July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
Act II – Quantified-self, lifelogs and someone else’ mindscape
I don’t quite know how “generations” worked, be it human and digital cross-bred or purely digital procreation. But at this point, my mind stops to care.
However fast technology develops, superhuman upgrade will unlikely be readily available at the end of MY lifetime. More than “Our” place in the Universe, what I really want to know is “My” place in the Universe.
Perhaps starting with a smaller, simpler question: “why am I lying in bed thinking about these things, when I’m supposed to be sleeping?”
Yes, know thyself first!
Last autumn I went back to corporate employment to take a sabbatical from entrepreneurial independence. Besides health insurance, a benefit of this sensible move has been perks such as a free Fitbit. A wearable laggard, I finally wrapped one around my wrist, courtesy of my employer. The nights before my birthday, my teal-colored Fitbit records my sleep pattern like this:
June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
Today is World Oceans Day, a day to celebrate the “Blue Heart” of our Planet, which covers almost 71% of its surface, is the principal component of Earth’s hydrosphere, forms part of the carbon cycle, regulates climate and weather patterns, served as the impetus for the emergence of life 39 billion years ago, and continues to provide the life support system for all known species on Earth, supplying half of our oxygen. I have selected a stellar collection of ocean arts and designs, created by four multi-talented individuals and teams, to honor the occasion.
Oceanographer, software engineer, and nature photographer
With an advanced degree in geophysics and a career that has included time with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and work on research projects in 3 different oceans, as well as a number of years working with a startup developing a new class of autonomous vehicles used in the ocean, Kirklin has developed an intense interest in the ecology of the ocean and its varied marine life. He has also been photographing nature and wildlife most of his life and an avid SCUBA diver for the last 20 years. Sooner or later these three interests were bound to intersect in underwater photography, resulting in stunning images of ocean life in the waters off California, Florida, Carribean, Solomons, Micronesia and Galapagos Islands, etc.
A selection of these images can be seen in our Visual Arts gallery. Kirklin’s works give us a glimpse of the beautiful and mysterious life in the world’s oceans, only 5% of which has been explored. The ocean is the habitat of 230,000 known species, but over two million marine species are estimated to exist.
Kirklin’s underwater photography has won awards and been featured in shows on the Central Coast and Sonoma, California. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
By Dan P. Lee, originally published in the September 30, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.
Against a black screen, these words appear first.
“At 600 km above planet Earth, the temperature fluctuates between +258 and -148 degrees Fahrenheit. There is nothing to carry sound. No air pressure. No oxygen. Life in space is impossible.”
The screen disappears.
The planet—this planet, in three dimensions—appears.
Its arc engulfs you, outstretching in front, beside, and, somehow, below you. It is massive. Silently, majestically, cloud-covered and multicolored, it spins. There is the immediate sensation of everything—Earth, you—floating.
A spot appears along an orbital plane of the planet, off to the right, very far away, tiny, slowly moving closer. It is impossible to make out what it is. Telecommunication sparks: muffled, hollow, as if inside your ears, bits of a conversation between here and Houston. There are so many stars all around you. The planet continues spinning, the spot moves closer, drifting on its orbit until finally it arrives—the American space shuttle and a team of astronauts floating outside—and begins orbiting in the same space with you.
January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
From Open Culture
In 1995, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and science fiction writer most well known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, presented a television documentary on the 1980 discovery of the Mandelbrot Set (M-Set). Fractals: The Colors of Infinity brings us inside the world of fractal geometry, and soon enough we’re encountering what has been called “the thumbprint of God” and some of the most beautiful discoveries in the history of mathematics. Clarke narrates the 54-minute film, which includes interviews with important mathematicians, including Benoît Mandelbrot himself. David Gilmour, the guitarist for Pink Floyd, provides the soundtrack. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect combination. Fractals: The Colors of Infinity first appeared on Open Culture back in 2010, which means that a second viewing is long overdue. A book closely related to the film can be purchased here: The Colours of Infinity: The Beauty, The Power and the Sense of Fractals.