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Emotions MUST Go!

March 22nd, 2017 by Michael Tabor

Image result for superhuman

This is going to sound appalling, but if we really want to become super – human and actually be cyborgs, emotions must go. Yes, we are (some of us) are very rational but it’s the emotions (jealousy, anger, envy, pride, sadness, etc.) that trip us up – every single time!!! If we are going to make progress, the emotions must go – it’s the only way to make progress.

I’m not advocating the eradication of emotions, after all that’s what makes homo sapiens human, but our progress to utopia and to a bliss state will just be impossible with stupid things like jealousy and pride. And here’s the worst of the worst – “The Ego”. Every Zen Master going back thousands of years ago knew that the ego was the biggest hindrance and ultimate source of all pain.

So WhaDaYaThink? What do you think? Again, I personally don’t want this to happen, but brace yourselves, because it’s coming – for SURE!!! People my age will probably be dead and gone, but your children may be around.

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Mike At The Movies

January 14th, 2017 by Michael Tabor

Lo And Behold – Reveries of The Connected World Related image

I’ve done movie reviews before here on this blog WhaDaWeThink.com however this will be the first (of hopefully many) under the rubric of Mike at The Movies.

“…this is ground zero of one of the biggest revolutions we as humans are experiencing.” This extraordinary documentary begins with this voiceover of Werner Herzog who is referring to the birth of the internet at UCLA  on Oct. 29,1969 = 10:30 pm where the first message was sent to Stanford University. That message was supposed to be a simple command LOG ON but the computer crashed after only typing LO hence the title of this film – Lo and Behold –a powerful and prophetic message indeed.

Social media, FMRIs, smart phones, , virtual reality…etc. How did we get here? It all starts with the very early days of the internet. We see a woman broadcasting the news ‘Imagine sitting down and having a cup of coffee while reading the morning paper on the computer…” Yep the very idea of this scenario 1969 seemed like science fiction. Those days were what we basically call prehistory of the information explosion. Herzog makes a comparison that seems utterly mind – boggling – that of those early days and today in which he states that if you collected the worldwide data flow for one single day and you put that information on CDs and stacked them, the pile would reach up to Mars and back. What? Is this hyperbole?   Well perhaps, it is after all a Werner Herzog documentary (he also made ‘Grizzly Man) he’s pretty goofy and eccentric and whether or not this statement is 100% factual or an exaggeration, he definitely meant to mean an unfathomably large number. Here there is a tracking shot following the central processing units of the internet that seem to never end – infinite. POWERFUL !

The first 30 minutes of the film are sort of dry and technical but hang in there – believe me it gets better and a lot more interesting. The dark side is explored with the story of Nikki “the Porsche girl.” This is an unimaginably disturbing true account of an 18-year-old girl who after an argument with her father speeds off with his Porsche and ends up crashing it into a stonewall at the toll gate. The girl is killed instantly – her head nearly decapitated. This is just the start of a bizarre and twisted nightmare for the family = the mother, the father and her siblings thanks to an unscrupulous cop and the internet. I won’t spoil it here but what happens after her death is so unspeakably horrible that it’s hard not to give some credence to what mom says about the world wide web being a manifestation of evil and the Anti-Christ.

Herzog also shows other examples of the dark side of technology including: people who are forced to live in seclusion because of an inability to block out waves, frequencies, and signals from cell towers. Young people who are addicted to video games (gamers in S. Korea wear diapers so they don’t have to step away and stop playing to go to the bathroom, playing 40,50,60 hours a clip), people of all ages addicted to pornography, social media, and everything else the internet has to offer. Herzog then ponders what would happen if we were cut off from technology by some natural disaster – like a hurricane Sandy but worldwide. What if there were a solar flare that knocked out the internet? Could we as a species survive? Would this be the undoing of civilization? You might say – well, yes of course we’ll survive and get through this but you’ll be surprised to hear what experts have to say. It’s not good news, We are too reliant on technology.

Herzog visits a hackers convention in Las Vegas, defcon, where the FBI, CIA, the Chinese Secret Service, nerds around the world, etc. gather to share and trade secrets and the state of the art technology. Kevin Mitnick, the world’s greatest hacker, will be in attendance. Find out his tricks. You’ll be shocked to see what’s coming.

