Category Archives: Culture

Ignorance, Knowledge, and the Environment

We often presume that someone who doesn’t care about their environment is merely ignorant. They just don’t know, we say to ourselves when pondering the person throwing recyclables in the trash, or making arguments about buying a larger vehicle. If … Continue reading

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The Cryptic Nature of Ghosts

Although sceptics around the world reject the existence of ghosts, there are also many millions of people for whom ghosts are either an uncomfortable and constant presence or a remote and threatening possibility. Those who claim to have seen a … Continue reading

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The Walmart Generation

My ex-girlfriend’s mother was a member of the Walmart generation, and when I first met her she showed us around the house. Part of this tour meant that she pointed out the new coffee table. I realize now that it … Continue reading

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Maybe the Algorithms are Working Against Us

Most news, internet search, and social media platforms have optimized their offerings to suit what their viewers most frequently choose to see. That makes sense in terms of ad dollars, for they want to have a targetable demographic, but as … Continue reading

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The Saltpeter Mines of Northern Atacama, Chile

Saltpeter, or nitrate, was a major export of Chile until artificial production began in Germany in the thirties. Then, like much of the world staggering as a result of the global depression, Chile suffered from the loss of nearly fifty … Continue reading

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Consumer Misery in Steve Cutts’ “Happiness”

The terrible truth that Steve Cutts reveals in his short animated film “Happiness” is that consumerism entices but does not lead to happiness. His rats are surrounded by consumer messages that promise that they—even the main rat character—will be happy … Continue reading

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Tolerance, Ethics and Conjoined Twins

On CBC radio’s The Current this morning, Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed a doctor who was responsible for the multiple surgeries that separated conjoined twins at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston. The story was mostly concerned with the ethical implications … Continue reading

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Living in the City: Boxes

Although he would at times forget the scampering and rustling that marked people amongst the monoliths, like the worms in a graveyard or rats in a sinking ship, at moments he would look up to see the lit windows of … Continue reading

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Preface to my Novel about Colonizing Mars

I first thought about the lone colonist of Mars by the chance association between two very different and, some would say, antithetical ideas. I designed a university course on the changing perception of Mars in literature over the past two … Continue reading

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Yard Sale Culture

Sometimes he felt as though he’d wandered into a world where everyone’s life had been spilled out like a gut-shot man, as if their sentiment and possessions were stacked in boxes at a planet-wide yard sale. He thought of what … Continue reading

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