All Posts Tagged With: "future politics"
I just arrived in Champaign today after a rather bizarre and shall we say “adventurous” roadtrip from my home in California. On this trip, my girlfriend and I mostly went by maps because what were once our sightseeing plans had hit a few hiccups, so we had to take a different (and shorter) route. While studying the maps of the country between California and Illinois, I was struck by how artificial our political subdivision boundary lines are. I was struck by the number of metropolitan areas that spanned not only dozens, and occasionally hundreds, of municipalities and square miles, but also multiple states. This got me to thinking that there’s something wrong, almost offensive to common sense, in this scenario.
States, municipalities, counties. They are largely artificial. The most obvious is counties. They are, for the most part, entirely artificial lines drawn in the sand by state governments to make governing larger states easier – they are mere subdivisions of the state. States aren’t always as obvious. A few, like Hawaii or some of the original colonies make sense in that they were around as pre-existing entities with something like a cohesive foundation and common identity and then became states. A larger number of states, however, are just more lines drawn in the sand by the Federal Government throughout history to make sense of huge annexations of territory into the United States. To get a sense of this, think mostly of the territory west of the Mississippi, you know, all them funny square states with nice straight line borders.
One of the classiest parodies available online. I almost bought it for a while…
According to this article, Americans need to rethink our concepts of privacy.
Assumption: By the year 2016, the word secret is meaningless. A recording of every second of everyone’s life is available through a search engine similar to Google if you know the proper keywords to reference it. The recordings cannot be blocked or faked and anyone can access them.
What are the likely political results of this change?
Name three totally new professions that will be created to deal with this new way of life.
How will this impact economics?
Assume that the life expectancy of a person born after 1964 in the United States will be approximately 150 years.
Assume also that until they reach the 130 year mark (i.e. the end of the 21st Century) they will be no more debilitated by aging than the average 60 year old is at present.
What adaptations do individuals, businesses and the government need to make in the next twenty years to compensate for the changes this will bring?
News, as downloaded directly into memory by iJack:
New York, NY–(Urbanagora.com editorial staff) In a small ceremony, attended for the most part by city officials and the children of those killed in the attack, New York Mayor Joan Chang laid a wreath at the Twin Towers Memorial. Looking back from a generation after the events of that day, it becomes clear that this attack on the former United States began the chain of events that led to that country splitting up into a group of smaller nations. The combination of imperialistic hubris pointed in the wrong direction and unnecessary and intrusive attempts to remove the rights of citizenry led to the end of this formerly great nation, only 36 years after its chief rival dissolved in a thundering crash which would cause Fukuyama to declare “the end of history.” In its own way, however, the attack set the stage for the first portion of the 21st Century, since it demonstrated that a group of less than 20 individuals, with fifty dollars worth of simple tools and the understanding of the dynamics of human systems could achieve a result far out of proportion to their apparent power. Costing billions of dollars as well as inciting two wars, their deaths truly opened a new era on the world stage. Since that September morning, the world has lost Tel Aviv, Melbourne and the entire nation of Tibet. Whether the human race itself will survive has yet to be determined.
Moonbase Alpha, Luna–(XCorporation press release) XCorp astronauts have landed on and captured Comet C/2026 Denofrio-Takahashi. This source of water and other necessary consumable materials will be placed in Lunar orbit late next year and used to supply XCorp’s Moonbase Alpha, as well as the American and Chinese Lunar settlements. CEO Peter Diamantis (who was on hand to greet American astronauts three years ago when they finally returned to the Moon) said that XCorp plans to sell the shell of the comet to NASA to be used as shielding for their Mars exploration mission.
San Francisco, CA–(CatFancy.com) Familiars, Incorporated has finally released details of the rollout of their first chip-enhanced kitten, the Mitzi. This fusion of animal and cybernetics should retain the instincts of its feline ancestors, breed true and be as intelligent as a five-year-old child, with a vocabulary of up to 500 English words. The premiere, originally intended for 2025, was delayed when it was found that the implanted chip was causing tumors in early models. Their public-relations Aye stated that this problem has been overcome and that while the fertile females will be expensive for now, sterile females and males will be available for as low as $5000. The line should hit the GenCom stores by next Spring–right in time for Easter baskets.
