Tag Archives | Economics

Security is Not a Crime—Unless You’re an Anarchist

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Jannes Pockele (CC BY 2.0)

Nadia Kayyali and Kattza Rodriguez write at Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Riseup, a tech collective that provides security-minded communications to activists worldwide, sounded the alarm last month when a judge in Spain stated that the use of their email service is a practice, he believes, associated with terrorism.

Javier Gómez Bermúdez is a judge of Audiencia Nacional, a special high court in Spain that deals with serious crimes such as terrorism and genocide. According to press reports, he ordered arrest warrants that were carried out on December 16th against alleged members of an anarchist group. The arrests were part of Operation Pandora, a coordinated campaign against “anarchist activity” that has been called an attempt  “to criminalize anarchist social movements.” The police seized books, cell phones, and computers, and arrested 11 activists. Few details are known about the situation, since the judge has declared the case secret.

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Elon Musk is spending $10 million to save us from an evil robot takeover

Via Quartz:

Elon Musk may be a tech guru, but it turns out he’s just as scared of robots taking over the world as anyone else who grew up watching Terminator movies. So the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX announced yesterday that he is giving $10 million to fund research that ensures artificial intelligence will be used for good, not evil.

He donated the money to the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit research group, which will distribute the money in grants. In a video that the organization released, Musk talks about his motivations [via the Verge]:

Read more.

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Inequity is at a boiling point in today’s America

Amir Farshad Ebrahimi (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Amir Farshad Ebrahimi (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via Times-Standard

Communities all over the country are struggling to find answers to the issue of the increasing numbers of homeless people and people living in poverty. Most of those communities are themselves struggling with budget problems and, at best, are only able to come up with Band-Aid solutions. What’s happening here in the richest country in the world? Do we just have a lot of lazy people?

Let’s take a look at some numbers (compiled by Bill Moyers and Company): families of 4 living on less than $11,510 (poverty level for one person) number 20.4 million, that’s 1 in 15 Americans, 7.1 million are children; 25 percent of U.S. jobs pay below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000/year; in 2011 28 percent of all workers earned poverty level wages. Overall 50 percent of U.S. workers earn less than $34,000/year.

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Uberize This: The “Uberization” of the economy is really about building a better trap for ideas

Via Quartz:

I can’t remember where I was—perhaps sitting in the back of a taxi cab—when I read a tweet from Anti-Fragility author Nassim Taleb that said, “To ‘Uberize’, remove the middleman, theme of the times.”

The thought struck me again this last week as I tried to find something out of CES in Las Vegas more interesting than a selfie stick. The energy and excitement, not to mention the valuations, in the economy lie in companies that ‘uberize.’ Even though those companies no longer make anything material, what they do seemed to follow a classic formula, an investing thesis that came out of the first generation of hyper valuation that took place in the 1990s.

I don’t think of Uber as a force that dis-intermediates—as we olds used to say—transportation, but one that creates value for itself, its drivers, and its users, by developing a new layer that integrates them all with maximum utility.

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How well can information be stored from the beginning to the end of time?

Plot of the transmissivity, η, of information as it travels through spacetime, shown as a function of the momentum, k, with which the universe expands. Credit: Mancini, et al. CC-BY-3.0

Plot of the transmissivity, η, of information as it travels through spacetime, shown as a function of the momentum, k, with which the universe expands. Credit: Mancini, et al. CC-BY-3.0

via Phys.org:

Information can never be stored perfectly. Whether on a CD, a hard disk drive, or a piece of papyrus, technological imperfections create noise that limits the preservation of information over time. But even if you had a perfect storage medium with zero imperfections, there would still be fundamental limits placed on information storage due to the laws of physics that govern the evolution of the universe ever since the Big Bang. But what exactly these fundamental limits are is still unclear.

In a new paper published in the New Journal of Physics, Stefano Mancini and Roberto Pierini at the University of Camerino and INFN in Italy, along with Mark M. Wilde at Louisiana State University, have investigated these to preserving on a literally cosmic scale.

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Monsanto is now the leader in corn in Ukraine and 7 other ways they are killing the 5 year plan

monsantopoison

Via WTF News:

Monsanto’s reported 34 percent earnings decline, which was hinted at last quarter as we reported, was released during the media frenzy after the terror attacks in Paris.

AP
Monsanto said Wednesday that its earnings fell 34 percent in its first fiscal quarter as South American farmers cut back on planting corn, reducing demand for the company’s biotech-enhanced seeds.

U.S. farmers harvested record crops of soybeans and corn last year, sending prices on those food staples to their lowest levels in years. That has resulted in farmers in South America and elsewhere reducing the number of acres they dedicate to corn. The company said lower corn plantings in the U.S. will likely reduce second quarter results by 5 to 10 percent compared with the prior year.

Monsanto said its business was also affected by reduced cotton planting in Australia and a shift in timing for its chemical business.

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Why and How Should We Build a Basic Income for Every Citizen?

 [Photo credit: Lending Memo]

[Photo credit: Lending Memo]

via IEET:

What are our goals as a species? This, to me, is the most important question we can ask ourselves as human beings. Another way to say it: What is the meaning of our existence as a species? We never seem to directly ask ourselves these two questions in a collective way, which seems very odd to me. Because if we were discussing these questions openly, collectively and consistently, I believe we would live in a very different society.

This year the IEET is giving out editor’s choice awards to three articles for their outstanding writing and conceptual analysis contributing to transhumanism and technoprogressivism.

The #1 article by hits was Ramez Naam’s “2014 Was a Good Year: Better Than You Remember

The following piece was first published here on Sep 16, 2014 and is the #3 pick for the IEET editor’s choice award.

With his article “Why and How Should We Build a Basic Income for Every Citizen?” Marshall Brain explains one of the most pressing issues for technoprogressives: What kind of society do we wish to live in?

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Sustainable Ways to Feed the World Are Subverted by Corporations

Rosewoman (CC BY 2.0)

Rosewoman (CC BY 2.0)

Via News Junkie Post:

Humans’ relationship to food is one of the most fundamentally shaping aspects of our societies. The sole fact that the majority of the world’s population now lives in urban centers is the direct result of a process that began approximately 10,000 years ago. This process was the switch from nomadic hunting-gathering societies to urban sedentary ones. In fact, formal agriculture is the only means whereby an urban society can sustain itself, its population can increase size and density, and complex societal interactions can develop from an urban context. It could be argued that behind the entire construct of capitalism, as becoming sheltered and sedentary allowed our societies to develop an affection for material objects, lies formal agriculture.

The industrial revolution, and in particular the “green revolution” of the 1960s and 70s, once again changed the way that our global society relates to food.

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Are volcanoes the energy source of the future?

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0)

via CNBC:

The Reykjanes Peninsula, a finger of black rock jutting out over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from Iceland’s southwestern coast, has long leveraged its unique volcanic geology into economic opportunity. Its spectacularly carved edifices and vast lava fields draw naturalists from around the globe, while geothermal pools heated by deposits of steam and magma deep below ground provide the anchor for a thriving resort economy.

The region is even powered by this geology; the 12 geothermal wells feeding 600-degree steam into the two turbines at Reykjanes Power Station provide a collective 100 megawatts of power for the surrounding area, enough to power many tens of thousands of homes.

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