An Aquarium Supernova, the Technosphere’s Weight, and a New Star: Lux Recommends #63

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #63, the newest edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (and want to receive this by email? Sign up here).


The “technosphere” now weighs 30 trillion tons: “The most accurate measurement to date of how much mass we’d leave behind if humans disappeared tomorrow” — Sam

These Brothers Build a Mine-Sweeping Drone: Imagine the lives it can save, especially in some of the most poor and troubled regions of the world. — Bilal

Step Aboard the Original Air Force One for a Fascinating 3D Tour: Powered by one of our portfolio companies, Matterport — Adam K

Woman Sets Up Bird Feeder Photo Booth to Capture Close-Ups of Feathered Friends — Adam K

The Singularity is Further Than it Appears: “tl;dr: Not anytime soon. Lack of incentives means very little strong AI work is happening. And even if we did develop one, it’s unlikely to have a hard takeoff.” — Sam

How Shark Tank’s Daymond John Built Fubu While Working at Red Lobster: “His schedule was intense: he would wake up at 6 a.m. to make calls and deliveries for Fubu, get to Red Lobster at 10 a.m., work a 12-hour day, and then come home and sew clothing for Fubu until 3 in the morning.” — Peter

“I Am Looking For Entrepreneurs Who Balance Confidence With Humility”: “Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital on what he looks for in entrepreneurs and where he is betting next” — Shahin

Adrenaline junkies will love this thrilling walkway in the Swiss mountains: “the Schilthorn summit in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland, to tackle a dramatic walkway called the Thrill Walk.” — Adam G

7,500 Faceless Coders Paid in Bitcoin Built a Hedge Fund’s Brain: “He leaves that to an artificially intelligent system built by several thousand data scientists whose names he doesn’t know.” — Adam K

What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? All 206 Edge responses. — Zavain

The World’s Fastest Woman: “At more than 140 mph, getting knocked off a bicycle is bad, potentially fatal. At such speed, pretty much everything is. It is also where Denise Mueller finds peace.” — Adam G

The Muppets Visit the Set of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’— Adam K

Rare red nova explosion could add a star to the sky in 2022: “A Calvin College astronomer has predicted the stellar event is just a few years away” — Adam K

And Voices in the Sea: a website that collects the sounds of marine mammals. — Adam K


Normal by Warren Ellis: Take this stalwart sci-fi author and graphic novelist, mix in near-term extrapolations when a group of futurists have either gone crazy or are subject to a conspiracy, swirl in a bizarre situation where a fellow inmate or colleague seems to turn into a pile of bugs and you get this completely abnormal but eminently explainable short book called Normal. — Josh

Children of The New World by Alexander Weinstein: awesome fun collection of sci-fi stories. If you have burned through all Black Mirror episodes, these stories are waiting for the Charlie Brooker treatment and might be future episodes. Thought provoking, imaginings of the future that usher it in as much as it predicts it. — Josh

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang: Another great collection of sci-fi short stories. These are sophisticated, meticulously written and researched and require careful reading. One of them, the namesake of the book, is the basis for the film The Arrival. Each story has deep meanings, symbolism, considerations of math, language, physics, creativity and creation, the limits and expansiveness of what we may know or can know and of what our technologies may one day do. — Josh


Black Mirror Season 3: Josh


A beautiful aquarium supernova: “Using mostly old-school visual effects — like ink dispersing in an aquarium and poking holes in napkins (to represent stars) — Thomas Vanz created a pretty compelling representation of a dying star going supernova” — Sam

A high frame rate camera shows the details of how sound can be used to shatter a glass — Adam K

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Climate Change and Elon Musk — Adam G

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