Salt Lake City, UT–(YorkNews.com) Relatives of millionaire recluse Sandy Gomez have been granted a temporary restraining order preventing him from downloading his personality permanently into his World of Starcraft avatar, Bruce Hotbeam. Since the Utah Supreme Court has yet to decide whether or not the shell of a download is alive or dead, the Gomez estate would be left in a state of flux as far as the heirs are concerned. Mr. Gomez has vowed to carry on his fight, saying “nothing can keep me from the opportunity of eternal life.”
Urbana, IL–(DailyIllini.com) The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has announced that the graduating class of 2028 will be the last with a physical campus. They cited the impossibility of maintaining even the small number of labs and offices with the $2000/year tuition that, even at that low level, students are unwilling to pay for information being taught in PhysSpace. Instruction will, of course, still be available on-line, with guided tutors aiding in hyperlinking to design individual curricula for each student. U.S. Representative William J. Mills was quoted in Washington as saying, “This is a sad day for those of us who fondly remember the professors and wonderful campus life that this great institution provided. It will be missed.”
Washington, DC–(CNN.com) North and South California, Oregon and Washington have brought the number of seceding states to seven. President Paul warmly welcomed “our new, independent brothers and sisters” and pledged to work with them to create trade and defense treaties which will best serve the interests of all the people of this continent. While the exact details of the newly-established governments have not yet been revealed, it is expected that they will reflect the mores of the characteristic societies of each area.
Tokyo, Japan–(Griffendorf.net) Kimiko Oka, spiritual leader of the world-wide Church of the Great Programmer announced that the project to attract the attention of the Being that created “this larger virtual reality that we call PhysSpace” is nearing completion. The project, which used 750 terabytes of processing power to create a specific type of fractal has taken five years and employed 25,000 people. When asked what she will do when the church succeeded, she replied that, “the cheat codes for this simulation may be complex, but having them should insure that the members of our church level up more quickly than those who are unbelievers.”
Toronto, CA–(CBCnews.com) Gay rights activists protested today at the stockholders’ annual meeting of GenDairyProducts.com. Members were shocked last month to find that GDP’s Protex brand milk-with-supplements meant for pregnant mothers included homosexuality as one of the birth defects repaired by its nanocells. CEO Raymond Galtier pointed out that “no one is forcing any mother who does not wish to drink our product to do so.” Experts say that this could result in a drastic decrease in the number of homosexual men within the next two decades.
–Tom (chronage 75, bioage 45)
News, as projected onto iTacts, delivered by EdandBill.com:
Washington, DC–(RealWest.com) Speaking at the Federal Reserve, President Jeb Bush agreed that the increase of the Prime Rate from 12.75 to 13% is necessary to bring down the current inflation rate from 14%. Democratic, Nativist and Successionist critics countered that the 8% unemployment rate is much more important than inflationary pressures and that this action will only make the American economy worse. “Things cannot actually be that bad,” the President added, “if the median net worth of American households continues to outpace inflation by two percent.” Radical activist Joey Bibuka (head of the Black Watch) countered by saying, “The President is a total noob as far as understanding the new economy goes. The value’s going up because the citizens are making the stuff themselves and not letting the government tax it.“
Urbana, Illinois–(Daily Illini) For the first time, the number of undergraduates enrolled at the University this fall in the Global Campus exceeded those enrolled in Meatspace. Out of the current class of 2022, 31,000 of the 60,000 are attending classes in Vir. The University Board of Trustees once again voted, during their September meeting, to retain ownership of Lincoln and Gregory Halls, rather than selling them to developers. “The historic nature of those buildings preclude divestment, no matter the cost of renovation.” Critics charge that the University is attempting to hold out for a higher bid than the one received and that if it doesn’t need classrooms or offices, the BoT should begin removing the oldest first.
Seattle, Washington–(Gamespy.com) Over 450 million individuals owe their primary allegiance to non-governmental associations at present, a Netpoll taken today revealed. The growth of NGAs has skyrocketed with 24/7 connectivity reaching four billion people in all corners of the planet. The largest, the ten-year-old World of Warcraft Guilds Association, with its 16 million members, currently has the fourth-largest Gross Domestic Product of any group or nation in the world, with assets spread over Vir, Meat and Outer Spaces.
