More and more digital users are heading out into the great offline…

Image reproduced under Creative Commons Licence from Flickr

While government policy papers, pop science articles and advertising campaigns recurrently extol the virtues of digital connectivity, proclaiming ‘ Life’s Better Connected’, the last few years have seen the emergence of a rising tide of digital discontent amidst the ‘overconnected’ citizens of the global north. …


Claims celebrating the positive environmental impact of remote working overlook the carbon footprint of our online services…

Amidst the unfolding horror of the coronavirus pandemic, the industrial and economic shutdown has ostensibly provided us with an eye-opening glimpse of what the world might look like without fossil fuels.

In a classic post-apocalyptic trope, nature has supposedly begun to ‘reclaim the planet’. Kangaroos have been spotted in the deserted streets of Adelaide city centre. Jellyfish have been photographed swimming through the Venice lagoon, leading to proclamations that “nature is taking back Venice”. Deer have supposedly “returned” to Essex.

Restrictions on travel…


An anthropological look at a strange kind of weather that comes from outer space…

This article originally appeared on Weather Matters, an online hub for anthropologists working on issues related to weather and climate change.

Amidst recent calls to ‘de-terrestrialise’ anthropological thought (Howe 2015; Olson and Messeri 2015), I would like to introduce a very different kind of weather into the purview of anthropological analysis: ‘space weather’.

Unlike terrestrial weather, space weather cannot be seen or otherwise sensed by human beings. Nor does it take place in the troposphere, where most terrestrial weather systems develop. Space weather is an umbrella term that is used to describe electromagnetic disturbances that occur in the near-Earth space…


Data centres underpin digital societies but these buildings are persistently overlooked in discussions about societal resilience

Do you know where your organisation stores its data? It’s not in the ‘cloud’. It’s in a data centre.

Vital systems today are increasingly mediated on many levels by data centres, which strive to ensure their smooth, reliable, and continuous operation. Yet these buildings remain largely absent in discussions about societal and infrastructure resilience.

Having spent the last several years conducting fieldwork in data centres and working with resilience practitioners from across critical sectors, it is clear that there is a deficit of knowledge about the role these buildings play in societal continuity.

Data centres power digital societies and enable…

A.R.E. Taylor

A.R.E. Taylor is a social anthropologist based at the University of Cambridge and the University of Winchester. Follow him on Twitter at @alexretaylor

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store