Human

Category archives for Human

I Want To Live In A Bathysphere

Is poetry a driving force of Oceanography? Read Rimbaud! – Phillipe Diolé   I’ve written many times, although not recently, about the ocean. When I first began Universe in 2005, it was practically a ship’s log: meandering pieces on narwhal tusks, the accidental poetics of my hero, Rachel Carson, and adolescent screeds on the perils…

In 1977, NASA sent a pair of unmanned probes named Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 into space. Among the infrared spectrometers and radio receivers included on each probe were identical copies of the same non-scientific object: the Voyager Golden Record. Sheathed in a protective aluminum jacket, the Record is a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing…

NA/SA: New Art/Science Affinities

“I read this book. It’s pretty good even if they made it in a week. Worth the fifty bucks, easy.” Bruce Sterling   In February of this year, I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, a zygote of an institution nestled between departments at Carnegie Mellon University, to…

Universe Q&A: Frank White

A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece here on Universe exploring the ideas of the futurist Gerard K. O’Neill, who designed far-out but ultimately quite pragmatic environments for human habitation in space in the mid-1970s. In that article, I touched briefly on the notion of the “Overview Effect,” a phrase coined by the…

We’re OK TO GO!

As you have undoubtedly heard from sources more overtly journalistic than this one, SETI is back online! After federal and state financial cutbacks forced the institute’s shiny new Allen Telescope Array (ATA) into indefinite hibernation earlier this year, cosmically-minded geeks all over the globe donated money in droves, bringing the search for extraterrestrial life back…

In the mid-1970s, the U.S. State Department prohibited the internal use of the term “space colony,” due to the global bad reputation of colonialism. Instead, the government opted for “space settlement.” Of course, as Stewart Brand pointed out at the time, the last thing you do in space is settle. Quite the opposite! Making the…

Livin’ In A Mycelial World

Mushrooms and their mycelium are quiet allies that are essential for our healthy existence. They are enigmatic, have a sense of humor, and socially as well as spiritually, bond together all that admire them. They have much to teach us. -Paul Stamets If the ego is not regularly and repeatedly dissolved in the unbounded hyperspace…

On Seeing Further

“All things move and nothing remains still” — Heraclitus The history of astronomy can be read as a story of better and better vision. Over the centuries, we have supplemented our vision with technology that allows us to see further and more clearly; while Ancient astronomers, who relied only on their naked eyes to perceive…

Ed: This is an essay I wrote for my friends at the World Science Festival, riffing on the central themes of this years’ event. If you prefer, you can also read this piece on the World Science Festival site. And, if you’re in New York between the first and fifth of June, you could do…

The moon is a rock. But it’s also Selene, Artemis, Diana, Isis, the lunar deities; an eldritch clock by which we measure our growth and fertility; home of an old man in the West and a rabbit in the East; the site of countless imaginary voyages; a long-believed trigger of lunacy (luna…see?). It’s another world,…