Jihadists, War Games, Papal Idiocy, Twitter, Crimethink & Expanding Ignorance

To deprogram a Jihadist: Rehab didn’t work for al-Qaeda’s deputy in Yemen. Can it work for any terrorist? Macleans

Time to Take the Riddle Out of Russia. Moscow Times

Same old fudges and loopholes in Obama’s new era of ethics Telegraph
The slogan was: “Change you can believe in.” But now that Barack Obama is in office, the new dawn is looking like a false one.

Call for pope to step down over Holocaust denier
Attacks on Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust denier are escalating, with a German theologian now calling for the Pope to step down as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. “If the pope wants to do some good for the Church, he should leave his job,” eminent liberal Catholic theologian Hermann Haering tells German daily Tageszeitung. More here.

Fortress Europe Is Taking ShapeSpiegel
The European Parliament has approved new measures for handling illegal immigrants in the European Union. But does it make the EU more humane? More here.

Remember the 1983 movie War Games, in which Matthew Broderick plays tic tac toe with an out-of-control computer to prevent global thermonuclear war? Check out these links on the convergence of humans and technology.

US to build fastest computer on planet for managing nuclear arsenal. Times of London
A supercomputer with the processing power of two million laptops is to be built by IBM for the US government to help manage its nuclear arsenal. IBM announced it was developing the technology for its “Sequoia” system, which will be easily the fastest computer on the planet, with delivery to the Department of Energy (DOE) scheduled in 2011. According to IBM, Sequoia will be able to achieve performance speeds of up to 20 petaflops or 20,000 trillion calculations a second. Twenty petaflops of computing power is the equivalent to 3 million computations for every human on the planet per second. It would take 120 billion people – almost 20 times as many people as there are on Earth – using calculators nearly 50 years to process what Sequoia could achieve in a single day. Sequoia’s price tag has not been disclosed but is likely to be well over $100 million. Tic Tac Toe anyone?

Google and Nasa back new school for futurists. Financial Times
Google and Nasa are throwing their weight behind a new school for futurists in Silicon Valley to prepare scientists for an era when machines become cleverer than people. The new institution, known as “Singularity University”, is to be headed by Ray Kurzweil, whose predictions about the exponential pace of technological change have made him a controversial figure in technology circles.
Google and Nasa’s backing demonstrates the growing mainstream acceptance of Mr Kurzweil’s views, which include a claim that before the middle of this century artificial intelligence will outstrip human beings, ushering in a new era of civilization. Singularity University will offer courses on biotechnology, nano-technology and artificial intelligence.

Twitter, Communication, and My Intermittent Inner Luddite Naked Capitalism
So why do I hate Twitter? Twitter is troubling reminiscent of Newspeak, the language being developed by Oceania in George Orwell’s 1984 to control thought. Twitter encourages people to accept a medium that severely constrains communication, and calls a defect a virtue. Marshall McLuhan was right.

Excerpt from “The Principles of Newspeak”
Some examples of Newspeak/English Translations from Orwell’s novel :

Original Newspeak: Times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unperson rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

English Translation: The reporting of Big Brother’s “Order of the Day” in the Times of December 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes reference to nonexistent persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to higher authority before filing.

Original English: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that thy are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government…..”

Newspeak Translation : Crimethink

Meanwhile, over at The Technium….

Two Strands of ConnectionismRead the analysis here.

Speculations on the Change of ChangeRead the analysis here.
In the long term, the transitions that sprout from the evolution of science will rival the influence of language, because science changes the way change happens. In fact, change in the scientific process is the fastest moving edge of change in the world.

The Expansion of Ignorance More here.
The fastest growing entity today is information. Information is expanding ten times faster than the growth of any other manufactured or natural product on this planet. Worldwide information has been increasing at the rate of 66% per year for many decades. Compare that explosion to the rate of increase in even the most prolific manufactured stuff – like concrete, or paper — which averages only 7% annually over decades. it’s a safe bet that we have not asked our biggest questions yet. Or, to put it another way, we have not yet reached our maximum ignorance.


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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