Jacob Brogan

The world is always ending

Writing

My work covers a wide range of topics, from stories of weird animals to investigations of digital archives. Some of my recent articles, essays, and reviews can be found below.

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What Were Screensavers?

Slate

Now largely forgotten, these once ubiquitous programs let us imagine that our computers were dreaming. Revisiting their oneiric power helps us understand the early days days of computing—and how we've changed as our technologies have developed.

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Our Helpless President

The New Republic

Watching Donald Trump in action, I sometimes imagine a drowning sailor desperately flailing to stay afloat. That's an impression he sometimes seems to cultivate: To understand him, we have to begin with his performance of helplessness.

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Apocalypses Now

Slate

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is often described as a safeguard against doomsday. Instead, it serves as a reminder that the world is always ending. 

 
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The Loneliness of an Abandoned Moon Colony

Slate

Tom Gauld's Mooncop follow a police officer living on a lunar colony after almost all of the other residents make their way back to earth. It hollows out a space within those evacuated visions and invites us to dwell within.

When John Berger Looked at Death

The New Yorker

The critic an novelist John Berger wrote of death in much the same way he did about art—with an eye toward the fact of its materiality. I revisited those writings for the New Yorker after Berger's own death.

Behind the Scenes at the National Zoo With the World’s Most Dangerous Bird

Cassowaries are notoriously strange creatures, but what's it like to spend decades with one? I talked with the keepers of one of these peculiar and rare birds.