Nov. 1, 1909: 'The Machine Stops'

I’ve taught E. M. Forster’s 1909 “The Machine Stops” in a few classes. The message is a little heavy-handed, but the world Foster created is eerily familiar a hundred years later. “The Machine Stops” appeared in the November issue of The Oxford and Cambridge Review. At 12,000-plus words, it’s sometimes called a longish short story, sometimes a novella. Forster is not thought of as a science-fiction writer, but this piece…

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World's Most Precise Clocks Could Reveal Universe Is a Hologram

As a rule, I’m suspicious of any news article that has the world “could” in the headline, but this is certainly interesting stuff. Our existence could be coded in a finite bandwidth, like a live ultra-high-definition 3-D video. And the third dimension we know and love could be no more than a holographic projection of a 2-D surface. A scientist’s $1 million experiment, now under construction in Illinois, will attempt…