West Lafayette, Indiana–(TheExponent.com) The Indiana National Guard began the eighth day of its seige of the AIChE-SA (American Institute of Chemical Engineers–Student Affiliates) house on campus. The standoff began when the members of the Purdue RSO became rowdy at a tailgate and has escalated since. When Campus Police attempted to arrest the revelers, the young engineers melted their police cars and weapons with the mining bacteria that the house had created for their ChemE 499 project. The National Guard has maintained a perimeter of one block around the students’ house, and have denied that they have already lost one armored vehicle to the bioweapon. Governor Radcliffe has offered the students amnesty with regard to their destruction of private property and resisting arrest charges, as well as rescinding their University expulsion in exchange for the state receiving the rights to their creations.
Austin, TX–(NewRepublic.com) Legislators in the Texas House of Representatives have once again called for the secession of Texas and the reestablishment of the old Republic of Texas with its original borders. They join Californians and the Free State group in New Hampshire in this call. Elias Dominguez, Speaker of the Texas House said to reporters, “It is insane that the entitlement mandates that we pay to our citizenry and are required by the Federal government exceeded our total tax receipts by 5% last quarter. It is literally impossible for those who are still working to pay any longer for these services.” President Bush commented from the White House that, “I thought we solved that there matter 150 years ago.”
Houston, TX–(AP) Scientists at NASA announced today that by reexamining the Infra-red data from the New Horizons spacecraft, they have discovered that Pluto is covered by a thin layer of amino acids. The robot spacecraft, which flew by the dwarf planet and its moons two years ago, is continuing to send data from the nearby portions of the Kuiper Belt. The experts stated that this provides evidence that the basic building blocks of life formed naturally during the evolution of the solar system, then rained down on the new planets when comets impacted during the Early Bombardment.
–Tom (Chronage 65, Bioage 55)
News, (including picture and sound) as projected onto the inside curve of iLink glasses, delivered by TomBot, powered by Google.
Jerusalem, Israel–(WorldNetHourly.com) Victims of Hezbollah’s Yom Kippur nuclear blast in Tel Aviv continue to pour into Jerusalem area hospitals. The Israeli Defense Force medical corps has filled the streets in the center of the city with makeshift tents with surgical supplies, but it is still falling short by a wide margin. The current death toll is estimated at 76,000, with more bodies expected to be found as homes collapsed by the ground burst’s shock wave are excavated. President Clinton, speaking before the International Red Cross, promised to send as many US hospital ships to the Mediterranian as are needed.
Aleppo, Syria–(DailyKos.com) Fallout from the Damascus and Tehran retaliatory strikes continues to endanger lines of refugees fleeing the ruins of those cities. The death toll estimates range wildly, but the best estimates seem to fall in the 480,000 range for Syria and 780,000 for the Iranian strikes. Egypt and Jordan expressed willingness to take any Palestinians that survive to their borders ahead of the lines of IDF “move or die” squadrons ethnically cleansing the West Bank and Gaza. Saudi Arabia pledged to send humanitarian aid to both Egypt and Jordan, while warning Israel that any attack on the holy cities of Mecca and Medina would result in the annihilation of their state.
Baghdad, Iraq–(Reuters) Saudi troops crossed the Tigris River in force, replacing Iranian Revolutionary Guards which have been occupying the river’s east bank for over two years. The Iranian RG troops, it is reported, have been recalled to Iran to quell unrest in the wake of the Israeli nuclear strikes. The Turkish Army in Kurdistan strongly warned the Saudis that any move to the north would be interpreted as a hostile act.
Washington, DC–(MSNBC.com) President Clinton, with an eye on elections only six weeks away, signed an executive order creating price controls on all essential items as well as wages, citing them as essential in the wake of the world’s first atomic war. “This nation,” she said before a group of business executives from the service sector, ” cannot prosper if gasoline goes above six dollars per gallon for very long.” She assured the assembled CEOs that the measure was only temporary and would be lifted as soon as the present crisis is over. A British Petroleum spokesman warned the President that this kind of government action would spell disaster for his company, since BP and the other energy companies are taking great risks in bringing fuel supplies to America at the present time.
