All of the following seem worth following-up on, later, as members of the community perhaps report back later?
Dang! For the second time in as many months, archaeologists have discovered startling, anomalous discoveries of hitherto unknown, impressive civilizations. Last month, a gigantic pyramid in Bosnia, complete with passageways, that everyone had assumed to be a local mountain. (Someone alert us all when there’s more published.) And this month “Archaeologists discovered a pre-colonial astrological observatory possibly 2,000 years old in the Amazon basin near French Guiana.”
Google just announced a new service called Google Trends that I thought might be of interest... Anyone care to explore it and report back here under comments?
Fans of the singularity? Read up on the recent Singularity Summit at Stanford U... And report back here about whichever items struck you personally as new! New ideas, new approaches, etc. Help the rest of us track progress toward the apotheosis... See also: http://www.downtheavenue.com/and: http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=3030and:
If you're anywhere near Stanford University on Memorial Day Weekend, you might be interested in this conference at the Stanford University Law School ($200 for registration, $150 for students).Some presentations that caught my eye include:
Illegal Beings: Human Clones and the Law
Christian Reflections on Radical Life Extension and Human Rights
Playing God: Theological Reflections on Genetic Enhancement
Cyborg Political Technologies: Citizenship, Democracy, Constitutions, and Bills of Rights
Feminists for Genetic Engineering
Anyone care to report on this after it happens?
MIT Issues Call to Arms on Energy -- (Cnet -- May 3, 2006) The Massachusetts Institute of Technology issued a preliminary report that calls for technology development and government policies to avert a "perfect storm" forming around energy. MIT's Energy Research Council report was the result of a year-long study. It concluded that industrialized nations need to accelerate a switch to cleaner and more efficient sources of fuel, a transition that could take 50 years.
The most realistic virtual reality
room in the world -- More than $4 million in equipment
upgrades will shine 100 million pixels on Iowa State University's
six-sided virtual reality room. That's twice the number of pixels
lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State's C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with...
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online....
The world is safer
By Carl Robichaud Mother JonesMay 15, 2006 Commentary: Over the past dozen years, virtually every trend in global security has been positive -- dramatically so. Article created by the Century Foundation
S ince 9/11 and the global war on terror, the world is a much more dangerous place. Right? Dead wrong, according to a recent in-depth study, which found that virtually every trend in global security in the past dozen years has been positive, and dramatically so. The world is today a safer place, according to the Human Security Report, a project funded by five nations and published by Oxford University Press. The study, which is the culmination of three years of research, offers a comprehensive look at the data on political violence from 1988–2005, and reaches some arresting conclusions:
Fewer armed conflicts. Armed conflicts declined by more than 40 percent since the early 1990s. During this period, fifteen more armed struggles for self-determination ended than started. Today there are fewer armed secessionist conflicts than at any point since 1976.
Less genocide. Notwithstanding the horrors of Rwanda , Bosnia , and Sudan, the number of genocides and “politicides” fell by 80 percent between the high point in 1988 and 2001.
Fewer international crises. The number of “international crises” declined by more than 70 percent between 1981 and 2001.
Fewer arms deals. International arms transfers, in real dollar values, fell by 33 percent between 1990 and 2003. This accompanied a sharp decline in total military expenditure and troop numbers as well.
Fewer refugees. The number of refugees dropped by some 45 percent between 1992 and 2003, as more and more wars came to an end.
The longest peace between major powers. The period from World War II to today is the longest interval of uninterrupted peace between great powers for hundreds of years.
The article goes on to discuss why these facts are ignored and who benefits from an ongoing state of drummed-up fear. But NONE of the explanations given by the authors seem at all as likely as the one I choose...
...that fear serves the purposes not only of political and protective and press castes, but of ALL ROMANTICS, who cannot cope with recognition that modernism and the enlightenment are working. In their loathing of the modernist agenda’s hubristic goal -- of gradual and relentlessly successful human self-improvement -- they engage in relentless acts of ritualistic re definition.
e.g. one guy wrote to me offline, recently, barging into my space to hector me about his “definition of left-right and the enlightenment.” It seems, that the left AND the enlightenment are both about “rigid predetermination” while the right (and presumably a comfy Protestant version of aristocratic feudalism) are all about freedom and self-determination. A speck of self-awareness, about how tendentious definitions that make one feel good ought to rouse skepticism? Nah. That kind of defining is the very core and essence of romanticism.
And do not believe for a moment that the “left” doesn’t do it too! Forever redefining things like racism and sexism and poverty, so that no array of accomplishments will ever be enough to warrant giving the people a brief pat on the back, an “attaboy” and “attagirl”... For having taken bigger (though still incomplete) strides toward equality and justice than all other generations put together.
THIS is why I rail against romantic dogmatists of all sides, even though only one group of fanatics presently holds all the power and is doing all the harm and poses the vastly greater threat to all of our lives and hopes... For the moment. Because I do not want us to EVER let this fall back down into that insipid horror of a linear “political metaphor,” ever again. To be a modernist is to be optimistic about the project for self-improvement. It means taking good news as encouragement, rather than something to be angrily rejected. (The finest way to tell a liberal from a lefty flake.)
It is time to spurn the canard that “moderate pragmatist reformers” who openly negotiate the full range of human solutions are therefor somehow bloodless, tepid sellouts! We need to be militantly moderate and angrily optimistic! Because we don’t have much time to get these big jobs finished, before a million kinds of awful shit hit the fan.
And yes, the neo-feudalists are the worst threat right now. They have wasted every single minute of the 21st Century (so far). But their allies abound, and in unexpected places.
Stand up. Be happy warriors. And fight.