Tag Archives | Science & Technology

Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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“You Can’t Stop the Signal” — An Analysis of Social Media Activism

Essam Sharaf  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Essam Sharaf (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Via World Policy Blog

Welcome back to the World Policy “Best of” list. Today we pull back the curtain on the Egyptian revolution and reveal its somewhat dark underbelly. Political activist Mahmoud Salem, who tweets under the name “sandmonkey,” shares how the introduction of social media into Egyptian culture sparked the Egyptian revolution where he played a seminal social media role. At the same time, these same tools now jeopardize the creation of any political infrastructure capable of governing effectively. 

By Mahmoud Salem

CAIRO, Egypt—As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching science fiction television shows and movies—all set in the “not-so-distant future.” Holographic communication, teleportation, and flying cars were central tenets of that universe. And while I marveled at the prospect of these technologies, I was most fascinated by the “magical technological device”—that could be used to complete any task, from basic communication to dissemination of news to national security.

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Kentucky wants drugmaker to pay for OxyContin abuse

Häggström, Mikael. "Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 20018762.

Häggström, Mikael. “Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014“. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 20018762.

via Courier Journal:

A common refrain in Kentucky’s hardscrabble hills is that an entire generation has been lost to pain-pill abuse. Addiction has spawned crime, filled county jails and overburdened the too-few treatment centers. Overdoses have torn children from parents and parents from children.

State officials trace the roots of the problem to one potent drug: OxyContin. And for seven years, they’ve been forging ahead with a civil lawsuit that seeks to make drugmaker Purdue Pharma pay. As early as next year, it could bring the first-ever jury trial pitting Purdue against an addiction-plagued state over the painkiller.

“This is about holding them accountable,” Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said. “They played a pre-eminent role in the state’s drug problem. This started to explode in the mid-1990s when Purdue Pharma was marketing OxyContin.

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Mining the Hive Mind: Implications Of Facebook Indexing 1 Trillion Posts

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via TechCrunch:

A whole wing of the Internet just got added to our collective conscience, like websites by Google or knowledge by Wikipedia before it.

 Yet the news cruised by with analysis focused simply on what Facebook’s new keyword post search does today. Yes, any post by you or any of your friends can now be dug up with a quick search from mobile. But I don’t think people realize how big a deal it is for tomorrow. Facebook just went from data rich to Scrooge-McDuck-swimming-in-a-tower-full-of data rich.

The ramifications for advertising, developers, and Facebook itself are tough to fathom. Our most vivid doppelgänger, our digital echoes can now be tracked. They don’t just say who we were, but where we’re headed, and what we’ll want next.

First, the trillion post index gives us group memory.Each person can only search stories from their friends and surrounding network, but Mark Zuckerberg recently said those all add up to over 1 trillion posts.

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Global Citizenship: Technology Is Rapidly Dissolving National Borders

Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By  via Singularity Hub

Besides your passport, what really defines your nationality these days?

Is it where you were live? Where you work? The language you speak? The currency you use?

If it is, then we may see the idea of “nationality” quickly dissolve in the decades ahead. Language, currency and residency are rapidly being disrupted and dematerialized by technology.

Where you live, where you work…

Increasingly, technological developments will allow us to live and work almost anywhere on the planet… (and even beyond).

Soon, you’ll be able to live in the Greek Islands and work in Manhattan, London, and Los Angeles.

Telepresence & Virtual Environments

Today I use telepresence robots to telecommute around the globe, attend an XPRIZE meeting in India, or if I’m overseas, pop home for breakfast or dinner with my kids.

The product I personally use comes from Suitable Technology and is called the “Beam.” I have about 15 beams across my different companies, and I’ll be integrating another 20 beams into my Abundance 360 Summit.

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Facebook’s callous “Year in Review” highlights the inhumanity of algorithms

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via PandoDaily:

Facebook has apologized for the insensitivity of a feature which relied on algorithms to collect a year’s worth of events, status updates, and photographs into a single presentation after it was criticized for showing images of deceased family members.

