October 26, 2016

While DharmaNet Linked Up Hundreds of Buddhist BBSs

I know I keep promising to distribute all the responses to the what-happened-in-technology-over-the-last-2-years prompt. It's just taking a little time to collate and connect them all. 

Remember: It's Real Future Fair time: November 15, Oakland! We love this event because it helps us connect with our whole community, so please get tickets! (Early bird pricing ends Friday.)

1. Now, this is a thought experiment: what if an astronaut dies in space and her rotting corpse seeds life on some other planet?

"You have to consider the storage of the corpse. If the corpse is floating inside a spacecraft that's somehow maintaining an above-freezing temperature—allowing for liquid water—that could be ideal. 'Bacteria also have real limits regarding how quickly they can decay big chunks of organic matter,' says King, 'without the presence of animals like worms or beetles helping along the decaying process, the human body could provide fuel for countless generations of bacteria, for many thousands of years.'"

2. In the suburbs of Ottawa, from the ashes of Blackberry rises ... the Apple car?

"The engineers now work at an Apple office in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, about a five-minute walk from QNX, the people said. Apple targeted QNX employees because of their experience developing fundamental components of operating systems and power management, a former QNX executive said. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. The most notable Apple hire from QNX was its chief executive officer, Dan Dodge. Since joining Apple’s Project Titan car initiative early this year, he’s taken on a larger role overseeing the car operating system, splitting his time between Canada and California, the people said."

3. I wrote up Josh Begley's fascinating new film, Best of Luck With the Wall. Go watch it.

"'The southern border is a space that has been almost entirely reduced to metaphor. It is not even a geography. Part of my intention with this film is to insist on that geography,' Begley writes in a text accompanying the film. 'By focusing on the physical landscape, I hope viewers might gain a sense of the enormity of it all, and perhaps imagine what it would mean to be a political subject of that terrain.'"

4. This is a loving history of BBSs that expertly glosses the technology and culture of the time.

"Hundreds of BBSs appeared in the late 1980s and early 1990s to serve particular communities and interests. The Batboard in Columbia, Mo., was dedicated to all things Batman, for example, while the Complete Baseball BBS in Cambridge, Mass., featured a different sort of bat. Followers of the Grateful Dead (“deadheads”) arranged tape trades and carpooling on the WELL in Sausalito, Calif., and hard-core gamers exchanged homemade Doom levels on Software Creations in Clinton, Mass. The Back Door in San Francisco supported a lively LGBT community, while the Backdraft in Key Largo, Fla., provided a meeting place for firefighters. The Christian-themed Winplus in Kent, Wash., and the pagan-oriented Brewer’s Witch in Houston were both well known for their friendly off-line get-togethers, while DharmaNet linked up hundreds of Buddhist BBSs. Free from the staggering size and profit imperative of commercial services, such small-scale community-oriented BBSs were sites of experimentation."

That time I wrote an elegy for my favorite BBS, Country Computing of La Center, Washington.

5. Love Nemo Gould's kinetic sculptures.

"Oakland kinetic sculptor Nemo Gould has taken the longer approach to crafting and sharing his work. Each of his sculptures are carefully crafted and may take months to years before leaving his West Oakland workshop. Each piece is a feat of engineering with many moving parts, lights and little secret components—rewarding tidbits for observant viewers who are also willing to take their time and go in for a careful look."

1. astronomy.com 2. bloomberg.com 3. fusion.net 4. spectrum.ieee.org 5. sfstation.com

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While DharmaNet Linked Up Hundreds of Buddhist BBSs