Stunning way to start the day…
Stunning way to start the day…
Pope Francis tested the piety of the powerful recently, and the powerful failed. Judging by comments on social media accusing the Pope of being socialist scum, those who failed most miserably include the so-called “Christian Right” who proudly proclaim their Devotion to Christ in their bios, yet seem oddly unfamiliar with the actual teachings of Jesus.
“That governments and all politicians work for the common good. Let them beware of listening only to the economic elite; may they be servants of those people who ask for land, shelter and work and a good life in harmony with all humanity and creation.”
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Matthew 19:24
You get the idea.
By Om Malik
I quote Om, I link to his writing. Hopefully, I succeed in convincing others to stay in touch with his thoughts, endeavors, directly. And, now, I find I must read the weekly newsletter from Azeem Azhar.
A couple of quotes from Om’s latest…on Azeem Azhar’s EXPONENTIAL VIEW.
Excerpts from the beginning and end of a short interview conducted via email and Google Docs with Azeem.
Q: From a layman’s perspective, what is Exponential View?
A: Exponential View is a newsletter charting the impact of this major techno-economic-political transition that we are going through. It started life in 2015 as a simple newsletter to help me learn. We were (and still are) witnessing the collision of general-purpose technologies in the fields of computing, energy, biology, and manufacturing. Each of these was improving — on a price/performance basis — very quickly, more than 10% per annum. Silicon chips have improved at around 40-45% per annum for several decades. And startup should destabilize (and then help redefine) our ways of doing things.
EV investigated these trends from a technical, startup, and social perspective. Exponential View is the thesis that emerged from this activity: that technology and societal changes are intertwined and that now more than ever, we need to understand those interrelationships…
Q: What does the near future look like? What are some of the key trends that will shape that future?
A: I wrote my decade predictions in an essay at the end of 2018. Largely, they hold up. Climate change is the most important trend.
Equally, the technologies of the Exponential Age in computing, biology, energy, and manufacturing will continue to get cheaper and cheaper. This will make many areas of activity currently uneconomical, economical. Cheap solar electricity will create a market for hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Great computation will enable better ML methods to allow us to design sophisticated microorganisms in silico before deploying them in the world to fix nitrogen with a lower energy cost than the Haber-Bosch process.
And yet, these technologies will be destabilizing. They will upset the status quo and shift power away from certain actors and towards others. This destabilization process could increase national and civil conflicts, disadvantaging in some fundamental ways many groups or simply creating political unrest as others feel a lack of agency. This last trend may be the one that punishes us for any technical progress, so figuring out how to put humanity’s hand on the tiller that guides the direction of their technologies needs to be a priority.
October 24, 2021. San Francisco.
Zombieland: Double Tap is in theaters. And Donald Trump is president. Coincidence?!
Not according to one theory. In 2009, a “science and pop culture” blogger crunched the numbers and found a correlation between movie monsters and who’s president. When a Republican is president, zombie movies are popular. When a Democrat is in the White House, vampire flicks rule…
Every few years a click-hungry writer resurrects this story. (My turn!) In 2011, Cracked shared “6 Mind-Blowing Ways Zombies and Vampires Explain America.” And in 2017, Huffington Post asked, “Does The Party In Power Determine The Monsters In Our Blockbusters?…”
According to philosophy blogger S. Peter Davis, the dominant movie monster reflects the fears of the party out of power. Zombies symbolize what spooks progressives, and vampires stand for conservative anxieties.
Zombies are the ultimate conformists…Vampires are at the opposite extreme. They’re enemies of “the normal.” As Davis points out, vampires are the ultimate deviants.
RTFA. See if the details make sense to you. Not that very much of American politics makes sense.
Here’s the best of the early reports.
So, now, it’s OK for the Israeli government to act like terrorists
The Israeli Defense Ministry on 19 October 2021 issued a military order declaring six Palestinian civil society organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to be “terrorist organizations.”…The designation…effectively outlaws the activities of these civil society groups. It authorizes Israeli authorities to close their offices, seize their assets and arrest and jail their staff members, and it prohibits funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with many of these groups, said in a joint statement:
“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations.
I expect the Cold Warriors in Washington, DC. will say they’re shocked and amazed. And do little else until they’ve at least had a chance to check in with polling specialists on the payroll. Isn’t that usually how “principled decisions” are arrived at in Congress and the White House?
Trump, mirrors…you get the idea.
Uneva Uranium Mine in Utah
With historic uranium mine sites already polluting communities, members of the Navajo Nation have been fighting for 27 years to stop a new mining initiative from starting in the Crownpoint and Church Rock areas.
On Thursday, the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining took that fight to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, arguing that the United States and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of Hydro Resources Inc. mines violated the human rights of Navajo Nation residents…
In Thursday’s filing, ENDAUM alleges that this license approval came despite the fact that NRC knew the mining will contaminate water and that the communities already have increased risk of disease and death from historic uranium mining and milling promoted by the United States…
Uncle Sugar treats all its citizens as pawns in the game of profiteering. The nuclear version of the game adds death and destruction, poisoned water and land, to the equation.