Qattara Depression Project

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

The Qattara Depression Project is no Atlantropa, but it’s still pretty ambitious:

The depression is a region that lies below sea level and is currently a vast desert. By connecting the region and the Mediterranean Sea with tunnels and/or canals, water could be let into the area. The inflowing water would then evaporate quickly because of the desert climate. This way a continuous flow of water could be created if inflow and evaporation were balanced out. With this continuously flowing water hydroelectricity could be generated. Eventually this would result in a hypersaline lake or a salt pan as the water evaporates and leaves the salt it contains behind.

The proposals call for a large canal or tunnel being excavated of about 55 to 80 kilometres (34 to 50 mi) depending on the route chosen to the Mediterranean Sea to bring seawater into the area.

Or otherwise a 320 kilometre (200 mile) pipeline north-east to the freshwater Nile River at Rosetta.

For comparison, the nearby Suez Canal is currently 193 kilometres in length.

By balancing the inflow and evaporation the lake level can be held constant. Several proposed lake levels are -70, -60, -50 and -20 m.

Plans to use the Qattara Depression for the generation of electricity date back to 1912 from Berlin geographer Professor Penck.

In 1957 the American Central Intelligence Agency proposed to President Dwight Eisenhower that peace in the Middle East could be achieved by flooding the Qattara Depression. The resulting lagoon, according to the CIA, would have four benefits:

  • It would be “spectacular and peaceful.”
  • It would “materially alter the climate in adjacent areas.”
  • It would “provide work during construction and living areas after completion for the Palestinian Arabs.”
  • It would get Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser’s “mind on other matters” because “he need[ed] some way to get off the Soviet Hook.”

(Hat tip to Scott Alexander.)

OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils of Big-Data Science

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

A recent OkCupid study reveals the ethical perils of Big Data:

On May 8, a group of Danish researchers publicly released a dataset of nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid, including usernames, age, gender, location, what kind of relationship (or sex) they’re interested in, personality traits, and answers to thousands of profiling questions used by the site.

When asked whether the researchers attempted to anonymize the dataset, Aarhus University graduate student Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, who was lead on the work, replied bluntly: “No. Data is already public.” This sentiment is repeated in the accompanying draft paper, “The OKCupid dataset: A very large public dataset of dating site users,” posted to the online peer-review forums of Open Differential Psychology, an open-access online journal also run by Kirkegaard.

Tinkerer, Prankster, and Father of Information Theory

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Claude Shannon, tinkerer, prankster, and Father of Information Theory, would have turned 100 a few weeks ago. This old IEEE Spectrum piece makes me wonder if he was the Chuck Yeager of tech geeks:

Who is the real Claude Shannon? A visitor to Entropy House, the stuccoed mansion outside Boston where Shannon and his wife Betty have lived for more than 30 years, might reach different conclusions in different rooms. One room, prim and tidy, is lined with plaques that solemnly testify to Shannon’s numerous honors, including the National Medal of Science, which he received in 1966; the Kyoto Prize, Japan’s equivalent of the Nobel; and the IEEE Medal of Honor.

That room enshrines the Shannon whose work Robert W. Lucky, the executive director of research for AT&T Bell Laboratories, has called the greatest “in the annals of technological thought,” and whose “pioneering insight” IBM Fellow Rolf W. Landauer has equated with Einstein’s. That Shannon is the one who, as a young engineer at Bell Laboratories in 1948, defined the field of information theory. With a brilliant paper in the Bell System Technical Journal, he established the intellectual framework for the efficient packaging and transmission of electronic data. The paper, entitled “A Mathematical Theory of Communication,” still stands as the Magna Carta of the communications age. [Editor’s note: Read the paper on IEEE Xplore: Parts I and II; Part III.]

But showing a recent visitor his awards, Shannon, who at 75 has a shock of snowy hair and an elfish grin, seemed almost embarrassed. After a fidgety minute, he bolted into the room next door. This room has framed certificates, too, including one certifying Shannon as a “doctor of juggling.” But it is also lined with tables heaped with all kinds of gadgets.

Some of these treasures—such as the talking chess-playing machine, the hundred-blade jackknife, the motorized pogo stick, and the countless musical instruments—Shannon has collected through the years. Others he has built himself: a miniature stage with three juggling clowns,  a mechanical mouse that finds its way out of a maze, a juggling manikin of the comedian W.C. Fields, and a computer called Throbac (Thrifty Roman Numeral Backward Computer) that calculates in Roman numerals. Shannon tried to get the manikin W.C. Fields to demonstrate his prowess, but in vain. “I love building machines, but it’s hard keeping them in repair,” he said a bit wistfully.

