Six maps that will make you rethink the world – The Washington Post

Source: Six maps that will make you rethink the world – The Washington Post

New maps for the U.S. – and the world

You hear Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump scapegoating globalization — it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. America has been the creator and driver of globalization over the last 25 years. Yes, it is now a more level playing field, and we are not always the winners, but that is the fault of politics and bad policy. In 2004, a pillar of John Edwards’s presidential campaign was worker retraining programs for new industries. Twelve years later, where is that program? Just because we didn’t create it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The Germans did it, the Swiss did it, the Koreans do it. Other countries don’t blame globalization, they manage it, they take advantage of it. I think we failed to do that, and that’s what explains Trump and Sanders.

The year 2050 or 2100 seems like light-years away. But if we agree that climate change is not getting reversed or slowed down by our current efforts, you have to take seriously the idea that the world’s existing political boundaries and restricting the movement of people don’t make a lot of sense. Canada isn’t going to be just for the Canadians, and what we today call Russia isn’t just going to be for the rapidly diminishing Russian population.

We think of security as the most paramount global public good, and America is the leading provider of that good. But what China has shown is that infrastructure is an equally important public good. Hundreds of countries desperately need and want infrastructure, and China is the world’s leading provider of that.


The idea that you can sell “retreat from globalization!” to people and have it end well is also insanity – you’re either committing economic suicide, or you’re lying to your voter base.

Like climate change, you don’t have to embrace it to plan for it and work to make the best of it. We need a new New Deal of sorts to help people move at the new speed of the economy.

+ People need to be retrained, and need the safety net of knowing they *will* be retrained, or else we’ll get a glut of people skilling up for what they think jobs might be like in 20 years, and we’ll be critically short of people capable of doing the work needed in 5 years.

+ The government needs a new, next-millennium “Interstate Highway System” – something to facilitate the movement of labor from supply to demand. Maybe that’s universal internet access, or maybe it’s a regulation against geographic employment discrimination and government subsidized relocation, or maybe it’s government-funded, open-source virtual office software. But something should be done to relieve population pressures on places like Silicon Valley and San Francisco proper, and to relieve unemployment in disadvantaged out-of-the-way places – and it would be best if this was done without gutting the tax base of the places which aren’t booming.

+ Healthcare, insurance, retirement investments, and some minimum amount of time off (e.g. for new children and for caring for the sick and elderly) need to be decoupled from jobs and employers.

+? Maybe we need an Export-Import Bank 2.0 – an organization dedicated to increasing exports by going out of their way to find products and services that could be sold abroad and helping to make that happen, rather than only helping to finance exports.


From Comments:

You can’t say ‘geology [or geography] matters’ and then go on to say that human constructs and infrastructure are the sole drivers of economic, cultural and political pathways. I think the anti-Bernie rhetoric in Mr. Khanna’s analysis is meant to cover up some very serious conceptual flaws.

Probably not entirely correct (e.g. canals across the Rocky Mountains?) but I think it is fundamentally right. I like the idea that long-term trends favor consolidation and connectedness.

You Can’t Escape Data Surveillance In America – The Atlantic

Source: You Can’t Escape Data Surveillance In America – The Atlantic

The Fair Credit Reporting Act was intended to protect privacy, but its provisions have not kept pace with the radical changes wrought by the information age.

people don’t object to spying on the grounds that the secret dossier about them might be full of errors. They object to spying because it’s spying.

The effect of letting someone sue without showing harm is obvious: It makes it really easy to sue. … Yet when it comes to privacy invasion, it’s difficult to show real life injury. … Having to show harm, or not having to show harm, can make or break an entire genre of lawsuits.

while it’s tempting to simply call for more federal intervention, paternalistic impulses sometimes harm the most vulnerable among us.

Weighing The Good And The Bad Of Autonomous Killer Robots In Battle : All Tech Considered : NPR

Source: Weighing The Good And The Bad Of Autonomous Killer Robots In Battle : All Tech Considered : NPR

It sounds like science fiction, but it’s a very real and contentious debate that is making its way through the U.N. Advocates of a ban want all military weapons to be under “meaningful human control.”

Georgia Tech’s Ron Arkin, who is one of the country’s leading roboethicists, says hashing out that distinction is important but the potential benefits of killer robots should not be overlooked.

“They can assume far more risk on behalf of a noncombatant than any human being in their right mind would,” he says. “They can potentially have better sensors to cut through the fog of war. They can be designed without emotion — such as anger, fear, frustration — which causes human beings, unfortunately, to err.”


