Close Personal Friend: Watch a 1996 Portrait of Gen-X Definer Douglas Coupland

≡ Category: Film, Literature, Technology |Leave a Comment

Whether we lived through them as kids or as grown-ups, few of us feel sure about whether we miss the 1990s. No generation did more to define the decade before last, at least in the West, than the unmoored, irony-loving, at once deeply cynical and deeply earnest “Generation X” that succeeded the wealthier, more influential Baby Boomers.

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Two Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Talk to Each Other & Get Into a Deep Philosophical Conversation

≡ Category: Philosophy, Technology |6 Comments

The folks at the Cornell Creative Machines Lab are “interested in robots that create and are creative.” Here’s one such example of robots getting creative. Above, the lab lets two chatbots (essentially computer programs designed to simulate an intelligent conversation) start chatting with one another.

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Before The Simpsons, Matt Groening Illustrated a “Student’s Guide” for Apple Computers (1989)

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, Technology |Leave a Comment

A friend once told me of his older cousin who, for the freakish act of installing a computer in his college dorm room, found himself immediately and irrevocably dubbed “computer Jon.” This happened in the early 1980s, and boy, have times changed.

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Free: Watch the First Episode of Silicon Valley, Mike Judge’s New HBO Series

≡ Category: Technology, Television |1 Comment

Mike Judge’s 1998 movie Office Space struck a nerve with just about anyone who ever wound up in a thankless low-end white collar job. Few movies before or since have been able to articulate the petty indignities, the inanities and the general soul gnawing awfulness of such gigs.

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New York Public Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online & Makes Them Free to Download and Use

≡ Category: History, Maps, Technology |6 Comments

When I was a kid, my father brought home from I know not where an enormous collection of National Geographic magazines spanning the years 1917 to 1985. I found, tucked in almost every issue, one of the magazine’s gorgeous maps—of the Moon, St. Petersburg, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe’s ever-shifting boundaries.

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Harvard’s Free Computer Science Course Teaches You to Code in 12 Weeks

≡ Category: Harvard, MOOCs, Technology |Leave a Comment

At the beginning of last year, we wrote about CS50, Harvard’s Introductory Computer Science course, taught by Professor David Malan. Today, we bring you the updated version of the class, filmed throughout the past semester at Harvard. Why revisit an updated version of the same class a year later? For one thing, the material has been updated.

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Buckminster Fuller Gives a Lecture About Semantics at San Quentin State Prison (1959)

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San Quentin State Prison, California’s only male-inmate death row, has a reputation for having contained some of the most fearsome murderers to make headlines, up to and including Charles Manson.

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The Art of Restoring Classic Films: Criterion Shows You How It Refreshed Two Hitchcock Movies

≡ Category: Film, Technology |Leave a Comment

Why have cinephiles, from the era of Laserdiscs through that of DVDs and now Blu-rays, so consistently respected The Criterion Collection? Speaking as one such cinephile, I could point to a number of factors: their curatorial bent toward important films, their production of rich supplementary features, their always impressive pieces of cover art

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Ridley Scott Talks About Making Apple’s Landmark “1984″ Commercial, Aired 30 Years Ago on Super Bowl Sunday

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“I like to claim that I bought the second Macintosh computer ever sold in Europe,” writes actor, comedian, writer, wit, and die-hard Apple enthusiast Stephen Fry in a Telegraph essay marking the Macintosh computer’s 30th anniversary. “My friend and hero Douglas Adams was in the queue ahead of me.

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David Foster Wallace Talks About Literature (and More) in an Internet Chatroom: Read the 1996 Transcript

≡ Category: Books, Technology |Leave a Comment

Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) series, where users get the chance to pose questions to the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen King, and Bill Nye the Science Guy, provides a surprisingly simple way to interact with celebrities.

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