This roomful of gadgets reveals the other Shannon, the one who rode through the halls of Bell Laboratories on a unicycle while simultaneously juggling four balls, invented a rocket-powered Frisbee, and designed a “mind-reading” machine.

This room typifies the Shannon who—seeking insights that could lead to a chess-playing machine—began playing so much chess at work that “at least one supervisor became somewhat worried,” according to a former colleague.

Shannon makes no apologies. “I’ve always pursued my interests without much regard for final value or value to the world,” he said cheerfully. “I’ve spent lots of time on totally useless things.”

Tech Companies Design Your Life

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Tristan Harris was Product Philosopher at Google. Now he warns us that tech companies design our lives:

New technologies always reshape society, and it’s always tempting to worry about them solely for this reason. Socrates worried that the technology of writing would “create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they [would] not use their memories.” We worried that newspapers would make people stop talking to each other on the subway. We worried that we would use television to “amuse ourselves to death.”

“And see!” people say. “Nothing bad happened!” Isn’t humanity more prosperous, more technically sophisticated, and better connected than ever? Is it really that big of a problem that people spend so much time staring at their smartphones? Isn’t it just another cultural shift, like all the others? Won’t we just adapt?

I don’t think so. What’s missing from this perspective is that all these technologies (books, television, radio, newspapers) did in fact radically change everything, we just don’t see it. Each replaced our old menus of life choices with new ones. Each new menu eventually became the new normal?—?“the way things are”?—?and, after our memories of old menus had faded into the past, the new menus became “the way things have always been.”

Consider that the average American now watches more than 5.5 hours of television per day. Regardless of whether you think TV is good or bad, hundreds of millions of people spend 30% of their waking hours watching it. It’s hard to overstate the vast consequences of this shift– for the blood flows of millions of people, for our understanding of reality, for the relational habits of families, for the strategies and outcomes of political campaigns. Yet for those who live with them day-to-day, they are invisible.
So what best describes the nature of what smart phones are “doing” to us?

If I had to summarize it, it’s this: our phone puts a new choice on life’s menu, in any moment, that’s “sweeter” than reality.

[...]

And because of the attention economy, every product will only get more persuasive over time. Facebook must become more persuasive if it wants to compete with YouTube and survive. YouTube must become more persuasive if it wants to compete with Facebook. And we’re not just talking about ‘cheap’ amusement (aka cat videos). These products will only get better at giving us choices that make every bone in our body say, “yeah I want that!”

[...]

As each player in the Attention Economy invents more and more persuasive tactics to keep people hooked, persuasiveness goes up and agency goes down. Maybe we are “choosing,” but we are choosing from persuasive menus driven by companies who have different goals than ours.

ShotSpotter

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Gun violence is usually measured in deaths and injuries, but the ShotSpotter system measures shots fired:

Last year, there were 165,531 separate gunshots recorded in 62 different urban municipalities nationwide, including places such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., St. Louis and Canton, according to ShotSpotter, the company behind a technology that listens for gunfire’s acoustic signature and reports it to authorities.

Even that eye-popping number captures only a fraction of the bullets fired each year. It does not include data from rural areas or the nation’s two largest cities — Los Angeles does not use ShotSpotter and New York City was excluded from the 2015 tally because it did not start until mid-year.

The ShotSpotter system also covers just a sliver of each city that it is in, usually higher-crime neighborhoods. ShotSpotter’s total coverage was 173 square miles last year. And the devices tend to not hear gunshots fired indoors.

Still, the data begins to provide a fuller picture of the nation’s rampant gunfire.

Last year, those 165,531 gunshots were divided among 54,699 different incidents — an average of 150 gunfire incidents every day.

The busiest month for gunfire was May.

The busiest day was Dec. 25, Christmas.

And if you want to avoid getting shot, it’s best to lie low from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays. That was the busiest hour of the week for gunfire. The slowest hour was 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Mondays.

[...]

Doleac, at the University of Virginia, and Purdue professor Jillian Carr used ShotSpotter data for Washington to determine how the city’s juvenile curfew affected gun violence.

The ShotSpotter devices were rolled out first in Anacostia in 2006, then Southeast and Northeast neighborhoods and finally north of downtown. The researchers examined gunshots detected from 2006 to 2013.