The documentary unpacks the good and promising aspects of technology i.e. advances in medicine the eradication of cancer, etc. And, it also serves as a caveat for the unintended consequences of the information revolution. For every step forward there may be 2 steps back. Herzog interviews someone who works at cyber security for a firm Sandia Research Laboratory. It’s pretty scary to find out that this company which is a repository for research & development and logistics in the areas of solar energy, nuclear weapons, cyber security, banking, space exploration and more was recently hacked. Yep, 100s of institutions were or could have been compromised by these hacks (classified as Titan Rain) including NASA, defense, the industrial military complex and several major financial institutions.

There is so much more here in this film. It’s an absolute MUST-see. Anyone the least bit concerned with rising technology and our future will gain some insight. Some of the major players in technology and AI such as Elan Musk voice their positions, worries, hopes,etc. SO WhaDaYaThink ? Lo and Behold can now be streamed from Netflix. Enjoy and hold on!

 

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Throw Away Your Cell Phone And STOP Social Media

June 5th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

I very rarely use my cell phone (I have one only for emergencies) and I was very seriously considering disconnecting myself completely cellendfrom Facebook and only keeping LinkedIn (only for business purposes). I decided to stay on FaceBook only because of our blog. Most of our readers are actually not FB members, but I think we have a few, so….

Surely, Facebook has certain redeeming qualities i.e. finding old long lost friends and classmates, etc. but after that, ENOUGH !!!

Have you ever been to an engagement or family function and everyone seems to be playing with their mobile – texting, taking pictures, surfing the net … everything, but being “present” enjoying the company of one another i.e. human interaction and being in the “now.”

What is it about “us” (myself included) that 1. Constantly wants to be distracted & 2. Thrives on attention.  We all have thoughts, opinions, feelings about everything under the sun and part of being human is sharing it with other people. The aforementioned is fine and dandy but when you feel the need to throw a picture of yourself up on FB after getting a haircut or giving a blow – by – blow description of your recent colonoscopy procedure, well …

This is nice and short, because addition to the theme of this blog, we also all have Twitter attention spans (another blog) Anyway, WhadaYaThink ? What do you think ? There’s a term out there for us folks who are fed up with technology – Neo-Luddism.

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Another Social Network – UGHHH !!!

April 17th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

As I write this, reedit appears to be the hottest and fastest growing social networking site to date. So let’s see what we now socmed2socmed3socmed4socmed1have: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram … too many to count. For my money, LinkedIn is by far the best in terms of utility, quality, and content and unlike the other networks; LinkedIn is necessary for business professionals regardless of what industry one works in. This reedit is just another social networking site in which members can write & tell tales and stories and the world gets to comment or vote on whether it’s cool or not. More gossip, oh boy – just what we need.
Is this it ??? Our children have not yet found a cure for a single virus, not even the common cold (forget about cancer). Yes, of course, I’m certainly aware of the fact that this is no small task but… this “generation millennial” seems entirely consumed with “selfies” and societal image and popularity and seemingly have managed to conjure, build, and create every conceivable social networking spot under the sun. Where are our priorities???

These kids e.g. Zuckerberg, Weiner, Ohanian know code and algorithms & are so unfathomably brilliant but their focus is all in 0’s & 1’s i.e. digital. Yes, technology and computers are essential (Hey, bioinformatics) but how many social networks do we need? The young people are standing on the shoulders of giants – so do something! And okay, to be fair biotechnology is hotter than ever and indeed we have made tremendous progress in terms of understanding our biology, the human genome, disease, and essentially who we, homo sapiens are. However, it’s not enough!!! My goodness, not only do we not understand consciousness in the most general and facile way, we have not even scratched the surface of what it is to be conscious but we can instantaneously & in real time send pictures and tell lame stories about one’s boring, non – eventful day.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Young geniuses, use your monster brains to cure disease and perhaps prolong a better quality of life instead of wasting it all on how popular you could be! The possibility of extending our lives beyond our wildest dreams may someday not be science fiction.

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I’m Still Waiting For The News of What Happened Before The Big Bang

March 21st, 2014 by Michael Tabor

Last year we confirmed Higgs Boson (the god particle) and just last week scientists discovered gravitational waves or what they perceive as bigba1bigb2faint echoes of the immediate aftermath of The Big Bang. In Layman’s terms (I’m not an astrophysicist either) we now know precisely of what happened a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang (actually I just learned this yesterday, but it wasn’t really a bang, but rather an unfathomable expansion or inflation).

