AltSciFi’s Dystopian Daily: Robot Judo, Eugenics versus Genetics, and Superluminal Universes

Dystopian Daily

+ Robots Learning Judo Techniques to Fall Down Without Exploding. Faceplants are called faceplants because you’re planting your face into the ground as a means of breaking your fall, which usually also breaks your face, among other things. This tends to happen when you’re unprepared for falling, which with most robots, is 100 percent of the time. […]

+ Can cities kick ads? Inside the global movement to ban urban billboards. Even David Ogilvy, widely considered the father of modern advertising, expressed his disdain back in 1963. “Man is at his vilest when he erects a billboard,” Ogilvy wrote. “When I retire from Madison Avenue, I am going to start a secret society of masked vigilantes who will travel around the world on silent motor bicycles, chopping down posters at the dark of the moon.”

Tearing down ads helped uncover previously hidden inequality within the city, exposing favelas that had previously been blocked by billboards. Without the perma-glow of advertising, people were forced to confront public space in a new light. […]

+ Infosec is good people. Kath grew up in the middle of nowhere in Texas, and went to college in another middle-of-nowhere place in Texas. Being a muggle, she’s never heard of infosec before — but she got a ticket and flew to New York to attend this little infosec conference where Yan was speaking.

She found things she didn’t expect. […]

+ If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy. The devices spoke to each other behind my back—I’d known they would when I “paired” them—but suddenly I was wary of their relationship. Who else did they talk to, and about what? And what happened to their conversations? Were they temporarily archived, promptly scrubbed, or forever incorporated into the “cloud,” that ghostly entity with the too-disarming name? […]

+ XMPP Federation Over Tor Hidden Services. Suppose you’re trying to chat with your friends in a totalitarian country and you want the government to learn as little as possible about you and your friends. How can you achieve that? […]

+ Why racism is not backed by science.
Darwin was not a racist. He did not, unlike many of his contemporaries, think human “races” might be separate creations. Genetics has a blighted past with regards to race.

We now know that the way we talk about race has no scientific validity. There is no genetic basis that corresponds with any particular group of people, no essentialist DNA for black people or white people or anyone. This is not a hippy ideal, it’s a fact. […]

+ The Universe Never Expands Faster Than the Speed of Light. This isn’t, by the way, one of those misconceptions that rattles around the popular-explanation sphere, while experts sit back silently and roll their eyes. Experts get this one wrong all the time. […]

+ The United Nations has a radical, dangerous vision for the future of the Web. The United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only “license” those who agree to do so.

At one point toward the end of the paper, the U.N. panel concludes that “political and governmental bodies need to use their licensing prerogative” to better protect human and women’s rights, only granting licenses to “those Telecoms and search engines” that “supervise content and its dissemination.” […]

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Thanks for reading. See you next time. ;)

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