Week 23

QFT, poetry, Kurzweil and depressing futures

I’ve been reading Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, and occasionally, I have to just step back and marvel at how utterly insane it all looks. Came across this timely post by Warren Ellis, who writes:

Science can produce the greatest poetry of the age. Even headline writing at otherwise sober institutions like take on mad poetry, just because that’s the way things are now.

Now I can’t stop thinking about the fact that what I do every day is basically indistinguishable from performance art or hermetic poetry to most people. That’s comforting, in a way.

Still digesting the monumental Seveneves, so no particular news on the reading front. Had a blast re-reading the first chapter of Snow Crash, just for the sheer kinetic thrill of it.

Kurzweil is being Kurzweil and predicts computers in everybody’s brain by 2030. I still find it insane that he works for Google DARPA 2.0 now.

There’s also this video of some voice search app being fast and smart.

The Awl has a brillant, depressing riff on the way our transition to a fully automated economy might turn out. In a similar vein, here’s a nice rant on “optimistic” jetpack-and-spires sci-fi.

There are whole generations of moviegoers for whom jetpacks don’t mean shit, whose first memories of NASA are the Challenger disaster. And you know what? Those same generations believe in driverless cars, solar energy, smart cities, AR contacts, and vat-grown meat. […] They don’t want the depiction of an “optimistic” future. They want a future where their concerns are taken seriously and humanely, with compassion and intelligence and validation.

Also: Goodbye, Community. You had a good run, and a perfect final episode. And even a perfect last tag.

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Hi, I'm Marcel. This is where I put stuff on the internet. You can follow me on Twitter, or read the about page (if you're into that sort of thing).