Friday, August 20, 2021

Sci-Fi Guru Who Predicted Google Earth Explains Silicon Valley’s Latest Obsession


A hero for our time …

In Every Arbitrary COVID Fight, This 700-Year-Old Legend Rings True.

Just as the story of William Tell lives on, so do cruel and petty leaders. If the pictures, videos and stories of citizen protests, rebellious teachers, fed-up cops, and angry parents across the country show anything, it’s that brave heroes live on as well. That’s a very good thing, but we need more of them.


Did America just lose Afghanistan because of WhatsApp? “WhatsApp is an American product. It can be switched off by its parent, Facebook, Inc, at any time and for any reason. The fact that the Taliban were able to use it at all, quite apart from the fact that they continue to use it to coordinate their activities even now as American citizens’ lives are imperiled by the Taliban advance which is being coordinated on that app, suggests that U.S. military intelligence never bothered to monitor Taliban numbers and never bothered to ask Facebook to ban them. They probably still haven’t even asked Facebook to do this, judging from the fact that the Taliban continues to use the app with impunity. This might explain why Afghanistan collapsed as quickly as it did…There can and should be recriminations for what happened here. It is not solely the Biden Administration’s fault; the military should have been considering how to decapitate Taliban communications for years, which it clearly has not done. The fact that the Taliban is using US-based servers to run its terror state and nobody in the Biden Administration has thought to disconnect it, even as U.S. forces retreat in disarray, is a strategic blunder on par with Pearl Harbor.”

The roots of why people refuse to engage in win-win thinking.

Sci-Fi Guru Who Predicted Google Earth Explains Silicon Valley’s Latest Obsession

Vanity Fair – Way back in 1992, author Neal Stephenson published his breakthrough novel, Snow Crash, a cyberpunk exploration of then-futuristic technologies: mobile computing, virtual reality, wireless Internet, digital currency, smartphones, and augmented-reality headsets. The book famously opens with a breakneck car chase as the main character, Hiro Protagonist (it’s something of a satire), races to deliver a pizza on time. It’s a literal life-or-death scene as our harried gig-economy driver races his GPS-enabled electric car through the streets of Los Angeles before he runs out the clock and risks angering the mob. TaskRabbit “independent contractors” can surely relate. Twenty-five years later, Stephenson’s cult classic has become canon in Silicon Valley, where a host of engineers, entrepreneurs, futurists, and assorted computer geeks (including Amazon C.E.O. Jeff Bezos) still revere Snow Crash as a remarkably prescient vision of today’s tech landscape. Among the the more prophetic inventions in the book is something Stephenson called “the Metaverse”—the same sort of wireless, online virtual-reality experience that Facebook, Google, Samsung, and practically every other major tech company are now competing to commercialize…Dystopian or no, Stephenson’s vision of the future is almost here, and at least one tech company virtual-reality start-up Magic Leap, has snapped up Stephenson in an official capacity—he became its Chief Futurist in 2014. Here, with the benefit of 25 years of hindsight, Stephenson talked to the Hive about the differences between augmented and virtual reality, how to create a convincing Metaverse, and why social media is driving us apart…”

Huawei exec’s extradition hearing in Canada comes to a close International Business Times (furzy)

Xi Sends a Warning to Investors With Delayed Huarong Lifeline Bloomberg

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