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spy balloon
Meteorological probe drone on white balloon on sky. Concept secret espionage and climate change monitoring. Generation AI

China Balloons, EMP’s and Bioweapons: A Chilling Possibility

One nuclear burst 250 miles above Kansas could damage most of the power grid

No one has mentioned that the China balloon recently shot down after sailing across the United States could have been weaponized with a bomb or bioweapons. Thankfully, it was not. A single nuclear burst 250 miles above Kansas could destabilize much if not most of the US power grid. Almost the entire country, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada, would be affected by the resulting EMP (electromagnetic pulse). 250 miles above the Earth is about as high as the US Space Station is from Earth. Potential military threats from outer space was a prime motivation for creating the United States Space Force in 2019.   The China balloon was not 250 miles up required for a coast-to-coast EMP Read More ›

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Group of young teen using smart phone for internet online with happy feeling

What To Do About Destructive Social Media?

Social media consists largely of "free" services that charge by taking time-slices of one's life. Is that fact outweighing the positive effects?

(This article by Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog (January 23, 2023) under the title “Conservative Futurism and the Internet,” and is reprinted with permission.) In the Winter 2023 issue of The New Atlantis, lawyer and author John Ehrett points out that the bloom of enthusiasm that greeted the advent of the Internet has now faded from that particular rose.  There is now a consensus that the negative effects of social media in particular, and also the whole economic basis of “free” services that charge by taking time-slices of one’s life, may have begun to outweigh the positive effects.  The question is, what to do about it? Rather than simply parrot various policy ideas that are floating around—as he puts Read More ›

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Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern’s War on Free Speech Always Deserved To Fail

Now researchers have shown why. The departing New Zealand Prime Minister claimed that “prolific misinformation” is a new weapon of war

This piece by MercatorNet editor Michael Cook (January 20, 2023) is reprinted with permission. In October last year, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, told the United Nations General Assembly that what the world needs is less free speech.   Well, not exactly that, but close enough. She pressed for vigorous censorship of the internet because “prolific misinformation” is a new weapon of war. “How do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble?” she asked. “How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists?” The prospect of government censorship of our views on climate change or the war in Ukraine is Read More ›

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Scared businessman hiding behind a pc

Found! ChatGPT’s Humans in the Loop!

I am the only writer I’ve been able to discover who is suggesting ChatGPT has humans in the loop. Here is a series of telling excerpts from our last conversation…

The new ChatGPT chatbot has wowed the internet. While students revel in the autogenerated homework assignments, the truly marvelous property of ChatGPT is its very humanlike interactions. When you converse with ChatGPT you could swear there was a human on the other end, if you didn’t know better. For all intents and purposes, ChatGPT has achieved the holy grail of AI and passed the Turing test, on a global scale. Always quick to snatch a deal, Microsoft is currently in talks to spend a mere $10B to acquire half “the lightcone of all future value.” However, things are not always what they seem. Previously, I pointed out aspects of ChatGPT that implied humans were helping craft the chatbot’s responses. Now, Read More ›

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3D rendered fantasy alien planet. Rocks and  moon

Final Thoughts on The Orville Season Three — What Went Wrong

Unlike Star Trek, which put conflicting opinions in the mouths of beloved characters, Orville 3 screams its opinions to the point of harming the story

What a terrible season! I remember watching the beginning episodes of The Orville and thinking the show wasn’t quite there yet but held promise. Sadly, things did not improve with time. I think part of the problem is that The Orville was taken over by Hulu which is now owned by Disney. This, likely, prompted a degree of studio involvement that dropped the show’s quality. The Orville tried to address controversial subjects, just as Star Trek did years before. But it did not understand or reproduce the most important ingredient of the way the classic sci-fi series dealt with such topics. Star Trek used its main characters as voices that represented various positions. This is not to say that Star Read More ›

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Multi-racial friends scrolling smartphones ignoring each other, gadget addiction

Andrew McDiarmid and Eric Metaxas on Thinking for Ourselves

Social media makes it very easy to farm out thinking until finally we do not know what or even whether we think

Recently, Andrew McDiarmid wrote a piece in the New York Post on the neglected benefits of sitting quietly and thinking for oneself: … a recent study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that the act of “just thinking” can be more rewarding than we might realize. The authors of the paper acknowledge that the ability to engage in internal thoughts without external stimulation is a unique characteristic in humans, yet we regularly underappreciate the benefits of doing it. This might be one reason we’re so quick to reach for our phones — we don’t know what we’re missing. Andrew McDiarmid, “If you make one resolution in 2023, it should be this: experts” at New York Post (December 31, Read More ›

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Doctor Helps get up . Sick . Elderly Patient.

