A new exhibit, Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction 1780–1910, is on view at the newly renovated Smithsonian Libraries Gallery at the National Museum of American History. The exhibit explores the imaginations of 18th and early 19th century science fiction writers like H.G....more
Posts Tagged: science
If female characters are restricted to the roles of artist, dancer, waitress, or barista, their potential to generate fiction that explores existentially rich and original worlds also seems restricted.
In the ongoing discussion of groups in sore need of better representation in today’s storytelling, Eileen Pollack urges writers to consider writing about female scientists in fiction....more
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley published a new study about brain activity in people listening to podcasts, the New York Times reported. “Using novel computational methods, the group broke down the stories into units of meaning: social elements, for example, like friends and parties, as well as locations and emotions....more
Matthew Wills revisits the life and career of Mary Somerville, a 19th century scientist, translator, and a popular science journalist. Somerville also has a notable place in linguistic history: the word scientist was first used in a review of her book, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, in 1834....more
Nowhere do we crave order, and the powerful results reaped from that order, more than in nature. The mapping of the seasons permitted the development of agriculture. The ability to predict the swing of pendulums led to the creation of pendulum clocks.
Some very intelligent scientists recently published a study showing Finnegans Wake—among other novels, from The Waves to 2666—to have a structure comparable to mathematical fractals, in which each fragment (here, the sentence) has a structure resembling the whole. Jury’s out on whether or not this makes Finnegans Wake make more sense....more
For Aeon, Tiffany Jenkins writes on the importance of secrets in a person’s individual development. In addition to psychological and sociological research, Jenkins traces the vital role secrets and secret-keeping plays in classical children’s literature....more
Did Du Bois and the Atlanta School have a distinct standpoint? Of course…. But white privileged departments of Sociology also had their distinct standpoint. And theirs was the standpoint of imperial power.
In the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Julian Go reviews a new history of sociology (Aldon Morris’s The Scholar Denied) and the systematic dismissal of black scholars’ scientific discoveries, starting with W.E.B....more
For Longreads, Jaime Green writes about the narrative styles employed in exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History. Green focuses on the work of one of the AMNH’s directors, Albert E. Parr, and his efforts to connect the science of the museum with the lives of its visitors:
Rather than showing one isolated capsule, the new hall would encompass nature and the human world….
Suzanne Jacobs writes for Grist on the next epoch of life on earth, the Anthropocene. Epochs are used to classify distinct times in geologic history, and a new paper claims to have identified enough proof of human civilization’s effect on the planet to claim the Anthropocene epoch has begun....more
Florence Okoye, the founder of Afro Futures_UK, will be guest curator for an Afrofuturism-themed month at How We Get to Next. To kick off the collection, Okoye offers a long look into the abundance of futurist ideas and imagery, and the impact of social technology, in black culture:
Indeed, one of the best things about the movement is being able to dream of a truly intersectional future between any number of social identities… Afrofuturism is not just a genre— it’s a way to reframe science, history, technology, and religion, as well as race and society.
One of the great challenges of libraries and archives is preserving the collections. Not all materials decay at the same rate and while some items can last thousands of years, other items are much more fragile. Now, scientists studying hundreds of European archival documents have developed a formula to predict the end of library materials....more
Certain people, Barrett decided, were… exquisitely attuned to vibrations that others could not perceive, to “forces unrecognized by our senses.” He considered these persons able to receive messages from super-normal spirit-beings existing in an intermediate state between the physical and the spiritual—a phenomenon that might account for telepathy.
Ben Shattuck writes for Lit Hub on the history of mapping and discovering the Arctic Circle, a history that becomes increasingly valuable as the polar ice disappears....more
Ben Mauk interviews Pinar Yoldas for Guernica about her ecological-themed visual art, part of a style Yoldas has dubbed “eco-futurist” (rather than the more current trend of “cli-fi” art). Where some environmentally-conscious writing and art views humanity’s effects on nature as the end of an ecosystem, Yoldas uses the state of an ecosystem as a starting-off point for how nature will adapt and evolve in response to human interference....more