The Transhuman World

eu20141116bvia The Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

Whatever a transhuman is, xe (a pronoun to encompass all conceivable states of personhood) will have to live in a world that enables xer to be transhuman. I’ll explore the impact of three likely-seeming aspects of that world: ubiquitous interconnected smart machines, continuous classification, and virtualism.

Ubiquitous Interconnected Smart Machines

[…] High Frequency Traders aggressively trade in the direction of price changes […and…] may compete for liquidity and amplify price volatility.
(Kirilenko, Kyle, Samadi, and Tuzun 2011)

Newton’s theory of gravity was initially ridiculed for its “action at a distance” mysticism, particularly by those who were beginning to see the universe as a mechanical analog, built from atoms that kept causes close to effects (Kearney 1971). It was the clockwork philosophy of Galileo and many others that led to much of the technology we now take for granted, ultimately co-opting Newton’s ideas.

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Stung by criticism, Federal Reserve will review how it supervises large banks

FederalReserveLogovia Fortune:

New review lasting “several months” will try to address concerns about “regulatory capture”.

The Federal Reserve is to launch a major review into whether it is too close to the banks it supervises, after a recent spate of criticism alleging that it is still in thrall to Wall Street’s giants.

William Dudley, who heads the New York Fed and is consequently responsible for supervising most of the country’s largest banks, will tell a Senate committee later today that a new review into its supervisory practises will look specifically at the issue of ‘regulatory capture’–the idea that a supervisor tasked with upholding the public interest ends up under the influence of the companies it is supposed to be monitoring.

According to remarks prepared in advance and published on the NY Fed’s website, Dudley will say the review is expected to last “several months”.

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Home-Schooling, Unschooling and Teenage Liberation

mintz pic“If you want to influence [the student] at all, you must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will.”

So argued the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, said to be a key influence on the Prussian education system, which in turn became the educative model in many countries, including the US and UK.

Sadly, little has changed, according to Jerry Mintz, a prominent figure in the alternative school movement and the founder and director of the New York based Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO).

In a recent interview with The Eternities podcast, he said, “I’m sure that was the template they used and it’s been that way ever since.” Now in its twenty-fifth year, AERO seeks to bolster the alternatives, networking globally to facilitate learner-centred education and help set up schools which share this philosophy.… Read the rest

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How Economic and Social Rights Disappeared from the United States

 democapitol (CC BY 2.0)

democapitol (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissident Voice:

Several years ago the Occupy movement captured the imagination of an American public disillusioned with the country’s socioeconomic system, which had failed to provide them with a standard of living commensurate with wealth of the richest country in the history of the world. Occupy provided a forum for average citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo, and created a framework to view what was happening in society as a class war waged by the 1% against the 99%.

Many economic and social goals were proposed such as a living wage, free higher education, and single-payer health care system, to name a few. While many would consider those all worthy goals in the public interest, none have been implemented by the federal government.  It is striking that in the 21st century it is even necessary to have this debate in the United States.

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Bill Aimed At Shutting Off NSA’s Water Starts Moving Forward Again

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Serge (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Tech Dirt:

The attempt to nerf the NSA’s new data center in Utah continues. As we covered here at the beginning of this year, legislators and activists began pushing a bill that would cut off the NSA’s water supply if it continued to gather data on American citizens. It’s an interesting move, one that leverages the states’ abilities to combat overreaching federal laws, but one that has gone nowhere so far. The bill was discussed and then tabled indefinitely, supposedly for “further study.”

Apparently, some sort of studying has gone on during the intervening months, because it appears the bill is moving forward again.

On Wednesday, the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee discussed the bill that “prohibits cooperation between a federal agency that collects electronic data and any political subdivisions of the state.”

The Salt Lake Tribune has more details.

Committee members expressed some concerns with the bill but no outright opposition.

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Why a Young Boy is Claiming To Be Reincarnated Marine

via Discovery News:

A four-year-old Virginia boy is claimed to have had a past life as a Marine killed in 1983, prompted by his parents and a new reality TV show called “Ghost Inside My Child.” The boy, Andrew Lucas, made comments to his mother suggesting to her that he’s lived in a past life and died in a fire many years earlier.

Many people believe in reincarnation, from Shirley MacLaine to the Dalai Lama, but there is no scientific evidence for past lives. Usually, alleged memories of past lives emerge during psychotherapy or hypnosis when people are encouraged to fantasize about other lives they may have led (often of famous or important people such as Cleopatra or Caesar).

It remains scientifically unproven, however, because those who claim to have had past lives are unable to give historically accurate, provable details from other eras. Other times people glean information from films and television shows and unconsciously incorporate them into their memories, in a process psychologists call confabulation.

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The Fortune 500 Companies Funding the Political Resegregation of America

rslcReynolds American, Las Vegas Sands, Walmart, Devon Energy, Citigroup, AT&T, Pfizer, Altria Group, Honeywell International, Hewlett-Packard are some of the Fortune 500 companies identified by Mother Jones as major contributors to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which via its Redistricting Majority Project is literally changing the political map to help elect Republicans:

Over the past four to five years, the United States has been resegregated—politically. In states where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and presidential races can be nail-biters, skillful Republican operatives have mounted racially-minded gerrymandering efforts—the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts—that have led to congressional delegations stacked with GOP members and yielded Republican majorities in the state legislatures.

In North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, to name just three, GOPers have recast state and congressional districts to consolidate black voters into what the political pros call “majority-minority districts” to diminish the influence of these voters. North Carolina is an especially glaring example: GOP-redistricting after the 2010 elections led to half the state’s black population—1.1 million people—being corralled into one-fifth of the state legislative and congressional districts.

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