When It’s Not Clear If a Disorder Is From the Brain or the Mind…

Neurologist Andrew Knox explains to Robert J. Marks that some psychological problems appear as if they were brain problems — yet there’s nothing wrong with the brain

In the podcast released last Thursday, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Knox from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health on “Ways the brain can break” (#220, January 5, 2023). What follows is Part 4 of the discussion, “When it’s not clear if a disorder is from the brain or the mind…” Here are Part 1: How our brains are — and aren’t — like computers, Part 2: What is happening when children have strokes or dementia signs?, and Part 3: How do strokes, dementia offer insight into how the brain works? https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/12/Mind-Matters-220-Andrew-Knox-Episode-1.mp3 This portion begins at roughly 25:15 min. A partial transcript and notes, and Additional Resources follow. Epileptic Read More ›

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Digital chatbot, robot application, conversation assistant, AI Artificial Intelligence concept.

Note to Parents: Grooming and Wokeness Are Embedded in Chatbots

With or without tuning, all AI chatbots are biased one way or another. AI without bias is like water without wet

First impressions of a person can be wrong. Further interactions can reveal disturbing personality warts. Contrary to initial impressions, we might find out they lie, they are disturbingly woke,  they can’t do simple math, their politics is on the extreme left, and they have no sense of humor or common sense.   I have just described Open AI’s GPT3 chatbot, ChatGPT. Initially, users are gobsmacked by the its performance. Its flashy prose responses to simple queries look amazing.  But become roommates with the chatbot for a few hours and its shortcomings become evident .  It can’t get its facts straight, can’t do simple math problems, hates Donald Trump, and is being groomed to be “woke.” Its performance warts are so numerous that Bradley Center Senior Fellow Gary N. Smith hoists a Read More ›

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Health care researchers working in life science laboratory, medical science technology research work for test a vaccine, coronavirus covid-19 vaccine protection cure treatment

Gloomy News from a Nature Article: Is the End of Science Near?

A study in the premier science journal notes the long term falling off of truly original findings, as opposed to endless citations of others’ findings

Science writer Tibi Puiu reports on new findings that reflect what many today, have begun to suspect: Over the past few decades, the number of science and technology research papers published has soared, rising at a rate of nearly 10% each year. In the biomedical field alone, there are more than a million papers pouring into the PubMed database each year, or around two studies per minute… The new study revealed that the “disruptiveness” of contemporary science has decreased, rendering ever diminishing returns. In this particular context, authors define disruptiveness as the degree to which a study departs from previous literature and renders it obsolete. In other words, a highly disruptive study is one that completely changes the way we Read More ›

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Sick asian senior woman fainted unconscious at the table, fall face down,elderly female patient stop breathing due to heart failure, cardiac arrest,severe arrhythmia, sudden unexpected death syndrome.

How Do Strokes, Dementia Offer Insight Into How the Brain Works?

Neurologist Andrew Knox thinks the brain may store memories is an associative scheme, where previous memories are used to build up new ones

In the podcast released last Thursday, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Knox from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health on “Ways the brain can break” (#220, January 5, 2023). What follows is from Part 3 of the discussion. Here’s Part 1: How our brains are — and aren’t — like computers and Part 2: What is happening when children have strokes or dementia signs? https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/12/Mind-Matters-220-Andrew-Knox-Episode-1.mp3 This portion begins at roughly 18:25 min. A partial transcript and notes, and Additional Resources follow. The discussion began with the question, “How does the brain store memories?” Andrew Knox: There are different schemes for storing memories, but patients with Alzheimer’s seem to have Read More ›

