Category Archives: humanities

The Memefication of Academia

It’s impossible to be a citizen of the 21st century without being somewhat familiar with the ubiquitous, ever-changing phenomenon of “Internet culture”. My generation never even knew a time without the Internet. Every day of our lives, we consume thousands of bite-sized chunks of micro-content from our smartphone screens designed to grab our attention and […] Continue reading

Posted in academics, Funny, humanities, internet culture, meme, memes, SF, teaching, technology, the internet | Comments Off on The Memefication of Academia

Science Fiction Themes Through the Decades

Taking this course was my very first introduction to science fiction. If I had to name one takeaway from what I’ve learned, it’s that science fiction is not about humans, but rather human nature. It’s about what issues us humans are facing in our current moment, and how those issues can be exploited through developments […] Continue reading

Posted in Aliens, Anderson, Artificial Intelligence, Asimov, Authors, books, civilization, ethics, evolution, Ex Machina, Fiction, gender, Heinlein, humanities, robots, Science Fiction, SF, society, technology, Van Vogt | Comments Off on Science Fiction Themes Through the Decades

Ted Chiang AI Talk Highlights: Singularity?

In his talk last Monday here at Vanderbilt, Ted Chiang joined a panel to talk about the future of Artificial Intelligence. He spoke about what A.I. means for humanity, and contested the possibility of the singularity (a.k.a. the technology explosion that occurs when computers begin programming smarter computers, with those smarter computers programming even smarter […] Continue reading

Posted in AI, Chiang, Fiction, humanities, Procreation, robots, SF, Singularity, Turing Test | Comments Off on Ted Chiang AI Talk Highlights: Singularity?

That Poem From Interstellar

“Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against […] Continue reading

Posted in death, humanities, interstellar, poetry, Relativity, SF, Survival | Comments Off on That Poem From Interstellar

Integrating Technology with Culture

I think technology and economic progress, when done right, can actually amplify a culture. One can easily imagine how, in the past, before industrial dyes, Wakandan dress-makers may not have been able to produce vibrant, long-lasting colors on their cl… Continue reading

Posted in Afro-futurism, Black Panther, humanities, SF | Comments Off on Integrating Technology with Culture

A New Age of Eugenics?

Within the genre of science fiction, the issue of eugenics and the evolution of mankind through selective reproduction and genetic manipulation has played a prominent role works such as Frank Herbert’s Dune, Robert Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children, and Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy to name only a few. While commonly dismissed in the present-day as […] Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Butler, Octavia, CRISPR, Eugenics, evolution, Fiction, genetic engineering, genetic ethics, genetic manipulation, genetics, Heinlein, humanities, medical ethics | Comments Off on A New Age of Eugenics?

Ghost Ships, Ghost Ships Everywhere…

Growing up on an island in the Atlantic, I spent summers reading adventure stories. One such tale was Brian Jacques’ Castaways of the Flying Dutchman. In this young adult fantasy novel, a boy stows away on a ship: the Flying Dutchman. The ship’s crew is a depraved lot, and most fearsome of all is Captain […] Continue reading

Posted in adventure, albatross, Arthur Gordon Pym, Biology, Byam Shaw, Captain Nemo, Davy Jones, Dead Man's Chest, dead ship, Edgar Allan Poe, Fantasy, Fiction, Ghost ship, humanities, Jules Verne, Ms. Found in a Bottle, Nautilus, organ music, Pirates of the Caribbean, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Scientists, SF, Submarine, submarine science fiction, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Seas | Comments Off on Ghost Ships, Ghost Ships Everywhere…

Not-so-Genius of America: Adolphe Yvon’s Utopia Dismantled

One of my favorite places to spend random Saturday afternoons is the St. Louis Art Museum. I’ve spent many hours wandering the various galleries during my countless visits there, but I always stop to take a look at one painting in particular—Genius of America by Adolphe Yvon. One might think that I’m in love with […] Continue reading

Posted in adolphe yvon, art, Class Projects, genius of america, humanities, manifest destiny, murals, painting, race, SF, utopia | Comments Off on Not-so-Genius of America: Adolphe Yvon’s Utopia Dismantled

Education, Nanotechnology, and the Magic School Bus?: Rethinking the relationship between science and science-fiction

“Who, then, are the real ‘engineers of the future’?” -Colin Milbun, Nanovision In Nanovision, Colin Milburn explores the way in which scientific discourse and the generic conventions of science-fiction blur in the study of nanotechnology. Inde… Continue reading

Posted in Colin Milburn, education, humanities, Magic School Bus, N. Katherine Hayles, nanotechnology, Nanovision, popular science, science, Science Education, Science Fiction, technology, technoscience | Comments Off on Education, Nanotechnology, and the Magic School Bus?: Rethinking the relationship between science and science-fiction

Caged in Desire, or How to Read an Unreliable Narrator: Anxiety, Projection, and Crushes in Henry James’s In the Cage

I’d like to open this post with some mood music: There we go.  That sets the stage nicely. In other words, In the Cage is a stomach-turning read for any fantasy-prone person (re: most of us) who has ever had an unrequited crush.  Let’s th… Continue reading

Posted in "victorian literature, 19th Century, disillusion, Freud, Gender studies, Henry James, humanities, In the Cage, mechanical servant, narrative, narrative structure, Novelists, subjectivity | Comments Off on Caged in Desire, or How to Read an Unreliable Narrator: Anxiety, Projection, and Crushes in Henry James’s In the Cage