Human

Category archives for Human

As NASA’s Space Shuttle program winds down — Endeavour’s final mission is slated for later this year, then that’s it — let us take a moment and remember the Shuttles. Sure, they had a tendency to explode into balls of fire. Sure, they were expensive, risky, and besieged by problems. But now is not the…

Ideological State Interface

The North Korean government has made an operating system called “Red Star.” Despite the fact that very few North Koreans have a computer, let alone Internet access, Red Star is designed to provide a safe operating environment in line with North Korean political philosophy of “juche,” or self-reliance (as well as, admittedly, monitor user activity).…

Information Overload!!!

I don’t have the attention span to write this article. In the course of penning this introductory paragraph, I’ve taken umpteen email breaks, gotten distracted by several Wikipedia wormholes, and taken an hour’s time out to watch Frontline documentary clips on YouTube. It has taken me, in toto, seven days to write a five-paragraph article…

Universe Event in NYC Tomorrow

I’m flying out to New York City on Sunday to participate in the very exciting BRAINWAVE series at the Rubin Museum of Art. BRAINWAVE, which is in its third year, brings thinkers from different disciplines to sit down with scientists to wrap their (and our) minds around the things that matter. Past pairings include Composer…

In his seminal 1991 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” the video artist Douglas Davis writes that digital bits “can be endlessly reproduced, without degradation, always the same, always perfect.” This is different, Davis argues, from analogue information. In the past, copying an audio signal — for example, dubbing a…

Interview: Ursula K. Le Guin

Photograph by Benjamin Reed. Ursula K. Le Guin is a internationally-recognized, award-winning science fiction writer, an elegant badass and the author of such classics as the Hugo and Nebula-award winning The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe Of Heaven, and the Earthsea novels. Last year, she began mounting formidable opposition to the Google Books Settlement,…

Everything.

How do we begin? Well, hello. My name is Claire L. Evans, and I’m new here. I began writing this blog, Universe in 2005, over at the Portland, Oregon-based web community Urban Honking. At first, it was a vanity project, a noodle, an excuse to keep my grey matter engaged beyond my college years (which…

Very Big and Very Small

Whilst they (as Homer’s Iliad in a nut) A world of wonders in one closet shut – Inscription on the Tradescant family tombstone, London There are two things which have deeply terrified me in recent science news. The first, as you may have heard, is that a bumper crop of some 32 “new” planets was…

Picnics in Space

In 1976, NASA Administrator James Fletcher noted that “The question, ‘What is feasible?’ can be finally answered only by future historians.” He was talking about the elaborate plans for space habitats the agency had spent a summer noodling over, but the same remark could have been made to the incredulous before the first moon landing,…

No Skepticism Policy

Universe has a firm “No Skepticism” policy. Don’t get me wrong, I dig empirical knowledge. And I like the ancient, Pyrrhonian school of Skepticism founded by Pyrrho of Elis (365-275 B.C.); Pyrrhonian skeptics believed that nothing could be known, not even “this” (i.e the very statement that nothing could be known) and strived for a…