Data vs Information vs Knowledge

Interesting article from Nastel

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How to automate the process of building an entire city

It makes little sense to send people to Mars to build a city, as people need a level of infrastructure that makes living there impractical until you build the infrastructure needed to survive.

It makes a lot more sense to send machines to build the environment and send people later.

What if robots could mine raw materials, build the factories to process the raw material, build the infrastructure to build more robots that could then build everything needed to sustain life.

There is no reason why this cannot be done!

Phase 1 – Robots investigate available raw materials (survey)

Phase 2 – Robots mine raw materials (mine)

Phase 3 – Robots use the initial raw material to build refineries to produce building materials and factories (Build)

Phase 4 – Robots build more robots out of refined material (replicate)

Phase 5 – Robots now build everything needed to sustain life (buildings, machines, infrastructure) (Implement)

Phase 6 – People arrive (Immigrate)

How long would it take? 50 years, 500 years? Probably somewhere in between.

I believe phases 1 and 2 are almost practical today. While phase 3 is partially possible today.

It could be started on Earth right now. Build the technology to build cities from nothing, anywhere on the planet, and potentially beyond.

A few square miles of barren land, a lot of smart minds, enough investment to make it happen.

This is the project that is needed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Economics, Politics, Society and War

There is a clarity of mind that the Republicans bring, that cannot be replicated by any other political party.

Republicans understand that money is truly a fictional construct. All that matters is that the people who have more, create space between themselves and those who have less. This is the fundamental truth of every society.

“Those who have least serve those who have most.”

You must create huge gaps between us and them, and to do this you need to create categories of “them”, while creating power for the “us”

There is power in clarity of purpose. While everyone has their own personal concerns, the Republicans have focused on bigger, longer-term, more direct power.

Finding every way possible to separate people with a genetic predisposition to have more melanin in their skin from those with little, has become a primary method of creating an us vs them. And if you don’t agree then you’re clearly an evil liberal socialist who should be derided and insulted in every way possible. This model wasn’t invented in America, but it is being perfected by the Republican party of President Donald Trump.

Germany in the 1920’s and early 30’s was the most advanced culture in Europe (and probably the world), their symbolism when looked at without the hindsight of the terrible atrocities that came slightly later, were impressively modern. Art, science and design were centered globally in Germany. And then came a very focused extremely polarizing us vs them concept.

All you need to do is define the “them” and make sure they have less, and automatically you have more.

Take out morality, allow any means to justify an end, insult, imprison and totally destroy anyone who is unlike yourself.

Find a loud and controversial figurehead to take center stage, say whatever he likes, create controversy that takes the focus of the real power, allowing the real power to make real changes to social, economic, political, legal frameworks that destroy the “other”

When eventually the fake figurehead is stopped, it’s too late the real changes that were desired by the “us” are already done.

Read “the rise and fall of the Roman Empire” (or at least find a comic book version to scan). Read up on the history of the Byzantine empire, the British empire, the Spanish empire, the Third Reich, The Muslim empires. And then read the art of war, and learn how power uses strategy and tactics to win.

The United States has quickly tripped to the right, but it hasn’t fallen over fully, quite yet. But it’s still toppling slowly.

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Us vs Them

Finding every way possible to separate people with a genetic predisposition to have more melanin in their skin from those with little, has become a primary method of creating an us vs them. And if you don’t agree then you’re clearly an evil liberal socialist who should be derided and insulted in every way possible.

This model wasn’t invented in America, but it is being perfected by the Republican party of President Donald Trump.

Every step disproportionately impacts “them”

“Illegals”

“Private Prisons”

“Killing Social Safety nets”

“Muslim Terrorism”

“Drug Law Enforcement”

“Build The Wall”

“Pre-exsting conditions”

“Stop Abortions”

“Break there Unions”

even “2nd Amendment”

 

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Lack of empathy is a political tool

I’ve held and postulated the theory that many people have no empathy.

And in case you don’t understand the concept of empathy it is simply the ability to understand the feelings of others.

