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Re: <nettime> Evgeny Morozov and the Perils of "Highbrow
John Hopkins on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:27:56 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Evgeny Morozov and the Perils of "Highbrow

Hei John -

There is a correlation between the rise of publicity (public relations and
advertising) and diminution of quality standards and enforcement. So
much that quality control, like privacy policy, is a publicity gambit not
the actual performance.


But do watch for falling buildings and infrastructure
(World Trade Center), terrorists, disease, backstabbing,
rep bashing, tenure dying on the vine, and treachery of
pulp intellectualism (as if there were any other).

But all of this may be framed as being (merely!) the effects of entropy that flies in the face of our illusions that we really *do* control our world!

In the present process of restoring a 50+ year old house, I find shoddy workmanship is nothing new, while down the street a neighbor, an extremely skilled fabricator -- a Russian immigrant who started work on Soviet ICBM installations, worked on Boston's "Big Dig", and is now retired -- he re-built his entire house to a standard rarely seen except in the very highest-end custom construction trades. You can be damn sure he expended significantly more resources on the work (both in embodied labor and materials) than is typical. Without both those imputs, something remains shoddy. And shoddy becomes the standard. (And this happening through the inability of the local government to enforce standards -- they appear to, they 'try', but they don't have the resources to do it.) All this evidence of a system that has reached a peak some time ago where it had 'higher' standards, and is now in the throes of a psychic crisis where it no longer has the (energy) resources to maintain those standards.

A simple example was a number I ran across when researching the US Interstate (aka, the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways) system -- that right now it would take the energy equivalent of all remaining declared Suadi oil reserves to re-build that system. THe absolute lifetime, in engineering standards, of such a highway is a maximum of 40 years, and much of this system has reached 50 years. The US no longer has free access to the energy resources necessary to project this system into the future, and if you want to directly experience entropy, simply drive around the US on that system. Better have an SUV with a good suspension, perhaps a Hummer, as you will need it!


Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
grounded on a granite batholith
twitter:  {AT} neoscenes

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