Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Web Secret #351: Future Timeline

When I want to scare the crap out of myself, I don't go to the movies to see Chuckie V or Saw IX.

I indulge in cheaper, far more terrifying fare - I visit

The landing page promises:

Welcome to the future! Below, you will find a speculative timeline of future history. Part fact and part fiction, the timeline is based on detailed research – including analysis of current trends, long-term environmental changes, advances in technology such as Moore's Law, future medical breakthroughs, the evolving geopolitical landscape and much more. Where possible, references have been provided to support the predictions.

On the site, I can titrate just the amount of terror I want to experience.

Looking for just a bit of anxiety? I click on the year 2020 - 5 years into the future. I read the following predictions:
  • Generation X is reshaping global politics
  • Internet use reaches 5 billion worldwide
  • Complex organ replacements grown from stem cells
I can handle that.

Looking for a fright, I click on 2065 - 50 years into the future.
  • Longevity treatments able to halt aging
  • Self-assembling buildings made 100% from nanotech
  • Archival Discs are becoming unreadable
Looking to get shaken to the core, I click on the 22nd century:
  • A move towards post-scarcity and resource-based economies, further growth of transhumanism, and major developments in space travel all mark the 22nd century. Practically all of the world's energy comes from either fusion or renewable sources now.
  • Almost every high-level decision by government and business now comes directly from these sentient machines, which oversee vast swathes of virtual employees, robots and heavily automated systems.
  • Developments in space during this time include numerous permanent, manned settlements on the Moon and Mars; regular manned trips to the gas giants; huge mining operations in the asteroid fields; and the first probes to Alpha Centauri. Space tourism booms during this period and trips to the Moon's surface and elsewhere become relatively commonplace.
  • The speed and magnitude of progress now occurring, both on Earth and throughout the Solar System, is creating what earlier forecasters would have named a technological singularity.
Looking for a mind blowing experience, I click on beyond 20,000 AD:
  • 12,000 AD — Our Sun is exiting the Local Interstellar Cloud
  • 22,000 AD — The Chernobyl disaster site becomes fully safe
  • 42,000 AD — Voyager 1 is passing near the red dwarf star, AC+79 3888
I don't do this too often - it's so unsettling.

And wonderful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Web Secret #350: A soft murmur

I live in New York City.

I work from home.

And I miss the sounds of nature.

Fortunately, there is A Soft Murmur. The website identifies itself as "Ambient sounds to wash away distraction."

It's very simple. On the home page, you have options, including:
  • rain
  • waves
  • fire
  • wind
  • birds
  • crickets
  • and more
Not only can you play any of these peaceful sounds, but you can mix them together and set their loudness.

It's very peaceful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Web Secret #349: The Triple Nine Society

I have come to believe that somewhere on the Internet, there is at least one group of kindred spirits for each and every one of us.

For me, it's the Triple Nine Society.

In June of last year, I cam across an article about the Triple Nine Society, a high IQ fellowship which describes itself thusly: "Our singular commonality lies in our all having scored 99.9th percentile or above on a test of adult intelligence." Only one in a thousand people have an IQ at that level. My score on the Miller Analogies Test qualified me for membership.

All of a sudden, I made sense to myself. No wonder I fell alienated, odd woman out, just plain odd. In my day to day existence, I almost never came across another person like me. Now I was in a group of about 1,500 people from around the world who had experienced what I had felt. I joined their Facebook group and enjoy reading their posts.

I imagine in the future that I will go to one of their annual meetings. But for now, I am just happy knowing that the society exists.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Web Secret #348: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

One of my fellow members of the Triple Nine Society, (more on them in next week's post,) introduced me to a website of astonishing beauty: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

The Dictionary consists of weekly videos, each of which defines a newly invented word for a strangely powerful emotion. The episodes feature beautiful music, gorgeous visuals and poetic language. I will let the author describe his concept:

So what does a typical episode look like? Here is one for "onism - n. the awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience":