Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Best Singularity Stories of 2014, Week 15

What is the world is a Multiverse?

When you think about our Universe, the scale of it is hard to conceive of. Each of us is just a simple human being, a little under two meters tall; a collection of just under 10^28 atoms.

Yet our Earth is — literally —more than a million times larger than us in all three dimensions: a nearly perfect sphere more than 10,000 kilometers in diameter.

But what we have access to is so much more than just the Earth. Just going another factor of a million larger than Earth — in all dimensions, again — we encompass all the bodies we know of in the Solar System. The Sun, all the planets, moons, asteroids, comets, centaurs and man-made probes are contained within a sphere of 10^10 km, a million times larger than the size of the Earth in every direction.

Supersonic Air Travel - Windows, Out. Screens, In

No matter what perks airlines take away from you, the one thing you can still count on is a genuine peek at the clouds at 35,000 feet. That might go away, too, one day, replaced with a virtual reality version of the iconic airplane window.

Spike Aerospace, a Boston engineering firm that’s developing a small supersonic jet, recently caused a stir when it announced its plane wouldn’t have any windows in the passenger cabin. Instead, thin screens installed on the walls of the aircraft would display live views captured by cameras mounted outside.

Machining Ethics

For the French philosopher Paul Virilio, technological development is inextricable from the idea of the accident. As he put it, each accident is ‘an inverted miracle… When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane, you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution.’ Accidents mark the spots where anticipation met reality and came off worse. Yet each is also a spark of secular revelation: an opportunity to exceed the past, to make tomorrow’s worst better than today’s, and on occasion to promise ‘never again’.

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