Science & technology
Fathoms: Exploring the World in the Whale
Blue whale voices have dropped the equivalent of three white keys on the piano in recent years. Why? What role have humans played in this and other changes to the lives of these mysterious and charismatic creatures? And how has our understanding of – and interaction with – whales been affected by technology?
The new book by Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms:…
Emerging Writers’ Festival 2020 Programme Launch: Digital Nostalgia
We often speak of the internet as the Bad Place, but it’s also vital for many people to access resources and services, entertainment and community – perhaps now more so than ever. From discussion forums and MSN crushes to TikTok choreographies and pandemic meetings and parties on Zoom, online spaces continue to offer a gathering place for when we can’t…
The Fifth Estate
Live-stream: State of Emergence
There is little doubt now that the COVID-19 coronavirus will drastically alter our lives, communities and societies for some time to come. Amid confusing, contradictory or misleading information about how we should respond – and how we should protect ourselves and each other – the pandemic has already tested our social fabric. How the crisis will affect our healthcare, economic and…
Live-stream: The Problem of Consciousness
This event has been cancelled. Ticket holders have been contacted directly.
What do we mean when we talk about consciousness? For a long time, many scientists steered clear of the study of consciousness, deeming it impossible to observe and subjective by definition.
But that’s changing, thanks to imaginative interdisciplinary research and to new neuroimaging tools that allow scientists to monitor…
Digital Futures: New Media, Storytelling and Disability
It’s no secret that the digital media industry has been the site of rapid and surprising change in recent decades. The market for screen content of all kinds – as well as screen-adjacent storytelling like podcasts – is hungry for fresh stories and new, authentic voices. And as platforms multiply and consolidate, the boundaries between mass market and niche have softened.
The Wheeler Centre
The Future is Fungal
Vanessa Toholka, Gavin McIntyre and Brian Pickles at the Wheeler Centre
Mushrooms, it seems, have some uncanny properties. Fungi are more closely related to humans than plants, and if we can work with our fungal cousins, we might find a way to reduce waste – and perhaps even salvage our planet.
Gavin McIntyre and Brian Pickles are two ‘bio-neers’ whose work is at the forefront of the new mushroom movement. McIntyre is co-founder and chief scientist at the New York-based biofabrication company, Ecovative, where he’s developing fungal mycelium products to replace plastics, wood, leather and even bricks. Pickles is an ecologist at the University of Reading and part of a pioneering research team that is unlocking the secrets of the mysterious symbiotic system known as mycorrhiza. He has found that trees can communicate, thanks to underground mushroom networks, which connect trees at their roots.
At the Wheeler Centre, Vanessa Toholka joins McIntyre and Pickles to discuss the implications of their discoveries and inventions, as they make the case for a fungal future.
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Can Bedtime Reading Save Publishing?
Not one to be daunted by predictions of a publishing e-apocalypse, author Sean Cummings figures he’s found the way to save the book. The writer is using new media to try to save old media: he’s set up a Facebook page called ‘Save Publishing - Read a Book at Bedtime’. His contention? That if we all spend just ten minutes a night reading before…
Why do e-books have to cost so much?
Ever wondered why an e-book costs as much as it does? After all, its just a file isn’t it? Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publishing company in the world and the 7th largest trade book publishing company in the U.S., has an interesting perspective.
We assume that the bulk of a book’s cost is in the manufacturing process. Not…
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