- Britain’s (the world’s?) most important historic laboratory is under threat. Save the Cavendish!
- For $79 you can help Kickstart some graphic designers’ reprint of a NASA visual standards manual from the 1970s—the one with the “worm” logo.
- Scientists and the pro- and anti-GM lobbies. “If you spend enough time with skunks, you start to smell like one.”
- A new paper in Nature estimates there are 7 trillion trees in the world.
- As quickly as you can, check out these three great essays on the technologies of speed, via technology’s stories.
- Bring back serifs, Sarah Larson tells Google, and “we’ll be that much likelier to let your self-driving cars drive us around.”
- New York Review of Books has a great overview of the latest theories about microbes and the origins of life (paywall).
- There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Ecomodernist Manifesto, a document authored by some big names in the environmental sciences (including Stewart Brand — see above for his take on extinction) that essentially argues for technofixes for climate change. In the past, the Ecomodernist group has been linked to Bruno Latour’s work, but Latour clarified his position in a talk last month, calling the manifesto a “well packaged product of some PR.”
The verdict might still be out on the utility of big data, but it the meantime it can provide us with a little entertainment. Check out some of the highlights from Google’s recently released aggregate search data (down to the minute). In the morning, searches for peak for “news” and “weather”; in the evening, it’s all “Kardashians” and “how to roll a joint.” Thanks Google!
Read a short history of St. Anthony’s Fire, the mysterious medieval affliction that would, without warning, would cause searing pain and gangrene in your limbs (until they fell off). To be ahistorical, St. Anthony’s Fire was most likely caused by ergot, a fungus that grows on bad wheat.
Gives eating gluten-free a whole new meaning.
Autobiographical notes on life as a famous librarian.
Right next to MIT, and near huge new complexes by Novartis, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, is Area Four: the poorest neighborhood in Cambridge, Mass.
- Mike Konczal, aka Rortybomb, does a superb job of demolishing the myths and errors of the robotic “post-work” future.