Culture and Society

Woven Light: Age of Release

October 17, 2014

Librarian and writer Heath Rezabek (and since he’s birthing what looks to me to be a book, I should probably refer to him as a novelist as well) has been exploring the ways we might use archives to explore our civilization even as we ensure its survival against existential risk. Heath uses speculative fiction to […]

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A Sunset Glimpse of Deep Time

October 14, 2014

A truncated schedule this week as I attend to a pressing project that needs all my attention. So no post today or Wednesday, but back Thursday with a look at the Alpha Centauri planet hunt and the still-unresolved question of Centauri Bb. For the short interval, I’ll leave you with this quote from Lee Billings […]

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Closing Out 100YSS: Antimatter, Gravitational Lensing & a Modified Orion

September 26, 2014

I don’t envy the track chairs at any conference, particularly conferences that are all about getting large numbers of scientists into the right place at the right time. Herding cats? But the track model makes inherent sense when you’re dealing with widely disparate disciplines. Earlier in the week I mentioned how widely the tracks at […]

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Starflight: A Multi-Generational Perspective

September 24, 2014

“While other nations try to reach the moon, we are trying to reach the village,” said Julius Nyerere, who after serving as Tanzania’s first president retired to the village of his childhood. Mae Jemison likes to use this quote to introduce what she sees as a major theme of the 100 Year Starship project, which […]

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What We Want to Hear

August 5, 2014

“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” So sang Simon & Garfunkel in their 1968 ballad “The Boxer.” Human nature seems to drive us to look for what we most want to happen. It’s a tendency, though, that people who write about science have to avoid because it can lead […]

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Dining with Dirac

August 1, 2014

Ever wonder what it would have been like to sit in on a great occasion? I used to think about this in relation to a dinner party the painter Benjamin Haydon threw in 1817 at his London studio. At the ‘immortal dinner’ were, among others, William Wordsworth, John Keats and Charles Lamb, leading literary figures […]

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A Needle in the Cosmic Haystack: Formal and Empirical Approaches to Life in the Universe

July 25, 2014

Are we alone in the universe? Nick Nielsen muses on the nature of the question, for the answer seems to depend on what we mean by being ‘alone.’ Does a twin of Earth’s ecosystem though without intelligent life suffice, or do we need a true peer civilization? For that matter, are we less alone if […]

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First Words: Remembering July 20, 1969

July 21, 2014

I had hoped that the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing would stir up some memories for Centauri Dreams regular Al Jackson, and I was not to be disappointed. Here, spurred partly by weekend news reports questioning who said the first words from the Moon, Al thinks back to a time of Champagne and jubilation, […]

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Neil Armstrong: ‘A Little Bit of Bedlam’

July 18, 2014

As we approach the 45th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon, journalist and author Neil McAleer has been looking back at an interview he conducted with Neil Armstrong on March 16, 1989. The author of Visionary: The Odyssey of Sir Arthur C. Clarke (Clarke Project, 2012), McAleer has lived among and written about […]

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A Manifesto for Expansion

July 4, 2014

Michael Michaud gave the speech that follows in 1988 at the 39th International Astronautical Congress, which met in Bangalore, India in October of that year. Reading through it recently, I was struck by how timely its theme of spaceflight advocacy and human expansion into the cosmos remains today. When he wrote this, Michaud was director […]

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