Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preserving our right to look back...

Worrisome. A recent article, The War on Cameras, in Reason details police threats, phone confiscations, detentions, felony charges and convictions of citizens for the 'crime' of recording officers on duty. Yet, laws are vague and vary greatly from state to state. The central issue revolves around whether taping police without their consent is a violation of wiretapping statues, and whether police have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public encounters with citizens—or if they are to be held accountable for their actions on the job.

We've discussed this here before.  Yes, a recent Supreme Court case appears to have settled this matter, in principle. The imbalance of power between individual and state is so huge that the citizen must -- must -- retain the one thing that equalizes the playing field somewhat.  The truth.

In practice, this will still be a hard fight.  I tend to worry much less about restricting what the government and other elites can see (how you gonna stop em?) than about preserving our right to look back!

But can we look?  Really?  We have the illusion of choice…but six media giants now control a staggering 90% of what we read, watch or listen to, in the U.S. These companies are: CBS, Viacom, Disney, GE, News Corp (which includes Fox and the Wall Street Journal) and Time Warner (which includes CNN, HBO, Time and Warner Bros). The largest owner of radio stations in the U.S., Clear Channel, operates 1,200 stations, airing shows by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity, with programs syndicated to more than 5,000 stations. And who owns Clear Channel? Bain Capital purchased Clear Channel shortly before Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential bid.  One clear reason why conservative talk show hosts support Mitt? And weren't we supposed to be more independent and broad in in our access to information, by now?



Well, at least now we know who to blame for what's happened to the History Channel.

A horrifying brain drain. “At some Ivy League schools last year, up to half of the graduates went into finance or consulting, a move that could have a profound effect on the economy in the years to come.”  Crum, any civilization that does this to itself deserves what will happen next. The very brightest, who do NOT fall for this trap will simply leave the country. A genuine “brain drain.” Leaving the finance twits in charge of a society that explores nothing, invents nothing, produces nothing except paper short-term-parasitic profits. Ever hear of the Golgafrinchan B-Ark? Think about it.

Self censorship? Social media giant Twitter announced they would block messages on a country by country basis, to “to withhold content from users in a specific country while making it available to the rest of the world.” This policy will allow Twitter to grow internationally into countries with "different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression", but won’t affect China or Iran where Twitter is already completely blocked.

An unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice over the last few decades suggests we may soon see an ice-free Arctic summer. But then, as I have linked many times before, the US Navy has long known this and is making major plans. So are the Russians. Maybe THAT will get through to your crazy uncle.

Digital thievery is rampant! Have a look at the precautions that US corporate officers, scientists and government officials have started taking, before getting on a plane to China.  “If a company has significant intellectual property that the Chinese and Russians are interested in, and you go over there with mobile devices, your devices will get penetrated,” said Joel F. Brenner, former counterintelligence specialist. We're not enemies!  But things are passing through a phase where it just makes sense to be careful.  You'll actually get more respect when they know you're smart enough to protect yourself and your endeavors. Seriously, read the description of what a cautious businessman does to stay digitally clean and no bring home spyware.

The media does seem to have a polarizing effect…Would ANY new data make you change your opinions on hot button issues such as the death penalty, abortion, same sex marriage, legalization of marijuana? Or God? Or the fact that US taxes are near a 100 year low? Any data at all? Read about opinions beyond the reach of data.

Cadmium, a carcinogen and neurotoxin, may be as hazardous to children as lead. Current regulations are based on threats to adults; recent studies show possible links with learning disabilities and retardation in children.

== Better Accountability through Visualizing our World==

Shining a light into the darkness: I knew I liked the guy, despite resenting the soul-sold handsomeness... The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), begun by George Clooney, is an attempt to use technology to deter civil war and atrocities against citizens in Sudan. SSP combines satellite images and field reports with Google Maps to track movements of troops and displaced people, bombed villages, mass graves and other evidence of large-scale violence, providing public access to updated information on these long-suffering areas.

An ever-reddening glow: NASA video depicts global temperature data over the past 130 years.

Speaking of heating... this map shows hot spots for terrorist attacks within the U.S.--a third of attacks occur in urban areas.

How is water used worldwide? Researchers map a global water footprint detailing water usage. 92% goes to growing food, 40% toward the export of products.

Satellite data reveal the extent of China's air pollution problem--finding dangerous levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5, less than 2.5  microns).

Accountability on a local basis: the energy usage of New York’s buildings, visualized.

