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Nostalgia

The Technologies We Loved & Why

How nostalgia for old technology forms our social bonds Remember those evenings when you sat by your boom box, fingers ready to leap into action to press the play/record buttons on the tape deck as soon as the song started? You just had to get that latest hit song recorded! You’d hope with bated breath that the DJ wouldn’t talk into the start of the song. And hit stop before the ads came on. Perhaps you took a computer science course in junior high, and you learned Logos and made a ping pong game? You knew just what to do when the cassette tape got stuck in the player, either jammed up from a rewind or from just playing that tape over and over. Ah, those orange-coloured foam headphone covers. Our parents telling us to be careful walking into traffic. Today we have hundreds of millions of songs of all

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Longevity

Canadian Fiction: Theo Waits

Unless you are talking about things I can plant in my stories like the wooden bridge that went sideways during winter storms or the sound of night hockey or the sharp rocks you placed in the corners of your tent so you wouldn’t fly away, I am not listening. I am making people up instead. I use my father’s blue eyes to feel a flash of him and for my mother it’s flowers, just a hint, and then somebody like Theo lands on the page and we’re off. He blew in over night. I saw the lights whir around my bedroom, just a second of a blueredbluered and then only whitefor a long time which was perfect because I had maybe four pages to go and my flashlight was barely a ghost. I heard car doors and voices, there was a final whir of colour, and if I thought about

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Longevity

The good things social media is giving the world

As a digital anthropologist, I’ve spent a lot of time in online communities, studying social media as well as netnographic research and humans using technology in the real world. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly over the past decade. While much may seem bad, I’ve seen a fair bit of good and I’m starting to see some broader positive societal trends coming out of social media. Let’s take a look. Animals: From cats being mean to silly and cute dogs and wildlife caught in the act, we can see a shift across many countries and cultures in how we see animals. From pets to wildlife. Although there isn’t any hard scientific evidence yet, anecdotally, we can suggest that humans, who are also animals, are perhaps evolving more meaningful relationships with our fellow animals ad we learn about them and how we can interact. The good that may

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Resonance

Alone together

We humans are social animals. That’s why social isolation is so hard on us. Some darn virus came out of nowhere and now all over the world people are being told what they can’t do. The hardest part is the “who” part. In lockdown, partial or total, however your jurisdiction defines it, there are people you can’t meet face to face: family, friends, neighbours, colleagues. Near and far. You can’t invite them over. You can’t meet in a restaurant – or even at the office. You can’t drive to see them, or take a train, a ship or an airplane. It sucks. So what do you do? Answer: whatever you can. I don’t go anywhere. The last time I did, pre-lockdown, I ended up taking a Covid test. It was negative. Living in suburban Nova Scotia, I get to bicycle and take out my kayak on a nearby lake. I

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Longevity

Rules for a new age of technology

Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Without regulation, the promise of information technology may be overwhelmed by its inevitable dark side. In early, 2018, Ibrahim Diallo, went to his office in Los Angeles. His access card denied him entry, so a guard let him in. But his access to his email and computer had also been turned off. A short time later he was given notice that he was fired. The company’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) system had terminated his contract. It took the company three weeks to figure out what happened. It started with a human error. His former supervisor had not updated his contract in the system. The AI simply followed the rules, coldly and inhumanly. Joan, who just turned 82, lives independently in her active living condo on the outskirts of Toronto. She’s healthy but can be prone to dizziness and risks falling. One day, she falls.

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Longevity

Our global celebrations of spring

Around the world cultures and religions celebrate spring in many colourful and different ways. They are wonderful experiences that show us how much we are all the same. Rites, celebrations and passages of spring have been a part of the human existence since we began to evolve a culture. Our early ancestors would hold celebrations as seasons changed to ask their gods and ancestors for mild winters or early spring growing seasons. Spring celebrations and harvest festivals were tops throughout the cycle of the year all around the world. For many cultures, spring celebrations weren’t just for good crop growing ahead, but also represented fertility in their sociocultural groups. In Sweden, they have the Festival of the Penis, or St. John’s Day at the summer solstice. It is from pre-Christian days and was a nod to the pagan god Freyr, who represented fertility and renewal. In Sweden, it’s considered more

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