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Open Access Publications from the University of California


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Limn is an experiment in outlining.

It combines the collaborative focus of a special issue of a journal with the spontaneity and interactivity of new media. Limn focuses on reconstruction and recomposition of concepts in contemporary culture. Limn is modeled on the convivial and critical features of a studio in art, architecture or design. Each episode differs from the last-different curators bring different problems and approaches to the basic concepts and tools developed in and through the process.

Sentinel Devices


Preface: Sentinel Devices

The polar ice cap rapidly recedes; colonies of honeybees collapse in alarming numbers; androgynous fish are detected in rivers and streams. These reports not only describe recent events, but also function as signs of an ominous and rapidly encroaching future.

A Dearth of Numbers: The Actuary and the Sentinel in Global Public Health

How do experts respond to a threat whose probability cannot be calculated but whose consequences could be catastrophic? Andrew Lakoff explores the political dynamics of sentinel devices in the case of the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

The Noise of the World: The Apocalypse and the Crazy Farm Scenario

The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland has to be constantly monitored to detect possible effects of radiation. Sophie Houdart describes a machine designed to capture every potential sign of threat.

The Origins of Extinction

What do barn swallows reveal about the future? In the biogeographical space of “the Zone” around Chernobyl,Adriana Petryna shows us how they force us to think about the origins of extinction.