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Popcorn Time And Tech’s Duty To Do The Right Thing

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 20:53 by Desiato in category: Commentary


People should be uniting around Science and Technology, not against it. Technology must be viewed as something magical instead of malicious. It is so easy for technology, computing especially, to seem cold, self-interested, and reckless; making it friendly, warm, and benevolent will take effort.

Technology has enabled piracy to flip the media industry upside down and that is just the beginning. Very soon, technology will start having more pronounced effects on labor and manufacturing through 3D printing and the internet of things. We won’t be talking about piracy and media then, we’ll be talking about millions of jobs and economic conditions never studied in recorded history. As a whole, our quest for innovation must be balanced with careful wisdom and — I’ll say it — an appreciation for the status quo.

We cannot enact change that affects billions of lives and then say “fend for yourself, figure out the new rules”. I believe we must hold out our hands, share a vision for what is newly possible, and, most importantly, show people what role they can play.

That is in our ability — no ones else’s, and thus I believe it is our duty.

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  1. This is like the “Tragedy of the Commons”. People at all levels arrange things to their perceived advantage, regardless of “rights”, laws, or, indeed, common sense.

A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 18:18 by Paul Jay in category: News


There has been a lot of speculation about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Terrorism, hijacking, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN; it’s almost disturbing. I tend to look for a simpler explanation, and I find it with the 13,000-foot runway at Pulau Langkawi.

We know the story of MH370: A loaded Boeing 777 departs at midnight from Kuala Lampur, headed to Beijing. A hot night. A heavy aircraft. About an hour out, across the gulf toward Vietnam, the plane goes dark, meaning the transponder and secondary radar tracking go off. Two days later we hear reports that Malaysian military radar (which is a primary radar, meaning the plane is tracked by reflection rather than by transponder interrogation response) has tracked the plane on a southwesterly course back across the Malay Peninsula into the Strait of Malacca.

The left turn is the key here. Zaharie Ahmad Shah1 was a very experienced senior captain with 18,000 hours of flight time. We old pilots were drilled to know what is the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us, and airports ahead of us. They’re always in our head. Always. If something happens, you don’t want to be thinking about what are you going to do–you already know what you are going to do. When I saw that left turn with a direct heading, I instinctively knew he was heading for an airport. He was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000-foot airstrip with an approach over water and no obstacles. The captain did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000-foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier toward Langkawi, which also was closer.

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NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 14:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

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  1. FWIW, this isn’t implemented for any & every country, but for a half-dozen specific countries. Assuming that those don’t include the U.S. [1] or its allies, it seems like the sort of thing the NSA actually *is* expected to be doing. At least expected by (say) a majority of Americans and not illegal under the Constitution.

    [1] If the U.S. *were* one of the countries, there’s NO way the WaPo would have dropped that info from the article on the gov’t’s request.

Distant Planet Terrified It Might Be Able To Someday Support Human Life

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 13:41 by John Sinteur in category: News



Claiming that the mere thought is an “absolute nightmare,” WR 67c, a terrestrial planet from the distant Gamma Velorum star system, expressed its profound terror Wednesday at the possibility of one day gaining the capacity to sustain human life.

The 5.2-billion-year-old celestial body, which is located roughly 1,100 light years from Earth, said that for both its own sake and that of its entire solar system, it can only hope to never possess the necessary planetary characteristics and chemical elements needed to support either a deep-space human outpost or, more gravely, an entire human colony.

“Luckily, with my high levels of atmospheric sulfur dioxide, methane, and radon, there’s no way any human could survive on my surface for more than a few seconds,” said WR 67c, adding that it is “incredibly lucky” to have developed extremely violent and widespread volcanism in addition to its poisonous atmosphere. “But I don’t know, what if I produce a magnetic field that blocks out stellar wind and cosmic radiation? What if I develop an axial tilt that fosters a mild global climate? It’s terrifying to admit, but my surface temperature already sometimes drops to 120 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and their species can technically survive in that.”

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Subway will probably open a new store in the bus stop

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 11:11 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself


here is the “before” picture.

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The Most Important Economic Chart

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 1:54 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote from Economist’s View

If you must know only one fact about the U.S. economy, it should be this chart:

Productivity vs. median income

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  1. I’ve always felt as though this particular statistic / chart was among the most misleading of all of the ones about income inequality. How much of that improved productivity is a direct consequence of better technology? If you can now have a computer fill in a form that you previously had to fill out in triplicate, you’re going to have more time to do other, more priductive, activities.

    I’m not trying to argue that wages shouldn’t be higher. They absolutely should be. It’s just that this chart really doesn’t sell me on the “why”.

  2. To quote from the article:

    “It is not just about inequality – important as that issue is. The widening gap between productivity and median income has serious implications for macroeconomic stability and financial crises.”

Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 0:09 by Desiato in category: News


What do you say to people who argue that America’s best days are behind us?

That’s almost laughable. The only definition by which America’s best days are behind it is on a purely relative basis. That is, in 1946, when we made up about six percent of humanity, but we dominated everything. But America’s way better today than it’s ever been. Say you’re a woman in America, would you go back 50 years? Say you’re gay in America, would you go back 50 years? Say you’re sick in America, do you want to go back 50 years? I mean, who are we kidding?


Our modern lifestyle is not a political creation. Before 1700, everybody was poor as hell. Life was short and brutish. It wasn’t because we didn’t have good politicians; we had some really good politicians. But then we started inventing – electricity, steam engines, microprocessors, understanding genetics and medicine and things like that. Yes, stability and education are important – I’m not taking anything away from that – but innovation is the real driver of progress.

Gates holds plenty of positions that I don’t necessarily share, but his big-picture attitude makes it a thought-provoking interview. (“Solar is much, much harder than people think it is. When the sun shines, electricity is going to be worth zero, so all the money will be reserved for the guy who brings you power when there’s no wind and no sun.”) The whole thing is worth a read.

Warning: at the end he seems to say he and Microsoft helped make the Mac successful (by supplying Word and Excel). Don’t let that spoil the rest.

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