Possibility 5) There’s only one instance of higher-intelligent life—a “superpredator” civilization (like humans are here on Earth)—who is far more advanced than everyone else and keeps it that way by exterminating any intelligent civilization once they get past a certain level.
When a single entity (“a single miner” or “a mining pool”) controls over 50% of the transaction processing it can control the entire system. This means they can “see” every transaction, spend the same coins more than once, and deny transactions they don’t approve of.
That’s finally happened. According to analysis from Cornell researchers, a mining pool called GHash has now reached 51% for large stretches of time (effective “ownership” is likely much less)
“When that truly is your reason for coming into the studio, is just to try to make the very best product you can, when that is exclusive of everything else, it’s remarkable how insignificant or unimportant a lot of other stuff becomes. Titles or organizational structures, that’s not the lens through which we see our peers.”—Jonathan Ive
Despite its grand reputation, Helvetica can’t do everything. It works well in big sizes, but it can be really weak in small sizes. Shapes like ‘C’ and ‘S’ curl back into themselves, leaving tight “apertures”—the channels of white between a letter’s interior and exterior. So each shape halts the eye again and again, rather than ushering it along the line. The lowercase ‘e,’ the most common letter in English and many other languages, takes an especially unobliging form. These and other letters can be a pixel away from being some other letter, and we’re left to deal with flickers of doubt as we read.
“Repeat every day until rich people give you money to do it for them. Buy a house, become one of them and hire poor people to do it for you. Somewhere in there try to get a dog and a funny girlfriend or it’s all pretty pointless.”—Dan Harmon
“We should remember that what may seems futuristic to us may merely feel new and practical to others. To westerners, “mobile banking” is a new way to do something old. To many africans, it’s the obvious way to do something new.”—The Emerging Global Web
Charli Carpenter, on the argument that fully autonomous robot soldiers deployed in conflict zones would be free of human malice. More specifically, on rape:
who is to say that a machine couldn’t be programmed to rape instead of kill if some nefarious dictator had his hands on the most advanced model as a result of a CCW-legitimated robotic arms race and decided to use these as tools of terror instead of human security?
Underlying these techno-optimists’ thinking is an important fallacy: they assume that war rape is a crime committed opportunistically by soldiers, often untrained and lawless rebel groups, rather than ordered by state. Yet this is one of many “myths” of wartime sexual violence […]
history shows states often order rape.
The fact that we are now having debates on the possibility of armies of rape robots being deployed in conflict zones is scaring the brains out of me.
Toni Tyson, on raising her son Neil deGrasse Tyson:
It was not easy—it was a full time 24-hour a day job,” says Toni. “All three of my children are brown, and they stay brown all year round, and they even get darker in the summertime. We had to make it very, very clear at a very early age that some people are not going to be very nice to them, but it was not their problem but the other person’s problem. When things did occur, we would get onto it immediately.
Does Russian military doctrine really think nuclear weapons are usable?
So far, the answer seems to be yes. Over five years ago, Russia put forward a draft national security concept, a kind of white paper on Russian security, and it included language about preventive nuclear strikes. After raised eyebrows in NATO and elsewhere, a scrubbed version was rereleased, with the rest classified and held back.
“We snatched Kosovo from Serbia. They have snatched Crimea from Ukraine. We like referendums which confirm what we wanted to do all along. So do they. So far, even they haven’t had the nerve to copy the EU habit of rerunning any votes that give the wrong result.”—Peter Hitchens
The war that Tolkien wrote about was a war for the fate of civilization and the future of humanity, and that’s become the template. I’m not sure that it’s a good template, though. The Tolkien model led generations of fantasy writers to produce these endless series of dark lords and their evil minions who are all very ugly and wear black clothes. But the vast majority of wars throughout history are not like that.
World War I is much more typical of the wars of history than World War II – the kind of war you look back afterward and say, “What the hell were we fighting for? Why did all these millions of people have to die? Was it really worth it to get rid of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that we wiped out an entire generation, and tore up half the continent? Was the War of 1812 worth fighting? The Spanish-American War? What the hell were these people fighting for?”