Image by Ian Murray from Pixabay

Imagine creatures of “monstrous size” with “legs longer than a camel’s.” Some have wings; others have slow respiratory systems so they can stay below the water for extended periods of time. From their home on the Moon, they can watch the earth rise and set.

This seventeenth-century description is perhaps the earliest conception of extraterrestrial beings, and it comes from a surprising source: renowned and respected scientist Johannes Kepler, for whom telescopes, observatories, stars, and lunar craters have been named.

Kepler is best regarded for embracing the Copernican heliocentric model of the universe and defining three laws of planetary motion…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Every morning, I check the numbers at the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center. I stare at the millions, the hundreds of thousands, the red dots that blend into a huge red blur. I enlarge the map and click on my county, noting the jump in infectious cases and the increase in deaths. I glance at the bottom of the map, where a line graph continues to go up, up, up, and I switch to the logarithmic graph with a line that curves more gently and is reassuringly flatter.

What does it all mean?

The numbers are hard to fathom…

On Covid-19 and the Actor-Network Theory.

Photo by Jérémy Stenuit on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives drastically — if not permanently. We have no way of knowing when the threat of infection will wane, when social distancing measures will end, or how the world will change economically, politically, and socially.

As infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN

“You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

We might feel like the virus is in charge of our lives, and no matter what actions are taken on the federal, state, or individual level, as of now, we cannot effectively fight against it. We see this feeling…

“Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life.” — Hans Jonas

Smog over Los Angeles. Photo by misterfarmer from Pixabay.

The change was sudden and stark. After just one week of lockdown due to the pandemic, the smog was gone in Los Angeles. The air was also cleaner in Paris, Milan, Madrid, and other densely populated cities around the world.

It’s not an illusion. Researchers in late March found that levels of nitrogen dioxide, a major pollutant, dropped by about 70 percent in New Delhi after just one week of stay-at-home measures. …

“But what then am I? A thing which thinks.” — Rene Descartes

Today, our digital devices make staying at home easier. Was the same true in the year 2000?

A home computer setup pre-2000. Image by Arpingstone. Creative Commons.

As people are adjusting to stay-at-home life during the coronavirus pandemic, they are relying heavily on digital strategies to cope. Internet use has dramatically increased over the past several weeks as we use Zoom, Netflix, YouTube, and social media to work at home, stay in touch with friends, relieve the boredom of isolation, and even exercise.

But what if the pandemic had happened 20 years ago, in the year 2000? Many activities we’re taking for granted now would not be possible, but surprisingly…

Why do we feel so self-conscious when we’re live on camera?

Image by Armin Schreijäg from Pixabay

As many people adjust to working at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re learning that a live video conference with colleagues and clients can be strangely unsettling. On camera, people become hyper aware of facial expressions, posture, fidgety movements, and even breathing patterns.

“I’ve never been self-conscious of my forehead size until all these Zoom videos emphasize it,” writes one Twitter user.

“I brush my teeth before Zoom calls,” tweets another. “I’m not sure why.”

Others are confused about where they should look while video conferencing. The camera may…

The New Technology Reached into the Homes and Hearts of the American People

President Franklin D. Roosevelt preparing for a fireside chat, 1934. Library of Congress photo.

One week after President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the oath of office in 1933, he sat behind a radio microphone and thanked the American people for their “fortitude and good temper” as he tackled the economic woes of the Great Depression.[1]

Thousands of people responded by writing heartfelt letters to the president.

One man from New York described how he and his neighbors, both Democrats and Republicans, gathered around the radio to listen together to the first address on the banking crisis on March 12, 1933. …

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Public health officials say it may be several weeks before we can socialize with friends and family members as we shelter in place and practice social distancing in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. That means for the foreseeable future, we’re going to be feeling lonely, disconnected, and even depressed.

It’s good that we can keep in touch by text messaging and social media, but it’s just not enough. We need to see the faces and hear the voices of our loved ones, and we need to interact live. …

Chinatown, San Francisco

Why is it racist to call the Covid-19 virus the “Chinese Virus”? Because Asian Americans say so.

That should be enough, but you still have doubts, consider: Attacks against Asian Americans, both verbal and physical, have increased since the Trump administration decided to use the term, and these assaults can be directly linked to people’s feelings about the coronavirus.

Make no mistake, calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” is not an innocent gaffe. It’s a deliberate attempt by the Trump White House to point the finger of blame on somebody for the pandemic. The photograph taken by a Washington Post reporter…

Kara Hanson

I study the interrelationship of technology, media, culture, and philosophy. PhD Humanities, concentration in philosophy of technology. Journalist. SF fan.

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