Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

Contributing Writer
Jack recently graduated from the University of Amsterdam, where he studied Comparative Literature. He is particularly interested in the way people, systems and languages interact.
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Sports in VR
Society of Simulations

Gamers are the new athletes: Sports in video games from Pong to VR

Sports have always had an important place in human societies, providing entertainment, exercise, and a demonstration of the exceptional things the human body can achieve. But in a world of increasingly blurred lines between physical and virtual activities, what new forms of athletics are coming into existence? Let’s look at the games turning sports digital.

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Human Planet

Space Tourism: Your next vacation destination might not be on Earth

Back in the mid-twentieth century, before the first moon landing, people had all sorts of ideas about the golden age of space travel in front of them. Colonize the moon! Fly astronauts to Mars! Take a holiday in space! Decades later, reality still hasn’t lived up to any of these sci-fi visions. But at last, several ambitious projects are bringing one of them closer to reality: space tourism might not be a fantasy for much longer.

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Humane-Technology

On inhumane technology

Stick-on shoes, wakeup lights, bionic limbs: these are examples of humane technology. But what exactly does this mean? It can best be explained in contrast with its opposite. After all, the discussion of humane technology implies the preponderance of inhumane technology. So let’s take a deep dive into inhumane technology.

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Society of Simulations

Is eSports really sport?

First things first. Sport is a next nature: Whereas our ancient ancestors had to hunt for their food, our modern tribes simply visit the supermarket. With all this free time left on our hands, we invented a new pastime: sports. Yet, a current trend to simulate sports is to participate in eSports, a large industry that’s currently growing up around competitive online gaming. Let’s look at how eSports is taking the ‘sports’ world by storm.

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Wild Systems

Next Generation: How AI could revolutionize the teaching profession

In various parts of the world, access to education is, or risks becoming, a huge crisis. UNESCO estimates that around 20 million new teachers are needed worldwide – and that’s not taking into account the huge number set to retire in the next decade. With this level of demand, some specialists believe the key to filling the gap could be artificial intelligence.

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Manufactured Landscapes

Turning cities into parks: In conversation with Raymond Brouwers on Urban Street Forests

Urban neighborhoods with high-rise concrete buildings are often dreary and gray. Therefore, the Urban Street Forest project aims to color our cities with the planting of vertical forests by planting trees on the balconies of high-rise apartment buildings, involving local people, shops and organizations. We recently sat down with Raymond Brouwers, co-initiator of the project, to learn more about this hopeful initiative.

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Chernobyl protective dome
Anthropocene

Chernobyl goes green: The ambitious plan to reclaim a nuclear disaster site

Chernobyl is famous as the site of the worst nuclear power accidents in history. The 1986 disaster has come to represent the perils of nuclear energy, much as Hiroshima represents the danger of nuclear weapons. But some think Chernobyl needn’t only be a negative example. An enormous dome was placed over the reactor in 2016 to seal in radiation. Now, an ambitious new plan is in place to start generating energy at Chernobyl again. But don’t worry – this time, it’s solar.

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Smartphone statue
Society of Simulations

19th Century Sculpture Seems to Be Holding a Smartphone

Today’s peculiar image comes from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Take a second look. No, the woman depicted in the sculpture isn’t holding a smartphone. If at first glance you thought she was, you wouldn’t be alone. The sculpture, Erastus Dow Palmer’s “The Indian Girl” (1856), actually depicts a Native American woman holding a crucifix. But in the last few years, visitors have had a quite different impression of the piece. In our smartphone-saturated world, it’s hard to see a figure looking intently at an object in its hand without instantly assuming it’s a phone. Looking at the past through the eyes of the present can have uncanny results!

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Counteracting Climate Change with Geoengineering
Anthropocene

Counteracting Climate Change with Geoengineering

We know that the world’s climate is changing, in large part thanks to us. If we can impact the world in this way quite by accident, it makes sense to think that we can also produce these kinds of effects conscientiously. This is the insight that guides researchers like David Grinspoon, who argues that a radical new process called geoengineering might be the only way to save us from climate change.

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ReTuna: a mall selling only recycled products
Suburban Utopia

ReTuna: the Shopping Mall Selling Nothing but Recycled Products

When coming up with good examples of sustainable action, a big shopping mall isn’t usually the first setting that springs to mind. But one shopping center in Sweden is bucking the trend of mindless consumption. Pay a visit to the ReTuna Återbruksgalleria, and instead of mass-produced products, you’ll find pretty much everything sourced from recycled materials.

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Drones protect Indonesia and help predict volcano eruption
Wild Systems

Drones Protect Indonesia from Volcanic Danger

In this Anthropocene era we often think of ourselves as controlling the natural world. But natural disasters, like volcanic eruptions, remind us that our planet can still be dangerously unpredictable. In the Indonesian province of Bali, this danger looms large. But now, scientists are using drones to forestall the danger and make the invisible workings of the volcano visible.

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Clean Fuel
Hypernature

Making Seawater into Clean Fuel

As we become increasingly convinced of the dangers presented by fossil fuels, scientists have been hard at work searching for renewable alternatives. From wind-power to solar energy, the effort is being made to harness our planet energy more sustainably than before. Now, a new breakthrough has been made: the ability to produce hydrogen fuel from unfiltered seawater.

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living light
Hypernature

Conversation with Ermi van Oers, Designer Who Wants to Bring the Living Light to Your Living Room

Do you sometimes wish your lighting was a bit more lively? Or even alive? The Living Light is no ordinary lamp. A unique design project, it harnesses the energy of living plants to provide light. We spoke to Ermi van Oers, designer of the unusual product, to find out more about the Living Light, the philosophy behind it and the team’s plans for the future.

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skyscraper
Boomeranged Metaphors

Skyscraper Fails to Load Its Textures

Our peculiar image of the week comes from New York, where observant residents were surprised to see a skyscraper that looked like it was struggling to load its textures. The Twitter user who snapped the uncanny picture eventually figured out that the odd low-resolution effect was created by reflections from a neighboring building. But it’s telling about the world we live in that an illusion like this can so quickly cause us to confuse reality with digital rendering. Via Twitter.

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