Happy holidays! Memia’s Pick of 2011

To all of our customers, partners and friends: Best wishes for a relaxing and restorative summer break, look forward to seeing you again in 2012.

I’d just like to say thank you to all of Memia’s customers, partners and friends for your support during 2011 – we’re now well over the earthquakes here in Canterbury and I think we’re all now looking forward to what’s shaping up to be an exciting and prosperous 2012.

In particular, Memia is one of the first round of tenants in the EPIC Sanctuary building, due to be completed mid-year. After losing our lovely old offices in Cashel Mall due to the earthquake (see the transformation below), we’re looking forward to re-establishing ourselves in the CBD next year.

107 Cashel Mall - Old Weekly Press Building - Before the Earthquake

107 Cashel Mall - Old Weekly Press Building - Before the Earthquake

107 Cashel Mall - 22 Feb 2011

107 Cashel Mall - Now

(photo courtesy Dean Norrie

Meanwhile, here are just a few of my picks for the best media of 2011. With an eye on the future, naturally. Enjoy. 😉

Most thought-provoking film

“Transcendent Man” by Barry Ptolemy – Fascinating full-length documentary on Futurist Ray Kurzweil and his theory of technological acceleration leading to the Singularity.

Best non-fiction books

Steve Jobs’ death in October was the defining event in the technology industry in 2011. If you haven’t already read this rapidly-published biography, then it’s a recommended read, chronicling the earliest days of Apple and painting Jobs in a warts-and-all profile which is not always flattering.

James Gardner: The Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos: Although not written in the easiest style, Gardner introduces his theory of the “Selfish Biocosm” which says that intelligence is not some cosmic accident, but that intelligence and life are explicitly coded into the physical laws and constants of the universe. Furthermore, universes beget other universes in some kind of meta-Darwinian evolution. Mind expanding cosmology.

Best science-fiction books

Charles Stross – Rule 34 Probably my favourite sci-fi author currently writing, this book channels Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus forward to the near future with a police procedural set in 2020s Edinburgh. As with a lot of Stross’ work, he has vividly imagined a future influenced by today’s emerging technologies (3D printing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence…), and there are more new ideas in the first chapter than you usually find in any other book. Plus, written with a dark but very funny sense of humour throughout. Not to everyone’s taste, but highly recommended.

Peter F Hamilton – Void Trilogy – I spent quite a bit of time in 2011 reading through the 2000 pages or so of this trilogy, and found it difficult to put down once I was going. Set thousands of years in the future, Peter Hamilton weaves together multiple strands of plot centred around the “Void” in the centre of our galaxy which is gradually consuming the whole galaxy from within. Cleverly, he even manages to encapsulate a medievalist fantasy novella within the complex plotlines. Lots of suspension of disbelief required for “hard” sci-fi enthusiasts for the more “imaginative” physical possibilities (commuting on trains via wormhole…? Hmm) but good fun.

Most insane pastime

Finally, here is a video of an activity which I will NOT be trying out in a hurry. Absolutely. Insane.

Happy Christmas!