When 30,000 square feet isn't enough...aerial views of mega-mansions. Even as the size of the average American house shrinks after peaking during the boom, several of the wealthy are building gigantic homes of 20,000 square feet and more.

==On the Technology Front==
 Virtual devices will read your hand motions and gestures and provide what you want—meaning technology will appear even more like…magic. If you hold up your hand, a map or keypad will appear, for you to retrieve or send data. Sensors on the ceiling will monitor your gestures, and respond.  I portray this in Existence

CleanSpace One, an $11 million “Janitor Satellite” under development in Switzerland, would be the first of a series of craft launched to clear orbital debris, grabbing items with its robotic arm.  Read a better method in chapter one of my next novel.

Patrick Tucker suggests that Artificial Intelligence will be America’s next Big Thing, directing traffic, managing electrical grids and resources, aiding doctors, lawyers and police, analyzing satellite data, optimizing manufacturing and design, developing new medicines and cures, leading to a third Industrial Revolution. Yet, the roboticization of the factory floor will have human costs, as well. See Making it in America in The Atlantic.

Researchers make iron invisible to X-rays, using quantum interference.

==Miscellaneous Fiction/Film==

I'm quoted in this article on Prophets of Science Fiction--about the interplay between science and Sci Fi.

A few sci-fi-ish films from this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Eeeek!  A “re-imagining” remake of the worst sci fi pile of drivel ever made... Space 1999!

Fascinating perspectives from Jonathan Dotse - an IT student, blogger, and science fiction writer based in Accra, Ghana. He discusses the future of African science fiction.

How does Science Fiction influence Public perception of science topics such as Genetic engineering, cloning, nanotechnology? See an article in Biology in Science Fiction.

Glimpse this new Nigerian sci fi film! Kajola.

Seriously? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. In this movie, that axe isn’t just for chopping down trees… and it looks as if it just might (unbelievably) be worth checking out!

Russian speakers, see a translation of my essay about The Uplift War.

Enough of a coolstuff dump for ya?  Well... the year has just begun…

Final note: I am among those interviewed onscreen for "First Contact" - a show that will appear on the Science Channel on March 13 and March 20.  Very relevant as to whether humanity will get to continue its... existence.

39 comments:

Tim H. said...

"Leaving the finance twits in charge of a society that explores nothing, invents nothing, produces nothing except paper short-term-parasitic profits. "
About the size of it, tieing into the previous post somewhat, the tax code has been optimized for the production of froth, and the discouragement of manufacturing, simultaneously destroying some more of the new deal and continuing the anti-labor jihad. Economically,we've been presented with a tall mug of suds, with about 60 ml of beer way down at the bottom.

Kelsey said...

Found this around the blogs. One of Cracked's latest articles has provoked an astrophysicist to take a stand.

6 Scientific Discoveries That Laugh in the Face of Physics

Defending Physics Against Cracked.com

Robert said...

You know, Dr. Brin, the "reimagining" of Battlestar Galactica ended up with a series that (despite a few stumbles) was quite good. If the reason for the Moon leaving Earth orbit was due to something like wormhole research that went awry or the like rather than nuclear waste going nuclear and "blasting" the Moon out of orbit, then the FTL-aspect of the Moon shift would be explained, while the series can also focus on such aspects as how people would react to no longer being able to see the Earth, the loss of loved ones, the lack of additional supplies, and the like.

My one concern is that the people doing this reimagining did a butcher job on V and turned it into social commentary about Obama and his administration rather than staying true to the original series: rebellion against a world-wide fascist government imposed by alien conquerors (who brainwashed world leaders to doing their bidding). I'd rather see a more intelligent look at a new Space 1999 and the sociological aspects than some thinly-veiled political commentary against non-neoconservatives.

Rob H.

RichDice said...

Worst pile of SF drivel ever made? That would be "The Starlost." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starlost

Just ask its creator, Cordwainer Bird!

David Brin said...

Aw, at the time? In the total paucity of sci fi back then? There were some moments in the Starlost....

David Brin said...

PS... did any of you have any advice for me about Mail Chimp or how to do a mass mailing to 2000 fan addresses I have on file?

TheMadLibrarian said...

