I found this to be an incredibly interesting article. I was confused at first at the whole “a baseball contract is more justifiable than any wall street deal” type of comment until I read what he meant: That the deal itself is free from corruption because both sides of the contract must agree to and sign it. A concept like that seems so simple, but when he points out that this is NOT what happens on wall street for high-level executives, it takes on a much heavier significance.
Talk about insider trading…it’s ridiculous that all the salary decisions are made by the people who benefit from them. It’s just a flat out conflict in interest. How is something like that even legal? Where are these people who determine these things?
Ohhhh right, they’re making the exact same decisions for themselves in Congress. Gee…how are we able to function as a country again? I wonder sometimes…
Zeus and Hera were having an argument over who has the most pleasure in a sexual intercourse, a man or a woman. Zeus teased Hera, by saying that the woman had more pleasure than a man did. Hera had the opposite view.
To prove their point, they went to see Teiresias, who had sex as a man…
I’m wondering how Teiresias knew what was better than having sex as a woman, since it only got a 9 out of 10, and what it was. Did he know something that even the Gods did not? Hehe…curious. Maybe dogs or cows or Krakens or some other creature got more pleasure from sex than a woman, earning that 10 out of 10 by which he could create the rest of the scale.
I mean, those Krakens are pretty damn big…that’s a lot of potential nerve endings… :P
The Mets had an entire lineup, one through nine, of home grown players today. That’s pretty astounding, in this day and age. Especially with the Mets; a large-market team, albeit with financial struggles, to have a fully home grown lineup? Who would have thought! Of course, it took injuries to Torres and Bay for this to happen, but still…it’s impressive. And they even won (holy shit!!!)!
Also, I said way back in spring training that they should give Niuwenhuis the CF job, since they really have nothing to lose this year. No one agreed with me…but here he is, starting from game 2, kicking ass. I think Torres should absolutely be a bench player when he comes back (or play in LF until Bay gets back).
It’s nice to see, in general, more of an emphasis on home grown players. In the 90s and mid-2000s, the Mets believed they could just sign what they need…it wasn’t until Reyes and Wright came up that they finally realized you need a team with both kinds of players in order to win. This year, they could have bought or traded for a 2B or a RF, but they stuck with Duda and Murphy, and so far it’s working. This will mean they’ll have more money to spend on necessary things for next year. It’s the proper way to build a team.
This is a pretty damn cool idea. The concept of self-replication is probably something that isn’t explored, or at least mentioned, enough in space exploration.
The last time I heard of the concept was in the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode where they decide to lay a mine field of cloaked, self-replicating mines in front of the wormhole to prevent the Dominion reinforcements from arriving from the Gamma Quadrant.
Yes, this is from science fiction—and this is my point. If we CAN do it now, we SHOULD. Think of how much effort and resources something like this can save? And not just for SETI, but for the other uses mentioned in the article: clean-up and recycling of space debris, tagging and tracking of near-earth asteroids, lightspeed communications over large distances…all of this without the need for manpower or money.
And, speaking of money, how awesome is this quote:
"If [extraterrestrials] are like us, they too have a dysfunctional government and all the other problems plaguing us," said Mathews. "They won’t want to spend a lot to communicate with us."
HA! Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be proud of this guy, and so am I. Everything I read these days gives me the impression that we can be so much farther ahead in space science than we actually are already, but we’re being inhibited by politics and money.
Maybe once a functional space elevator is built, we’ll start looking at things a little differently. But that might still be 50 years off. Aaargh.
Anyway, great article, with lots of interesting points about the current state and needs of space exploration and SETI.
… I came—though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents—to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The…
What I take from this—and I have said this before—is that it is absolutely possible to have FAITH in something that is not the equivalent of RELIGION. The word “faith” and its meaning are so often bastardized and hijacked by religious institution that people have begun to think there is no other way to “have faith.” And this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As I also said before, I have PLENTY of faith in lots of things, both simple and deep. None of those things, however, are a religion or a god or gods. But I still am a deeply spiritual person who has a great deal of faith in myself, the people around me, rationality, and the human ability to examine, understand, and improve the world around us.
