MMBK writes: For the first time in history, more than half the world's population lives in cities. Physical space and modes of transportation will be some of the biggest issues impacting our culture. In the first of a four part series, "The New City" explores this new urban future and its relationship with mobility.
MMBK writes: Forty two years ago, Douglas Engelbart presented a working demonstration of the NLS), or the oN Line System, under the title, A research center for augmenting human intellect. It was the first comprehensive look at an interactive computer for a world used to punch-card systems.
With his terminal projected onto a 22-foot-high screen with video insets, Englebart demonstrated hypertext, the computer mouse, raster-scan video monitors, information organized by relevance, screen windowing, presentation programs, and, mind bogglingly, video conferencing.
MMBK writes: Before November 12, 1990, there was no WWW. But as fate would have it, on this date twenty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau published a document called WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project coining the term and basic operations of the Web as we know it today.
MMBK writes: On November 3rd 1957, the Soviet government launched Sputnik 2, the first spacecraft built to contain a living being, into low earth orbit. Aboard was Laika, the first being in history to voyage beyond our planet’s protective embrace. With no method of planetary reentry currently known to human science, Laika was launched into orbit on November 3rd; a doomed voyage for Earth’s first living space traveler. After roughly 7 hours of monitored suffering, Laika’s vital signs were lost.
MMBK writes: Fifty eight years ago this morning, at 7:15 AM MHT on November 1, 1952, the United States ushered the world into the thermonuclear era when it detonated “Mike,” the most powerful weapon in history, on Elugelab Island in the Pacific Ocean.
When all was said and blown up, the bomb’s 10.4 megaton yield – almost 500 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki seven years prior – left behind an underwater crater 6,240 ft (1.9 km) wide and 164 ft (50 m) deep. The island had been wiped off the face of the Earth.
MMBK writes: NASA TV recently produced six movie-trailer parodies about current projects for a “themed exhibit at an international conference.” But for the most part, the attempt remains pretty corny, far, far away from the imaginative, inspiring work of space artists like Bruce McCall.
MMBK writes: It’s the ultimate salvagepunk experiment, a DIY exploration of what makes innovation possible, and an attempt to prove that the future could happen at any time (even if the world isn’t always ready for it).
MMBK writes: On October 14, 1947, Pilot Chuck Yeager was on board the Bell X-1, the first manned aircraft to break the sound barrier. The plane nicknamed Glamorous Glennis (after Yeager’s wife) rocketed up to 40,000 feet traveling 662 milers per hour (the sound barrier at that altitude).
MMBK writes: Fifty three years ago this week, the Russians won the space race – or one of it’s laps – by successfully launching the Sputnik satellite into orbit. This newsreel, the first to report on the launch, recycles older animation about geosynchronic orbits, since all film footage was kept secret (note the very un-Soviet IBM logo on one of the massive computers).
MMBK writes: New data is saying that, yeah, this really counter-intuitive conclusion might just be true. As less sunlight reaches the atmosphere, it's contributing more to global warming. Things are getting hotter as they get darker. Which, given, some recent fears about our sun generally being on the wane, isn't great news.
tedlistens writes: The last Space Shuttle’s external tank was recently lifted into a “checkout cell” in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, one of the largest buildings in the world. The completion of the last tank meant the shut down of the assembly line – and the 800 remaining people who worked on it – at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The tank contains the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen that, along with the solid rocket boosters, powers the Shuttle into orbit. Though they are not typically reused — ten seconds after the engines cut off, the tank falls away to break up over the Indian Ocean, away from known shipping lanes — one new plan imagines using old shuttle parts, including pieces of the tank, to build a new moon rocket. There's a beautiful video of the lifting of the tank at Motherboard.
MMBK writes: If the increasing presence of technologies in our everyday lives can lead to estrangement or control, they can also, as some of these technologists are demonstrating, create a whole new way of thinking about and remaking the city. In this video the guys behind Future Everything tell us how the cities of the future will function.
MMBK writes: Evidence is mounting that could realistically lead scientists to believe the mysterious red rain in India is in fact alien life. The cells reproduce at a temperature of 250F. Even more damning (or really cool, depending on how you look at it) is this finding: When blasted with fluorescent light, the spectrum given off by the cells virtually mirrors the spectrum given off by Red Rectangle nebula.
MMBK writes: IDC’s talking heads project a Brave New World almost necessarily fraught with information overload (perhaps that’s because they’re helping to contribute to it?), a scenario that demands technological solutions like “deduplication,” a specialized data compression technique that deletes duplicated data. (Apart from the benefits of redundancy, the apprehension here lies with the inevitable competition that will arise over which and whose data is most valuable. How will that be determined?)
At best, these accounts of the Internet feel absurd and self-serving, like the claim that the web is dead. At worst, they represent a kind of internet fear mongering, of the sort that generates a feeling of helplessness, and underwrites the growth of the web’s gatekeepers like Facebook and Google.