There is a group of people who exhibit a total lack of empathy. Here are some of the exhibited behaviors:

  • They think being gay is wrong and should be illegal.
  • They think that being dark skinned is an indication of wrongness and should be seen as less.
  • They often think that their sex is better than the “other” sex, is smarter, stronger, more powerful etc.
  • They think their religion the only religion and is perfect, others being wrong and evil.

Some people may call people with this deficiency of empathy – bigots, sexists, racists or fundamentalists.

With the recent ridiculous separation of parents and children, being endorsed by the president and his followers, I’d suggest that Republican is a better name for this lack of empathy.

It now seems to be the single defining, unifying force behind republicans.

The only time that republicans seems to understand the issues with their ideas is when they find out that a member of their kith or kin are gay, changed religion or married someone unlike themselves. If it doesn’t impact them directly they don’t see the issue. That’s the definition of a fundamental lack of empathy.

 

 

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Please or Annoy the President?

How to please Trump

  • “I’m impressed by your businesses”
  • “I’m impressed by your golfing ability”
  • “I’m impressed by how attractive, beautiful women find you”
  • “I really like the way you wear your hair and the length of your tie”
  • “I love the way you insult anyone and everyone”

How to annoy Trump

  • “I need you to think about something that doesn’t directly impact you”
  • “I need you to make a decision and stick to it”
  • “I need you to say sorry for any/all of your terrible comments/behaviors”
  • “I need you to stop being a racist/sexist/xenophobe”
  • “I need you to act with decorum befitting the role of the President”
  • “I need you to read and understand the papers you are asked to sign before you either sign them or not sign them”
  • “I need you to understand and abide by the US constitution.”

 

Today If I had the chance to speak with President Trump, I suspect he’d by rather annoyed….

 

 

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It’s becoming very hard to spot phishing attacks

Every year the quality of phishing attacks seems to get better. It wasn’t too long ago that you could spot a fake message from a bank, because of the terrible use of english and awful formatting of the images, but it is not a lot harder. The syntax, grammar, formatting, images and event the URL’s they point you too look identical to those of the real institutions that they are purporting to be.

In fact, some of the emails you receive from scammers, now actually look better than the ones from your bank.

The simple answer (of course) is to NEVER trust an unsolicited communication from anyone, it doesn’t matter of the bank calls you, emails you, writes to you, or knocks on your door directly. If you didn’t expect the communication there is a very high probability it’s fake.

The best answer is to always either visit the institution in person, or call the number on the back of your card (and I can even think of a few ways this can be faked, but it’s much harder)

Here are a few of the attempts to scam me, that I’ve received just this month:

“Hi I’m calling from Microsoft, and we have detected a virus on your computer, and you need to give me access to remove it”

“Hello dear friend, I’m the daughter of the late finance minister of an African nation, and am in trouble and need your help to get funds out of the country, I’ll pay you well for your service in this matter”

“There is an issue with your iCloud login, please click below to resolve the issue”

“This is a IRS calling to tell you that you will be arrested unless you call this number immediately”

“I have been contracted to kill you, but will not kill you it you pay me the same amount of money as the contract”

“This is a fraud alert from the bank, please login below to confirm the transactions”

Some of these were via email, and some phone calls. All were ignored, and most entered spam folders.

For the phone calls I use an amazing service called norobo, which checks every incoming call for know garbage (including charities and political parties) and diverts the call as soon as the caller id is identified. A brilliant free service for the home line (and they charge for cellphones)

For email, the built-in spam filters seem to work quite well, and I needed to actually look in the spam-folder to see what I received.

The simplest answer is to just not believe anyone who calls or emails, assume they all lie, and you are right virtually every time.

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Personal information has become a gateway drug for business

We treat commerce as some sort of separate entity today, but it is quite simply one element of the integrated society we have built. Money is nothing more than a promise, a contract between people. It only works if we all have trust in the system. Money was created as a way of allowing people to trade goods and services in a consistent way.

