Civilization Has Always Been Collapsing for Somebody

While the Apocalypse Is Relative, Humanity’s Pursuit of Technology Perpetually Creates and Defuses Existential Threats

The question of whether civilization is on the verge of collapse may be as old as civilization itself.

This enduring query brought together a group of panelists that moderator Edan Lepucki called “the most interesting dinner party I’ve ever been invited to” for a Zócalo/Getty event before an overflow crowd at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Lepucki, author of the post-apocalyptic novel California, stressed that addressing the event’s title question—”Is Civilization on the Verge of Collapse?”—starts with defining what type of civilization we are talking about. One panelist, …

How Idealistic, High-Tech Schools Often Fail to Help Poor Kids Get Ahead | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Idealistic High-Tech Schools Often Fail to Help Poor Kids Get Ahead

The Benefits of Computers and Special Instruction Are Eclipsed by Economic Disadvantage

About a decade ago, as the global economy shuddered, an 11-year-old boy sat at a desk with a laptop computer in the hallway of an experimental school in New York …

The Digital Age Was Going to Kill Museums. Then It Saved Them.

The Ubiquity of the Online World Has Made the Shared Physical Space and Real Objects of Museums Even More Valuable

The digital age, once seen as a threat to museums, has actually revitalized such institutions by making the experience of sharing physical space with others and touching actual real objects …

Why Color TV Was the Quintessential Cold War Machine

The Technological Innovation Transformed How Americans Saw the World, and How the World Viewed America

In 1959, at the height of the space race, Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev stood together, surrounded by reporters, in the middle of RCA’s color television …

How Chicago Lifted Itself Out of the Swamp and Became a Modern Metropolis

By Building Canals, Laying Sewers, and Jacking Up Buildings, the Windy City Spurred Its Miraculous Growth

In 1833, Chicago was a wilderness outpost of just 350 residents, clumped around a small military fort on soggy land where the Chicago River trickled into Lake Michigan. The site …