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21 Jul 14:40

Six Things I Hope I Learned in My Twenties

I turn thirty tomorrow! Here are the things I spent the last decade clumsily learning. I might well continue learning some or all of these til I die, but here’s hoping I’m done. 

1)         Don’t spend time with people who bum you out.

This goes for lovers, friends, colleagues, and even family members. Life is short, and you don’t have time to feel insecure, bored, angry, depressed or anxious. If you habitually feel that way in someone’s presence, locate the nearest exit and run.

Loving someone is not an excuse to allow them to bum you out.

This goes double for romantic partners. Either they need to stop bumming you out, or you need to stop being around them. You do not owe anyone your presence (with the possible exception of your children), and nobody has the right to make you feel bad.

Finally, it’s not important to have a rationalization, for yourself or for the bummer in question, about why you will no longer be spending time with them. Everyone has a right to seek happiness; yours tends to be in rooms where they are not. It’s nobody’s fault and nobody can fix it.

2)         The fear of failure can only be cured by work.

There is only one thing I’ve found that quiets the clamoring of the demons in my head (the ones who tell me that I am an awful talentless boring lazy failure): sit down, pick up the guitar, and work.

Drugs and drinking used to quiet them down, but then I’d wake up and the clamoring was louder. Success, also, seemed like it might work, when I saw it in the distance from the valley below. Now, I’m no rockstar, and I don’t own a yacht; but I do the thing I love and I get paid for it, and I’ve played some really cool gigs and hung out with a bunch of my musical idols. So I tell you this with relish: none of those things worked on the demons either.

The demons don’t care who I’ve opened for or how much I got paid. They also don’t care about any of the work I’ve made in the past.

The only bludgeon I can beat them with is the work I’m making right now, this very minute.

So when I hear them running down the corridors of my mind, scratching the floorboards and chewing the furniture, yipping about every humiliating thing that’s ever happened to me, I go find a quiet room, and I sing. 

3)         You can’t make people like you.

Some people are assholes, some are aliens, and some just aren’t that into you. One of the biggest time-suck mind-fucks I’ve ever stumbled into (repeatedly) is the one where I say, “Wait, you don’t LIKE me?? Well you must not KNOW me very well. What if I do this little DANCE for you? Wearing this gorgeous MONKEY SUIT? I can SING too….”

But alas, there is absolutely nothing you can do to make somebody like you.

Absolutely. Nothing. 

How many things was that, again?

Zero. Not even one thing.

You might as well get a slice of pizza and watch a movie until the sting subsides, then go out and meet somebody who’s not an alien.

4)         Scenes are for suckers.

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time imagining what it was like to live in a creative hotbed, like Paris in the ‘20s or Greenwich Village in the ‘60s. At sixteen, I moved into an intentional community in Eugene with a bunch of other musicians and artists. Then I hung out with musicians and dancers in San Francisco, and later Philadelphia, looking for “my people”. Finally, I moved to New Orleans, where (I imagined) the streets were paved with songwriters.

Turns out, all the scenes I’ve ever become involved in have suffered from the same problem: they are petty, and gossipy, and rife with the sort of militant mediocrity that comes from too many people trying too hard to be liked by too many other people.

All of my favorite artists are inspired by a lot of weird quirky things, like some record they found in a junk shop; or a play by a Venezuelan farmer; or a thousand year old poem. They are not overly impressed by fame or hipness, and they are not easily convinced of the quality of whoever happens to be the king or queen of their local scene. They are good at spotting the kind of scenesterism that my friend Milton (quoting Randy Newman) calls “Big hat, no cattle”.

Being fully accepted by a scene requires you to suspend your critical thinking skills in favor of the ‘groupthink’ of your scene. This is the reason so many teenagers get involved in so many nasty, stupid shenanigans. If we are lucky, we grow out of our need to be accepted and liked by our local cool kids, and focus on our need to accept and like ourselves. 

This is not to say that you shouldn’t look for people who motivate and inspire you, and offer you a sense of camaraderie and support. Problem is, it’s unlikely that those people will be geographically or psychologically localized. Have the gumption and persistence to seek them out, and be honest with yourself about who they are and are not. 

5)         If you’re worrying about doing it right, you aren’t.

