Monday, November 20, 2017

Essays , Commentary, and Insights

**Warning: This article contains major spoilers for A Nation Under Our Feet, a Black Panther story by Ta-Nehisi Coates** “…neither cities nor States nor individuals will ever attain perfection until the small class of philosophers, whom we termed useless but not corrupt, are providentially compelled, whether they will or not, to ...

A human population approaching 8 billion can be maintained only if wild habitat is given over to human cultivation and habitation, if rain forests can be turned into green deserts, if genetic engineering enables ever higher yields to be extorted from the thinning soils – then humans will have created ...

Change, or die: that’s the stark choice most protagonists face in literature, whether they recognize it or not.  Change is constant, and stasis is only an illusion.  What is true of people is also true of civilizations.  Cultures evolve, or they follow the lead of Ozymandias. Neal Stephenson’s epic and ...

Speculative Insights from the Web...

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  • Plesiosaur flippers inspire a steering mechanism for swimming robotic vehicle
    Plesiosaurs, who thrived during the early to middle Jurassic Period, used four paddlelike flippers of nearly equal size and musculature to swim. Despite the seemingly subpar engineering, the fossil record reveals that plesiosaurs were widespread and prolific. This inspired a team to explore how swimming with four flippers might be advantageous compared to two. ... Read more...
    Source: Science Daily: TechnologyPublished on Monday, November 20th, 2017
  • The physics behind dandelion seed plume dispersal revealed
    The fluffy dandelion seed head infuriates gardeners, but delights physicists. That’s because those seeds may lend key insights into the physics of parachutes, useful for designing small drones, or micro air vehicles. Investigators reveal why, at low Reynolds numbers, the rules for big parachutes don’t apply to small dandelions. ... Read more...
    Source: Science Daily: TechnologyPublished on Monday, November 20th, 2017
  • Downing North Korean Missiles Is Hard. So the U.S. Is Experimenting.
    Buried in an emergency funding request to Congress lie hints of new ways to confront Pyongyang, like cyberweapons and armed drones. ... Read more...
    Source: NY Times – Science – AIPublished on Thursday, November 16th, 2017By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD
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  • J.A.W. Cooper’s Recent, Enchanting Works
    An ever-present quality in the illustrations and gallery work of J.A.W. Cooper is a blend of seemingly disparate influences. Her surreal pieces often carry a bit of fashion, a dash of fantasy, mythology and the natural world, and often, a bold femininity. The results are enchanting expression of Cooper’s diverse vision. The artist was last featured on HiFructose.com here.More ... Read more...
    Source: HiFructose (myths and fairy tales)Published on Saturday, November 11th, 2017By Andy Smith
  • Ancient Chinese Warfare
    In ancient China warfare was a means for one region to gain ascendancy over another, for the state to expand and protect its frontiers, and for usurpers to replace an existing dynasty of rulers. With armies consisting of tens of thousands of soldiers in the first millennium BCE and then hundreds of thousands in the first millennium CE, warfare became more technologically advanced and ever more destructive ... Read more...
    Source: Ancient History EncyclopediaPublished on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
  • Terracotta Army
    The Terracotta Army refers to the thousands of life-size clay models of soldiers, horses, and chariots which were deposited around the grand mausoleum of Shi Huangdi, first emperor of China and founder of the Qin dynasty, located near Lishan in Shaanxi Province, central China. The purpose of the army was likely to act as guardian figures for the tomb or to serve their ruler in the next life. The site ... Read more...
    Source: Ancient History EncyclopediaPublished on Monday, November 6th, 2017
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  • Wolverine Starting To Ramp Up Guest Appearance Schedule Ahead Of 2018 Return
    Wolverine is the best he is at what he does, and what he does is single-handedly prop up the sales of 70% of Marvel’s product line by appearing in everyone else’s books. Since his “death” in 2014, Marvel has been in a sales slump, but since the furry little runt finally reappeared in Marvel Legacy #1, all of that is about to change. In a press release titled “Where Is Wolverine? And What Is His ... Read more...
    Source: BleedingCool (comics and superheroes)Published on Monday, November 20th, 2017By Jude Terror
  • Before The Curtain Rises On Dean Haspiel’s Harakiri Kane For The Last Time…
    Tonight is the last night of cartoonist Dean Haspiel‘s play Harakiri Kane, playing at Brooklyn’s The Brick theatre. Expect all sorts of luminaries — Karen Berger was there last week, other attendees have included Ann Nocenti, Tom Defalco, Hildy Mesnick, Catherine Schuller, Josh Neufeld, Christa Cassano, David Proch, Robert Grossman,  Kelly Aucoin, Jonathan Ames – and Hannah Means-Shannon will be there tonight. But before the curtain rises and falls for the last time, we managed to ask some questions ... Read more...
    Source: BleedingCool (comics and superheroes)Published on Monday, November 20th, 2017By Rich Johnston
  • Batman Recruits The B-Team Heroes in Funny JUSTICE LEAGUE Spoof Trailer
    Funny or Die has released an awesomely funny Justice League spoof trailer that features Batman recruiting the B-Team of superheroes. Those heroes include Howard the Duck, Steel with Shaquille O'Neal, Barb Wire with Pamala Anderson, and Blankman with Damon Waynes. I'm sure many of you are familiar with these terrible films from the 80s and 90s. This video is actually cut together in a very fun and clever way. The interaction between Batman and Barb ... Read more...
    Source: Geek Tyrant (comics and superheroes)Published on Monday, November 20th, 2017By Joey Paur
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  • The importance of physics for humanists and historians
    If you did not pay attention to quiet developments in the world of physics over the past several decades, you missed some very interesting important discoveries. Today, physics is not what our parents or even any of us who went to high school or university in the last quarter of the twentieth century learned because the physicists have been busy learning a lot of new things. Physicists and mathematicians came up with “chaos theory,” which ... Read more...
    Source: Oxford University Press – Science and MedicinePublished on Saturday, November 4th, 2017By DanP
  • Can microbiology tell us exactly what killed the Aztecs?
    The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to Mexico in the 1520s marked the beginning of the end for the indigenous people. With an estimated population of between 15 and 30 million at this point, this dropped dramatically to only two million by 1700: the result of battles, famine, drought, and perhaps most significantly, infectious diseases. The following Q&A investigates how microbiology contributed to the ruin of the once-flourishing Mesoamerican culture. What is the ‘cocoliztli’ and ... Read more...
    Source: Oxford University Press – Science and MedicinePublished on Friday, November 3rd, 2017By DanP

