"The average cost of a divorce in this country is $27,000. The average cost of Wevorce is $10,000." [FastCo]
Via the Smithsonian, news of an entrepreneurial San Francisco-based team of biologists who plan to insert genes from bioluminescent bacteria into ordinary plants "as a first step to creating glowing trees."
Scientists genetically engineered the very first glow-in-the-dark plant in the 1980s, a tobacco plant with a firefly gene inserted into it. Historically, what has been the purpose of doing this?
The first time, I think, was just a demonstration project. But scientists have used it since to study things like root growth… Traditionally, what they’ve done is insert the gene for luciferase [an enzyme from a luminescent organism] along with a promoter [a region [...]
I am ambivalent towards paper, but this French TV ad makes a decent point.
"I think the least important thing about science fiction for me is its predictive capacity. Its record for being accurately predictive is really, really poor! If you look at the whole history of science fiction, what people have said is going to happen, what writers have said is going to happen, and what actually happened — it’s terrible. We’re almost always wrong. " —William Gibson, the oft-called "prophetic" author of Neuromancer, spoke to Wired about writing sci-fi. "Science fiction writers aren’t fortunetellers. Fortunetellers are fakes." Gasp!
Picture being able to interact with your refrigerator, microwave oven, and even the garbage can. This is a glimpse into the future—the Kitchen of Tomorrow! Artificial intelligence will give your appliances the power of voice activation and facial recognition, making them more useful than ever before.
Imagine checking the fridge without opening the door! Let’s look in on a Family of Tomorrow—Trudy, Michael, and their daughter Kimberly—to see what this marvelous future will be like.
Trudy: Fridge, is there any mineral water?
Refrigerator: Hello, Trudy. Yes, there are five bottles of mineral water at 40 degrees Fahrenheit inside.
Trudy: Thanks, fridge!
Refrigerator: You’re welcome!
You’ll save time and energy not [...]
Because if cicadas are "the shrimp of the land," maybe…
Scorpions: Sundried lobsterettes Tarantulas: Silk crabs Crickets: Grass cracklins Ants: Hill seeds Worms: Earth-angel hair pasta Centipedes: Fringed hot dogs Termites: Savory sprinkles Bee larva: Shadow omelettes Pupa: Underground veal Cockroaches: Sunless chicken Fly: Pre-plucked micro quail
Aaand I have made myself sick.
Elsewhere: Radiolab's Cicada Tracker.
Over on the Smithsonian's Paleofuture blog — "A history of the future that never was" — they're halfway into a 24-part series covering the first season of The Jetsons. Not just recaps, the pieces interlace themes in each episode with actual early- to mid-twentieth century news reports about the future. Episode 11, "A Visit from Grandpa," deals with fashion, sports, and aging, and features this spooky prediction from a 1950 AP story: "Medicine by the year 2000 will have advanced the length of life of women to an expectation of nearly 80 and of men to over 75."
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has found that we have something like 8.8 billion more earth-like planets in our galaxy, or enough for every person on this planet to have her own planet to ruin, and then some:
Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold for life.
Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in [...]
Flavia Dzodan, of Red Light Politics (and Tiger Beatdown, among other online publications), has written one of many responses to the recent (click here to download the pdf!) report by Courtney Martin and Vanessa Valenti, which is meant to be kind of a State and Future of the Dis-Union look at the landscape of online feminism. You should read both the report and the responses, if the topic is of interest to you. Valenti and Martin are right that the movement puts a lot of pressure on the women who do the heavy lifting, and it causes a lot of burnout. More pressure, of course, is [...]
Future Black Baby –
Hello to you and yours! I’m your future black mother, and you’re my future black bundle of joy. (Actually, I have no idea if you’ll be black. My current partner is white, and things are going swimmingly, so you might be beige. Also, maybe you won’t be so joyful. You might be a miserable mung bean of a baby). I know that neither of us exist yet, but I thought, “why wait for material cause?” Well, ha-ha, I have more material cause than you currently have, but guess what? I’ll have a lot more things because I’ll be an adult and you’ll be a baby.[...]