Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from September 19, 2022 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Mon. Sep 26th, 6pm - 7pm: Subways and surveillance - with Christopher Robbins from Hell Gate (More info...)

Options September 19, 2022: Aaron Sachs, author, "Up from the Depths" – on Melville, Mumford, and difficult times

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Up From The Depths: Herman Melville, Lewis Mumford, and Rediscovery in Dark Times, by Aaron Sachs, published by Princeton University Press.


Today: Aaron Sachs, author, “Up from the Depths”

Aaron Sachs at Cornell

• Quoting Lewis Mumford in Technics and Civilization (1934): “Against the convenience of instantaneous communication is the fact that the great economical abstractions of writing, reading, and drawing, the media of reflective thought and deliberate action, will be weakened. . . . As with all instruments of multiplication the critical question is as to the function and quality of the object one is multiplying.”

At eBay, Lurid Crimes and the Search for Punishment (by David Streitfeld in NYT, September 18, 2022): “Ina and David Steiner are suing eBay, [and former eBay CEO Devin] Wenig, who is no longer chief executive, and many others, saying the campaign against them was not the activity of a rogue team but something closer to official company policy.”

“Mr. Wenig, according to their suit, gave eBay security employees ‘carte blanche authority to terminate the reporting of the Steiners by whatever means necessary.’”

“The phrase ‘take her down’ is being taken out of context, Mr. Wenig, a former executive at the news agency Reuters, said in a court filing. He acknowledges writing it to Steve Wymer, the director of communications. Mr. Wymer followed up by writing a series of texts to the security chief, Jim Baugh, eBay’s top safety and security executive.”

Wenig “left ‘without cause,’ which meant he qualified for an exit package of $40 million. General Motors, where he serves on the board of directors, describes him as ‘retired’ from eBay. ... Mr. Wymer, who is currently president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, declined to be interviewed.”

Fury as Senate Poised to Delay Antitrust Vote: (Common Dreams, Sept 16, 2022): “Let’s make one thing clear: this is not about a ‘busy legislative calendar’ or ‘competing priorities’ or ‘not having the votes,’” responded Evan Greer, director of the digital rights group Fight for the Future. “This is about corruption, plain and simple, and the nauseating influence of Big Tech money in D.C.”

“Two days after taking the photos of his son, Mark’s phone made a blooping notification noise: His account had been disabled because of ‘harmful content’ that was ‘a severe violation of Google’s policies and might be illegal.’ A ‘learn more’ link led to a list of possible reasons, including ‘child sexual abuse & exploitation.’”

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Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Aaron Sachs, author, "Up from the Depths" – on Melville, Mumford, and difficult times
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options  
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  Mark's intro    
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  Interview with Aaron Sachs    
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0:09:49 (MP3 | Pop-up)
  Mark's comments    
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0:45:28 (MP3 | Pop-up)
Mecha Maiko  The Kids   Options NOT OK 
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0:55:39 (MP3 | Pop-up)


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Listener comments!

  6:01pm Rolando:

Good morning fine human friends.
Avatar 6:01pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! Techtonicons!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm chresti:

Hi Mark and techtones!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm PaulRobeson1922:

Hi Hi Hi
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Handy Haversack:

Greetings, Mark and Techyons!

Nice coincidence of topics as this Sunday I am planning once again canoeing around your insular city of the Manhattoes, girdled round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm ultradamno:

Mark! Techtolpinists!
  6:04pm tim from washington:

Hi Mark! Hi crew!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Franco Twinkie:

Hello technonauts.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm PaulRobeson1922:

“It's my pleasure to be your host
You buy the bottle and I'll drink the toast to the kind of people you meet, on Amagamalin Street!”
  6:05pm David in London:

Evening Mark and all Technoids.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Handy Haversack:

I also strongly recommend Moby-Dick; or, The Card Game: www.mhpbooks.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm PaulRobeson1922:

the forms of communications* shape our understanding
  6:08pm yippie:

captain Ahab said it's best to eat sperm whale meat almost raw
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm PaulRobeson1922:

Communication*
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm PaulRobeson1922:

Gotta be a Mobile Glistener Now! Thank you Mark, thank you without end
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Handy Haversack:

