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Timothy Kemp

Timothy Kemp's Public Library

  • The company’s tech isn’t a formulation, but a formula. Rather than making a single superhydrophobic surface suitable for all products, it has created an algorithm to optimize the thermodynamic relationships between a textured solid on the inside of the bottle

  • For a long time the common understanding was that technology was destroying jobs but also creating new and better ones,” says Lipson. “Now the evidence is that technology is destroying jobs and indeed creating new and better ones but also fewer ones. It is something we as technologists need to start thinking about.”

  • The second big theory is spiritual—it’s that we’re distracted because our souls are troubled. The comedian Louis C.K. may be the most famous contemporary exponent of this way of thinking. A few years ago, on “Late Night” with Conan O’Brien, he argued that people are addicted to their phones because “they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.” (David Foster Wallace also saw distraction this way.) The spiritual theory is even older than the material one: in 1874, Nietzsche wrote that “haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself”; in the seventeenth century, Pascal said that “all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” In many ways, of the two, the material theory is more reassuring. If the rise of distraction is caused by technology, then technology might reverse it, while if the spiritual theory is true then distraction is here to stay. It’s not a competition, though; in fact, these two problems could be reinforcing each other. Stimulation could lead to ennui, and vice versa.
  • “The World Beyond Your Head” is about people who do work to which they can’t help but pay attention: short-order cooks, hockey players, motorcycle racers, glassblowers. These workers, Crawford writes, endeavor to bring themselves “into a relation of fit” with a demanding world. When a line cook rushes to keep up with new orders, or when a motorcyclist anticipates a patch of slick road, they are simultaneously “limited and energized” by the constraints they encounter.
  • More generally, distraction is scary for another, complementary reason: the tremendous value that we’ve come to place on attending. The modern world valorizes few things more than attention. It demands that we pay attention at school and at work; it punishes parents for being inattentive; it urges us to be mindful about money, food, and fitness; it celebrates people who command others’ attention

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  • T cells, were removed from his blood, genetically engineered to target his cancer, and then dripped back into his veins.
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