A thoroughly enjoyable adventure game in your browser. You are the AI of a colony starship. Humanity’s future is in your hands.
Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Monday, September 25th, 2017
Sunday, June 4th, 2017
When I was in Düsseldorf for this year’s excellent Beyond Tellerrand conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Nadieh Bremer, data visualisation designer extraordinaire. I asked her a question which is probably the equivalent of asking a chef what their favourite food is: “what’s your favourite piece of data visualisation?”
There are plenty of popular answers to this question—the Minard map, Jon Snow’s cholera map—but we had just been chatting about Nadieh’s previous life in astronomy, so one answer popped immediately to mind: the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Saturday, October 29th, 2016
We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an ETI signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this hypothesis.
Monday, December 14th, 2015
I always loved Matt’s light cone project—it was a big influence on the Radio Free Earth hack that I made with Chloe. Now it has been reborn as a Twitter bot. Here’s Matt’s documentation for his future self:
I haven’t made a habit of project write-ups before, but I’m taking an increasingly “long now” approach to the tech I make and use. How will I remember what I made in a decade? By reading this post.
Sunday, November 29th, 2015
Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Design fiction from a NASA scientist.
Friday, July 26th, 2013
A gorgeous interactive visualisation of our local galactic neighbourhood.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Beautiful time-lapse photography from Don “we’ve got a Dragon by the tail” Pettit, taken from the International Space Station.
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
The country songs of distant Earth
I flew into Nashville on the weekend for the Breaking Development conference, which is proving to be excellent so far.
The event is taking place within the Gaylord Opryland (stop sniggering). It’s a very unusual environment. At one point it was a theme park. Now it’s a complex of hotel buildings, parks and restaurants all contained under a glass and metal ceiling. The whole place feels like it’s hermetically sealed—the ideal place to hole up during a zombie apocalypse.
I’ve been inside this world since Saturday evening. I have memories of the outside world. I remember the feeling of a breeze on my face, the sun on my skin. I remember the cash-based monetary system used by the surface dwellers; so inefficient compared to the unique identifier contained in my room key.
I began to realise that, in the absence of any evidence that I was in fact still in Tennessee, it was entirely possible that this self-contained ecosystem was not necessarily earthbound. What if I’m in an orbital habitat? Or a generation starship?
I’ve been surreptitiously attempting to explore the shape of the complex—without drawing too much attention to myself (I think they’re watching)—trying to figure out if I’m in a Stanford torus or, more likely, a Bernal sphere.
The builders have created a near-flawless illusion of the homeworld. The climate control has been consistent and the gravity is a perfect Earth 1. I’m a little nervous about the possibility of a meteor penetrating the shell and causing decompression problems, but I think they must have a phalanx of automated lasers on the outside hull to take care of that eventuality.
There are plenty of plants under the glass dome, which should ensure a renewable supply of food. Strangely, I haven’t seen any animals (apart from fish) but most of the food available in the restaurant appears to be meat-based.
I don’t know how long the voyage will last. I don’t even know where our destination lies. But so far there are no hardships to endure. Our hosts are ensuring our psychological wellbeing with a plentiful supply of piped music …though why it is exclusively country music remains a mystery to me. We are, after all, a long, long way from Nashville.
Monday, August 8th, 2011
Now this looks like a fascinating project …and there’s a symposium happening in Florida at the end of September with Jill Tartar, Stewart Brand and more. I want to go to there.
Monday, July 6th, 2009
A free open source planetarium for your computer.
Saturday, February 21st, 2009
The “blind astrometry server” is a program which monitors the Astrometry group on Flickr, looking for new photos of the night sky. It then analyzes each photo, and from the unique star positions shown it figures out what part of the sky was photographed and what interesting planets, galaxies or nebulae are contained within.
Sunday, March 26th, 2006
A beautifully shot pop-up book style video.