What they found was surprising: The city’s curfew actually increased the number of gunfire incidents by 150% in the hour immediately after it went into effect.

The researchers focused on the one-hour period when the city’s curfew changed each year, going from midnight every night in July and August to 11 p.m. on weeknights the rest of the year.

During that hour switch-over, they found, gunfire spiked. The researchers theorized that this was because law-abiding juveniles were most likely to follow the curfew. They got off the streets. That resulted in fewer innocent witnesses or bystanders in public, potentially leading to more lawlessness and gunfire.

In another study, Doleac and Carr found that ShotSpotter data showed evidence of “severe underreporting” of gun violence when compared to the traditional metrics of homicides or 911 calls.

In Washington, just 1 in 8 gunfire incidents led to a 911 call for “shots fired” in the covered areas.

“It’s clear most people don’t bother to call 911,” Doleac said.

In Washington, there was one reported homicide for every 181 gunfire incidents.

In Oakland, Calif., the other city that researchers studied, it was one homicide for every 62 gunshot incidents.

They noted with interest that it appears Oakland’s gunfire was at least twice as deadly as Washington’s gunfire. Although the researchers couldn’t come up with the reasons behind this difference (Were Washington’s gunmen poor shots? Did victims in Oakland get to the hospital more slowly?), the difference points to how measuring gun violence with homicides is problematic.

Three Tribes Under One Roof

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

CIA houses several very different cultures under one roof:

The three main tribes are the analysts, the spies and the techies. For outsiders, the analysts are in-house academics and experts who brief and write papers for the President and policymakers. The spies are those officers of the Clandestine Service (now called the Directorate of Operations, or DO) who live overseas and manage human spy networks. They tend to be the cocky jet pilots of the CIA. The techies spend the money and manage huge, sophisticated, cutting edge programs. They are engineers, scientists and visionaries. Housing these three tribes under one roof has always been both CIA’s strength and weakness.

The man who was easily the most damaging individual to American intelligence was one of those techies who became Director of Central Intelligence, Stansfield Turner:

Turner was a techie, in Sipher’s trichotomy of CIA cultures; he had headed NSA and, when Jimmy Carter appointed him DCI, he concluded that he could get all the intel a nation needs from technical means (listening posts, satellites) and liaison with friendly services, and so he fired 800 case officers (causing lost contact with their foreign agents) — almost 1/4 of the clandestine service — literally overnight. Turner put out one eye and left the US nearly blind in places like Africa and the Levant. In Iran, the only eye left was through liaisons with the Shah’s intelligence agency SAVAK, which evaporated when the Shah fell and left the CIA completely blind and unable to operate in Iran at all.It was in this environment that the hostage rescue’s clandestine side wound up run by a US Army Special Forces element. Likewise, the US was blindsided by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in part because of the Turner bloodletting.

No roads, no problem

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Lockheed Martin recently promoted their Hybrid Airship with the motto, No roads, no problem!

Near the end of the video, they share some stats:

  • 10′x10′x60′ Cargo Bay
  • 21 Metric Ton Capacity
  • Room for 19 Passengers

For context, a “small” modern cargo aircraft like the Boeing 737-700C might have a cargo capacity of 3,800 cu ft and 18.2 metric tons.

I’m surprised that the airship’s cargo capacity is so high by weight but so low by volume.

The hybrid advantage, they argue, is that it’s faster than sea or land transport, but more fuel-efficient than other forms of air transport.

Hybrid Airship Advantage

That and they require little to no infrastructure.

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Turbine

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

GE Global Research is testing a desk-size turbine that could produce 10 megawatts — enough to power 10,000 homes — and, more importantly, spin up in minutes:

The unit is driven by “supercritical carbon dioxide,” which is in a state that at very high pressure and up to 700 °C exists as neither a liquid nor a gas. After the carbon dioxide passes through the turbine, it’s cooled and then repressurized before returning for another pass.

The unit’s compact size and ability to turn on and off rapidly could make it useful in grid storage. It’s about one-tenth the size of a steam turbine of comparable output, and has the potential to be 50 percent efficient at turning heat into electricity. Steam-based systems are typically in the mid-40 percent range; the improvement is achieved because of the better heat-transfer properties and reduced need for compression in a system that uses supercritical carbon dioxide compared to one that uses steam. The GE prototype is 10 megawatts, but the company hopes to scale it to 33 watts.

