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Tagged with “culture” (145)

  1. Charles C. Mann: The Wizard and the Prophet - The Long Now

    Two ways to save humanity

    Mann titled his talk “The Edge of the Petri Dish.”

    He explained, “If you drop a couple protozoa in a Petri dish filled with nutrient goo, they will multiply until they run out of resources or drown in their own wastes.”

    Humans in the world Petri dish appear to be similarly doomed, judging by our exponential increases in population, energy use, water use, income, and greenhouse gases.

    How to save humanity?

    Opposing grand approaches emerged from two remarkable scientists in the mid-20th century who fought each other their entire lives.

    Their solutions were so persuasive that their impassioned argument continues 70 years later to dominate how we think about dealing with the still-exacerbating exponential impacts.

    Norman Borlaug, the one Mann calls “the Wizard,” was a farm kid trained as a forester.

    In 1944 he found himself in impoverished Mexico with an impossible task—solve the ancient fungal killer of wheat, rust.

    First he invented high-volume crossbreeding, then shuttle breeding (between winter wheat and spring wheat), and then semi-dwarf wheat.

    The resulting package of hybrid seeds, synthetic fertilizer, and irrigation became the Green Revolution that ended most of hunger throughout the world for the first time in history.

    There were costs.

    The diversity of crops went down.

    Excess fertilizer became a pollutant.

    Agriculture industrialized at increasing scale, and displaced smallhold farmers fled to urban slums.

    William Vogt, who Mann calls “the Prophet,” was a poor city kid who followed his interest in birds to become an isolated researcher on the revolting guano islands of Peru.

    He discovered that periodic massive bird die-offs on the islands were caused by the El Niño cycle pushing the Humboldt Current with its huge load of anchovetas away from the coast and starving the birds.

    The birds were, Vogt declared, subject to an inescapable “carrying capacity.“

    That became the foundational idea of the environmental movement, later expressed in terms such as “limits to growth,” “ecological overshoot,” and “planetary boundaries.”

    Vogt spelled out the worldview in his powerful 1948 book, The Road to Survival.

    The Prophets-versus-Wizards debate keeps on raging—artisanal organic farming versus factory-like mega-farms; distributed solar energy versus centralized fossil fuel refineries and nuclear power plants; dealing with climate change by planting a zillion trees versus geoengineering with aerosols in the stratosphere.

    The question continues: How do we best manage our world Petri dish?

    Restraint?

    Or innovation?

    Can humanity change its behavior at planet scale?

    Mann ended by pointing out that in 1800 slavery was universal in the world and had been throughout history.

    Then it ended.

    How?

    Prophets say that morally committed abolitionists did it.

    Wizards say that clever labor-saving machinery did it.

    Maybe it was the combination.

    —Stewart Brand

    http://longnow.org/seminars/02018/jan/22/wizard-and-prophet/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  2. Think Culture Is a Space Opera? Nah, It’s a Trojan Horse | WIRED

    In the latest ‘Geeks’ Guide to the Galaxy’ podcast, Simone Caroti discusses his critical survey of the Culture series by sci-fi author Iain Banks.

    https://www.wired.com/2016/06/geeks-guide-iain-banks/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  3. Very Quick And Very Slow - Voice Republic

    This is a talk about the durations that things happen at, from the nanosecond scale to the billions of years. Some of those things happen in videogames, but some don’t. I know this is a videogame conference, but I hope you’re okay with that.

    Source: http://amaze-berlin.de/ (http://amaze-berlin.de/)

    https://voicerepublic.com/talks/very-quick-and-very-slow

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  4. Patterns Day: Paul Lloyd

    Paul Lloyd speaking at Patterns Day in Brighton on June 30, 2017.

    A one-day event for web designers and developers on design systems, pattern libraries, style guides, and components.

    Patterns Day is brought to you by Clearleft.

    https://patternsday.com/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  5. BBC Radio 4 - Seriously…, Hippy Internet - The Whole Earth Catalog

    Sukhdev Sandhu tells the story of a book of hippy philosophy that defined the 1960s.

    Sukhdev Sandhu travels to the epicentres of countercultural America in Woodstock and San Francisco to tell the story of a book of hippy philosophy that defined the 1960s and intimated how the internet would grow long before the web arrived. With Luc Sante, Eliot Weinberger, Kenneth Goldsmith, Ed Sanders, Lois Britton, and Fred Turner Producer: Tim Dee.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03cp8c2

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  6. Virtual Memories Show #182: Virginia Heffernan

    Cultural critic Virginia Heffernan joins the show to talk about her new book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art (Simon & Schuster)! We talk about what’s behind the screen, why the internet is bigger than the Industrial Revolution, her first experience online in 1979, what it’s like to be in a piece of performance art with half the world’s population, her crushing defeat at meeting Joan Didion, why she’s nostalgic for landline phones, the motive motive of Pokemon Go, asking The New York Times to host a shred-guitar competition, and why there’s value in Reading The Comments!

    http://chimeraobscura.com/vm/episode-182-Virginia-Heffernan

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  7. Alex Langley’s Tech Chat Episode 14 - Has digital technology changed everything or has it changed nothing?

    Lizzie Hodgson, all round digital innovator, and Jeremy Keith, co-founder of Clearleft, join Alex in the studio to work out whether digital technology has changed everything or has it changed nothing.

    http://techchatuk.com/#episodes

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  8. Think Culture Is a Space Opera? Nah, It’s a Trojan Horse | WIRED

    In the latest ‘Geeks’ Guide to the Galaxy’ podcast, Simone Caroti discusses his critical survey of the Culture series by sci-fi author Iain Banks.

    http://www.wired.com/2016/06/geeks-guide-iain-banks/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  9. Kevin Kelly: How technology evolves | TED Talk | TED.com

    Tech enthusiast Kevin Kelly asks "What does technology want?" and discovers that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_on_how_technology_evolves?language=en

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  10. Kevin Kelly on The Inevitable, 60s Counterculture, and How to Read Better

    This week I was lucky enough to interview one of my favorite people: Kevin Kelly.

    Tim Ferriss refers to Kevin as the real-life, “Most Interesting Man In The World.”

    Kevin Kelly is one of the co-founders of Wired Magazine, a co-founder of the Quantified Self Movement, and serves on the board of The Long Now foundation.

    I’ve been endlessly inspired by Kevin. And it wouldn’t be fair not to mentioned his very early beginnings where he spent most of his 20s as a nomad (of sorts) traveling through Asia as a photographer for most of his 20s. He later published a book of his work titled Asia Grace.

    From there, in the 80s he joined Stewart Brand as the publisher and editor of The Whole Earth Review and was influential in both the 80s counterculture and startup movement.

    His writing in the 90s more or less predicted the Internet of today. His first book, Out of Control is brilliant – a few years after it was released it became required reading for all the actors on the set of the movie The Matrix. (which is how I first learned about it).

    He also has one of my favorite This American Life stories where has something of an epiphany about life, decides to live his life as if he will be dead in 6 months… gives away all his possessions, and then rides his bike across the country.

    In this episode we talk about:

    The Counterculture movement of the 60s

    Traveling as an act of rebellion

    Kevin’s latest book The Inevitable in which he writes that, “Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion.” He’ll share some of those predictions with us.

    Lessons on how to read better

    And… a book that Kevin wishes everyone in the world read at least one time.

    http://castig.org/kevin-kelly-on-the-inevitable-60s-counterculture-and-how-to-read-better/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

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