The Object Lessons series, edited by Christopher Schaberg and Ian Bogost, comprises small, attractive books on everyday things like dust and silence. I suppose that such movements as “object-oriented philosophy,” “thing theory,” and “no ideas but in things” lurk somewhere in the motivating background. But it’s a pragmatic, exploratory series as far as I can tell from reading one volume: Evan Kindley’s Questionnaire. I should go ahead and disclose that my pitches on the following objects were summarily rejected: corncobs crakes xerotherms affect Pausanias gently used copy of Lorraine Daston’s Objectivity deadlift (I bear no grudge.) I decided to read Kindley’s book because I knew that it contained some material on Francis Galton, as I’ve been writing about him myself.
Like many habitual internet users, I strongly believe that I have never bought anything advertised to me on the web, nor have any of these ads affected my behavior beyond momentary irritation. I sometimes take ad-blocking steps and am well aware of cookies, browser-entropy measures, and the wily IP address. My disdain for the so-called “Flash” plugin is complete. What, then, could a book primarily focused on the marketing models used by data scientists to target consumer behavior on the web tell me?