Half of stars lurk outside galaxies : Nature News & Comment

Rocket experiment captures glow attributed to renegade stars in intergalactic space.

Source: Half of stars lurk outside galaxies : Nature News & Comment


How would our philosophies today be different if our solar system were not part of a galaxy? If we developed in a cosmic void with as little hope of ever reaching another star as of swimming across the Pacific ocean?

Big Data and the Underground Railroad

Industry and government say “collect everything.” History suggests this is a bad idea.

We used to try to protect people at each stage of data processing—collection, analysis, sharing. Now, it’s collect first and ask questions later.

There is a moral lag in the way we treat data. Far too often, today’s discrimination was yesterday’s national security or public health necessity.

Over time, tens of thousands of runaway slaves would escape bondage on the Underground Railroad. How many of them would have made it in the age of big data?

In the spring of 1940, Japanese Americans received visits from census examiners. … by and large, Japanese-Americans cooperated with the census. After all, by federal law, census data was subject to strict use restrictions: The Census Bureau was required to keep personal information confidential. Their trust was misplaced

There was a time when it was essentially illegal to be gay. … These examples may seem extreme. But they highlight an important and uncomfortable fact: Throughout our history, the survival of our most vulnerable communities has often turned on their ability to avoid detection.

Privacy is a shield for the weak.

Source: Big Data, Underground Railroad: History says unfettered collection of data is a bad idea. by Alvaro M. Bedoya

The Nor » All Cameras Are Police Cameras

This essay is the first of a series of reports from The Nor, an investigation into paranoia, electromagnetism, and infrastructure.

When you get in trouble for looking at the cameras, you stop looking at the cameras. But you should really be looking at the cameras.

One of the defining characteristics of the Wall is that it is not, and cannot be, voluntary. While some of the strategies listed here are based on cooperation with the Wall system (tachyometers, navigation and check-in apps, fitness monitors and wearable computers), these are always the accompaniment or introduction to mandatory systems, and are best seen as elective, collaborative trials rather than early adoption or individualistic disruption. Each successive Wall is only erected when the relevant technologies and social systems have arisen that no longer depend on consent.

Source: The Nor » All Cameras Are Police Cameras by James Bridle

Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True – The New Yorker

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy about nuclear weapons, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

The Soviets did have a doomsday machine, and a rogue American officer could have launched a nuclear attack.

In retrospect, Kubrick’s black comedy provided a far more accurate description of the dangers inherent in nuclear command-and-control systems than the ones that the American people got from the White House, the Pentagon, and the mainstream media.

“This is absolute madness, Ambassador,” President Merkin Muffley says in the film, after being told about the Soviets’ automated retaliatory system. “Why should you build such a thing?” Fifty years later, that question remains unanswered, and “Strangelove” seems all the more brilliant, bleak, and terrifyingly on the mark.

Source: Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True – The New Yorker