What does it mean to decolonize space exploration? We explore this on the Slate podcast Mission: Interplanetary with the fabulous Natalie Trevino

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the new Mission: Interplanetary podcast from ASU and Slate, I’d highly recommend it-and not just because my co-host is the fabulous former astronaut and ASU Global Explorer in Residence Dr. Cady Coleman!

With the podcast, we set out to explore fresh perspectives on how we think about space. And I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.

This week’s episode is a great example of this. Our guest is the space theoretician Dr. …


Escaping the constraints of conventional thinking in higher education

Back in March, I was asked to give the first FRANKx lecture at ASU. These lectures are designed to draw on ASU experts and visionaries who “strive to challenge, disrupt and redefine the landscape of higher education with innovative ideas that encourage conversation and thinking outside the status quo.” Rising to the challenge with some relish, I crafted my lecture around the topics of “base-coding,” “bounded infinities,” “metaphorical quantum tunneling,” and the future of education. I took the brief quite seriously! These notes draw from my reflections as I prepared for the lecture and the lecture itself (which you…


Warnings of potential “early pulmonary toxicity” associated with graphene-containing face masks raise serious questions over safety checks and balances.

Shengquan SNN200642 graphene-containing face mask

Face masks should protect you, not place you in greater danger. However, last Friday Radio Canada revealed that residents of Quebec and Ottawa were being advised not to use specific types of graphene-containing masks as they could potentially be harmful.

The offending material in the masks is graphene — a form of carbon that consists of nanoscopically thin flakes of hexagonally-arranged carbon atoms. It’s a material that has a number of potentially beneficial properties, including the ability to kill bacteria and viruses when they’re exposed to it.

Yet despite its many potential uses, the scientific jury is still out when…


Back in January 2019 I got an email from my good friend and colleague Lance Gharavi with the title “Podcast brainstorming.” Two years on, we’ve just launched the Mission: Interplanetary podcast — and it’s amazing!

It’s been a long journey — especially with a global pandemic thrown in along the way — but on March 23, the Mission: Interplanetary podcast with Slate and ASU finally launched.

After two years of planning, many discussions, a bunch dry runs, and lots (and by that I mean lots) of Zoom meetings, we are live!

As the team behind the podcast talked about and developed the ideas underpinning the Mission: Interplanetary, we were interested in exploring new ways of thinking and talking about the future of humanity as a space-faring species as part of Arizona State University’s Interplanetary…


Completing any degree can be challenging. The ASU College of Global Futures Final Mile Fund sets out to make it a little easier.

Sometimes the final mile of a degree can be the toughest to get through! Photo by Elena Rabkina on Unsplash

This is a story about giving-you have been warned! It’s also a story about empowering students. And importantly, it’s a story about small acts of kindness that can have a profound impact on student success.

The short version is that my wife and I have just launched the Final Mile Fund in Arizona State University’s College of Global Futures to help students in the final stretch of completing their degree-and we really need your help growing the fund.

This is the long version:

Sweating the Small Stuff

For many students, that final stretch to completing their degree is tough. They’re juggling debt, possibly working…


Slate and Arizona State University are partnering on the new podcast Mission: Interplanetary, and it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve heard — literally.

I must confess to nerding out a little. I’m co-hosting a new space podcast with the amazing former astronaut and Arizona State University’s Global Explorer in Residence Cady Coleman. And it’s going to be freakin’ awesome!I must confess to nerding out a little. I’m co-hosting a new space podcast with the amazing former astronaut and Arizona State University’s Global Explorer in Residence Cady Coleman. And it’s going to be freakin’ awesome!

The podcast — aptly called Mission: Interplanetary — is a partnership between ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative and Slate, and boldly goes where few space podcasts have gone before as…


A personal perspective on what gives Arizona State University’s College of Global Futures its “secret sauce”

Arizona State University College of Global Futures

Why do we have a College of Global Futures at Arizona State University?There are, of course, multiple reasons for this. And there are, similarly, many different threads to the college’s origin story.

But one of those threads-and one that aligns deeply with my own interests around technology and society-is the increasingly urgent need to think and act differently when it comes to our collective relationship with the future.

I was reminded of this a few days ago when I was asked to record a short video-introduction to the college. This was intended for prospective graduate students in our School of…


As we increasingly master the “base code” that underpins the biological, physical and cyber worlds we inhabit, how do we use this power responsibly?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m sure that every generation has a point where its members believe they are at a pivotal point in human history. Sadly, generational exceptionalism rarely stands the test of time. Yet despite this, I believe that we truly are approaching a pivot point-not because of global warming, over-population, rampant resource abuse, or a myriad other critically important issues that we’re currently grappling with, but because of what I refer to in my 2018 book Films from the Future as our increasing mastery of “base code.”

To use an analogy from digital technologies, our phones, our computers and tablets, our smart…


To avoid challenges like those presently being faced in Texas, we need to get better at thinking differently about our relationship with the future

Geocolor satellite imagery of Texas covered in snow in the aftermath of a historic winter storm. February 15, 2021. NOAA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As I write, Texas is slowly emerging from being pummeled by a deadly winter storm that left it in a state of mayhem. Millions lost access to heat and power during the storm, while a cascading series of events have led to compromised water supplies, an emerging healthcare crisis, and a growing death toll.

It’s easy to attribute the chaos to escalating threats associated with climate change. And indeed the climate blame-game has already begun around the storm fall-out in Texas.

Yet to reduce what we’re seeing to climate change alone would be short-sighted.

Certainly, there are in all probability…


YouTube is emerging as one of the most important platforms around for providing free, accessible, and informed expert content. But for the most part, academics are incredibly bad at taking advantage of it.

Preparing for VidCon 2011

In 2011, my then-teenage kids dragged me to VidCon in Los Angeles and kick-started a 10-year journey into exploring how academics can use YouTube more effectively.

VidCon was created by brothers Hank and John Green as a glorious mixing-pot of YouTube celebs, content creators, and exuberant fans. In 2011 it was in its second year, and still small enough (and chaotic enough) for attendees to rub shoulders with some of the world’s top YouTube superstars.

I was, I must confess, initially bemused by the whole experience. I remember waiting in line at Starbucks with my son for instance and being…

Andrew Maynard

Author of Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow, and Associate Dean in the ASU College of Global Futures

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