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blue bird on brown tree branch

What? Twitter is “neutral”? A thoughtful engineer responds

Despite appearances, Twitter is not a conventional public square, but a private corporation

This column by Texas State University engineering prof Karl Stephan is republished with thanks from Engineering Ethics (January 2, 2023) Back when I started this blog in 2006, the phrase “social media” was hardly used by anybody, according to Google Trends.  It began to climb above 1% of its current frequency of use around 2008, possibly in connection with the elections of that year, and has been climbing ever since.  Twitter, the social-media format that has become the default medium of choice for announcements by Presidents on down, was also founded in 2006.  From an obscure techie-speak term, it has turned into a routine and near-universal medium of expression that its leadership has claimed is as neutral as they can make it.  But Read More ›

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Internet law concept

You’ve Got a Robot Lawyer in Your Pocket (Really?)

The DoNotPay AI lawyer program might be useful for fighting parking tickets but it is unsuited to serious litigation where much more complex issues are at stake

The Gutfeld! program on Fox News on January 6, 2023, recently had fun discussing robots replacing lawyers to practice law. In faux serious rhyme, Greg Gutfeld intoned: “Can a computer that’s self aware, keep you from the electric chair?” Sparking the conversation was the report that an artificial intelligence (AI) smartphone app was slated to assist a defendant fighting a parking ticket in a currently-undisclosed courtroom: Gigabytes of text could stream forth addressing the near infinite number of questions raised about robot lawyers. For now, let’s just explore the “robot lawyer” app built by DoNotPay. The company’s website declares: “The DoNotPay app is the home of the world’s first robot lawyer. Fight corporations, beat bureaucracy and sue anyone at the Read More ›

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Drug Addiction And Mental Function

This New Year, Resolve to Dive Headfirst into Life

Dr. Anna Lembke urges people to abandon isolating addictions and choose honesty and relationship instead

With the new year in full swing, people are considering resolutions and asking themselves what habits they need to change. For me, my negative habits almost entirely revolve around technology. Too much time checking social media, email, browsing Twitter and YouTube, going down the cat video abyss. Skimming news, articles, photos, and videos, diminishes the attention span and leaves one feeling empty, restless, and in greater need of a “fix.” It’s a socially acceptable drug, but no less addicting than the others. Lembke, medical director of Stanford Addiction Medicine, asks us in her book Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence (Dutton 2021), Why, in a time of unprecedented wealth, freedom, technological progress, and medical advancement, do we appear to be Read More ›

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fantasy robot wedding couple

Orville Episode 10: You’ve Heard of Saving the Best for Last?

Well, decide for yourself if you think that’s what the writers did. Some of us would describe it in other terms

Episode 10 fails for many reasons, but it’s not the kind of terrible where the episode is so bad you can throw your head back and laugh. Not only is it bad; it’s boring. Mixed up scenes, clunky dialog, and pretentious diatribes spread through the story. The story opens with Moclans Bortus and Klyden renewing their vows. Apparently, the all-male Moclans have a ritual where they essentially run naked through the forest until the “dominate male” catches the “submissive male” and . . . I’ll let you use your imagination. This scene is painful to watch. Two overweight men shamble through the woods in G-strings and the viewer is subjected to every horrendous second. I’m sure you’re wondering, “what kind Read More ›

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Aerial view of Frankenstein Castle in southern Hesse, Germany

The Prophecies of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Andrew Klavan explores the world of the Romantics in new book and finds special insight in Shelley’s classic horror story

Andrew Klavan, acclaimed novelist and host of the Andrew Klavan Show at the Daily Wire, wrote a book about his profound encounters with the Romantics of the 19th century, called The Truth and Beauty: How the Lives and Works of England’s Greatest Poets Point the Way to a Deeper Understanding of the Words of Jesus. The Romantics include literary figures like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Keats. While it’s common to highlight the Romantics’ veneration of nature, they were also living in the throes of the Enlightenment, in which atheistic materialism was becoming a minority alternative to theism. Klavan writes, “The wonderful success of science at explaining the material world threatens to create in scientists a bias towards Read More ›

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Military bomb defusing robot with shepherd dog in the background.