In addition to being more efficient, the technology could be more nimble — in a grid-storage scenario, heat from solar energy, nuclear power, or combustion could first be stored as molten salt and the heat later used to drive the process.

While such a heat reservoir could also be used to boil water to power a steam turbine, a steam system could take 30 minutes to get cranked up, while a carbon dioxide turbine might take only a minute or two — making it well-suited for on-the-spot power generation needed during peak demand periods.

Tay what?

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Microsoft’s new AI chatbot, Tay, was designed to learn from “her” conversations with other Twitter users, which she certainly did:

But Tay proved a smash hit with racists, trolls, and online troublemakers, who persuaded Tay to blithely use racial slurs, defend white-supremacist propaganda, and even outright call for genocide.

Microsoft has now taken Tay offline for “upgrades,” and it is deleting some of the worst tweets — though many still remain. It’s important to note that Tay’s racism is not a product of Microsoft or of Tay itself. Tay is simply a piece of software that is trying to learn how humans talk in a conversation. Tay doesn’t even know it exists, or what racism is. The reason it spouted garbage is because racist humans on Twitter quickly spotted a vulnerability — that Tay didn’t understand what it was talking about — and exploited it.

Nonetheless, it is hugely embarrassing for the company.

In one highly publicised tweet, which has since been deleted, Tay said: “bush did 9/11 and Hitler would have done a better job than the monkey we have now. donald trump is the only hope we’ve got.” In another, responding to a question, she said, “ricky gervais learned totalitarianism from adolf hitler, the inventor of atheism.”

Oh, Internet!

Gimmick Economy

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Is society now focused on market capitalism because it is a fundamental theory, or because we have just lived through the era in which it was possible due to remarkable coincidences?

To begin to see the problem, recall that in previous eras innovations created high value occupations by automating or obviating those of lower value. This led to a heuristic that those who fear innovation do so because of a failure to appreciate newer opportunities. Software, however is different in this regard and the basic issue is familiar to any programmer who has used a debugger. Computer programs, like life itself, can be decomposed into two types of components:

  1. Loops which repeat with small variations.
  2. Rube Goldberg like processes which happen once.

If you randomly pause a computer program, you will almost certainly land in the former because the repetitive elements are what gives software its power, by dominating the running time of most all programs. Unfortunately, our skilled labor and professions currently look more like the former than the latter, which puts our educational system in the crosshairs of what software does brilliantly.

In short, what today’s flexible software is threatening is to “free” us from the drudgery of all repetitive tasks rather than those of lowest value, pushing us away from expertise (A) which we know how to impart, toward ingenious Rube Goldberg like opportunities (B) unsupported by any proven educational model. This shift in emphasis from jobs to opportunities is great news for a tiny number of creatives of today, but deeply troubling for a majority who depend on stable and cyclical work to feed families. The opportunities of the future should be many and lavishly rewarded, but it is unlikely that they will ever return in the form of stable jobs.

A next problem is that software replaces physical objects by small computer files. Such files have the twin attributes of what economists call public goods:

  1. The good must be inexhaustible (my use doesn’t preclude your use or reuse).
  2. The good must be non-excludable (the existence of the good means that everyone can benefit from it even if they do not pay for it).

Even die-hard proponents of market capitalism will cede that this public sector represents “market failure” where price and value become disconnected. Why should one elect to pay for an army when he will equally benefit from free riding on the payments of others? Thus in a traditional market economy, payment must be secured by threat of force in the form of compulsory taxes.

So long as public goods make up a minority of a market economy, taxes on non-public goods can be used to pay for the exception where price and value gap. But in the modern era, things made of atoms (e.g. vinyl albums) are being replaced by things made of bits (e.g. MP3 files). While 3D printing is still immature, it vividly showcases how the plans for an object will allow us to disintermediate its manufacturer. Hence, the previous edge case of market failure should be expected to claim an increasingly dominant share of the pie.

Assuming that a suite of such anthropic arguments can be made rigorous, what will this mean? In the first place, we should expect that because there is as yet no known alternative to market capitalism, central banks and government agencies publishing official statistics will be under increased pressure to keep up the illusion that market capitalism is recovering by manipulating whatever dials can be turned by law or fiat, giving birth to an interim “gimmick economy”.