This goes for pretty much anything worth doing: music, sex, writing, dancing, conversation, cuddling, and any kind of creative act. Self-consciousness turns off your heart and ignites the dumbest and most awkward parts of your personality.

So, when you find yourself having performance anxiety, don’t try to do a better job. Try to stop worrying. Call a time out, have some tea, go for a walk and start over.

Trying to connect or create using your worrying brain is like trying to teach a dog to play piano: no amount of focus or persistence will make it happen. You’ve got the wrong guy for the job.

6)         Your insecurities are boring.

All of us are plagued by insecurities, and haunted by their origin stories. Our moms were critical, our dads were absent, we got blindsided by loss and meanness and dumb bad luck. Nobody loved us the way we needed.

Now, we move through the world handicapped by all sorts of fear. We aren’t pretty enough, or smart enough, or good enough at love or music or hockey. We are bothers and hacks and washed up has-beens. We are lazy and perverted and everyone talks about us behind our backs.

But that’s everybody’s story, and it’s a boring one. Put it to bed and start a new one. 

26 Aug 13:54

Pavement makes cities hotter, some more than others. NASA...

Pavement makes cities hotter, some more than others. NASA satellites measure the differences.

24 Oct 13:04

A Dutch Designer Has Created An Underground Fridge That Does Not Use Electricity

by dmitry


Dutch designer Floris Schoonderbeek, has created the Ground Fridge, an underground cool storage solution, for Dutch brand Weltevree.


Modern houses are often built without a basement while a lot of people nowadays feel the need for one: they’re focused on healthy food and, for example, grow their own food or buy in bulk at the local organic farmer.


The Ground Fridge is a basement as a product. An innovative version of the traditional root cellar, for the new cosmopolitan with its own vegetable garden and a modern self-sufficient existence.


The Ground Fridge makes use of the insulating effect of the ground and the cooling effect of the groundwater.


The temperature in the fridge remains stable throughout the year between 10 and 12° C: the ideal temperature for the storage of, for example, fruit, vegetables, wine and cheese.


The spherical Ground Fridge is buried and covered with the excavated earth. This layer of soil is about one meter thick and insulating so the temperature inside the fridge barely varies. There’s no permit required to place the Ground Fridge, and no soil to be disposed.


The Ground Fridge is equipped with wooden shelves for storage.


Via Contemporist

21 Aug 18:40

doyoulikevintage: 1935 Stout Scarab


1935 Stout Scarab

25 Oct 18:30

Before & After: Sophie's Warm & Inviting Guest Bath — The Big Reveal Room Makeover Contest 2015

by Apartment Therapy Contests

Before — Click through to see The Big Reveal!


14 May 09:00

Distopian Sci-Fi Illustrations

by Léa

L’illustrateur suédois Simon Stalenhag a imaginé une série d’illustrations où le monde de la science fiction cohabiterait avec la réalité. Ainsi on peut y voir des hommes vivre parmi des robots ou autres innovations technologiques dans des espaces quasi-inhabités. Une vision imaginaire du futur bien éloignée de l’utopie mais que l’on parcourt avec plaisir.

Sci-FiIllustrations10 Sci-FiIllustrations9 Sci-FiIllustrations8 Sci-FiIllustrations7 Sci-FiIllustrations6 Sci-FiIllustrations5 Sci-FiIllustrations4 Sci-FiIllustrations3 Sci-FiIllustrations2 Sci-FiIllustrations1
22 Jul 15:46

Cuaderno de Globalización con Equidad N° 7. A cinco años del TLC con Estados Unidos: ¿Quién va ganando?

by redge
Tipo de Publicacion: 
Libros y Estudios
Publicaciones y Biblioteca Virtual
Documento, editado por la RedGE y que forma parte de la colección de Cuadernos de Globalización con Equidad. Esta publicación analiza los impactos del Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) que el Perú mantiene vigente con Estados Unidos, en cuatro temas fundamentales: balanza comercial, inversiones, empleo y derechos laborales; y propiedad intelectual y acceso a medicamentos. La publicación consta de cuatro artículos con temas fundamentales.
German Alarco, Carlos Bedoya, Julio Gamero y Javier Llamoza
Fecha de publicación: 
de Mayo del 2015

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10 Jul 12:18

Charting The Rise And Far-Too-Slow Decline Of The World's Nuclear Arsenal

by Adele Peters

The graphical story of how we ended up with 16,000 world-destroying bombs.

