With technology tracking us everywhere we go, ‘cosplay’ might become our best defense against surveillance.
Capitalism is, fundamentally, an economic system that promotes inequality.
I am a big proponent of character arcs that show us how people change over time.
A series of studies in the 1990s and 2000s revealed that as women gained more access to education, jobs, and birth control, they had fewer children. As a result, developed countries in western Europe, Japan, and the Americas were seeing zero or negative population growth.
There can be problems with extended families, and it can get a little close for comfort. But for the younger generations, it’s clear that this option is becoming almost as appealing as living alone.
It is true that I will confess that I have an incredible fascination for pop-culture stories about the Apocalypse and the end of the world.
If we lose bees, we may be looking at losing apples and oranges. We may be looking at losing a great deal of other crops, as well, and other animals that depend on those crops.
Evolutionary psychology has often been a field whose most prominent practitioners get embroiled in controversy – witness the 2010 case of Harvard professor Marc Hauser, whose graduate students came forward to say he’d been faking evidence for years.
A group of scientists wanted to find the most effective mosquito repellents. So they tested 10 different substances, including campout standbys like DEET, as well as a random choice: Victoria’s Secret perfume Bombshell. Turns out the perfume is almost as good as DEET.
Using predictive models from engineering and public health, designers will plan safer, healthier cities that could allow us to survive natural disasters, pandemics, and even a radiation calamity that drives us underground.
When it comes to the population explosion, there are two questions on the table. One, is our population growth going to kill us all? And two, is there any ethical way to prevent that from happening?
Radio Shack is meeting the fate of many other stores that were wildly popular in the twentieth century, including record stores, comic book stores, bookstores and video stores.
There is evidence that we are headed into what would be the planet’s sixth mass extinction. It’s hard to know for sure if you’re in one because a mass extinction is an event where over 75 percent of the species on the planet die out over a – usually about a million-year period. The fastest it might happen is in hundreds of thousands of years.
Humans have obviously contributed a great deal of carbon to the atmosphere. So we are warming the planet up.
Critics have called alien epic ‘Avatar’ a version of ‘Dances With Wolves’ because it’s about a white guy going native and becoming a great leader. But Avatar is just the latest scifi rehash of an old white guilt fantasy.
Whether ‘Avatar’ is racist is a matter for debate. Regardless of where you come down on that question, it’s undeniable that the film – like alien apartheid flick ‘District 9’, released earlier this year – is emphatically a fantasy about race.
‘Avatar’ imaginatively revisits the crime scene of white America’s foundational act of genocide, in which entire native tribes and civilizations were wiped out by European immigrants to the American continent.
Science fiction is exciting because it promises to show the world and the universe from perspectives radically unlike what we’ve seen before.
Reader was by far the most popular feed reader out there, and its user base had been in a steep decline for two years before Google decided to shut it down.
RSS, as a format and an idea, grew directly out of an internet culture that many people online today know nothing about: Usenet.
When Usenet was eclipsed by websites in the late 1990s, people from that world – many of them programmers – wanted to bring the freewheeling, amazing discussions of Usenet to the web. And thus, RSS was born.
At last we’ve seen the first installment of Joss Whedon’s new web series, ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,’ and it’s sweeter than we’d ever imagined.
I founded io9 back in 2008, and I watched it journey from the farthest reaches of space to its current home under this atmosphere bubble on Ceres.
You’ve probably heard the stories about how io9 got its name. And maybe you know that io9 co-founder Charlie Jane Anders and I were inspired by Kathy Keeton, whose groundbreaking magazine ‘Omni’ combined coverage of real science with science fiction. But what you probably don’t know is how unlikely it was that io9 ever succeeded at all.
io9 was the last standalone site that Gawker Media ever launched. It was born at a time when many of the company’s other famous sites, from Consumerist and Wonkette to Fleshbot and Idolator, were being sold off or shuttered.
You are ruled by change whether you like it or not, and io9’s future path lies with joining a larger site that covers technology as well as science and science fiction.
When I was a lecturer at UC Berkeley, I wrote a book about monsters.
When I was a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I became obsessed with end user license agreements.
When I was a journalist at Wired, I convinced a doctor to implant an RFID tracking device in my arm.
The first time I saw ‘Star Wars,’ I got so excited that I threw up.
We sometimes allow writers to publish their work without editing on io9.
Once you’ve worked as a writer and editor in the world of social media for a decade, the way I have, you start to notice patterns.
Before the 21st century, stories became popular because people talked about them in other publications or shared magazine and newspaper clippings with friends.
A hard-hitting investigative report that uncovers a nugget of genuine truth is the ultimate viral hit.
To share a story is in part to take ownership of it, especially because you are often able to comment on a story that you are sharing on social media.
In many cities, it’s become popular to hate ‘gentrifiers,’ rich people who move in and drive up housing prices – pushing everyone else out.
Gentrification is a form of immigration, though almost nobody calls it that.
People who gentrify are usually new transplants to a city, changing it to suit their particular cultural needs and whims.
Cities are not static objects to be feared or admired, but are instead a living process that residents are changing all the time.
Cities might become biological entities, walls hung with curtains of algae that glow at night and sequester carbon, and floors made from tweaked cellular material that strengthens like bones as we walk on it.
