Two Cultures

Category archives for Two Cultures

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…

The “God” Particle

Let’s talk about the God Particle. It strikes me that people refer to the Higgs boson as the “God particle” in the same way some call the iPhone the “Jesus phone”: with an almost pointed disregard for what such a prefix actually means. Considering the intensity of the culture wars, the popularity of the moniker…

Peripheral Vision

I believe the world is a complex phenomenological experience that can be explained, rationalized, and lived in myriad different ways. The way I see it, we all begin with the same fundamental mystery — why are we here? what is life? — and we attack this problem with whatever tools we find work best; some…

Send Your Face to Space

If it has always been your fantasy to send your physical likeness out into the cosmos, now is your time! To commemorate the final two Shuttle missions, NASA has created a bonkers “Face in Space” initiative, which allows you to upload a picture of yourself to send to the International Space Station. What this actually…

Terrifying Science News Roundup

A large part of my affection for science comes from the thrill of terror I get when a particularly insane piece of science news hits the presses. When an article begins with a sentence like, “there is something strange in the cosmic neighborhood,” or “all the black holes found so far in our universe may…

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…

Scientific Icons

A couple of years ago, I was poking around in a European art museum and came across an exhibit of exquisitely beautiful Eastern Orthodox religious paintings, “icons.” Beyond being visually striking — they have an austere, hieratic, distant quality — they are also, I realized at the time, in a way, scientific. Alright, I know,…