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In praise of the “bad” design of Tharsis

Tharsis begins with an event of astronomical improbability. Somewhere in the interplanetary medium, a meteoroid floating through space at 25 miles a second occupies the same bit of spacetime as the spaceship Inktomi, which is hurtling towards Mars at 11 miles a second. The ship and its crew have been travelling for weeks; the meteoroid, millenia. And there, in the emptiness of the cosmic void, they somehow meet. An impact; a burst of compressed air; a body blown into space; a crippled vessel drifting toward Mars. What remains is a quartet of crew and a fistful of dice to navigate…

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Prepare to question unreality with SOMA’s machine-horror on September 22nd

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick Humanity’s centuries-old attempt to understand our own consciousness, from philosophy to biology, can basically be summed up by one single image: a dog trying to chase its own tail. From Descartes’s declaration that, if nothing else, “I think, therefore I am,” to the modern philosophers of the mind who now doubt the absolute truth of that statement, time seems only to get us further away from any definite answers on the matter. But, if it’s any comfort at all, I don’t think you…

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Goldi mixes fairy tales and political philosophy, because why not

At the time of his death in 1527, the political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli had never stated his position on works being placed in the public domain. Fair enough: “public domain,” as presently constituted, was not an idea in Machiavelli’s time. One can, however, suspect that the author of The Seven Books on the Art of War and The Prince wouldn’t have been big on the concept. Seeing as Machiavelli died nearly five hundred years ago, though, he has little say on the matter.  Thus, along with the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Machiavelli’s The Prince appears in Ed…