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The End of Boorish Intrusion

(This is a copy of my Loose Wire Sevice column, produced for newspapers and other print publications.) By Jeremy Wagstaff One of the ironies about this new era of communications is that we’re a lot less communicative than we used to be. Cellphones, laptops, iPhones, netbooks, smartphones, tablets, all put us in touching distance of each other. And yet, perversely, we use them as barriers to keep each other out. Take the cellphone for example. Previously, not receiving a phone call was not really an option. The phone would ring from down the hall, echoing through the corridors until dusty lights would go on, andContinue readingThe End of Boorish Intrusion

How Technology Shrinks and Amplifies Distance

Two pieces in the NYT/IHT that weren’t about technology, but kind of are, illustrate how technology can shrink distance but also grow it. First off a piece by Geoff D. Porter,  an analyst in the Middle East and Africa division of the Eurasia Group, explores how African would-be immigrants to Europe are now making their way to Europe via the Canary Islands, some 50 miles off the coast of Mauritania. Until technology came along, this was a very risky business: The Atlantic is big, and the Canaries are small, making it hard for sailors in small fishing boats to find them. Still, chasing fish stocksContinue readingHow Technology Shrinks and Amplifies Distance

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