Issue № 12

Wow! Still, wow.

Almost fifty years after it was detected, the Wow! Signal continues to tantalize and defy explanation. […] In 2020, interest in this candidate [extra-terrestrial intelligence] signal was revitalized when Cabellaro identified a Sun-like star in the vicinity of the sky where the Wow! Signal was detected. If the analysis is correct, this famous signal may have come from a Sun-like star located 1,800 light-years away.

~ Matt Williams from,

More amazing is that actual progress continues to be made towards understanding the original signal’s origin. Fifty years ago, the area of the sky was known to contain a bunch of stars. Today? We know which of them have planets. …and which of those stars have a planet in the so-called habitable zone. The article is both a good introduction to the famous (among astronomy enthusiasts) signal and a good story about continued research.

And just ignore the article’s click–bait title, which comes from a tangential discussion about whether we should only listen for extraterrestrial intelligence or actually try to contact ET. 

“Important” work

Nothing really belongs to us but time, which even he has who has nothing else. It is equally unfortunate to waste your precious life in mechanical tasks or in a profusion of important work.

~ Baltasar Gracián


What follows is an attempt to consider some of the aspects and implications of techno-optimism. It is an attitude that has become somewhat taken for granted, which is precisely why it is important to consider what it is and how it functions.

~ “Z.M.L” from,

This is an interesting thesis. I generally don’t like creating new labels for things. But “techno-optimism” just weaseled into my vocabulary.

State violence

State violence cannot be destroyed by decree, only by truth and love. Maybe state violence was necessary for previous generations; Maybe it is even necessary now, but people should conceive of a kind of future government in which violence will not be necessary.

~ Leo Tolstoy

100 years later

“Obviously we want to celebrate the centennial of this amazing event,” Rosenow says, “but we also want to interrogate it. Above all, we really wanted to showcase the Egyptian team, whose hard work has been overlooked for 100 years. A lot of them did very demanding physical labor, but others had their own expertise.” Carter had been working in Egypt for 30 years before unearthing Tutankhamun’s tomb, she notes, and in that time, he had come to appreciate and rely on the deep knowledge of local people, who had lived near the Valley of the Kings—where Tutankhamun and other pharaohs were laid to rest—for generations. “These people knew that territory,” Rosenow says.

~ Amy Crawford from,

It’s well-understood that crimes were committed. I choose the word crime, because I wouldn’t characterize what western societies have done in their self-asserted efforts to preserve history, as “mistakes”; Mistakes are something you didn’t mean to do. And Tut’s tomb was perfectly preserved for 32 centuries without western intervention. All that said, it’s a great step to see a large, well–done exhibition about some of the things that were ignored or glossed over at best, and were outright exploitation at worst.

Another negative thread to tug at from this article would be to ask what—pray tell!—will remain from western civilizations after 32 centuries? It’d be nice if the civilization itself remained. I think that’s a good bet. But in terms of artifacts? …nuclear waste seems like a good guess. (Although, I have a dream that once we get nuclear fusion power generation working at industrial scales, we’ll be able to inject all sorts of waste into the process. If you tear anything down to it’s nucleic components, the plasma of loose protons, neutrons and electrons is all just the same soup.) But on a more positive note, has some neat projects in mind aimed at surviving 100 centuries.

Understanding hope and fear

It’s not about overcoming our fears but understanding that both hope and fear contain a dangerous amount of want and worry in them. And, sadly, the want is what causes the worry.

~ Ryan Holiday

By any measure, indeed

By any measure, David Bowie was a superstar. He first rose to fame in the nineteen-seventies, a process galvanized by his creation and assumption of the rocker-from-Mars persona Ziggy Stardust. In the following decade came Let’s Dance, on the back of which he sold out stadiums and dominated the still-new MTV. Yet through it all, and indeed up until his death in 2016, he kept at least one foot outside the mainstream. It was in the nineties, after his aesthetically cleansing stint with guitar-rock outfit Tin Machine, that Bowie made use of his stardom to explore his full spectrum of interests, which ranged from the basic to the bizarre, the mundane to the macabre.

~ Colin Marshall from,

Somehow I just missed being really into David Bowie when I was in high school. He was definitely big, and popular, and part of the music I heard. To my detriment, it wasn’t until after he died that I started listening to more of his music from his wider catalog, and then watching a documentary, etc. It’s always inspiring to discover a creator who gets more interesting the more you learn.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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