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space travel – NYMag.com

Posted: October 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

(Photo: Courtesy of Virgin Galactic)

At dawn one morning last Novemberjust as the edge of Earth comprising Florida spun into the field of light bursting from roughly 93 million miles awayshe emerged one last time from the monstrous doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building, twelve stories long but dwarfed. This was what had been billed as the final mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, a 9.8-mile journey to her final resting place at the Kennedy Space Centers visitors complex. That Atlantiss journey would begin at the VAB525 feet tall, the largest single-story structure in the world, having sprouted a half-century ago in the frenzy of the space race, as stupendous an achievement as each of the space-faring rockets that would be assembled inside itmultiplied the emotion.

Very far away, still sheathed in its massive launch-apparatus exoskeleton, one could make out Launchpad 39A, site of the historic Apollo 11 moonwalking blastoff, where Atlantis had also taken off to orbit the Earth, once more and finally, in 2011, marking the last in NASAs 30-year-old shuttle program. The other surviving orbiters, Discovery and Endeavor, had already completed their extraordinary processionals to museums in northern Virginia and Los Angeles (the latter requiring hundreds of trees cut and roadways reconfigured to accommodate its size). A throng of personnel was on hand, those who had built and maintained and flown her, including some of the 7,000 whose jobs were ending with the program. With signs and T-shirts that read WE LOVE YOU ATLANTIS and THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES and WE MADE HISTORY, they fell in behind her. Many wiped away tears as she crept along at two miles an hour, past the dense, still swampland that had, many times before, exploded along with her, the alligators and pigs and birds flushing at her ignition, the fish heaving themselves from the water, the light from the trail of fire flashing from their scales.

Now the procession was funereal. For NASAs public-relations machine, desperate to engage Americans notoriously fickle interest, it would amount to an odd victory: Stories about Atlantiss retirement appeared in media outlets across the globe, all written as obituaries. The events of the following evening were equally bleak: A formal dinner at the nearby Radisson commemorating the mission of Apollo 17, whose lunar module had closed its hatch 40 years earlier and ferried the last man back from the moon. In attendance were ten surviving Apollo astronauts, an extraordinary group to say the least, the only men to have traveled to the moon, now gray-haired or bald. Their fears for the nations space future were well aired; many of themincluding the famously reticent Neil Armstrong, whose recent death had cast a significant pallhad written letters to President Obama saying his space policy portended the nations long downhill slide to mediocrity. Just as China rushes to land on the moon by the end of this decade, the astronauts noted ruefully, the U.S. is now essentially vehicleless. For a taxpayer-funded fare of almost $71 million per seat, American astronauts are now taxied to the International Space Station by their former archenemies, the Russians, aboard the old, reliable Soyuz rockets against which NASA once raced. The delivery of cargo is now outsourced to private companies. In a tear-stained column titled In an Earthbound Era, Heaven Has to Wait, the Timess Frank Bruni said that for Americans already profoundly doubtful and shaken, the shuttles end carries the force of cruel metaphor, coming at a time when limits are all we talk about. When we have no stars in our eyes.

All of which made the scene Id observed in a desert town in southern New Mexico a week earlier even more exceptional.

In a landscape redolent of Mars, a group of scientists, many of them young NASA astronauts recently decamped to private industry, practically evangelized about this very moment: Unbeknownst to most of the world, after decades of failed Jetsons-esque promises of individual jetpacks for all, peoplecivilians, you and me, though with a good deal more meansare finally about to ascend to the heavens. If the twentieth-century space race was about the might of the American government, the emerging 21st-century space age is about something perhaps even more powerfulthe might of money. The necessary technology has converged in the hands of a particularly boyish group of billionaires whose Right Stuff is less hard-boiled test-pilot, more high-tech entrepreneuring wunderkindand whose individual financial means eclipse those of most nations. A massive industry is coalescing around them. Towns and states and even some countries are fighting one another for a piece of it. In New Mexico, workers are putting the finishing touches on the first of at least ten spaceports currently under construction around the world. More than 800 people have paid as much as $200,000 apiece to reserve seats on commercial flights into space, some of which are expected to launch, at long last, within a year. Space-travel agents are being trained; space suits are being designed for sex appeal as much as for utility; the founder of the Budget hotel chain is developing pods for short- and long-term stays in Earths orbit and beyond. Over beers one night, a former high-ranking NASA official, now employed by Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin transportation conglomerate, put it plainly: We happen to be alive at the moment when humanity starts leaving the planet.