Toronto, Canada–(AP) University of Toronto biologists, in tandem with chemical engineers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced the creation of the first artifical life from inert chemicals. Their five-year project culminated in an article for this month’s Science Online demonstrating a set of cells, complete with mitochondria, wall and nucleus assembled by nanobots out of dissolved urea laced with trace elements. Dr. Katherine Winsler, speaking to reporters today, reassured the public that there would be no danger from this newly created life. “It is,” she said, “designed to be fragile and could not live for more than a few seconds outside of the lab. This is, none the less, a major step forward in the understanding of life on this planet and others.” Pope Leo XIV, speaking from the Vatican, decried this new technology, warning that man, “like Prometheus, has stolen fire from the heavens. Any good apparently coming of this will be fleeting and turn to ashes in the end.”
Urbana, Illinois–(Daily Illini) Daisy Cho, Sophomore in Elementary Education, was pronounced dead on arrival at Carle Hospital this afternoon after being struck by a bus at the corner of Sixth and John Streets in Champaign. The driver stated that the student did not appear to notice that the bus was moving through the intersection, and that he could not override the programming in time. Playback of her iLink glasses by police showed that she was texting her brother in San Francisco as well as researching a paper due next Friday for her Compative Religions class. Tiara Calkins, state representative from the 103rd District, pledged to introduce legislation in Springfield forbidding the use of interactive eyewear on city streets and by drivers in Illinois due to the hazards that they present to public safety.
Beijing, China–(Xinhua.com) The Minister of Labor confirmed that the Chinese government would pay the fare of the entire families of workers imported from Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela to bolster the presently inadequate Chinese labor force. Reformers have called for the end of China’s One Child Per Family policy, citing families where one thirty-year old worker is supporting six parents and grandparents. This policy is also blamed for the 60/40 male gender dominance in twenty-somethings across the country. Gender-based abortion, while technically illegal, is still widely practiced in the countryside although it has fallen completely out of favor in the larger cities. The newly-arrived workers will be housed in special suburbs built specifically for their use near the industries which hired them.
–Tom (age 60)
News, as read from a computer screen delivered by Tom’sNewsFeed, powered by Google:
Washington, DC–(AP) Mitt Romney called Clinton/Obama headquarters at 2:17 this morning to congatulate President-elect Clinton on her victory when it became obvious that no matter who received the Texas electoral votes, the victory belonged to the Democratic candidate. If Texas goes for the Republicans, as expected, the final tally will be 456-82, with the Romney-Thompson ticket carrying only the Central Mountain states, the Gulf minus Louisiana and Tennessee. Most of the House and Senate races were not even close, with the Democratic Party picking up 12 Senate seats as well as 30 in the House of Representatives. Hillary, accompanied on the podium by a smiling Bill Clinton, pledged “peace with honor” in Iraq in a speech eerily echoing Richard Nixon.
Charleston, WV–(Salon.com) Salon sent correspondents to this Appalachian college town to attempt to make some sense of the watershed results of yesterday’s election. The exit polls had predicted a much closer race, and the National Election Pool, the company used by the major news organizations, is pledging a revamp of its techniques and statistical methods to improve its accuracy. Interviews found interesting trends, however, that could explain the reasons for the Republican rout. In front of his Baptist Church, Harry MacArthur made a wide arc in the air before him and said, “Nobody from this church voted yesterday, out of protest. How dare the elites in New York and Hollywood present us with two liberal candidates. It was an insult to true Americans.” Near the football stadium, two African-Amercian students, bundled against the stiff north wind, smiled and gave each other high-fives, “It was about time that something shook up the country. We couldn’t stand Hillary, but Obama strikes me as the way of the future, and there was no way he could have gotten elected directly, being a black man.” Randy Wilcox, in a trailer-park on the edge of town represented the protest vote,” Had the Republicans nominated Ron Paul, rather than some guy from Massachusetts, they might have had a chance. The entire system is corrupt. I voted for Clinton, figuring that she’s going to screw things up so badly, that the country will be ripe for revolution by the time that she’s done. Just wait, people get the kind of government that they deserve.”
