Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 2:21 pm
"They're running a little late," chides an elderly gentleman, tapping his watch at 12:02 p.m. He's come to this farm near the Danish city of Ikast, along with about 1,500 others, to celebrate what has become something of a national holiday in Denmark. It's the Sunday in mid-April when thousands of organic dairy cows at 75 farms across the country are released into the green fields of spring. At exactly noon. Eh hem.
We associate technology with the shiny and new. But humans have been using technology to change the environment and themselves since at least the lower Paleolithic period, when our ancestors were making stone tools.
Is the technology of today fundamentally different? In particular, does it change the way we think of ourselves or our relationships to each other and the environment? Does it change the way we think about what exists (metaphysics), about what and how we can know about it (epistemology), or about how we ought to live (ethics)?
Last week, as a big storm bore down on Rockford, Ill., students in a Purdue University classroom prepared to track its effects using Twitter.
Using software jointly developed by Purdue, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service, they huddled around laptops to analyze a tiny sample of the tweets from the storm's immediate vicinity. They were looking for keywords like "damage" or "tornado" and for pictures of funnel clouds.
"If aliens beamed onto Earth and read our school textbooks, they wouldn't have a clue about what women contribute to our society," says Rae Blumberg, a sociologist at the University of Virginia.
Blumberg has spent years looking at textbooks from all over the world. In almost every country she has studied, women are either completely written out of texts — or they're portrayed in stereotypical, often subservient roles.
Step aside, home chefs! The kitchen of the future draws near.
No, there's no hydrator from Marty McFly's kitchen in Back to the Future II. Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.