What I want from Tinder isn’t dates or casual sex or romance, it’s the same thing I want from Twitter, Facebook, and quite possibly this article you’re reading right now: affirmation—some signal from the outside world that I exist, and that I might be worthy.
Still, whenever I stop to think about it, there’s something a bit iffy about sitting on my bed in the dull blue glow of my phone, consuming images of women. If digital technology can be an archive of the evocative, then in the right hands it can also make a game of emotion. In much the same way that I can dive into the web to wallow in loss or revel in the memory of joy, so too can I use it to fill in the puncture wounds I’ve accumulated over time and don’t know how to properly heal.
It would be easy then to parrot the incessant cries that technology leads us away from reality—that it substitutes a kind of virtual catharsis for the satisfaction borne of real action. That feels too simplistic, though. This past weekend, my phone kept on chiming as photos and messages from a cousin’s wedding in India streamed in. To say that this space within which my family virtually gathered to celebrate was unreal would be, well, false.
Yet, I’m only left to wonder at the ease with which one can slip into a limitless library of affect. It’s not so much that I worry about the lure of screens, or even digital itself, as much as the logic of the contemporary web and app world. Facebook, Tinder, Twitter, Instagram—all these Silicon Valley things can be used to great effect, but to great exploitation, too. And like the evanescent, invisible nature of a smell, sometimes I wonder if the California Ideology—that sentiment, thought, people, can all be reduced to a flickering signifier—isn’t slipping in unnoticed under the door, creeping into our minds.
Rhone Glacier Covered in Blankets to Slow Melting via Amusing Planet
The Rhone Glacier in the Swiss Alps is one of the oldest know glaciers in the Alps, and an important one ‘cause it gives rise to the Rhone River – a major river of Europe –, and is also one of the primary contributors to Lake Geneva. Because of climate change and rising global temperatures, the glacier has retreated dramatically over the last 120 years, shrinking by more than 1300 meters and leaving back a track of naked stone.
Every summer, environmentalists in Switzerland take up the task of covering the Rhone Glacier with miles of white blankets to try and minimize the melting. The innovative method of protecting the ice draws hordes of visitors who come to witness the ancient ice from an entirely unique perspective.
SoP - Scale of Environments
Sophie Morgan walks with the aid of “Rex”, a Robotic Exoskeleton at the Welcome Trust on September 19, 2012 in London, England. The system allows wheelchair users including fully paralyzed people, to stand upright and walk independently. Sophie was paralyzed from the breast bone down in 2003 following a car accident. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
The HAL exoskeleton from Cyberdyne.
This week Cyberdyne unveiled a robotic exoskeleton called HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) that allows its wearer to carry superhuman loads while shielding them from radiation. With the Fukushima nuclear disaster still fresh in Japan’s national memory, the research team designed HAL to aid workers in dismantling the damaged power plant. The most incredible part is that the suit can be controlled by brainwaves! A network of sensors monitors electric signals coming from the user’s brain and uses them to activate the robot’s limbs in unison with the worker’s, allowing them to move without supporting the suit’s weight. As such, the 130-pound suit is barely noticeable to those wearing it.
The HAL exoskeleton from Cyberdyne. Because there’s nothing about that name that could terrorize humanity.