HEWN, No. 305

The Earth's latest mass extinction event is already underway...

Last weekend’s snowstorm in Seattle was something else. The city doesn’t get much snow — or so the locals keep telling me — but this is the snowiest February since 1916. I managed to walk to the grocery store before there was too much snow and ice on the ground. It was mayhem. I’ve never seen store shelves so empty. My neighborhood supermarket was out of almond milk, yellow onions, corn tortillas, and eggs — probably some other stuff too, like bread of course, but those were the things on my shopping list that I couldn’t find. The city practically shut down — schools and many offices were closed. Yet I overheard someone in my apartment building staring at their phone and loudly complaining that they couldn’t get their groceries delivered — Instacart said it would be four or five days before the next delivery could be scheduled, and Uber wasn’t available either. I wanted to scream something about precarious labor and the so-called “app economy,” but that didn’t seem at all neighborly. Thankfully, the weather cleared up enough at SeaTac for me to fly to LAX to pack up our apartment here — so now I’m in Los Angeles, which is experiencing near historic levels of rainfall so far this year. Wheee!

This week’s pigeon is a crested pigeon:

(Image credits)

Speaking of birds, Ross Anderson argues that “Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition.” Elsewhere in animals, Colin Dickey reviews a book on the “invention of the modern dog.” Aaron Bady writes about “White Words.” “Bots Are Terrible at Recognizing Black Faces. Let’s Keep it That Way,” says Zoé Samudzi. Anne Helen Petersen explores student loan debt — a “new form of social stratification.” Google Books search is badly broken, according to Ben Schmidt. Tim Carmody compares Jeff Bezos and Charles Foster Kane. “There is no such thing as a good and emancipatory technology that cannot be co-opted and perverted into a power of capital,” says David Harvey. Maybe that’s what I should have shouted at my neighbor.

Yours in struggle,