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Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.)

The anti-METI movement is predicated on a grim statistical likelihood: If we do ever manage to make contact with another intelligent life-form, then almost by definition, our new pen pals will be far more advanced than we are. The best way to understand this is to consider, on a percentage basis, just how young our own high-tech civilization actually is. We have been sending structured radio signals from Earth for only the last 100 years. If the universe were exactly 14 billion years old, then it would have taken 13,999,999,900 years for radio communication to be harnessed on our planet. The odds that our message would reach a society that had been tinkering with radio for a shorter, or even similar, period of time would be staggeringly long. Imagine another planet that deviates from our timetable by just a tenth of 1 percent: If they are more advanced than us, then they will have been using radio (and successor technologies) for 14 million years. Of course, depending on where they live in the universe, their signals might take millions of years to reach us. But even if you factor in that transmission lag, if we pick up a signal from another galaxy, we will almost certainly find ourselves in conversation with a more advanced civilization.

It is this asymmetry that has convinced so many future-minded thinkers that METI is a bad idea. The history of colonialism here on Earth weighs particularly heavy on the imaginations of the METI critics. Stephen Hawking, for instance, made this observation in a 2010 documentary series: ‘‘If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.’’ David Brin echoes the Hawking critique: ‘‘Every single case we know of a more technologically advanced culture contacting a less technologically advanced culture resulted at least in pain.’’

Wrestling with the METI question suggests, to me at least, that the one invention human society needs is more conceptual than technological: We need to define a special class of decisions that potentially create extinction-level risk. New technologies (like superintelligent computers) or interventions (like METI) that pose even the slightest risk of causing human extinction would require some novel form of global oversight. And part of that process would entail establishing, as Denning suggests, some measure of risk tolerance on a planetary level. If we don’t, then by default the gamblers will always set the agenda, and the rest of us will have to live with the consequences of their wagers.

America made me a feminist

In America, a woman’s body seemed to belong to everybody but herself. Her sexuality belonged to her husband, her opinion of herself belonged to her social circles, and her uterus belonged to the government. She was supposed to be a mother and a lover and a career woman (at a fraction of the pay) while remaining perpetually youthful and slim. In America, important men were desirable. Important women had to be desirable. That got to me.

Every New York City Subway Line Is Getting Worse

Sci-Hub Ordered to Pay $15 Million in Piracy Damages

Elsevier says: the Sci-Hub activity ’causes irreparable injury to Elsevier, its customers and the public’ and US court agreed. That feels like a perfect crime. If you want to cause an irreparable injury to American public, what do you have to do? Now we know the answer: establish a website where they can read research articles for free,” she adds.

Previously, Elbakyan already confirmed to us that, lawsuit or not, the site is not going anywhere.

Miška píše z Iraku

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tento legový fotograf je výborný

Lego fotograf

výborný je aj tento dizajn knihy Farenheit 451fahrenheit451

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel about a dystopian future where books are outlawed and firemen burn any house that contains them. The story is about suppressing ideas, and about how television destroys interest in reading literature. I wanted to spread the book-burning message to the book itself. The book’s spine is screen-printed with a matchbook striking paper surface, so the book itself can be burned.

Druhý posudok môže zachrániť život – zase raz bulvárny titulok na sme, ale článok o zakladateľovi diagnose.me ma zaujal

IKEA uses 1% of world’s commercial wood supply?

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen launches app

Program allows people to play chess against younger versions of world champion Magnus Carlsen… The aim is to promote chess among as many people as possible to make the sport more popular and accessible. “The good thing is that you can play me at any age. At age five, anyone has a chance to beat me,” Mr Carlsen said.

So what is it like for Mr Carlsen to play against his younger self? “He is really tricky,” the champion said. “Even Magnus at 11 years old was a very gifted tactician. A while ago I played as a test Magnus [aged] 14. I outplayed him at some point positionally. And just boom, boom, he tricked me tactically. “But he makes mistakes as well, so I just have to be patient.”

seven months pregnant and working in the fields (Nepál, h/t Zuzine za linku, a ešte varovanie: píše sa tam aj o tehotenstve, ktoré nekončí dobre)

the self-reflecting pool – ja tomu hovorím, že si takto chodím vymývať mozog

We enter the meditative state induced by counting laps, and observe the subtle play of light as the sun moves across the lanes. We sing songs, or make to-do lists, or fantasize about what we’re going to eat for breakfast. Submersion creates the space to be free, to stretch, without having to contend with constant external chatter. It creates internal quiet, too.

25 historical images that normalize breastfeeding

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