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space travel – NYMag.com

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Articles about Space Travel – latimes

Posted: at 2:56 pm


November 26, 2013 | By Shan Li

Virgin Galactic, the company aimed at taking tourists to space, is accepting the digital currency bitcoin as payment for future space travel. Richard Branson, the British billionaire who founded the futuristic company, called bitcoin “a brilliantly conceived idea” that has “really captured the imagination recently. ” “All of our future astronauts are pioneers in their own right,” Branson wrote in a blog post titled “Bitcoins in space. ” “This is one more way to be forward-looking.


November 2, 2013 | By James S. Fell

Col. Chris Hadfield, who until recently was commander of the International Space Station, has a workout regimen that is out of this world. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Hadfield’s new book, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” goes into detail about what it takes to be in shape for space travel. What kind of shape do you need to be in to qualify for the space program? To qualify to live on the space station, you have to pass the hardest physical exam in the world. There has to be a high lack of a probability of a problem, whether it’s your appendix or an injury.


October 6, 2013 | By Jane Engle

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – I was inept at moonwalking. My rocket was a dud. And I crashed the space shuttle. Fortunately, I was just an astronaut wannabe and not the real deal. But it’s as close as this middle-aged space geek is going to get. That geekiness, inspired by IMAX documentaries on space and news coverage of NASA’s final shuttle launch in 2011, was what brought me to Adult Space Academy. The trip was a gift from my wife. The three-day program is among more than a dozen versions of Space Camp, which the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville created more than 30 years ago to give visitors a taste of what it’s like to train as an astronaut.


October 3, 2013 | By Scott Collins

NBC is hoping to get a space-travel reality show off the ground this time. The network is teaming up with producer Mark Burnett and billionaire Richard Branson to make “Space Race,” a competition series that would send the winner up in SpaceShipTwo, a commercial space-travel service from Branson’s Virgin Galactic. The series could offer Virgin a key opportunity to plug its services. FULL COVERAGE: Fall TV preview 2013 “Virgin Galactic’s mission is to democratize space, eventually making commercial space travel affordable and accessible to all,” Branson wrote in a statement.


September 4, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan

A lemur that hibernates is strange and cute enough. But studying its lethargic state may provide a clue to sending humans on long-distance space travel or healing the ravages of heart attacks, stroke and head trauma, according to researchers at Duke University. The western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, a pocket-sized nocturnal primate native to Madagascar, is the closest genetic cousin of humans to hibernate for long periods, a discovery made by a German research team in 2004. The revelation that primates hibernated led to a happy coincidence at Duke, which happens to have a lemur center and a sleep laboratory.


June 21, 2013 | By Joe Flint

A new distribution platform is emerging and no one knows what to make of it. The established players are wary of it and see it as more foe than friend. Others are afraid of losing their shirt by investing in it. Sound familiar? But this isn’t the Internet. This was cable television in the early 1980s. Back then there were only a handful of networks and few were talking about 500 channels full of original content. “It was an unproven business, investors were not convinced that cable programming was a good investment,” said John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications.

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Tor Browser Portable Download – softpedia.com

Posted: October 1, 2016 at 1:43 am

Hide your identity when navigating the web, encrypt communication and access blocked content, with this portable version of the popular Tor browser

While antivirus software may protect you against malware attacks, countless websites track your location and browsing habits when you navigate the web, something many users prefer to avoid.

Tor Browser Portable provides you with a solution, as it directs traffic through large network of relays maintained by volunteers from around the world. Not only does this browser maintain your online anonymity, but it enables you to access regionally restricted content as well.

Tor Browser Portable does not store any information on your PC outside of the application folder, so it can be installed on USB flash drives and deployed on any system that meets the OS requirements.

It can be integrated with the PortableApps.com Platform, making it possible to include it in a custom application suite for use on your PC, USB stick or cloud drive.