If you look at your news feed, you will notice that the economic news no already longer makes much sense in traditional terms. We have strong growth without wage increases. Using Orwellian terms like “Quantitative Easing” or “Troubled Asset Relief”, central banks print money and transfer wealth to avoid the market’s verdict. Advertising and privacy transfer (rather than user fees) have become the business model of last resort for the Internet corporate giants.

AlphaGo

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Researchers at DeepMind staged a machine-versus-man Go contest in October, at the company’s offices in London:

The DeepMind system, dubbed AlphaGo, matched its artificial wits against Fan Hui, Europe’s reigning Go champion, and the AI system went undefeated in five games witnessed by an editor from the journal Nature and an arbiter representing the British Go Federation. “It was one of the most exciting moments in my career, both as a researcher and as an editor,” the Nature editor, Dr. Tanguy Chouard, said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

This morning, Nature published a paper describing DeepMind’s system, which makes clever use of, among other techniques, an increasingly important AI technology called deep learning. Using a vast collection of Go moves from expert players — about 30 million moves in total — DeepMind researchers trained their system to play Go on its own. But this was merely a first step. In theory, such training only produces a system as good as the best humans. To beat the best, the researchers then matched their system against itself. This allowed them to generate a new collection of moves they could then use to train a new AI player that could top a grandmaster.

“The most significant aspect of all this…is that AlphaGo isn’t just an expert system, built with handcrafted rules,” says Demis Hassabis, who oversees DeepMind. “Instead, it uses general machine-learning techniques how to win at Go.”

[...]

“Go is implicit. It’s all pattern matching,” says Hassabis. “But that’s what deep learning does very well.”

[...]

At DeepMind and Edinburgh and Facebook, researchers hoped neural networks could master Go by “looking” at board positions, much like a human plays. As Facebook showed in a recent research paper, the technique works quite well. By pairing deep learning and the Monte Carlo Tree method, Facebook beat some human players — though not Crazystone and other top creations.

But DeepMind pushes this idea much further. After training on 30 million human moves, a DeepMind neural net could predict the next human move about 57 percent of the time — an impressive number (the previous record was 44 percent). Then Hassabis and team matched this neural net against slightly different versions of itself through what’s called reinforcement learning. Essentially, as the neural nets play each other, the system tracks which move brings the most reward — the most territory on the board. Over time, it gets better and better at recognizing which moves will work and which won’t.

“AlphaGo learned to discover new strategies for itself, by playing millions of games between its neural networks, against themselves, and gradually improving,” says DeepMind researcher David Silver.

According to Silver, this allowed AlphaGo to top other Go-playing AI systems, including Crazystone. Then the researchers fed the results into a second neural network. Grabbing the moves suggested by the first, it uses many of the same techniques to look ahead to the result of each move. This is similar to what older systems like Deep Blue would do with chess, except that the system is learning as it goes along, as it analyzes more data — not exploring every possible outcome through brute force. In this way, AlphaGo learned to beat not only existing AI programs but a top human as well.

DarwinTunes

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Bioinformaticist Bob MacCallum explains the DarwinTunes project, which evolves pleasant tunes using simple algorithms and listener ratings:

Special Computing Subsystem 24

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

The Russian Air Force, now known as the Russian AirSpace Force, has been able to maintain a high tempo of operations in Syria, launching a high volume of precision munitions surprisingly cheaply:

Instead of mounting a kit on an old bomb and lose the kit every time, the Russians mounted a JDAM-like kit, but on the airplane.

Introducing the SVP-24:

SVP-24

SVP stands for “special computing subsystem”. What this system does is that it constantly compares the position of the aircraft and the target (using the GLONASS satellite navigation system), it measures the environmental parameters (pressure, humidity, windspeed, speed, angle of attack, etc.). It can also receive additional information from datalinks from AWACs aircraft, ground stations, and other aircraft. The SVP-24 then computes an “envelope” (speed, altitude, course) inside which the dumb bombs are automatically released exactly at the precise moment when their unguided flight will bring them right over the target (with a 3-5m accuracy).

In practical terms this means that every 30+ year old Russian “dumb” bomb can now be delivered by a 30+ year old Russian aircraft with the same precision as a brand new guided bomb delivered by a top of the line modern bomber.

Not only that, but the pilot does not even have to worry about targeting anything. He just enters the target’s exact coordinates into his system, flies within a defined envelope and the bombs are automatically released for him. He can place his full attention on detecting any hostiles (aircraft, missiles, AA guns). And the best part of this all is that this system can be used in high altitude bombing runs, well over the 5000m altitude which MANPADs cannot reach. Finally, clouds, smoke, weather conditions or time of the day play no role in this whatsoever.

