MNN has a short article with a number of interesting maps showing the changes in the rate of travel in the United States across the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Nothing too surprising here, just a clear reminder of how topography and technology have continually affected our experience of moving from one place to another. We really have no idea just how life-altering the advent of rail travel was for those who experienced its emergence and development.
My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing
The White House officially responds to the online petition to build a Death Star. Classic.
“The administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon…. Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun”
“Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?”
A great Wired piece on Stephen Hawking, notions of genius, and the disparate self made possible by technology:
“In one version of Hawking’s eulogistic story, we praise the smartest person in the world, the brilliant physicist, one of the greatest cosmologists of our time. He fits perfectly well with our conception of how science and its heroes work: To be a genius all one needs is a powerful – a “beautiful” – mind. And indeed, because of his disability, Hawking embodies the mythical figure capable of grasping the ultimate laws of the universe with nothing but the sheer strength of his reasoning: He can’t move his body, so everything must be in his mind. What else would a theoretical physicist need?
But in another version of Hawking’s story, we notice that he is more “incorporated” than any other scientist, let alone human being. He is delegated across numerous other bodies: technicians, students, assistants, and of course, machines. Hawking’s “genius,” far from being the product of his mind alone, is in fact profoundly located, material, and collective in nature.”