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  • America’s oldest rocket just made its penultimate flight
    ULA The Delta II rocket first launched in 1989, making it the oldest US orbital launch system still flying today. However, the heritage of this launch system is much older still. The Delta II rocket's first stage is derivative of the Thor intermediate range ballistic missile—the first operational ballistic missile used by the United States Air Force in the 1950s. Thus, the Delta II rocket can trace its roots to the ... Read more...
    Source: Ars Technica – SpacePublished on Monday, November 20th, 2017By Eric Berger
  • Pluto’s hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
    Santa Cruz CA (SPX) Nov 16, 2017 The gas composition of a planet's atmosphere generally determines how much heat gets trapped in the atmosphere. For the dwarf planet Pluto, however, the predicted temperature based on the composition of its atmosphere was much higher than actual measurements taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. A new study published November 16 in Nature proposes a novel cooling mechanism contr ... Read more...
    Source: Space TravelPublished on Monday, November 20th, 2017
  • New partnership on Mars drone applications research
    Mountain View CA (SPX) Nov 15, 2017 The Mars Institute, the SETI Institute, and FYBR Solutions Inc. (FYBR) are announcing a new partnership with the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) for the research and development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone technologies and applications for future Mars exploration. The NASA HMP is a leading international Mars analog field research project centered on the Haughton meteorite im ... Read more...
    Source: Space TravelPublished on Monday, November 20th, 2017
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