Bookmarks for 2012-02-22

February 22nd, 2012 | brainjuice


Night Music: Motion Sickness Of Time Travel

February 22nd, 2012 | music

Discovered them last year, and this particular record still does regular service in my office.  As, indeed, it is right now.  Click through to buy your own download for Name Your Price, or stream the whole thing right here:


Any Sufficiently Advanced Civilization Is Indistinguishable From Nature

February 21st, 2012 | researchmaterial

I first came across this idea, I think, at Charlie Stross’ blog some weeks ago.  I only chewed on it a bit, because I think I was still zoned out after finishing GUN MACHINE.  But it’s just popped up in my feeds again, and this is the takeaway:

(Karl) Schroeder explains the Fermi Paradox – the apparent contradiction between the likelihood that extraterrestrial civilizations exist and the lack of evidence for them – by speculating that we have not yet encountered our cosmic neighbors because they are indistinguishable from their native ecology.

Which is a fascinating thought experiment, and gives a marvellously wiggy megascale corollary to Arthur C Clarke’s famous dictum about any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.

What I haven’t seen dealt with yet in my skim-reading of the topic, and maybe it’ll be there when I drill down, is this: the experiment seems only to work if we assume such societies generated no electromagnetic noise at all in their transition to that level of civilisation.  We have to conceive of a civilisation that had no period of electromagnetic broadcast in its lifetime, or else there would be ambient evidence and Fermi would seem to me to reinstate itself.  Which is a wonderful workout for the imagination.


Apparently This Is Something People Still Have To Say

February 20th, 2012 | comics talk

Tom Spurgeon:

I would argue that the comics shops moved past any real, collective desire to even try to sell alternative and independent comics long before the publishers of those comics by necessity switched some of their focus to the book trade.


Bookmarks for 2012-02-20

February 20th, 2012 | brainjuice

  • Remembering Anthony Shadid | Foreign Policy
    "Once, on a trip to Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, he purchased a video disc from a tea shop. Unlike Starbucks, which once sold music intended to relax the listener, the offering in Tikrit was titled "Anger." It was a compilation of bloody images of U.S. and insurgent attacks that was sickening to watch. Anthony bought it not because of its shock value, but because he knew he needed to see it to understand how Iraqi public opinion was being shaped."
    (tags:writing war culture )
  • Where Have All the George Washingtons Gone? – By Aaron David Miller | Foreign Policy
    "Lincoln gave four major speeches during his presidency; FDR gave only four fireside chats during his first year. Barack Obama gave over 500 speeches and major remarks during his first 365 days in office."
    (tags:pol media )
  • Rhizome | Drone Desire
    "In the world of robotic warfare, human pilots are apparently still good for something:  shooting down wayward drones."
    (tags:drones war )
  • Researchers resurrect new species of life from ancient Andean tomb
    "Carvajal and his team resurrected a number of different yeast strains, but not a one was saccharomyces cerivisiae — the yeast used in contemporary fermentation techniques. In fact, two of the strains were a new species entirely, and beonged to the genus Candida, many species of which are known to cause skin and vaginal infections. Carvajal's team named the new species C. theae, meaning "tea.""
    (tags:sci )