Tor Browser Portable works by routing your URL request through a series of servers from around the world, thus preventing others from viewing the direct path from your PC to the visited website.

The browser displays the Tor circuit for each web page you have accessed, and a new identity can be created with a couple of mouse clicks.

When first launching the application, you may need to configure the Tor network settings, although the default configuration should work in most scenarios.

Tor Browser Portable is essentially a modified version of Mozilla Firefox, so users who are familiar with it should have an easy time making the transition.

However, the browser also includes the NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere add-ons, which provide an extra layer of security and encrypt communication.

To sum up, Tor Browser Portable is a great solution for users who wish to hide their identity when navigating the web. It prevents others from tracking your location or browsing habits, and it can even be run from portable storage devices.

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A State of Trance – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

A State of Trance (often abbreviated as ASOT) is a weekly radio show aired every Thursday at 20:00 (CET) and 14:00 (EST) and hosted by prominent music producer and DJ Armin van Buuren. It is also the name of van Buuren’s annual CD compilation series.

First airing in March 2001 on ID&T Radio (the predecessor of Slam!FM), the show takes the format of a two-hour mix in which Armin plays new trance music (uplifting trance and progressive trance), both promotional and commercially released. Selected tracks are announced during the show in order to help promote new artists and releases. Its radio-show/website combination has proven popular internationally, as fanswhile listening to the radio-showwill converse in the website chat-rooms and forums, such as Digitally Imported, during the broadcast. Progressive trance and uplifting trance producers all submit promotional and commercially released tracks to compete to make it onto the playlist of the show each week. The success of the show has also spawned to include several dance events around the world. The show is celebrated live each year in different locations around the globe with a lineup consisting of many trance artists.[1]

A State Of Trance is a sub-label of the Dutch company Armada Music. Released its first vinyl release in 2003 and reached its 100 release (ASOT100) with “The Doppler Effect Beauty Hides In The Deep / Envio For You (The Blizzard Remix)”.

A State Of Trance was formed in 2003 as a sub-label to its Dutch parent company Armada Music. It is also the parent label to A State Of Trance Limited. The style of music focuses mainly on trance and progressive trance with a wide range of artists and producers. The label is focusing on both young producers (such as Filo & Peri, 8 Wonders, Robert Nickson, and Galen Behr) as well as established artists (like Markus Schulz, Sunlounger, Sean Tyas, Signum and Vincent de Moor).

While it was not the first radio show to broadcast a two-hour mix from a recurring DJ, A State of Trance’s legacy has arguably extended beyond the trance scene. Part of this may be due to the fact that for most parts of the world, A State of Trance was only accessible via Digitally Imported, an internet radio station. Since A State of Trance has gone on the air, numerous DJ’s have created their own radio programs out of the spirit of A State of Trance. Some of which include, Above and Beyond with Trance Around the World (now rebranded as Group Therapy), Aly & Fila with the Future Sound of Egypt, and Markus Schulz with the Global DJ Broadcast. Some radio shows that don’t even play trance music have spawned out of the spirit of A State of Trance (such as Carl Cox’s Global, Hardwell on Air, and Nicky Romero’s Protocol)

Special episodes of the show features various live or recorded mixes by Armin van Buuren or other guest DJs. Every 50th episode of the show there are various celebrations in different countries with many trance DJs that plays live.

In March 2011 during the Ultra Music Festival, A State of Trance was given its own stage as part of its 500th episode tour. This was the first time a radio show was given its own tent at a music festival, along with its own broadcast, separate from the festival’s official broadcast. Typically a festival stage is hosted by either a particular style of music, or a record label. Since Ultra 2011, A State of Trance has had its own arena at Ultra and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.

Since ID&T’s shift from trance to house music, A State of Trance’s annual episodic celebrations have effectively replaced Trance Energy (now simply called Energy, focusing on electro house instead of trance) as the pinnacle trance event in The Netherlands.[citation needed]

A State Of Trance radio show is currently broadcast on the following radio stations:[2]

Tracklists for every episode can be found at the Episodes Section of Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance website.

Each broadcast features four songs selected as Tune of the Week, Future Favourite, ASOT Radio Classic and Progressive Pick.

