5Pointz, the unofficial name for a decaying warehouse complex on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, once hosted a good deal of graffiti and spray-can art, much of it oversized and gorgeous, like so:
Yet despite its international reputation as a temple of street-art, 5Pointz also stood in the way of progress, if by “progress” you mean luxury condos without much local character but certainly a whole lot of amenities, and so its current landlord decided to send in a couple of crews to whitewash every wall, ahead of ripping down the whole thing in December:
Now artists are screaming on blogs and Twitter about how New York City is becoming a sterile shadow of its former self. And at moments like this, it’s hard to disagree.
Anyway, on Slashdot: an unfunny run-in with Her Majesty’s Secret Service; the continuing disaster that’s Healthcare.gov; and Elon Musk finally snaps over that whole Tesla-cars-catching-on-fire thing.
In The Washington Independent Review of Books: Jeff Bezos as e-commerce tyrant in Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store,” and a lightly fictionalized version of Google in Dave Eggers’ “The Circle.”
On Slashdot: my interview with an astronaut about the accuracy of the new movie “Gravity,” a look at how the citizens of Oakland are using crowdfunding to hire a private police force, and the Human Brain Project launches in Switzerland.
In The Washington Independent Review of Books: a relatively painless dissection of Choire Sicha’s “Very Recent History,” a novel about New York City during the Great Financial Implosion of 2008.
And Crack the Spine has released its Summer 2013 anthology in paperback, with my poem “The White Mountains.”
In the latest issue of Carrier Pigeon (Vol. 3, Issue 2): my short story, “Dogs of Brooklyn,” about a battle for survival in a post-apocalyptic New York City. (Illustrated by the one and only Kevin Speidell.)
Now available on Amazon: Reloaded (Both Barrels 2), a crime-fiction anthology featuring my short story, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”: college girl decides that a summer spent ripping off drug dealers in the Southwest is way better than yet another internship at a nonprofit.
In The Washington Independent Review of Books: a review of Nate Anderson’s “The Internet Police,” a nonfiction account of the Web’s more libertarian elements in conflict with law enforcement and government agencies.
On Slashdot: Articles on the new iPhone 5S, tech-world buzzwords that need to die, and how Apple is killing Nintendo.
On Slashdot: I interview the former director of NASA’s International Space Station division about the science behind the new movie ‘Elysium.’ That’s in addition to an essay on Hollywood’s summer of big-budget flops, and how Google is developing an analytics system that could predict how much a particular movie will ultimately earn.
In The Washington Independent Review of Books: a somewhat-negative view of Amir Ahmad Nasr’s “My Isl@m.”
Some big announcements in just a few short weeks…
I reviewed Dan Kennedy’s “American Spirit,” as well as Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s “The New Digital Age,” in The Washington Independent Review of Books.
On Slashdot: pieces about Apple CEO Tim Cook as the Sphinx of Cupertino, Chinese hackers doing their best to score the juiciest military secrets, and walking the Galapagos with Google.
Featured in Crack the Spine Issue 63: A new poem, “The White Mountains.”
Available for pre-order: Carrier Pigeon volume 3 issue 1, featuring my short story “Everything I Do Hurts Somebody,” described by the editors as “a morbid ramble of desire, envy and fiery revenge.” Accompanying illustrations provided by the illustrious Matthew Barteluce. Release date is May 17.
Recently on Slashdot: an essay on Big Data, advertising and the erosion of privacy; the nice folks at Netflix tell me that the upcoming season of “Arrested Development” won’t crash their servers; and another piece on public surveillance in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.
On Slashdot: a discussion of reporting and social media in the wake of the tragedy at the Boston marathon. In essence, the debate over the media coverage of the Boston situation is a continuation of a very old argument, between publications insisting the public must be informed and critics arguing that such coverage is tantamount to exploitation. The current state of media, in which publications have become more blatant about their hunt for pageviews and advertising dollars, plays into those critics’ arguments.
NPR’s All Things Considered blog was kind enough to quote from my Slashdot article about Yahoo’s acquisition of Summly, and whether a major tech firm shelling out $30 million for a news-aggregation app is yet another sign that a tech bubble is well and truly upon us. As I mention in the original piece, a lot of companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.) have been spending quite a bit of coin on apps with relatively limited functionality, but that doesn’t mean we’re back in the heady days of the dot-com bubble; indeed, a lot of these buys are intended to scoop up promising talent, or keep an asset out of a rival’s hands.
Your humble correspondent spent the past few days in Austin, Texas, eating his weight in grilled meats and listening to the tech luminaries at this year’s South by Southwest opine about everything from spaceflight to super-computers. For your reading pleasure: Elon Musk talking about SpaceX (including recent experiments in reusable rockets) and why he still thinks a certain New York Times reporter is a lying liar who lies; the one and only Nate Silver gets a little bitter about fame; Al Gore ends up a little hot under the collar about spider goats and genetic engineering; and Stephen Wolfram, a.k.a. the walking supercomputer, has a unified theory of Pretty Much Everything.
And because I was basically unable to stop writing, thanks to my continuous ingestion of caffeine and animal protein, I also covered the spread of mobile phones in Africa and how emotions figured into the design of Google Android (just two of several interesting SXSW panels). It’s all over on Slashdot.
In non-tech writing, The Washington Independent Review of Books (just redesigned!) has my review of Lawrence Wright’s “Going Clear,” while Circuit Gallery posted my short essay about Alejandro Cartagena’s Car Poolers series. Now someone please pry this espresso cup from my hand.