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.
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, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]