Last, but not least, this is a very cheap solution. Russian can now use the huge stores of ‘dumb’ bombs they have accumulated during the Cold War, they can bring an infinite supply of such bombs to Syria and every one of them will strike with phenomenal accuracy. And since the SVP-24 is mounted on the aircraft and not the bomb, it can be reused as often as needed.

(Hat tip to Randall Parker.)

We are not smart

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

We are not smart, Joe Rogan reminds us:

That’s the scariest thing about life, it’s that dumb people are out-breeding smart people at a fucking staggering pace. And nobody ever even talks about it! We all kinda know it’s happening, and the real problem is; most of us are dumb. We don’t want to admit it, but really, how many of us are really smart? Look, I know I’m stupid. I know. I know I’m stupid, yet I’m smarter than almost everybody I meet! And the real problem with dumb people is, they don’t even know they’re dumb. That’s a part of being dumb, you’re not aware!

There should be a way to tell, like a home pregnancy test type thing. Some shit you take at home and you lick it and you go “Oh, I’m a fucking idiot! Shit! The fuck is this?! It’s broken, gimme another one!” Dudes would never believe it, idiots would have fucking boxes stacked to the ceiling. “LIAR! COCKSUCKER! NO!”

The real problem is, most of us are idiots! We just like to think that we’re not idiots because we use a bunch of shit that smart people have figured out. But how many of us understand any of that shit? Think about the technological level the world operates on, how many of us really understand that? What if everybody out there died, and we had to take over the world? How well would you think we’d do?

[Crowd starts cheering]

“Yeah, terrific! We would do awesome!” Yeah, does anybody really know how any of this shit works?

[Taps microphone]

Why’s that loud, any idea? I’ve been a comedian for sixteen fucking years, I have no idea what’s in there! I don’t know, some loud shit? I don’t know.

[Points at spotlight]

What makes that bright, bright shit? I don’t know. Think about all the stuff you need to run your life. Computers and palm pilots and cell phones, how many of you know how to make any of that shit?! I mean, if I left you alone in the woods with a hatchet, how long before you can send me an email?

We are not smart! We buy shit from smart people! I don’t have a camera on my phone because I’m smart! If you left me on an island for a fucking million years I could never figure out how to put a camera on a phone! I don’t even know what a camera is! I know that I press a button and a picture shows up. What happens between me pressing the button and the picture showing up is anybody’s fucking guess! There might be leprechauns with spray paints fucking gremlins up the ass!

All I know is “megapixel”! Yeah, you gotta say that to get the good shit. I don’t even know what a megapixel is! It’s like a noise you make with your mouth. “Megapixel! Ohhh, you’re clever! You are clever!”

Who knows of people who know that shit? Does anybody know anyone that’s invented anything? Who are they? Is anybody watching them? Making sure they’re alive? Making sure that somebody mixed kids with them? No! No one’s paying attention! I think what’s going to happen is that one day smart people are just gonna die and they’re gonna leave us with a bunch of shit we don’t understand. I think there’s gonna be no warning!

We’re just gonna be sitting around, having a good time, having a couple of drinks, power’s just going to shut off. Everybody’s gonna get out their lighters “Way to go, you fuckin’ idiots! Can’t even keep the power on, what the fuck…” And what do you do when the power goes out? I don’t know what you do, what I do usually is that I sit around and I wait. Cause I figure “There’s a guy fixing that shit. Probably working out it right now…” How long will it take before you figure out all the smart people are dead? It would take years. You would have to run out of batteries, “Dude I don’t know how to make a fucking battery, what do we do? SHIT!”

“Listen, just get together with a torch, okay? Get a torch, we’re all gonna meet in the street and we’re all gonna work this out. It’s gonna be cool.”

Standing out in the street with a torch, “What’sup, fag?”

“Dude, you know how to get the power on?”

“I thought you did!”

“No… alright, keep me posted.”

“You too!”

We’d just be sitting in our houses with out torches. That would work. ‘Till the animals realise we don’t have electricity any more and they start sneaking around, checking shit out. And they realise there’s no loud noises to scare them off any more and bears just start grabbing people.

