Immortal but Damned to Hell on Earth – The Atlantic

The danger of uploading one’s consciousness to a computer without a suicide switch

Let us begin by noticing that justice, as most people presently conceive it, permits or even requires that at least some crimes be punished as far after the fact as is now possible. … Radical life extension would so scramble and confound our normal notions of justice that there’s no telling how future Americans would react to the new reality.

Nuclear war could come tomorrow. Those of us who survive it might spend the rest of our days in misery. But that misery would be relatively short. Radical life extension via mind uploads would seem to risk inconceivably long, possibly endless misery. And this holds even if no future generation deliberately inflicts that misery.

Source: Immortal but Damned to Hell on Earth – The Atlantic

America’s Self-Inflicted Wounds – The Atlantic

Political dysfunction is doing serious damage to U.S. economic power.

Source: America’s Self-Inflicted Wounds – The Atlantic


“As long as one of our major parties is opposed to essentially all trade agreements, and the other is resistant to funding international organizations, the U.S. will not be in a position to shape the global economic system.”

— former U.S. treasury secretary Larry Summers

Thoughtcrime – Charlie’s Diary

Last week, our newly re-elected Prime Minister, David Cameron, said something quite remarkable in a speech outlining his new government’s legislative plans for the next five years.

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.”

Think about it for a moment. This is the leader of a nominally democratic country saying that merely obeying the law is not sufficient

Source: Thoughtcrime – Charlie’s Diary

On the Taxonomy of Spaceships – Geeks New England

There are lots of different ship classes in science fiction, and I’m not talking about the designated name for a particular frame (like Victory-class or Firefly-class).  I’m talking about classification of ship roles.  You have your cruisers, your destroyers, your frigates and corvettes, your dreadnoughts, and all sorts of other roles.  But something that always confused me is exactly what the differences are between them.  If you had shown me two ships and claimed one was a destroyer and one was a cruiser I wouldn’t have really understood what that actually means and what roles they employ in a battle.  How is a battleship different from a battlecruiser?  Is there any difference between a star cruiser and an assault cruiser, and if so what is it?

So, from here on out I’ll be explaining the various classes of ships, their histories, and how I would personally define what the role a spaceship of that kind would take.

Source: On the Taxonomy of Spaceships – Geeks New England


If you do not own the software on your device, then you do not own your device.

Consider this situation:

  • A physical device which is dependent on software for its operation is located in the residence of Alice. Alice is the sole user and beneficiary of this device’s purported primary purpose (e.g. cooking food).
  • Bob owns all relevant intellectual property of the software on the device (e.g. patents and copyrights).

Without Alice’s knowledge or consent (because the purchase and use was the “consent”, even if there were no alternatives on the market which did not also demand this consent), Bob can:

  • change the operating parameters of the device — how the device works and is allowed to work
  • temporarily or permanently prevent the software from operating, which prevents the device from operating
  • collect data from any sensors on the device, and resell that data along with customer information about Alice to a third party
  • delete any data stored in the device (e.g. past settings, saved sensor data, device history)

*Without* Bob’s written consent, Alice *may not*:

  • examine the software on the device
  • alter the software on the device
  • replace the software on the device

So, I ask you, “Who owns the device?”.

IMHO, it certainly isn’t Alice. She is at best a renter subject to the whims of Bob.

This is the situation today, and ever more gadgets are getting software embedded into them. We are progressing towards a future where only corporations are permitted to own property in any real/traditional sense of the word “own”.


RE: New High-Tech Farm Equipment Is a Nightmare for Farmers by Kyle Wiens on, 2015/02/05

Dave paid for the tractor; he owns what’s tangible: the wheels, the metal chassis, the gears and pistons in the engine. But John Deere owns everything else: the programming that propels the tractor, the software that calibrates the engine, the information necessary to fix it. So, who really owns that tractor?