Last month, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory put on YouTube 63 now-declassified videos documenting American nuclear tests conducted between 1945 and 1962. According the Lab, “around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults.[...]
The robots, as we all know, are coming for our jobs. We might regard that particular anxiety as distinctive of the digital age, but the idea of machines that perform what we’ve long considered specifically human tasks has a long history — as does the reality of those machines.[...]
Marshall McLuhan, writes novelist and artist Douglas Coupland, entered the zeitgeist in the 1960s as “a guru or as a villain – as a harbinger of the flowering of culture, or of its death,” a “fuddy-duddy fiftysomething English lit professor from Toronto” whose distinctive research interests and even more distinctive habits of mi[...]
Buckling under information overload?
The long view can be soothing, as filmmaker Josh Begley proves in just under a minute, above. The data artist reduced 165 years worth of chronologically ordered New York Times front pages—every single one since 1852—to a grid of inky rectangles flashing past at lightning speed.
From Neil Mendoza comes “Rock Band,” an amalgamation of “electromechanical instruments that make music with rocks by throwing them through the air, slapping them and making them vibrate.” Above, hear the band play one of my favorite Beatles songs, “Here Comes the Sun.” There’s no Paul, John, George and Ringo here.[...]
In the arts, technology, or any other realm, Japanese culture encourages taking one’s chosen pursuits to the limits, even when their material comes from other cultures.[...]
A certain ideal of America holds that an immigrant who arrives in that land of opportunity can, with hard work and luck, completely remake themselves, even into an A-list movie star or an inventor of heretofore unimagined new things.[...]
In elementary school, a playful teacher gave us an assignment. Everyone was to dream up some sort of amazing invention, then draw both a design and an advertisement for it.
It seemed most of my classmates were primed for a future in which sneakers would come equipped with fully operational, built-in wings.
The idea that we are living in a vast computer simulation as hyper-sophisticated simulated characters with limited self-awareness sounds like the kind of thing that issues forth from stoned philosophy majors in late night dorm room sessions.[...]
Image by Daniele Prati, via Flickr Commons
Many writers recoil at the notion of discussing where they get their ideas, but Kurt Vonnegut spoke on the subject willingly. “I get my ideas from dreams,” he announced early in one speech, adding, “the wildest dream I have had so far is about The New Yorker magazine.