Month: September 2017

See me on TV, getting mildly outraged about DNA grabbing, Softbank and Amazon

This past Sunday, I finally appeared as a panelist on NBC’s Press:Here, hosted by Scott McGrew.

I say “finally” because, while this was my first time appearing on camera for the show, I’ve hovered in the shadows behind those same for maybe twenty other episodes whenever Sarah has been a panellist.

In the unlikely event you’re unfamiliar with Press:Here, it’s a tech version of Meet The Press (hence its Sunday morning scheduling, right after MTP). Two reporters join McGrew to grill tech leaders, CEOs and other prominent figures.

Sometimes (i.e. when Sarah is on, and/or the subject is Uber) the grilling can be fierce, other times it’s a little more collegial. But it’s consistently the most entertaining and best informed tech-related show by a mainstream broadcaster.  (You’re welcome to add your own joke here about why such a distinguished show would want me as a guest.)

This week, my co-panellist was TechCrunch’s Katie Roof and the companies for discussion were: 1) InterGenX – a company, apparently named by Douglas Coupland, which builds a tool that lets police instantly run tests on suspects’ DNA; 2) Kabbage – the small business loans startup that just raised a quarter billion dollars from Softbank; and 3) Amazon.…


Abusing Ourselves To Death

I’ve just finished re-reading Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves To Death.”

Published in 1985, the book quickly became one of the most famous and influential pieces of media criticism of all time, second only to Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage. Postman’s thesis is simple: The age of television, and in particular television news, had obliterated our attention spans and turned information into entertainment. As such, our world – he argues – has more in common with Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s 1984.

The book also introduced Postman’s theory of the “information-action ratio”…

The tie between information and action has been severed. Information is now a commodity that can be bought and sold, or used as a form of entertainment, or worn like a garment to enhance one’s status. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness; we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don’t know what to do with it.

Postman died in 2003, a year before the launch of Facebook, three years before Twitter and more than a decade before the election of Donald Trump. It’s tantalizing to wonder what he’d have made of the age of Social Media trolling as politics.…



Sam’s Club, Calistoga

It’s 114 degrees in the shade and I slept from midnight til 10am. Two recipes for delight. Now Sarah and I are finishing our trip with eggs and coffee at Sam’s where they split the NY Times into individual sections; a kind of news buffet.

Today the Times shares the astonishing news that women’s employment in the US is down from its peak in 2000. This is the only developed country where women’s employment has dropped. By coincidence it’s also the only developed country where paid maternity leave is not a right.

(c) Copyright Paul Bradley Carr 2002-2021.