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Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, if any, relationships, yet the seldom acknowledged history of their intimate collaboration indicates a far different story–indeed, one that media historians are reluctant to examine.
When seriously practiced, the journalistic profession involves gathering information concerning individuals, locales, events, and issues. In theory such information informs people about their world, thereby strengthening “democracy.” This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War.
Tag Archives | Futurism
Ethan Indigo Smith via Waking Times:
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“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” ~ Pericles
Everything is ultimately political these days, but everything is firstly biological. Yet, ignoring our biology and our humanity, the military-industrial complex, with all its toxic modalities, still claims to operate in our best interests.
The fact is, modern politics has become the imposition of institutional formality where individuals and truth once were. Increasingly favoring institutional privilege over individual rights, politicians on all sides of the game act to reinforce and advance the standing of corporations at the expense of our physical world. They embark on resource wars for profit, destroy our environment for energy, construe zealotry as patriotism, and steer a culture of social competition – not cooperation – all the while hiding behind veils of secrecy and meaningless rhetoric.
It does not matter what caste you were born into, whether you are wealthy or poor, victor or victim of the system; as far as the big picture goes, we live in a world where commerce, politics and war are dominant and inseparable forces.
Transhumanism, the movement which aims to use science fiction-esque methods such as brain uploading, cyborgism, and cryogenics to achieve immortality and/or a higher state of evolution, is strongly associated with atheism. Not only is there a strong emphasis on science, which is often considered to be at odds with religion to a certain extent, but this particular brand of science seems particularly opposed to the notion that God should have control over life and death. But according to transhumanist Micah Redding, there’s a growing contingent of Christians in the transhumanist movement who are seeking a slightly different type of eternal life than the one touted in the Bible.
In a recent article for Motherboard, Redding, who is the executive director of the Christian Transhumanist Organization, claims that religion and transhumanism are much more compatible than most people believe, and that the Christian transhumanism movement is growing rapidly.… Read the rest
Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:
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The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.
This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”
Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.
“Every now and then an idea comes along that upends how we see ourselves and our place in the cosmos. The rumblings of the next revolutions in our thinking may already have started. Here are four potential ‘what ifs’ with the potential to change us forever.”
Paul Gilster via Centauri Dreams:
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Martin Tajmar (Dresden University of Technology) offers a paper entitled “Direct Thrust Measurements of an EmDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects” in his presentation on apparent thrust produced by the test device. As he told WIRED (which announced that The ‘impossible’ EmDrive could reach Pluto in 18 months), the current work will not close the story. From the paper itself:
The nature of the thrusts observed is still unclear… Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EmDrive but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far. Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EmDrive models with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal operation.
It’s easy to fantasize about what the singularity could bring us. YouTube user Tom Scott has created perhaps the most likely — and most depressing — scenario of what our technological futures could hold.
You die. Your consciousness is uploaded to the Life Network and now you have to choose from three tiers.
Tier One — Uninterrupted simulation.
Tier Two — Advertiser supported offer. You may see targeted advertisements from sponsors in the sky and other places.
Tier Three — Value offering thanks to commercial partners. Complicated mental processes, such as creativity and self-awareness, may be dulled or disabled in times of high server activity.
And it only gets eerier…
At end of shift yesterday, while I was cashing-out my day over at the bullet-proof glass at Citizen’s Cab, a night driver named Harry – relaxing in a musty old car seat up on the rustic porch/driver’s lounge, was waiting for his cab to come in. From the porch, Harry all unsolicited bellows over to me,
“Hay! Sack! Ya kno wha tha secrit ta makin’ monee is now?”
I bite, “No, Harry. What’s the secret?”
“Ya gotta tink pos-Y-tive!”
Ah, a bit of old school San Francisco…
Well, I have been practicing watching my breath of late, on account of Maya – my upaguru Zen meditation teacher ride from recent blog fame. But instead of really meditating as I lie there in bed, watching my breath winds up super relaxing me and I just end up falling asleep real fast. But, that’s ok. Consequently, I’ve come to stop abusing night-time cough syrup to get down at night, again.… Read the rest
Stuart Mason Dambrot via Medical Express:
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Standard models of perception are stimulus-driven, meaning that the external perceptual event drives the brain’s perception-related activity. However, the tide may be turning: recent ideas suggest that our perceptual experiences and visually guided behaviors are influenced by top-down processes in the brain – specifically, the brain’s predictions about the external world. Recently, scientists at University of Wisconsin–Madison demonstrated that perceptual expectations about when a stimulus will appear are instantiated in the brain by optimally configuring prestimulus alpha-band oscillations in order to optimize the effectiveness of subsequent neural processing.
Transhumanism and its associated philosophies can be divisive. To be sure, the movement has some negative stereotypes attached to it. But nonetheless, it’s gaining traction in mainstream discourse.
Over at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, Dirk Bruere, explores transhumanism’s relationship to religion:
… Read the rest
After several decades of relative obscurity Transhumanism as a philosophical and technological movement has finally begun to break out of its strange intellectual ghetto and make small inroads into the wider public consciousness. This is partly because some high profile people have either adopted it as their worldview or alternatively warned against its potential dangers. Indeed, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama named it “The world’s most dangerous idea” in a 2004 article in the US magazine Foreign Policy, and Transhumanism’s most outspoken publicist, Ray Kurzweil, was recently made director of engineering at Google, presumably to hasten Transhumanism’s goals.
So, what are these goals and how does Transhumanism define itself?