Prime Edition


Rohit Gupta (@fadesingh on Twitter) is a mathematician who thinks the universe is a hologram projected by a microscopic disco ball.

Seven wonders of the post-modern world

The toxic waste will mutate sea turtles into a giant flying jellyfish equipped with death rays that will eliminate our cities

hat are the Seven Wonders of the Post-Modern World? I've defined post-modern as "after the year 2000", and this is my attempt to update the ancient list of marvels created by Antipater of Sidon around 200 BC. The Internet is arguably the primary moving force on the planet now, and so any list of post-modern wonders must include virtual entities as well as physical ones. Some of these are both "virtual and natural" because they emerged by themselves out of electronic chaos. Others were constructed by the manual labour of thousands of people, like the pyramid at Giza. Here is a revised list:

1. Wikipedia: The sum of all human knowledge. This is only a starting point to our greater quest in constructing the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, or the Encyclopedia Galactica. One of the great and rare examples of collaboration in the violent history of our specie. Thanks to the information organised there, the industrial complex of schools is being threatened by universal access and autodidactism. For instance, this article has been largely sourced from Wikipedia.

2. Nyancat: A god of the Internet, resurrection of some ancient Egyptian deity, or simply a caricature of the obsession with pictures of cats? Nyancat is a Jungian archetype of the all-pervading memetic virus, a specie that has emerged from the evolution of our collective consciousness, a divine invasion by an evicted angel from inner space. "Om, nom, nyan" is the new mantra and no one shall escape the meow.

3. Global Positioning System: 31 satellites levitating in geostationary orbit around the earth in perfect geometry. They help our handheld devices tell us our exact geographic location; the new global compass. However, according to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, time is different for observers who are in motion relative to each other. This means that the atomic clocks on each of these GPS satellites moves in a different rhythm than those on earth, which is corrected by the system. So every time you use a GPS system, don't forget to thank Uncle Albert.

4. Super Kamiokande: An underground tank full of ultra-pure water, larger than an Olympic swimming pool, studded with thousands of photomultiplier tubes that are its eyes. What do they see? Miles underground in Japan, inside what used to be a mine, where cosmic rays can barely penetrate its thick shell, the observatory detects the presence of neutrinos from the sun, or from a supernova millions of light years away. Computer algorithms sort the faint traces of Cerenkov light they leave behind inside the water, tracing beautiful paths in the dark belly.

5. Uncontacted tribes: They don't even know which recruitment listing company Steve Jobs is and if you step out of your boat on their island they will kill you with spears. The tsunami of 2004 barely affected the Sentinelese people, who live on a northern island of the Andaman archipelago. They don't want to know you, seriously. They don't even know they're part of a country called India, and they didn't know we were once under British rule. They prefer the Stoned Age, if you get my drift.

6. The E8 Lie Group is a mathematical object, abstract for laymen but a holy grail for mathematicians who have now succeeded in creating its entire map. It exists in 248 dimensions, and if written out in print, the map of E8 would require an area the size of Manhattan. Imagine an Excel spreadsheet with 453,060 rows and that many columns and you'll begin to get the idea. That is just the representation, not the object itself. In the same way that 'rose' is the representation of an object (the flower).

7. Pacific Trash Vortex, or 'the great pacific garbage patch', is mankind's homage to Mother Earth. This is our civilisation pissing in the pool. 100 million tonnes of garbage, floating like an island in the northern Pacific waters, shows that we are a specie defined by waste. It is only a matter of time before the miasma will become visible from space. Or the toxic waste will mutate sea turtles and albatrosses into a giant flying jellyfish equipped with death rays that will eliminate our cities.

To sum things up, the Sentinelese are now my favourite tribe on this planet.

Newer | Older


iTv Network : newsX India News Media Academy aaj Samaaj  
  Powered by : Star Infranet