Monthly Archives: February 2015

“What is the Political?: Paul de Man and the Promise of the Anthropocene
The geological concept of the anthropocene is at once the most literal and the most sublime of notions: on the
one hand it is now posited that there will be inscription and readability after humans have ceased to exist as readers, and that this inscription occurs at a level beyond the purview of lived time and space. On the other hand, imagining such inscription is speculative and chastening, and has already generated a series of recuperative cultural productions that turn this diminution of the human species into an elevation. We imagine that faced with the threat of erasure we can recreate a new and more human world (as in dreams of geoengineering, or in cinematic fantasies such as Interstellar or Elysium in which we fi nd our own time and space once again). Paul de Man’s reading of the sublime of the sublime diagnoses these two tendencies of spectacle and banal literalism and generates—Colebrook argues—a new conception of the promise of the anthropocene.”

“How is it that one can disable a lost iPhone, but not a piece of military hardware that’s inadvertently fallen into the hands of an insurgent? That’s a question Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain has been pondering and his solution is to call for future weapons to be made with an inbuilt ‘kill switch’.
Also, the international Campaign to Stop Killer Robots – a reaction to the growing sophistication of the world’s weaponry and the fact that algorithms are now making independent decisions about who and what should be targeted. We’ll speak with the campaign’s co-founder Noel Sharkey.
And finally, the solar soldier – scientists at the Australian National University have developed a solar-operated power system that could lessen the load for combat troops in the field. Afterall, all that clever new military equipment has to be powered somehow.”

world’s a scrapyard…

Installing (Social) Order

shipbreakers-opener-990Worth seeing: The Ship Breakers. Ships, at the ends of their lives, are rammed into the beach, thusly beaching these “end of life” ships onto the shores of ship-breaking yards of Bangladesh, India, and a few other states. The work is dangerous and the environmental consequences are visually obvious. There are other examples here, here, and especially this piece in the Atlantic here.

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