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Outbreaks of Futurity
Tomorrow's ideas, today. Tracking exotic concepts and future marvels.
Curated by Artur Coelho
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American Technological Sublime

American Technological Sublime | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
'David Nye always has something interesting and suggestive to say about the role of technology in American culture and society. American Technological Sublime is...a book that can be profitably and enjoyably read by specialists and general readers alike. It is an estimable piece of historical interpretation and writing and deserves a wide readership.' -- David Nasaw, Boston Globe Technology has long played a central role in the formation of Americans' sense of selfhood. From the first canal systems through the moon landing, Americans have, for better or worse, derived unity from the common feeling of awe inspired by large-scale applications of technological prowess. American Technological Sublime continues the exploration of the social construction of technology that David Nye began in his award-winning book Electrifying America. Here Nye examines the continuing appeal of the 'technological sublime' (a term coined by Perry Miller) as a key to the nation's history, using as examples the natural sites, architectural forms, and technological achievements that ordinary people have valued intensely.American Technological Sublime is a study of the politics of perception in industrial society. Arranged chronologically, it suggests that the sublime itself has a history - that sublime experiences are emotional configurations that emerge from new social and technological conditions, and that each new configuration to some extent undermines and displaces the older versions. After giving a short history of the sublime as an aesthetic category, Nye describes the reemergence and democratization of the concept in the early nineteenth century as an expression of the American sense of specialness. What has filled the American public with wonder, awe, even terror? David Nye selects the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the Erie Canal, the first transcontinental railroad, Eads Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, the major international expositions, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909, the Empire State Building, and Boulder Dam. He then looks at the atom bomb tests and the Apollo mission as examples of the increasing ambivalence of the technological sublime in the postwar world. The festivities surrounding the rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986 become a touchstone reflecting the transformation of the American experience of the sublime over two centuries. Nye concludes with a vision of the modern-day 'consumer sublime' as manifested in the fantasy world of Las Vegas.
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Chicago PD's Big Data: using pseudoscience to justify racial profiling

Chicago PD's Big Data: using pseudoscience to justify racial profiling | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
The Chicago Police Department has ramped up the use of its "predictive analysis" system to identify people it believes are likely to commit crimes.
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Today's Apps Are Turning Us Into Sociopaths | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

Today's Apps Are Turning Us Into Sociopaths | Wired Opinion | Wired.com | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
We’re observing the emergence of tech that doesn’t just augment our intellect and lives, but is now beginning to automate and outsource our humanity. I talked to the makers of BroApp, which sends automated daily text messages to your significant other (“seamless relationship outsourcing”). Shared with permission here is the app makers' rationale, which I believe goes beyond just this one app -- and captures widely held convictions in the tech community we need to pay attention to.
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Why Making Technology Easier to Use Isn't Always Good

Why Making Technology Easier to Use Isn't Always Good | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
We must take seriously our need to be challenged, or face the danger of living more productive but less satisfying lives.
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Legal Heroin: Is Virtual Reality Our Next Hard Drug?

Legal Heroin: Is Virtual Reality Our Next Hard Drug? | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
So video games are addictive—this we know.

It comes down to dopamine, one of the brain’s basic signaling molecules. Emotionally, we feel
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Why scholars can’t resist the uncrackable Voynich manuscript - The Boston Globe

Why scholars can’t resist the uncrackable Voynich manuscript - The Boston Globe | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
To study it has been called “academic suicide,” but the Voynich manuscript, a book of mysterious handwritten script and illustrations, has drawn obsessive scholars ever since its discovery in an Italian monastery by a Lithuanian bookseller named Wilfrid Voynich in 1912. Its combination of an uncrackable script, which may be either a coded language, an unknown written language, or a hoax, plus its strange illustrations of women and botanical and astronomical phenomena, has drawn linguists, physicists, statisticians, historians, botanists, and more. Two new papers on the Voynich prompt a look at the document that continues to bedevil scholars--and, regardless of its true identity, clearly has a highly unusual power to bring experts from many corners of the academic universe into conversation around a single object.
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What is the role of interaction design in the world of AI?

What is the role of interaction design in the world of AI? | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Totally self-serving question. But weren't you wondering it? In a recent chat I had with Intel’s Futurist-Prime Genevieve Bell (we’re like, totally buds), she pointed out that Western c...
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What Men Find Behind Female Masks

What Men Find Behind Female Masks | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Inside the increasingly common practice—and business—of female masking
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A Dictator's Guide to Urban Design

A Dictator's Guide to Urban Design | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Ukraine's Independence Square, and the revolutionary dimensions of public spaces.
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The War on Reason

The War on Reason | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Scientists and philosophers argue that human beings are little more than puppets of their biochemistry. Here's why they're wrong.
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Google’s “Project Tango” is a smartphone with Kinect-style computer vision

Google’s “Project Tango” is a smartphone with Kinect-style computer vision | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Signups for Google's 3D mapping and augmented reality development platform start today.
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Bye, Bye, Captain: Drone Ships May Soon Take to the Seas

Bye, Bye, Captain: Drone Ships May Soon Take to the Seas | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
The seafarers of the future might do their faring virtually.
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5 Intriguing Things: Tuesday, 2/25

5 Intriguing Things: Tuesday, 2/25 | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Facebook in the developing world, how the last animal died, technodystopian fiction, Iceland's data havens, and the School for Poetic Computation.
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Ukraine: Up close

Ukraine: Up close | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
The details of a scene can be just as revealing as a more comprehensive image. The carnation sticking out of the bricks from the barricade,...
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Raffi Khatchadourian: Can an Audacious Plan to Create a New Energy Resource Help Save the Planet?

Raffi Khatchadourian: Can an Audacious Plan to Create a New Energy Resource Help Save the Planet? | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
No one knows ITER’s true cost, which may be incalculable, but estimates have been rising steadily, and a conservative figure rests at twenty billion dollars, a sum which makes ITER the most expensive scientific instrument on Earth. But if it is truly possible to bottle up a star, and to do so economically, the technology could solve the world’s energy problems for the next thirty million years, and help save the planet from environmental catastrophe. Thirty-five countries, representing more than half the world’s population, are invested in the project, which is so complex to finance that it requires its own currency: the ITER Unit of Account.
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Researchers Show Off Mind-Controlled Music Player

Researchers Show Off Mind-Controlled Music Player | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Scientists at the University of Malta think touch screens are for suckers. Mind-controlled devices? Now, that’s where it’s at. Outfitted in an
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Memex 1.1 » Blog Archive » Internet giants: capitalism red in tooth and claw

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Letters of Note: Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088

Letters of Note: Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088 | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
Fascinating letters. Interesting correspondence.
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Welcome to Algorithmic Prison

Welcome to Algorithmic Prison | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
The use of Big Data to to profile citizens is subtly, silently constraining freedom.

 
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What’s Up With All the “Deep Web” Stuff on House of Cards?

What’s Up With All the “Deep Web” Stuff on House of Cards? | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
If you’ve spent any of the past week binge-watching the second season of Netflix’s House of Cards, you’ll know that there’s a lot of talk about the “Deep Web.” (If not, be warned: Spoilers ahead.) When our stalwart and unkempt reporter Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus) wants to dig into the...
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Fantastic Infographics, Drawn From A Study of Instagram Selfies | Wired Design | Wired.com

Fantastic Infographics, Drawn From A Study of Instagram Selfies | Wired Design | Wired.com | Outbreaks of Futurity | Scoop.it
For Selfiecity, a new data viz project, researchers spent the past six months gathering Instagram data from five major cities.
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