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Monday, June 04, 2012

Science? Or Science Fiction?

Stealth Robot Cult outfit IEET celebrated the promotion of one of their regular contributors and officers George Dvorsky to a full-time Contributing Editor position at the mostly marvelous io9, beginning today June 4. Interestingly, in congratulating Dvorsky, they described io9 as a "popular science website" rather than as a science fiction and speculative literature and media fandom site (admittedly one of the better and more enjoyable ones out there). While io9, like the abidingly awesome bOING bOING, does feature quirky and provocative gizmos and press releases as well, it seems to me the strength of io9 is its cultural focus. At the risk of annoying Giulio Prisco by sounding like a broken record here, once again, perfectly predictably, it seems to me that here we have Robot Cultists losing track of the difference between science fiction and science practice/science policy yet again. I have to say Dvorky has not disappointed me so far, using his new perch right off the bat to indulge in what is probably the single most world-destroying form of futurological discourse going at the moment (though their eugenicism is another candidate for transhumanism at its worst, certainly) -- advocating "geo-engineering" as if it were a genuine form of environmentalism. For why I disapprove of "geo-engineering" discourse, read (among many more posts on the topic available under the heading Futurology Versus Ecology on the sidebar), What Are People Really Talking About When They Are Talking About "Geo-Engineering"?, Mr. Burns As "Geo-Engineering" Archetype, "Geo-Engineering" Is A Declarion of War That Doesn't Care About Democracy, "Geo-Engineering" As Futurological Greenwashing. Interestingly, early on some reader of Dvorsky's piece posted a link to one of these critical pieces of mine and, in a shocking development, it turns out that response is not a "featured comment" but one that only appears if you explicitly click the button to make "all comments" visible. I don't know if Dvorsky actually has anything to do with these decisions, but I can't say I would be particularly surprised to discover that, like Giulio Prisco, George Dvorsky doesn't think my critiques of his futurological faith-based initiatives are substantive enough to be featured. (By the way, the amount of anthropogenic climate change denialism attested to in the comments is easily as horrifying as the flogging of pie-in-the-sky "geo-eningeering" Plan B don't worry be happyism in the piece itself in the first place.)

1 comment:

jollyspaniard said...

This would have been good fodder for a Science Fiction short story. All the usual what ifs are there. But the writer blows his chance and has lost the plot (in two senses of the word) by portraying this as Science Fact.

If it were a Science Fiction story I could have enjoyed a tingle of sensawunder at the thought of 100 million tons worth ultrathin diamonoid spheres floating in the stratosphere. Because it's potrayed as fact I have a hard time believing it. The author tries to reassure us that this is comparable to the mass of a few miles of road paving which is an unusual yard stick to gauge how practical a technology is.