Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SAR #15120

A $45 barrel of oil has the same amount of energy as a $110 one.

It's A Blast: A distinguished cast, headed by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky and a thousand other scientists, academics and public figures is asking for a global ban on “autonomous weapons” - robotic weapons that operate without and beyond human control. They warn that a terrifying arms race will be inevitable (probably it is already underway in secret military labs) and will inevitably lead to “swarms of robot” weapons that will select, stalk and kill humans without any active human control. They will be cheap, ubiquitous and deadly. They will be sold on the black market and operated by terrorists, dictators and your local gun nut. They are “ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilising nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.” And inevitable, no matter who warns us not to let it happen. Sure,international agreements have successfully prohibited chemical and biological weapons, but killer robotic drones are simply too cheap and too easy. It is only a matter of time. 
The Ignorant And The Law: Georgia is suing a man for publishing all of Georgia's state laws on the internet. They claim that this infringes the states copyright on the laws. And they want citizens to have to pay the state to find out what the laws say. 
Greece II: Hedge funds that have scooped up Puerto Rico's debt at bargain basement prices are demanding that Puerto Rico raise taxes, sell off public buildings, close schools and fire teachers, and drastically cut all public spending on social services, so that they can reap enormous profits. Sounds familiar.

Mirage: Remember when Obama reassured us that under the TPP. TTIP and TiSA corporations really couldn't sue the government over regulations and laws by using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process? He forgot to tell Philip Morris, which is suing the Australian government over its laws regulating tobacco. 
Job Insecurity: Malaysia's Prime Minister has fired the AG and the deputy PM for investigating the transfer of $700 million in government funds into the PM's personal account. 
Definition: When we think of militarism, Germans goose-stepping through Berlin comes to mind. But the F-35 is today's perfect picture of militarism run wild – the fruit of the military-industrial complex we were warned of 60 years ago. The F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in American history. It will cost us well over $1 trillion before we see the end of it. The military is already buying them – at about $300 million a copy – even though flight testing and development continue. It is not now known if they will ever work as promised, but we know they don't work now and we're buying them anyway. The engines only last about 25 hours. It is slow and ungainly and is easily shot down by aging F-15's, and not only because it cannot yet fire its guns nor drop bombs. But it brings money to nearly every Congressional district in the nation, so politicians love it.

Profile: A new study reports that bullies like Donald Trump have high self-esteem, social status and very low rates of depression. They're okay and are pretty damned sure you aren't.

Here No Evil: Canadian Conservatives have blocked the country's Finance Minister from testifying in public because he would have reported that the country was headed for a $1 billion deficit this year, not the $1.4-billion surplus they had projected, not even the balanced budget that is their holy grail. 
Masked Avenger: Sanders’ plan “would look like a tax on carbon; a massive investment in solar, wind, geothermal; it would be making sure that every home and building in this country is properly winterized; it would be putting substantial money into rail, both passenger and cargo, so we can move towards breaking our dependency on automobiles”


Anonymous said...

But it brings money to nearly every Congressman in the nation, and many Flexians in the executive branch, so politicians love it.

kwark said...

RE "It's a Blast": We already have autonomous killing machines of a sort. They're called land mines. Thousands of people, mostly kids, are killed every year by landmines left over from past conflicts. So if you want a prelude to how we will deal with more sophisticated autonomous killing machines you need look no further than the old school land mine. Don't look for leadership by the US on this issue either, the US has never signed the 1997 Landmine Ban treaty.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

At least the land mine just lays in ambush, doesn't actively go looking for you.

I don't look for leadership. Not on anything, anymore.