I have often said I would be happy to invest in any project that offered a reasonable solution to the ever increasing amount of rubbish in orbit. CleanSpaceOne is an interesting start, but any orbit cleaning proposal needs to eventually address the enormous amount of small cruft that has been accumulating: paint flakes and impact debris, tools lost from astronauts, nuts and bolts, all in the breadbox and smaller range and whipping around at mad speeds. CleanSpaceOne is busy towing the washing machines and junked cars out of orbit, but the tin cans and old shoes remain.

Any thoughts on salon.com's assertion that the US has plenty of engineers and scientists, but companies are not hiring here. They are hiring engineers and scientist from abroad, where they won't have to pay Americanized wages and benefits. Outsourcing the brain drain, as it were. Not surprising, since so many of our other businesses have moved to cheaper venues with more lax rules.
http://www.salon.com/2012/02/06/obamas_high_tech_labor_lies/singleton/

Wasn't it six or so months ago that all those cadmium-laced Chinese metal trinkets were discovered? Folks, be careful what you let your children gnaw!

TheMadLibrarian

tlanki: the noise made by a cadmium-adulterated alloy

Robert Little said...

I can always rely on this blog to bring up very interesting points. I used to frequent James Kunstler's site, but it tends to be a dark place; I need optimism. Hell, we all do.
Which is why I now frequent this place.
Where you seem to hit very close to home all too frequently.
When I was in school, my major was supposed to be in science education (initially, it was journalism, and very briefly accounting). I never had the chance to complete the degree, as I was busy caring for a spouse who had health issues; ultimately, the marriage failed after fifteen years and multiple reconciliations. After that, it became a matter of simply trying to survive, with the realization that the prospects of an education were being pushed further into the future because of my foolish heart.
In the meantime, however, I did manage to do things I loved, and those things kept me bouyant though frequently poor. My jobs, however, almost always ended up in the financial area, as it seems that the burn out rates for support personnel in those fields is very high.
For a little background, this was the early to mid 1990's. Even then, I had a sense of unease.
The one thing, most of the people I worked with seemed particularly dense on the one hand and down right ingenius on the other. All matters financial they understood, but science? No way.
And it made not a bit of sense to me at all, until I realized that it wasn't that they couldn't understand, but wouldn't; it would jar their tidy little world view. You have no idea the number of folks I ran into (frequently) at work who thought all manner of science research was a waste of money, including money spent on space exploration (though many I still know deny that last bit). The financial world was simply an alient environment that I learned to somewhat navigate as a systems support person; I dare not venture further afield into it.
Of course, fate would have me back in it, and again, I am a stranger in a stranger land.
But hey, I'm working.
For past few days, I've been nursing a migraine (it is very healthy, thanks). These headaches make me cranky, especially being as the meds to treat them have side effects that are almost as bad as the migraines themselves. For days, I had been wanting to do a painting of the future as I had seen it in my youth, so when I was feeling just slightly better, I did a sketch in felt tipped pen. Early on in it, I suddenly felt horribly depressed about what I was doing and what it was I was trying to say, to this point that instead of finishing the study I scribbled on it instead. This was the end result...

This

So, yeah, about your brain drain...

challenged souvest - vat you might do to zee area vest of zee Mississippi in a dizpute.

protected static said...

Canada is actively preparing for an ice-free Arctic as well - they've actually armed a volunteer corps of First Nations scouts with mothballed Lee-Enfield rifles (the scouts are civilians, and therefore can't be supplied with current-issue weapons) to act as a tripwire in the event of an incursion by unnamed forces (*cough* Russia *cough*).

David Brin said...

Robert Little... we are currently way overstocked in "Roberts" right now, so you're going to have to take a number...

Just kidding. You are most welcome here. And all the best of luck in persevering to success and joy.
db

Robert Little said...

Well, Dr. Brin, this certainly beats my other handle; I'm "The Vagabond" (long story, best discussed over beers). I could always go back to it, but no, I tire of anonymity.

fifth uaryind - the one that follows the forth uaryind.

David Brin said...

I sometimes drop in at this gopper site. It is rabidly partisan but with moments of intelligence. Loony, of course, but take a glance:
http://visiontoamerica.org/8223/can-republicans-avoid-a-debacle/

sociotard said...

As always, the combination of science and art is too much fun:

Shockfossils

Tony Fisk said...

Robert L. at least the building you depict exists as the Academy of Science building at Australian National University, Canberra.

Ooh Moving on to two words? The capcha aliens will be communicating by sentences next

'darknefs overythi'

sociotard said...

some more tiny flying robots.

http://now.msn.com/now/0216-harvard-unleashes-robot-bees.aspx

Robert said...

