Sorry, but we can’t fantasize our way out of this mess

futures, speculation, spectacle, vision, sci-fi, STS, Fast-Company, Lee-Vinsel, 2018

While it’s certainly true that dystopian science fiction has become popular in the last few decades, it doesn’t follow that no one has been putting forward more optimistic pictures of tomorrow. Just because Stephenson and others embraced the dark images of cyberpunk, environmental doom, and whatnot doesn’t mean everyone did. From the 1980s to the early 2010s, the late author Iain Banks (who I have nominated for canonization) spun fantastic visions of a post-scarcity society he dubbed The Culture, which was full of artificially-intelligent robots and ships, giant space colonies, individuals who lived almost forever and regularly swapped genders, and seemingly endless, endless wonder. Similarly, Star Trek went off television from 2005 to 2017, but its vision of post-scarcity goodwill and polite liberalism — what a friend described as the Enlightenment-on-speed — continued all the while on the big screen.


  • I blame design fiction utopias. (@bruces) Also, way to design for the future within the parameters of the present. Just…

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How tribes are harnessing cutting-edge data to plan for climate change - NationofChange


Excerpt from this Nation of Changestory:

Resources developed by the Climate Impacts Group at University of Washington for tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Oregon, Nevada, and Utah’s Great Basin may prove useful to tribes like the Quinault and the Makah. The collection of resources is designed for the 84 tribes in those regions in their various stages of the climate preparation process. The package will help tribes evaluate impacts, conduct vulnerability assessments, perform adaptation and economic planning, and locate financial resources.

The Makah have already tested out the CIG resources, which provide Western climate science and planning materials tailored to the unique needs of tribal communities. The tribe is currently incorporating those resources into their climate adaptation plan. The tools and resources are useful in taking large regional climate data and zooming in to provide information at a more local scale, Chang said.

“This is super-helpful because many regional climate models can’t provide hyper-local climate projections, which is crucial when making planning and adaptation decisions,” Chang said. Using the CIG models, it’s possible to determine the potential effects on individual streams, rivers, and forests, he said.

CIG researchers reached out to every tribal chairperson seeking input into what climate information their tribe wanted or needed to prepare for climate change, said Meade Krosby, project lead and Climate Impacts Group senior scientist.

All told, it took two years to compile the resources.

How tribes are harnessing cutting-edge data to plan for climate change - NationofChange

Paperclips Browser-based Idle Game by Frank Lantz lets you control an AI that runs a paperclip company. There are no…

paperclips, automation, AI, bizniz, 2017



Browser-based Idle Game by Frank Lantz lets you control an AI that runs a paperclip company.

There are no instructions but if you are familiar with the game AdVenture Capitalist you will probably work things out (and get drawn into it in the same way, drawn by the growing numbers and frustrated with impatience to level things up).

Try it out for yourself here

An annotated version of Jared Diamond’s 1995 article “Easter’s End” – Part I 

rapa-nui, easter-island, civilisation, collapse, jared-diamond, history, archeology, Carl-Lipo, anno

The content below was written by Jared Diamond and appeared in the August 1, 1995 edition of Discover Magazine ( The content of the article article been widely copy-and-pasted by others and often serves as the basis for what people think they know about the island. Here, I try to provide comments to help update the essay with knowledge that we have gained over the past 25 years. In just a few centuries [the entire prehistoric occupation was just 500 years: ca. 1200AD to 1722AD. Radiocarbon dates (Mann et al 2008) show the loss of the palm forest took this entire span of time.], the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest [note that choice of the word “wiping” belies the fact that the palm forest was turned into gardens over the entire prehistoric span of occupation and possibly into European times], drove their plants [large palm trees (Jubea Chilensis) with little economic value] and animals [by animals, Diamond means “seabirds.” Excavations by Steadman et al (1994) show that there were once seabirds on the island that are now extinct.] to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos [according to whom? and when? Archaeologically, we only see changes in settlement patterns after the point of European contact] and cannibalism [there is no empirical evidence of cannibalism on Rapa Nui]. Are we about to follow their lead?


