In Stephen Talbott's interesting book, Devices of the Soul, he makes a case that there's too much technology in our lives. One observation in particular struck me: people spend less time observing and experiencing the natural world directly. So much is intermediated by other, electronic stuff. Says Talbott:
"The Net can only teach a boy about trees, but he won't understand them. The information from the net or a book is fragmented and decontextualized. It will never carry the same force as first hand experiences."
Yup, I agree. So, I decided to spend some time exploring my own back yard. Is there really anything new and exciting back there? You bet.
Recently I was given a new type of handheld digital and optical microscope. The new generation of digital microscopes are wonderful little devices for taking a very, very close look at stuff in the house and garden. I hooked it up to my netbook computer and ran around the neighborhood annoying ants and beetles.
I spent the whole afternoon looking at stuff and taking pictures. Skin cells, fabrics, seeds, and of course, bugs, were just part of the wild menagerie of things I examined. Corny, maybe, I found it way cool, and I'm no little kid.
While I was observing an ant from my garden, I noticed it seemed have an even smaller insect crawling over its thorax. So I zoomed in for a closer look. Yeow - I guess even ants have their problems!
I posted it to YouTube and then used YouTube's simple editing tools to add titles, highlights, and a soundtrack. The whole video probably took less than hour to record, edit, and post.
Click here to see the movie I made of the ant, or watch it in the embedded viewer above.
I made the video using a Celestron 44306 Handheld Digital Microscope. Incredibly, the street price is under $100. Better than any toy, this new, cheap world of digital microscopy is an example of bridging Talbott's gap between the old and the new ways of observing the world .
I'm going out to my backyard and now and see what else is going on.
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 […]
Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]
Your laptop and mobile devices are top of the line…so why are you trotting out that raggedy decades-old suitcase when you go somewhere? Time to up your travel game with a complete 5-piece Herschel Travel Luggage bundle…and we’ll even give it to you for free!Of course, you’ve got to win the Ultimate Herschel Travel Bundle […]