The Tune of the Week is selected by Armin van Buuren as his personal choice of best new tune in the show. Here is the list of all Tunes of the Week:

The Future Favorite is voted for by listeners from a list of new tunes from the previous week’s show. The poll takes place at A State of Trance.

The ASOT Old Skool Classic (until Episode 770 known as ASOT Radio Classic) track has been part of the show since Episode 284. Armin selects a track from past years of trance and briefly describes what made the track a classic. It is played as the last track of the show. Armin also played a classic track on each of the first 16 episodes in the early days of the radio show. These tracks were productions from the 1990s and showcased some of the very earliest pioneers of the Trance genre.

Armin asks the listeners of A State of Trance to submit original suggestions for the ASOT Old Skool Classic with the stipulation that the track not be a track already played on ASOT as a Classic. The following table lists all classics played on A State of Trance from Episode 284 to the present:

This is a segment for a featured new progressive trance track. This segment began with Rodg Wrong Direction on ASOT Episode 717.

Armin van Buuren regularly releases double mix CD A State of Trance compilations, as listed below:

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Nihilism – By Branch / Doctrine – The Basics of Philosophy

Posted: September 16, 2016 at 5:25 am

Introduction | Types of Nihilism

Nihilism is the philosophical position which argues that Being, especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. It asserts that there is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator, that a “true morality” does not exist, and that objective secular ethics are impossible. Therefore life has, in a sense, no truth and no action is objectively preferable to any other.

The term “nihilism” was first popularized by the novelist Ivan Turgenev (1818 – 1883). Art movements such as Dada and Futurism, and philosophical movements like Existentialism, Post-Modernism, Post-Structuralism and Deconstructionism have all been identified by commentators as “nihilistic” at various times in various contexts. Nihilism differs from Skepticism in that Skepticism does not reject claims to truth outright, it only rejects these claims if there is insufficient empirical evidence to support them.

Nihilism is most often associated with the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, although he never actually advocated Nihilism as a practical mode of living and was typically quite critical of it. He was, however, one of the first philosophers to study nihilism extensively. Nietzsche’s criticism of nihilism was mainly on that grounds that it can become a false belief, and lead individuals to discard any hope of meaning in the world and thus to invent some compensatory alternative measure of significance. He also asserts that Nihilism is a result of valuing “higher”, “divine” or “meta-physical” things (such as God), that do not in turn value “base”, “human” or “earthly” things, and that any form of Idealism, after being rejected by the idealist, leads to Nihilism. According to Nietzsche, it is only once nihilism is overcome that a culture can have a true foundation upon which to thrive.

Similarly, Jacques Derrida, whose Deconstructionism movement is commonly labelled nihilistic, did not himself make the claims often attributed to him. In fact, Deconstructionism can be seen not as a denial of truth, but as a denial of our ability to know truth (i.e. it makes an epistemological claim as opposed to Nihilism’s ontological or metaphysical claim).

Nihilism is one of the few branches of philosophy that allows for the possibility of absolute nothingness. By making three apparently plausible assumptions – that there are a finite number of objects in the world; that each of these objects are contingent (i.e. that although they exist, they might not have existed); and that the objects are independent (i.e. the non-existence of one thing does not necessitate the existence of anything else – then the “subtraction argument” runs that each contingent object can be subtracted from the world, one by one, until absolutely nothing is left. However, it is not clear that the independence assumption is justifiable, and in practice (whether it be in an imaginative thought experiment, or in the hard scientific world of particle physics) subtracting an object from a particular scenario actually does have repercussions, however small, for the world as a whole. Rather, nothingness appears to be a limit or asymptote that can be approached but never quite reached.

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About – Coinbase

Posted: September 14, 2016 at 1:09 am

In brief

Founded in June of 2012, Coinbase is a digital currency wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with new digital currencies like bitcoin and ethereum. We’re based in San Francisco, California.

Bitcoin is the world’s most widely used alternative currency with a total market cap of approximately $10 billion. The bitcoin network is made up of thousands of computers run by individuals all over the world.

Adam Draper

Greg Kidd

Garry Tan

Bitcoin & Ethereum are changing how we use and think about money. Coinbase, the most trusted company in the space, is looking for you to join our rapidly growing team.

