the round-up this week! Your editor’s brief paternity leave included the aimless stockpiling of dozens of partially-read tabs in Chrome, and we’ve got the cream of the crop for you here. As always, let us know if you’ve written, sculpted, recorded, or just stumbled across anything cool on the web for next week’s round-up.

Painting of vaqueros rounding up cattle in 1830s Spanish California

Actual image of our link round-up process (public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia)

  • This editor, at least, was fairly disappointed both by the content and the blithely pollyannaish tone of the American Anthropological Association’s e-mail announcing the renewal of their publishing agreement with Wiley. Open access is the future of academic publishing, one way or another. Unfortunately, the AAA’s decision to not even discuss alternative approaches in their announcement seems to indicate that they are content leave that future in the hands of Wiley, rather than members. To quote our President: Sad!
  • The anthropology of technology and the anthropology of work are natural bedfellows, as amply demonstrated in Ilana Gershon’s just-released Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work — the book paints a thorough and nuanced picture of how the cultural and subjective features of work today are inextricable the technological infrastructures and digital practices underlying contemporary labor markets.
  • In The New Inquiry, Sara Nović takes a critical and ethnographic look at the experiences of Deaf folks in the judicial system, with careful attention to the intersection of the cultural, technological, and infrastructural.
  • Next season’s killer app: neural lace and the abolition of the brain-computer barrier? Probably not, but keep an eye on the horizon for some increasingly functional neuroscience gadgets, and for the increasingly worrisome colonization of neuroscience by venture capital.
  • The round-up has poked fun at Silicon Valley libertarians in the past, for thinking that their work is more progressive and liberating than the facts on the ground warrant. However, we shouldn’t let a critique the insidious ideologies behind probably-well-meaning projects like Musk’s neural lace distract from the actual dystopian techno-authoritarianism of a Robert Mercer.

That’s it for now — enjoy the fresh spring air, or the tornadoes, or the blizzards, or whatever global climactic chaos is throwing your way!

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