Russian scientist predicts humanity to be pre-destined for intergalactic tyranny.

The Fermi paradox is the ultimate mystery on this planet. By seemingly every measure we can think of, life on this planet seems to be an unstoppable force of nature. In every crack and crevice of this planet, there is life. Even the most toxic places have seen life adapt to fill them. So knowing this about our own planet we have to ask where the hell all the aliens are. Well Russian physicist Alexander Berezin just published one of the more creative answers to this paradox that I have ever heard

“The only explanation is the invocation of the anthropic principal, we are the first to reach the interstellar phase, and likely, we will be the last to leave”

The essence of what Alexander means is that considering our second generation star is among the first stars with enough heavy elements to support life. If we are the first species to develop interstellar travel. Then the safe assumption is that Humanity will reign supreme over the galaxy, crushing all opposition until the last star burns out, and we inevitably die with it…

Is it a grim view? Optimistic? It certainly seems a-moral. To conquer or subjugate every species that is technologically inferior to you in any way just because you came first. I’m sure my tone is a little more aggressive than Alexanders original paper but that doesn’t change the reality of what we would be doing. Essentially the paper states that Hollywood style alien invasions are just a natural inevitability of life. And true, any examination of human history does nothing to exonerate us of these charges. The animal kingdom is even worse. We are truly red in tooth and claw. I can see why someone would think that on a long enough timeline the stronger power would simply crush its opposition. I honestly don’t know how I feel in this regard. But thankfully I can show the question to be a moot point.

Let’s go back and take a second look at that quote, the one about us reaching the interstellar phase? We haven’t…

Sure we have sent some very successful probes out into deep space, remember our most successful mission into deep space was into our own backyard. The ISS would only fly 3/8ths of an inch off a standard classroom globe were it made to scale. We have not gone to our closest planet let alone the giants in the outer solar system. And while I like to think optimistically there are still some very big questions about the viability of such missions. What I said before about the pervasiveness of life on Earth remember that every other place we know of besides here is a lifeless barren wasteland. Can we overcome those challenges? maybe. But it is far from the only barrier to Alexander’s statements becoming fact.

Lightspeed is usually thought of as being very fast. In the terms of interstellar travel, it isn’t even a crawl. From everything, we know about physics the only way to get from one system to another is the long slow way, longer than human lifetimes that is for sure. Tell me how is an empire supported when any communication between systems requires years for each one-way message. And if the distance between systems seems like a lot the distance between galaxies swamps even that. Supposing you could even travel at light speed remember that the cosmic expansion of the universe is even faster. Some galaxies expand away from each other faster than even light can travel. Right there the possibility of conquering the universe is out the window. Cant conquer systems you can never even reach.

The whole theory requires a heaping pile of hand-wavey technology that our ancestors need to develop to ever come close to happening. But it is fun to think about. I suspect that spawning discussion was really the whole point of his article and in that regard, I can say it was a resounding success.

You can read the original article here.

Populating a Mars base will be dangerously unsexy.

This article holds a sentement that I have agreed with for a long time. While I would love to see humanity go to Mars, biologically It’s probably not meant to be. Not without some changes. And, in the short term at least, it is very unlikely that Mars itself will be the one doing the changing.

Sure we can get people to survive on Mars. I’m sure we could have missions there of a month or longer. Maybe even a long-term base with crew rotating out at periodic intervals. The issue arises when you take a human, put him on Mars, and then expect them to not only stay there the rest of their lives but raise a healthy family also. There are the basic problems. No oxygen, no air pressure, no water. So assuming you can handle all of those you still have to figure out a way to deal with the fact that Mars doesn’t have a magnetosphere, which on Earth, is the only thing that protects you from being constantly irradiated from interstellar radiation. Combine that with the .3G of Earth gravity that exists on Mars, (leading to bone density issues) and any children you have up there have a huge risk of becoming emaciated and irradiated. Terraforming could help us possibly breathe outside on mars but nothing will fix the gravity and radiation problems

Because of these reasons, I think in the short term that bioforming the human genome to live on Mars is the only real solution. Humans on Mars would become Martians. They would literally need genomes adapted to live on the planet Mars just like millions of years of evolution have adapted Homosapien to live on Earth.

