Culture and Society

A Black Hole of Information?

February 17, 2015

A couple of interesting posts to talk about in relation to yesterday’s essay on the Encyclopedia Galactica. At UC-Santa Cruz, Greg Laughlin writes entertainingly about The Machine Epoch, an idea that suggested itself because of the spam his systemic site continually draws from “robots, harvesters, spamdexing scripts, and viral entities,” all of which continually fill […]

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We Have Fed Our Sea

February 9, 2015

One of the reasons I do what I do is that when I was a boy, I read Poul Anderson’s The Enemy Stars. Published as a novel in 1959, the work made its original appearance the previous year in John Campbell’s Astounding Science Fiction as a two-part serial titled “We Have Fed Our Sea.” The […]

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On the Role of Humans in Starflight

February 5, 2015

What does it take to imagine a human future among the stars? Donald Goldsmith asks the question in a recent op-ed for Space.com called Does Humanity’s Destiny Lie in Interstellar Space Travel, playing off the tension between successful robotic exploration that has taken us beyond the heliosphere and the human impulse for personal experience of […]

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Who Will Read the Encyclopedia Galactica?

January 23, 2015

Can a universal library exist, once that contains all possible books? Centauri Dreams regular Nick Nielsen takes that as just the starting point in his latest essay, which tracks through Borges’ memorable thoughts on the matter to Carl Sagan, who brought the idea of an Encyclopedia Galactica to a broad audience. But are the two […]

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Drake Equation: The Sustainability Filter

January 21, 2015

There are a lot of things that could prevent our species from expanding off-Earth and gradually spreading into the cosmos. Inertia is one of them. If enough people choose not to look past their own lifetimes as the basis for action, we’re that much less likely to think in terms of projects that will surely […]

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Making the Case for Deep Space

January 19, 2015

I get few questions that are harder to answer than ‘what happened to the sense of adventure that we once had with Apollo?’ And there are few questions I get more often, usually accompanied by ‘how are we going to do starflight if we don’t even have the will to go back to the Moon?’ […]

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Happy New Year from Centauri Dreams

December 31, 2014

And for those of you who’ve been asking about the videos of presentations at the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, they’re now online. 2015, with New Horizons at Pluto/Charon and Dawn at Ceres, is shaping up to be an extraordinary year. Here’s to the continuing effort to advance the human and robotic effort in deep space.

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Have a Wonderful Holiday

December 24, 2014

I’m cooking all afternoon in anticipation of a family dinner tonight. The first fruits of my labors are in the photo below. I cultivated the sourdough starter I use for this bread three years ago — over the years, it has really developed some punch, and produces a fine, aromatic loaf. My afternoon now turns […]

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Interstellar: Herald to the Stars or a Siren’s Song?

December 19, 2014

Not long after I published my thoughts on Chris Nolan’s film Interstellar, Centauri Dreams regular Larry Klaes weighed in with his own take. Views on Interstellar have been all over the map, no surprise given how personal film criticism can be (take a look at the critical reception of Bladerunner over the years). I like […]

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Why Interstellar Matters

December 10, 2014

My friend Frank Taylor was in town over the Thanksgiving holiday, having flown in from South Africa. With his wife Karen, Frank has spent the years since 2009 circumnavigating the globe aboard a 50-foot catamaran called Tahina, an adventure chronicled with spectacular photography on the Tahina Expedition blog. I highly recommend the site for anyone […]

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