Some of technology’s most prominent leaders and CEOs have made the pilgrimage from the Tesla-lined streets of Silicon Valley to the slightly more civilized New York City to bow at the feet of the very smart and good looking Supreme Leader-elect of the United States, Donald J. Trump. … [Read more...] about Tech Gods Arrive to Kneel at Trump’s Throne
Taylor Swift is something like the Sheryl Sandberg of pop music. She has propelled her career from tiny country artist into pop machine over the past few years with little shame when it comes to corporate collaborators, inking deals and sponsorships with brands like Target, AT&T, Apple Music, NYC & Company, and for her Reputation album cycle, confusingly, UPS. She is not the one to surprise drop an entire album, either, playing by traditional distribution rules with all the right singles and videos, even announcing a song release on ABC during the NFL draft. Her career, and even the sound of her music, has expanded with such commercialism that it seems that currently Swift is less interested in being an artist and more interested in being the biggest brand she can be. … [Read more...] about Taylor Swift Turns the Music Industry’s Power Imbalance Into Empowerment
9. “Firewalker” (2003) Liz Phair got a lot of attention for its Matrix-produced attempts at Top 40 drivel, and the ensuing indie furor overlooked just how grab-baggy that record is. Aside from the few Matrix-produced songs, several others wouldn’t have been out of place on a more direct Whitechocolatespaceegg follow-up. “Firewalker” is one of them. It makes sense that this song had been kicking around since at least 1999, and versions from shows around that time don’t differ much from the final version, with a lovely vocal melody on the chorus that sounds like the thinking person’s Sheryl Crow. “You might not recognize me tomorrow,” she sings, signaling (intentionally or not) what a lot of fans would consider a major change in direction. … [Read more...] about Hear the scope of Liz Phair’s underrated career in 58 minutes
How do we know this? To build a Dyson sphere, one would need to disassemble a nearby body, like a planet, to provide the material for the solar captors. In a recent paper written with a colleague, we calculated that disassembling Mercury to make a partial Dyson shell could be done in 31 years. One way of doing this would be to mechanically disassemble the planet, much like we do in our aluminium and steel industries. From these industries, we know a lot already about the energy cost of such work, so the trick is to use already mined material to build more mining equipment and solar collectors to power it, achieving an exponential feedback loop. … [Read more...] about What Are the Odds of an Alien Megastructure Blocking Light From a Distant Star?
It’s possible that a family of comets is traveling on a very long, eccentric orbit around the star. At the head of the pack would be a very large comet, which would have blocked the star’s light in 2011, as noted by Kepler. Later, in 2013, the rest of the comet family, a band of varied fragments lagging behind, would have passed in front of the star and again blocked its light. … [Read more...] about That Supposed Alien Megastructure May Actually Be a Swarm of Cometary Fragments
Imagine if there’s a kind of Prime Directive in effect, but that ETIs are hovering over us with a giant hammer ready to smack it down should it suddenly not like what it sees. These ETI’s would be like Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still, intent on preserving the galactic peace. "There's no limit to what Gort could do,” said Klaatu, “He could destroy the Earth." So what is Gort or other advanced ETIs waiting for, exactly? One possibility is the technological Singularity. In the space of possible survivable Singularities, a sizeable portion of them might result in an extremely dangerous artificial superintelligence (SAI). The kind of SAI that could set about the destruction of the entire Galaxy. So, in order to prevent the bad ones from emerging — while giving the good ones a fair chance to get started — the Galactic Club keeps watch. … [Read more...] about 11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox