Listening to the Diamond Age

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I’m currently listening to Neal Stephenson’s 1995 nano-tech bildungsroman on audiobook.
The story itself is incredible – wild, dense and visionary. But what makes the audiobook such a fantastic way to absorb the book is the performance of the reader, Jennifer Wiltsie. Her range of accents and voices is flawless, from Neo-Victorian John Percival Hackworth’s stiff british accent, to the innocent small voice of our Little Hero Nell. But it’s not just the main characters who get this treatment. Every character no matter how small (and the cast is huge) gets their own voice and personality. She single handedly transforms Stephenson’s novel into an truly immersive experience.

Wikipedia’s List of Emerging Technologies

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It seems as though every day we are coming closer and closer to living in what we perceive to be The Future. In fact, a brief walk down 23rd street and you’ll know that we’re there already, judging by the amount of people staring into the small black rectangle they are holding in their hands.

But the “The Future” is about a lot more than ubiquitous computing and telecommunications. It’s a time and place full of marvelous feats of engineering, biological breakthroughs and mastery over the natural world.

This list of emerging technologies page on wikipedia is like a ones-stop-shop for every interesting technological development happening right now. It’s great place to keep track of “The Future” as it arrives.

In addition to being a really handy list, the technologies are broken down by industry (Agriculture, home appliance, etc.) and then into a handy table that includes the potential applications of the innovation along with links to relevant articles, and perhaps most interestingly a box for marginalized technologies – that is current technologies that will be replaced by new innovations.

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The Art of John Harris

This is the art of John Harris, whose work has graced the covers of countless sci-fi novels. I found an entire gallery of his work here.

He also has a site where you can buy his paintings. Yes, they are expensive. I could spend literally hours staring at and being inspired by art like this. I have never understood why it hasn’t been embraced and studied at the same level as the stuff you find in the Met.

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Dune on Tape

I don’t know why I did this to myself, but I just started listening to the complete unabridged audiobook of Dune.

The reading is amazing and the world Herbert is creating is a complete achievement: spiritual, mystical, and technical and psychedelic.There are 22 chapters. each about an hour and 15 minutes long. 

I have a passing familiarity with the Dune series mostly due to David Lynch’s failed film version, which has a great opening two or three minutes and then goes downhill pretty rapidly from there.

Mostly I’m finally getting around to taking in the book due to my excitement over the upcoming release of Jodorowski’s Dune – a documentary detailing his failed attempt to bring the book to life involving talents like Dan O’Bannon, Moebius and Salvadore Dali.

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The complete archive of Omni Magazines is now available online.

Omni was really a first of its kind. A beautiful glossy mag filled a blend of cutting edge science reporting and science fiction all with a healthy blend of psychedelia.

Maybe I should just go on vacation and read them all.