Technology

1392 A one-man freedom convoy

man@the_airport: How Social Media Saved My Life. One Syrian’s Story by Hassan Al Kontar New Westminster: Tidewater Press, 2021 $23.95 / 9781777010188 Reviewed by Daniel Gawthrop * Given the staggering human toll of the civil war in Syria since 2011 — half a million dead, more than six and a half million internally displaced, another…
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1348 Baffling thrums of reasoning

White Lie by Clint Burnham Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2021 $18.00 / 9781772141740 Reviewed by Peter Babiak * One of my favourite lines of literary theory is from the mystical German Jewish essayist, Walter Benjamin. A perspicacious man who recognized just how much literary works are indebted to the economic and technological conditions that form their…
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1341 An unsafe online world

Coding Democracy: How Hackers are Disrupting Power, Surveillance, and Authoritarianism by Maureen Webb, with a foreword by Cory Doctorow Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2020 $17.95 (U.S.) / 9780262542289 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * An Unsafe Online World: What happens if do-evil computer nerds overrun do-good ones in the struggle to save democracy? News Flash: Julian…
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1323 Eavesdropping in the bush

Caught on the Trail: Nature’s Wildlife Selfies by Dale Bakken and Sandra Lynch-Bakken Surrey: Hancock House, 2020 $24.95 / 9780888390585 Reviewed by Jocie Brooks * A curious black bear nuzzles the camera on the cover of Caught on the Trail: Nature’s Wildlife Selfies. This book offers “up close and personal” views of BC’s wildlife that…
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1242 Architecture, investment & greed

Icebergs, Zombies and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century by Matthew Soules Hudson, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2021 $26.95 (U.S.) / 9781616899462 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Everyone says many of the same things about real estate. “That view is worth a million dollars.” “If you want to make money, real…
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1116 Politics on a punch card

Cataloguing Culture: Legacies of Colonialism in Museum Documentation by Hannah Turner Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020 $32.95 / 9780774863933 Reviewed by Forrest Pass * On the desk of my home office, I keep a relic of museum cataloguing in days gone by: a McBee Keysort manual punch, model 5201-630. Resembling a standard hole punch, this tool…
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1099 A measure of change

Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet by Philippe D. Tortell (editor) Cambridge, UK: Open Books Publishers, 2020 £23.95 (U.K.)  /  9781783748457 Reviewed by Loys Maingon * I have felt for some time that the universities are getting dangerously like the early church — James Lovelock.[1] As the well-known photography of Edward…
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1080 Across the universe with Hubble

Not Yet Imagined: A Study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations by Christopher Gainor Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, NASA History Division, 2020 9781626830615 free eBook (PDF) available here Reviewed by John Hutchings * This is a scholarly but very readable tome that describes — in some 450 pages — the…
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1056 Beijing in Canada

Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada by Jonathan Manthorpe Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2019 $24.95 / 9781770865396 Reviewed by Trevor Carolan * Book-length critiques of our national failures of nerve and vision seldom make easy reading. Drug use policies, Quebec-ROC relations, Indigenous reconciliation, housing and environmental issues — on and…
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Teaching typography in quarantine

ESSAY: Advanced Typography Workshops in Quarantine by Thomas Girard * In October 2020, Thomas Girard of the Graduate Liberal Studies programme at Simon Fraser University taught a course in Advanced Typography at a design school in Vancouver. Here, he provides a summary of that course with nods to the history — and ubiquity — of…
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#890 Podiums, prototypes, and Plato

ESSAY: Unique ways of prototyping by Thomas Girard * Editor’s note: When asked to define “prototyping” as used in this essay, Thomas Girard replied: When I talk about “prototyping” here, I’m talking about it in part as I’ve learnt it in traditional design education, at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, years ago. In…
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#826 Lights, action, Michael Varga

Inside View: The Eye Behind the Lens by Michael G. Varga and Roxanne Davies Victoria: Island Blue (Printorum), 2018 $20.00  /  9781790697366 Reviewed by Timothy Lewis This book is available through Amazon.ca * The perception one gets through the lens of a television camera often allows the viewer to gain perspective on something they would…
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#773 Past imperfect

Agency by William Gibson Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Berkley Books), 2020 $37.00 / 9781101986936 Reviewed by John Belshaw * Fully articulated alternative histories have been around for at least a century. In addition to attempts on the part of scholarly historians to change up the past, there are plenty of storylines in fiction that…
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