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The Shape of Things to Come -- buy from Rice University Press. image -->

Seeing the world in a grain of sand is a familiar fantasy for technorati. In 1992, David Gelernter published a book called Mirror Worlds , in which he describes, for a lay audience, what it will take to (as his subtitle has it) “put the universe in a shoebox.” Gelernter, in addition to being a Yale professor and (only one year after) Unabomber victim, is also an unreconstructed Platonist; he blithely throws around the conceit of a mirror world—“some huge institution’s moving, true-to-life mirror image trapped inside a computer”—as if two millennia of philosophical footnoting, culminating in, say, Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature , hadn’t happened. For Gelernter that’s okay: the mirror world is simply the natural culmination of a march of technological progress, replacing the metaphor of computers as giant brains with the crystal ball, or palantir. Hands-on, containable (shoeboxes fit easily under the bed), but containing multitudes.

Neal Stephenson was also there, at pretty much the same time. Snow Crash (1992) is best remembered for its anticipation of Second Life with the MetaVerse, but in several extended sequences the book’s hero-protagonist Hiro Protagonist consults a palm-sized tool called, well, “Earth”: “It looks exactly like the earth would look from a point in geosynchronous orbit directly above L.A., complete with weather systems—vast spinning galaxies of clouds, hovering just above the surface of the globe, casting gray shadows on the oceans—and polar ice caps, fading and fragmenting into the sea” (109). The abstraction of information into a visual, spatial, and above all urban representation is, of course, the signature cyberpunk trope, back to the granddaddy of them all, William Gibson’s lines of light, “like city lights receding.” But what Gelernter and Stephenson both have in common is an emphasis on the geographical and the miniature. Both of them, of course, are anticipating the massive contemporary industry of GIS, which has culminated in Google Earth and its rivals, competitor products such as Microsoft’s Bing and NASA’s World Wind, putting something very much like Stephenson’s spectral spinning sphere a mere 10 or 15 MB download away from any desktop.

We can continue to multiply origin stories. There’s Buckminster Fuller, for example, and his 1960s Geospace concept, a gigantic globe wired up to receive input from databanks all over the world. But virtual earths and giant electro-mechanical orbs are at best a partial genealogy for Todd Presner and his team’s remarkable work on HyperCities, which, as Presner notes, owes as much to the traditions of cultural mapping that emerge from Benjamin’s Arcades as the panoptical fantasies of Fuller, Stephenson, and Gelernter. In his paper, Presner succinctly catalogs what sets HyperCities apart from more general tools like Google Earth: that it foregrounds temporal browsing as a fundamental aspect of the user experience; that the content privileges the interests of humanities scholars, exposing the cultural and historical transformation of space (as opposed to, say, the location of the nearest In-and-Out Burger); and finally, that the entire project is explicitly conceived as a platform for experiments in new forms of scholarly publishing. This last is what I take to be the key feature for purposes of discussion at this meeting.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
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Source:  OpenStax, Online humanities scholarship: the shape of things to come. OpenStax CNX. May 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11199/1.1
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