This is an interesting article more for its ideas than necessarily its implementation. In short—and I just had this conversation with my dad yesterday—I think the 2 party system in America is completely broken. And, I think it’s beginning to make things worse.
I sometimes feel like American is in a state of idealogical civil war, a civil war of philosophy. Every election cycle these days seems to be forcing the divide between the two sides (liberals and conservatives) to grow. I attribute this mostly to the degradation of the actual campaign process and the increasing acceptance of tactics that were previously considered dishonorable. There’s more mud-flinging, inaccurate accusations, faulty numbers, skewed opinions being put forward as true fact, and in general lots of disrespect and dishonesty.
If these things now define the electoral process in this country, howarewe supposed to find a “good” candidate? How can we the people actually find someone who is honest and who will actually address the issues of the majority of Americans?
I don’t know about this Americans Elect thing…it sounds like just an interesting survey at this point. It seems to me like if they really want to take strides toward legitimacy and actual worldly impact, they have to start challenging the entrenched two party system more directly.
Like many other things, I think the two party system is obsolete. Are there two kinds of people in this country? Not even close. I wrote recently about how I feel bad for rational or sympathetic conservative thinkers who have conservative financial opinions yet agree with Democrats on social policies. This is a perfect example of how the two party system no longer serves the country as a whole. You can no longer be “just” a Republican or a Democrat. There’s no such thing; no one agrees with everything their party wants to do, yet they are forced to choose between only two candidates who are polar opposites of one another. Since the majority of people, statistically speaking, probably fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, what aretheyto do?
Americans Elects seems like a nice place to start to at least approach the idea of some sort of legitimate third-party candidate. But what’s it really going to do if no one actually votes for said candidate in the election? Not a lot….let’s move this forward more quickly, please.
Do religious literalists really not understand what a “fact” actually is? I mean, even the act of trying to determine a factual date from something from scripture borders on irrational, because the source data itself isn’t factual. Why even bother? Doing so just makes you look like an idiot to any rational person.
But of course, I doubt that religious people even—or ever—care about such things.
At the very least, one would think that the “intellectuals” who came up with the date estimations in this article would have at least mentioned other actual scientific results that might conflict. That’s what any real scientist would do, put their findings in context. I guess even that’s beyond these people.
So all of a sudden, without telling me, Tumblr started automatically posting all of my “likes” on my Facebook timeline. I never told it to actually do that, and it never used to do that until apparently just a few days ago. Already, two friends of mine are annoyed that posts of theirs that I like ended up losing their Tumblr anonymity by having it linked with my real-life Facebook account.
WHY THE FUCK WOULD IT DO THIS??? It’s so fricken annoying and, in my opinion, quite irresponsible of Tumblr (and other such entities) to make the DEFAULT option LESS private the the previous standard WITHOUT TELLING PEOPLE.
So, Tumblr, thanks for being a jerk an ruining my friends’ preferred anonymity by being sneaky and underhanded. Please don’t do that again.
And, my sincere apologies to my real-life Tumbling friends who were affected by this.
This is the most disturbing thing I’ve read in a long time. The fact that Republicans all seem to be okay with their behavior is astounding. We are NOT in a political civil war…or are we? Seems that some people think so. Someone needs to slap a whole bunch of people in the face to get them to wake the hell up. And NOW, before this spreads.
Voting all these idiots out of office could be a good start…
There is a proposed system of government in which intelligence is the criteria for governance. It’s called Geniocracy: Government of the people, for the people, by the geniuses.
It is a selective democracy that would put a college of geniuses in power, first in individual countries and…
First off, I’m not quite in favor of this becoming a world-wide regime. Let’s start with something a little more local, and a little more practical.