Open positions

Bitcoin & Ethereum are changing how we use and think about money. Coinbase, the most trusted company in the space, is looking for you to join our rapidly growing team.

Open Positions

We make Bitcoin & Ethereum easy to use, strive to be the trusted brand in the space, and have built the world’s leading platform for Bitcoin and Ethereum integration.

Our Values

Mailing Address

548 Market St #23008 San Francisco, CA

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Bahamas Map / Geography of Bahamas / Map of Bahamas …

Posted: September 10, 2016 at 5:33 am

Archeologists believe that Taino people from Cuba and the island of Hispaniola migrated into the southern reaches of the Bahamas in the 11th century.

Those first settlers, known as Lucayans, lived across some scattered islands in the Bahamas when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.

There are a few other claims, as well as unsubstantiated opinions, but it is now widely accepted that Christopher Columbus’s first landfall in this ‘New World’ was on the Bahamian island of San Salvador.

Like most other isolated islands, when the indigenous population had not been exposed to the outside world, diseases carried in by European explorers and their crew (unintentionally) decimated the local population; the same was true here for the Taino Indians.

Over the next century, or so, the Taino population was further decimated, as the islands became a major launching base for the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean, and they took the Taino with them as slaves.

Assorted factions from Europe (mainly from England) attempted to settle these islands in the early 17th century. In 1648, English Puritans established the first permanent European settlement on an island they named Eleuthera.

In 1670, England’s King Charles II literally rented the islands for trading purposes to a group of English nobles that were at the time governing British colonies in North America, such as Maryland, Carolina, and New Jersey.

Over the next half century, these low-lying islands, with many places to hide, became a haven for pirates and lawlessness.

To curb those problems, Britain transformed the Bahamas into a crown colony in 1718, one first governed by Woodes Rogers, an English sea captain and privateer.

During the American War of Independence, the British-controlled Bahamas were a frequent target of American naval forces; in fact, American forces once briefly occupied the capital city of Nassau.

After the new country of America gained its independence in the late 1770s, thousands of disgruntled British loyalists (complete with their slaves) moved to the Bahamas.

Across their remaining colonies, mainly because of pressures applied on the home-front, the British abolished the slave trade in 1807. Soon liberated African slavesdominated the population of the Bahamas.

Through the mid 20th century the British remained in control. Then in 1964, the islands were granted some levels of internal self-governing. Full independence came July 10, 1973.

Since that day the Bahamas have moved forward into prosperity. Today tourism is the major industry, and these stunning islands of gregarious people, beautiful scenery and sunny skies are one of the most popular cruise ship and vacation destinations on the planet. Bahamas which celebrates its national day on July 10th, has a population of 316,182 and gained its independence 1973.

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Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom and A Rough Ride to the …

Posted: September 6, 2016 at 8:20 am

Roboy, a humanoid robot developed by the University of Zurich’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Photograph: Erik Tham/Corbis

The Culture novels of Iain M Banks describe a future in which Minds superintelligent machines dwelling ingiant spacecraft are largely benevolent towards human beings and seem to take pleasure from our creativity and occasional unpredictability. It’s a vision that I find appealing compared with many other imagined worlds. I’d like to think that if superintelligent beings did exist they would be at least as enlightened as, say, the theologian Thomas Berry, who wrote that once we begin to celebrate the joys of the Earth all things become possible. But the smart money or rather most of the money points another way. Box-office success goes to tales in which intelligences created by humans rise up and destroy or enslave their makers.

If you think this is all science fictionand fantasy, you may be wrong. Scientists including Stephen Hawking and Max Tegmark believe that superintelligent machines are quite feasible. And the consequences of creating them, they say, could be either the bestor the worst thing ever to happen to humanity. Suppose, then, we take the proposition seriously. When couldit happen and what could theconsequences be? Both Nick Bostromand James Lovelock address these questions.

The authors are very different. Bostrom is a 41-year-old academic philosopher; Lovelock, now 94, is a theorist and a prolific inventor (his electron capture detector was key to the discovery of the stratospheric ozone hole). They are alike in that neither is afraid to develop and champion heterodox ideas. Lovelock is famous for the Gaia hypothesis, which holds that life on Earth, taken as a whole, creates conditions that favour its own long-term flourishing. Bostrom has advanced radical ideas on transhumanism and even argued that it is more than likely we live inside acomputer-generated virtual world.