Six years after President Obama called for the world to get rid of nuclear weapons, it doesn't look like we're likely to reach that goal anytime soon.

Read Full Story

13 Jul 13:40

What--And Who--Are Actually Causing Climate Change? This Graphic Will Tell You

by Ben Schiller

A handful of countries and one very big sector are at the root of nearly all our problems.

As the world gears up for a crucial climate summit in Paris this December, a few facts about global warming are worth considering. For one thing, not all nations are equal. The top 10 most polluting countries produce almost three-quarters of all the global emissions. For another, energy plays an outsized role in causing climate change. It accounts for roughly 75% of emissions, internationally speaking. When thinking about how to solve the problem, those two facts loom large.

Read Full Story

24 Feb 12:00

Good news! Another ‘Zero Waste’ grocery store opens in France

by Katherine Martinko
High quality bulk ingredients, as long as you bring your own container -- sounds like my kind of dream store!
08 Feb 15:48

medicalmischief:This might be useful for some of you who are...


This might be useful for some of you who are interested in surgery! Credit belongs to ASAPScience on Facebook. (Follow them for more cool science related facts and info!)

29 Dec 22:05

Ancient Trees: Beth Moon’s 14-Year Quest to Photograph the World’s Most Majestic Trees

by Christopher Jobson


Heart of the Dragon

Criss-crossing the world with stops on almost every continent, San Francisco-based photographer Beth Moon spent the last 14 years seeking out some of the largest, rarest, and oldest trees on Earth to capture with her camera. Moon develops her exhibition prints with a platinum/palladium process, an extremely labor-intensive and rare practice resulting in prints with tremendous tonal range that are durable enough to rival the longitivity of her subjects, potentially lasting thousands of years. Moon’s collected work of 60 duotone prints were recently published in a new book titled Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time. From Abbeville Press:

This handsome volume presents sixty of Moon’s finest tree portraits as full-page duotone plates. The pictured trees include the tangled, hollow-trunked yews—some more than a thousand years old—that grow in English churchyards; the baobabs of Madagascar, called “upside-down trees” because of the curious disproportion of their giant trunks and modest branches; and the fantastical dragon’s-blood trees, red-sapped and umbrella-shaped, that grow only on the island of Socotra, off the Horn of Africa.

Moon is currently working on a new series of trees photographed by starlight called Diamond Nights. (via Huffington Post)

Avenue of the Baobabs

Bowthorpe Oak copy

Bufflesdrift Baobab 2-2 copy

Croft Chestnut 1 copy

Desert Rose (Wadi Fa Lang) copy


Sentinels Neg 2014

Wakehurst Yews

05 Jan 14:58

If there were just 100 of us, where and what would we be?...

If there were just 100 of us, where and what would we be? Provocative graphic, from Jack Hagley.

13 Jan 08:46

quicksandbuddy: glamoramamama75:Where there’s a will… Life,...



Where there’s a will…

Life, uh, uh, uh, uh… finds a way

13 Aug 16:15

Edward Snowden Reveals NSA's MonsterMind Program

by Kelsey D. Atherton

NSA's Utah Data Center
A view of Monstermind's physical lair, photographed from an Electronic Frontier Foundation airship
Parker Higgins, Electronic Frontier Foundation

In the high desert near Bluffdale, Utah, there lurks a creature made entirely of zeroes and ones. Called "MonsterMind", the project is an automated cyber weapon, perched atop the data flows into the National Security Agency's Mission Data Repository. According to recent revelations from former government contractor and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Monstermind is both tremendously powerful and easily fooled. Here's the skinny on the biggest revelation from Wired's recent profile of Snowden. Author James Bamford writes:

The massive surveillance effort was bad enough, but Snowden was even more disturbed to discover a new, Strangelovian cyberwarfare program in the works, codenamed MonsterMind. The program, disclosed here for the first time, would automate the process of hunting for the beginnings of a foreign cyberattack. Software would constantly be on the lookout for traffic patterns indicating known or suspected attacks. When it detected an attack, MonsterMind would automatically block it from entering the country—a “kill” in cyber terminology.

