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Joshua Foust
764 followers -
Writer, editor, social media dude, wrangler of websites and articles.
Writer, editor, social media dude, wrangler of websites and articles.

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That feeling when a baby-faced young Alexander Skaarsgard is killed in a freak gasoline fight accident to the tune of George Michael :(

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"The worst gossip-chasing tendencies in the media and the lackadaisical security of many legacy email systems have created a perfect storm. From the government’s perspective, it isn’t clear how to characterize these attacks (Are they cyber? Propaganda? Something new?), so it isn’t clear which agency should be in charge of coordinating a response – or even if a response is possible. While both NATO and the European have opened their own offices to counter Russian disinformation, U.S. law tightly restricts how the government can disseminate information domestically. The revelation that the government of Russia is trying to influence a U.S. election by attacking candidates and disrupting media coverage should be a big deal, but it hasn’t yet sparked much urgency in the general public. This is not mere red baiting; a hostile government attempting to manipulate a presidential election is a crisis-level event."

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So... let's say you want to grab someone else's space station. How do you even do that?

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"It’s worth looking back on the last six years or so of “movement transparency,” as spearheaded by groups like Wikileaks and the journalists who’ve embraced leaks-based journalism, so see where we are. In short, what I’ve seen is a sea change in norms about privacy and newsworthiness, something that’s created a gap in our boundaries of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate, and as a consequence the demand for transparency-oriented leaks has violated the privacy of potentially millions of people, with horrifying effects."

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The entire Petraeus affair has made a mockery of us. It has exposed the hollowness of many intelligence classification decisions; if they really were “exceptionally grave threats to national security,” then leaking them would not be a misdemeanor plea. It has shown that having powerful friends (to this day, Senator John McCain is running defense for Petraeus) can make enforcing the law so difficult as not to be worth the trouble to try. And it has shown that justice, at least for the cleared, is only doled out to the politically inconvenient or weak; the politically favored will get to break the law without any real consequence.

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This idea that you either grow or die is built into the genome of mar­ket cap­i­tal­ism: as a busi­ness, you either grow or you die. You either grow income or you become poor. You either expand or you con­tract. There is no exis­tence in a cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem like that, your only options are to flour­ish or to wither. And that’s fine, really (any crit­i­cal dis­cus­sion of cap­i­tal­ism is wayyyyyyy out­side scope here), but it’s impor­tant to acknowl­edge it. And of course, it is impor­tant to acknowl­edge that the wealthy tycoons who want to do this sort of col­o­niza­tion are steeped in this line of think­ing to such a degree that they don’t even see it; they see it as nat­ural that they will  profit hand­somely from the affair. It is no dif­fer­ent from other gold rushes. The Pacific Mail Steamship Com­pany made gobs of cash from the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush, but the indi­vid­ual min­ers really did not. So, too, will it be in pri­va­tized for-profit space colonies like the one Musk wants to build.

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"And are machines inca­pable of moral rea­son­ing all that bad?Underneath all of the inter­est­ing dis­cus­sions about robots and morals I keep get­ting left with a big “so what?” Do you care if a machine only sim­u­lates polite­ness, a basic and rough con­cern for sen­si­bil­i­ties, and tries to max­i­mize human life when pre­sented with the trol­ley prob­lem? Is the end result, the user expe­ri­ence if you will, all that dif­fer­ent if the deci­sion came from rigid and unfeel­ing rule sets rather than a heart­felt agony over what the best deci­sion is?"
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