Friday Link List

1. Speak Up! Advertisers Want You To Talk With New Apps {npr}.

This ain’t creepy…

When I opened it, the app asked me a question: What’s your favorite type of liquor? That’s a little forward, but it’s Esquire so I played along and told the app that I’m more of a beer drinker…

Before I knew it, I found myself engrossed in a chat about booze. I was talking to recordings of Wondrich, and he, or really the app, was listening to what I said and answering me back.

2. The Empty Air: mobile app offers sound tour through Rittenhouse Square {technically philly}.

This seems neat but I may be too self conscious to actually give it a whirl.

Called “The Empty Air” and successfully crowdfunded last fall, the app uses GPS to control what you hear as you walk through the park. Kiley created the original musical piece using sounds he recorded in the park.

3. Vast ‘Digital Public Library Of America’ Opens Today {npr}.

The Digital Public Library of America, intended to provide free open access to materials from libraries, museums, universities and archives across the country, launches at noon ET on Thursday… Robert Darnton, Harvard University librarian and history professor, writes in The New York Review of Books that “at first, the DPLA’s offering will be limited to a rich variety of collections — books, manuscripts, and works of art — that have already been digitized in cultural institutions throughout the country. Around this core it will grow, gradually accumulating material of all kinds until it will function as a national digital library.”

More than a Recession

Citizens United. The inability for Congress to do anything about the climate crisis. The slashing of education budgets across the country. 10%+ of the population are long-term unemployed. Healthcare reform that gives for-profit corporations more power over our well-being than they already had.

Jobs go overseas while cuts to every level of our already-pathetic education system with an apparent disregard for the future. Pennsylvania’s doesn’t have a particularly rosy outlook compared to the rest of the nation, but it’s starting to look like paradise compared to our friends across the river. Hundreds of teachers have been laid off, as class sizes increase and districts merge. One of the poorest cities in the country, Camden, will lose its entire library system this year.

When taken by themselves, these scenarios may seem benign. When taken as a whole – in the context of globalization, a climate crisis, a government wholly owned by private corporations who can contribute unlimited amounts to politicians, overseen by a laughably small cadre of journalists (not to mention useless television news) – the future of our country becomes, as Glenn Greenwald recently coined it, a collapsing empire {salon}.