I'm heading to San Francisco next week for a launch party on December 11th celebrating the release of The End of Trust, a collaboration between EFF and McSweeney's on internet surveillance and the future of the net; the event is at 7:30PM at Manny's at 3092 16th Street (RSVP here), and I'll be on a panel with EFF exec director Cindy Cohn, moderated by the amazing Annalee Newitz!
Cornell archaeobotanist Natalie Mueller harvests "weeds" from across North America, seeking the remnants of "lost crops," the plants cultivated by the people who lived here 2,000 years ago. … Read the rest
Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders on 10 years of io9.
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Annalee: We wanted to have a vision of the future for our readers that wasn't completely silly but that wasn't hopeless and dystopian. And again, part of covering science was very important to that because it was about how our stories could actually infect reality in a good way, and that what we dream can come true and that science and science fiction are part of the same project, which is to progressively improve reality for the maximum number of people.
Star Trek has many spinoffs, but they all happen within a fairly shallow focal plane: consider how controversial it was to set DS9 on a space station instead of a starship, or how radical it seemed for Discovery to not star the ship's commanding officer.… Read the rest
Last week's solution to the ages-old mystery of the Voynich Manuscript was offered in the Times Literary Supplement by TV history researcher Nicholas Gibbs, who claimed that his unique background in several fields meant that he could pierce the mystery where so many others had failed.
I just got to NYC for Bookcon, where I'm appearing tomorrow, at a "guest bookseller" event with John Scalzi at 11 at the Tor Booth (3008) (we'll be talking up books we love!); then a panel with Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz and John Scalzi at 3PM (room 1E10), and finally a signing with Scalzi at 415PM in the autographing area.
Google often boasts about the 10,000 skilled raters who test its results, reporting weird kinks in the ranking algorithms and classifiers that the company uses for everything from search results to ad placement to automated photo recognition.
BB pal Ariel "Spacehack" Waldman has curated a stellar program for the big DENT: SPACE conference next week (9/21-9/22) in San Francisco! I'm honored to be on the schedule with such amazing people as SETI Institute's Seth Shostak, science writer Mary Roach, The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla, Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz, UC Berkeley planet hunter Alex Filippenko, and so many more fascinating folks!… Read the rest
Director Oscar Sharp and AI researcher Ross Goodwin trained a machine-learning system with a huge pile of classic science fiction screenplays and turned it loose to write a short film. What emerged was an enigmatic 9-minute movie called Sunspring, which has just won Sci-Fi London's 48-hour challenge.
For nearly a decade, science fiction historian Joshua Glenn has waged a campaign to resurrect the "Radium Age" of science fiction: the period from 1904-1933 when writers turned their pens to "Air Battles, Antigravity, Interplanetary Voyages, Lost Worlds, Mad Scientists, Time Travel, and Utopias," before writers like Andre Norton and Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov began their careers.
In Global proliferation of cephalopods a paper in Current Biology, an esteemed group of marine biologists reports that the population of octopuses (and other cephalopods) is booming thanks to its ability to adapt quickly to ocean acidification and temperature change, which is killing off other types of marine life at alarming rates.
Shiv Integer is a bot created by artists Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Julien Deswaef; it downloads Creative Commons-licensed models from Thingiverse, mashes them up into weird and often amazing new shapes, adds machine-generated titles and descriptions to them, and posts them.
The hot trend in Hollywood is to recast fairy tales as gritty, pathos-driven tragic emofeasts: Maleficent was symbolically raped as a youngster, Peter Pan was a lonely British schoolboy, and so forth. The Huntsman: Winter's War is the latest and it's "90% terrible," reports Annalee Newitz.… Read the rest
Since the 12th century — and up to this very day — tourists venture to Somerset's Glastonbury Abbey to see the grave of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, allegedly buried in the churchyard by 12th century monks who discovered their skeletons in an underground tree-trunk.
Researchers used a huge dataset of Github activity, up to April 15 2015, to examine the relationship between gender and the acceptance of a suggested revision by a project's maintainer.
Urban planning advocates like Jane Jacobs argued that people who live in neighborhoods should be active in the planning decisions around their homes.