Vagabond... that name seems familiar somehow. Hmm, it'll come to me after coffee, I'm sure.

If I were being snarky (and I am!) then I'd say the reason for the disconnect of Science and Finance is one deals with real things, and the other imaginary things. Of course, this wasn't always the case... there was a time when finance was about reality. But now it's about numbers on a screen and getting them higher and higher by any means possible.

If you think of it, in many ways Finance is a video game, and the players are trying to get the High Score.

But that might be my pre-coffee snarkiness talking...

Rob H., one of the many, the proud, the Roberts!

LarryHart said...

Robert Little:

Your tale reminds me of the introduction of the Pixar film "Up". If you don't have a child of the right age, you probably haven't seen the film, but I hope it eventually turns out as well for you as it did for the film's elderly protagonist.

In case it sounds as if I'm trivializing or mocking, that's not at all what I mean. I actually cry at that movie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry,
No Offense taken, I love that movie. In fact, my life is more like a cross between "Up" and "Second Hand Lions", though without the charm and interesting uncles. Broken home, frequent moves, frequent "dads". Growing up me had a few moments that would have made David Lynch proud. Like the time a plane crashed in the backyard, narrowly missing the trailer we were living in (I was seven, and it was literally like a gift from heaven, but the jerks from the NTSB and FAA hauled it off).
Somehow, managed to avoid drug use and drinking that plagued many of my classmates (most of whom came from fairly well off and "stable" families; I hated that they did what they did, but in retrospect it kind of makes tragic sense). Found solace in my writing, art, hobbies, and later, girls. Was a lackluster student who would blow away tests but seldom did homework. Loved science. Built rockets. Plenty of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein on the shelves, along with Patrick Moore and a well worn set of World Book Encyclopedias from 1967.
Middle child. Hopeless romantic. Really just hopeless.
I've always thought my life was the stuff of an indie film that ends with the kid walking into a closet that leads to an alternate reality. At least that's what I wanted on a daily basis.
It was that dreaming of the future that kept me going, really. Yes, I did enjoy the first season of "Space:1999", if only for the great looking spacecraft, and if something space related came along, I grabbed it. I grew up watching the space shuttle evolve and followed the space colonization movement, even in the aftermath of that "60 Minutes" segment and the resulting brouhaha.
It's getting hard to dream, though. What troubles me are those children growing up today and the world they see. The world seems to be growing encapsulated.
But maybe that's just me.

-Robert L (formerly The Vagabond, short for The Vagabond Astronomer)

LarryHart said...

Robert the Vagabond:

It's not "just you". My own childhood and young adulthood, while more middle-class and less law-breaking, sounds a lot like yours.


Was a lackluster student who would blow away tests but seldom did homework. Loved science. Built rockets. Plenty of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein on the shelves, along with Patrick Moore and a well worn set of World Book Encyclopedias from 1967.


I was more of a reader than a do-er, and my family's World Book was 1976, not 1967. Other than that...very familiar.


Middle child. Hopeless romantic. Really just hopeless.


First child in my case, but definitely hopeless romantic. I loved girls in every way they (supposedly) wanted, but was completely invisible to them until my mid-thirties. Actually, if my younger self had known what was coming in my mid-thirties, he could have serioulsy saved two decades of needless angst.


Yes, I did enjoy the first season of "Space:1999", if only for the great looking spacecraft, and if something space related came along, I grabbed it. I grew up watching the space shuttle evolve and followed the space colonization movement, even in the aftermath of that "60 Minutes" segment and the resulting brouhaha.


You must remember exactly where you were when you heard about Challenger, then. I was in the student union on my way to class at the Universtity of Illinois. I heard a radio announcement rater than seeing a tv image, but I still recall my exact position and velocity (scientifically impossible as that may be).


It's getting hard to dream, though.


Y'know what sums that up for me more than anything else. One of my all-time favorite scenes from "Star Trek: The Next Generataion" was when Captain Picard's older brother finally demonstrated some appreciation for Picard's urge to voyage out there, and his young son (Picard's nephew) sits in a tree looking at the stars, while his father tells his mother to "Let him dream." Then, they totally destroy the mood in a later movie (honestly, now I can't remember if it was "Generations" or "First Contact") in which the brother and nephew are said to have died off-camera and for no apparent plot-driving reason. Just "Oh by the way, the kid dreaming of the wonderful potential of the future...he's dead. Just thought you'd want to know."


