"The practice of taking an intentional break from technology and civilization is probably as old as technology and civilization. But it seems increasingly urgent now, in an era when the Internet—and thus most of the planet—is as close as an iPhone…. We’re living in a remarkable time, when it will soon be impossible to be truly alone."
"[Tyler Cowen's new book] describes a future largely stripped of middling jobs and broad prosperity…. Young men will struggle in a labour market that rewards conscientiousness over muscle. With incomes squeezed, many Americans will head to the sort of cheap, sun-baked sprawling exurbs that give the farmers’-market-and-bike-lanes set heartburn. Many will accept rotten public services in exchange for low taxes. This may sound a bit grim, but it reflects real-world trends: 60% of employers already check the credit ratings of job candidates; young male unemployment is high and migrants have been flooding to low-tax, low-service Texas for years. The left is sure that inequality is a recipe for riots. [...]
I guess I'll wait for the jetpacks, although if this is any indication they will probably look like old-people luggage.
The human species is rapidly changing! Mostly not for the better, obviously, but some "futurists" believe their particular demographic (overeducated overpaid youngish professionals starting to worry about mortality) has already begun the process of becoming superhuman mutant cyborgs. Are you kind of depressed that you didn't get around to doing grown-up adult-type things until you were already (technically) middle-aged? Maybe it's okay, because you are the first generation of this new technological human-synthetic revolution! Or maybe you will physically and mentally deteriorate the way humans have always declined, unless they were lucky enough to be killed in a war or wiped out by a plague or eaten by saber-toothed tigers.[...]
"The number of wireless devices in the United States now outnumbers the people living here."
"Those of you who are missing the Casey Anthony trial can now take the courtroom drama with you. An iPhone app covering the murder case launched today at the App Store. Casey Anthony Trial features live streaming coverage and is one of the few ways that crime-lovers can watch the trial in real-time. FYI, this isn't the only iPhone app that covers the trial. Hearst Television launched the Casey Anthony Updates in May. Both apps feature transcripts, news feeds and videos. Casey addicts and bored people alike can now keep up with the progress of the trial."
I can't quite put my finger on it but for some reason this essay, "How 'Minority Report' Trapped Us In A World Of Bad Interfaces," seems timelier than ever. Maybe it's something in the air.
"Nowadays we're constantly having to look at innovative ways to cut costs and they don't come more cutting edge than Shanice. I hope people come down and visit her the next time they're in the Civic Centre, she looks great and she's always very friendly."
"As algorithms turn more of the subjective domain of human creativity into objective tasks, some observers worry about cultural homogeneity. Are we doomed to a future of uniform harmonies and standardized sentences? Hopefully not, but the advent of creative machines certainly will make it harder for humans to stand out. It may be that only distinct and exceptional talents—Nirvana, the Coen Brothers, Jonathan Franzen—will be able to defend our claims to creative superiority." —Uh, okay.
"A Japanese company has built a remote that you can bend and twist to control your TV," but I don't know, that seems like so much more work than pressing buttons and stuff.
One of the things I sometimes do to keep the bad thoughts out of my head when I'm walking down the street alone is try to imagine what someone who was magically transported from the 1970s or so to now would think about everything they saw. Mostly, I guess, he or she would be shocked by the amount of advertising everywhere, the fact that hardly anybody smokes anymore and the rampant obesity. Also, what is this panini and why do all the delis seem to sell them? In that same vein, let's look at this item from BBC News and take a moment to consider how much our world [...]
This Will Be The Way We Brush Our Teeth, Brush Our Teeth, Brush Our Teeth, This Will Be The Way We Brush Our Teeth Early In The Morning In The Future
"One of the most promising applications of 3D printing is the customization of everyday objects to the most personal and variable thing we possess—our bodies. A new example of this is the Blizzident toothbrush, which is made possible by two intersecting technologies—3D scanning and 3D printing. The result is a toothbrush shaped exactly like your teeth. You simply bite it, chomp for six seconds, and voila: every single one of your teeth is perfectly brushed in both an up and down and side to side motion." —Unfortunately this requires a visit to the dentist, which is a deal-breaker for some of us, but [...]
You know, I already have enough people in my life hassling me to get my shit together, I don't need a fruit bowl on my ass to boot.
"With the spread of digital technologies, dictionaries have become a two-way mirror, a record not just of words' meanings but of what we want to know. Digital dictionaries read us."
"Japanese researchers have created a hand-held gun (pictured above) that can jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters (100ft) away. The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling. The researchers were looking for a way to stop 'louder, stronger' voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation." [Via]
"At some point in college, I started doing snail mail, and it felt like an awesome way to keep in touch."
You know why we can't have pictures of dead Osama bin Laden? Because the government knows you'd just Photoshop cats and Xzibit and cartoon come-lines in there.