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Author Archive

Mary Catherine Bateson, “Live Longer, Think Longer”

by Stewart Brand on February 10th, 02011

Parenting Earth

A Summary by Stewart Brand

The birth of a first child is the most intense disruption that most adults experience. Suddenly the new parents have no sleep, no social life, no sex, and they have to keep up with a child that changes from week to week. “Two ignorant adults learn from the. . .   Read More

Philip K. Howard, “Fixing Broken Government”

by Stewart Brand on January 19th, 02011

Government 4.0
A Summary by Stewart Brand

Americans have made major adjustments to our government before, Howard declared. At the beginning of the 20th century a Progressive era ended strict laissez-faire. The New Deal in the 1930s provided social safety nets. In the 1960s Civil Rights came to the fore. Now we need. . .   Read More

Rick Prelinger, “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 5”

by Stewart Brand on December 20th, 02010

Lives of San Francisco
A Summary by Stewart Brand

“You are the soundtrack,” Prelinger told the capacity audience at the Herbst Theater, and they responded to his mostly silent archival films by calling out locations, questions, comments, and jokes.

They saw footage of a 1941 Market Street parade of allies—floats representing Malta, Russia, France. . .   Read More

Rachel Sussman, “The World’s Oldest Living Organisms”

by Stewart Brand on November 18th, 02010

The Missing Science of Biological Longevity
A Summary by Stewart Brand

Creative photographer Sussman showed beautiful slides of very elderly organisms. The captions were as crucial as the images—naming the species, the place, and the approximate age. You can see many of them here.

The series began with the only animal—an eighteen-foot. . .   Read More

Lera Boroditsky, “How Language Shapes Thought”

by Stewart Brand on October 27th, 02010

Languages are Parallel Universes
A Summary by Stewart Brand

“To have a second language is to have a second soul,” said Charlemagne around 800 AD. “Each language has its own cognitive toolkit,” said psychologist/linguist Lera Boroditsky in 2010 AD.

Different languages handle verbs, distinctions, gender, time, space, metaphor, and agency differently, and those differences. . .   Read More

Richard Rhodes, “Twilight of the Bombs”

by Stewart Brand on September 22nd, 02010

Bomb Ban
A Summary by Stewart Brand

The evening began with a short version of Isao Ishimoto’s animation of all the world’s atomic explosions in the period 1945 to 1998. The total is shocking to most people—2,053. Rhodes commented that seeing the bomb tests on a world map over time shows. . .   Read More

Martin Rees, “Life’s Future in the Cosmos”

by Stewart Brand on August 3rd, 02010

Cosmic Life

The pace of astronomic discovery, said the Astronomer Royal, keeps increasing with the constant improvement in our sensing technology. The recent discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe (dark energy) revolutionized cosmology, and with the launch of the Kepler Telescope in 2009, we are beginning to detect and study Earth-sized planets. . .   Read More

Jesse Schell, “Visions of the Gamepocalypse”

by Stewart Brand on July 28th, 02010

Gaming the World

In a glee-filled evening, Schell declared that games and real life are reaching out to each other with such force that we might come to a condition of “gamepocalypse—where every second of your life you’re playing a game in some way. He expects smart toothbrushes and buses that give. . .   Read More

Frank Gavin, “Five Ways to Use History Well”

by Stewart Brand on July 13th, 02010

History-savvy Policy

Why do policy makers and historians shun each other? Gavin observed that policy people want actionable information, certainty, and simple explanations. Meanwhile historians revel in nuance, distrust simple explanations and also distrust power and those who seek it. Thus historians keep themselves irrelevant, and policy makers keep their process ignorant.

Gavin proposed. . .   Read More

David Eagleman, “Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization”

by Stewart Brand on April 5th, 02010

Averting Collapse

Civilizations always think they’re immortal, Eagleman noted, but they nearly always perish, leaving “nothing but runes and scattered genetics.” It takes luck and new technology to survive. We may be particularly lucky to have Internet technology to help manage the six requirements of a durable civilization:

1. “Try not to cough on. . .   Read More