//
archives

Nature

This category contains 86 posts

The sarcophagus at the end of the Anthropocene

The recent ransomware attack hit some of the monitoring systems at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant. (See Guardian article.) The malware locks the data on your computer and you have to pay $300 in bitcoin to a specified account in order to receive the code that unlocks your computer. As it happens, the malware … Continue reading

Postcard from Chernobyl

Chernobyl is a site of melancholy. It’s not just the grief, the loss, the cost and the risk of extinction. Chernobyl and Pripyat’s melancholy is inscribed in the landscape. Forest takes over the agricultural and industrial ground plane. Apartment blocks stood proud on this stratum of Soviet achievement. But the horizon breaks through, symbol of … Continue reading

Fake followers

Singer Katy Perry has nearly 100 million followers on Twitter according to Friend or Follow. Close behind are Justin Bieber and Barack Obama, with Donald Trump ranked 34th in line with about 31 million followers. You don’t need to be a follower to find out what people are tweeting. You can just search on their … Continue reading

Reverse analytics

Can you infer a person’s politics from their online footprint? Let’s start with something less contentious: a person’s nature preference. If you were raised in a school and home environment that encouraged you to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature pursuits, then it is highly likely that in later life you will respect the environment, … Continue reading

What’s wrong with accelerationism

“You can’t always get what you want” is the puzzling refrain that echoed out over the PA at the end of Trump rallies, and was repeated at his subsequent post-victory reprieve rallies. The less audible punchline of the song is, “You just might find you get what you need.” Getting what you need is more important than … Continue reading

In bad taste

France, and some other countries, use the two-round election system. If there’s no majority vote winner from among a set of candidates then there’s a second election. It’s a playoff between the top two candidates. Binary choices are often easier to deal with, and are decisive. Of less consequence than state elections, I find it easy enough to choose … Continue reading

Reverse image search

Biologists have worked out how to use Google’s “reverse image search” to scour scientific papers for similarities between microscopic samples they have photographed and photographs reported in scientific papers by others — on the basis of image matching. This is very powerful. Can practitioners of art and design find equally useful applications of readily-available image matching technology? This weekend marks the … Continue reading

You have reached your destination

It sounds final. “You have reached your destination,” says my car SatNav. Achieving a goal is melancholic in several respects. Some achievers realise there’s nothing left. It’s not going to get any better. Then some think their achievement doesn’t accrue all the benefits they expected. Freud also explained melancholy as a tendency to focus on losing something, even if it is … Continue reading

Brainwalks

How can EEG (electroencephalography) help us understand people’s responses to outdoor environments? Due to its constraints, the technology lends itself to two tasks. The wearer of the head-mounted EEG technology is either (1) stationary in the environment, passively observing and listening, or (2) mobile. In the latter case, the EEG wearer just walks, slowly and deliberately. I … Continue reading

End of nature

In what sense is nature ended? It is not just that natural environments have been polluted, over-managed, or subjected to human control, but nature has changed its meaning. This question provides a further touch point for nature and semiotics. Writing in the 1980s, environmental writer Bill McKibben said of nature that it  “is now a category like … Continue reading

University of Edinburgh logo

Richard on Facebook


Or "like" my Facebook
page for blog updates.

Try a one year research degree

Wooden specimens of Platonic solids in the background

AHRC/EPSRC/ESRC/MRC project

book cover
book cover

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 283 other followers

Site traffic

  • 157,422 page views