Only two minutes before K8 had to say, "OK, stop looking at game websites."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm ultradamno:

I caught that Cassette doc off AXS the other day, and it was striking to hear Lou Ottens, one of the people chiefly involved in the invention of the technology, emphasize how important it was to himself and his team at Philips to establish as standard (in contrast to say Apple and their chargers)
  6:12pm Old Dave:

"Look at ME" is a race to the bottom. I'm as guilty as the next...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Ken From Hyde Park:

My take? When you write a book that includes your findings from research, always remember to include your cetaceans. 🐳
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm Handy Haversack:

Oh, Ken.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm Franco Twinkie:

I stopped drawing so I could type. I stopped typing so I could eat. I stopped eating so I could read. I stopped reading so I could sleep. When I woke up, I started the cycle all over again.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm chris in the redwoods:

well done, Ken.
hello, Mark and folks.
not missing the irony that i am instantly communicating with you all.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all, thanks for joining!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Niall:

Hm. There was an Annenberg-affiliated art history program that covered this conversation about clocks and alarms almost verbatim.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Niall:

History's history, I reckon.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm WR:

Mumford wrote a bio of Melville.
  6:18pm Jackie G:

Sperm targets - ova
Avatar 6:20pm Annette:

Good evening Mark & everyone
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Mark Hurst:

@Annette welcome
  6:25pm Ishmael:

imo "Moby Dick" reads like an acid trip once they set out to sea....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm listener james from westwood:

The bomb-dropping rationale sounds like what drone pilots in the military tell themselves today.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Mark Hurst:

hey @Ishmael, thanks for joining! glad you made it through that adventure
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm ultradamno:

Making me think of the scene in Arrested Development where Buster, who has been piloting drones for the army, realizes it's not a video game
  6:26pm Cooh John:

To emphasize the Mumford quote from earlier; Time magazine and the New York Times now write at a fifth grade level to reach their audiences. Look at a Time magazine from. the 70's. You will need a dictionary.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm WR:

OMG. NYPL has no Lewis Mumford books available for user check out.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Webhamster Henry:

This is a nice discussion!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Mark Hurst:

@webham thanks
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm Handy Haversack:

Enjoying this a lot (though I always like it when a scholarly book gets some wider attention).

Also, cheers, Tech Dears! Having Last Words in Techtonic's honor!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Franco Twinkie:

In the current issue of the New Yorker, Elizabeth Hardwick is quoted posthumously as saying the only reason to write is desperation or revenge. I'm paraphrasing, but I think I know what she meant. If you look at all literature through this lens, it explains a lot about the motivation of most writers.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm PaulRobeson1922:

Historiography- www.abebooks.com...



“…history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.” James Baldwin -Unnamable objects, Unspeakable Crimes
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Mark Hurst:

@Franco good pointer, thanks - I haven't seen that piece. Hardwick's comment fits well with Aaron Sachs' book.
  6:34pm Marie:

Great show. I just bought a new copy of Moby Dick this summer to read this fall. I started it but never finished it back in high school. I love Melville's writing. Also, I was at his grave up in the Bronx this summer. People have left pens, little whale figures, writings. Gifts of love.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm PaulRobeson1922:

Paul Robeson has a succinct definition of Fascism

Try to find Paul Robeson’s own words- if you can.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Mark Hurst:

@PaulR thanks for the Baldwin quote. Here's an indiebound link to that book (as AbeBooks is owned by Amazon) - www.indiebound.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm PaulRobeson1922:

Oh, my… Thank you, Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Mark Hurst:

@Marie ah cool - I'd love to visit HM's grave sometime
  6:37pm Jackie G:

Climate change is depressing. It's a climate crisis. And we are so screwed. It will take a huge change in the minds of the populace. Hope I am wrong.
  6:37pm Marie:

@Mark, yeah, it's an amazing cemetery, overall--Woodlawn
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm PaulRobeson1922:

As a Consequence of what?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Webhamster Henry:

Mumford , and about Mumford material archive.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm ultradamno:

