When Madison, a Washington DC, sixth grader, was told “somebody special” was going to show up to a community service event at her school, she hoped it would be Beyoncé. Instead, as The Huffington Post reported, she had to settle for the President of the United States of America:
"When I first heard that somebody special was coming, I really wanted it to be Beyoncé," Madison told Obama.
"I understand," Obama said, because of course. The president told Madison his daughters Malia and Sasha "would feel the same way."
Madison said it was “even better” that the president was there, but Michelle Obama added that "I’d rather see Beyoncé," as well. And, given past evidence, we can probably guess how Sasha Obama feels.
Korean artist Seung Mo Park (previously featured here) continues to develop and perfect his ability to create awesomely photorealistic sculptures using stainless steel wire mesh. Numerous layers of wire appear to form a holographic shadow world from which hauntingly beautiful faces and figures emerge.
"If you gaze at Park’s work for long enough, it almost seems as though he has dialed into some special channel caught between realities. A slight turn to the right and maybe his subject will become a real boy once and for all. A slight turn to the left and these ghostly figures might be subsumed forever."
Park’s sculptures appear so lifelike that it feels like it would only be mildly startling to see one of his faces or figures suddenly move, their eyes locking with our own, perhaps about to speak. We love how the wire mesh frays around the edges of some of the pieces, as though that’s where Park’s shadow world gives way to our own.
The fruitcake-fest began with a quintessential logic leap from Carlson, arguing that American teachers were giving children less homework in efforts to do less work themselves, while also conniving to keep the curriculum hidden from parents.
“But is this really about the kids or could it be a move by teachers unions to get teachers to do less work for, of course, the same pay?” he asked Whitney Neal.
Unsurprisingly, [she] agreed wholeheartedly with Carlson’s crazy-speak.
“That’s a great suspicion,” she replied. “As much as we don’t want to look at teachers that way as wanting to eliminate the amount of work they have to do, I almost think this is more of a ploy to keep parents out of the classroom, to limit the involvement parents have on what’s going on with teachers. Because if kids aren’t bringing home homework, the parents don’t really know what’s going on.”
At this point, Carlson got a little excited, launching attacks on Common Core and standardized testing, before positing the rhetorical question:
“Also, do you think the problem with American schools is kids are just working too hard, they’re just doing too much work, they’re just learning too much?” Carlson asked. “Is that a major problem?”
The pair implied that this was in fact the case.
because only on Fox News could you simultaneously believe that teachers are giving kids less homework so the teachers can slack off and get rich, while also believe that teachers are giving kids too much work and making them learn too much.
their comments have nothing to do with education. they just want you to be mad at teachers no matter what the teacher does, and they’re handing you all the attacks you need. you just need to keep your brain turned off and your temper turned up. they want to make you one of their drones.
whether you believe in god or evolution, you have a brain for a reason. USE IT.
If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it.
After the nation’s founding, corporations were granted charters by the state as they are today. Unlike today, however, corporations were only permitted to exist 20 or 30 years and could only deal in one commodity, could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals. And perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense. When you think about it, the regulations imposed on corporations in the early days of America were far harsher than they are now.
Apple paid great attention to detail with this new wrist-bound peripheral, and it shows the Swiss that it is possible to have great design at low costs. That is the most exciting thing about the Apple Watch for me – it will push the Swiss to take the sub-$1,000 mechanical watch category more seriously.
(he reviews watches for a living, not tech)
Brands that try to get in on the social conversation around 9/11 can come off as crass and opportunistic. But it takes a witty foil to really show how dumb some of the tweets are. Luckily, Mike Monteiro is that foil.
Thank you @Applebees. When we pulled Mother’s body out of the wreckage we dragged it to Applebees. And you guys gave us free sodas.
- 9/11 wouldn’t have happened if every airline passenger was armed, right, @Beretta_USA? Got any discount codes? #neverforget #neverreload
Warning: Extremely graphic descriptions of torture below
Aug. 11 2014
Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed by United States and NATO military forces since 2001, but, according to Amnesty International, there have been only six cases in which the US military has “criminally prosecuted” officers for “unlawfully killing civilians.”
The human rights organization put out a report [PDF] containing ten cases of apparent war crimes, where proper investigations and justice for the victims have been absent. These cases involve instances of night raids by US Special Operations forces, air strikes, drone strikes and torture that have occurred within the past five years of the Afghanistan War.
One hundred and twenty-five Afghan victims, family members and eyewitnesses to attacks, which resulted in civilian deaths, were interviewed by Amnesty. The organization also sifted through “documentary records” to research the US military’s investigative and prosecutorial practices in order to further highlight how war crimes are not punished.
From December 2012 to February 2013, an elite unit, Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) or “A-Team,” was “responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances. “Up to 18 people were killed” by a unit in the Nerkh and Maiden Shahr districts of the Wardak province.
Qandi Agha, a former prisoner detained for forty-five days, arrested in early November 2012, held at a base in Nerkh and then transferred to Bagram in late December, where he was confined for nearly one year, provided a horrific and vivid account of torture he experienced:
First they took off my clothes. Then they tied a thin plastic cord around my penis so I couldn’t pee. Then they forced me to lie down face down on the floor. Four people beat me with cables. They tied my legs together and beat the soles of my feet with a wooden stick. They punched me in the face and kicked me. They hit my head on the floor. They tied laces around my neck to strangle me.
During the day they’d leave me in the cell with my arms pulled out to the side, stretched out. During the night, they’d hang me from the ceiling from my hands. I have scars on my hands. My feet would be tied together. They’d barely touch the ground. My eyes were blindfolded. They’d pour cold water over my head. They’d do this from about 9 pm until 10 or 11 pm. They did this for 4 nights in a row.
They were questioning me all the time. Whenever they tortured me, they had someone with a pen and notebook. They’d ask, “Where are the weapons? Where are you hiding them?” I’d tell them that I worked as a cashier for the Ministry of Culture: “Ask them about me,” I’d say.
They left the string around my penis for 4 days. My abdomen was bulging. I wasn’t able to pee for those 4 days.
Agha described being dunked in a “large barrel of water.”
…They’d dunk me in the tank head first, with just my legs and feet sticking out of the water. My feet would be tied together, and my arms would be tied to my side. They would hold me there until I was unconscious. I’d breathe in water. They did that to me two times, on about the seventh or eighth night I was held. The Americans gave the orders and the Afghans did it…
Such torture would have been taking place years after President Barack Obama issued an executive order prohibiting waterboarding as an “enhanced interrogation technique.” Was the unit operating under the presumption that if they were not using their own hands to do the torture they could claim to have no responsibility?
Editor’s note: Nick Bostrom is professor and director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University. He is the author of “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” (OUP). The opinions expressed in thi…
The next stop from human level intelligence, just a short distance farther along the tracks, is machine superintelligence. The train might not even decelerate at Humanville Station: It is likely instead to swoosh right past.This brings us to what I think may well be the most important task of our time. If there will eventually be an “intelligence explosion,” how exactly can we set up the initial conditions so as to achieve an outcome that is survivable and beneficial to existing persons?
A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.
That’s a big deal. It challenges everything that we thought we knew about politics—upending the idea that we get our beliefs solely from our upbringing, from our friends and families, from our personal economic interests, and calling into question the notion that in politics, we can really change (most of us, anyway).
The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political conservatives have a “negativity bias,” meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments. (The paper can be read for free here.) In the process, Hibbing et al. marshal a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That conservatives respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of “a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it,” as one of their papers put it).
In other words, the conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.