Technology

Death of the smartphone and what comes after – Business Insider

Still, all those decade-plus investments in the future still rely on gadgetry that you have to wear on you, even if it’s only a pair of glasses. Some of the craziest, most forward-looking, most unpredictable advancements go even further — provided

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Technology

@GrantDuffy: “Amazing video of #CycloneDebbie taken from ISS @Space_Station…”

Amazing video of #CycloneDebbie taken from ISS @Space_Station. Beautiful yet ferocious, stay safe QLD @ForceThirteen https://t.co/ysf0EBCYCI pic.twitter.com/EHEzKWnYoy — Grant Duffy (@Grant_Duffy) March 27, 2017 From: Grant Duffy on Twitter: “Amazing video of #CycloneDebbie taken from ISS @Space_Station. Beautiful yet ferocious,

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Nuke test films digitized in the nick of time – CNN.com

Over a period of about 20 years after the end of World War II, the US conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests. Each was captured by multiple cameras, rolling at around 2,400 frames per second.A handful of the estimated 10,000 mesmerizing

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Technology, War

Sharon Weinberger: How nuclear fears helped inspire creation of the internet – Aeon Essays

‘How much money do you need to get off the ground?’ Herzfeld asked. ‘A million dollars or so, just to get it organised,’ Taylor replied. ‘You’ve got it,’ Herzfeld replied. And that was it. The conversation to approve the money

Posted in Internet, Neo-Imperialism, Noted & Quoted, Technology, War

NASA proposes building artificial magnetic field to restore Mars’ atmosphere – ExtremeTech

Green notes that advances coming out of plasma physics could allow for the future development of inflatable structures that can generate a magnetic dipole of 1 or 2 tesla. That could [be] enough to shield Mars against the solar wind,

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science, Technology

Stuff in Space – h/t @pbump

Stuff in Space is a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL. The website updates daily with orbit data from Space-Track.org and uses the excellent satellite.js Javascript library to calculate satellite positions. From: Stuff in Space

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science, Technology

Kim Stanley Robinson: Our Generation Ships Will Sink – Boing Boing

With the enormous successes of Star Trek and Star Wars, the idea was firmly planted in the popular imagination: if we survived as a species, we would be moving out into the galaxy. This awesome diaspora would mark our maturity

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Jordan Belamire: My First Virtual Reality Groping – Athena Talks

“Stop!” I cried. I must have laughed from the embarrassment and the ridiculousness of the situation. Women, after all, are supposed to be cool, and take any form of sexual harassment with a laugh. But I still told him to

Posted in Internet, Noted & Quoted, Technology Tagged with:

Casey ex Australia: Confronting the Credibility Gap for Crewed Exploration of Mars

To what extent are we responsible for the credibility gap? We should know better than anyone that there are real challenges that can’t be wished away, that Mars is hard, and that “all you gotta do” doesn’t really cut it

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What NASA plans to do if an astronaut dies in space – 3tags

Since the body would need to be isolated within 24 hours to avoid contamination, it would be immediately placed into a GoreTex bag that would be inflated into a type of sarcophagus. Funeral rites would be performed very quickly, in

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From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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