the great terraforming debate

a couple of years ago, i read the mars series from kim stanley robinson. now nasa held a debate on martian terraforming.

Should we do it? Well, that gets down to a question that we’ve never had to face on Earth before: the distinction between nature and life. On Earth there is no meaningful distinction between nature and life, even in the remotest, coldest deserts.
We see that distinction for the first time when we look beyond the Earth, when we look at the moon. There’s nature; there’s no life. When we look at Mars, we also see nature, probably no life. It’s different from the moon, and we lack the word that distinguishes between something that’s dead, and something that was never alive. The moon was never alive. Mars is dead. The question in my mind is – should we bring it back to life?

boston future salon?

john robb:

Mark Finnern (a great guy by the way) has some amazing speakers at his SF future salon. Worth looking into if you are a) have a curious intelligence and b) in the area. BTW: We need someone in Boston to put something like this together (I would love to, but I have way too many irons in the fire).

after accelerating 2003, i wholeheartedly agree. looks like i’ll be in boston for the summer, so maybe i can help. but now, i need to fly back to zurich first. back in about 2 weeks.

designing trust

claudia keser:

Trust between people engaging in economic transactions affects the economic growth of their community. Reputation management systems, such as the Feedback Forum of eBay Inc., can increase the trust level of the participants. We show in this paper that experimental economics can be used in a controlled laboratory environment to measure trust and trust enhancement. Specifically, we present an experimental study that quantifies the increase in trust produced by two versions of a reputation management system. We also discuss some emerging issues in the design of reputation management systems.

fodder for your next non-zero-sum game.

networking a sustainable future

Planetwork Interactive, San Francisco, June 5 – 6, 2004

Join innovators from the world of information technology, peace and social justice activists, environmental visionaries, independent media pioneers and many others to explore how social networks, information technologies and the Internet can play a key role in the 2004 election and beyond, to support emerging global democracy everywhere, including Florida.

sounds very interesting. coverage, topics:

  • Environmental: Proactive Responses to
    Global Warming & Mass Extinction
  • Digital Democracy: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
    from the DMCA to Touch Screen Voting
  • Social Networks and Civil Society
    Emerging Technical and Social Issues & Implications
  • Alternative Economics: Online & Offline Strategies
    Complementary Currencies, Electronic barter & beyond
  • The Real-World Game: Bucky’s Spaceship Earth meets
    Sim Earth using real data to model Future Scenarios
  • Independent Media from Blogs and RSS to DV and TiVo,
    new technologies for independent networked news

augmented reality

steve mann is exploring augmented reality. while a lack of implants disqualifies the cyborg moniker, cf gargoyle, his experience is nevertheless one we will share in a few short years.
increasing the range of sensory inputs while increasing filtering capabilities strikes me as an excellent way to redefine who we are. we are what we perceive.

In his 2000 book “Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer,” Mann wrote about the surreal beauty he experienced in programming the computer in his vision to alter colors, or alert him to objects behind him.
“The wearable computer allows me to explore my humanity, alter my consciousness, shift my perspectives so that I can choose — any given time — to see the world in very different, often quite liberating ways,” he wrote in “Cyborg.”
For example, Mann and his graduate students have developed software that can transform billboards or other rectangular shapes in the physical world — when viewed through the lens of a wearable computer — into virtual boxes for reading e-mail and other messages.

the design of future spaces

As networking and computing become ubiquitous and increasingly part of our built environments, physical and virtual components start to merge in many ways, leading to radically new typologies in architecture: interconnected environments for learning, praying, courting, playing, working and diplomacy.

talk by Jeffrey Huang
Associate Professor
Department of Architecture

i hope to have lunch with jeffrey soon, we have been trying for about 2 months now :)

subcutane subsistence

A Florida company has announced plans to develop a service that would allow consumers to pay for merchandise using microchips implanted under their skin, and has attracted scorn from some fundamentalist Christians, who believe that VeriChip is the fabled “mark of the beast” of biblical lore. According to the book of Revelation, Satan will someday force people to “receive a mark” on their hands or foreheads in order to buy or sell.
classic future shock level problem. sign me up.

physics in public policy

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University will present Murray Gell-Mann, recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics, for two lectures, December 2 and 10. The evening lectures will be held at the Boston University School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Avenue. The companion lectures, titled Regularities and Randomness in the Past and the Future, will address how an understanding of phenomena known to the world of physics – both persistent, unchanging events and random, incidental ones – can inform our development of long-lasting, broadly applicable public policies.
always interesting to hear about the theoretical underpinnings for augurs. i will of course be there.