Bruce Sterling's lead editorial in SEED Magazine's feature on the 21st century enumerates the disastrous contradictions and changes in the shifting global mindset, and scathingly demands that we fix them. This is inflaming, heady stuff:
2009 Will Be a Year of Panic
7. Science. To be a creationist president is not a problem. A suicide cult is the most effective political actor in the world today. Clearly the millions of people embracing fundamentalism like to make up their own facts.
Standards of scientific proof and evidence no longer compel political and social allegiance. This is not a return to the bedrock of faithâ€‰â€”â€‰it's an algorithm for ontological anarchy. By attacking empiricism, the world is discarding all of the good reasons to believe that anything is real.
If science is discredited, why should mere politics have any intellectual rigor? Just cobble together a crazy-quilt mix-and-match ideology, like Venezuelan Bolivarism or Russia's peculiar mix of spies, oil, and Orthodoxy. Go from the gutâ€‰â€”â€‰all tactics, no strategyâ€‰â€”â€‰making up the state of the world as you go along! Stampede wildly from one panic crisis to the next. Believe whatever is whispered. Hide and conceal whatever you can. Spy on the phone calls, emails, and web browsing of those who might actually know something.
If that leads you to a miserable end-state, huddling with the children in a fall-out shelter clutching silver bullion, then you can congratulate yourself as the vanguard of civilization.
University of Zurich researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation, a noninvasive method of inhibiting activity in parts of the brain, to “turn off” people’s ability to control their impulses. They focused on the temporoparietal junction, an area of the brain thought to play an important role in moral decisions, empathy, and other social interactions. They hope […]
Are you jonesing for a dose of optimism and possibility? In the mood to contemplate the cosmos? Want to experience a musical message for extraterrestrials the way it was meant to be played? The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, a project I launched with Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad, is a lavish vinyl box […]
In Rich do not rise early: spatio-temporal patterns in the mobility networks of different socio-economic classes, a group of transportation engineers analyze an open data-set about the commutes of people in the Colombian cities of Medellín and Manizales, concluding that the rich and the poor commute the furthest distances, but that the rich have much […]
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