science as servant

A 1946 advertisement for the ↑Bendix Corporation, scanned and put online by Paul Malon—↑click for larger versions, in order to be able to read all of the small text, too. The slogan ‘Creative engineering makes science your obedient servant’ not only perfectly sums up the immediate post-war era stance of absolute belief in technological feasibility, but also unmistakingly voices where science’s proper place in society should be. I maintain that the understanding of said era is quintessential for understanding our contemporary world: In present day society, the term ‘science’ has great potency. Not only is ‘science’ more or less equivalent … Continue reading

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what is said?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #49 We are in an officers’ mess. Two senior members of the flight personnel are having a conversation while playing pool. What is said in this conversation?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be … Continue reading

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early near futures

Many of the films discussed so far [films made from 1895 to 1910 and featuring science-fictional elements or qualities] could be said to be cinematic predictions of the future: from future warfare and advanced automatons to trips to the moon and visitors from another planet. Yet most of these narratives (or the film’s mise en scène more generally) suggested that events were taking place in an undefined present, the result of a recent technological breakthrough. This initial absence of futurity can also be found in much of the literature from which these early film narratives were drawing inspiration: Frankenstein, Twenty … Continue reading

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evolution of creationism

I sincerely urge everyone to read David Montgomery’s article ‘↓The evolution of creationism‘—it’s just about five pages long and absolutely concise and clear. Abstract For centuries, natural philosophers, their scientific successors, and theologians alike sought to explain the physical and natural world. The now common cultural narrative of perpetual conflict between science and religion simplifies the arguments and struggles of the past and overlooks cross-pollination between those who embraced faith and reason as the keys to understanding earth history. When geologists unequivocally dismissed the idea of a global flood and recognized Earth’s antiquity, many conservative theologians acknowledged that there was … Continue reading

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the painted smile

The fifth of November it is, and indeed we do remember … The next problem was the creation of the main character and the actual setting for the strip. Since ↑Dave [Lloyd] and I both wanted to do something that would be uniquely British rather than emulate the vast amount of American material on the market, the setting was obviously going to be England. Furthermore, since both Dave and myself share a similar brand of political pessimism, the future would be pretty grim, bleak and totalitarian thus giving us a convenient antagonist to play our hero off against. Not unnaturally, … Continue reading

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o’bannon and lovecraft

Over at ↑Strange Shapes they have a fine article on ‘↑The Engineer Mythos.’ Here’s the opening paragraph: When ↑Dan O’Bannon was twelve years old he stumbled across an old anthology of stories in a book store. He paid the nickel and took it home. Inside was a story titled The Colour Out of Space, by ↑HP Lovecraft. “I stayed up all night reading the thing, and it just knocked my socks off,” O’Bannon said. In Lovecraft’s fiction the universe is a source of both awe and terror. Humanity’s dominion over the world is illusory. Revelation is destructive and victory is … Continue reading

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between which worlds?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #47 Between which worlds is the man the depicted hand belongs to travelling?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and solution (31 October 2012): This … Continue reading

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mountains of madness

Panel from page 89 of ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ (Lovecraft & Culbard 2010). Back in late 2010 we had scottish illustrator and graphic designer ↑Murray Groat‘s wonderful ↑Tintin-↑Lovecraft ↵crossover covers [check out Murray’s ↑blog, ↑portfolio and ↑deviant art page—there’s more Lovecraftia to discover]. Matchingly enough in the same year a wonderful graphic novel version (Lovecraft & Culbard 2010) of H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘↓At the Mountains of Madness‘ (1936) by ↑I. N. J. Culbard was published—drawn in the best ↑ligne claire tradition. For the full experience you first might want to read Poe’s ‘The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of … Continue reading

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why technologies fail

Boingboing’s Maggie Koerth-Baker has written a fine column for the New York Times Magazine called ‘↑Why your car isn’t electric,’ investigating the question ↑why some technologies fail, and others succeed. For a deeper understanding of the matter at hand and and the examples used, I recommend Pinch & Bijker 1984 and Pfaffenberger 1992. PFAFFENBERGER, BRYAN. 1992. Technological Dramas. Science, Technology, & Human Values 17(3): 282-312. PINCH, TREVOR J. UND WIEBE E. BIJKER. 1984. The social construction of facts and artefacts: Or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science 14(3): … Continue reading

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