Yesterday, December 4, 2009, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies convened an intimate but ambitious seminar to explore the “Biopolitics of Popular Culture.” We heard from a remarkable collection of speakers, including movie directors, screenwriters, science fiction authors, game designers, culture critics, and entrepreneurs.
I really, really like the show Glee. I like it because it stops pretending that people who live in small cities in western and mid-western states are somehow more wholesome than their metropolitan counterparts. I like it because it exposes the high school ruling class for the terrified, soon-to-be-townie losers they usually are. I like it because it admits high schoolers have sex and drink and smoke weed and still manage to function. I like it because it obliterates the myth that marrying your high school sweet heart is a good idea. I like it because it is the sunshiniest, saccharine dark comedy I’ve ever seen.
(Hat tip to humanpl.us) This morning, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed geneticist and anti-aging expert Aubrey de Grey and author Dan Buettner, who spoke about “how to live longer.” Buettner provided tips based on his research of long-lived groups around the world, while de Grey discussed regenerative medicine that will be able to radically extend the human lifespan to several hundred years or more.
We have learned to accept differences in appearance caused by nature or by accident. And we are getting better about appreciating the diversity of bodily expression that modern society has brought. But all this is only the beginning.
As starships do not in fact exist, no starships were harmed in the production of this essay. Also, this is just words. If they upset you, go lie down in a dark room for half an hour then drink a glass of water; you’ll feel better.
How can companies get the best possible performance out of their employees? Let them do whatever they want! And furthermore, don’t offer incentives. Sound counter-intuitive? Not if you look at what research has shown regarding the economics of motivation.
The Venture Bros. is one of those shows I don’t really laugh out loud at until the third or forth time I watch an episode. It isn’t because the jokes aren’t hilarious the first time, it’s just that there is so much awesome compressed into every moment I don’t have time to laugh. “Twenty Years to Midnight” is one of the few exclusions: the Grand Galactic Inquisitor’s ridiculous interjections still make me tear up from laughing so hard. My larger point is that there is so much going on in any given episode, some stuff can get lost in the mix.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the “hacked climate emails.” Long story short: Hacker steals email, posts. Wingnuts take some lines out of context, claim they show a cover-up, cry conspiracy. Scientists refute, in detail. Media covers “controversy.” Driven by talk radio and oil money, the whole thing escalates into a scandal. But a much bigger scandal is just waiting to break.
Futuristic films like “The Terminator” and “Minority Report” imagine a time in which the virtual world can be projected onto the physical world. This technology, known as augmented reality, will be commercially available in the form of glasses sooner than we think, says Jamais Cascio of the IEET. But, he warns, don’t necessarily believe they’ll be rose colored.
Futuristic films like The Terminator and Minority Report imagine a time in which the virtual world can be projected onto the physical world. This technology, known as augmented reality, will be commercially available in the form of glasses sooner than we think, says the IEET’s Jamais Cascio. But, he warns, don’t necessarily believe they’ll be rose-colored.
Thierry Henry’s handball during the now infamous France-Ireland World Cup qualifying match, clearly caught on camera and later acknowledged by the player himself, has reignited in some quarters an often discussed call for the use of technology to aid referee decisions during soccer matches. But the real problem isn’t technology, and rather than being behind the times, soccer has actually been ahead of much of society.
IEET readers have weighed in with their opinions about why the LHC project kept running into seemingly endless delays on its way to running protons into each other. Now that it’s back up and operating, perhaps some of our more far-fetched conjectures will be proved wrong.