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Blog Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science

by Ahmed Kabil on July 6th, 02017

Billy Barr was just trying to get away from it all when he went to live at the base of Gothic Mountain in the Colorado wilderness in 1973. He wound up creating an invaluable historical record of climate change. His motivation for meticulously logging the changing temperatures, snow levels, weather, and wildlife sightings? Simple boredom. . .   Read More

Göbekli Tepe and the Worst Day in History

by Ahmed Kabil on May 24th, 02017

Technological advances are revolutionizing the field of archaeology, resulting in new discoveries that are upending our previous understanding of the birth of civilization. Many scholars believe that few will be as consequential as Göbekli Tepe.

The ruins of Göbekli Tepe. Photograph by Vincent J. Musi.

IN 01963, anthropologists from the University of Chicago. . .   Read More

The Orrery at The Interval: An Invitation to Long-Term Thinking

by Ahmed Kabil on April 24th, 02017

As visitors to Fort Mason amble past The Interval, the Long Now Foundation’s cafe-bar-museum-venue space, some are drawn, as if by gravitational pull, to an unusual eight foot-tall stainless steel technological curiosity they glimpse through the glass doors. Metal gears sit stacked one on top of the other to form a tower, with geneva wheels jutting […]

The Other 10,000 Year Project: Long-Term Thinking and Nuclear Waste

by Ahmed Kabil on March 16th, 02017

With half-lives ranging from 30 to 24,000, or even 16 million years , the radioactive elements in nuclear waste defy our typical operating time frames. The questions around nuclear waste storage — how to keep it safe from those who might wish to weaponize it, where to store it, by what methods, for how long, […]

The 10,000-Year Geneaology of Myths

by Ahmed Kabil on February 8th, 02017

ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS SCENES in the Paleolithic cave paintings in Lascaux, France depicts a confrontation between a man and a bison. The bison appears fixed in place, stabbed by a spear. The man has a bird’s head and is lying prone on the ground. Scholars have long puzzled over the pictograph’s meaning, as […]

Edge Question 02017

by Ahmed Kabil on January 20th, 02017

It’s been an annual tradition since 01998: with a new year comes a new Edge question.
Every January, John Brockman presents the members of his online salon with a question that elicits discussion about some of the biggest intellectual and scientific issues of our time. Previous iterations have included prompts such as “What should. . .   Read More

Breakthrough Listen Initiative Wants to Hear From You

by Andrew Warner on August 9th, 02016

We have received an email from Jill Tarter, former director of the Center for SETI research, on a new outreach on behalf of the Breakthrough Listen Initiative. They want to hear from the general public on their ideas for new approaches for finding evidence of extraterrestrial technological civilizations. They are looking for 1 page descriptions. . .   Read More

Brian Christian, “Solving Hard Decisions”

by Andrew Warner on July 1st, 02016

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Algorithms to Live By
Monday June 20, 02016 – San Francisco

Video is up on the Christian Seminar page.
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Audio is up on the Christian Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.
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Solving hard decisions – a. . .   Read More

Edge Question 02016

by Andrew Warner on January 12th, 02016

It’s been an annual tradition since 01998: with a new year comes a new Edge question. Every January, John Brockman presents the members of his online salon with a question that elicits discussion about some of the biggest intellectual and scientific issues of our time. Previous iterations have included prompts such as “What should we […]

MIT Paleoclimate Study Reveals When the American West Dried Up

by Charlotte Hajer on November 3rd, 02015

We know that the American West was once much wetter than it is today; the region is riddled with ancient lake beds and fossilized aquatic creatures. At some point in the last 15,000 years, these inland seas disappeared and turned to desert – but exactly when this happened was not well known.

Until recently: a. . .   Read More