The democratic revolutions of the Middle East (Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and now Syria) actually started in Iran in 2009 when supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi protested loudly against rigged elections “won” by incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
If you’re anything like me, you grew up on Transformers, or maybe Gundam Wing; big battling robots that carved swaths of destruction wherever they went. While we’re not quite there yet, the military has been pouring a lot of money into robots, and the results might surprise you. The military has been pouring a lot of money into robots, and the results might surprise you. Let’s see what happens when the military gets into the robot game.
Exposure to some types of information can constrain one’s real options and impose responsibilities one might rather avoid. To set the stage for a flourishing culture of mind uploads, we need to enable people to live with a freedom from some kinds of potentially harmful information.
Expect increased nationalism, including the flexing of military muscle, from China between now and 2050. Although I predict a surge in nationalistic sentiment and policy-making, one cannot rule out the possibility that a great new peaceful Chinese civilisation could emerge towards the middle of the century which would benefit, rather than harm, humanity.
Everyone can see that North Korea is trapped in a tragic time-warp, a kind of living museum of 1950s style Cold War socialism. Its political bubble of unreality is likely to burst open with great force well before mid-century.
I’ve been having many arguments about transparency and “privacy”, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about “Cryptography” - one of the first arguments thrown up when I point out that transparency means an end to secrecy.
Iran’s foreign minister dismissed Israeli threats of an imminent attack against its nuclear facilities because such a “stupid act” would provoke “very severe consequences.” But there are several reasons why an Israeli attack is more likely than ever.
Why are we drawn to blood and suffering? Do we lack the courage to believe in dramatically-positive visions of the future? If we had this courage, would it give us the visceral, emotional drama that we crave?
Folks have been writing in, ever since I posted the latest version of my “Names of Infamy” essay. In fact, during just the last few days there has been a noticeable media swell - - a growing movement not to mention the name of the Aurora/Batman shooter.
Now it’s “James Eagan Holmes,” another name we’d rather not know. Opening fire at a crowded Colorado movie theater during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” Holmes killed twelve and injured dozens—seizing world attention and far more than his fair share of our collective memories.
Since 9/11 the budget for the USA Special Ops has quadrupled. Under President Obama, the forces of the Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), which includes the Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Army Rangers, have been granted more latitude and greater autonomy, engaged in counter-terrorism, surveillance and reconnaissance in as many as 120 countries around the world.
It was said that it takes at least a decade to figure out the effects of a major war. It probably takes a lot longer. It took a few decades to figure out that Britain had lost its empire by winning World War II and only now are we beginning to see that Germany was not defeated after all.
Most of you followed last year’s revolution in Egypt, and how protestors used Twitter, Facebook, etc, and the effort the government made to “shut down the internet”. This illustrated very effectively how the internet is a tool that is inherently hostile to “information control.”
An armed madman, James Holmes, walked into a movie theater armed with weapons that any Islamic terrorist would love to have and killed 12 people. The difference between this madman and an Islamic terrorist is simple: this madman lives in a country in which it is legal to own a gun, and in fact it is encouraged.
During the recent Seasteading Conference reports highlighted the benefits of different regions for proposed seasteads. Where some factors were favorable others were not - off the coast of East Africa is environmentally a very favorable location but the issue of piracy makes it forlorn.
It’s time to get serious about the moral questions resulting from our new class of weapons. In the last week or so, cyberwarfare has made front-page news: the United States may have been behind the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran; Iran may have suffered another digital attack with the Flame virus; and our military and industrial computer chips may or may not be compromised by backdoor switches implanted by China. These revelations suggest that the way we fight wars is changing, and so are the rules.
Flash news: The U.S. government’s secret space program has decided to give NASA two new telescopes for orbital use, as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope. Designed for surveillance, the telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office were no longer needed for spy missions and can now be sent with missions aimed outward, instead of inward, to study the heavens. They have 2.4-meter (7.9 feet) mirrors, just like the Hubble.
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