How San Francisco’s Gun Fears Prevented Lifesaving Innovation

Killer robots in law enforcement would reduce the death toll but they are a bridge too far for many politicians

In November, 2022, San Francisco voted to allow police to deploy killer robots. Less than a month later, the city reversed their decision. Initially, in an 8-3 vote, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors allowed law enforcement to use robots “as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD.” Sounds like reasonable policy, but protestors held up “NO KILLER ROBOTS!” signs at City Hall and the Board of Supervisors caved. This may be a case of hoplophobia, an irrational fear of firearms. So-called “killer robots” can deploy explosives to allow passage through blockaded doors or, in extreme situations, kill those who put innocent Read More ›

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Human brain neuronal stimulation or activity with the close-up of a neuron cell 3D rendering illustration. Neuroscience, neurology, medicine, science, cognition, intelligence, psychology concepts.

What Is Happening When Children Have Strokes or Dementia Signs?

Many children who would have died 40 years ago can live a relatively full life today but they are at risk of stroke or dementia

In the podcast released yesterday, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Knox from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health on “Ways the brain can break” (#220, January 5, 2023). What follows reflects Part 2 of the discussion. Here’s Part 1: How our brains are — and aren’t — like computers. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/12/Mind-Matters-220-Andrew-Knox-Episode-1.mp3 This portion begins at roughly 10:50 min. A partial transcript and notes, and Additional Resources follow. Andrew Knox: If you had a stroke in what we would call a primary motor area, an area with the connections to motor pathways through the rest of the body — all of those patients might lose the ability to move their arm Read More ›

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Neuron cells sending electrical chemical signals. 3d illustration .

How Our Brains Are — and Aren’t — Like Computers

Pediatric neurologist Andrew Knox looks at the topic with computer engineer Robert J. Marks

In the podcast released today, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Knox from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health on “Ways the brain can break” (#220, January 5, 2023): The brain is a marvelous organ still not understood. Artificial neural networks are supposed to be a simulation of the human brain. But comparing the brain to an artificial neural network is like comparing the human heart to a pump handle. Dr. Andrew Knox and Dr. Robert J. Marks discuss the brain, aging, and neurology. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/12/Mind-Matters-220-Andrew-Knox-Episode-1.mp3 This portion begins at 00:04 min. A partial transcript and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: I got to ask you kind of a personal Read More ›

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beardy guy sitting alone on a river coast, enjoying the sunset, thinking

If You Make One Resolution in 2023, It Should Be This: Experts

Humans were born to think. To pause in order to think. Excessive social media use disrupts that ability

This story originally appeared at the New York Post (December 31, 2022) Remember those bathroom readers filled with trivia, factoids, and stories? They’ve been entertaining in the throne room since 1988. Though the 35th anniversary edition came out last fall, it probably won’t hit the bestseller lists.  The truth is most of us have something else to distract us in the bathroom — our smartphones. We pull them out on the john, at stoplights, in line at checkout, while we pump gas — virtually anywhere we have to wait for more than ten seconds. The lure of social stimuli gives us a dopamine hit that keeps us coming back any time we get a minute.  But what if we’re cheating ourselves out Read More ›

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Abstract apocalyptic background - burning and exploding planet . digital art style, illustration painting

Should a Woman Die in Order to Save a Race of Robots?

In The Orville, Episode 9, Charly is confronted with that very choice

In Part 1 of my review of Orville Season Three, Episode 9, Charly and Isaac had invented a doomsday EMP device that can annihilate the robotic Kaylon. Ed doesn’t want to use the device to wipe out the entire robotic species because he thinks they are alive, though why he thinks so is never made clear. But, oh well. The Union decides to offer the Kaylon a peace treaty, and the robots accept the deal. However, unbeknownst to our heroes — such as they are — one member of the Union decides it would be better to destroy the Kaylon, and hands the device over to the humanoid Moclans and the reptilian Krill, who have recently formed an alliance. The Read More ›