Physicists are excited beyond words with these amazing discoveries as they should be and it truly is mind – boggling that we know as much as we do, but I’m still not SATISFIED. I want to know what happened BEFORE the Big Bang.
This is what we have so far: The Big bang started out as a sub – atomic particle that was so small it’s almost impossible to even fathom the size ( so even with the most powerful microscope in the world, what one sees or actually observes is the reflected light which is wavelength in shape; the wave is approximately 10,000 times the length of the atom itself – & we’re talking smaller than an atom) . What happened next was the sub – atomic particle swelled to the size of a grapefruit and then exploded or as I stated earlier, it didn’t really explode, it just started expanding and inflating at a speed the human mind cannot possibly comprehend; some have even suggested that things were moving FASTER than the speed of light. Another blog, because you can’t go faster than the speed of light, right ? 186,000 miles per second. 671 million miles per hour….or can you?

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Do you think we’ll ever get the answer to what happened before the Big Bang ??? Will we ever be able to wrap our human minds around the concept of nothingness? What about infinity?
Incidentally, we also know that our universe is 13.9 BILLION years old. I say our universe, because now we have things like string theory, which suggests we have multiple universes (most people think we have 12 but others think the # is much higher).

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Man Versus Machine

March 8th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

This argument has been around and has been the stuff of Science Fiction for as long as I’ve beenmanmachine alive and obviously for a much longer period of time than that. The truth of the matter is that until we begin to understand consciousness we have absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of machines getting so smart that they turn on us; at least in a literal way. Yes Watson, the trivia machine, beat the hell out of the smartest Jeopardy players on the planet, but Watson is not alive – has no consciousness. Watson doesn’t even know it’s a machine nor does Watson even know that it exists; Watson never even knew that it played a game of ‘Jeopardy’ against human beings.

I’ve just begun reading an incredibly compelling book called ‘The Second Machine Age’. It, as the title suggests, is about two things: 1. The industrial revolution which essentially ushered in mechanical engineering, chemistry, metallurgy, etc. but most importantly James Watt’s steam engine which we now know, looking back resulted in the biggest and fastest sustained jump in human progress and development.  It allowed us to overcome the limitations of raw human and animal muscle power and we saw the population literally double in just 100 years. Can you imagine that? So from say 6000 BCE when civilization started flourishing to 1760 (approximately 7,760 years), the population was 110 million. 100 years later in 1860 it was more than 220 million.

Now with the second machine age, 2014,  the world’s population is at an astonishing 7 Billion people. Computers and the digital age; EVERYTHING is digitized !!! So WhaDaYaThink ? Will a machine ever be cognizant of itself ? Will man versus machine ever become a reality ???

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Creation, Not Destruction

November 24th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

napalmwarplane

lovenotwYou know what is sad??? Some of the greatest scientific minds in the world would rather devote their entire lives devising insanely twisted weapons of mass destruction instead of healing, preserving, creating…. etc.

‘New Scientist’ magazine recently came out with a timeline of weapons technology and what our Defense department has been up to with our hard – earned tax dollars. This is a list of some of the stuff we’ve come up with over the past decade:

2001

US president George W Bush proposes a national missile defense shield. The scheme meets with stinging criticism and the technology repeatedly fails to deliver in tests.

The Active Denial System, a directed-energy weapon intended to harmlessly drive people away, is tested by the US government. The device uses a microwave beam to produce a sensation of intense heat, forcing people to move away. Despite concerns about safety, portable versions have been mooted for police.

2002

For the first time, a high-energy laser is used to shoot down artillery fire.

The Pulsed Energy Projectile (PEP), a laser that can knock you off your feet, is developed.

2007

Australian weapons company Metal Storm files a key patent for its gun, which fires a million rounds a minute.

2008

In another milestone for high-energy lasers, the Airborne Laser is fired from an aircraft for the first time.

Also, Stellar Photonics begins testing of their experimental Plasma Acoustic Shield System, which generates a dazzling series of mid-air explosions by blasting balls of plasma with high-powered lasers.

2009

A US government report advocates using neuroscience to enhance soldiers’ abilities.

A few months ago, a book published by Belknap Press and written by Robert Neer was released entitled ‘Napalm: An American Biography’ Beware – this is a mind – numbingly chilling book !!! Check out this excerpt: “Napalm, incendiary gel that sticks to skin and burns to the bone, came into the world on Valentine’s Day 1942 at a secret Harvard war research laboratory. On March 9, 1945, it created an inferno that killed over 87,500 people in Tokyo—more than died in the atomic explosions at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It went on to incinerate sixty-four of Japan’s largest cities. The Bomb got the press, but napalm did the work.