As early as the 1940s Alan Turing, John von Neumann and others saw that machines could one day have almost unlimited impact on humanity and the rest of life. Turing suggested programs that mimicked evolutionary processes could result in machines with intelligence comparable to or greater than that of humans. Certainly, achievements in computer science over the last 75 yearshave been astonishing. Most obviously, machines can now execute complex mathematical operations many orders of magnitude faster than humans. They can perform a range of tasks, from playing world-beating chess to flying a plane or a car, and their capabilities are rapidly growing. The consequences from machines stealing your job to eliminating drudgery to unravelling the enigmas of cancer toremote killing are and will continue to be striking.

But even the most sophisticated machines created so far are intelligent in only a limited sense. They enactcapabilities that humans have envisaged and programmed into them. Creativity, the ability to generate new knowledge and generalised intelligence outside specific domains seem to be beyond them. Expectations that AI would soon overtake human intelligence were first dashed in the 1960s. And the notion of a singularity the idea, advanced first by Vernor Vinge and championed most conspicuously by Ray Kurzweil, that the sudden, rapid explosion of AI and human biological enhancement is imminent and will probably with us by around 2030 looks to be heading for a similar fate.

Still, one would be ill-advised to dismiss the possibility altogether. (It took 100 years after George Cayley first understood the basic principles of aerodynamics to achieve heavier-than-air flight, and the first aeroplanes looked nothing like birds.) Bostrom reports that many leading researchers in AI place a 90% probability on the development of human-level machine intelligence by between 2075 and 2090. It is likely, he says, that superintelligence, vastly outstripping ours, would follow. The central argument of his book goes like this: the first superintelligence to be created will have decisive first-mover advantage and, in a world where there is no other system remotely comparable, it will be very powerful. Such a system will shape the world according to its “preferences”, and will probably be able to overcome any resistance that humans can put up. The bad news is that the preferences such an artificial agent could have will, if fully realised, involve the complete destruction of human life and most plausible human values. The default outcome, then, is catastrophe. In addition, Bostrom argues that we are not out of the woods even if his initial premise is false and a unipolar superintelligence never appears. “Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion,” he writes, “we humans are like small children playing with a bomb.”

It will, he says, be very difficult but perhaps not impossible to engineer a superintelligence with preferences that make it friendly to humans or able to be controlled. Our saving grace could involve “indirect normativity” and “coherent extrapolated volition”, in which we take advantage of an artificialsystem’s own intelligence to deliver beneficial outcomes that we ourselves cannot see or agree on in advance. The challenge we face, he stresses, is “to hold on to our humanity: to maintain our groundedness”. He recommends research be guided and managed within a strict ethical framework. Afterall, we are likely to need the smartest technology we can get our hands on to deal with the challenges we face in the nearer term. It comes, then, to a balance of risks. Bostrom’s Oxford University colleagues Anders Sandberg and Andrew Snyder-Beattie suggest that nuclear war and the weaponisation ofbiotechnology and nanotechnology present greater threats to humanity than superintelligence.

For them, manmade climate change is not an existential threat. This judgment is shared by Lovelock, who argues that while climate change could mean a bumpy ride over the next century or two, with billions dead, it isnot necessarily the end of the world.

What distinguishes Lovelock’s new book from his earlier ones is an emphasis on the possibility of humanity as part of the solution as well as part of the problem. “We are crucially important for the survival of life on Earth,” hewrites. “If we trash civilisation by heedless auto-intoxication, global war or the wasteful dispersal of the Earth’s chemical resources, it will grow progressively more difficult to begin again and reach the present level of knowledge. If we fail, or become extinct, there is probably not sufficient time for a successor animal to evolve intelligence at or above our level.” Earth now needs humans equipped with the bestof modern science, he believes, to ensure that life will continue to thrive. Only we can produce new forms clever enough to flourish millions of years in the future when the sun gets hotter and larger and begins to make carbon-based life less viable. Lovelock thinks superintelligent machines are a distant prospect, and that technology will remain our slave.