Meyrin, Switzerland–(Reuters) Director Robert Aymar announced that the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN had found signals indicating the existence of the Higgs Boson, one of the key missing elements of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. The mass is expected to be around 140 Gev, but more exact figures await the collection of years of data.
Seattle, WA–(Gamespy.com) Jeremy Dunham, Gamespot’s Managing Editor called 2008 the Golden Age of Gaming. “Thousands of technophiles have upgraded their computers to play Bioshock, Age of Conan or Fallout 3. Our reviewers have declared, after seeing the new generation of hardware acceleration, that the games on our screens actually look ‘better than reality.’” Chip manufacturers worldwide are recycling their new share of profits into R&D in an attempt to keep up with designers in an ever-widening spiral as gamers demand more and more for their money.
Edinburgh, Scotland–(Reuters) The Royal College of Surgeons announced that it had succeeded in creating the first human/animal hybrid embryos. These embryos are planned to be used to provide stem cells for specific diseases, then destroyed. A spokesman said that there are no plans to allow any to develop to viability. Harold Walton of the Ministry of Defense mentioned in an aside in a press conference later that there may be the possibility of their use to improve the senses of British soldiers currently on station in Afganistan to enhance their safety in the field. Pope Benedict, speaking from the Vatican, condemned the advance, calling it a “perversion of the gifts of God.”
London, England–(Reuters) The head of the Ministry of Health announced that to ensure enough availability for the healthy in Great Britain, health care would be curtailed or denied to those Britons who insisted in pursuing unhealthy lifestyles. “The system, at the point of collapse, can no longer afford”, he said, “to take care of those who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, eat fast food for lunch and then go to the pub all evening.” Seven protesters were arrested outside of Eston Hall where he made the speech. President-elect Clinton, when asked if her proposals for health coverage would have similar restrictions, said that she would, “watch the experiences of the British and Canadian health systems closely.”
London, England–(AP) Amnesty Internation accused the Chinese government of imprisoning tens of thousands of political dissidents and Christian activists during the 2008 Olympic games this past summer. The Chinese government denied that such prisoners even existed, challenging the international organization to produce one photo of a prisoner presently being held for those reasons.
Chicago, Illinois–(AP) Today’s election issue will be the last one for the Chicago Sun-Times. The city’s oldest newspaper, published continuously since 1844 (when it was incorporated as the Chicago Evening Journal) could no longer, in the words of its publisher, “compete with the free cost and ubiquity of internet news.” The newspaper, home to such award-winning writers as Roger Ebert and Mike Royko, had been suffering decreasing revenues since it raised its cover price by 50 percent in the summer of 2007.
Tom (age 56)
News, as read on a computer screen from The Drudge Report:
Washington, DC–(AP) Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney may have sewn up their parties’ nominations for President. Their large margins of victory over their closest opponents would have guaranteed the nomination under normal circumstances, but the DNC has vowed to pursue a floor fight against seating half of the delegates elected prior to the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. The chairman of the Republican National Committee still refuses to comment on the issue, saying that they are taking a “wait and see” attitude.
Beijing, China–(Xinhua) The Chinese government continues to take actions to counter the drastic drop in Chinese growth due to their economy’s catastrophic loss from the American mortgage disaster. While the annual growth rate is only 2% at the present time, officials stated that the 2008 Summer Olympics, scheduled to begin in less than five months, should provide a needed boost to the nation’s balance of trade.
Bentonville, Arkansas–(AP) Elinore Dosik vowed today to continue the nation-wide boycott of Wal-Mart until they completely remove Chinese goods from their shelves. Her organization, Mothers Against Dangerous Goods (MADG) now enters the second month of the protest, which has emptied the stores of the world’s largest private employer throughout the United States and Great Britain of shoppers. WMT stock is expected to be sharply off in trading in world markets with expected first quarter sales a full 25% below last year at this time. An unnamed corporate source stated that “Malaysia and the Phillipines are looking better and better all the time.” Chinese officials have accused the US government of repeatedly exaggerating reports of defective goods.
