Category Archives: Science & Technology

Transhuman Films

The blog’s been pretty quiet while I’ve been concentrating on other things. One of those other things is a research project looking at post- and transhumanism in popular culture, and particularly in film.

One of those projects has been the development of a couple of blogs to track that. The first of these is underway now and can be found at:

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So far I’ve added two films in the last couple of days, but will be adding to that as write up films I’ve already watched, and get around to watching some more.

Symposium on Theology, Spirituality and Cancer – Update

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Laidlaw College and Theology at the University of Auckland will be sponsoring a two-day symposium and public lecture on Theology, Spirituality & Cancer on 20-21 February 2014 and you are warmly invited to attend.

The Theology, Spirituality and Cancer symposium is an interdisciplinary meeting exploring dialogue between theological (including biblical), religious, philosophical, spiritual, healthcare and pastoral arenas, and will include presentations by biblical scholars Dr Tim Meadowcroft and Dr Caroline Blyth, and practical theologian Dr Stephen Garner among others. The symposium will be of interest to academics and practitioners, including religious ministers, chaplains, counsellors and healthcare practitioners in related areas. It will address topics such as theodicy, cancer therapies, end-of-life care and pastoral challenges as well as exploring the insights a theological, religious or spiritual perspective can bring to an understanding of all aspects of cancer. These areas will be explored through presented papers, keynote addresses and a public lecture.


When: 20-21 February 2014 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Where: University of Auckland (City Campus), Arts 1 Building (Building 206), 14A Symonds Street, Auckland
Cost: $100 (includes morning and afternoon tea)
Register: Click here to register online. Registration will close on Friday 9 February 2014, but please register early as places are limited.

Cancer and Spirituality Matters: Stats and Stories

Public Lecture with Dr. Richard Eagan
When: 20 February 2014 | 7:30pm
Where: LibB10, General Library (Building 109), Level B (Basement), 5 Alfred Street, Auckland
Cost: Free

For further information about the symposium click here for schedule and registration form or visit or contact Christina Partridge at

PDF Version of this information to print out or distribute.

Richard Dawkins lecture: The greatest show on earth live

Back in March I went to this lecture by Richard Dawkins hosted at the University of Auckland. I was intrigued by his comments about ‘thankfulness’ in it – interesting that people can start from the same place and come to a huge range of different places in their understanding of the world.

Anyway, the lecture video is now available at the link below:

Richard Dawkins lecture: The greatest show on earth live- The University of Auckland

See also: Richard Dawkins: The greatest show on earth live- The University of Auckland – more video links etc.

Update: Mark suggested this link to go with the video: John Bishop: We all have right to give thanks – Religion and Beliefs – NZ Herald News


Attitudes towards technology include techno-optimism (the good features outweigh the bad), techno-pessimism (the bad features always outweigh the good), and instrumentalism (where technology might be value-neutral). Here’s an interesting mini-essay that picks up on the first of these attitudes – techno-optimism.

See: The Technium: Technophilia

‘Reborn babies’

Article this week on ‘reborn babies’ – very lifelike dolls – sold to people primarily for collecting but also purchased by people like grieving parents. See ‘Reborn babies’ niche for collectors, grieving parents – I’m wondering if the revulsion some people feel towards them is part of the ‘uncanny valley’ response to human simulcra noted by Masahiro Mori (see Greenflame · Robots: From tools to partners).

Seems similar to the article I linked to in Greenflame · Virtual babies aim to ease parenting pain back in Feb 2004.

Related links: