The Disappearing Mid-Market

Earlier this year, after comparing advertisements from the 1980s and the present day, I suggested that the consumption of luxury items has become more and more widespread in network culture

Recently, I ran across a story in the Economist on
The Disappearing Mid-Market that argues that consumers are finding new ways to save through eBay and other bargain outlets (buying used clothes is more acceptable than ever) while buying more and more luxury goods. The result is the end of the mid-market. Goodbye Sears and Macy's.

networked individualism

How do individuals relate to each other on the Internet? A paper from the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Communication, suggests that in place of groups, we will see the rise of network individualism.

tracing the history of email

Talking Headers is a history of email. I was amazed by the account of Steven Lukasik, ARPA's director from 1971 to 1975, lugging around a thirty pound Texas Instruments terminal and an acoustic coupler to check his email once an hour. More about the terminal Lukasik was likely to have used here

inside the amazon warehouse

What is amazon.com's warehouse like? Kim Gilmour offers a glimpse of the activities inside the amazon.co.uk warehouse
More on the wareshouse (with a photograph) here

NSA Wiretap Documents Revealed

In my article on the Centripetal City, I suggest that the concentration of Internet infrastructure poses a potential terrorist target. But what of the other sort of terror, the Orwellian terror of complete government surveillance, the state of exception created by total war? Network culture may appear to be liberating, but what of this dark underside? In (post-)Soviet America, you don't Google the NSA, the NSA Googles you!

The scandal over wiretaps by the NSA has been brewing for some time, but yesterday Wired Magazine released documents that detail charges that AT&T built secret rooms in a San Francisco company office in order to cc: traffic from its WorldNet Internet Backbone to the NSA. Read Wired's story here and view the documents in pdf here

new docomomo site

Together with Unjoo Noh, I designed the new web site for the United States chapter of the International Working Party for the Documentation and Conservation of building sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement (DoCoMoMo). Take a look and, while you're there, find out more about this worthy organization of which I am a national board member.

IKEA: the world's biggest charity

The Economist recently ran a story on how the world's biggest charity runs IKEA:

What emerges is an outfit that ingeniously exploits the quirks of different jurisdictions to create a charity, dedicated to a somewhat banal cause, that is not only the world's richest foundation, but is at the moment also one of its least generous.

the science of driving directions

How do Mapquest and Google maps work and where did they come from? Nick Paumgarten investigates in this article on the science of driving directions in a recent issue of the New Yorker.

mapping the spread of wal-mart

Sprawlwatchers will be intrigued by the animated map that Thomas J. Holmes made of the spread of Wal-Mart throughout the country. Via Future Feeder and theboxtank.

The animation accompanies Holmes's paper on The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and the Economics of Density

High Desert Test Sites

I'll be at High Desert Test Sites all weekend, where AUDC is installing its model of One Wilshire.

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