Something for the weekend, #5

Optimism and reasons for optimism, recently spotted in the media:

* Bug off: “Planting GMOs kills so many bugs that it helps non-GMO crops”

     → “… new work shows that Bt corn also controls pests in other types of crops planted nearby, specifically vegetables. In doing so, it cuts down on the use of pesticides on these crops, as well.”

* Bug in: “The bug in our diet”.

     → Canada’s National Post takes an in-depth look at all the latest research on human-edible insects, and how to package and market them.

* Face bork: Nielsen stats show users spending 24 percent less time on Facebook

     → In November – December 2017. Looks like positive news, but the question is: is this a normal pre-Christmas dip, due to people tending to be busy at that time of year? Did much the same dip happen in late 2016?

* Golden showers: “Welcome to the Golden Age”.

     → The City Journal reviews the new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker. With a strong focus on just how much the habitual future-phobics of the political left will hate the book.

* Bunnies begone: “Gardeners must be optimists” muses a small-town gardener.

     → Though, as he says, it does help if you… “Erect a fence of appropriate materials that’s high enough and strong enough to keep the unwanted interlopers out.” So true.

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Liberty and the Golden Age of Science Fiction

Forthcoming soon an online course in: “Liberty and the Golden Age of Science Fiction” taught from an American libertarian right perspective. Looks like a bit of horror in there, too, judging by the book covers.

Those who listen to the Tom Woods Show podcast will already know about the school which is offering the course. He has a podcast about it here. Unfortunately it appears that the Liberty Classroom is an all-or-nothing recurring monthly fee, and a curious Brit can’t just buy access to this interesting new sci-fi bit of it and skip all the American history courses.

Future Visions

Launching in a few days, Microsoft’s own science-fiction anthology Future Visions. Leading SF science fiction authors had access to Microsoft’s research labs and scientists, and were inspired to write new…

“visionary stories exploring prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more.”

future_visions_cover_web

David Brin
Greg Bear
Jack McDevitt
Seanan McGuire
Nancy Kress
Ann Leckie
Robert J. Sawyer
Elizabeth Bear
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A short graphic novel by Blue Delliquanti

Blu-ray of Tomorrowland – released

The movie Tomorrowland is officially released tomorrow, 13th October 2015. It’s released as a Blu-ray and as a Disney Movies Anywhere download with extra deleted scenes.

“The production design is glorious … a triumph of digital world-building.” — Time Out.

“This was the best movie of the decade … My conservative allies who panned this film got the whole point entirely backward.” — bestselling SF author and Nebula Award finalist John C. Wright.

Tomorrowland is a critical and cultural Rorschach test – tell me what you think of it, and your aesthetics are laid bare.” — cultural critic and art historian James Abbott.

“… enormous fun as it hurtles through space, time, and other dimensions” — The Guardian.

“… a critique of our cultural obsession with destruction and despair … an accessibly compelling philosophical discussion about the nature of self-fulfilling prophecies” — The Scotsman.

“… does something very few big studio summer movies do – it steps out there and says something.” — Sight on Sound.

“… a movie that dares to inspire” — The Verge.

“It’s been so long since I saw a film so lacking in cynicism, to the point that I’d forgotten what it felt like.” — The Register.

“There is no doubt that in years to come, audiences will revisit and claim it to be a cult classic … rarely is cinema this forward-thinking, immersive and immediate.” — HeyUGuys.