Programs like this had existed for decades, but MonsterMind software would add a unique new capability: Instead of simply detecting and killing the malware at the point of entry, MonsterMind would automatically fire back, with no human involvement. That's a problem, Snowden says, because the initial attacks are often routed through computers in innocent third countries. “These attacks can be spoofed,” he says. “You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”

As described, MonsterMind is a brute force approach to covert cyber war embodied in one program. In order to function, it scans a huge amount of electronic communication, all passing through the 247 acre facility, and looks for attacks. That's the scary part. The dumb part is how it automatically decides where to strike back. Spoofing, as Snowden mentioned, is a relatively simple technique for hiding where an attack comes from. It's the online equivalent of throwing a pebble to distract the prison guard while the plucky protagonist runs away. 

Bamford describes this attack as Strangelovian, in reference to the Stanley Kubrick film about nuclear war. In the film, the Soviets develop a nuclear deterrent system that automatically attacks America if Russia gets hit first. The deterrent fails in part because the Americans didn't know about it, and the film ends with a montage of nuclear explosions, as an accidental American first strike triggers the apocalypse. The automatic strike-back mechanism and obscurity of Monstermind resemble this device, but the stakes are at least an order of magnitude less severe than all-out nuclear war.

Cyber attacks at present are mostly the theft of private data or bank information, with the occasional rare instance of actual industrial sabotage breaking a machine. None of this makes an automated strike-back system great, but it's still a far cry from the world-ending threat of thermonuclear war.

Read this and other revelations, including one about a contractor router that broke Syria's internet, at Wired.

The Bomb That Ends The World, Dr. Strangelove
Still image from Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb.
Stanley Kubrick

20 Jun 19:37

Plans Unveiled for World's Tallest, Pinkest Towers

by Alexandra Ossola

The world's tallest building may just be its pinkest.
World Architecture News via Architizer

The eternal competition to build the world’s tallest building has yielded striking landmarks and spectacular rivalries, both of which have escalated in the past century. With its building boom that started in the 1980s, China may have been a late entry, but it’s a force to be reckoned given its penchant for drama and its tenacity. But its most recent entry, announced last week, has the potential to blow all the others out of the water: the paired Phoenix towers will be built on an island and combine every sort of green technology, both feasible and far-fetched. Plus, they’ll be bright pink.

The Phoenix Towers will be built in China’s 10th-biggest city, Wuhan, which is located in the center of the country. The city is split between the banks of the Yangtze River and riddled with lakes. Given its proximity to moving water, it’s only natural that the towers be built with renewable energy in mind. The taller, “male” tower, named Feng, will loom one kilometer high, its sides equipped with photovoltaic panels and a wind turbine couched in its tapering spire. Its sister tower, Huang, will have walls filled with plants (“green walls”), house insect hotels, and be equipped with biomass boilers, which heat the structures by burning plant fuel. At its base, the towers will collect rainwater.

If some of these green technologies seem mysterious to you, you’re not alone; some reviews have called the structures an “environmental novelty act” and “a greenwashed dick-measuring contest.” The green technologies predictable at best (wind turbine), over-ambitious (the biggest biomass boilers ever designed) and downright enigmatic (what is a “thermal chimney”?) at worst.

But according to Laurie Chetwood, the founder of British architecture firm Chetwoods Architects that partnered with a Chinese group on the projec, this over-the-top design was no accident. She told design magazine Dezeen, "In China if you come up with a slightly mad idea, its almost not mad enough...We've applied as many environmental ideas as we possibly could to justify the shape and the size of [the towers].”

The kicker in this excess is that the steel and lattice that give the towers their structure will be a bright, vibrant fuchsia to mirror the spectacular sunsets famous in the region, the architects say. And the name, Phoenix, comes from the Chinese phoenix of legend, Fenghuang, which is often represented by both male and female entities. 

