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Contact, pt 4: The search for meaning

The X-Files told us that The Truth Is Out There. The search for meaning is one of humanity’s defining features. As far back as we can trace, human societies have in this sense been essentially religious. Prehistoric burials and ancestor worship indicate our grappling with life and death from the […]

Contact, pt 3: Which god?

One of the main themes that Contact deals with is religion. Through the extremist preacher Joseph (right), the film shows that religion can be a very destructive force. Yet we also see a benign expression of religion that is knowledgeable and sophisticated. Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey, below) is Contact‘s poster-boy for […]

Where do you live?

This popular cartoon is by Randall Munroe (you can now buy posters of it too). I especially like the submerged land of Usenet* and the tiny principality of Attractive MySpace Pages! Where do you live? * Usenet was/is a huge and ancient kind of e-mail-based discussion system

Contact, pt 1: A big conversation

Are we alone in the universe? This question is the starting point for the film Contact (1997), starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. Ellie Arroway (Foster) is a woman driven by her thirst for answers. As a SETI scientist she scans radio transmissions, seeking intelligent signals from across the galaxy. […]