Best Of The Web
“The future is wonderful, the future is terrifying. That’s our motto at Motherboard.
Envisioning the future defined by our wildest ambitions or our deepest fears is an instinct as old as human culture. But it has taken on new urgency in recent years, as people grapple with profound paradigm shifts worldwide. We are living in the most socially interconnected and technologically advanced society in history. We are discovering far-flung alien exoplanets, designing algorithms that mimic how we think, and becoming fluent in the genetic language of life. What could go wrong? What could go right?
To shed light on those questions, Motherboard asked 105 interdisciplinary thinkers about their fears and hopes about the future. We defined “thinkers” and “smart people” as experts in fields we regularly cover. Participants include (but are not limited to) 19 space scientists, 19 biologists and environmental scientists, 11 computer scientists, eight medical scientists, five lawyers, four historians, a musicologist, a paleontologist, an astronaut, and a digital artist who replied with emojis.
Most of the participants are based in the United States (69), but we also received responses from experts in Europe (20), Australia (5), Canada (4), Singapore (2), South Africa (2), Taiwan (1), India (1), and Bangladesh (1). We talked to 56 women and 49 men.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."
" he's a loser in the precise sense that his singular accomplishment in American public life has been to lose a Senate race to the stupendously unpopular Republican Ted Cruz."
"While applauding the social impetus, Israelis are divided in opinions on an American-based initiative and question its grammatical integrity."
A look at the networks that churn out nonstop, formulaic Christmas movies; the actors who star in all of them; and the fans who can't stop watching.
"The Department of Homeland Security wants to use credit scores to determine immigration cases. That sets a dangerous precedent."
"Traffic. Congestion. Pollution. Hours-long commutes. What if you could leave it all behind and trade it in for an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient personal copter—all without a pilot’s license?"
"“But Qutb saw something else. The dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed they were free, but in reality they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires.”"
Cliches can be used as a political tool. "Prefabricated language helps everybody from prime ministers to CEOs disguise what they really want to say."
"Santa is nothing but stress for families who don’t believe in him. Trying to keep other kids from finding out the truth can cause a holiday-season-long headache."
"Umami is hard to describe in words. In the New Yorker, Hannah Goldfield defines it as “that deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms..."
"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."
"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."