Fifty years ago, historians advised politicians and policy-makers. They helped chart the future of nations by helping leaders learn from past mistakes in history. But then something changed, and we began making decisions based on economic principles rather than historical ones. The results were catastrophic.
In the 1970s, as historians became enchanted with microhistories, economists were expanding the reach of their discipline. Nations, states and cities began to plan for the future by consulting with economists whose prognostications were shaped by investment cycles rather than historical ones.
Economic systems rise and fall just like empires. That’s the kind of perspective we need to take if we hope to prosper for centuries rather than for the next quarter.
Unlike economics, whose sole preoccupation in our finance-obsessed era is the near-term profit motive, history offers a way to place our tiny lifespans in a narrative that spans dozens of generations – perhaps even reaching into a future where capitalism is no longer our dominant form of economic organization.
Humans have continued to evolve quite a lot over the past ten thousand years, and certainly over 100 thousand. Sure, our biology affects our behavior. But it’s unlikely that humans’ early evolution is deeply relevant to contemporary psychological questions about dating or the willpower to complete a dissertation.
‘Interstellar’ is a thematic sequel to Christopher Nolan’s last original film, ‘Inception’. It drops us into a dark future full of otherworldly landscapes and time distortions.
If you love epic space opera, you shouldn’t miss ‘Interstellar’.
Put simply, ‘Interstellar’ has a strong undercurrent of cheesiness.
Watching ‘Interstellar’ is really like watching two movies slowly collide with each other.
I think a lot of us responded intensely to ‘True Detective’ because it was so incredibly earnest. That’s what made it heartbreaking and involving.
I’m going to have to class ‘True Detective”s first season with so many other shows that were great until the final episode(s) and then lost their way. I still love this show, but I would have preferred no ending at all to this one.
Your fragile mind can’t have forgotten the terrifying technothriller series known ‘Scorpion’. Because it features the worst hacking scenes ever broadcast in any medium.
The U.N.’s current projection is that humanity will number 9.3 billion individuals in 2050 and then hit 10.1 billion by 2100. Meanwhile, our energy resources are dwindling, and droughts threaten our food supplies.
As fears about the energy and environmental crises reach a fever pitch, we’re all searching for solutions. And one possibility is that we could fix everything if we’d just shrink our population back down to about 2 billion people – which would put us roughly where we were at 80 years ago.
Suddenly, all the giant Hollywood franchises are being driven by alternative filmmakers.
Michel Gondry’s ‘Green Hornet’ was another franchise flick that felt like it came out of left field – I thought in a good way, but most audiences disagreed.
If outsider perspectives made ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Dark Knight’ into fantastic franchises, imagine what would happen if you brought in the perspectives of women and people of color.
What can we expect from this latest crop of indie directors who have been sucked into the franchise factory? I’m especially curious about ‘Star Wars,’ which will feature an all-indie crew after J. J. Abrams finishes with ‘Episode VII.’
If we look at the past two centuries of economic history in Europe and the United States, we see an astounding pattern. Capital will accumulate in a tiny portion of the population, no matter what we do.
We’re seeing a new ‘Gilded Age,’ where inheritance is a deciding factor in who becomes the wealthiest.
When you consider that our technology has advanced from the first telephones to smart phones in roughly a century, it’s easy to understand why it seems like tomorrow is arriving faster than it ever did.
Evolution, climate change, and the construction of the physical universe down to its atoms are processes that we measure in millions or billions of years.
To understand the future properly, it’s crucial that we listen to geologists as often as we do computer scientists.
Technological change is both familiar and easy to observe.
‘World War Z’ is basically a big-budget B-movie.
The novel ‘World War Z’ is told from the perspectives of so many people – speaking to the narrator – that there’s no way a movie could capture all of them. Still, the idea of turning a zombie pandemic into a war story is fascinating and could have translated easily to film.
Max Brooks’ novel ‘World War Z’ is one of the greatest zombie stories ever written, partly for reasons that make it basically unfilmable.
Turning a zombie pandemic into a generic disaster movie robs the zombies of their dirty, nasty edginess and robs the disaster of its epic scope.
The myth that young people should leave the nest at 18, never to return, started with iconic American Benjamin Franklin.
Back in the 1980s, you could learn how to add memory cards to your PC in a Radio Shack.
Millions of nerdy kids who grew up in the 1980s could only find the components they needed at local Radio Shacks, and the stores were like a lifeline to a better world where everybody understood computers.
In the 1920s and 30s, when Radio Shack was young, a much earlier generation of nerds swarmed into these tiny shops to talk excitedly about building radios and other transmission devices. You might say that Radio Shack helped define gadget culture for four generations, from radio whizzes up to smartphone dorks.
‘The Red’ is the first book in a trilogy that gained a big following as a self-published e-book, and is now out in paper from Saga. It introduces us to reluctant hero Shelley, a former anti-war activist who chooses to join the military rather than serve jail time after being arrested at a protest.
‘The Red’ delivers intense action, leavened by a genuinely sympathetic portrait of soldiers caught up in battles they never chose.
Publishers often push women in a subtle way to focus on fantasy and paranormal writing.
Women are being welcomed into science fiction, but it’s through the back door.
We can celebrate how far we’ve come from our sexist past when women and men are equally represented in the pages of science fiction anthologies.