When I first saw this fact, I was reminded of something I grew curious about a long time ago: Is it a good idea, or even possible, to institute some sort of intelligence requirement for running for office in America?
First off, I know this is not quite in the spirit of what the founders of our country had in mind. But neither was non-slavery or, well, electricity, television, the internet, and all of the other things that have come to greatly affect the election process (ahem…money…cough…). So, practically speaking, I don’t think that’s an issue.
But what about philosophically? Is it a good idea to do something like this, based on both our history and our current state of the world? The founding fathers viewed service in government as just that: a service that was an honor for one to perform, after which he or she (if they ever even thought women could serve…250 years ago people!) would return to the life they put on hold to help the country run itself. Nowadays, you have “career” politicians who must always say the right thing, look good on television, and try to cater to every single person in an overly large division of political ideal. What does this lead to? People who are not honest about what they believe in, and people who say they will do things without understanding why.
And here’s the other thing: Being able to understand how government really works and affects the world is hard. It’s MUCH bigger than it ever was (this is not a bad thing! The country is also bigger than it ever was, both in size (50 states vs. 13) and population), and there are many more issues to keep track of than ever before. With that in mind, does it still make sense to make the only requirement for running for Congress that a person be born here and over a certain age? How on earth does that actually qualify someone to make decisions of government? For every other job in this country, one must prove qualifications, intelligence, ability, and drive. Not so for politics. And before you start thinking so, these things are NOT what is determined by the election process itself. If that were so, we wouldn’t just choose another of the very few available candidates who are determined by money and circumstance. We would instead reject them all and say “NEXT!” until we found someone that DID fit the actual requirements.
With all of this in mind, why can’t we change the rules that determine who can run for office? I don’t want a lawyer or a businessman making policy decisions on medicine or the military. Indeed, how can they? They take advice, they try to learn on the job, but who’s to say they’re even qualified to do that? “We the people?”
Well, I’m sorry, but the collective “people” have always shown a lack of logic, intelligence, restraint, understanding, and a care for all people around them. There has been a lot written or referenced on “mob mentality” when dealing with large groups of people, and how they quite often make unintelligent, uninformed decision. That’s what happens in the current political process.
So why not make some sort of REAL qualification requirement for asking to be the person who makes the decisions that affect millions of people? There are ways to assess intelligence and ability for these things. While they may not be perfect systems (IQ tests are flawed), they are much more indicative that simply listening to people pander to large crowds of cheering people (this creates its own psychological situation that also greatly affect how one would govern). Even a polygraph to determine what a candidate REALLY thinks would be useful.
Is something like this really too much ask of our political candidates? When they have such an extreme amount of responsibility to deal with if they were to achieve office, we should damn well WANT to know exactly whom we elected. And the best way to ensure this is to make them prove it ahead of time.
I actually did think once about also suggesting some sort of intelligence assessment for the ability to vote in the first place. I mean, who do you think can make a better assessment of who can better run the country, someone who’s actually studied how to do so and who has actually passed exams proving he knows this stuff, or someone who’s never even been told how the government actually works and what it does? Why should those votes be absolutely equal? Because they both exist on the same part of a particular continent? That doesn’t make much rational sense to me.
But at the same time, that’s much less practical to enforce (but I’m still not so sure it’s actually a bad idea). Putting the actual candidates through a much more rigorous requirement process would be much more effective, and would draw much less ire from all corners of the country.
All in all, I just want qualified people to make the decisions on difficult subjects. Our country and the government’s responsibilities are too big and too important to let anyone who was born here think they’re qualified to run all of it.
This is a very cool slideshow of futuristic things that have always been considered sci-fi that are actually in production now.
However, despite there being 10 items on this list, I honestly think 2 of them are more important—or at least more exciting—than the others. Those are #2, the Space Elevator, and #10, Wireless Electricity.