In fact, much of the towers’ significance is more symbolic rather than, well, useful. The Feng ("male") tower can only be inhabited for about 100 floors, or about half of its height; the rest of the space in that and the other tower is devoted to mechanical and eco-friendly functions. Those involved in the project have indicated that their primary goal is to create a spectacular tourist attraction, reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower in utility."This is a big tourist idea right in one of the largest lakes in Wuhan," Chetwood said. "[The group that commissed the project is] turned on to the environmental idea but there's always obviously the commercial element at the base of it."

Some commentators fear that the towers will end up like some of China’s other ambitious construction projects: deserted and eerie, a misguided effort in eco-friendliness. But the plan is to build them in the middle of a huge city, so they won't be isolated at least. Construction is slated to begin later this year, and surely the most interesting challenges are yet to come. 

Schematic of the green technology
World Architecture News via Architizer

25 Jun 16:00

Laura's Backyard Renovation: What It Really Cost: A Budget Breakdown — Renovation Diary

by Nancy Mitchell
Pin it button big
Pin it button big

Name: Laura Watson
Type of Project: Outdoor renovation
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Type of building: Semi-detached shop front/cottage with 1200 sq. ft. backyard

Yesterday we were witness to the dramatic transformation of Laura's backyard. Today we're taking a look behind the scenes at a part of the project many of you may be curious about: the budget. We'll be comparing the final budget to her original project budget, to see what cost less than she thought it would and what cost more.


16 Jun 21:12

Shall we wish for the singularity to happen and could it happen without human intervention ?

by Peter Rothman

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 2.05.23 PM


The singularity describes a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of technological progress leads to a hyperbolic and unstoppable growth in artificial intelligence, relegating humans to a secondary role for future scientific and technological developments.

One of the prerequisites for the intelligence explosion of the singularity is that a artificial superintelligence (ASI) be able to recursively improve itself, meaning that it could autonomously improve the design of its constituent software and hardware. While it is reasonable to assume that an AI of equal or slightly greater than human intelligence would possess the ability to improve its own software, it won't be able to modify its hardware without human assistance.

An AI is not a robot, it is a computer. It can think but cannot act beyond the digital realm. An ASI could wish it had more computing power. It could think about a more efficient hardware design. But unless there are already autonomous robots that can go get the raw materials and build machines of their own without human intervention, no AI could change its hardware. I have no doubt that tweaking the software can greatly increase a computer's power and range of abilities. However, if the hardware doesn't follow the ASI self-improvement will eventually reach an upper limit, and the singularity won't happen.

Besides, computers aren't eternal, and even have shorter lifespans than humans at the moment. Without transferring its data to another machine, the ASI would slow down and deteriorate as it ages, just like us. If an autonomous ASI wishes to keep increasing its performances exponentially, it will need to upgrade its hardware regularly.

Consequently the singularity isn't going to happen unless humans are willing to help the ASI improve its hardware, or until we build extremely capable robots that the ASI can use to modify the physical world.




The original meaning of technological singularity is a blind spot in our ability to predict the future once machines become millions of times more intelligent than all humans combined. No matter how hard we try to think about it, how many scenarios we envisage, we simply cannot know what will happen, and this is why it is so dangerous.

In the best case scenario, supported by Ray Kurzweil, all humans will share the benefits of the intelligence explosion by being connected to the ASI through neural implants. There won't be an ASI and us, but a single harmonious entity. The intelligence explosion will continue indefinitely, and eventually spread to all the universe with human-machines.

Others have imagined a utopian world ruled by a Friendly AI that manages everything perfectly for the sake of humans and other life beings, a perfect software that creates peace and prosperity and eliminates all suffering for everyone on Earth. It is easy to be tempted by such scenarios. But it could turn out just the opposite way too.

An evil, or more likely an indifferent or misguided ASI, could wipe out all humans and all life on Earth. A Terminator-like scenario, although prominent in the popular imagination, is in fact one of the least likely ways this could happen, unless humans purposefully build human-like terminator robots themselves, which would be extremely foolish and irresponsible. I don't see why a computer would need to build robots that look anything like humans or animals. There are plenty of more efficient designs, most of which we cannot even conceive of with our limited cognition, but that an ASI could.

There are apocalyptic scenarios scarier than powerful robots taking over the Earth and trying to eliminate humans. Among them is the grey goo hypothesis, in which molecular nanobots self-replicate out-of-control consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves. Unfortunately this scenario does not even need the creation of an ASI to happen.

