Can technology become a force for global equality, or is the future destined to remain unfair?

Here's video from a debate I participated in at last summer's Howthelightgetsin festival in Wales, with the BBC's Kate Russell and Steve Fuller, an advocate for creationism and transhumanism, who said some pretty silly things, as you might expect.

Video: Hollywood depictions of texting and the Internet

By Tony Zhou.

Neal Stephenson and Cory speaking at Seattle's Town Hall, Oct 26


We're getting together to talk about Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future , a project that Stephenson kicked off -- I've got a story in it called "The Man Who Sold the Moon."

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Face tracking + projection mapping = very strange

credit: Nobumichi Asai

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

Brian Fies‘s 2012 graphic novel Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? expresses a beautiful, melancholic and hopeful longing for (and suspicion of) the futuristic optimism of America’s 20th century, starting with the 1939 World’s Fair. Cory Doctorow finally got caught up with the future and read it.

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Wurthering Bytes: UK tech festival in the Pennines


It's family-friendly, only £10/day, including lunch, and features an outstanding and fascinating array of speakers, as well as live music and a hardware-hacking bag for attendees.

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The history of botched executions

The first use of the electric chair was both an official success and a horrific example of what can happen when the technology of executions doesn't work the way we expect it to.

Touchless trash cans in a loop

Touchless trash cans caught in an infinite loop. The laughter is infectious! (@rynbtmn)

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"Ukraine fighter jet took out MH17" debunked

If they did it, they didn't use an SU-25. [Locklin on science]

The horrible seating configuration Airbus wants to patent

airbus-bike-seats-leg-room

Here's the patent application. The "good" news: It's just conceptual. Regulators wouldn't let Ryanair sell standing room tickets, so maybe this would be banned as well?

Threading the RCA Projector (1950s)

Another important skill lost to history. (via Weird Universe)

How GM silenced its whistleblowers

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The cover of Bloomberg Businessweek this week riffs on a classic Vietnam-era Esquire cover. Sometimes, words speak louder than pictures.

Why did the PicturePhone fail?

Introduced in 1964, the PicturePhone was a fascinating, ahead-of-its-time technology that ultimately failed miserably — costing Bell half a billion dollars. The Engineer Guy explains what went wrong.

I really dig his series on great tech failures. They're all great examples of lessons that I learned studying the electric grid and the development of large-scale energy infrastructure. The technologies we end up using weren't inevitable winners preordained by the quality of their engineering. The best technologies often fail. And tech failures happen not because of engineering alone, but because of a complicated interplay of history, culture, technology, and society.

Moore's Law may be plateauing

An interesting look at how computing and the computing industry changes when processors no longer double in power every 18 months.

Self-assembling, printed lamp

Harvard engineers created a self-assembling lamp whose components are printed, including some of the electronics.

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