Googling The Future

Anyone concerned about the digital future should welcome the recent record-setting fine of Google by EU antitrust officials.

Google had been accused of using its search engine, which reportedly has 90 percent of the market, to prioritize its own online shopping service. As a result, the use of the Google service increased dramatically — 45 percent in the UK, for example — while the use of its competitors’ services decreased — 85 percent in the UK, and these changes, according to the European Commission, cannot be explained by other factors. Continue reading “Googling The Future”

What Democracy Looks Like

Women’s March on Chicago 2017

I decided to attend the Chicago Women’s March last weekend after listening to inaugural day speeches.

President Trump, in his inaugural address, endorsed a “new vision” of “only America first” at a time of unprecedented interconnectivity. Former President Obama later affirmed his “faith in American people” and belief in “bottom-up” change to his staff and supporters, who, he said, “proved the power of hope” throughout his campaign and terms.  Continue reading “What Democracy Looks Like”

O Holy Night

So much debate about the reason for the season, such as the Starbucks cup kerfuffle, seems incomplete at best. Christmas, I learned from Stephen Nissenbaum, originates as a pagan carnival for drinking, eating, and gift-giving, and it was initially banned by American Puritans and later appropriated by them and others, such as entrepreneurs. It’s beginning to look like a good holiday again, a time when the faithful come a-wassailing and bearing gifts to jingle bells, deck the halls, and wish a Merry Christmas to all.

Mixing It Up

Researchers suggest that codeswitching, or mixing two languages, is often constrained by age or ethnicity or location, but people in Beirut reportedly codeswitch in everyday interactions even though the interlocutors are both Lebanese, which could have some intriguing implications for cultural identity.

Cultural identity has historically been defined by linguistic boundaries and textual traditions that, though arbitrary (see Wright 2004), have been indexed to nationalist norms as imagined communities (Anderson 2006), in which print and other media encourage the belief in shared identities and shared values. French people, especially those who are cultured and, thus, epitomize the identity, speak French, for example, and are familiar with French literature.  Continue reading “Mixing It Up”