After World War II, the incendiary held the line against communism in Greece and Korea—Napalm Day led the 1950 counter-attack from Inchon—and fought elsewhere under many flags. Americans generally applauded, until the Vietnam War. Today, napalm lives on as a pariah: a symbol of American cruelty and the misguided use of power, according to anti-war protesters in the 1960s and popular culture from Apocalypse Now to the punk band Napalm Death and British street artist Banksy. Its use by Serbia in 1994 and by the United States in Iraq in 2003 drew condemnation. United Nations delegates judged deployment against concentrations of civilians a war crime in 1980. After thirty-one years, America joined the global consensus, in 2011.

I have not read the entire book yet (I’m not sure I want to), but ‘Napalm …. Biography’ truly is a masterful piece of non-fiction that is thoroughly researched and if you choose to read it, you will learn everything from how it was developed, used, planned (during WWII, the U.S. military was actually contemplating attacking Japan with 100s of millions of bats with little napalm time bombs attached to them…. How sick & twisted is that ???). So, yes it’s a prodigiously disturbing book but the macabre details are so fascinating it’s almost impossible to put down.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Sadly, we happen to live in a super scary world, hence, being the world’s police, we need WOMDs. However, Napalm, lasers, mind control, etc. ???

 

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A Look At The Awesome Large Hadron Collider

December 29th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest man – made machine ever built – 17 miles long and between 165 to 575 feet in circumference. It is a circular tunnel – shaped structure below ground, situated near Geneva and it is so huge that it crosses the border between France and Switzerland four times. Its function and purpose is to unfold and reveal to mankind the seemingly untenable mysteries of where human beings came from, a much deeper understanding of the laws of nature, and how the universe got started. This unfathomable feat is accomplished in a nutshell, by accelerating sub – atomic particles (protons) in opposite directions to the speed of 186,000 miles a second (speed of light) and then smashing them together to create new particles, particularly the particle of all particles – Higgs Boson or “The God Particle.” (don’t ask me for the specifics of Higgs Boson, I’m not a physicist and I just have a general understanding of it).

In the process of colliding these prodigiously small particles (when I say small. I mean unimaginably small. We human beings can never see an atom, not even with the most powerful microscopes in the world and we’re smashing stuff even smaller than atoms —- sub – atomic [protons] particles. This is all approximate, but we can fit 100 trillion atoms nicely on a pinhead and to get an image of how small a proton is [located in the nucleus] just imagine if an atom was the size of Giant’s Stadium, a proton would be the size of a marble. Wild stuff – ahh?) we will also learn all about different dimensions (String Theory), dark matter, supersymmetry, and a whole lot of other stuff that physicists will finally get to discover and with which, advance our understanding of the natural world in which we live.
I won’t overwhelm you with all the technical specifications (most of this is over my head anyway) but I had to simply just write a little about, what in my mind, is one of man’s most important achievements.
So WHADAYATHINK? What do you think ? It’s simply hard to fathom   how these brilliant scientists were able to conceptualize and then build something so prodigious, complex, and precise as the LHC. It’s also hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this incredible structure is used for the sole purpose of accelerating and then subsequently smashing infinitesimally tiny sub – atomic particles (invisible particles) traveling at the speed of light.

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Why is Government Funding A Dirty Word?

October 19th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
Written by guest blogger, Karl Larson

In the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s was the beginning of the growth of technology that eventually created the mobile phone, computer, internet, and GPS, it was government funded university research; the military funded Military Air & space programs and NASA that originally fueled these industries. These technologies would have never been fueled by private enterprise most of the tough specifications required funding that might be considered too risky for private enterprise. These early stages of development and success created in industry and system of venture capital investments that snowballed the process fueling the exponential growth in the 1980’s 1990’s and early 2000s.

We are using everyday products that were created during this time that we only read about in Science fiction novels / movies and television shows. Who would have thought that more than 3 Billion people are connected everyday via the mobile phone or that 1/6 of the world’s population can communicate on an internet device daily via Facebook. These were all created by the process explained above not by just private enterprise but by government programs and private enterprise working together sometimes not even knowing it, but working together all the same.

