Several days ago, Lawrence Lessig, a friend and legal adviser for Aaron Swartz released this statement regarding Aaron’s death (source):
(Some will say this is not the time. I disagree. This is the time when every mixed emotion needs to find voice.)
Since his arrest in January, 2011, I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer. He shared with me what went down and why, and I worked with him to get help. When my obligations to Harvard created a conflict that made it impossible for me to continue as a lawyer, I continued as a friend. Not a good enough friend, no doubt, but nothing was going to draw that friendship into doubt.
The billions of snippets of sadness and bewilderment spinning across the Net confirm who this amazing boy was to all of us. But as I’ve read these aches, there’s one strain I wish we could resist:
If I were going to describe the perfect contraceptive, it would go something like this: no babies, no latex, no daily pill to remember, no hormones to interfere with mood or sex drive, no negative health effects whatsoever, and 100 percent effectiveness. The funny thing is, something like that currently exists.
The procedure called RISUG in India (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) takes about 15 minutes with a doctor, is effective after about three days, and lasts for 10 or more years. A doctor applies some local anesthetic, makes a small pinhole in the base of the scrotum, reaches in with a pair of very thin forceps, and pulls out the small white vas deferens tube. Then, the doctor injects the polymer gel (called Vasalgel here in the US), pushes the vas deferens back inside, repeats the process for the other vas deferens, puts a Band-Aid over the small hole, and the man is on his way. If this all sounds incredibly simple and inexpensive, that’s because it is. The chemicals themselves cost less than the syringe used to administer them. But the science of what happens next is the really fascinating part.
Computer security firm McAfee Labs released its annual Threat Predictions report today, taking a look at what we’ll see (and hope not to see) on 2013’s deck of malware and viruses. Interestingly, McAfee’s analysis predicts a decline in Anonymous’ attacks, a rise in the frequency and sophistication of mobile malware, and a rise in large-scale attacks that aim to cause as much destruction as possible.
This time last year, McAfee’s report for 2012 predicted that “Hacktivism and Anonymous will reboot and evolve.” While this year didn’t see anything on the level of the hacks of Sony and HBGary from 2011, Anonymous did execute a number of high-profileattacks and threats. Now McAfee says that in 2013, hacktivisim will be conducted by more homogeneous, politically-motivated groups rather than Anonymous’ pantheon of personalities and pet causes. Still, McAfee suggests that Anonymous may be able to stage a few high-visibility attacks in the coming months despite its predicted decline. The report reads: More…
Artificial limbs like these could be only the beginning of man-machine interfaces, the National Intelligence Council predicts. Photo: DoD
3-D printed organs. Brain chips providing superhuman abilities. Megacities, built from scratch. The U.S. intelligence community is taking a look at the world of 2030. And it is very, very sci-fi. More…
Sudanese security forces have captured what they describe as an electronically tagged vulture which was dispatched by the Israeli military on a surveillance mission over Sudan; the Sudanese claimed the vulture was equipped with a camera, a solar-powered satellite uplink, and a GPS device; the Sudanese also claimed that the surveillance gear was produced by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and that it was stamped with the university’s logo
Sudanese officials told the Egyptian Web site El Balad that Sudanese security forces have captures an electronically tagged vulture which was dispatched by the Israeli military on a surveillance mission over Sudan. More…
Apple will need to rely on automation to make its U.S. factory work
Computerworld – Apple’s planned investment of $100 million next year in a U.S. manufacturing facility is relatively small, but still important. Apple has the money, talent and resources to build a highly automated factory that turns out products that are potentially cost competitive with those it now makes in China.
This will be the premier place to find out who is doing what, and where, in the permaculture world. You can search for projects by keyword, and/or filter to specific project types. You can even constrain your search by climate zone, so you can find others working in similar conditions as yourself. As you search, you’ll see pins on the world map below appear or disappear to reflect your search results, and you can either browse the project cards or click on map pins to go to individual project profiles. More…
An anti-piracy company has found itself in the middle of a huge controversy. CIAPC, the company that had The Pirate Bay blocked by ISPs in Finland, tracked an alleged file-sharer and demanded a cash settlement. However, the Internet account holder refused to pay which escalated things to an unprecedented level. In response, this week police raided the home of the 9-year-old suspect and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop.
Very soon in the United States, letters will be sent out to Internet account holders informing them that they should stop sharing copyrighted material on BitTorrent.
The message in the US from mainstream rightsholders is designed to be educational, but more aggressive companies carry out the same process but with a sting in the tail – a request for cash-settlement to make potential lawsuits go away.
One such request for cash landed on the doorstep of an Internet account holder in Finland during the spring. Known locally as TTVK, Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC sent the man a letter informing him that his account had been traced back to an incidence of online file-sharing.
To stop matters progressing further the man was advised to pay a settlement of 600 euros, sign a non-disclosure document, and move on with his life. He chose not to give in to the demands of CIAPC and this week things escalated as promised.
The Husqvarna AB Automower 265 ACX. Source: Husqvarna AB
Europe’s backyards have become the latest front in the robot wars.
With a quarter of lawn owners saying they dislike mowing the grass, sales of machines that will do the job for them are taking off, especially in Europe where landscaping services are more expensive than in the U.S.
