Future Tense Newsletter: Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

Underwater.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Anastasia Taioglou on Unsplash and Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Greetings, Future Tensers,

Hollywood loves a good apocalypse story, from Planet of the Apes not-so-strange world to Interstellar’s crop blight to Mad Max’s oil shortage. And the proliferation of climate change–related disaster stories in pop culture is no exception. Yet despite being inspired by some of the very dystopian-sounding projections of the realities global warming could bring, David Wallace-Wells argues that this new wave of movies never seems to get it right. He speculates on why this is—and what might happen to the genre when we no longer have to go to the movie theater to see such disastrous effects.

Climate change isn’t the only thing we at Future Tense have been fretting about this week. We’ve also been looking at the ways governments have been using and misusing tech. Hannah Bloch-Wehba explains the NYPD’s misguided war on Waze. Faine Greenwood discusses why humanitarians like her are worried about the U.N. World Food Programme’s new partnership with the infamous analytics firm Palantir. And Aaron Mak takes a look at how police departments are using “reverse location search warrants” to force Google to hand over cellphone location data on anyone near a crime scene.

Other things we read while listening to Alexa read us Jeff Bezos quotes:

Subscribe and save? Will Oremus explains how Apple’s “Netflix for news” service could save online journalism, or spell its doom.

Unbearable: Climate change isn’t just bringing rising temperatures and extreme storms. For residents of a remote Russian town, it’s brought a new conflict between humans and nature: a massive polar bear invasion.

Safe space: April Glaser explains how the crackdown on websites like Backpage has left consensual sex workers feeling less safe.

To infinity and beyond: Daniel Engber looks back at Mars One, the space colonization project that never was.

Censored sickness: Is the reason why we forget the Spanish Flu because the heroes were mostly women?

HQ doom: How the campaign to defeat Amazon’s HQ2 in Queens may serve as a blueprint for further pushback against corporate expansion.

To Oppy, the little Mars rover that could,

Anthony Nguyen

For Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.