2. The Space Elevator
This idea has been around for a while, but there have of course been a whole ton of hurdles getting in the way of it. The first, of course, is the sheer size of it and the amount of resources it would require to build it. Not to mention the logistical issues. But, as I said, the idea has been around forever, and it even made an appearance in at least one Star Trek episode (I believe it was a Voyager episode where Neelix and Tuvok were stuck in one).
I remember many, many years ago seeing an interview of a scientist who said that one of the main issues with the Space Elevator was finding a material that could A) retain its strength and flexibility in the near-absolute-zero temperatures of space, and B) could stand the immense wind sheer one would experience at extremely high altitudes when tethered to the ground. Incidentally, the picture in this slideshow is probably entirely inaccurate for what an eventual Space Elevator would actually look like: it would probably resemble more of a rope experiencing drag rather than a straight metal column. Considering I heard this interview at least ten years ago, I’m sure they’re much closer to having the right materials—perhaps they even do already, if Japan says they can build one now.
Anyway, the reason why this is so important should be evident to anyone who follows the current state of space travel. The American Space Shuttle has been retired, and purchasing rides from Russia is currently our only means of reaching space now. And aside from that, the Russian method and (I think) the leading candidates for the next American space launch are all still based on chemical rockets. For those who don’t know, chemical rockets as the means to get to space are TERRIBLE. They are dangerous, expensive, and are an INCREDIBLE source of upper-atmosphere pollutants (they KILL the Ozone layer). In fact, I remember reading a fact I think as far back as the late 80’s that the leading cause of upper-atmosphere Ozone deterioration was actually Rocket/Space Shuttle launches. That fact needs to be checked, but I distinctly remember something like this.
Thus, replacing the need for chemical rockets would be an incredible achievement in space travel and accessibility. Imagine, if you will: All you’d need to do to get to space would be to hop in the car and press the metaphorical button as it were. This would allow for many, many more trips with a fraction of the pollution and danger. It’s a fantastic idea that, if it really can be implemented in the next 35 years, would revolutionize space access.
10. Wireless Electricity
Remember that scene in Independence Day where they meet Brent Spiner and he tells them about the ship they actually recovered from Roswell? He says that they were never able to replicate their power source until the aliens showed up presently, and that “all the little gadgets started lighting up” once they arrived. As far back as then, I began wondering if it was possible to power something remotely.
How amazing would this be for mobile devices? For electric cars in the near future? For just about everything with a battery, or that even uses electricity? I know that recently Induction Plates are becoming more popular. Perhaps this is the first step toward being able to power something without it plugging in. The fanciful optimist in me imagines the possibility of wireless electricity meaning that my laptop or cellphone battery will never go dead. Or at least that I don’t have to find a plug to charge it.
Of course, that’s not exactly what the Powermat is (see the link in the slideshow). But the next step would seemingly be the lack of a need to actually touch something to your chargeable device. Will it one day be possible to power something in a “field”? As in, if your phone is in this room, it will charge? Something like that? That’s the real future of wireless power (although the companies that charge you money for electricity usage rates might have a hard time adapting), if it’s possible. It would be nice to have “all those little gadgets light up” without having to plug anything in. A wireless power field would be pretty game-changing.
I hope I get to see these things in action before I die.
(Oh yeah, and, um, mind reading is pretty cool too. :D)
This is an amazing article by Penn Jillette, one of my favorite intellectual celebrities (and he’s an INCREDIBLE card magician, too). There are some very interesting points in here about the power of art and the ignorance of what art can do, especially when weighed against money. I am 100% in Penn’s corner on this one, and anything else like it.
I first saw Blue Man Group when it was relatively new in the early 90’s. I haven’t seen it since (almost 20 years!), but I still have quite distinct memories of the show itself, and to date I have never seen anything quite as creative and entertaining. I’d love to see them again soon to see how the show has changed over 20 years. If I found that it hadn’t changed a bit, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit disappointed. They are truly amazing artists.