That has spurred a legion of manufacturers to challenge market leader Husqvarna AB. (HUSQB) Robert Bosch GmbH, Deere & Co. (DE) and Global Garden Products Italy SpA this year started offering robotic mowers, which Husqvarna sells for as much as 5,000 euros ($6,487). Honda Motor Co. (7267) plans to enter the fray in 2013. More…
Seasteading ambassador Lasse Birk Olesen has been one of the most effective messengers of our vision, and probably the most effective messenger in all of Europe. He has spoken to dozens of groups in his native country of Denmark, and reached countless others through online forums and his volunteer work for the Institute and Blueseed.
Czechs on Thursday mourned the death of Jakub Halik, a 38-year-old fireman, who became the first human ever to have survived six months without a heart on artificial life support, but succumbed to liver and kidney failure. More…
Reality is big. So our optimism must be confined to sentient beings in our forward light-cone. But I tentatively predict that the last experience below “hedonic zero” will be a precisely dateable event several hundred years hence. Here are five grounds for cautious optimism:
We Shall Soon Be Able To Choose Our Own Level Of Pain-SensitivityMore…
“Yes (sort of),” says Chris Hables Gray, a “pragmatic anarchist feminist revolutionary” who works as a lecturer of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Cal State Monterey. He believes “devolution” of large nations into smaller regions will improve democratic decision-making.
Is this a “transhumanist” topic? Indeed, it is.
The Terasem Survey revealed that 20.1% of H+ responders predict “Abolition of Government” in the next 100 years, with an additional 15.% foreseeing “Thousands of Small Fractured States.” California secession fits handily into the latter category.
Technology and regulation: A research project considers how the law should deal with technologies that blur man and machine
SPEAKING at a conference organised by The Economist earlier this year, Hugh Herr, a roboticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described disabilities as conditions that persist “because of poor technology” and made the bold claim that during the 21st century disability would be largely eliminated. What gave his words added force was that half way through his speech, after ten minutes of strolling around the stage, he unexpectedly pulled up his trouser legs to reveal his bionic legs, and then danced a little jig. In future, he suggested, people might choose to replace an arthritic, painful limb with a fully functional robotic one. “Why wouldn’t you replace it?” he asked. “We’re going to see a lot of unusual situations like that.” More…
Huffington Post reports that “(t)he plans of a University of Texas law student and amateur desktop gunsmith were put on hold last week when the company that had leased the sophisticated 3-D printer sent a team to his house and reclaimed it.” We reported on Defense Distributed’s open source weapon project here. This is significant because the capabilities of home produced weapons will eventually lead to technologies such as 3D printers and associated materials and designs being restricted by the state or outright banned. John Robb theorized about the eventual restriction and banning of drone technology. Widespread, cheap, home production of weapons is a serious threat to the state’s monopoly on violence, so you can imagine that they will be cast as dangerous to the public. However, John Robb says that widespread access to such weapons is necessary:
One big reason is that drones/bots make the emergence of police states more likely since they allow a very small number of people to automate their control over a great many people. So, in order to ensure the future doesn’t careen in that direction, we should democratize the technology as a counter-weight.
It is a dream for everyone as they grow older to turn back the clock and live in a younger body once again. While many have developed ways to make the body look younger cosmetically, there have been very few effective methods to combat the aging process within the body – until now.
For the first time ever, researchers have identified a crucial protein responsible for the decline of muscle repair and agility as the body ages. Upon this discovery, the scientists were able to effectively halt muscle decline in mice, giving hope to similar treatments for humans in the future.
Religion. Sports. War. Biologist E.O. Wilson says our drive to join a group—and to fight for it—is what makes us human.
Have you ever wondered why, in the ongoing presidential campaign, we so strongly hear the pipes calling us to arms? Why the religious among us bristle at any challenge to the creation story they believe? Or even why team sports evoke such intense loyalty, joy, and despair?
The answer is that everyone, no exception, must have a tribe, an alliance with which to jockey for power and territory, to demonize the enemy, to organize rallies and raise flags.
The System has played a trick on today’s would-be revolutionaries and rebels. The trick is so cute that if it had been consciously planned one would have to admire it for its almost mathematical elegance.
1. What the System is Not
Let’s begin by making clear what the System is not. The System is not George W. Bush and his advisors and appointees, it is not the cops who maltreat protesters, it is not the CEOs of the multinational corporations, and it is not the Frankensteins in their laboratories who criminally tinker with the genes of living things. All of these people are servants of the System, but in themselves they do not constitute the System. In particular, the personal and individual values, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of any of these people may be significantly in conflict with the needs of the System.
What is the single most devastating threat to the existence of the modern nation-state? It is globalization and the new form of warfare that was spawned with it. Coined by the some as Fourth Generation Warfare or 4GW, it seeks to hamper globalization even if globalization enabled in the first place. In peacetime, the soldier’s task is to prepare for a future conflict. This task entails the anticipation of how the next war may be like, and this gets incrementally difficult over time.
The psychiatric literature is so confusing that even the dissidents disagree. Photograph by Dan Winters.
You arrive for work and someone informs you that you have until five o’clock to clean out your office. You have been laid off. At first, your family is brave and supportive, and although you’re in shock, you convince yourself that you were ready for something new. Then you start waking up at 3 A.M., apparently in order to stare at the ceiling. You can’t stop picturing the face of the employee who was deputized to give you the bad news. He does not look like George Clooney. You have fantasies of terrible things happening to him, to your boss, to George Clooney. You find—a novel recognition—not only that you have no sex drive but that you don’t care. You react irritably when friends advise you to let go and move on. After a week, you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. After two weeks, you have a hard time getting out of the house. You go see a doctor. The doctor hears your story and prescribes an antidepressant. Do you take it?