adactio / tags / science

Tagged with “science” (709)

  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. Episode 95: Blade Runner 2049 with Denis Villeneuve and Rian Johnson

    Director Denis Villeneuve discusses his new film, Blade Runner 2049, with fellow Director Rian Johnson. Picking up thirty years after the events of Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner, the film follows K, an LAPD officer, who discovers a long-buried secret that could plunge what is left of society into chaos.

    ===
    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/thedirectorscut/episode-96-blade-runner-2049-with-denis-villeneuve-and-rian-johnson
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Sun, 04 Feb 2018 10:35:54 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  3. Ursula Le Guin & Margaret Atwood - Literary Arts

    Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.

    Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.

    Ursula K. Le Guin sold her first story over 50 years ago and has been writing and publishing ever since. Tackling various modes, including realistic fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, children’s literature, screenplays, and essays, her work has challenged traditional understandings of gender roles, politics, race, and identity. She is best known for her fantasy series Earthsea and her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She has influenced several generations of writers, including Junot Díaz, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Jonathan Lethem. Throughout her career, she has continuously met criticism with courage, causing one critic to note, “It’s been hard for reviewers to cope with Le Guin. She’s often seemed like a writer without a critical context. But that may just mean that the context is still to come.” Among her many honors, Le Guin has received a National Book Award and, most recently, The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

    If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood

    “Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin

    “All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood

    https://literary-arts.org/archive/ursula-le-guin-margaret-atwood/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  4. Living in a Sci-fi World: Author Kim Stanley Robinson

    Chapters:

    0:47 How do you choose date and time?

    5:14 We live in a science fiction world

    9:25 Who’s creating the future, the scientists and engineers, or the sci-fi writers?

    11:22 The philosophical battle between science and capitalism

    16:07 How does one go about creating the future on paper?

    25:10 Is science becoming too much like a religion?

    29:24 Fiction is the steady instrument, science is what evolves

    33:00 Audience Question: On which planet or astroid or community from your novels would you most want to live?

    35:55 KSR reads from 2312

    ===
    Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0smGDcZv4k
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:57:59 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  5. Episode 6: Designing the Future

    How do you design the future? Today we talk with cyberpunk founder and design theorist Bruce Sterling and feminist/activist writer Jasmina Tešanović about speculative design, design fictions, open source hardware, the maker movement, and the soft robots of our domestic future. Plus we go behind the scenes of the creation of a design fiction by Bruce, Jasmina, Sheldon Brown, and the Clarke Center—a video installation called My Elegant Robot Freedom.

    http://imagination.ucsd.edu/_wp/podcast/episode-6-designing-the-future/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  6. Episode 8: Fantastica, with George R.R. Martin and Kim Stanley Robinson

    Science fiction and fantasy have gone from the sidelines to the mainstream. We bring you a live conversation between two of the field’s living legends, George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire,” adapted for television as Game of Thrones, the Wild Card series) and Kim Stanley Robinson (New York 2140, the Mars trilogy), discussing their careers, the history of fantastic literature, and how it shapes our imagination. They came to the Clarke Center in support of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop (clarion.ucsd.edu), the premiere training and proving ground for emerging writers, which the Clarke Center organizes each summer with the Clarion Foundation.

    http://imagination.ucsd.edu/_wp/podcast/episode-8-fantastica-with-george-r-r-martin-and-kim-stanley-robinson/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Rian Johnson and Spike Jonze (Ep. 123) — The Director’s Cut - A DGA Podcast

    Director Rian Johnson discusses his new film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with fellow Director Spike Jonze. As the eight installment of the blockbuster franchise, the film continues the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as Rey develops her Force abilities with a reluctant Luke Skywalker while Finn, General Leia Organa and the resistance continue their battle against Kylo Ren and the First Order.

    https://overcast.fm/+Ftjx5PBCU

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  8. ‘The Last Jedi’ Is the Most Intellectual ‘Star Wars’ Movie | WIRED

    Rian Johnson’s movie has more moral complexity than any of the previous films—and gives audiences a lot more to think about.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/12/geeks-guide-last-jedi/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  9. Dude, you broke the Future!

    From https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9270-dude_you_broke_the_future

    We’re living in yesterday’s future, and it’s nothing like the speculations of our authors and film/TV producers. As a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes. Science fiction is written by people embedded within a society with expectations and political assumptions that bias us towards looking at the shiny surface of new technologies rather than asking how human beings will use them, and to taking narratives of progress at face value rather than asking what hidden agenda they serve.

    In this talk, author Charles Stross will give a rambling, discursive, and angry tour of what went wrong with the 21st century, why we didn’t see it coming, where we can expect it to go next, and a few suggestions for what to do about it if we don’t like it.

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  10. The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 211: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Holiday Spectacular

    The Talk Show

    ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Holiday Spectacular, With Special Guests Guy English and John Siracusa

    Sunday, 31 December 2017

    As per holiday tradition at The Talk Show, a brief chat about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with a cavalcade of special guests, including Guy English and John Siracusa.

    Download MP3.

    Links:

    2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens Holiday Spectacular.

    Sponsored by:

    Fracture: Photos printed in vivid color directly on glass. Get 15% off your first order with code talk15.

    Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.

    Backblaze: Online backup for $5/month. Native. Unlimited. Unthrottled. Uncomplicated.

    This episode of The Talk Show was edited by Caleb Sexton.

    https://daringfireball.net/thetalkshow/2017/12/31/ep-211

    —Huffduffed by adactio

Page 1 of 71Older