What troubles me are those children growing up today and the world they see. The world seems to be growing encapsulated.


Ok, I've been feeding your downer-ness, but I'm going to end on an up note. I can speak to this practically rather than theoretically, having a 10-year-old of my own. Somehow, she is doing better in all areas of life than I ever would have thought possible, despite the character flaws of her father. She's artistic, smart, loving, eager to help, and a completely un-shy, un-awkward ham who loves nothing more than a microphone and a spotlight. She's the type who becomes a natural leader of any group that she's in just because she has ideas when no one else does. And in her circle of friends, she's the type who is a valued asset to all.

And I had no more cause to think a child of mine would turn out that way than you do.

Sure, I watch the degredation of the world we live in and fear for her future, but I also can see that she's going to have a much better life than I did, and mine didn't really suck at all by any reasonable metric.

Anonymous said...

"You must remember exactly where you were when you heard about Challenger, then."
Outside. 28°F, about a hundred yards east of US.1 in a trashy little trailer park in northeast Florida. Binoculars in hand.
Hit me very, very hard watching that tragedy unfold. A neighbor yelled "it's jes droppin' a stage!" I knew better.
- Robert L.

Robert said...

High School. And I watched the fragments raining down over and over until I was late to class... and said to my teacher "I think someone could have survived that." She did not take it well, seeing that one of her own (a fellow teacher) died on that spaceplane.

Ironically enough, later studies revealed I was right. The explosion probably didn't immediately kill the astronauts. The sudden impact at the end definitely did, however. And all because NASA was forced to cut corners and not put in some sort of ejection system. Bastard bean counters.

Rob H.

Rob said...

I was in high school. The staff put televisions in the common areas and kept the news channels on.

The teachers were dogged about getting through the day. One of mine went as far as to say he was aware that a rocket had exploded, and that it was interesting, but then again, so was the Sectional Crisis (or something like that) and that he was sure there would be plenty of time to discuss the rocket but no time like that hour to discuss antebellum American History.

I agonized for years afterwards at the ennui I felt about the event. Eight people died and I felt nothing except "woah, dude, rad explosion!" I suppose a teenage existential crisis is better than none at all...

Anonymous said...

The air the day we lost Challenger was crystalline blue and fairly still. The cloud from the explosion remained in the sky for a very long time, almost an hour, looking like a ghostly, ethereal jellyfish, the tendrils the delicate tracings of fallen debris. It was hard to avoid looking at, to be honest, except for the knowledge of what had happened. Meanwhile inside, Dan Rather and crew were busy replaying the destruction.
On my desk at work, I have a little diecast space shuttle, the complete stack. It's maybe 1/500 scale, and I've had it since January 1986. A mentor of mine was one of the Teacher in Space candidates, and that worn little model reminds me of that.
It also reminds, again, of the damned bean counters. The shuttle was a bastardized design, the result of budget cuts and conflicting missions. As originally designed, the orbiter was huge, over 60 meters by itself, and part of a flyback combination. The rest of the shuttle's development is public record, and there is no denying its mixed heritage. But it flew, in bastardized form, even in the face of the bean counters for whom space was a prize, not a place.
- Robert L

LarryHart said...

Rob:

I agonized for years afterwards at the ennui I felt about the event. Eight people died and I felt nothing except "woah, dude, rad explosion!" I suppose a teenage existential crisis is better than none at all...


The impact of the Challenger disaster--the reason we all remember where we heard about it--goes beyond the individual deaths. Christa McAuliffe and the other passengers represented a step toward opening up space travel to the common citizen. And the disaster slammed that door shut in our faces.

It was the real-life counterpart to the fictional Enterprise crew coming face to face with the Borg--the sudden realization that space exploration isn't just a fun adventure. That there's real existential danger involved.

David Brin said...

My World Book was 1960 plus a later Americana. Nearly read them all. Middle child, little money. Watts riots. Inner city high school. Early and horrific divorce. We all have burdens.

dsmith said...

Dr. Brin,

GE used to have the majority share of NBC Universal, but Comcast bought the majority last year. So now the content and the pipes are owned by the same company. Not only that, but an FEC commissioner who approved the deal went to work for the company 4 months after she left her government post.

rewinn said...

@Dr Brin asked about:
"...mass mailing to 2000 fan addresses I have on file?