Populating a Mars Base Will Be Dangerously Unsexy

In 1972, citizen scientist Sir Elton John hypothesized that Mars “ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.” While John’s remarks were never published in a peer-reviewed journal (though they did peak at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart), he’s not wrong about the Red Planet’s inhospitality.

Gizmondo; Your worst Alexa nightmares are coming true.

Your Worst Alexa Nightmares Are Coming True

What’s the most terrifying thing you can imagine an Amazon Echo doing? Think realistically. Would it be something simple but sinister, like artificially intelligent speaker recording a conversation between you and a loved one and then sending that recording to an acquaintance? That seems pretty bad to me.

Tech giants hit with 8.8 billion in lawsuits regarding forced consent barriers on day one of GDPR.

Sorry for the late post, crazy day. It was also day one of GDPR enforcement in Europe, and it would seem that the easy transition hoped for by tech giants like Google and Facebook just got a lot tougher.

Max Schrems is an Austrian data privacy activist. Max took objection to the practice of forced consent in software. Basically what happens is after you install a shiny new piece of software a window pops up with a long list of demands you need to agree to or you are simply not allowed to use it. Somehow the tech companies consider this a binding contract. Many people agree with that philosophy. After all, you did sign the document, or clicked agree, or whatever other form it took. I have even seen this shady business practice performed in such a way where even the act of paying for the service is marked as showing your consent to a long list of small print legalize. I don’t think of this as being a binding contract at all and I will try to explain my reasoning shortly but more importantly, the GDPR doesn’t agree with that statement and neither did Max, and lucky for Max he seems to have the kind of bankroll to do something more about it than just blog.

Max hit Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Google for a combined total of 8.8 Billion Euro with a capital B. Go you, Max. I’m sure this will result in a lot of positive press and at the very least will settle for more cash money than any one man can ever spend. But more importantly for the rest of us, it will show how much resolve the European Union has for enforcing such legislation, and also how many headaches and how much cash the big tech companies are willing to spend on keeping their stranglehold on your personal data.

Looked at objectively the tech companies have a vested interest in spending as much as it takes to fight this, for collecting data and selling it is their entire business model. They all work on a flipped business model. Where you are no longer the customer, you are the product. I have heard people before complain about Google’s customer service. Funny thing is Google has great customer service. Sign up for Google Adwords and spend cash on search ads and Google will be at your beck and call to address your every concern. This is not unprecedented, Broadcast TV worked off this model for a long long time. Then again look what is happening to them now that digital streaming offers a better product, and most people reluctantly accept advertisements as an acceptable way to get a product for free. What is much much more disturbing is the idea of these companies selling dumps of highly personalized data to whatever company or organization that currently has the cash to pay for it. (Note; the government would never have to pay, their payment is allowing the tech giant to keep existing.) Given these tech companies in question, Google and Facebook both claim that they do not sell data directy to third-party firms, but scenarios, where the firms are able to truthfully say this and still sell the data, are possible. For instance, they could not be selling the data but giving it away for lucrative contracts or massive discounts on services needed. The sure thing is that if there are loopholes they will be exploited. Doublespeak is an existing and real problem in American corporate structure.

A lifetime ago I used to work in the ski industry. This problem to reminds me of that time. When the resorts would have this sort of implied consent form on the back of every ticket in small print. Their logic was that if a person bought a ticket they were then agreeing to every word written on the back of the ticket. Totally ignoring the fact that you don’t even see the ticket until after you pay for it, thus could never agree to anything it says let alone read it in the first place.

People would inevitably get hurt at the ski area and would also inevitably have to sue to cover hospital and lost wage costs, and surprisingly they would win more often than not. I would always hear the words ‘contract under diress’ come up in these cases. Which basically means that a contract cannot be enforced if a person was coerced or forced to sign it, and it is not that hard of an argument to sell that nowhere in the process from marketing to booking to traveling and physically walking up to the ticket booth is there any discussion of this contract being signed. Your first introduction to the contract is when you notice on the lift after you have already paid for it and thus allegedly agreeing to it. You cannot and should never be forced to sign away your rights. The ski resorts have legal obligation to keep you as safe as they can including an obligation to close their doors if conditions make that impossible.

So to close, Trying to coerce someone into a contract is a crap business practice and pretty much goes against the principal of being a decent human-being with their shit together. It should be illegal to the extent that it isn’t already, which it (to my interpretation of the law) is.