Hitting the Books: What life on the internet was like at 300 bits per second

As distressing a prospect it may sound, our world did exist before social media. Those were some interesting times with nary a poorly lit portion of Cheesecake Factory fare to critique, exactly zero epic fails to laugh at and not one adorable paw bean available for ogling. There weren’t even daily main characters! We lived … Read more

Hitting the Books: In Russia, home is where the hearth is

Despite Russia being the world’s third largest oil producer and exporter (at least until its invasion of Ukraine), its people have traditionally relied on the nation’s monumental expanses of loggable forests for their cooking fuel needs. Access to an essentially inexhaustible firewood supply has deeply influenced Russian culture, governing how food is prepared, which impacts … Read more

Hitting the Books: Newton’s alchemical dalliances make him no less of a scientist

The modern world as we know it simply would not exist if not for the mind of Sir Isaac Newton. His synthesis of differential calculus and pioneering research on the nature of gravity and light are bedrocks of the scientific method. However in his later years, Newton’s interests were admittedly drawn towards a decidedly non-scientific … Read more

Hitting the Books: How winning the lottery is a lot like being re-struck by lightning

A wise man once said, “never tell me the odds” but whether you’re calculating the chances of successfully navigating an asteroid field (3,720:1), shouting “Shazam” and having it work twice in a row (9 million:1 ), or winning the state lottery (42 million:1 in California), probabilities influence outcomes in our daily lives for large and … Read more

Hitting the Books: Why we need to treat the robots of tomorrow like tools

Do not be swayed by the dulcet dial-tones of tomorrow’s AIs and their siren songs of the singularity. No matter how closely artificial intelligences and androids may come to look and act like humans, they’ll never actually be humans, argue Paul Leonardi, Duca Family Professor of Technology Management at University of California Santa Barbara, and … Read more

Hitting the Books: US regulators are losing the fight against Big Tech

Today’s technology landscape is dominated by a small cadre of massive corporations with the likes of Meta, Amazon and Google snapping up fledgling startups before they can grow into potential competitors, ignoring labor laws that don’t suit their immediate needs, and generally operating like the dystopian corpro-villains Johnny Mnemonic alert us about. Traditionally, state regulation … Read more

Hitting the Books: Dodge, Detroit and the Revolutionary Union Movement of 1968

After decades on the decline intro, America’s labor movement is undergoing a massive renaissance with Starbucks, Amazon and Apple Store employees leading the way. Though the tech sector has only just begun basking in the newfound glow of collective bargaining rights, the automotive industry has a long been a hotbed for unionization. But the movement … Read more