Apr 18, 14

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planet

Designing a Generation Ship

Charlie Stross has a brilliant post up on his blog, taking up the question of how best to design the institutions to run "generation ships" -- spacecraft designed to take large numbers of people a very long distance. If you can crank yourself up to 1% of light-speed, alpha centauri is more than four and a half centuries away at cruising speed. To put it in perspective, that's the same span of time that separates us from the Conquistadores and the Reformation; it's twice the lifespan of the...


Letter from Copenhagen - Cities and Citizenship

I love Copenhagen. It's beautiful and unbelievably livable and human-scaled. People are friendly, the food is good, it's downright pleasant to walk around. Forget Denmark's climate leadership, its wind-powered economy or the stunning fact that Copenhagen is aiming to increase the percentage of total trips taken by bicycle from its current 37% to 50%: the Danes just know how to live. I just had an outstanding stay there, including a series of terrific conversations with folks I really admire:...

planet

Charlie Stross and Near-Future Fiction

Charlie Stross says some very smart things about near-future fiction and the difference between techno-thriller science fiction and the sort of science fiction that is about predicting the present in ways that illuminate change: In my view, near-future SF isn't SF set n years in the future. Rather, it's SF that connects to the reader's life: SF about times we, personally, can conceive of living through (barring illness or old age). It's SF that delivers a powerful message — this is where...


Planetary Management and Colonizing Earth

This article was written by Alex Steffen in August 2007. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. No corner of the planet is so remote that it hasn't felt humanity's footprint. We have become a force of nature: influencing everything, accelerating destruction. And whether we admit it or not, we're increasingly in the position of having to choose the fate of much (perhaps all) of life on Earth. One of the most stunning scientific measurements of this...


Live on Earth Like You Were Colonizing Mars

This article was written by Worldchanging Canada writer Karl Schroeder in August 2007. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. If our civilization requires the resource equivalent of three earths to be sustainable, then we have to stop drawing on ecosystem services that are overstretched. In fact, maybe we should start acting like there are no ecosystem services available to us at all. What's an ecosystem service? Here's Wikipedia's definition:...


Letting Go of Antique Tomorrows

This article was written by Alex Steffen in June 2007. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. We find ourselves, as I wrote a bit ago in an essay called The Empire of Crime, without a contemporary sense of our immediate surroundings or much of a model for a working future. This lends an air of surreality to our thinking. Like the hero of William Gibson's story The Gernsback Continuum, we are shadowed by visions of a future not our own: Mercifully,...


Predicting Possible Futures

This article was written by Charlie Stross in May 2007. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. Worldchanging ally Charlie Stross is not only a science fiction writer of some reknown, but one of our best thinkers about technology and the future as well. Recently he published the following speech on his blog. It's a sharp piece of thinking, which informs in new ways all sorts of subjects we've covered here before, and he's graciously given us permission...


Science For All: Free Text Books

This article was written by Alex Steffen in January 2007. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. Five years ago, Mark Horner had just finished giving a talk on wave phenomena at a South African science fair when a group of young scholars from a poor rural high school came up to him, asking him to proof the notes they'd taken by hand in a notebook. Mark was stunned by the comprehensive diligence reflected in the notes, and asked why the students were so...


Your Cameraphone: a Harbinger of a Massive Social Transformation

This article was written by Jamais Cascio in May of 2005. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. This week, I spoke at the first MeshForum conference, held in Chicago. The following is an adaptation of my talk, which adapts some earlier material with some new observations. Fair warning: it's a long piece. I look forward to your comments. The photo at right is by Howard Greenstein, taken during my presentation. Soon -- probably within the next decade,...


The Open Source Movement

This article was written by Alex Steffen in December of 2003. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective. Open source: we pay a lot of attention to it here, so much so that several worldchangers have asked why. Outside of the realm of computing, they ask, what does collaborative software have to do with changing the world? With sustainability? With democracy? With justice? Everything. If another world is in fact coming into being, it must be a world where...

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