The Madras Observatory offers little to the visitor’s eye. Stone slabs and broken pillars lie ignored in a fenced-off section of a local weather centre in the southern Indian city of Chennai. Few tourists venture out to see the ruins of the 18th-century complex…Yet it is the Madras Observatory, and not the spectacular Jantar Mantars, that marks the triumphal fusion of scientific knowledge and imperial power.
A new breed of human is on its way. Transhumanists are a group who seek to accelerate the evolution of humanity through science and technology. Oliver Pickup investigates the movement, the implications for humankind and asks, is it morally wrong to augment humans?
Nature’s power enthralled the American writer Edgar Allan Poe, and galvanised some of his most memorable works. He was particularly captivated by the natural world’s ghastly capacity for destruction. In the short story ‘A Descent into the Maelström’, for instance, a sea voyage turns into sheer mayhem when a fierce vortex hurls the vessel toward its briny doom, shattering it into splinters. As if he were a journalist reporting a maritime calamity, Poe describes each stage of the devastation in riveting detail.
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