In Western cultures, nature is a cosmological, primal ordering force and a terrestrial condition that exists in the absence of human beings. Both meanings are freely implied in everyday conversation. We distinguish ourselves from the natural world by manipulating our environment through technology. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly proposes that technology behaves as a form of meta-nature, which has greater potential for cultural change than the evolutionary powers of the organic world alone.
The notion of robot love has a long history, and by far the dominant emphasis has been on its erotic manifestation. After all, the reasoning goes, a sufficiently advanced robot would offer all of the physical pleasure of a real partner with no emotional entanglements, personal judgments, or dissipating affections, in an un-aging body that can be sculpted to look exactly as one desires. Famous movie actors and actresses might even set up a lucrative side-business licensing their own bodily images to robot manufacturers, even long after time and nature had taken a toll.
A recent report from the Los Angeles Times underscored what amounts to an epidemic of deaths in the US caused at least in part by overdoses of legally prescribed drugs. The root problem, though, is one of cultural technology rather than chemistry or regulation.
In The American Way of War, historian Russell Weigley describes a grinding strategy of destruction employed by the U.S. military over the last 150 years. To end the Civil War, Grant felt he had to destroy lee’s soldiers; in World War I, Pershing relentlessly bombarded and wore down Germany’s proud fighting machine; and the Army Air Corps pulverized major German and Japanese cities to win World War II.
Hurricane Sandy fizzled out over Quebec Wednesday morning, leaving a trail of devastation along the US East Coast and into southern Ontario. As I write this, Sandy’s death toll stands at 132 people – 71 in the Caribbean and 61 in the United States. Since making landfall in the US, it flooded the New York City subway system, left 8 million people without electricity (6.5 million of whom still lack it), destroyed the Atlantic City boardwalk, and shut down the New York Stock Exchange for 2 days. Estimates of its economic damage are up to $50 billion, making it the 2nd most expensive storm in US history, after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans.
Last night I had the fortune of sitting down with the leading researcher in Madagascar focused on the intersection of wildlife conservation and human health, Dr. Chris Golden from the Harvard School of Public Health.
If cows were time travelers - I would stop eating most meat! Let me explain…. the ability to be a time traveller is a critical defining marker in how we must practically interpret the nature of any given animal consciousness.
A generation of far-reaching social change lies ahead for Australia. There will be a serious struggle to adapt to climate change as water security becomes a critical issue for many coastal cities and for agriculture.
Say goodbye to global warming, toxic waste, and dependency on fossil fuels, and get ready to enjoy perfect health with exotic drugs that could one day cure most diseases and extend lifespan indefinitely.
We love watching the Olympics, and are inspired by athletic and organisational excellence. However, the Olympics are not a neutral venue. Every medal is based on a stream of money, power, genes and deep culture. In this essay  we unpack the political-economy of the Olympics.
Ever since Enrico Fermi questioned back in the 1950’s why, if a multitude of civilisations are likely to exist in the Milky Way, no sign of their existence in the form of probes or spacecraft has ever been detected, scientists and critical thinkers have struggled to resolve the problem by supplying a host of inventive arguments with mixed reception.