Apologies to the ~30 of you who might be seeing this twice. I messed up how it went out, and had to delete and redo! Lots of things happening today! Ahhhh!
Today’s eel: every edition of this newsletter is named after an eel. Today’s is the pelican eel, also known as the peacock eel (Macrognathus siamensis). I picked this eel for today’s newsletter because like a peacock, I am here to show you some of my new shiny feathers. I have a new podcast! It’s called Advice For And From The Future and it’s an advice show, for and from the future (I’m sure the name did not give that away at all). Should I follow my boyfriend to Mars? Should I let my boss put a chip in my hand? Should I have kids? Every episode will tackle one big question about, for and sometimes from the future. You can subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts!
Okay, back to eels. The peacock eel, if I am being fully honest with you dear reader, does not actually look very much like a peacock. It’s mostly brown with a thin, pale yellow strip running from its head to its tail. The eel was given an avian namesake thanks to the big eye spots that generally dot its body but I confess I am unconvinced. But no matter, the peacock eel doesn’t really care. In fact, many of the aquarium blogs I read said that these little slimers are super chill and easy going, and get along great with other fish and even other eels.
Technically, the peacock eel (which also goes by the name of Spot-Finned Spiny Eel, Peacock Spiny Eel, Striped Peacock Eel, and Siamese Spiny Eel) is not a true eel. Long time readers of this newsletter may have been tipped off by the Latin name: Macrognathus siamensis. But we welcome all eel like creatures, and tend to focus on common names here, so let’s let it slide okay? Be like the peacock eel and chill. Another way we should all be more like the peacock eel: stop caring so much about sexual difference. According to one aquarium guide I read: “Sexual differences are unknown and it is almost impossible to identify the sexes, though a mature female may be more full bodied.” Happy pride month!
Current Status: Did I mention I have a new show? Well, I do! You can, again, subscribe to it on any podcasting app you like. If you would do that, it would make me very happy. Today’s episode, the first one ever, is about whether you should follow your partner to Mars. It features an interview with the lovely Andrea Silenzi, of Why Oh Why, an original song, and a rumination on “the call of the void.” I hope you like it!
Along with launching this new show, I’m also launching an umbrella home for all the future facing projects I’m working on. It’s called Flash Forward Presents and you can kind of think of it like the Flash Forward Extended Cinematic Universe. Obviously Flash Forward and this new show will live there, but so will all kinds of other projects and experiments. If you want to get a really deep, inside look at everything I’m working on (and help these projects come to life), you can do that by becoming a member of the Time Traveler club. If you’re interested in getting a bit more behind the scenes thinking on why I’m launching the network and the membership program, check out this video. It gets a bit in the weeds, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’m cognizant that I’m launching all of this in the midst of a huge and really, really important movement that’s pushing back on centuries of brutality against at Black people in the United States. I believe that visioning the future is a key piece of getting us to better tomorrows (on Flash Forward, we covered the end of prisons in 2015, a world without police in 2017, and the possibilities of restorative justice last year). Last week, during the #ShutDownSTEM action, I developed a plan and set of actionable goals for myself both personally and professionally, with Flash Forward Presents, continue fighting against white supremacy (Time Travelers will hear all about that plan in detail). And ultimately I hope that this work is not seen as a distraction, but as a toolkit for building better tomorrows. I hope that you all are staying engaged and involved in the current movement however you can. If you still need help getting started, here’s a list of resources. If you’re not sure how future thinking connects to this movement, I absolutely recommend this recent session led by Walidah Imarisha on Better Futures: Visioning In A Time Of Crisis.
Things I’m working on under the Flash Forward Presents umbrella:
Flash Forward, the podcast
Flash Forward, the book, coming soon!
Advice for and from the Future, a new podcast about how we can live better today and tomorrow.
Hey, Lola? A three-part audio drama about surveillance, love, and fear.
Timelines, an experiment in audio fiction storytelling.
A six part series about the history of the future (it will make sense when you hear it, I promise).
A graphic novel
A young adult novel
Okay that’s all for this pretty short newsletter. But hopefully you don’t think I’m slacking! Thank you all for opening this email among all the other emails in your inbox right now.