Money only works if we all accept it as having value, if we lose trust in money they we all need to start carrying around purses with precious metals and shiny objects, that we could use to negotiate for goods and services.

Decades ago we moved away from using coins and notes to using numbers, but initially we had to have a copy of the numbers on our person to share with those we were trading (credit cards, checks etc).

Now all we have to do is give someone our numbers and they can suck money from our bank accounts or credit cards for us to pay later, or implement more complex contracts such as loans or major purchases. Your employer pays you the same way, numbered accounts in numbers locations is all that is needed to move money around.

Numbers are easy. You go into a restaurant and they suck money out of your credit card account. You take a taxi and the same happens. It’s very easy to move money around.

But what happens when the system breaks? What happens when a criminal gets hold of your numbers. They go to CVS and swipe a copy of your credit card, who checks? What happens when the disillusioned minimum wage worker at a fast food restaurant scans your card when they take your order and sells your information. And what happens when the bank doesn’t have enough security around your personal and private numbers, and they are stolen? What happens when one of the largest consumer credit reporting agencies, which has been collecting vast amounts of your personal and private data, loses it?

Quite simply we rely on a small series of numbers as our personal identity. These numbers are published in public documents, as well as being collected by many different organizations. And we have almost no control over how they are published, stored or used.

Theft of these numbers, our identities can take place across political boundaries, meaning it’s next to impossible to bring criminals down.

When someone collects and stores our personal information, they are taking on a responsibility to each person whose information they collect. If by their actions or inactions, that information reaches a criminal who steals from us, they have an absolute responsibility for the loss.

If a person dies because a car manufacturer installed brakes incorrectly, they are responsible. If a drug company creates a treatment with an adverse effect that wasn’t fully understood, they are responsible. And if you suffer a loss because a bank, a financial institution or a vendor failed to protect their copy of your personal data they should be directly responsible for the loss, and for repairing any damage it causes.

The law must reflect the importance we all place on personal data. Today it does not. There are some “soft” laws that describe how data must be protected, but when a business fails to implement these rules effectively the legal response is almost imperceptible. Let people know you screwed up, and maybe offer them a service to monitor their finances for a period of time, and then it’s business as usual.

Most of the world uses a Chip and pin credit card system. Where you have to both have a physical credit card and know a secret pin number to complete an in-store transaction. And nearly every county in the world mandates that that transaction must be entirely performed by the purchaser. In the US, this is not the case, we have a chip in our credit cards, but no pin number. And virtually every restaurant in the US uses a system where the waiter takes your credit card off of you and takes it to a machine out of your sight. These weaknesses lead to thefts that the rest of the world have already solved.

The US also relies on a social security number as the sole piece of personal data needed to prove your identity. Nowhere else in the world is this considered an acceptable practice.

Why is the US so weak in identify protection? Because the banks and vendors are not held responsible for loss, it’s normally left up to the consumer. If the bank makes a loss, they hike up their rates to cover it, the consumer pays.

We need a solid legal framework to protect the whole system, and that probably means much more infrastructure than a piece of paper issued to every citizen and legal immigrant when they are kids or first get the right to work, with a single nine digit number on it.

It’s time for the law to catch up with the requirement. And this means strict regulations and draconian penalties for non-compliance.

Today we have the technology to encrypt data, capture and use biometrics, spot fraudulent access using advanced artificial intelligence, communicate directly to everyone, anywhere, anytime and validate any number of ways.

But do we have the collective will to change a system that’s working quite well for banks, who have become addicted to social security numbers, credit scores, and acceptable losses without penalty?

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What the

Some shops now have use the phrase “following guest” or “I can serve the next person” to indicate that they are able to serve the next person.

Other shops have tried to mimic this process, but clearly do not have the same quality of store management, and this can immediately be seen when the cashier says “following” .

Not “I can serve the next customer now” or “can the next customer please come to the register”, just “following”

I am tempted every time to either not move and wait until they use a complete sentence of just say “you” which I believe is the equivalent contraction for the sentence “fuck you”

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