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Archive for the ‘history’ tag

Sep 14, 2017

Unexpected Futurist: Mark Twain, Tesla, and a Worldwide Visual Telephone System

Posted by in categories: education, entertainment, fun, futurism, internet, media & arts, mobile phones, rants

When one thinks of Mark Twain, one thinks of folksy wit, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and the Mississippi River. Twain’s work immortalized the rapidly changing United States of the 1800s. But in his personal life, Twain often preferred the future to nostalgia, supporting women’s suffrage and civil rights, and frequently being contemptuous of what he considered to be the absurd and corrupt values of the past. He harbored a long running fascination with technology and new gadgets, and frequently invested in the latter — albeit with spotty success, at best. But Twain cemented his becoming an honorary futurist via his long friendship with inventor and Mad-scientist archetype Nikola Tesla.

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Sep 7, 2017

Unexpected Futurist: Ben Franklin envisions 2776 — and Cryonics

Posted by in categories: aging, cryonics, education, entertainment, futurism, health, human trajectories, innovation, media & arts, science, time travel

In Unexpected Futurist, we profile the lesser known futurist side of influential individuals. This episode’s unexpected time-traveler: Benjamin Franklin. Ben Franklin was an inventor, observer, electricity pioneer, and serial experimenter, so it’s not entirely surprising he looked to the future. But it turns out he was looking to the far, far future. In 1780 he wrote a letter to a friend in which he lamented that he was born during the dawn of science.

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Apr 21, 2017

Breakthroughs arise from a precise mix of old and new knowledge, say scientists — By Eoin O’Carroll | The Christian Science Monitor

Posted by in category: science

Analysis of millions of studies and patents found that the most influential science draws a clear line to the work of previous generations of scientists, a pattern that was ‘nearly universal in all branches of science and technology.’”

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Sep 24, 2015

Losing Your Mind? Great Thinkers on the Brain

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, cryonics, neuroscience, philosophy, science, theory

Aristotle is frequently regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of antiquity. So why didn’t he think much of his brain?

In this brief history of the brain, the GPA explores what the great minds of the past thought about thought. And we discover that questions that seem to have obvious answers today were anything but self-evident for the individuals that first tackled them. And that conversely, sometimes the facts which we simply accept to be true can be blinding, preventing us from making deeper discoveries about our our world and ourselves.

Jul 27, 2015

How to save the planet: environmental conflicts in a new light — By Justin Farrell | Financial Times

Posted by in categories: environmental, science

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One of the most symbolic and substantively important examples of environmental conflict is over Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is the first national park in the world, and perhaps the most important natural treasure in the US. More recently it has become a site for bitter and long-lasting environmental conflict. And it has made me wonder how the scientific arguments around the issues sit with the emotional reactions inspired by the landscape and history.

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Nov 20, 2013

Can We Live Forever?

Posted by in categories: evolution, futurism, human trajectories, life extension, nanotechnology, philosophy, robotics/AI, science, singularity

The Lifeboat community doesn’t need me to tell them that a growing number of scientists are dedicating their time and energy into research that could radically alter the human aging trajectory. As a result we could be on the verge of the end of aging. But from an anthropological and evolutionary perspective, humans have always had the desire to end aging. Most human culture groups on the planet did this by inventing some belief structure incorporating eternal consciousness. In my mind this is a logical consequence of A) realizing you are going to die and B) not knowing how to prevent that tragedy. So from that perspective, I wanted to create a video that contextualized the modern scientific belief in radical life extension with the religious/mythological beliefs of our ancestors.

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Oct 6, 2012

The decaying web and our disappearing history

Posted by in categories: information science, media & arts, philosophy

On January 28 2011, three days into the fierce protests that would eventually oust the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, a Twitter user called Farrah posted a link to a picture that supposedly showed an armed man as he ran on a “rooftop during clashes between police and protesters in Suez”. I say supposedly, because both the tweet and the picture it linked to no longer exist. Instead they have been replaced with error messages that claim the message – and its contents – “doesn’t exist”.

Few things are more explicitly ephemeral than a Tweet. Yet it’s precisely this kind of ephemeral communication – a comment, a status update, sharing or disseminating a piece of media – that lies at the heart of much of modern history as it unfolds. It’s also a vital contemporary historical record that, unless we’re careful, we risk losing almost before we’ve been able to gauge its importance.

Consider a study published this September by Hany SalahEldeen and Michael L Nelson, two computer scientists at Old Dominion University. Snappily titled “Losing My Revolution: How Many Resources Shared on Social Media Have Been Lost?”, the paper took six seminal news events from the last few years – the H1N1 virus outbreak, Michael Jackson’s death, the Iranian elections and protests, Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Egyptian revolution, and the Syrian uprising – and established a representative sample of tweets from Twitter’s entire corpus discussing each event specifically.

It then analysed the resources being linked to by these tweets, and whether these resources were still accessible, had been preserved in a digital archive, or had ceased to exist. The findings were striking: one year after an event, on average, about 11% of the online content referenced by social media had been lost and just 20% archived. What’s equally striking, moreover, is the steady continuation of this trend over time. After two and a half years, 27% had been lost and 41% archived.

Continue reading “The decaying web and our disappearing history”