What to believe and to predict? Perhaps better to quote. In his 1973 television series and book The Ascent of Man, Jacob Bronowski said: “We are nature’s unique experiment to make the rational intelligence prove itself sounder than reflex. Knowledge is our destiny.” To this add a few words of Sandberg’s: “The core problem is overconfidence The greatest threat is human stupidity.”

To order these titles with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846 or go to guardianbookshop.co.uk.

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The Futurist Magazine – World Future Society

Posted: September 3, 2016 at 11:30 pm

**THE FUTURIST Magazine will be transforming into a new kind of digital publication. Stay tuned!**

Click here to view an archive of past issues (member sign in required).

THE FUTURIST was a bimonthly magazine published from 1967 – Summer 2015 by the World Future Society. It was also available on newsstands coast to coast in the United States. The focus of THE FUTURIST was innovation, creative thinking, and emerging trends in the social, economic, and technological areas.

Among the many influential futurists and experts who contributed to THE FUTURIST include: Gene Roddenberry, Al Gore, Newt Gingrich, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Buckminster Fuller, Frederik Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Vaclav Havel, Margaret Mead, Robert McNamara, B.F Skinner, Nicholas Negroponte, Arthur C. Clarke, Douglas Rushkoff, David Walker, Glenn T. Seaborg, Clay Shirky, and Robert James Woolsey.

THE FUTURIST magazines print edition was one of the world’s most popular publications about the future. THE FUTURIST featured the writing of inventor Ray Kurzweil, management experts Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, technology “maverick” Kevin Kelly, marketing guru Seth Godin, nature writer Richard Louv, futurist Paul Saffo, science fiction authors David Brin and Brenda Cooper, Internet-freedom scholar Evgeny Morozov, environmentalist and MacAuthur Fellow Lester Brown, nanotechnology pioneer K. Eric Drexler and roboticist and TED fellow Rodney Brooks among many other thought leaders.

THE FUTURIST was nominated for an Utne Independent Press Award for Best Science and Technology Coverage.

Content distribution channels have fundamentally evolved over the last two decades. As futurists, we have long been talking about the disruptions to traditional industries as a result of digital technology. The publishing industry is no different. Today, print publications are high-cost, low-return efforts compared to digital publication. And today, there is no shortage of exceptional future-focused content circulating online from dozens of reputable sources. We want our readership to have access to the best content, whether that content is created in-house or by the future-minded thinkers outside of our built-in network. As a result, we will no longer be publishing and distributing a physical magazine. The Futurist will be transforming into a new kind of digital publication: an aggregator of curated and future-focused online content, combined with news and analysis from members who have blog articles and op-eds to contribute. The Futurist has been the World Future Society’s trademark content offering for 50 years, and we expect it will be for another 50 years

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Virtual Reality | Technology | GeForce

Posted: August 29, 2016 at 7:38 am

Virtual Reality is finally here after years of anticipation, and it’s been well worth the wait. At NVIDIA we’ve been working from the beginning of VR’s resurgence to create technologies, tools and best practices that enhance the VR experience.

Now, with the new GeForce GTX 1080 and the new Pascal Architecture, we’re enabling a new level of presence in VR by introducing new technologies that will make your VR experiences more immersive and realistic.

With VR performance is key – Virtual Reality headsets render games and applications at a resolution equivalent to 3024×1680, and need to do so at a sustained 90 FPS. Failure to maintain a constant 90 FPS results in stuttering and hitching that ruin the experience.

With the new GeForce GTX 1080, Virtual Reality performance is up to 2X faster than with the GeForce GTX TITAN X. This remarkable improvement comes courtesy of the amazing graphics horsepower of Pascal, combined with our new Simultaneous Multi-Projection technology, which enables new VRWorks Lens Matched Shading and Single Pass Stereo rendering techniques.

For decades PC gamers enthusiastically enjoyed their games on flat 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 monitors. Thankfully technology has advanced, and we can now play with three monitors in NVIDIA Surround, on curved monitors, and even in Virtual Reality.

With the new Pascal-architecture Simultaneous Multi-Projection technology we can implement several new techniques that improve your experience on these displays. And in Virtual Reality, improve performance, too.

