nuclear paranoia

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Geek Wisdom by Stephen H. Segal


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, battle of ideas, biofilm, fear of failure, Henri Poincaré, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Mark Zuckerberg, mutually assured destruction, nuclear paranoia, Saturday Night Live, Vernor Vinge

But back in 1984, when computer networks were new and exotic, it seemed entirely reasonable to worry that an artificial intelligence might start firing missiles based on the inhuman outcome of an algorithm. Of course, the computer finally found its Zen. What about you—can you tell when it’s time to remove yourself from a defective game board? The first several years of Matthew Broderick’s career were all about nuclear paranoia: first War Games, then Project X (1987), wherein laboratory chimps suffered inhumane radiation testing. V. BILLIONS AND BILLIONS (WISDOM ABOUT THE UNIVERSE) “ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS, EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.” —ARTHUR C. CLARKE, 2010: ODYSSEY TWO “A STARSHIP CAPTAIN’S MOST SOLEMN OATH IS THAT HE WILL GIVE HIS LIFE, EVEN HIS ENTIRE CREW, RATHER THAN VIOLATE THE PRIME DIRECTIVE.”

pages: 355 words: 106,952

Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell


carbon footprint, clean water, Google Earth, gravity well, liberation theology, nuclear paranoia, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, place-making, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, the scientific method, young professional

It was the standard itinerary, allowing visitors to inhabit their preconceptions of Chernobyl as a scene of disaster and fear—but without actually straying off the beaten path or risking contamination. This was, after all, what most people wanted. But I hadn’t come all this way only to wallow in post-nuclear paranoia. I was here to enjoy the place, and this was the moment to make it happen. “Is there any way…” How to put it? “Is there any way we could go canoeing?” Dennis regarded me blankly from behind his shades. In their silvery lenses, I could see the reflection of someone who looked like me, with an expression on his face that said, Yes.

pages: 378 words: 94,468

Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power


air freight, Alexander Shulgin, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, frictionless, Haight Ashbury, John Bercow, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Network effects, nuclear paranoia, packet switching, pattern recognition, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, pre–internet, QR code, RAND corporation, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, Zimmermann PGP

For the uninitiated to understand the singular love felt by some British drug users for MDMA, or Ecstasy, there’s not a lot they can do except take it. Preferably, they would dose just as they jumped out of a time machine into late-1980s Britain where the nation’s youth self-medicated, rejecting the strictures of a drab, individualist puritanism, Thatcherism’s dreary, market-obsessed world view, unemployment, heroin, nuclear paranoia, a dirge-like indie-rock alternative scene, and a pop chart dominated by trite, brilliantly bubblegum pop, choosing instead the intense collective euphoria of Acid House. The emergence of a global dance and drug culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s has left us with what could be argued to be the principal model of illegal youth culture in most of the world.