Constant Contact has been very good to me.
It does all sorts of fun things, including handy reports of bounces, opens and clickthroughs. It can even let fans sign themselves up for your fan newsletter - a great convenience!

"Contrary Brin" might make quite a decent newsletter ... and you may be able to cover CC's monthly charge by embedding links to something to purchase. How many fans have all your stuff and, of those who do, how many may actively like the chance to impulse-buy something for a favored nephew or niece?

@Robert L wrote:

"The shuttle was a bastardized design, the result of budget cuts and conflicting missions..."

Was there not also a need to build components in odd places to garner political support? IIRC, the solid-fuel boosters came in sections small enough to transport in railcars from ?Utah?, which on the face of it is insane, and which directly contributed to the disaster.

David Brin said...

The piece of work congressman from the distrcit next to mine.

http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2012/02/where-are-the-women.html

http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla
/2012/02/where-are-the-women.html

LarryHart said...

Concerning Darrel Issa and his fellow Republicans now waging a war on contraception of all things (Seriously? They see THIS as a winning issue for them?)...

How did the public consciousness get so dumbed down as to think "religious freedom" means the exact opposite of what it means.

Religious freedom as mentioned in the First Amendment means freedom to worship as one chooses without the state stepping in to insist at gunpoint that you must be an Anglican or whatever. The "freedom" applies to the individual, who is free to choose the manner in which he does (or does not) participate in religion.

Republicans are using the term to mean that the Catholic Church must be allowed the "religious freedom" to impose its will on anyone it comes in contact with--that individuals actaully LACK freedom of religion because such freedom interferes with the "religious freedom" of the religious institutions.

The only good I see coming of this one is that the GOP really could alienate many of its voters. This may be their next "Terry Schiavo" issue, just in time for November.

Tacitus2 said...

I was talking on the phone to the family of a woman I had just diagnosed with colon cancer. They seemed distracted and used the word "challenge" in a sort of non sequiter way. I am certainly accustomed to patients and families having difficulty accepting hard news, but to literally "challenge" it..

Of course they had the TV on in the background and were actually saying Challenger. Two bits of very bad news for that family that day.

David, and provisional route for your promo tour this summer? You seem to have mentioned west and east coast jaunts but will the heartland go unvisited?

Tacitus

Tim H. said...

An interesting perspective on Challenger here:
http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2012/09/roger_boisjoly_and_the_management_hat.php
Roger Boisjoly was a Morton Thiokol engineer who warned NASA managers about the O-rings.

Stefan Jones said...

Interestingly, I heard the news of the Challenger explosion from a college professor. Interesting, because it was a class about technological risk or policy or assessment . . . to long to remember exactly.

I do remember one lummox in back of that class guffawing about it "going up in a big fireball." And a day or so later, a young woman said, in a triumphant, gloating manner (closely paraphrasing): "They were punished for against God!"

Anonymous said...

My boss's fiance called with the news about Challenger. She was busy, so I caught the call. We ended up in my boss's boss's office, which had a TV set.

rewinn said...

Holy cow!
The Order of the Stick Kickstarter is approaching One Million Dollars!.

Kickstarter is becoming the financing equivalent of Twitter or email - bypassing the large established institutions other than the Kickstarter platform itself.

As an individual, each author on this blog might well ponder whether they'd like to use something like this to get a little cash up-front; as a citizen, each of us might ponder how this tool might stimulate innovation by reducing barriers to entering the marketplace.

sociotard said...

An article about a teenager who built a working fusion reactor. Not fission, fusion.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-02/boy-who-played-fusion

jafd said...

Some points about the "hot spots for terrorist attacks"

1 - SmartPlanet.com didn't provide a link or a bibliographic cite of the original study

2 - The study covers 1970-2008, acts of right, left and center. While the study probably defines "terrorist attack", the SmartPlanet summary doesn't. One wonders what minimum violence or damage qualifies.

3 - There's no correlation given between 'attacks' and county population. If more than a third of the population lives in urban areas, then are some rural areas hard hit, while some cities are tranquil?
Are there places getting more 'attacks' than one might expect?

David Brin said...

Tacitus, my book tour will only include the east coats if I can pile together invites from enough bookstores, media outslets and speeches.

But the heartland will get me end of August, at the World Science Fiction Convention -- Chicon -- in Chicago!

LarryHart said...

Hey, maybe Tac and I (and the wife) can all meet you there!

David Brin said...

Sounds terrific.

Meanwhile.... onward...