From the TV show Angel: "Can I say something about destiny? Screw destiny! If this evil thing comes we'll fight it, and we'll keep fighting it until we whoop it. 'Cause destiny is just another word for inevitable and nothing's inevitable as long as you stand up, look it in the eye, and say 'You're evitable!'"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm PaulRobeson1922:

As a consequence of what? If yer a student of the past, ask that question often
  6:40pm Bill:

Nothing is responsible for climate change more than technology. Circuit board manufacturing, BATTERIES, E-waste, and more E-waste, and even more E-waste. Sadly hypocritical.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm PaulRobeson1922:

Hey Bill
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Webhamster Henry:

Nothing is responsible for climate change more than military activity,"preparedness", and development.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Mark Hurst:

@ultra good quote
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm WR:

Thank you for the archive.org link for Mumford material. Had not got to that yet. And to add on, the NYPL has many Mumford books for use in the library.
  6:42pm Bill:

Hi Paul
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Franco Twinkie:

Marie, visiting the grave of an author can leave you thoughtful AND bereft. I trudged across Prague in the snow to look at the grave of Franz Kafka. My takeaway - I got out of the cold to cry my eyes out in restaurant while eating chicken noodle soup.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Webhamster Henry:

BTW, thanks for talking about Melville on Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm PaulRobeson1922:

@Webhamster Henry @6:41: yes. The largest consumer of petroleum for many years
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Webhamster Henry:

@PaulRobeson1922: The military's entire modus operandi is destruction and burning, and the care and feeding of military force, even without actual combat, is a huge carbons source.
  6:46pm Rolando:

I enjoyed this interview. Thanks.
  6:46pm Bill:

It's one thing to burn lots of fuel , it's another to use 150 gallons of clean water to manufacture a single circuit board. Wake up
  6:47pm O.P.:

Great show!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm WR:

Gary Gulman?
  6:47pm Jackie G:

Yeah,very optimistic dude. Make it contagious. There is always hope.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Niall:

@ultradamno: The "nothing is written!" of the late 90s/early 2000s!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Handy Haversack:

Great interview, Mark! And a book going on the wishlist!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm PaulRobeson1922:

@Webhamster Henry: for later: for all time: m.youtube.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm ultradamno:

😄
  6:49pm Marie:

Hey Franco, wow, what great story. And how perfect an ending, ie, chicken soup in a warm restaurant. I'd love to go see Kafka's grave.
  6:50pm Old Dave:

Inspiring interview, book ordered, thanks!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Niall:

As we often hear on Radio Ravioli...


"Continue! Keep going!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Franco Twinkie:

You're talking to me Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm PaulRobeson1922:

WFMU: the only lay down on the designer, radio station
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Thanks, Mark. Enjoy the metaphors before Zuck reappropriates the word.
  6:52pm O.P.:

Last week's show was great. I need to listen to the episodes you mentioned.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Dano59:

Nice interview. fascinating topics woven together. I once interviewed Aaron about his book on cemeteries as the first public gardens/public parks in America:
news.cornell.edu...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Webhamster Henry:

Take her down: One of those "meaning of "is" " moments.
  6:55pm wendy del formaggio:

I’ve been lurking all hour while I cook dinner. Another great show, Mark. And thanks for the ebay update. Since learning about this story last week, I’ve been so pissed at ebay.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm PaulRobeson1922:

“What’s good for General Motors, is good for America”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm WR:

Another great episode. The hour flew past. Time.
Avatar 6:56pm Annette:

Thank you Mark ! Love your Show
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Handy Haversack:

Thanks, Mark! Great stuff once again.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm chresti:

Thanks Mark!
  6:57pm Jackie G:

Thanks, Mark
  6:57pm Marie:

Thanks, Mark, thanks, Aaron. Ciao everybody!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm ultradamno:

Stuff like this seems to be allowed to fly because about 30% of the people have a lottery mentality in which they believe somehow if they side with those people they will somehow be elevated above the losers to that level of privilege for adopting that mentality.
Avatar 6:58pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
  6:59pm Old Dave:

So glad for your perspective, much appreciated
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm WR:

Thanks for the interview link @6:54 @Dano59:
  7:00pm Bill:

You're welcome old dave. I knew you would appreciate it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Grateful that you're with me.
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