Randall Amster

47 Added | 2 Magazines | 2 Following | 4 Followers | @RandallAmster | "For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky..."

Sociology

Young America

Nearly a century ago, Mohandas Gandhi started a new publication to share his vision of nonviolent organizing, filling it with inspiring quotations …

Human Learning: Binge Culture

Not to put a damper on the holiday revelry, but ’tis the season for bingeing. Many of us will overeat, buy too much stuff, and party a bit too hard. Overindulgence and overconsumption have somehow infused themselves into a time ostensibly reserved for deeper expressions of gratitude and connection. …

Binge-Watching

Empire of the Sunset

Sometimes, I really miss America -- or at least the idea of it. You know: that can-do spirit, streets paved with gold, champion of the tired and poor, purple mountains majesty, that sort of thing. Say what you will, and call it naive, but the storybook values at the heart of America's erstwhile …

Political Science

Mic Check: Can You Hear Us, America?

<i>We find these views to be mutually relevant...</i><p>that all people, by virtue of their basic humanity, deserve the opportunity to live, work, and associate according to the dictates of their own consciences and capacities;<p>that the exercise of such freedoms is only tenable in conjunction with the ability …

Self-sufficiency

Tomorrow's Info Today: Staying Ahead of the News Cycle

I keep having these moments in which I attempt to write about some current event (you know, small stuff like economic collapse, an escalating war in Afghanistan, global climate change) but the news cycle has passed me by before I can reduce thought to keyboard. With the proliferation of …

Human Rights

Apocalypse Not Now: Seeking a New Beginning ... before the End

Undertaking even a cursory review of the news queue evidences the apocalyptic overtones in our collective midst. In the most recent additions to the canon, 2010 ended with semi-sardonic coverage of the so-called "Snowpocalypse" and its aftermath, and 2011 began with perplexed musings over the …

Extinction

Happy Doomsday to You!

Newsflash: It's the end of the world (again), and I feel ... aw, forget it. I guess at this point it's kind of a toss-up between bored, giddy, melancholy, and irate, in no particular order. Still, the most recent apocalyptic homage seems somehow more sobering this time, perhaps due to (a) the …

U.S. Army

Human Learning: Cry, Robot?

Humans have had a longstanding love-hate relationship with robots. In the cinematic realm alone, there’s been a pendulum effect ranging from the evil “Robot Maria” in <i>Metropolis</i> (1927), who spurs the oppressed workers into an ill-advised and self-defeating frenzy, to the protective “robot policeman” …

Human Rights

Waking Life

<b>You Don’t Need a Clock to Know What Time It Is</b><p><b>by Randall Amster</b><p>With each passing day, the news grows increasingly grim. In recent weeks alone, we’ve …

Human Learning: Beyond the Panopticon

In the quest to personalize your experience with the latest technologies, and as a reward for your dedicated participation in signing up for new services without reading the fine print in their consent agreements, the powers that be have a special gift for you. Yes, <b>it’s your own personal …

Surveillance

Human Learning: Navigating the Waters

Akin to fish in water, <b>we swim in a sea of technology</b>. And like said fish, we have become so habituated to this medium that we scarcely notice it. Or, to be more precise, perhaps we obsessively notice it but take its presence and composition for granted. Thus, the fish might acutely be aware that …

Internet of Things

A Googlement Above the People, Around the People, and Ahead of the People

Conspiracy theorists long have mused about a "shadow government" working its machinations from a secret locale with a cloak-and-dagger ethos. But that's not the post-postmodern way of doing things anymore; in the age of hyper-spectacle, one puts it right out there in a manner reminiscent of what's …

DARPA

Will Smarter Phones Mean Dumber People?

The road ahead was clearly marked as "closed" and a "dead end," but the voice from the back seat insisted that we go forward anyway. "My phone says go straight ahead," counseled the voice, ignoring the driver's observation that the street was apparently closed. "The GPS in my phone is smarter than …

Battlestar Galactica

Human Learning

This is the first in an ongoing series of reflections on how technology is rapidly changing our lives. The focus, however, won’t primarily be on the societal, political, or economic aspects, but more so on the ways our personal lives and communities are impacted. This series will not entail a …

Machine Learning

Web of Dependency: The Thin New Line

In just a few short years, it has become increasingly apparent that humankind is fast approaching a technological tipping point. Particularly in the …

Orwell That Ends Well

In just the past week, a friend lost his cellphone, and another was robbed. One fell asleep in the bathtub, and another visited her old elementary …

Congratulations! You’re Being Watched

With revelations (yet again) that we are all essentially being watched virtually all the time, we might expect a popular backlash against such a …

Faux Real: What's in Your Worldview?

We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the unvarnished lens of protofascism. Retrenchment …

Trumping Disbelief

The results of the election provide ample reason to try and avoid the reality of President Trump, and wanting to push this debilitating campaign …

Black Friday and White Noise

Here we go again, right on the heels of gorging ourselves in preparation for the frenetic commercialism of the holiday season. The relentless pursuit …

Spring Forward

Beyond Our Winter of Discontent by Randall Amster Spring may be upon us, but the prevailing political winds foretell a long, cold season ahead. We’re …

George W. Bush

Surrealistic Homeland Blues

You don’t need a weatherman to tell you that we’re in the midst of volatile conditions as we arrive at the fiftieth day of the Trump presidency—which …

Weaving the Threads

And Reimagining What Can Be… by Randall Amster Good morning America, and welcome to those proverbial “interesting times.” We have a so-called …

Political Science

Contrived Chaos and States of Confusion

There has been a lot of analysis suggesting that the executive-level politics we’re seeing play out right now are about incompetence or …

Steve Bannon

So Now What?

Good Question… by Randall Amster Since the election last November, I’ve been searching for the right words to convey my concerns. It’s not primarily …

Time I

Signs of the Times

Reflections on a Society in Turmoil by Randall Amster Today we are confronted with a convergence of crises that is unparalleled in recent memory. …

Time I

Pump Fiction

<b>We’re Not Going to Drill, Dig, or Frack Our Way Out of This Mess…</b><p><b>by Randall Amster</b><p>We have entered a critical era for the future of humanity on this …

Faux Real

What’s in Your Worldview? by Randall Amster We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the …

Fake News

An Open Letter to the Children, by Randall Amster

Dear Children,<p>I know that this world must often seem confusing to you. It's noisy, dirty and filled with adults scurrying about their busy lives …