We are currently stuck in neutral and need other program(s) like these to fuel the next innovation and growth boom. Private enterprise can not create this alone, we need to have programs that to some seem unprofitable to fund technologies that might seem way too risky for the private investor. Government programs can fuel economic growth as they did in the past. Private enterprise and small business alone can not drive economic prosperity in the USA. Private and public enterprises all demand a profit, and shareholders today wish to see that profit in months not years or decades. Government backed or generated programs are not in it for the profit, the programs should be designed to fuel new unproven technologies. Some will fail,but the successful ones will create new markets and business’s we have never even predicted.

Austerity and Cutting of spending will only lead to more economic uncertainty. Fighting with China for their low paying jobs is a losing proposition. Putting tariffs in place will not work. The Low paying jobs that went to China will not come back; we need to focus on what will work here now. Focusing on high tech alternative energy and technologies, New ideas fueled within the university system. Aerospace, Military and NAS programs. if we expand H1A Visa’s foreign students who get their degrees here in the USA will actually stay and work here innovating HERE not in China or India or Japan, Korea. It will be these students and our own kids who will create industries that we don’t even know about or can imagine yet. Making it easier to manufacture here with minimum restrictions and regulations and low Business taxes will make it more attractive to actually innovate here then keep the manufacturing here and not ship it to Contract Manufactures in south east Asia.

Whomever is the President in January needs to work with the congress and get this economy out of the mud and make this country a powerhouse of innovation and prosperity for all. That in my opinion is the most important issue. I have not heard from either candidate a solid action plan that will really create these opportunities. What happened to accountability? What happened to actually holding these guys to a standard of telling us exactly how they are going to get it done. Where is the plan? I have only seen fluff and meaningless vaporware.

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Solution For Our Economic Problems: Science, Technology, and Engineering

October 20th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Yesterday I explicitly set forth a couple of reasons why we are enmeshed in this terrible economy of ours (U.S.A.): 1) America has had it too good for too long and as a result we have become complacent; we have spoiled our children and hence our children (now today’s workforce) no longer have that edge. We have lost our parent’s and grandparent’s work ethic.  2) We are now more than ever part of a global economy.
I purposely began with our being complacent (again, I am not talking about individuals, there are people who have worked just as hard as the old-timers have – I’m referring to the whole mass or aggregate number of people.) because what I’m going to blog about today perfectly logically follows suit.
The number of people attending, finishing, and earning a college degree (though watered down – another blog) has actually increased and therefore we have a more educated population than we had at the time of the golden era of postwar prosperity (1945 – 1973). So what happened? We are more educated than our parents are (as I stated in yesterday’s blog, my father raised a family of six and carried only a high school diploma) doesn’t it stand to reason that we should continue to prosper and perhaps even enjoy more fruits of our labor?
Look at my first paragraph and read yesterday’s blog and therein lies the answer; we have become more educated BUT so has the rest of the world AND – this is new – the rest of the world (especially China and India) have earned advanced degrees in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING. You simply cannot go wrong if you pursue science, technology (IT, computers, etc.), and engineering.
Students from Asia come to this country, we educate them (in the sciences, technology, and engineering) in our best colleges and universities, and then they go back home and build up their country. They build infrastructure and create jobs at an exponential rate far surpassing the United States because they earned advanced degrees in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING.
Well, why didn’t we think of this? Why didn’t we major in S.T.E. ? Answer – because it’s incredibly hard work – plain and simple. Everything is cyclical; we majored in sociology, psychology, film studies, the arts, etc. because it was fun and easy. We weren’t concerned about putting food on the table and feeding our family like the rest of the world was, so we majored in sociology. Trust me, a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a token is just enough to get you on the subway.
So WhadaYaThink ? What do you Think? Hey, I majored in Journalism, do not get me wrong it was no cakewalk, but it pales in comparison to science, technology, and engineering.  What happened to us is just human nature; we weren’t starving, we got complacent and most of us got a liberal arts education. I used the word cyclical in the last paragraph because it’s apropos. We have to suffer a little, and then get back on track. If you don’t want to ever have to worry about getting a job, then get an advanced degree in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING. The liberal arts are important and we need them. Besides, if you major in computer science, there will obviously be a concentration in that area, however every college will also mandate that one earns at least 60 credits worth of liberal arts and studies in the humanities. If I were to do things over, would I major in journalism? Absolutely! But I would have a double major – Science/Journalism. I would have to work my tail off and I’m sure I would spend every moment studying, but at least I wouldn’t have to worry about money or landing a job. What do you think ?
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