Path to Mars: Building an Island of the Future

March 7, 2015 / 0 comments

What does Newfoundland have in common with the challenges of building a human settlement on Mars? They are both isolated places with harsh landscapes facing challenges in the areas of energy, transportation, and food security. But what if the technologies needed for Mars settlement could be tested by transforming Newfoundland into an Island of the…

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Installations of Meaning: Sculptural Discourses in Site/Scale Suspensions

February 2, 2015 / 0 comments

This post is the seed of a paper I am writing about a way to think with meaning across sites and scales. My thinking here is influenced by encounters of many kinds with great thinkers such as Avital Ronell, Judith Butler, Diane Davis, and Jacques Derrida. Derrida opens Aporias with this sentence: “In advance, I thank…

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tweet from Curiosity Rover "new tech OnSight lets my team join me on Mars without leaving Earth"

Telexploration, OnSight, and HoloLens “on” Mars

January 22, 2015 / 0 comments

With the announcement of the Microsoft HoloLens project, it’s become clear that NASA is working with Microsoft on developing this technology for use in “telexploration.” Jeff Norris, who works for NASA, tweeted today: “I have spent a long time not talking about holograms. Now I’m not going to shut up about them!” At Visualized in…

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The words "Open MIND"

Open MIND: 39 papers on mind, consciousness, and cognition

January 22, 2015 / 0 comments

I came across this collection of papers and responses on the mind, edited by Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer M. Windt, via a twitter post by Andreas Roepstorff, Professor at Aarhus University. From the introduction: “This is an edited collection of 39 original papers and as many commentaries and replies. The target papers and replies were…

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Image of radio telescope with starry night sky behind it.

Xenolinguistics, SETI, and Pre-Colonial Anthropology

January 15, 2015 / 0 comments

I just finished re-reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for World Is Forest (1976) in an old well-read family copy with the same cover illustration as this edition pictured here. The book is part of what Le Guin does not call a “Hainish Cycle,” though some readers do. The Hainish books tell a series…

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The Goldilocks Theory

September 13, 2014 / 0 comments

“It’s a world not too big, not too small. It’s just right.” -Stu Spath, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company I frequently come across the ‘Goldilocks’ analogy in popular reporting on space science. It’s used to describe the kind of planet where scientists expect to find life – not a planet that is “too hot” or…

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Word of the Year “Because X”

January 4, 2014 / 0 comments

The American Dialect Society voted yesterday on their latest word of the year. It is: Because X, as in “Why? Because Linguistics.” 20 years ago the  word(s) of the year (a tie) were: cyber and morph. 1994 Word of the Year: (tie) cyber, pertaining to computers and electronic communication, and morph, to change form. Most…

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Image of plant sprout on the International Space Station, with seed attached. Growing out of container.

The Social Life of Plants, In Space

December 23, 2013 / 0 comments

With almost 39,000 followers, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins has an active social community on Twitter. He posts photos from the International Space Station, where he currently lives. The images in his tweets share his unique view from space looking over deserts, city lights at night, the thin layer of atmosphere; events like spacewalks; and other…

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Cyber-Techniques of the Body & the “Looq”

November 24, 2013 / 0 comments

At the American Anthropological Association (AAA) meeting in Chicago, I presented a paper in the panel “Bridging Digital and Physical Publics: Digital Anthropologist’s current engagements with 21st Century Publics.” I spoke about my fieldwork with the online Occupy movement in Indonesia – and about how, as anthropologists working online, we are especially well positioned to…

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Anthropology in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

October 4, 2012 / 0 comments

Anthropologists who like Sci-Fi often list Stargate and Star Trek as among their favorite television series. In my view some of the finest Anthropology focused episodes can be found in the seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ve previously looked online for a list of them, and hadn’t found one so I thought I…

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Untie Our Hands: An Alien Tort Claims Act Campaign

September 26, 2012 / 0 comments

A web site has appeared at untieourhands.com lobbying on behalf of Shell Oil Company in the Kiobel V. Royal Dutch Petrolium (Shell) case. The site uses the slogan “Untie Our Hands” as a rallying cry to free corporations from responsibility for the harm they cause overseas while they engage in resource extraction.

After Dark: Where have the screensavers gone?

September 23, 2012 / 0 comments

I got my first personal computer in 1994. I had just started as a freshman at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon (Steve Jobs’ alma mater) and the school was an all Mac campus as part of the Apple Consortium. My roommate and everyone else I knew in our dorm had purchased new Macs to start our tenure…

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Images and Metaphors of Occupy: On the Year Anniversary

September 17, 2012 / 0 comments

Reading the online news today, I found mainstream media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) anniversary using images and metaphors to frame Occupy as unstable and barely intact. Media reporting alone might lead some readers to believe that Occupy has “returned” (from where? when did it leave?) resulting in “chaos” in the Financial District….

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Religion at Bantar Gebang

September 28, 2011 / 0 comments

2,000 families are estimated to live at Bantar Gebang, Indonesia’s largest trash dump. In this photo, women who live in this community are praying at the end of Ramadan. Photograph: Javaz Tizmaghz, the Guardian

Irish Travellers at Dale Farm: Activism, Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Identity

September 22, 2011 / 0 comments

As the attempted eviction of Travellers from Dale Farm seemed more likely, claims surfaced in the media that the Travellers themselves had left and that only “activists” were remaining at Dale Farm. Reporting for the Guardian from inside Dale Farm, John Bingham wrote “The girls are angered at suggestions in the media that there are…

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