More than any other academic venue, conferences lend themselves to espionage. Assisted by globalization, these social and intellectual rituals have become ubiquitous. Like stops on the world golf or tennis circuits, they sprout up wherever the climate is favorable, and draw a jet-setting crowd. What they lack in prize money, they make up for in prestige. Although researchers chat electronically all the time, virtual meetings are no substitute for getting together with peers, networking for jobs, checking out the latest gadgets, and delivering papers that will later be published in volumes of conference proceedings. “The attraction of the conference circuit,” English novelist David Lodge wrote in “Small World,” his 1984 send-up of academic life, is that “it’s a way of converting work into play, combining professionalism with tourism, and all at someone else’s expense. Write a paper and see the world!”
No Joy In Trumpville (thc0655)
What I also saw sitting on that bench facing west along the High Line, but also everywhere else I traipsed around the island that day, was the stupendous array of construction cranes against the sky, hoisting slender condominium towers into the clouds, many of them fifty stories and more. To me, it was a very ominous sight. Business cycles can be traced far back in history, but the cycles of these late techno-industrial times have been marked by the most extremes of extremity, and the current one is the dooziest of all.
“He’s just hopped a flight to New Zealand,” his colleague said. Wright was soon 30,000 feet above the Tasman Sea watching the programmer Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) being chased by unknowable agents in The Matrix. Wright found the story line strangely comforting; it was good to know he wasn’t alone.
Know Thy Futurist (tmn)
The first measurement of a futurist is the extent to which he or she believes in a singularity. Broadly speaking a singularity is a moment where technology gets so much better, at such an exponentially increasing rate, that it achieves a fundamental and meaningful technological shift of existence, transcending its original purpose and even nature. In many singularity myths the computer either becomes self-aware and intelligent, possibly in a good way but sometimes in a destructive or even vindictive way. In others humans are connected to machines and together become something new. The larger point is that some futurists believe fervently in a singularity, while others do not.
Stock Buybacks Destroy Corporations (Tiffany D.)
Some months ago, an unknown author managed to get her debut novella onto the New York Times best-seller list. The problem was that nobody had heard of her book, or had seen it in stores. She’d been buying all the copies herself to game the system. Once her book was in the Top 10, she schemed people would start buying it just because of its rank.
That’s essentially the same strategy on which U.S. corporate executives spent that $7 trillion.
In a story for Forbes, Mills notes several examples of such startups that are already disrupting the industry with cognitive software for horizontal drilling, an on-demand contractor network, and an AI-driven software platform for well planning, among many others. The common feature among them all is they are narrowly specializing in various segments of the oil industry to deliver solutions that promise to substantially reduce times, labor, and costs, while improving outcomes. What’s not to like?
Mr. Coats recounted on Monday how he used his garden hose to spray his home down in hopes of saving it. Then he went to his neighbors’ homes and tried the same thing. It was futile.
The Kochs didn’t endorse Trump for president, but there’s little doubt they consider a guy like Pruitt heading the EPA to be a dream come true. When David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket back in 1980, his party platform called for abolishing the EPA (and a number of other federal agencies, along with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). Although Pruitt won’t be able to go that far, his six-year track record as Oklahoma’s attorney general suggests he will do what he can—with the help of Koch-funded members of Congress and the rest of the Trump administration—to defund the agency and undermine its authority.
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