Author: hock

Writing

Material Series

In the 1920s Western Electric put out this fascinating “material series” of advertisements to narrate the material (and men) that went into the Bell telephone. The campaign appeared in a whole host of magazine and periodicals, from mainstream fare like Life, Forbes, and Time to popular technical publications like Scientific American and The Technology Review. […]

Writing

Studies in Sortation

Amazon is a hybrid company, equal parts Walmart and FedEx. Like all great retailers of the modern moment, it is an outsized presence masking the hundreds–thousands–of individuals using its infrastructure to build business behind house labels and simplified searches. But it is distribution that girds the company’s foundation and prefigures its future. In this respect, […]

Logistical Fictions

On the Road

The above map is the result of a painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature. It includes every place-name reference in 12 books about cross-country travel, from Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872) to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012), and maps the authors’ routes on top of one another. […]

Logistical Fictions

Seahaven Elegance Delivered to Your Door

CHRISTOF: Yes, everything you see on the show is for sale – from the actors’ wardrobe, food products, to the very homes they live in–INTERVIEWER: All products carefully chosen and tested by you for quality and aesthetic value.CHRISTOF: There’s nothing on the show I don’t use myself.INTERVIEWER: And it’s all available in the “Truman” Show” […]

Logistical Fictions

Status: 3 Moving Objects

In the Virginia headquarters of the software company Eurisko Corporation, an argument between company founder Brad Wilczek and CEO Benjamin Drake ensues. Wilczek tells Drake that his recent decisions are “killing my company” and angrily leaves. Later on, Drake writes a memo in which he proposes to end the “C.O.S. project,” citing a “disastrous performance” […]

Logistical Fictions

Stepping Out

Willis Linsay’s original “Stepper,” as anonymously posted online. 2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson has returned to the burned-out home of one Willis Linsay, a reclusive and some said mad, others dangerous, scientist. It was arson but, as is often the way, the firemen seem to have caused more damage than the fire itself. Stepping […]

Logistical Fictions

Mon is the measure of all things

There is almost no industry in this world that is not touched by Pokémon. Energy is either naturally sourced, as in the Sinnoh region’s Valley Windworks, or is generated directly by Electric-type Pokémon. Burly Fighting-types like Machops perform manual labor, working as stevedores in Driftveil City and miners in Oreburgh. Flying-types as small and common as […]

Logistical Fictions

Underlying Instabilities

One might assume the collapse of Jurassic Park (1993) and Jurassic World (2015) are similar sorts of events. The former descends into chaos as a result of Dennis Nedry’s attempt to misappropriate embryos for InGen’s competitor Biosyn. The second follows from the inadvertent release of the Indominus Rex. But from a structural standpoint, each sequence […]