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Tag: politics

And now a word from Ursula K. LeGuin re: abortion

And now a word from Ursula K. LeGuin re: abortion

“What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal?–because that is what every doctor who…

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PIPA, Pirates, Profit, and Pop Culture

PIPA, Pirates, Profit, and Pop Culture

Before I got a design degree in strategic foresight and innovation, I got my first Master’s with a thesis on Japanese animation, cyborg theory, and fan culture. The connection between these two degrees? Their focus on technology, early adopters, and the changing face of copyright. During my first grad school stint, I was considered a little unusual for running a seminar at LiveJournal, reviewing essays on fanfiction and fair use. During my second, my classmates picked my brain about Henry…

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5 New Candidates for Personhood

5 New Candidates for Personhood

I wrote this for a market that I was unaware didn’t pay. I figured that as long as it was written for free, I might as well publish it to my own site: Lately, it seems like everything wants to be a person. Corporations. Blastocysts. Personhood is the new black. So if brainless clusters of cells and soulless conglomerations of capital should have the rights and freedoms inalienable from humanity, what entities should strive for personhood next?

2011: The year the power went out

2011: The year the power went out

As a person who’s paid to imagine futures based on current trends, I spend a lot of time thinking about those trends. The one that sticks out for me this year is: power outages. Consider the signals: Osama bin Laden. Gaddafi. Kim Jong-Il. Silvio Berlusconi. Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Rupert Murdoch. Julian Assange. Steve Jobs. The men who wielded power with an iron fist — for good and for ill — have lost that power. Whether they lost it to death or…

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The Detroit Step

The Detroit Step

From Detroit “The Detroit Step is what New Yorkers do when you tell them where you’re from,” the man said. We met outside Comerica Park, the new stadium for the Detroit Tigers. I was hanging off the fence, taking a photo. I was informed that this was the exact reason why the stadium had been dug below street level, so that kids could climb up a waist-height wall and see the game from behind wrought iron fencing for free. “You…

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Today is a good day for finger-wagging.

Today is a good day for finger-wagging.

In a rare coincidence, two pieces of mine are up at SF Signal and Tor.com, respectively. Thanks to Paul and Bridget, the editors, for allowing me to rant at my leisure. The first is a piece on how to raise stakes for characters in post-Singularity or post-Scarcity novels. Snip: I belong to a genre writing workshop that’s lasted for over twenty years, and its collective wisdom is that the “literature of ideas” excuse is just that — an excuse. Listening…

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On cancer

On cancer

My mother is a cancer survivor. During my third year of university, we learned that she was suffering from ductal carcinoma in-situ, a slow form of breast cancer that was undetectable by self-exam or mammogram. In her case, it took a stubborn doctor and a galactogram to diagnose her. Another family member had been diagnosed a few years earlier with another form of breast cancer. That same woman now has stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Another has leukemia. Just last week,…

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On the death of bin Laden

On the death of bin Laden

Like many of my generation, I greeted the death of Osama bin Laden with frantic text messaging. Then tweeting, then emailing and strangely, housekeeping. At three a.m., I turned on a vacuum. Two minutes later, I shut it off. The BBC continued confirming what I had heard hours earlier. He was dead. We had killed him. My people on the other side of the border were in the streets of my nation’s capitol, cheering his death. Watching them I knew…

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New story: "Zombies, Condoms, and Shenzhen: The Surprising Link Between the Undead and the Unborn"

New story: "Zombies, Condoms, and Shenzhen: The Surprising Link Between the Undead and the Unborn"

One of the reasons I haven’t blogged very much recently is that I’ve been so damn busy. I went away for a while to a lake up north, where I worked on the story in this subject heading as well as a couple of others (I even did some foresighting work, if you can believe that). The good news is that all of the stories I was working on were requests from other people — this one came from Rudy…

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