Sports? I have other interests.

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football-ravens-steelersI was recently at a get-together, and I came across someone I hadn’t spoken to in a few years.  As we were getting re-aquainted, my friend asked me: “So, what sports are you into now?”

I told him: “I don’t watch sports these days.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, no reason.  Just lost interest.”

This is, of course, the lie—or, more accurately, the half-truth I told him, and would tell most anyone else, to make sure they don’t run screaming from me at parties.  Because what would be honest for me to say would be something along the lines of:

“I’m not interested in sports, because I’m interested in other things a lot more.” Continue reading

#Bring the Future

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The worst thing we can do is turn away the Future because it is uncomfortable. We need to look the uncomfortable parts of the Future right in the eyes. How else will we make it better?

Parts of the Future will be uncomfortable. Only accepting and directly addressing that will lessen discomfort. We can no longer afford to hold the Future at bay.

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The Trouble with Nowhere

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nowhereI cannot agree more with the comments made by Stowe Boyd in his online publication, Work FuturesThe Trouble with Nowhere describes the disconnect people have with the future, and the dangers we create for ourselves by doing so.  A number of points are made by Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired magazine, and Kenneth Boulding, the economist that first suggested the metaphor of Spaceship Earth.  Boulding writes:

There is a great deal of historical evidence to suggest that a society which loses its identity with posterity and which loses its positive image of the future loses also its capacity to deal with present problems, and soon falls apart.

And Kelly, I think, nails it with this comment:

Today we’ve become so aware of the downsides of innovations, and so disappointed with the promises of past utopias, that we now find it hard to believe even in protopia — that tomorrow will be better than today.

The popularity of today’s dystopian novels and movies, the lack of interest in positive futurist fiction and serious science in fiction, and the efforts put into rebooting and reusing old material instead of developing new fiction, bear witness to Kelly’s statement: We have given up on the future, spend too much time dwelling on the past, and dedicate all of our efforts to the ephemeral and transitory needs of today.

Read more in Work Futures.

Security: Encryption, A.I. and drones (Oh my!)

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data securitydata securityPersonal security has taken a number of recent hits, most notably with the reports of recent hacking into the databases of Target, Home Depot and other national retailers. Financial institutions are finally concluding that the U.S. needs to start using chip-embedded credit cards to better protect their funds and identities.

On the heels of that, the iPhone 6 has been released with an encryption system that (supposedly) no government or agency can break, keeping anything stored therein private from prying eyes.  On one hand, law enforcement agencies are complaining that this will only make their jobs more difficult.  On the other, agencies are realizing this makes their operatives’ data better protected.  And, of course, private individuals like the idea of being able to secure all of their data, allowing them to, as law enforcement puts it, “place themselves beyond the law.”

But as secrets become easier to keep, we run the risk of ne’er-do-wells attacking us more often, targeting our institutions, our money, and even our lives, using the same security measures we rely on.  Does my need for privacy include allowing a terrorist an easier time destroying my plane?  Is the collection of internet porn on my cellphone so important that we should also allow foreign agents to store their collection of bomb making manuals and list of suppliers on their cellphones?   Do we have to allow people to keep whatever secrets they have, only to examine them within an inch of their lives every time they approach a public place?  Continue reading

Extant: Just shy of working out

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Halle Berry in Extant

Halle Berry in Extant (CBS)

Extant, the Halle Berry SF vehicle that tried to impress us this summer, turned out to be one of those cases of having all the right elements… and somehow just not using them right.

Part of me is glad we got it… the part that recognizes an attempt at serious science fiction television for what it is, that appreciates spending enough money to turn in good special effects and bring in actors who can act, that appreciates television producers willing to look further than the last successful movie waiting to be remade.

Nonetheless, I’m sorry it tripped over its own feet and did a header in our living rooms. Continue reading

Have a look at Gabe Ibáñez’s Automata

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This is the first I’ve heard about this movie (coming in October), but it looks like a movie to see: Gabe Ibáñez’s Automata, A serious look at the ethics of creating independent intelligence.

The future of personal commuting

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I like this video: It does a nice job illustrating the need for and future of alternative road vehicles to replace the traditional automobile in our cities.

Why is this important?  Take a look at this image from Asia…

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…now imagine the gridlock potential if all these commuters drove full-sized cars.  Statistics predict that in a few years, the number of personal cars in Asia alone (mostly India and China) will outnumber the number of cars in the world at this moment.  We need to get more commuters out of full-sized cars and into smaller commuting vehicles.

Livewire and the future of the American bike market

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Harley-Davidson made transportation news this week when they announced their new motorcycle prototype—the electric-powered Livewire—and the promotional tour that will present it to the public… and quite possibly introduce the future of motorcycling to America. Continue reading

Review: Mars Girl

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Mars GirlI was introduced to Jeff Garrity’s Mars Girl years ago, when it could be said that the age of independent science fiction authors producing ebooks was still in its pre-Amazon renaissance.  In my recent search for more budding Sf authors, whom I hope to see much more of in the future, I came across this book again and decided to give it a second read.  I’m so glad I did.  (It’s easy for you to read it too, because it’s free.)

Mars Girl is that rare breed of science fiction dark satire, mostly a scathing and hilarious look at the future of the media news industry.  The story revolves around the big news item of the moment, in this case, a young girl on the first manned mission to Mars; and in the process, the story shows us a news media system addicted to ratings, fighting for commercial dollars, not afraid to stoop to sensationalism and stabbing its own people in the back, and eager to package its news as whatever kind of reality-show drama will win them the eyeballs that night. Continue reading

Babies expensive? Don’t have one. Duh.

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brood_500A recent New York Times article has proven to be very popular among the news media: It outlines the high cost of having babies in the United States, more than twice as high as the cost in the next-costliest country (Switzerland—and three times the cost if you have a Caesarian as opposed to traditional birth).

Far be it from me to debate the costs of our medical system in this country.  There’s no need.  We all know how absolutely messed up it is, so I won’t get into it.  What I will get into is the fact that, among all of the steps people are suggesting to deal with this issue, the one thing I don’t hear much of is the most obvious solution: Don’t have a kid. Continue reading