las vegas

The Apache has its priorities straight: Wi-Fi & coffee.

The annual meetings of the American Sociological Association were held this past week in Las Vegas. More than 5,000 sociologists converged from departments around the world to meet face-to-face in a massive conference hotel. Planning such an event is a massive undertaking with a vast array of logistical issues; yet, one facet of the meeting, Wi-Fi access (or, rather, its inadequacy), sparked a major debate.

First, we should mention that as conference organizers who have run up against the limits of a venue’s Wi-Fi infrastructure, we understand the difficulties in getting people reliably connected. During last Spring’s Theorizing the Web conference, the Wi-Fi crashed under such heavy pressure. However, we were working with a classroom building on a campus, not a massive conference hotel that already has Wi-Fi access built in. It is now the norm for major conference venues to have Wi-Fi available at a price. While the relatively small Theorizing the Web conference might not have a budget for universal Wi-Fi access, ASA could easily spread the cost over the massive number of those paying for registration (or even make a separate Wi-Fi registration fee). more...

Here are some summary statistics for the American Sociological Association annual meetings held this past week in Las Vegas. These statistics begin August 1st through the 25th.

TwapperKeeper archive URL: <>

Total tweets: 3475
Total twitterers: 559
Total hashtags tweeted: 344
Total URLs tweeted: 336 more...

Today we have a guest post from Distinguished University Professor and social theorist George Ritzer. This text is only part of the talk Dr. Ritzer will deliver in Las Vegas on Friday, August 19thas part of the Consumer Society Research Network conference [program]. Ritzer’s work on the technologies of consumption is in full force in this essay. The technologies of consumption in the form of ever more spectacular “cathedrals” of consumption are coming to look more and more like “dinosaurs.” This essay to provides an important backdrop of the current economic situation in Las Vegas, one in which Ritzer argues mirrors larger trends in consumerism and globalization.

There is, at least from my point of view, no better place to discuss the crisis and contradictions in consumption in the US, especially in its cathedrals of consumption, than in Las Vegas, the city devoted to, and built on, consumption and defined globally by its iconic cathedrals of consumption; the major casino-hotels on the Strip. It is here that we witnessed what was arguably the greatest consumer-driven expansion in the US in the run up to the Great Recession and, as a result of the latter, perhaps the greatest economic setbacks. Unemployment in Las Vegas rose as high as 15% and is still over 12%. New construction is virtually non-existent. The foreclosure rate, while slightly down from 2009, remains the highest, and by a wide margin, of all the metropolitan areas in the US. Gaming revenue dropped by $2 billion at the depth of the recession and is still down about $1.5 billion from the peak. The largest casino hotel conglomerates- MGM and Caesars- continue to report huge losses largely because of debt incurred during the Great Recession. Mirroring the global economic shift to the Far East, Las Vegas is no longer the gambling capital of the world and has been surpassed by both Macau and Singapore. more...

Most of the Cyborgology team is in Las Vegas for the 106th American Sociological Association meetings. Las Vegas is a city that might be defined by its integration of technology and consumerism. In this spirit, we are running a series of posts in the coming days about Las Vegas, the meeting, consumerism and whatever else we might learn on this trip.