Gotta love 3DP! =D
“Using their own custom made high-precision 3-D printer, the team recreated models of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and London’s Tower Bridge at the scale of a dust mite.”
This, more than anything else, makes me feel like we’re living in the future.
Also, Stephansplatz, I miss that place… and Europe in general. le sigh.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we had different sheets of paper that we could touch when we missed a city? Like braille for our common routes in past places of residence? To travel, with our fingers, between the spaces where we ate, slept, studied, worked, loved, worried…? What would it be like to feel the contours of the city’s streets and buildings rather than to look at a map or photographs?
"Most of our cultural lives now, and particularly our literatures now, are spent in coded spaces. We live in a world where we increasingly outsource our memories and experiences to the network, which is fine… it’s good, but it has these intense consequences for us— that our time is spent in negotiation with the network in order to understand these memories and these experiences that we have. And that our experiences are co-created with these repositories of memory, experience, and so on online, on the networks."
James Bridle’s talk “We found love in a coded space”
Last year I spent Thanksgiving in Hamburg, Germany, with an old college friend. I was living in Stockholm and needed to get away for a few days and be with Americans who understood how important it was to get fat together.
I don’t remember anything about cooking the dinner except that we carried up a heavy brining bucket from the cellar and that there were too many shallots in the fridge that would stink up the entire kitchen whenever we opened the fridge. The dinner itself was lovely: turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, biscuits, mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, various salads, wine and (delicious) beer. The company was about twelve ex-pats and their German boyfriends and girlfriends, some of whom did not speak English at all.
The day after Thanksgiving we took a long stroll along a snow-covered river and later went downtown. Overall, Hamburg is a very bougie city, but there are some very gritty parts that are super interesting, like this artist colony area where the government basically leaves them alone to graffiti or whatever they want. Buildings have no heat or locks on the doors and visitors can enter as they please; some residents offer coffee or tea for a few Euro. We wandered, not a little nervously, into a shoe cobbler’s atelier. He was young and handsome with kind, sparkling eyes. He offered us apples while we looked around, which we politely declined. I found it funny that although there were bigger problems (the heat, for example), he was grumbling over the wireless connection not working on his iBook. He told us how laborious it was to create a pair of leather shoes that would be custom fit to someone’s foot, and that because of the sale price, he could afford to work on one pair at a time and enjoy the craft. We stroked the shoes carefully, each model he brought to us. Then we thanked him and left.
"The memory-erasing company, Lacuna Inc., takes its name from the Latin word meaning a cavity, hollow, or dip, especially a pool or pond. Transfiguratively, lacuna comes to mean a gap, deficiency, or loss. The term “lacunar infarct” refers to a stroke that involves a small area of the brain responsible for a specific function, or ever a specific memory. Additionally, in papyrology (the study of ancient manuscripts) a lacuna is a hole where part of the text is missing, and which can sometimes be re-constructed."
Linguistics lesson brought to you by IMDB trivia
An excerpt from the podcast transcript:
DAVID LEVIN: Is there a danger that if you can erase a memory, that it might go too far? That is, where do you draw the line in what kinds of memories should be erased, shouldn’t be erased, and who has that control?
ART CAPLAN: Well, a different set of questions comes up when we use drugs. We start to think, okay, if you can focus that drug and get rid of a particular bad memory—the rape that occurred to me, or I was in the car when someone died and I can’t get the images out of my mind—people might certainly find that acceptable to use a drug to get rid of those memories, but then they’re thinking, well, what else might you get rid of? The unfortunate incident at the birthday party where you didn’t get your goody bag to go home? The bad romantic relationship that certainly isn’t causing you dysfunction, but it’s just a little bit unhappy to sort of think about it?
If we’re going to start messing with memory, a lot of unpleasant, a lot of difficult memories form who we are. We learn. It becomes part of our character, our identity. Some might say the struggle against bad experiences is part of what makes us better people.
But I do think the question comes up, how bad does a memory have to be before you’re going to say, “well, you’re not going to use a drug to get rid of that?” You may not want that memory, but that’s crazy to say we’re going to get rid of all your bad romantic experiences as you remember them. That’s not right. Not only won’t you respond to most of country and rock music, but it makes you a better person to have learned from those things. They shouldn’t be eliminated. Who’s going to control that?
DAVID LEVIN: Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics—there’s a quote from him that says, “To deprive one’s self of one’s memory is to deprive one’s self of one’s own life and identity.” Do you think that’s sort of in line with your stance on this?
ART CAPLAN: Well, I think Dr. Kass is worried that any change in your memories of who you are and what you know changes you. I don’t believe that. I think we can change some memories without changing fundamentally who we are or how we behave. And even if it does change a little bit of our personal identity, it makes us able to function. We have to understand the plight of those who are prisoners to bad memories, to awful memories, to horrible memories. But, overall, we are our memories. I do agree with that in principle. Our personal identity is deeply tied into our memory. It is why diseases like Alzheimer’s are so feared, seen with such harm because your personality evaporates while your body goes on, a situation that few would find acceptable. But I don’t believe that every bit of memory has to be retained when those memories make us diseased.”