“Did they really need a study? Conservatives like guns, tobacco, fossil fuels, deep-fried endangered caribou. [Liberals] like yoga, weed, clean air, free-range kale, and giving everyone free health care.”

—Author Daniel Kurtzman on the new Harvard study that finds bleeding-heart liberals are more likely to outlive conservatives in the US

Crowdsourcing

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James Jean is one of my favorite illustrators. Here he talks about a piece he made for Wired magazine, which was later axed due to creative differences:

Wired Magazine asked me to illustrate a double page spread about ‘crowdsourcing’. I immediately thought of depicting the crowd as a 1000 armed beast rising from the sea, threatening and powerful. I took inspiration from these amazing Buddhist statues I saw at Rengeo-in Sanjusagen-do Temple in Japan. Unfortunately, the editor at Wired thought the coloring was too morbid and wanted to depict the crowdsourcing beast in a better light.

James Jean website

EI

Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence illustrates how head and heart can work together to bolster productivity and personal relations. EI is the new IQ. For some of you that’s old news. I first gained an appreciation for EI and its effect on leadership in grad school. Since Goleman set the tone lots of folks have written about EI, and the subject has helped change how we see relationships across personal and professional paradigms. I’m not saying he’s my muse (he might be, I haven’t gotten that far) but I do give credit where it’s due, so I’m sure you’ll see Goleman referenced here often.

I’m curious to know what you think of Emotional Intelligence, and if what you’ve seen gives you hope for the future, or if it seems like EI is just the new ‘business as usual’.

Hyperspatial

Ryan

Nir Arieli’s Tension evokes images of the hyperspatial self — ubiquity that binds us to the past and each other — exploitation of bodies etched in the now, recorded forever, somewhere, just out of reach. We are everywhere and nowhere — trails blazed in code, crumbs from curiosity, seeding the web. Regret betrayed, we seek reprieve from desire and the watchful eye that gazes from beyond the boundary of time.

Nir Arieli website

Genesis of possible worlds

At TEDxBrooklyn a few years back Karl Chu said “the future is literally a brave new world”, referring to how architecture, with the help of artificial intelligence and natural ecology, will transform the way we live.

The resurgence of why there is something rather than nothing and other existential inquiries suggests a growing preoccupation with space (i.e. the ‘outside’ vs. the ‘inside’ of a thing). The emergence of genetic architecture will influence urban projects across sectors as ‘space’ and other considerations collectively shape the dialogue.

Chu’s architectural practice, METAXY, inspires new design based on the genetic paradigm. Central to Chu’s claim is that architecture has always been governed by our changing views of everything around us, what he calls “the genesis of possible worlds”. To him we’re all just another part of an ever-expanding and evolving universe. The resulting ‘in-habitation’ (architecture that reflects individual lifestyles) implicates us in natural and artificial systems alike. What could this mean for the 21st century city?

As life becomes more connected, reflexive and adaptable, we’ll see more science principles at work in our urban structures and systems flows. How exactly this will play into city planning has yet to be seen, but I’m guessing the advent of the Internet of Things might also affect how we approach urban development post 2015 and beyond. Watch Karl Chu’s TEDx Talk here.

Cyborg, posthuman, universe

I scribbled this in my Moleskine while driving through Appalachia last year. It fits well with something I’m currently writing, which will be my first post on Medium.

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“Artificial Heart” | image: Jack Thompson

Cyborg.

Having both cybernetic (mechanical, electronic) and organic parts, the cybernetic organism (cyborg) is the technologically enhanced human. The cyborg is not necessarily bound to the consciousness or conscience of the individual organism (e.g. loss of autonomy within a mindplex). Any living thing can develop into a cyborg; likewise, non-living things may one day develop into cyborgs, creating a new framework for bridging natural and unnatural environments (e.g. mindware). ”The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence” [Haraway].

Interplay between man and machine has subsumed the collective consciousness, shaping industries, identities and societies, as interfaces informed by ones and zeroes entice the flesh and organic process with the promise of immortality.

The most sensational example of this interplay is found in the biohacking space, where applied biology is combined with a hacker ethic, in this case employing the human body as the “problem” or “field of application”. DIY science is gaining popularity worldwide. It was apparent several years ago that the number of amateur scientists carrying out genetic experiments in DIY spaces was growing. In his primer for The Verge, Ben Popper introduces grinders, the emerging class of “homebrew biohackers obsessed with the idea of human enhancement who are looking for new ways to put machines into their bodies”.

Posthuman.

Congruously, the transhumanist movement embodies the mode of existence between human and posthuman, where body, conscience, and consciousness are shaped by ascendant forms of technology. Posthuman refers to a distinctive state of post-human existence as yet undefined — meaning the mind, body and state of the species will transcend the current paradigm so as to alienate any current understanding of what it is to be “human”. Because the concept remains open to speculation and criticism, it continues to spark controversy over its intended meaning and scope.

The essence of posthumanism is the implicit knowledge that humanity is “no better” than the creatures and processes of nature once subjugated and exploited. Where previous modes of self-awareness regarded the human condition (psychology, physiology, anatomy) as a set of “divine acts” insulated from logic and reason (and thereby exonerating us from the burdens of inquiry and accountability), science enables us to understand the human experience as merely a part of nature — demystifying role and responsibility, and situating us within a greater universal scheme of existence.

Where the plurality and skepticism of postmodernism deconstructed (and eventually supplanted) modernist concepts of unity and authority, posthumanism confesses the fallibility of human reasoning, further decentering our constructed identities by fusing radical contradictions together, thus making the unpredictable and disordered (both ordered and subversive) body an essential part of individualization. As such, the posthuman state is regarded by some as the logical end to cosmic enlightenment.

Universe.

Technological determinism, meanwhile, defines a new form of human supremacy (anthropocentrism), where artificial systems are made to mimic humans and the organisms we subjugate, including whole ecological systems. In this way the cybernetic organism represents a new collaborative paradigm where organic, non-organic and digital substrates coalesce into one central existence through which to rule time and place, and explore the universe.

image: Artificial Heart, Jack Thompson via PopSci; to cite this post: Delatorre, Christopher. “Human, cyborg, posthuman, universe.” Urbanmolecule, 11 Oct. 2013. Web. [access date]

Doc of the Dead

The slow yet relentless onslaught of the zombie horde—or in The Walking Dead, the “swarm”—represents a subtle yet deliberate encroachment of human bodies on the 21st century city; something that seems to mimic advancing technology. But to what extent, if any, is this all happening at the expense of individualism? And is lucid dreaming a way to alleviate the anxiety of losing oneself in the horde?

Read my full post on Google+