I just finished Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain. Robinson wrote Pacific Edge
, the most inspiring utopian novel I've ever read (and one which never fails to reduce me to happy tears in the last chapter) and the Red Mars
, Blue Mars
and Green Mars
trilogy -- the most breathtakingly ambitious science fiction books I've ever read.
Forty Signs of Rain is a fast, even breezy read, which I tore through in just a couple sittings. Its best feature is its characters, who are Science Heroes: scientists who are really into science, in the way that one of Neal Stephenson's hacker characters is into hacking. They see everything they do -- fixing broken sea-walls, climbing cliffs, navigating traffic, pushing for global warming remdiation, chairing meetings, even nursing babies -- in terms of scientific theory, experiment and action.
The thing that all of Robinson's Science Heroes have in common is their concern with global warming, which has reached an all-too-believable tipping point in Forty Signs of Rain. As the world reaches and then passes the brink of catastrophic flooding, Robinson's characters argue, act and think about how to bring us back from the brink. They are not only charming as they do so -- they're inspiring. Faced with a world that may soon be broken forever, they swuare their shoulders and apply themselves. They despair, but they master their despair. Pacific Edge is a book I return to again and again when I am down. This will surely be another.
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | RedditIn this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially […]
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
If you’re like us, you occasionally get ambitious with your dinner and try to cook multiple sides plus a main dish. These efforts usually end as a cold meal plus a pile of dishes to wash. MasterPan Multi-Sectional Meal Skillet makes it super easy to make multiple dishes at once without the hassle. This heavy gauge bottom pan […]
The Lytro Illum is our all-time best-selling camera and here’s our best deal yet. Apply the code “Lytro10” to save an extra 10% off on this camera’s mind-blowing functionality in this exclusive one day only sale.
If you’re looking to earn a top salary in the tech industry, there’s no better career than coding. However, sometimes the hardest part of entering this career path is knowing where to begin.We took the Complete Web Developer Course because it took that decision out of our hands. This course teaches beginner-friendly coding languages that will also help land an immediate […]