The Future Isn’t That Fast

You probably saw the reports about a power outage that led to a massive failure in the Delta Air Lines online reservation system. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, and they’re still not done sorting it out. This followed another failure earlier for Southwest Airlines…. From this little debacle in one industry, we can draw some […]

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Pack It In, Everybody, We Used Up the Earth

Here’s how it is: the Earth got used up. No, not in some science-fiction future, but yesterday. August 8 has been declared Earth Overshoot Day, the point at which humanity as a whole has used up all of the available natural resources for the year. So pack it in, everybody, we’re through. Bummer. Obviously, we’re […]

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The Olympic Ideal

There are always plenty of reasons to complain about the Olympic games, if you are so inclined. There is the usual debacle of the preparations for the venue, which is worse than usual this year, despite the fact that there is a simple solution. Or there is the unfolding live-action spy novel of the Russian […]

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The Era of “Green Energy” Hype

Two of Elon Musk’s companies, SolarCity and Tesla, have made an initial agreement to merge. The logic of the conglomeration seems to be entirely based on the idea of combining SolarCity’s rooftop solar panels with Tesla’s Powerwall battery storage. “SolarCity is going all in on a strategy that some analysts say is ahead of its […]

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An Army of Mary Sues

Star Trek is the original home of fan fiction as we know it, and it is becoming the biggest battleground for the future of fan fiction. The basic question is the extent to which copyright holders of popular franchises want to allow new technology to disrupt and reshape their current way of doing business. Read […]

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Workers of the World, Report to the Labor Camps

The fantasy of a benevolent, “progressive” socialism—which, as we saw among the Bernie supporters at last week’s Democratic convention, still attracts a large fan base—always involves the promise of a neo-aristocratic life of leisure. Karl Marx projected that, when “society regulates the general production,” the worker would escape the tyranny of being stuck in the […]

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James Cameron’s Climate Change Propaganda

Among the various rehearsals of the Democratic agenda at their convention this week was a video submitted by James Cameron touting the horrific devastation already happening because of global warming. It was heralded by a snippy little introduction from its narrator, Sigourney Weaver, who came across as so sanctimonious that she made me long for […]

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Eighty Percent of Foreign Policy Is Just Showing Up

The Democratic National Convention opened in turmoil thanks to a collection of internal e-mails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, which show (among other things) just how heavily the party establishment put its thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton. The revelations have fueled ongoing protests within the convention hall by unreconciled Bernie Sanders supporters […]

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The Paradox of Productivity

In his nomination acceptance speech at last week’s Republican convention, one of Donald Trump’s central themes is that free trade has ravaged American manufacturing. He proclaiming himself the voice, not just of the common man or of the blue-collar worker, but specifically of “the laid-off factory workers and the communities crushed by our horrible and […]

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The Autopilot Fiasco Could Crash Tesla’s Master Plan

Elon Musk just unveiled part two of his “master plan” for Tesla, but somehow instead of seeming ambitious and visionary, it seems a bit delusional. The most immediate and practical parts of the new plan consist of doing what others are also doing, like working on electric buses. But Musk also doubles down on his […]

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