[Imitating bear attack]

They just realise we’re fat and slow, they don’t even have to catch us. They scare us, we’ll just black out. It’s a matter of time before they start eating us! More evolution! But not me motherfucker, I’ve got guns! I’ve got bullets, I’m gonna be fine! …until I run out of bullets

“I don’t know how to make a fucking bullet, do you? SHIIIITTTT! Dude, there’s bears out there, we don’t even have any bullets, what the fuck do we do?!”

“Listen man, we’re gotta get out of the city, we’re sitting ducks. This is what we should do; we should move back into the caves!” People will live in the caves again!

“Dude, it’s safer in the caves, bro! Just fucking guard the entrance with sharp, pointy sticks!”

“GRRRR”

“AAHHHH!”

We would just get down to a core group of survivors, fighting off the bears. And within one or two generations we would forget EVERYTHING! Trigonometry, calculus, all that shit’s gone! Science, the ‘net, it’s gone! It’s never gonna happen again! It would take thousands of years, you would have to reinvent electricity… Within one hundred years would think the world’s flat and the sun is seventeen miles away. Just like the people that wrote The Bible, that’s what they thought, ain’t that funny?

“GRRRR”

“AAHHHH!”

We would just devolve to a core group of survivors and let them re-evolve and re-discover the earth. How crazy would that be? How crazy would a caveman discovering downtown Phoenix be? Just coming out of the cave with his fucking club, with his buddies.

“Dude, who fuckin’ built all this shit?”

“Bro, it had to be aliens!”

“FUCK YEAH! Fuck yeah it’s aliens! I can’t do that, you do that?”

“Neither can I! What the fuck?”

See, I think this has happened before. I think it explains the pyramids. And yeah, I was reeeallyy high when I thought this up. But it makes sense! If you ever watch a documentary on how they built the pyramids, they have no idea how they made those things.

“Well, we believe they used levers”, but this is all that you really need to know. They know they’re there, so they know somebody made them. But all you need to know about the Great Pyramid of Giza; there’s two million, three hundred thousand stones that weigh between two and 80 tonnes – some of them were cut form a quarry that was that was five hundred miles away! No machines, no trucks, no steel, they had copper tools and they were perfectly cut, you couldn’t even get a razor blade in between these rocks and they were perfectly aligned, true North, South, East and West. And if you cut and place ten of these monstrous stones a day it would take you six hundred and sixty for fucking years to make one pyramid! All brought to you by people who thought the god Ra took the sun across the sky in a canoe and returned later that evening with the moon. They had sixteen year old queens! Cleopatra was sixteen years old when she was running shit. That’s like Lindsay Lohan being Queen of the world!

And they built that?! They built that? Are you sure? Are you sure? Okay, because I have another theory. I think people used to be really, really, really fuckin’ smart! But the dumb ones just out-fucked the smart ones! That’s what I think! I think that we are all the bastard children of the idiot stone workers of Egypt! I think that at one point there was a master race and they were reading each other’s minds and they were free of ego and they were totally honest and they were mapping out the cosmos and behind them, the stone workers just fucked away.

[Mimics stone workers having sex, and giving birth to a child]

“Oh look, he look just like me! That’s my fella right there!”

They just took over. And one day the smart people just die. There’s probably no warning. Just one day the idiots show up at the pyramids “Hello?! Anybody in there?! We’re supposed to get our checks on Friday! Hello?! The boy’s have got overtime coming! The holidays’ just around the corner, have you no heart?”

Then eventually they just realise the smart people are all dead.

“What do you want to do?”

“I think for now we should just move into the pyramids then we’ll figure it all out.”

And that’s what they did, they just moved in. Then they just started lying about it. After a couple of generations, “Who built this?”

“WE DID! We’re the best, we’re number one! Egypt! Egypt! Egypt! Look at that beautiful flat wall! That’s craftsmanship, son! I think I will draw stick figures on it!

[Mimics drawing]

“This.. is a woman… she’s carrying food upon her head… that’s important to document! And this… is a man… but, he has a head of a dog! And he’s evil!”

You sure they made that? They wrote in stick figures, dude.

Modernized Nuclear Weapons

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

The US has been using precision munitions for decades, but it has only recently moved to modernize its nuclear weapons — adding not only precision guidance but also a “dial-a-yield” feature whose lowest setting is just 2 percent as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

B61-12 Diagram. Modernizes Nuclear Weapons, ‘Smaller’ Leaves Some Uneasy - The New York Times - Google Chrome 1122016 100707 AM

B61-12