Technology

Category archives for Technology

SETI, Really?

As you may have heard, SETI is in trouble. Funding cutbacks on a state and federal level have forced the Allen Telescope Array — SETI’s new homebase, actually just a part of the U.C. Berkeley’s Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HCRO) — into indefinite hibernation. With U.C. Berkeley losing ninety percent of its NSF University Radio…

This is the first in a series of posts about art, the moon, and art on the moon. You would think this would be a fairly limited subject, but… Art on the moon has been happening for a long time. In 1969, a coterie of American contemporary artists devised a plan to put an art…

In 2007, my friends at m ss ng peces and I started work on a new Internet-television show called RESET, for the Sundance Channel. The idea was to make a show designed for computers to watch, that could teach them what it was like to be human — a show that, while ostensibly made for…

Experiments in Art & Technology

To prepare for a “Book Sprint” I’m participating in at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie-Mellon University next week, I’ve been doing lots of research about notable historical interactions between art, science, and technology. In suit, Universe fringe benefits! First, I’d like to tell you about “9 Evenings,” organized in 1966 by a very…

Book Review: Packing for Mars

We live in an age where truth is, if not stranger than fiction, then at least equally strange. Sometimes pop-science books illustrate this point with particular well-researched glee and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void is such a book. Where do I begin? It’s a true nerd’s smorgasbord. It answers…

A few months ago, I attended Cyborg Camp in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Cyborg Camp is an “unconference,” basically a room full of cyberpunks, mega-nerds, and aspirational coders that gather in an office building to talk about the “future of the relationship between humans and technology.” This event deserves a separate entry, but for…

Very Large Tourism

The author, dishing. To get to the National Radio Telescope Observatory, you have to be committed. Well, first, you have to be in New Mexico — about an hour’s drive south of Albuquerque, in the plains of San Augustin, to be precise, a Pleistocene lakebed bordered by the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert and…

Read the Internet, Speak English

In case you didn’t know, reality is science fiction. If you doubt me, read the news. Read, for example, this recent article in the New York Times about Carnegie Mellon’s “Read the Web” program, in which a computer system called NELL (Never Ending Language Learner) is systematically reading the internet and analyzing sentences for semantic…

Greetings from the People of Earth from World Science Festival on Vimeo. I made the above video, Greetings from the People of Earth, to open the World Science Festival 2010 panel “The Search for Life in the Universe,” which featured personal hero Jill Tarter, David Charbonneau, and Steven Squyres. In 1977, taking advantage of a…

Eyes to the Future

My grandmother suffered in her old age from macular degeneration, a common age-related eye disease that causes the center of your visual field (the macula) to gradually fritz out. As it affected her more and more, the font size in her emails ballooned to cartoonish sizes. She began walking with a cane, and needed a…