The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Category “Space”

What Was Your Original Face on Mars?—Zen and the Prophetic Sublime

Saturday, 11 February, 2017

The famous “Face on Mars,” first photographed by the Viking orbiters in 1976, was the object of much speculation in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to be. After it was identified by Richard C. Hoagland, the Face became the central icon in a narrative of ancient global destruction—perhaps nuclear war—that, some suggested, may have […]

Two Futures: Giger and Powers

Tuesday, 13 May, 2014

[Reposting this old post in honor of H.R. Giger, who has sadly passed away at age 74.] There are countless artistic visions of the near and far future, obviously, in literature, film, art. Many are realistic. Many are cool. But few have had as much impact on my imagination as that of two painters, whose […]

Psychic Astronauts: Remote Viewing, Space Exploration, and UFOs

Tuesday, 19 November, 2013

The emptiness of Fermi’s Paradox as an argument against ETs rests, I think, on the unlikelihood that advanced technological civilizations would ever explore or colonize their universe in the flesh. I’ve suggested here that the “reach” of ETs through space, and that of our own human or machine descendents, will be via Von Neumann probes […]

The Noömass Hypothesis: Is Dark Matter Made of Knowledge?

Tuesday, 15 October, 2013

. . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire […]

Existential Futurology (A Few Thoughts on the Unlikelihood of Interstellar Colonization)

Monday, 14 October, 2013

According to various estimates, including a mathematical model published a couple years ago by Thomas W. Hair and Andrew D. Hedman, the galaxy (let’s limit ourselves to our galaxy for purposes of discussion) should already have long been colonized by a spacefaring civilization. That our solar system appears to be untouched can only mean (according […]

Anti-Anti-ETH: Big Data, Deep Anthropology, and Von Neumann Probes

Friday, 11 October, 2013

The recent NSA domestic spying scandal that shocked everyone is not really so shocking if you are the sort of person who likes to think about the possibilities (and pitfalls) of knowledge. We are now in the era of “big data,” which is changing the landscape not only of state surveillance but also science and […]

The Orbit of Being (Thoughts on ‘Gravity’)

Monday, 7 October, 2013

Back in the day, in English class, we all learned that stories can be broken down into a few basic conflicts: Man Versus Man, Man Versus Himself, etc. The one that always seemed the least interesting to me was Man Versus Nature. You don’t really see this conflict very often. It’s really the hardest kind […]

The Immensity of Things

Monday, 9 May, 2011

Speaking of films that attempt to show the bigness of the universe, a new, anatomically accurate (that is, from actual star mapping) video by the American Museum of Natural History is truly sublime: ***

Ebert on the Universe

Monday, 4 April, 2011

One day last week Roger Ebert turned is mind from film to contemplate the immensity of things: … The universe is too large for me to comprehend how large that really might be. I’ve seen those animations where Earth shrinks to a pin point, and then the sun shrinks to a pin point, and then […]

Saganism

Monday, 21 February, 2011

Carl Sagan was a hero to most of us who in one way or another like to watch the skies. The mellifluous-voiced, turtleneck-and-corduroy-wearing astronomer inspired my generation to care about space, about our planet, and about our future as a spacefaring civilization. He was not only a fashion plate but also a prophet of what […]