A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘technology

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: HAL 9000, Space Seed on VHS, baseball on DS9, Civilization, AIs doing D&D

  • How did the movie version of HAL 9000, from 2001, come about? And why does HAL sound so Canadian? The National Post reports.
  • The official Star Trek website explains how the release of the episode “Space Seed” on VHS helped change the videocassette market of the 1980s, here.
  • Deadspin explains how the central role played by the sport of baseball in Deep Space 9 underlined the ways in which that show was atypical Trek.
  • Rock Paper Shotgun examines how many long-run civilization-building games, like Civilization, do a poor job of depicting stagnation and decline, and what this failure says about us now.
  • The idea that the game that artificial intelligences need to learn to play is not chess but D&D–that games involving roleplaying are good tests for general intelligence–seems obvious to me. Aeon has it.
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[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait suggests that strange markings in the upper atmosphere of Venus might well be evidence of life in that relatively Earth-like environment.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly raves over Babylon Berlin.
  • Centauri Dreams considers, fifty years after its publication, Clarke’s 2001.
  • Crooked Timber considers Kevin Williamson in the context of conservative intellectual representation more generally.
  • D-Brief considers “digisexuality”, the fusion of the digital world with sexuality. (I think we’re quite some way off, myself.)
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers evidence suggesting that the agricultural revolution in ancient Anatolia was achieved without population replacement from the Fertile Crescent.
  • Drew Ex Machina takes a look at the flight of Apollo 6, a flight that helped iron out problem with the Saturn V.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas is not impressed by the idea of the trolley problem, as something that allows for the displacement of responsibility.
  • Gizmodo explains why the faces of Neanderthals were so different from the faces of modern humans.
  • JSTOR Daily considers if volcano-driven climate change helped the rise of Christianity.
  • Language Log considers, after Spinoza, the idea that vowels are the souls of consonants.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money engages in a bit of speculation: What would have happened had Clinton won? (Ideological gridlock, perhaps.)
  • Lovesick Cyborg explores how the advent of the cheap USB memory stick allowed North Koreans to start to enjoy K-Pop.
  • Russell Darnley considers the transformation of the forests of Indonesia’s Riau forest from closed canopy forest to plantations.
  • The Map Room Blog shares some praise of inset maps.
  • Neuroskeptic considers how ketamine may work as an anti-depressant.
  • The NYR Daily considers student of death, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
  • Justin Petrone of north! shares an anecdote from the Long Island coastal community of Greenport.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw considers the iconic Benjamin Wolfe painting The Death of General Wolfe.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Casey Dreier notes cost overruns for the James Webb Space Telescope.
  • pollotenchegg maps recent trends in natural increase and decrease in Ukraine.
  • Roads and Kingdoms talks about a special Hverabrauð in Iceland, baked in hot springs.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel shares his own proposal for a new Drake Equation, revised to take account of recent discoveries.
  • Vintage Space considers how the American government would have responded if John Glenn had died in the course of his 1962 voyage into space.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the belief among many Russians that had Beria, not Khrushchev, succeeded Stalin, the Soviet Union might have been more successful.

[NEWS] Five technology links: geoengineering, Nile, Long March 9, space internet, hacking

  • Wired reports on how climate change skeptics are starting to get interested in geoengineering.
  • BBC reports on the growing stresses being placed on the Nile, but countries upstream and downstream.
  • The Long March 9 rocket proposed for a 2030 date by China would be a Saturn V equivalent, capable of propelling people directly to the Moon. Universe Today reports.
  • Is it necessarily worthwhile to develop an Internet suited for space? Wired reports. Wired considers.
  • Are nuclear plants in Ontario at risk of hacking? NOW Toronto makes a case.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 4, 2018 at 8:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Hamilton, Los Angeles and California, Montréal, London, Shenzhen

  • The clashes of radical protesters in Hamilton are becoming worryingly more prominent. What is going on there? The Toronto Star reports.
  • Marginal Revolution reports that Los Angeles, and all of California, is at last overcoming the densification that NIMBYists have been trying to block.
  • Foreign buyers are apparently starting to drive up prices in Québec, especially Montréal, though to a lesser degree than elsewhere in Canada. Bloomberg reports.
  • CBC reports on a tour of the city of London, highlighting the purchases of Russian oligarchs, that leaves me unsettled for a few reasons.
  • This report on Naomi Wu, a maker of tech goods who has become a prominent figure representing a booming high-tech Shenzhen, is fascinating. Shenzhen is clearly a city to watch. VICE has it.

[MUSIC] Five music links: #toronto100, Depeche Mode, Giampiero Riggio, old iPods, pop vs rock

  • We’ve got 15 more notable Toronto-related songs that did not quite make the shortlist for the #toronto100, over at the Toronto Star.
  • This article on a dad who has a Depeche Mode covers band with his children is adorable. VICE reports.
  • What happened to Giampiero Riggio, Italy’s answer to Bon Iver? Vice reports.
  • This James Bareham article at The Verge about how, rediscovering his 2002-era iPoD, he reacquainted himself with his preferred music of the period, is very readable.
  • Alan Cross writes at Global News about the idea of a thirteen-year cycle, in which pop alternates with rock. Are we up for a rock-heavy moment?

Written by Randy McDonald

March 22, 2018 at 11:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams shares a proposal for unmanned probe missions to future incoming extrasolar asteroids like ‘Oumuamua.
  • The Crux considers, in the context of recent (perhaps surprising) context, how scientists will one day record dreams.
  • Hornet Stories shares the report on a poll of younger gay people about the idea of monogamous relations versus open ones, suggesting there are signs a strong preference for monogamy isn’t well thought out.
  • Imageo notes that global warming, by leading to the breakup of icecaps, will worsen the sea ice hazard to maritime shipping.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how social workers are called to support serious social reform.
  • Language Hat notes a monument to the Cyrillic alphabet erected in Antarctica by Bulgarians.
  • In the era of Trump, Lingua Franca takes a look at the origin of the phrase “useful idiots”.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a recent article observing the decline of German cuisine in the United States. Who, or what, will save it?
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla talks about the latest exciting discoveries from Titan, including the odd distribution of nitrogen in its atmosphere and surface.
  • Towleroad notes how the discomfort of Ben Carson with transgender people leads him to consider the needs of homeless transgender people as secondary to this discomfort.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Cossacks in Russia are close to gaining recognition as a separate people.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell suggests–jokes?–that intellectual history from 1900 can be explained substantially in terms of the uncritical adoption of a nomad science, starting from race science and continuing to today with Harry Potter.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares a post reporting on a PhD student’s thesis, studying features of Chicano English.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: #topoli, OldTO, Quayside, coffee shops, real estate

  • Edward Keenan makes the point that, as the city prepares for elections, quotidian politics are starting to be neglected, over at the Toronto Star.
  • blogTO highlights OldTO (#oldto), a open-source and open-data version of Google Maps that maps tens of thousands of old photos to different locations across the city.
  • In a recent public meeting, Google tried to address the privacy and other concerns of others with the Sidewalk Labs involvement in the Quayside development. The Toronto Star reports.
  • This Toronto Star take on how different coffee shops deal with customers who, after buying a single coffee, proceed to take up valuable seating for extended periods is interesting. (I try to be a good customer. When is there ever too much coffee, after all?)
  • Over the year to the end of this February, real estate prices in Toronto have fallen by more than 12%. The Toronto Star reports.
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