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Alex Planes

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This was worth coming out of hibernation.
a red panda doing pullups
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If you have young children, are thinking of having children, or simply feel like you have a stake in the success of any child, then you owe it to yourself to read this article. You could also read it if you want an idea of what the future may hold in your own lifetime, even though you won't be poised to take advantage of the changes to come quite so well as a child who's yet to take its first steps today.

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"The ancient Greek word for money, for currency, is 'nomisma.' It comes from the verb 'to imagine.'

"So money has value to the extent that we imagine that it has value, according to the ancient Greeks. They knew that more than 2,000 years ago, and we kind of forget that simple, important notion at times."

This quote is amazing and really makes the entire article worthwhile.

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"Every day, in almost every area of culture and commerce, systems and procedures are being adopted by private companies and organizations as well as by the nation's security leaders that make it easier for the N.S.A. to dominate American society should it ever decide such action is necessary."

-- David Burnham, NY Times, 1983

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"Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species."

– H. P. Lovecraft, “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family"

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In the Beginning there was great potency, but little form. And the spirit slept as the multitude of discrete primordial existents. Thenceforth there has been a long and fluctuating adventure toward harmonious complexity of form, and toward the awakening of the spirit into unity, knowledge, delight and self-expression. And this is the goal of all living, that the cosmos may be known, and admired, and that it may be crowned with further beauties. Nowhere and at no time, so far as we can tell, at least within our own galaxy, has the adventure reached further than in ourselves. And in us, what has been achieved is but a minute beginning. But it is a real beginning. ...

Great are the stars, and man is of no account to them. But man is a fair spirit, whom a star conceived and a star kills. He is greater than those bright blind companies. For though in them there is an incalculable potentiality, in him there is achievement, small, but actual. Too soon, seemingly, he comes to his end. But when he is done he will not be nothing, not as though he had never been; for he is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things. ...

But one thing is certain. Man himself, at the very least, is music, a brave theme that makes music also of its vast accompaniment, its matrix of storms and stars. Man himself in his degree is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things. It is very good to have been man. And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts, and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage. For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man.

-- Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men

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The NSA can scan 126 Facebooks worth of data every day? 1.6% of all traffic means nothing without context, and this is some very useful context on the scope of NSA snooping.
NSA By the Numbers

Fear not, says the NSA, we “touch” only 1.6% of daily internet traffic. If, as they say, the net carries 1,826 petabytes of information per day, then the NSA “touches” about 29 petabytes a day. They don’t say what “touch” means. Ingest? Store? Analyze? Inquiring minds want to know.

For context, Google in 2010 said it had indexed only 0.004% of the data on the net. So by inference from the percentages, does that mean that the NSA is equal to 400 Googles? Better math minds than mine will correct me if I’m wrong.

Seven petabytes of photos are added to Facebook each month. That’s .23 petabytes per day. So that means the NSA is 126 Facebooks.

Keep in mind that most of the data passing on the net is not email or web pages. It’s media. According to Sandvine data for the U.S. from 2013, real-time entertainment accounted for 62% of net traffic, P2P file-sharing for 10.5%. The NSA needn’t watch all those episodes of Homeland (or maybe they should) or listen to all that Cold Play — though I’m sure the RIAA and MPAA are dying to know what the NSA knows about who’s “stealing” what since that “stealing” allegedly accounts for 23.8% of net traffic.

HTTP — the web — accounts for only 11.8% of aggregated up- and download traffic in the U.S., Sandvine says. Communications — the part of the net the NSA really cares about — accounts for 2.9% in the U.S.

So by very rough, beer-soaked-napkin numbers, the NSA’s 1.6% of net traffic would be half of the communication on the net. That’s a fuckuvalota “touching.”

And keep in mind that by one estimate 68.8% of email is spam.

And, of course, metadata doesn’t add up to much data at all; it’s just a few bits per file — who sent what to whom — and that’s where the NSA finds much of its incriminating information. So these numbers are meaningless when it comes to looking at how much the NSA knows about who’s talking to whom. A few weeks ago on Twitter, I showed that with the NSA’s clearance to go three hops out from a suspect, it doesn’t take very long at all before this law of large numbers encompasses us all and our cats.

If you have better data (and better math) than I have, please do share it.

*N.B.: This post depends on the links to the sources. You can find those links here: *

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See the fox running through the snow. Then he’s attacked by his mortal enemy: the fox. Fox on fox. Man, what a sight. - Jack Handey

I used to love those Deep Thoughts when I was a young, impressionable lad.

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The BORT license plate is a great touch, too.
A group of automotive designers (and, we presume, fans of "The Simpsons") designed a real car based on the car Homer Simpson designed in an episode during the second season of the hit show: This GIF is how we imagine die-hard fans would react to the news.

What's your reaction? Post your GIFs below.
#simpsons   #homersimpson  
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