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How A 'Dumb Phone' Can Save Us From Drowning In Technology

Feel the novelty fatigue growing inside? But it is not just the vintage feel of the reissued Nokia 3310 that makes it convincing, it is something deeper.

The 'new' Nokia 3310
The "new" Nokia 3310
Aïna Skjellaug

GENEVA — The Nokia 3310, the historic and so-very vintage cell phone that you could drop a hundred times without breaking, is back. And I've been wondering why I find that so cool, despite defining myself as a technology addict. I should be swearing only by the latest model of Apple iPhone, AI-powered robots, self-driving cars, automated payments, digital home automation.

Maybe this return of the dumb phone is just another trend. The marketing of ancient technology has already taken us through the sudden return of the 80s Casio watches worn by my male friends and vinyl records spun by my female friends. Not to mention old vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes and others, 60s-style stirrup pants and Abba remixes lighting up the dance floor on Saturday nights.

But ultimately, I don't think this is really about nostalgia, but rather about pace. It's got to do with the never-ending feeling of moving towards something we haven't asked for.

I feel novelty fatigue growing inside of me. I can feel it with my smartphone, the one that shows me real-time stock values, allows me to purchase everything without even touching the screen, to chat with thousands of people at the same time, the one that serves as my torchlight, my weatherman, my map, and guide and more. You have one too, you know what I'm talking about.

You also know that I can't live without it, though from time to time I'd also like to get a break. I'd also like for my phone to be just a phone, not something that ties me down, creates anxiety, becomes addiction. I wish I could spend more than five hours away from home without needing a charger.

Yes, I do believe I will get myself this old-new Nokia. I will give in to the novelty of an old-fashioned thing, but for $50, and maybe I'll feel like I'm 17 again, when having a cell phone felt incredibly good but hardly compulsory. Everyday life objects talk to us and sometimes even tell us what matters and what doesn't. What matters is who I call or who's calling me, who wants to have a drink or go to the movies. And not that piece of plastic inside my handbag.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

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However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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