Nearly 40 years ago, the two Voyager spacecraft left Earth. Aboard each was a time capsule of humanity for extraterrestrials: a golden record containing sounds and images portraying the diversity of life and culture on Earth, including a diagram of DNA, greetings in 55 languages, a map of our solar system's position relative to stellar landmarks, the sound of a kiss, Louis Armstrong's "Melancholy Blues" and "Dark Was the Night -- Cold Was The Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson. Since culture and technology don’t stand still, Science Friday asks: "If humanity were to send another Golden Record to the stars, what would it contain?" An expert panel will review submissions from the public, and a new Golden Record will be unveiled on October 7. [more inside]
Writing for The Guardian, Charles Eisenstein argues that regenerative agriculture is crucial to an effective response to climate change, which in his view includes both technological and philosophical shifts: [more inside]
A dialogue between the Anthropocene and Afrofuturism looks at alternate aspirations for modernity: "[u]nlike what it suggests, Afrofuturism has nothing to do with Africa, and everything to do with cyberculture in the West." (via) [more inside]
Recent posts here, here and here discuss a growing sense that climate change is going to be worse than we thought. A link to Charles Stross's musing on a future that included climate change was discussed on MeFi here. But Kim Stanley Robinson asks a slightly different question: If capitalism is the driver of climate change, what happens next? What does post-capitalism look like?
Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change," from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
The stories of now. An essay by Kim Stanley Robinson on the remarkable pool of SF talent currently working in the U.K.
The System Administrator's Guild demonstrates true geek wisdom in governence. Like the scientist-intellectual class in Kim Stanley Robinson's epic Mars Trilogy, the members of this Guild elect volunteer leaders to fulfill the group's administrative functions. Robinson's democratic fantasy land--where there are no real politicians--is often overshadowed by the sheer scientific whiz-bang wonderment of his novels. The trilogy is great not for its descriptions of space elevators and artificial gravity but rather because it is a fine example of Feministische phantastische-utopische Literatur and represents insightful social commentary. It even has its own little world-wide subculture, whose members most hopefully sit around and fantasize about how a newly-habitable world--made possible by the genius of the human mind and the skill of human hands--is politically, socially, economically, spiritually and environmentally shaped by the powerful and influential "First Hundred". Although the Sysadmin Guild's most recent executive board election showed a relatively poor voter turnout--touted on the site to be a "very high" 28.5%--I can't help but think they may be on to something. Perhaps a healthy disinterest in ruling and wielding power would be good back here on Earth [NYT].