Washington, DC–(Reuters) The unemployment rate continues to be stable at 4.5% despite the loss over the last eighteen months of close to 30% from the median value of a home in the hardest-hit states. Bush administration officials point to this low jobless rate as proof that the American economy is still strong despite Democratic claims to the contrary.
El Paso, TX–(MyWayNews.com) Immigration officials have not been able to successfully explain the 20% reduction in arrests on the border over the last three months. Sheriff Clay Atkins of nearby San Elizario, in a noon news conference, stated that “they’re gone–either they’ve dug a tunnel somewhere or are flying over–we’re just not seeing the kind of human traffic to which we’ve become accustomed.”
Baghdad, Iraq–(AP) The first US army brigade to leave Iraq closed up shop at their headquarters and headed for the US today. General David Petraeus hailed this redeployment as a sign that the Iraqi government is at last capable of handling the responsibility for security within Anbar province. Senator Harry Reid of Nebraska welcomed the returning unit at their home base and thanked them for their service. In a statement issued later, he claimed that “these soldiers’ obvious exhaustion is a sign that our brave fighting men have been exploited under the Bush Administration.” Simultaneous with the re-deployment, an upsurge of terrorist violence has struck Anbar in the last week, with casualties due to car bombings up by 100 over this time last month. Iran has been blamed for this surge, even though car bombings have traditionally been a weapon of the Sunni resistance. Local citizens claim that US air strikes aimed at eliminating the terrorist headquarters responsible for these attacks caused damage to a local mosque when missles went astray.
Geneva, Switzerland–(AP) Representatives of the Union Bank of Switzerland continued to refuse to comment on the rumor that a criminal gang from Romania had managed to crack the encryption on their accounts and steal over a billion dollars from their Geneva branch. “The assets of depositors have never been safer,” the bank president assured reporters in a news conference held at the corporate office of UBS–AG. Cybersecurity officials stated that the criminal organization, known as the Bucharest Chess Club, first linked 25 million computers worldwide into a parallel network using the Naughty Tentacle worm, then ran decryption algorithms until they were successful.
Tallin, Estonia–(Reuters) The Estonian Minister of Defense said today that his nation’s decision to not deploy US/NATO anti-missle defenses within Estonian borders is not due to pressure from Russia, but instead because his nation feels secure in the safety and security in modern Europe. The US Ambassador, expressing disappointment, said that while he understood the right of the Baltic nation to change its mind, it was a blow to the defense of Northern Europe from terrorist ambitions.
Tom (age 55)
I mentioned in my The Fork in the Road post in July that one of the likely outcomes of the increase in computing power and connectivity was the overwhelming of present government (and, I forgot to add, military and corporate) power by individuals using the ‘Net and its connections to gain abilities far out of proportion to their status in 20th Century society.
We are presently witnessing the birth of this world. At the present time, a group of criminal crackers are in the possession of a distributed computer network of between one and ten million computers that they have seized (without the owners realizing it) with a program called the Storm Worm.
Assuming that most of the machines that this program are controlling are gaming-type computers, the individual or organization that presently controls these computers has more computing power than the ten largest supercomputers on earth combined.
Please note horrible math on the part of the Washington Post–the total computing power of the diffuse array is actually 1-10 petabytes, not 1-10 million petabytes as the article states. This lower figure still puts them in the same class with the currently most powerful non-governmental and hopefully non-evil entity, Google, which has between 20-200 petabytes of RAM.
Hired experts have not been able to get a handle on this botnet and shut it down because its creators (no doubt using a bit of their new-found power) have been changing its rules faster than they can counter them.
This is the future, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the next level, please roll 1d6 for additional hit points, your new geek masters will be here shortly. This kind of progress is also why I refuse to concern myself overly with elections, except for the need to delay the governmental power grab long enough for that seizure to be futile.
Added note: Here’s a lovely article on the rest of the power currently on earth. Please note that this blog, my writing on it, and any YouTube videos that I embed are all powered by Google. This is true ubiquity. If there’s a Great Programmer, I imagine that he/she could very well be employed by Google in the OverVerse.