The first of these new Virtual Reality techniques is Lens Matched Shading, which builds upon the Multi-Res Shading technology introduced alongside our previous-generation Maxwell architecture. Lens Matched Shading increases pixel shading performance by rendering more natively to the unique dimensions of VR display output. This avoids rendering many pixels that would otherwise be discarded before the image is output to the VR headset.

Single Pass Stereo turbocharges geometry performance by allowing the head-mounted display’s left and right displays to share a single geometry pass. We’re effectively halving the workload of traditional VR rendering, which requires the GPU to draw geometry twice once for the left eye and once for the right eye.

This improvement is especially important for geometry-heavy scenes, and those featuring significant levels of tessellation, which remains the most effective way of adding real detail to objects and surfaces in VR.

With tessellation, affected game elements can be accurately lit, shadowed and shaded, and can be examined up close in Virtual Reality. With other solutions, such as Bump Mapping or Parallax Occlusion Mapping, the simulation of geometric detail breaks down when the player approaches or examines affected objects from any angle, which harms immersion. By increasing geometry performance and tessellation by up to 2x, developers are able to add more detail that players can examine up close, significantly improving the look of the game and the player’s level of presence.

Together, Pascal’s improved performance, and new Single Pass Stereo and Lens Matched Shading significantly improve the Virtual Reality experience for GeForce GTX users.

NVIDIA has spent decades working to perfect 3D graphics, but with VR great graphics demand great audio to create a sense of presence. To this end, NVIDIA has created a game-changing advancement called VRWorks Audio.

Today’s VR applications provide positional audio, telling users where a sound comes from within an environment. However, sound in the real world reflects more than just location of the audio source — sound is a function of the physical environment. For example, a voice in a small room will sound different than the same voice outdoors because of the reflections and reverb caused by the sound bouncing off the walls of the room. Using NVIDIA’s OptiX ray tracing engine, VRWorks Audio is able to trace the path of sound in an environment in real-time, delivering physical audio that fully reflects the size, shape, and material properties of the virtual world.

Simply put, we’re able to simulate physically-accurate, super realistic real-time audio using the power of your graphics card.

If you’ve been a gamer for some time you’ve almost certainly played a game with CPU or GPU PhysX, or our new FleX effects. These technologies add more realistic physics effects, and enable interactions between the player’s character and the world they’re inhabiting. In Virtual Reality, more often than not you are the player in the center of the action, directly interacting with objects and the world itself. As such, the world needs to react realistically to maintain the user’s sense of presence in the virtual world.

Realistically modelling touch interactions and environmental behavior is critical for delivering full presence in VR. And by adding touch interactivity with haptics we can amplify the degree of immersion.

Existing VR experiences deliver these effects through a combination of positional tracking, hand controllers, and haptics. With NVIDIA’s new VR Touch PhysX Constraint Solver, we can instead detect when a hand controller interacts with a virtual object and enable the game engine to provide a physically-accurate visual and haptic response.

By providing this improved, ready-made, all-in-one solution to game developers we can save them time, effort and money, and improve the experiences of gamers.

As you might expect, we’re also bringing our PhysX and FleX visual effects to VR, so that interactions, events and actions involving the player or occurring around the player are realistic, physically accurate, and representative of what players would expect to see in the real world.

Over the years PhysX and FleX have created visual effects for just about anything you can imagine – explosions, cloth, water, snow, gore, volumetric weather effects, and on and on, and on. PhysX has done them all, and more, and now your own actions in the virtual world can influence the actions, reactions, and interactions of these effects.

The great news is that you won’t have to wait long to experience VRWorks Graphics, VRWorks Audio, and VR PhysX – all three are fully utilized in “NVIDIA VR Funhouse”, a NVIDIA-developed VR experience that’s coming soon. Learn more about this highly immersive, extremely entertaining experience here.

Combined, the technologies discussed in this story form VRWorks, a comprehensive suite of features that allow developers to create more detailed, more immersive, and faster-performing VR experiences that you won’t want to miss.

To benefit from these features, and those released previously, register your interest now to be notified when the GeForce GTX 1080 pre-order program begins.

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Virtual Reality | Technology | GeForce

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