The Ersatz Constellations

Constellations are a kind of necessary pareidolia, concentrating infinity into a human-scale narrative. The Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese and Arabs all sought to make sense of the world by projecting their cultures onto the heavens and their narratives still permeate our culture. Our recently born near-constellation of robots – Hubble, Spitzer, Fermi and Kepler – have furnished us with a hi-def and precise […]

A City Of Inventors

Late last Summer, Marketing Leeds’ then CEO Deborah Green invited me to contribute a piece on Leeds’ technology ecosphere for the 2012 edition of Live It, Love It: A Style Guide To Leeds. The guide is the official publication for marketing the city and distributed freely to visitors and residents. Leeds isn’t understood to be […]

Lovebytes 2012 | 22-24 March | directions

A few hours ago I received a cryptic email from Lovebytes containing a single evocative image… Following the link took me to a windswept 360° panorama high in the hills above what appears to be Sheffield. The implied adventure and mystery of this invitation is sublime. No noisy declarations of sponsors or speakers just a […]

“This creature who is part genius, part fool.”

'The human being is a truly remarkable creature,' he tells us. 'He has discovered fire, built cities, writen magnificent poems, interpreted the world, invented mythologies, etc. But at the same time he has never ceased waging war on his fellow humans, being totally wrong, destroying his environment, etc. This mixture of great intellectual powers and […]

Temples For Machine Gods

Perhaps its not a good thing for conference programmers to reveal their favourite speakers and sessions, but James Bridle's Where The Robots Work was my personal highlight from our programme at FutureEverything 2011. James' keynote explored how cities were reorienting themselves around our emerging information infrastructure, notably how the built environment was now as much […]

DIYBio UK Summit

This weekend sees the UK's first DIYbio summit take place at Manchester's Madlab, founded my good friends – Hwa Young and Asa Calow. The DIYbio movement intends to democratise biology and enable "citizen scientists, amateur biologists and biological engineers who value openness and safety" and the summit is part of Manchester's Science festival and includes […]

The Dreamers

My good friend Matt Maude has been shortlisted for the Virgin Media Shorts 2011 prize, with his piece The Dreamers… A woman rises from her bed in the middle of the night. As she crosses the city, we see other sleepwalkers congregating to one place. Matt tells a great story, with few words and some […]

Booktrails… the story of 22 used books

Over the last few months, I've been progressively upgrading the print editions of my books to digital editions; selling the print copies on Amazon to finance their electronic offspring. Uhuh, replacing atoms with bits. With almost daily trips to the post office to despatch these used books, I began to wonder about the journey each […]

Shelf Life

Eventually, Everything is Bits. Even you. And Everything has a shelf life, even shelves. My shelves are experiencing an accelerating half life – a shelfular singularity if you like. Books, photos, movies, music and games now inhabit the clouds, pixellated, digitised and discless. My media genome is now scattered across many heavenly shelves… — Moving pictures took […]

“Just a lamp, a cup of tea, and a computer” (1955 – ∞)

“This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.” Here's to the Crazy One. You changed our world; helped us to see everything a little better; let us taste things we never knew could exist… Thank […]