Category Archives: Technology

Review of Hans Blumenberg Reader Now Available

The journal Critical Inquiry has been kind enough to publish my review of History, Metaphors, Fables: A Hans Blumenberg Reader.

photo of cover of Blumenberg Reader


For Octavia Butler Fans

screenshot of Octavia Butler giveaway

Before Getting All Bovine with Your Herd

Ignorantia virus non excusat. Perhaps it’s time to rethink what we don’t know about the virus? Case in point.

“Is it a reinfection or the same infection? We don’t know.”

editorial cartoon

Only One Non-Worthless Person Left

This portrait of a French scientist who thinks too well of himself is today’s treasure.

“One of Professor Raoult’s abiding characteristics is that he knows that he’s very good,” Kahn told me. “But he considers everyone else to be worthless. And he always has. It’s not a recent development.” At his home, alongside a collection of Roman busts, he is said to keep a marble statue of himself.

Those Who Make Your Life Possible

graphic for Workers' Day

screenshot of NPR report on Kroger workers

Not Ready to Sing the Immunity Tune

This article explains how far the testing is from telling us what we hope to know.

It should be said that there is currently substantial scientific debate about when SARS-CoV-2 proteins are detectable after someone has had an infection, at what level (if any) they indicate an immune response, and how long that immune response might last. These are all important questions that complicate the viability of antibody testing, and we still do not have full answers.

Back in 2003

photo of sick man on airplane

On March 15 of that year, a Boeing 737 took off from Hong Kong for a three-hour flight to Beijing, with a feverish 72-year-old man sitting in 14E, a middle seat.

Of the 120 people on board, 22 were later diagnosed with confirmed or probable cases of SARS, according to a reconstruction published in the New England Journal of Medicine that year. Researchers said the “most plausible” explanation was that they were infected on the plane by the man in 14E. He died of atypical pneumonia a few days after the flight.

The World Health Organization had defined “contact” with a SARS patient as sitting in the same row, or in the two rows ahead or behind the infected person.

The researchers found that the risk for those in the three rows in front of the man, or the same row, was much higher than for those sitting elsewhere. But two people seated as far as seven rows in front of him were also infected, as were two flight attendants. Five passengers later died.

If you think things have improved since 2003 on flights, you’d be wrong.


Time to Profit from Misery

screenshot of Twitter feed from Wall Street Journal


Call for Papers – Evental Aesthetics

graphic of call for papers of Evental Aesthetics journal

Quotation of the Day

If there’s any lesson to be learned from the crisis, [Tom Colicchio] says, it’s that unchecked capitalism — from the obsession with quarterly earnings to the profits-at-any-cost mentality of our captains of industry — has failed us.