What will kids today tell their kids about “back in the day”?

How will the present be remembered? Join the discussion on Wait But Why’s weekly Dinner Table forum.

Source: What will kids today tell their kids about “back in the day”?


– Back in my day, we entrusted other humans with deadly weapons to police society.

– Back in my day, Florida stretched almost all the way to Cuba and Kansas was a bread basket of farms instead of a desert.

– Back in my day, schooling cost thousands of dollars per year after you turned 18, and that used to be a lot of money.

– Back in my day, our grandparents’ generation had gone to the moon but we were afraid we’d never leave the earth and land on another gravity well again.

– Back in my day, we had to physically or verbally interact with a computer in order to make it do things instead of just thinking about it.

– Back in my day, there were still old people who drove cars themselves, manually. They had a wheel and pedals and a bunch of buttons.

– Back in my day, people frequently got lost and there was no overmind to find them and bring them home.

– 在我们那个时代,英语比汉语中国更重要,谷歌翻译没有工作。(“Back in my day, English was more important than Mandarin Chinese, and Google Translate did not work well.”)

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.

Judge Who Authorized Police Search of Seattle Privacy Activists Wasn’t Told They Operate Tor Network – Slog – The Stranger

Source: Judge Who Authorized Police Search of Seattle Privacy Activists Wasn’t Told They Operate Tor Network – Slog – The Stranger

One week after Seattle police searched the home of two well-known privacy activists for child porn and found nothing, critics are questioning why the department failed to include a key piece of information in its application for a warrant—the fact that the activists operated a Tor node out of their apartment, in order to help internet users all over the world surf the web anonymously.

It’s like raiding the mailman’s house for delivering an illegal letter with no return address. Sure, it could have been sent by the mailman, but it could have been sent by anyone.

“When we get into things like this,” he said, “anonymizing stuff, that’s well over my head technologically, then it becomes very murky and hazy.” — Judge William Downing

How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother – The Atlantic

Source: How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother – The Atlantic

When money becomes information, it can inform on you.

A cashless society promises a world of limitation, control, and surveillance—all of which the poorest Americans already have in abundance, of course. For the most vulnerable, the cashless society offers nothing substantively new, it only extends the reach of the existing paternal bureaucratic state.

As paper money evaporates from our pockets and the whole country—even world—becomes enveloped by the cashless society, financial censorship could become pervasive, unbarred by any meaningful legal rights or guarantees.


The USA only has 300 million people while China and India each have well over 1 billion. In 20 years, China and India will be “need to serve” markets for multinational/international corporations – including those which handle financial transactions. What if the Chinese or Indian government suggests that such a company might show and see goodwill if it would voluntarily choose to not serve an American – possibly even one running for public office? Imagine an election campaign that couldn’t accept digital/electronic donations, or a Super PAC which had its funds frozen for a few crucial days or weeks.

A future cashless society that isn’t utterly private and anonymous (which has its own risks and downsides) is one in which *huge* control will be held by those capable of influencing digital-finance bottlenecks.

The FBI Has Successfully Unlocked The iPhone Without Apple’s Help : The Two-Way : NPR

Source: The FBI Has Successfully Unlocked The iPhone Without Apple’s Help : The Two-Way : NPR

The Justice Department says it is withdrawing its legal action against Apple because it has been able to get data from a terrorist’s phone. A spokeswoman says the FBI is reviewing the data.

It took FBI investigators about a week to test a third-party tool and successfully crack the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhone passcode.


Everyone at the FBI responsible for either a) lying about the need to force Apple to do something and/or b) taking 5 months to use a third-party tool when national security was/is at stake, should be reprimanded (or fired if/as appropriate).