Jon Ippolito and Joline Blais, “At the Edge of Art”

Posted on Monday, December 17th, 02007 by Stewart Brand
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Jon Ippolito Joline Blais


Art, like the antibodies in our immune system, creates alien forces in service of the whole. It anticipates threats and models them. It is a diversity agent.

Two forms of that process were explained and shown by Ippolito and Blais: perversion, and execution.

One example of the perverse is the software called “Shredder” that takes any Web page and turns it inside out, making obvious what is hidden (the code) and small what is large (the surface images). You can try it here – give it a web page URL…

Read the rest of Stewart Brand’s Summary

The ultimate present

Posted on Saturday, December 15th, 02007 by Stuart Candy
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Ori Gersht :: Time After Time: Blow Up No. 12 (02007) :: Image at Mummery+Schnelle

Featured in the September/October edition of Art on Paper magazine, the work of Israel-born, London-based photographer Ori Gersht. His series “Time After Time” (02007) features floral still lifes in the process of exploding, with a surreal and vivid beauty. The frozen violence of the images has a mesmerizing, tranquil feel about it.

These decidedly short nows, according to a quote from Gersht in the article, capture “that moment of suspension, when everything is about to disintegrate, about to fly apart, but is still together. It’s the ultimate present.”

What a powerful metaphor for the darker view of our Long Now — the slowly unfolding ecological and social crises of the age…

Ori Gersht :: Time After Time: Blow Up No. 3 (02007) :: Image at Mummery+Schnelle

Naming of a new world

Posted on Friday, December 14th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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 Reuters is running this interesting story about a map created in 01507 that is the first to have named the new world “America”.  Even more interesting is how accurately it shows unexplored territories such as South America (within 70 miles of accuracy), and shows the Pacific Ocean which was not known to have existed at the time.  Strangley later maps are less accurate and stop using the term America for some time…

“This is … essentially the beginning or first map of the modern age, and it’s one that everything builds on from that point forward,” Hebert said. “It becomes a keystone map.”

Half Earth Catalog

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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This excellent Toles cartoon from the October 14th Washington Post was sent in by Paul Saffo.

Pioneer Anomaly

Posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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I have been following this interesting space craft-gone-long-term-science experiment for a while. Since being launched 1972 and 1973 the Pioneer 10 & 11 doppler based location measurements have drifted off their predicted paths . This is known as the Pioneer Anomaly and may tell us something new about physics and gravity once understood. There are some recent efforts to understand this anomaly with terrestrial based processing power (also see note below on the file format issue), and some have discussed a whole new mission around solving it. Some more links below…

UPDATE:  Looks like Turyshev’s data has yielded some interesting results that blames the uneven heating of the spacecraft for it’s drift off course.

We are those mutants.

Posted on Monday, December 10th, 02007 by Austin Brown
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The Human Exemptionalism (or sometimes ‘Exceptionalism’) Paradigm is the idea that humans are somehow separate from nature or that we have transcended it in some way through spirituality, technology or consciousness. It is a paradigm that is shared between many of the religious ideologies of the world as well as many devotees of science and technology. Both types of adherents believe humans have been given, either through a higher power or our own ever-growing ingenuity, a special place in the world. Often, part of this paradigm is that we have made our lives so easy and safe that we are no longer subject to evolutionary pressures. It is another symptom of the short-sightedness of our culture.

Double Helix

Fortunately, it has been increasingly under attack. Founding Environmental Sociology in the ’70s, William Catton and Riley Dunlap proposed what they called the New Ecological Paradigm, which recognizes that humans are simply another part of nature, albeit a stunningly unique and fascinating one. In that same decade, E.O. Wilson coined the term (and started the discipline of) Sociobiology, a somewhat controversial field. Despite hurdles, it is gaining ground. Frans de Waal is a primatologist doing amazing work on primate social behavior. His book, Our Inner Ape, is a fascinating look at what we humans can learn about ourselves by looking at chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest relatives. There was also the Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy. And before all of them, of course, we had Buckminster Fuller.


Counterculture Green

Posted on Monday, December 10th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Stewart Brand, 1966.
Ted Streshinsky/Time Life Pictures — Getty Images

The Sunday NY Times has a review of the second recent book about Stewart Brand: Counterculture Green.

Kirk’s book uses the genesis and evolution of Whole Earth as an opportunity to survey the sea change in environmental and design attitudes that emerged in the 1960s counterculture but, he notes emphatically, eventually outgrew it.

The 1000 year conversation…

Posted on Monday, December 10th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Seth Shostak from SETI published this piece yesterday on the time related difficulties in finding life outside the solar system (and holding a conversation with it). He even through in a nice mention of Long Now:

There’s a similar argument to be made for communication. We seldom initiate information interchange that takes longer than months (an overseas letter, for instance). More generally, we seldom begin any well-defined project that lasts more than two or three generations. The builders of medieval cathedrals were willing to spend that kind of time to complete their gothic edifices, and those who bury time capsules are occasionally willing to let a hundred years pass before the canisters are dug up. But what about a project that takes several centuries, and possibly millennia? Who’s willing to do that? Only Stewart Brand’s “Long Now Foundation” seems to have the guts for this type of enterprise, proposing to build a clock that will keep time for ten thousand years.”

Jill Tarter from SETI also discussed these issues in her Long Now Seminar back in 02004.

Whole Earth Comes Into Focus

Posted on Friday, December 7th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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 Our own Stewart Brand has an essay in the current issue of Nature (subscription required) on integrating two disparate disciplines in order to solve our worlds largest problems.

To understand how our planet uses energy, we must integrate genetic data from microbial studies with satellite views of our planet.

Two vastly different but complementary projects could transform our understanding of Earth. The long-standing mystery of how microbes run the world is closer to being solved, thanks to metagenomics — the DNA sequencing of whole populations of microbial life.

The Long Spiral Now

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 02007 by Kevin Kelly
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Nice illustration of time found on Flickr:

Spiral Time