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Every crashed Tesla is a sequel to Ballard’s Crash & Cronebnerg’s Crash that automatically recorded itself. They are works of…

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Göbekli Tepe, (Turkey) the oldest place of religious worship in the world (9000 BC) It was deliberately abandoned sometime after…

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’[T]he creation of the world is the first unconscious act of speculative thought; and the first task of a self-conscious…

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I am excited to announce a new project, Rewild Our Planet. Launching on 6 April at @ArtSciMuseum, this immersive & interactive…

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When governments say ‘we can’t afford to fix the climate’ that’s a lie. There is plenty of money available. We use need to use…

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Innovation: taking risks or making risks? — a performative lecture on uncertainty, complexity and unintended consequences @_foam…

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If you’re annoyed at the outcome in the #CopyrightDirective vote and you live in Sweden, Germany, Czechia, Luxembourg, or…

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Oh! I’m in @Wired - can grow old having reached at least one life goal. “We need to open those platforms up or at least make…

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Fennesz — Agora (Touch)



Photo by Jon Wozencraft

Austrian experimental guitarist Christian Fennesz returns with a new album Agora. Four long tracks recorded in “straightened circumstances” after Fennesz lost access to proper studio space and was forced to record in his bedroom on headphones with limited equipment. Guitar, voice, field recordings and a computer. These tracks sound like living things, breathing and swelling like an enormous dreaming cat. They tap into the alpha waves and circadian rhythms of life.  

Keep reading

Uri Geller calls on Britons to help telepathically stop Brexit

brexit, telepathy, Uri-Geller, 2019

The illusionist Uri Geller has called on the British people to help him in his efforts to telepathically stop Brexit by sending their own telepathic messages to Theresa May’s mind, compelling her to revoke article 50. Geller wrote an open letter to the prime minister on Friday warning her he will use the powers of his mind to stop her from leading Britain into Brexit. He plans to transmit his psychic energy into May’s brain at the “very mystical time” of 11.11 in the morning and evening every day from a secret location near his home in Israel.


Excerpt from "The Impossible Landscape”, by Luigi Ghirri


“Its difficult to say why a room, a colour, a space, a house, unexpectedly become familiar, become ours. We feel we have inhabited these places; a sense of total harmony makes us forget that all this existed and will continue to exist beyond our gaze.
Lining them up one after another, these places form a sort of strange sequence consisting of stones, churches, gestures, lights, fogs, frost-covered branches, blue seas; they become our impossible landscape, without scale, without a geographic order to orient us; a tangle of monuments, lights, thoughts, objects, moments, analogies from our landscapes of the mind, which we seek out, even unconsciously, every time we look out a window, into the openness of the outside world, as if they were the points of an imaginary compass that indicate a possible direction”

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What went wrong with the Boeing 737 Max 8

boeing, 737, 737Max8, failure, risk, 2019

As airlines and safety regulators worldwide scramble to understand why two Boeing 737 Max 8 jets crashed in chillingly similar accidents, more indications are pointing to how an automated anti-stalling system may be linked to the model’s unusually deadly debut. The safety feature—the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)—appears to have sent both planes into their fatal dives as pilots struggled to keep aloft. The 737 Max 8 and 9 were grounded by regulators around the world last week. Here are key details that have been reported—most significantly by the Seattle Times—about a series of engineering, regulatory, and political missteps that preceded software being installed on a widely used plane without pilots apparently fully understanding its risks.


History of the AFP

AFP, Australia, protest, eggboy, politics, history, 1917, 2019

On 29 November 1917 while campaigning to introduce military conscription, Hughes was the target of eggs thrown by protestors when he arrived at Warwick Railway Station in southern Queensland. Prime Minister Hughes was incensed that the attending Queensland Police would not arrest the offenders under federal law, so when he returned to Parliament he set about drafting legislation to create the Commonwealth Police Force (CPF). The ‘Warwick Incident’ was the last straw for the Prime Minister who was engaged in a range of jurisdictional struggles with the Queensland Government at the time.


I’ve tried a hundred ways to distract myself but I’m still having one of those days when all I want is to abolish the nation…

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