Technology

Category archives for Technology

Operating Environmentalism

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo. In a grand new tradition of using Universe as lodging for really interesting “supplemental material,” I present to you the history (and mystery) of g-speak, an incredible new spatial operating environment, as told to me by John Underkoffler, chief scientist at Oblong Industries. Underkoffler designed the fantasy…

Interview @MarsPhoenix

For over six months, Veronica McGregor has been Twittering from Mars. Of course, she’s not living among the wind storms and dirt of the red planet herself, but she is the voice of MarsPhoenix, the strangely compelling, first-person, lonely robot Twitter feed that somehow became the official mouthpiece of NASA’s Phoenix mission and has catalyzed…

Ask Universe: LHC

It always tickles me when people email me to ask my opinion of pressing science issues, and I’ve decided to start posting selected exchanges for the benefit of all my readers. Remember, if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to jaw at me about all things science, feel free to write. On Sep…

Arecibo Oh NO!

Dear readership, As far as I know, I have never used this website as a political platform. I have weakly festered under the steely gaze of a particularly anti-science American administration without uttering much of a peep, but this, however, I cannot let stand. The Arecibo telescope is the world’s largest radio telescope and currently…

The Grid

The Large Hadron Collider is finally turning on. A quick step backwards: the LHC is a particle accelerator, the largest of its kind, underwritten by all the wild money in science, a ringed tunnel some 27 kilometers long, deep underground, crossing the French-Swiss border at four points. It’s been over twenty years in the making…

Interview: Thomas A. Day

Welcome to the second in an ongoing series of Interviews with authors of Science Fiction. I’m lucky to have had a chance, recently, to review Portland local Thomas A. Day’s A Grey Moon Over China, a totally postapocalyptic epic that takes the ongoing cultural fear of an energy crisis to a particularly dark and alienating…

A few months ago, in homage to the last puffs of summertime breeze to caress the Pacific Northwest, I visited the largest computer in the world. Not exactly beach blanket bingo, and I probably could have found a more youthful way to celebrate the dog days of summer, but this monument to computational power, too,…

Complexity

Or, In which two primary concepts of modernity are introduced, batted around, and compared, without much of a resolution to speak of. In the year 2000, Stephen Hawking wrote that the “next century will be the century of complexity.” Of course, he wasn’t referring to political quagmires or environmental degeneration, although he might as well…

My Computer Has Eyes

The Internet has long been a playground for deluded sociopaths. This is why the wise among us roundly deny Myspace.com friend requests from strangers, why paranoid parents install content filters on their children’s computers, and why I just trashed an email with the subject heading “Will you be my foreign business associate?” We all know…

The history of information — which is to say, the history of everything — is littered with codes. Some are cryptic, designed to be understood by only a few, while others are made to be cracked. Numbers, for example, are symbols which translate the abstraction of mathematical information into a code we can understand. Language,…