A Brief History of Websites

1989 Any particle physicist can have a website! 1993 Any researcher can have a website! 1995 Anybody at a university can have a website! 1996 Any company can have a website! 1997 Anybody can have a crappy website! 2001 Anybody can have a decent website if it’s a blog! 2003 Tech companies can help anybody have a blog! 2005 Big… read more

Website Updates

New stuff and new ways to get it

A few housekeeping notes this weekend. First, I’ve updated the Speculative Realism Aggregator to include the blogs of Jeff Bell (“Aberrant Monism) and Tim Morton (“The Ecological Thought”). If there are any other blogs that belong in the system that I’m missing, let me know. Second, you may not know it, but you can access a mobile version of this… read more

lead-3

You Are Mountain

A strange video game from the Her animator bests Spike Jonze's film at depicting what a relationship with an alien really would be like.

Near the start of his relationship with a computer operating system in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning film Her, Samantha the OS (Scarlett Johansson) helps Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) play a videogame. Called “Alien Child” by the filmmakers, the game seems familiar enough to be plausible to viewers, yet foreign enough to induce estrangement. The same could be said of the film’s high-waisted… read more

pg-logo

Persuasive Games

The game studio I co-founded. We make games about social and political issues.

Persuasive Games designs, builds, and distributes videogames for persuasion, instruction, and activism I do professional game development and game design consulting at Persuasive Games. I co-founded the studio in 2003 with Gerard LaFond. Persuasive Games created the first official US Presidential Election game for Howard Dean in 2003. Since then, we’ve created games for political campaigns, advertisers, educators, and corporations,… read more

lead_large-2

The Future of Luxury: Avoiding People

Services like Silvercar, Uber, and pay-to-play airline VIP programs help keep the new aristocracy away from the rabble

When I power on my phone upon landing at LAX, a text message is already waiting for me: “Hi Ian, Silvercar here! We have your res at 1:00pm today. Let’s roll!” Silvercar rents a fleet of silver Audi A4s at airports in Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. A slogan speaks plainly on the company’s behalf: “car rental that doesn’t… read more

A Slow Year Now Available as a Digital Download

DRM free for Windows and Mac. Get it at the Humble Store or via Storybundle.

In 2010 I released a game called A Slow Year. It was a strange game on many levels: made for the Atari VCS, and dubbed “game poems,” and composed as a kind of chapbook. The game was a finalist in the Nuovo category at the 2010 Independent Game Festival, and it won the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at Indiecade 2010.… read more

The McRib: Enjoy Your Symptom

How McDonald's strange, seasonal sandwich explains the rest of its menu

Each year, the McRib makes a brief visit to Earth. Its arrival elicits reactions ranging from horror to awe. And for good reason: this would-be rib sandwich is really a restructured pork patty pressed into the rough shape of a slab of ribs, its slathering of barbecue sauce acting as camouflage as much as coating. “Pork” is a generous term,… read more

58b0e7375

Hyperemployment

or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes famously argued that by the time a century had passed, developed societies would be able to replace work with leisure thanks to widespread wealth and surplus. “We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day,” he wrote, “only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines.” Eighty years… read more

The iPhones of Fall

These days, Apple is more properly thought of as a fashion label, not an electronics company.

When Apple launched the iPhone 4 in 2010, the company’s website featured large images of the device with the text “This changes everything. Again.” Change has been a constant refrain in Apple’s marketing over the years. The famous 1984 Macintosh ads framed the computer as an agent of revolution. And the “Think Different” ads of the 1990s implied that purchasing… read more