Although machines could be designed to have feelings and emotions, they wouldnever be quite like those of humans. In theory, a Friendly AI could be programmed to emulate only positive human traits like altruism, compassion, etc. The risk is that creating one positive feeling necessarily implies creating its opposite too. The laws of the universe want that things exist in duality. Heat cannot exist without cold. Light cannot exist without darkness. To be able to measure something on a scale, it needs to have an opposite end.

The problem is that if we try to teach a computer what kindness is, it will need to be defined by its opposite. By doing so, it creates the knowledge of the opposite feeling in the computer, and that's what is dangerous. If a bug happens or the AGI decides to reconfigure itself, it may start behaving the opposite way as it was originally programmed. It may even be safer not to try to emulate any emotion at all in a powerful AI. But then how do we protect ourselves ? We can never be sure that we will be safe because the ASI will behave in a way that we can't predict with our human thinking.



The development of an artificial superintelligence poses a real existential risk (i.e. the risk that the human race as a whole might be annihilated) that shouldn't be underestimated, as Michael Anissimov explains in an interview with Ben Goertzel for Humanity+ Magazine. Luke Muehlhauser, the Executive Director of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), scrutinizes the difficulties of building a superintelligence that does not kill us. The world renowned theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Stephen Hawking says that creating an ASI "would be the biggest event in human history", although he warns that "it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks".

One of the most serious risks would be to let ASI take control of an army of highly skilled and dexterous robots. The danger is not just that these robots could attack humans, but more indirectly that they would possess the ability to improve the hardware of the ASI, allowing for the unrestrained exponential growth of its intelligence toward the singularity. Once this happens, the ASI could design and build anything it wants, be it robots, machines or other "beings" that are beyond our limited human imagination. If we want the singularity to happen as safely as possible for humans, the ASI should remain under human control.

One way to prevent a computer-based ASI to improve its hardware would be to make sure that robots are never autonomous enough to get to the ASI computer on their own with the necessary equipment to improve the hardware. That may prove extremely difficult if the ASI can get control of autonomous vehicles, advance humanoid robots and 3-D printers or nanobots that can be used to manufacture computer hardware. Obviously the ASI computer would need to be guarded only by humans, not by machines that it could control to restrict access to humans.

If that wasn't bad enough, even if we make sure that the ASI computer cannot be reached by other machines that could tweak its hardware, there is still an alternative way for it to get the job done. If at least some humans do get neural implants to improve their cognition or use telepathy (or 'techlepathy', as George Dvorsky called it), then an ASI could potentially hack into their brains and take control of their bodies, just like robots. And it does look like we are heading soon toward the use of neural implants.

In an interview for io9Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, Anders Sandberg, a neuroscientist at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, and futurist Ramez Naam, all agreed that we already have the technologies required to build an early version of the telepathic noosphere. Telepathic networks could be built within a few years from now, but would really become powerful enough to become attractive to the general population and compete with other forms of telecommunications from the late 2020's or early 2030's. That timing is well ahead of the most optimistic dates for the singularity.

Commercial brain-computer interfaces have barely entered the market and they have already been proven to be hackable, although not yet to control a person's movements.



Considering the risks involved in letting an artificial general intelligence grow exponentially out of human control, it would be unwise and indeed extremely irresponsible to allow for the technological singularity to occur. The singularity basically means that technology grows beyond our control and that we surrender our destiny to superior machine intelligence. Why would we want to do that ?

I am all in favour of progress, but humans do not need the singularity to live much better lives. It would be easy to prevent AI and autonomous robots to evolve beyond a certain risk threshold while sustaining exponential growth in various fields of technology. The aim for the next few decades would be to achieve a post-capitalist society of abundance with free Internet and telecoms and extremely cheap solar energy and 3-D printed products for everyone. Agricultural robots would efficiently tend vertical farms. Advances in biotechnologies would put an end to diseases and stop or reverse aging. Genetic enhancement and BCI would work to increase human intelligence and empathy. And so on.