Eric Meyer, the user who first wrote about the “Year in Review” feature’s morbid callousness, has also apologized to Facebook for not making clear the company’s efforts to console him for the algorithmic fuck-up before he published his blog post.

But his original point — that companies should account for all their users instead of building products for an idealized version of the human condition — still stands. It might even be more relevant now that it’s clear Facebook didn’t know of the problem.

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Top 10 UFO Videos of 2014

The folks at OpenMinds compiled a nice list of the top 10 UFO Videos of 2014.

Via OpenMinds:

These are the best UFO videos of 2014, and most remain unidentified.

Top 10 lists are very subjective. I wonder if I am the first author to start a top 10 list admitting that. UFO video identification can often also be subjective. However, it is this author’s opinion that many of the following videos remain mysteries. Those that were identified either made a large impact, or were just cool lookin’.

This list is in no particular order. I do not necessarily feel that any are better than the other. But they are all very interesting. Every year I almost dread putting together the year in review story. I think, “Wow, not much happened that was that interesting. Am I going to be able to come up with a decent list?” Sure enough, every year I am pleasantly surprised by all of the great news that was covered over the last year.

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Future of love and sex: monogamy no longer the default, say experts

By LightvsRight via Deviant Art (CC BY 3.0)

By LightvsRight via Deviant Art (CC BY 3.0)

via IEET:

There’s a pervasive notion that monogamous relationships are the end-all-be-all – the default pact in human couplings that keep the fabric of society from being torn apart. But growing numbers of scientists believe monogamy is not our biological default; and may not even represent the best road to happiness.

Nearly all mammalian species demonstrate sexual promiscuity. Even mate-for-life prairie voles, the animal kingdom’s poster child of monogamous relationships produce pups from different fathers twenty percent of the time. Moreover, say historians, for humans, promiscuous behavior is not new at all.

    Anthropologists have uncovered clues to how our Paleolithic ancestors lived. Before the advent of agriculture, humans faced a short, brutal lifespan. Some survived to age 50, but most died young or at birth with average life expectancy in the 30-to-40 range.

With such a short lifespan, ancestral children were likely to experiment with sex by age six.

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Game of Thrones crowned as ‘most pirated’ show for third-year running

game-of-thrones-banner (1)

Via Engadget:

Interactive apps, multiple theme-tune remixes, constant recommendations, memes or trans-Atlantic and server-collapsing debuts are but mild indicators of Game of Thrones‘ public success. What’s the real measure of a show’s popularity? It’s how many people pilfer it from the internet. In this regard, our friends in Westeros have no need for a drawbridge, an army or one single drop of wildfire — its crown as the “most pirated” program continues for the third year running. Torrentfreak estimates the show peaked at over 8 million downloads, nearly double that of the second place series: The Walking Dead.

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Topaz Turns On 9 Million Solar Panels at World’s Largest Photovoltaic Power Plant

Oregon Department of Transportation (CC BY 2.0)

Oregon Department of Transportation (CC BY 2.0)

Via IEEE Spectrum:

Silence generally reigns across California’s Carrizo Plain, about 160 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles. But for much of the past three years, this expanse of grassland and farms was anything but silent, as up to 880 people trucked out each day to the plain’s sparsely inhabited northern end to build a hefty power plant. On a bright October afternoon, only a handful of construction workers remain, and the nearly completed plant is generating at close to full tilt. And yet it makes nary a click, buzz, or whir, even as it pumps hundreds of megawatts of electricity into California’s power grid.

The utter quiet is a facet of the technology. This is the world’s largest solar power plant, Topaz Solar Farms, where First Solar, based in Tempe, Ariz., has erected nearly 9 million of its cadmium-telluride thin-film photovoltaic panels across 19 square kilometers of former ranchland.

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