This is a very important topic for the future, and it is a lot more serious and complicated than the media tends to treat it (as shown by calling them “killer robots” like a 1970s B horror flick, and saying that “nobody wants Cylons and Terminators”).

SpaceX undercut ULA rocket launch pricing by 40 percent: U.S. Air Force

Source: SpaceX undercut ULA rocket launch pricing by 40 percent: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force will save 40 percent by buying a GPS satellite launch from Elon Musk’s SpaceX compared with what United Launch Alliance has been charging, the head of the Space and Missile Systems Center said on Thursday.


This is why competition is necessary.

Robert Reich – Why is wealth inequality an even bigger problem than income inequality?

And what should be done about it?

Why Wealth Inequality is Worse than Income Inequality, and Wha…

Why is wealth inequality an even bigger problem than income inequality — and the wealth gap by race even worse? And what should be done about it? Watch our newest video to find out. And keep fighting!

Posted by Robert Reich on Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How the CIA Writes History

Source: How the CIA Writes History

The Cold War is over and Angleton is gone, but the espionage techniques he mastered — mass surveillance, disinformation, targeted assassination, and extrajudicial detention — remain with us, albeit on a much larger scale. Since September 11, 2001, the power of secret intelligence agencies to shape our future is obvious.

Yet it wasn’t until I went to Georgetown in search of one of Angleton’s darkest secrets that I came away with a personal lesson in how the CIA makes history — by erasing it.

Edward Snowden: The Internet Is Broken | Popular Science

Source: Edward Snowden: The Internet Is Broken | Popular Science

The activist talks to Popular Science about digital naïveté

security, surveillance, and privacy are not contrary goals. You don’t give up one and get more of the other. If you lose one, you lose the other. If you are always observed and always monitored, you are more vulnerable to abuse than you were before.

Why doesn’t mass surveillance work? That is the problem with false positives and false negatives. If you go look, our program is 99.9 percent effective, and that sounds really good, but when you think about that in the context of a program, that means one out of every thousand people is going to be inaccurately identified as a terrorist, or one out of every thousand terrorists is actually going to be let go by the system, and considered to not be a terrorist.

Let’s think about the example of AT&T sharing with the government more than 26 years of phone records. That’s the full span of these people’s lives. They’ll never have made a phone call on AT&T that hasn’t been captured.

Metadata is the technical word for an activity record, so the government has been aggregating perfect records of private lives. And when you have all of someone’s phone records, purchase records, every website they’ve ever visited or typed into Google, or liked on Facebook, every cell phone tower their phone has ever passed and at what time, and what other cell phones were at that tower with them, what you’ve done is you’ve written a secret biography of every person that even they themselves don’t know.

15 Fundamental Laws of Software Development

It says “of Software Development”, but really it’s applicable to any project.

I think it is interesting to consider *when* each of these concepts was coined, relative to the others.

Source: 15 Fundamental Laws of Software Development

From Occam’s Razor to Parkinson’s Law of Triviality, let’s discuss some of the most useful adages and quotes in the world of software development.

Charitable Plutocracy: Bill Gates Philanthropy, Washington State & the Nuisance of Democracy

Source: Charitable Plutocracy: Bill Gates Philanthropy, Washington State & the Nuisance of Democracy

Once upon a time, the superwealthy endowed their tax-exempt charitable foundations and then turned them over to boards of trustees to run. … Today’s multi-billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates are a different species of philanthropy.

Education-reform philanthropists justify their massive political spending as a necessary counterweight to the teachers unions; yet, the philanthropists can, and consistently do, far outspend the unions.

multibillionaires acting as philanthropists aggravate the problem [of plutocracy] by channeling vast sums into the nation’s immense nonprofit sector. Their top-down modus operandi makes this a powerful tool for shaping public policy according to individual beliefs and whims. And they receive less critical scrutiny than other actors in public life. Most people admire expressions of generosity and selflessness and are loath to find fault.

Is the U.S. Ready for Post-Middle-Class Politics? – The New York Times

Source: Is the U.S. Ready for Post-Middle-Class Politics? – The New York Times

A particular vision of the American dream has shaped elections for decades. What happens when people stop believing in it?

“The upper middle class are surprised by the rise of Trump. The actual middle class are surprised we’re surprised.” – Richard V. Reeves, a scholar at the Brookings Institution