The internet told us Russia would violate NATO territory last week. It can help us figure out what Russia will do next

This truly is the age of Big Data, with data acting almost like an oracle of ancient times, predicting events with uncanny accuracy, if only we’ll ask the right questions. Leading Big Data player Predata says (in a post at Medium) that the Internet’s data can tell us what Russia’s going to do next:

What will Vladimir Putin do next? This is a question the world, its expectations confounded by two years of Russian adventurism in Crimea, the Ukraine, and beyond, is finding it increasingly difficult to answer. The clues are out there, though — it’s just getting harder to unearth them. On November 8, we used the Predata signal for Russian NATO intrusions — an index of the volatility of chatter around this topic on Wikipedia, YouTube, across the comment section of news websites, and elsewhere — to predict a 75% chance of a Russian intrusion across a NATO border within 30 days.

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Would 29% of Americans Really Back a Military Coup?

A recent survey by polling firm YouGov claims to have found that 29% of Americans would potentially support a military coup against the United States government. The survey also found that the armed forces were highly trusted by the U.S. public; 70% of respondents indicated they believed military officers wanted “what is best for the country” while only 12% felt the same way about members of congress.

However, the question at the heart of the survey was somewhat open-ended, asking participants if they could “imagine … [any] situation in which they would support the military seizing control of the federal government.” The Guardian reports that Abraham Wyner, director of the undergraduate program in statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, questioned the reliability of the online survey, noting that:

People who are participating in an online poll are generally attracted to that poll because of some variable, some characteristic which is connected typically to one outcome or the other in that poll.

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America Is Too Dumb for TV News

Good ole Matt Taibbi uses the story about Donald Trump watching Muslims in New Jersey cheering as the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 to prove that America is dumb, at Rolling Stone:

Until recently, the narrative of stories like this has been predictable. If a candidate said something nuts, or seemingly not true, an army of humorless journalists quickly dug up all the facts, and the candidate ultimately was either vindicated, apologized, or suffered terrible agonies.

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi. Photo: Tony (CC)


Al Gore for instance never really recovered from saying, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” True, he never said he invented the Internet, as is popularly believed, but what he did say was clumsy enough that the line followed him around like an STD for the rest of his (largely unsuccessful) political life.

That dynamic has broken down this election season. Politicians are quickly learning that they can say just about anything and get away with it.

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Volvo FMX Construction Truck Faces The Ultimate Challenge

With successes such as The Epic Split and The Hamster Stunt, Volvo Trucks’ Live Test series has been a hit all over the world. On 3 December, a new Live Test will be released where the Volvo FMX is exposed to one of the toughest tests ever.

Construction Viral - Volvo Trucks - Forsman & Bodenfors - SPOON

Volvo Trucks’ next Live Test exposes the Volvo FMX construction truck to the ultimate challenge. According to Volvo Trucks themselves, this is the toughest yet in the Live Test series.

“We have launched a number of new functions for the Volvo FMX during the last year that help make the truck unbeatable with regard to strength and traction. To open people’s eyes as to how much the truck can actually take, we’ve exposed it to the toughest test we could think of,” says Ingela Nordenhav, Global Marketing and Communication Director for Volvo Trucks.

Previous global successes in the Live Test series include The Epic Split and The Hamster Stunt.… Read the rest

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The Emperor Has No Clothes: Socrates Deconstructs Singularity University

Socrates via Singularity University Weblog:

Singularity University is not about the singularity and is not even a university. It is not about abundance and is not an exponential organization.

Then what is Singularity University about?!

Those are the claims I made and the questions I asked, and tried to address, during my recent presentation at a local meetup organized by Singularity University in the Netherlands. Check it out and judge for yourself.

(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video in full. If you want to help me produce more videos like this one please make a donation!)

You can read the transcript here.

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What’s the worst that could happen?


In the innocent era, when single megaton nukes were considered dangerous, the U.S. government had plans in place to recover from a devastating nuclear attack that would make life in the world of The Walking Dead look utopian. “Federal Emergency Plan D-Minus,” developed in the 1950s, was the U.S. government’s nuclear “911” protocol; step-by-step instructions that would be taken following the detonation of “several hundred” nuclear warheads in the United States. Plan D-Minus envisioned a D-Day “plus one” in which a third of the U.S. population had been killed, gangs and militias roamed the countryside, agriculture had reverted to subsistence levels, industrial production had collapsed, and even the government’s own bunkers and emergency facilities had been wiped out.

Immediately following an attack under D-Minus conditions, the National Security Council’s Office of Emergency Planning would initiate and then decentralize its primary post-attack programs, including anti-hoarding and resource conservation measures, to those state and local governments that remained functioning.

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Negativland: U2, FU, and the TPP

The musical group Negativland has been at the center of copyright conversations for the last 25 years. A series of lawsuits that began with U2’s record label, Island Records, sent them “on something of a crusade to bring this issue out for public debate.” These guys literally wrote the book on “Fair Use” and coined the term “culture jamming,” so there’s probably no one better to ask about the intellectual property aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a slew of looming threats to online freedom, which is what a new interview with Negativland’s Mark Hosler does.

In the first part of the interview, Hosler states, “The powers that be, the so-called 1%, etc, the TPP is them kinda writing the rules, it’s like their wet dream fantasy of how they’d like the world to run. It all works to their advantage and to the disadvantage of absolutely everyone else.… Read the rest

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Once You Go Perfect Black, You’ll Never Go Back

Over the past few years, 4K (ultra HD, 3840 x 2160 pixels) TVs have become more and more common in the average home. As the new technology becomes more and more affordable, it too becomes widespread. People have thus become more used to higher quality, clear sound, and a better overall viewing experience. The leap forward in TV technology makes older technology (such as CRT television) seem archaic. But it is through this archaic technology that we have seen many of the films and movies that we love. But what would the classic Tim Burton Batman films, or the original Star Wars trilogy look like in 4K? What if you’ve been seeing both of these series in sub-par quality all your life?

How would one describe the visuals in both Batman and Star Wars? In a word, dark. But whether it is Batman’s flowing black cape, or X-Wings flying toward the Death Star from their base on Yavin IV, the color black is extremely essential to both films.… Read the rest

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Extinction is key to terrestrial vertebrate diversity, new research reveals

Martin Heigan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Martin Heigan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

University of Lincoln via ScienceDaily:

Periods of high extinction on Earth, rather than evolutionary adaptations, may have been a key driver in the diversification of amniotes (today’s dominant land vertebrates, including reptiles, birds, and mammals), according to new research published in Scientific Reports.

The new study reveals that mass extinctions among some groups of amniotes coincide with numerous and large diversifications in other closely related groups.

Conducted by scientists from the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany, and the University of Lincoln, UK, the research challenges commonly held views that support a relationship between the evolution of “key innovations” in a group and the rapid increase in its number of species. The researchers behind the new study suggest the evidence for such a relationship has only ever been circumstantial.

The new study examined the issue of adaptive radiations among early amniotes, from 315 to 200 million years ago.

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