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Blog Archive for the ‘The Big Here’ Category

Overview: Earth and Civilization in Macroscope

by Ahmed Kabil on May 29th, 02018

“Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available…a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.“ — Astronomer Fred Hoyle, 01948 I. “Why Do You Look In A Mirror?” InFebruary 01966, Stewart Brand, a month removed from launching a multimedia psychedelic festival that inaugurated the hippie counterculture, sat on the roof of his apartment…  Read More

Largest Early World Map Set to Be Unveiled at Rumsey Map Center

by Ahmed Kabil on January 24th, 02018

Urbano Monte’s planisphere, digitally stitched together. Source: Rumsey Map Center On July 25, 01585, near the end of a century of unprecedented change, four Japanese boys stopped in Milan on their way back home to Japan. They’d been sent as the first Japanese Embassy to Europe three years earlier by the Jesuit missionary Alesandro Valignano. Their…  Read More

Music, Time and Long-Term Thinking: Brian Eno Expands the Vocabulary of Human Feeling

by Ahmed Kabil on November 30th, 02017

Brian Eno’s creative activities defy categorization. Widely known as a musician and producer, Eno has expanded the frontiers of audio and visual art for decades, and posited new ways of approaching creativity in general. He is a thinker and speaker, activist and eccentric. He formulated the idea of the Big Here and Long Now—a central conceptual underpinning…  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…  Read More

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine

by Ahmed Kabil on February 8th, 02017

One of the most popular pieces of writing on our site is Long Now co-founder Danny Hillis’ remembrance of building an experimental computer with theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. It’s easy to see why: Hillis’ reminisces about Feynman’s final years as they worked together on the Connection Machine are at once illuminating and poignant, and paint…  Read More

Visualization of 5,000 Years of War

by Andrew Warner on March 16th, 02016

1100Lab has developed a visualization mapping all of the battles in Wikipedia in the last 5,000 years. Their blog details how they compiled the data, as well as other projects by the Netherlands based research and development firm.

Apollo 17 Digital Archive

by Andrew Warner on January 5th, 02016

Relive the sights and sounds of Apollo 17 – the final mission of NASA’s Apollo program, on its 43rd anniversary.  Ben Feist, a developer from Toronto, has built an interface to experience the Apollo 17 mission that syncs the 300 hours of mission audio, 22 hours of video, and 4,200 pictures, along with commentary from the astronauts, into…  Read More

Mount Tambora Eruption in 01815 Reverberated Across the Planet

by Charlotte Hajer on September 18th, 02015

In April of 01815, Mount Tambora – an active volcano in what is now Indonesia – erupted after a few hundred years of dormancy. For several days, it spewed hot lava and ash into the air, casting its environment in pitch black darkness. The largest observed eruption in recorded history, it was heard and felt as far as 1,600…  Read More

2,000-Year Old Termite Mounds Found in Central Africa

by Charlotte Hajer on August 28th, 02015

Much like ants, termites are a testament to the adage that a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A single termite is an almost translucent creature, no more than a few millimeters long. But put several thousand of them together, and they become capable of building expansive structures, some reaching up as…  Read More

The World’s Languages, Visualized

by Charlotte Hajer on August 11th, 02015

The South China Morning Post recently published an infographic that colorfully illustrates the distribution of the world’s most commonly spoken languages.
With data taken from Ethnologue and UNESCO, among other sources, the graphic offers a variety of ways to understand global language patterns – from visualizing which languages have the largest number of native speakers. . .   Read More