A post-car world with the PodCar

The environmental and urbanistic reasons for getting rid of private individual car need no more to be listed. Known under the name of podcar, a promising car replacement solution consists of a driverless vehicle, usable on demand, and guided by an automatized navigation system (GPS, local terminals or combinations of both). It has first appeared […]

Four Music Videos for the End of the World

12/21/2012. Some say the end is near.  But there’s still time to watch the best music videos about Doomsday. Tool – Ænema “Some say we’ll see Armageddon soon – I certainly hope we will” sings Maynard James Kennan. Here, the end of the world means “fret for your figure and fret for your latte and […]

Switzerland discusses food sovereignty – a vegetarian diet might be the answer

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”, said Albert Einstein. This might also the answer to the questions discussed this Wednesday, September 19th in the Swiss parliament (both in the Conseil National and in the Conseil des États). “Food […]

The shadow of Curiosity

This morning August 6th, after fourteen years of planning and months of anxious waiting, the Curiosity mars rover has landed, sending as a proof of its success a fisheye picture of pebbles, dust, and its own shadow on the surface of Mars. It is the largest and most advanced machine to ever land on another […]

The Islands of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

[Une version révisée, en français, de cet article, publiée dans Le Temps, Genève, en 2012, peut être téléchargée ici.] Jean-Jacques Rousseau would have been 300 years old today. He was already 53 in October 1765 when he left the waves of the Lake Bienne, heart-sick, expelled from the Island of St. Peter upon the order […]

A mobility network

Methods and tools After a day and a half of work and fine-tuning, here we go: the commuting network of all individuals either residing, working or studying in the canton Valais. I’ve used R, with the RStudio GUI, and the igraph library for R. My staring point was the mobility matrix between all communes, including […]

Fifty years of orbital tourism

Today, the United States are celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s orbital flight: three tours of the globe in less than five hours. To mark the occasion, Craig Russell of Space Operations Inc., would have liked to see the mission replayed, but relying on private means only, this time. We get his point, because […]

Foucault’s left-overs and the urban heterostasis

Michel Foucault, in his 1984 essay Des espaces autres (Other Spaces), coins the term “hétérotopie”. He uses it to designate places evolving on the margin of what we could today call the territory of production. Foucault’s heterotopoi are cemeteries, brothels, prisons, boats, psychiatric hospitals… places inhabited by those who’ve either been excluded from society, or […]

Mars as a social question

“Allopatric speciation” occurs when a biological species divides in two distinct populations, due either to the emergence of a natural boundary (river, mountain) or to migration in opposite directions. Over hundreds of generations, the genotypes of both populations evolve on their own until, finally, they become two separate species. For some species of fruit-flies, this […]

Babylon and the City Recipe

Up to the beginning of the 20th century, the Ancient Testament had been the most cited text in societies with Christian heritage when it came to condemning the human hybris and its emblematic spatial figure: the city.  Yet, quite surprisingly, the most anti-urban text contains the perfect set of ingredients to build one. As the […]