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In the March 14, 2006 edition of the Chicago Tribune appeared “Swan Song for an i Pod,” by a Kevin Pang, whose device had crashed.

Technology is the solvent of tradition: Practical knowledge of food production once passed from one generation to the next; in the Leisure State it is dissolved in the machines of agribusiness.

Is calling attention to the disappearing of human skills and traditions mere romantic longing for the past?

These devices and systems too often deliver, like the contraceptive, the opposite of what they promise. Rather than strengthening human relationships, they make them more trivial and more abstract. Far from making the truth easier to uncover, they make the truth harder to discern.