I am fine with supercomputers helping humans manage the world more efficiently, but do we need one (or several) ASI billions of times more intelligent than us that keeps improving itself way beyond our control and imagination ? Wouldn't it be safer to keep distinct computers with specialized functions instead of building an omnipotent AGI ? So long as there is no centralized AI that controls all the computers and robots worldwide, the risks remain constraint. But how could a supercomputer be prevented access to other machines in the age of the Internet of Things, where all electronic devices are connected in a huge global network ?

Humans like to test the limits of their capabilities. Sometimes they build machines just because they can, not because it is in their best interest. We can build supercomputers to help us solve problems that we couldn't solve on our own. It is fine to create one extremely powerful AI to serve as a universal translator of human languages. It is fine to build another one to help us diagnose medical conditions. It is fine to build as many AI as needed for specific, limited tasks, as long as there is no way for them to form a unified, self-aware, or at least autonomous intelligence that starts making decisions beyond our control. Achieving the singularity requires us granting an AGI free, unchecked capability to control machines and improve itself at will, and that simply isn't a sane thing to do.

The existential risk involved in the creation of an artificial superintelligence is taken seriously enough by a number of researchers to have given rise to a number of scientific institutions and organizations to discuss and tackle the issue, including theMachine Intelligence Research InstituteInstitute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Future of Humanity Institute (University of Oxford), the Centre for Study of Existential Risk (University of Cambridge), and the Lifeboat Foundation.


Maciamo Hay is a researcher in genetics, as well as a futurist, philosopher, historian, linguist, and travel writer. He is also deeply interested in neurosciences, psychology, anthropology and cultural studies. He has achieved fluency in six foreign languages.

Maciamo has lived in eight countries and currently resides in Brussels, Belgium.

This article originally appeared on his website on futurism and transhumanism here :

13 Jun 16:06

Video Friday: Why the Turing Test is Bullshit - George Dvorsky

by Peter Rothman
19 Jun 14:00

Futuristic Nimbus E-Car is a cute hybrid microbus perfect for the eco-conscious road warrior

by Nicole Jewell
19 Jun 17:00

Berkeley Could Soon Require Global Warming Stickers on Gas Pumps

by Josh Marks

gas pump, warning label, global warming, climate change, CO2, burning gasoline, Berkely, California

Taking a page from the successful fight against Big Tobacco, Berkeley, California could soon become the first American city to require that its gas pumps are affixed with stickers warning drivers that burning gasoline exacerbates climate change and causes CO2 emissions. Engineered by grassroots environmental group 350 Bay Area, this “Beyond the Pump” campaign is modeled after warnings on cigarette packaging as the latest front in the battle against Big Oil. In addition to Berkeley, the group is aiming to get San Francisco and Oakland on board with the global warming gas pump labels.

gas pump, warning label, global warming, climate change, CO2, burning gasoline, Berkely, California Berkeley, California CO2, gas pumps, climate change, global warming, gas stations

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Post tags: berkeley, big oil, big tobacco, burning gasoline, California, Climate Change, CO2 emissions, gas pump, global warming, stickers, warning labels

23 Jun 12:00

New Solar Wind Downdraft Tower Could Revolutionize Wind Power Technology

by Colin Payne

solar, wind, downdraft, tower, energy, turbine, power, renewable, technology

A revolutionary new clean energy technology is getting set to change the way we think about wind power. The Solar Wind Downdraft Tower, created by Maryland-based Solar Wind Energy Inc. turns the traditional wind turbine design on its head by putting turbines at the base of a tubular tower that generates its own wind throughout the year. How does it work? Read on.

solar, wind, downdraft, tower, energy, turbine, power, renewable, technology solar, wind, downdraft, tower, energy, turbine, power, renewable, technology

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24 Jun 19:51

The Most Creative Recycling We've Seen Yet: Turn Plastic Bottles into String


This is nuts. An inventive Russian YouTuber has figured out how to turn plastic bottles into string, using purely mechanical means. After "unraveling" a single bottle he's left with what appear to be several yards' worth of filament, which he then uses to bind things together. Hitting the resultant plastic twine with a heat gun causes it to partially melt and shrink, more or less fusing it into place.


13 Jun 18:04

etsy: For the record collector: a walnut stand by Brian Boles...


