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O que está no centro do Universo? Ou melhor, o que é o Universo? Por que não um multiverso? Será a Terra tão especial ao ponto de ser única na imensidão cósmica? Estas questões, mais ou menos metafísicas, ocupam o espírito e a mente dos seres humanos desde os primórdios da sua evolução. Olhar para as estrelas e para o imenso negro desconhecido do Universo foi – e continua a ser – uma paixão e até uma obsessão para muitos milhões de humanos. De onde vimos, qual é o nosso lugar nesta imensidão, o que esperam de nós, quem somos. Tantas e tantas questões que nos têm atormentado enquanto espécie.

Olhemos para os números. Apenas na Via Láctea, a nossa galáxia, estima-se que possam haver até 400 mil milhões de estrelas. Quatrocentos mil milhões de sóis e cada um, provavelmente, com o seu sistema de planetas a orbitar. Isto em apenas uma galáxia. E estima-se que existam entre 100 e 200 mil milhões de galáxias no Universo, cada uma com os seus milhares de milhão de estrelas e respectivos sistemas de planetas. São números grandes, avassaladoramente grandes.Read More »

Anúncios

Book review: Four Futures

Following an exercise that has been performed by other authors, Peter Frase tries to unveil what life after capitalism might look like; and the end of capitalism is, for the author, not only inevitable but already taking place. The added-value of his work is, he claims, the fact that unlike other essays, “Four Futures” introduces politics and class struggle in the debate, proposing further solutions to reduce inequalities, rather than entrepreneurship and education alone. The book is openly political and engaged, giving a Left-wing perspective and, at the same time, posing several question to that same political field, namely regarding the role of basic income. Although referring straightforward that the book is not an exercise of future-telling – which would be doomed to fail, as he admits – Frase, one of the Editors of Jacobin magazine, drafts four hypothetical scenarios, some utopian, others dystopian.

On a pleasant and swift style, the book recurs to several academic papers as well as several works of fact-based science-fiction. Thus, Frase peculiarly calls his book a type of “social science fiction”. The departure point is clear, as XXI century haunts us with two main challenges, linked to crisis: automation and ecological catastrophe. But there’s an antagonism on both crises, as the ecological one is a crisis of scarcity – in the sense that the natural resources of planet Earth are finite – and the automation crisis is one of excess – the more automation develops, the less human labour will be required. This contradictory dual crisis is already visible today and expected to be deepened in the near future. A common element is, nevertheless, present: both are crisis of inequality, about scarcity and abundance, about who will profit from automation and who will suffer from climate change.Read More »