Find any book on the history of science and as you browse chapters narrating scientific progress in the 17th century, you’ll learn that Galileo, in 1609, was the first person to point a telescope at the heavens, enabling him to prove beyond any doubt that the Sun, not the Earth, was the centre of the Solar System. You’ll also learn that the telescope was one of the earliest inventions to result in the revolutionising of science, a process that would forever change the human perspective on the Universe. But you most probably will not find mention of the views of those who strongly opposed the use ofsuch instrument. Naked-eye astronomers, whose ancient method of star gazing was fast becoming obsolete with the advent of telescopes, were not the only ones who were troubled. Galileo’s discoveries brought the telescope, and for that matter, scientific instruments in general, to the centre of a philosophical debate around the relationship between humans and nature.
Art by Ben Goossens
First, philosophers worried that recently invented optical instruments, like telescopes and microscopes, separate us from nature: while they enable us to see more, they deprive us of a natural sensory experience, intervening between us and the … Read More
Dan R. wrote an intriguing post on the evolution of the web, from 1997 to 2013, titled “A Visual History Of The Web Told Through Webby Winners.” On April 2, 2013, it was was published on ReadWrite, one of the most popular technology blogs in the world. He knew it would arouse interest. It did. That must’ve been apparent from how it trended on social networks. He waited for feedback at the bottom of the page from the throngs of readers. But the expected barrage of comments never happened. He was fed up and a few days later commented on his own work, implicitly reprimanding his readers, saying: “Surprised nobody has commented. I was expecting, at least, a “oh man, the Web was soooo slow in 1997.”
Art by Sarolta Bán
His readers were not totally heartless. They sympathized with him and upvoted his comment a whopping three times (upvotes in a blog comment service are the equivalent of the iconic Facebook Thumbs-up). Nevertheless, nobody cared to leave a response. It would take two full months before someone wrote this four-worded overenthusiastic comment: “Geocities. I remember Geocities.”
Dan is not the only blogger to ever wonder why … Read More
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #1: George Jung website
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #2: well+done website
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #3: Coilhouse website
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #4: Unfold website
… Read More
To you, spring might mean beach walks and sleeping with the windows open. But right now, on the first day of spring, I can’t get the thought of polluted air and toxic exhaust fumes out of my mind. To you, spring might mean sunny weather and picnics, but to me it’s an omnipresent threat of skin cancer. To you, spring might mean flowers in bloom, but I ask myself whether their early flowering is irrefutable evidence that our planet is warming and that humanity is facing extinction.
Image from 1x.com
To you, Sping might mean jandal weather, but I can’t forget a recent health warning about how jandals could cause tiny cracks to the bones of my feet. To you, spring might mean BBQs, but I know better than to eat grilled meat, which is coated with char marks that contain carcinogens which increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. To you,spring might mean birdsong but I wonder whether they carry the bird flu virus that could make a comeback to wipe out half of the human population. To you, spring might mean families outdoors, but the homeless people come out too, some of whom are deranged, or diseased, or both! … Read More
During a brief visit to Berlin several months ago, I excitedly accepted a dinner invitation by two friends celebrating their third wedding anniversary at unsicht-bar, where you dine in complete darkness and you’re served by blind waiters. At the entrance, we followed the waiter by holding onto each other’s shoulders towards our table. We opted for the surprise menu, knowing that it would add more fun to our pitch-black evening trying to guess what we were served. The ambience was initially awkward, but jazz and waltz music helped us relax. We didn’t wait long before Angela, our friendly and legally blind waiter brought our meals. In a unique experience, we took turns relying at first on the senses of smell and touch before involving our taste buds in attempts to remove the mystery from our meals. My hands were my utensils tackling my meal, which was a slice of roast beef with pasta and green beans. Even though the food was mediocre, the experience was thought-provoking, at least to me.
Image via Romania-Insider.com
Berlin is reputed for its eccentric fine dining; there’s a restaurant where you can pay what you wish (Weinerei), and another that caters for … Read More
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Above is the first HTML5-enabled panoramic view of the Sistine Chapel ceiling with high-resolution zoom-and-pan interactivity. Combining the very old and the newest together is always interesting, as in this view inside the 500-year old chapel using the latest Internet technologies. Usage of HTML5 means accessability in almost all browsers and operating systems (Windows, Macintosh or others) as well as mobile devices, i.e. iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets.
One of the unique features shown above is how natural light streams through the chapel’s windows. For comparison’s sake, here is the Vatican’s 360-degree virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel which uses Adobe Flash Player, launched in early 2010. You may compare the chapel’s ceiling in both my HTML5-enabled version and the Vatican’s Adobe Flash-enabled one, in terms of usability and accessibility. I personally believe it’s time for their incredible virtual … Read More