For the record collector: a walnut stand by Brian Boles Furniture.

17 Jun 08:15

Culturilla NPC: El Hada de las Cacas no existe

by Troy

Esto puede ser un poco chocante para muchas personas, pero tenemos la convicción de que es algo que todo el mundo debe saber: En contra de la creencia popular, las cacas de perro no son recogidas mágicamente por la famosa Hada de las Cacas.

El Hada de las Cacas no existe, es una leyenda, un cuento sin fundamento. Las cacas de perro quedan ahí hasta que se descomponen orgánicamente, siendo durante ese proceso un foco de enfermedades para quienes entran en contacto con ellas (especialmente, los niños).

En un parque de Chicago han tenido la idea de colocar unos carteles explicativos para concienciar a la población. Esperemos que aquí tomen alguna iniciativa similar.

Visto en BitsAndPieces

Ver más: caca, perros
Seguir @NoPuedoCreer - @QueLoVendan


23 May 16:15

NY Design Week 2014: WorkOf Brings the BestOf Brooklyn Design to Industry City and Beyond


By Ali Morris

It was during a trip to independent furniture show BKLYN Designs last year that New Yorkers John Neamonitis and Charlie Miner came up with the concept for their new website, WorkOf. Launched in January of this year, WorkOf is an online platform that is helping New York's thriving designer-maker community to reach consumers while providing consumers with a new way of discovering hard-to-find design. "I was walking around [BKLYN Designs] and there was all of this really amazing work," says Miner. "I was asking people, 'Where would I go to buy this stuff? Is there a somewhere where I can find it all in one place?' and everyone told me it didn't exist." Surprised and frustrated by the response they were getting, Neamonitis and Miner set about creating a solution.

WorkOf functions like a collective online storefront for its community, directing traffic to the designers' websites and online stores. "We launched with 20 makers but have nearly 40 now," says Miner, reflecting on a very busy five months. While every designer brings his or her own unique style to the table, the pieces are united by a raw, industrial aesthetic that identifies them as handmade in Brooklyn. Industrial brass lighting fixtures come courtesy of Workstead and Allied Maker, while Stefan Rurak's heavy, reclaimed wood furniture and the blackened steel frames of Vidi Vixi's pieces are softened by Calico's ombre wallpapers and Fort Makers' painterly fabrics.


Although membership of WorkOf is free, applications are carefully considered. Miner explains, "Although we're certainly open to people approaching us—I mean, that's what we want to do, to support the community—we also want to be sure that the artists we represent are commercially viable; that they can scale to meet demand and that they can handle customers in a professional way because it reflects on everybody. It's not a hobbyist platform, it's not for amateurs."

25 May 18:32


01 May 04:00

May 01, 2014

25 Apr 14:26

Rare Concept Cars on Display: Atlanta High Museum of Art's Upcoming 'Dream Cars' Exhibition

0atlhighdreamcars-002.jpgAll photos courtesy of Atlanta's High Museum of Art // Buick Streamliner, 1948

It ain't just New York, Los Angeles and Chicago that get the killer design shows. Next month Atlanta's High Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition called "Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas," co-curated with the automotive writer and historian Ken Gross, and the show will highlight some socks-knocking concept cars going all the way back to 1935. ""It's a really exciting exhibition that explores the ideas behind design [and] what innovation means in something as ubiquitous as the automobile," says Sarah Schleuning, the museum's Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

0atlhighdreamcars-001.jpgAlfa Romeo BAT 7, 1954

0atlhighdreamcars-003.jpgStout Scarab, 1936

15 Apr 14:27

Open-Source Self-Replicating FoldaRap 3D Printer Prints Objects On the Go

by Lidija Grozdanic

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The FoldaRap open-source 3D printer can be folded to fit into your rucksack and prints objects on the go. French designer Emmanuel Gilloz developed the 140x140x140mm device over the course of seven months and has now, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, created new prototypes and beta-testers.

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Post tags: 3D printers, 3D printing, crowdfunding campaign 3d printer, foldable 3d printer, FoldaRap, FoldaRap 3d printer, green gadgets, open source design, open-source 3d printer, RepRap 3d printer, self-replicating 3d printer, ulele campaign