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Pondering Our Cyborg Future in a Documentary About the Singularity

Pondering Our Cyborg Future in a Documentary About the Singularity | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Scientists, futurists, and other experts describe how we've begun to blur the lines between humans and technology.

Via Xaos, Wildcat2030
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Xaos's curator insight, January 12, 2013 2:56 AM

the complex, abstract concept of the singularity, which predicts a moment when technology will give rise to intelligence beyond the scope of human imagination. It sounds like sci-fi but, Wolens and others argue, there's no denying the sweeping impact of technology on human existence and the implications are worth thinking about. In the trailer for the film, below, scientists, futurists, and other experts describe what the singularity might have in store. How will we get there? Advancements in neurotechnology and the rise of brain-machine interfaces might contribute, according to the short excerpt of the film, below. "In some ways we're doing that today," the futurist Ray Kurzweil says, holding up a mobile phone. "The fact that I can take this out of my pocket and access all of human knowledge is an extension of my brian, even if this isn't quite inside my brain yet." In an interview below, Wolens describes the long process of putting this documentary together and some of the challenges along the way.

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Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

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Biodegradable computer chips made from wood

Biodegradable computer chips made from wood | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

Portable electronics -- typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials -- are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers' pursuit of the next best electronic gadget.


In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.


The research team, led by UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.


"The majority of material in a chip is support. We only use less than a couple of micrometers for everything else," Ma says. "Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade it. They become as safe as fertilizer." Zhiyong Cai, project leader for an engineering composite science research group at FPL, has been developing sustainable nanomaterials since 2009.


"If you take a big tree and cut it down to the individual fiber, the most common product is paper. The dimension of the fiber is in the micron stage," Cai says. "But what if we could break it down further to the nano scale? At that scale you can make this material, very strong and transparent CNF paper."


Working with Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering, Cai's group addressed two key barriers to using wood-derived materials in an electronics setting: surface smoothness and thermal expansion.


"You don't want it to expand or shrink too much. Wood is a natural hydroscopic material and could attract moisture from the air and expand," Cai says. "With an epoxy coating on the surface of the CNF, we solved both the surface smoothness and the moisture barrier."

Gong and her students also have been studying bio-based polymers for more than a decade. CNF offers many benefits over current chip substrates, she says.


"The advantage of CNF over other polymers is that it's a bio-based material and most other polymers are petroleum-based polymers. Bio-based materials are sustainable, bio-compatible and biodegradable," Gong says. "And, compared to other polymers, CNF actually has a relatively low thermal expansion coefficient."


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Ex-Finance Minister backs independent Scottish Labour party

Ex-Finance Minister backs independent Scottish Labour party | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
A former Scottish Labour finance minister has called on his party to cut its ties with London and become a fully independent political force.

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Scotland may face £126bn UK debt payment

Scotland may face £126bn UK debt payment | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND may have to pay back its entire £126 billion share of UK debt under the SNP’s plan for full fiscal autonomy, according to Alistair Darling’s former right-hand man at the Treasury.

Via Peter A Bell
Kit Newton's insight:

Scotland should be compensated for their share of UK gold sold off rock bottom by Gordon Brown, and for subsequent asset stripping, including the cheap sell off of Royal Mail, which also allows dividends to be exported, rather than kept and reinvested in UK.

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, April 30, 6:17 AM

All of which would seem to confirm that the only way to satisfactorily resolve the anomalies of the union is independence.

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Westminster Eats Itself

Westminster Eats Itself | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Greg Moodie on the recent interventions of desperate Westminster politicians.

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Cameron met with Sony Pictures about release date of Outlander | We Ourselves

Cameron met with Sony Pictures about release date of Outlander | We Ourselves | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Prime Minister David Cameron met with Sony Pictures representatives three months before indyref to discuss the impending release in Britain of the Outlander series, according to WIKILEAKS. The series premier broadcast was inexplicably delayed here until after the referendum.

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Sturgeon to launch SNP manifesto for "UK-wide delivery"

Sturgeon to launch SNP manifesto for "UK-wide delivery" | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
NICOLA Sturgeon will tomorrow cast the SNP as a party for the entire UK with a manifesto promising her MPs would try to change the UK's welfare system and foreign policy.

The First Minister will set out plans to reverse £3bn of cuts to disability benefits and make the UK government formally recognise Palestine to advance peace in the Middle East.

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Trident: is our nuclear deterrent really independent? | Alex Thomson's View | Alex Thomson's View

Trident: is our nuclear deterrent really independent? | Alex Thomson's View | Alex Thomson's View | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
It seems to be typical of the triumph of spin over substance in this election campaign so far. The debate over whether or not E Miliband planted the meat cleaver into D Miliband’s back seemed to receive much more coverage than whether or not we should pay billions of pounds for Trident.

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The SNP would get more votes than Lib Dems if they fielded candidates throughout the UK

The SNP would get more votes than Lib Dems if they fielded candidates throughout the UK | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
The Scottish National party would get more votes than the Liberal Democrats if they fielded candidates across Britain, according to new opinion polls.

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Nicola Sturgeon ~ Our vision

Nicola explains why the General Election on May 7th is Scotland's opportunity to make our voice heard like never before. Sending a big team of SNP MPs to Wes...

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Bombshell Daily Record poll shows majority of Scots now support independence

Bombshell Daily Record poll shows majority of Scots now support independence | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
OUR stunning survey shows Yes would win a new referendum while our poll also points to the SNP winning an astonishing 53 of Scotland's 59 seats in May.

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, March 20, 12:51 PM

The Record may be "stunned" and "astonished". The rest of us have been aware of what is going on for quite some time now.

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Listen to us for once: SNP can speak to all Britain with authority

LAST week I ran into a Labour MP of my acquaintance, someone I respect. We had an off the record chat about the prospects of Ed Miliband accepting a deal with the SNP after the election. My confrere was of the opinion it would never happen.

For starters, he said, Labour is getting a lot of resistance from its English MPs and supporters to an accommodation with the Scots. I don’t doubt that is true, though I suspect it reflects a misguided view that relying on SNP parliamentary support – on a confidence and supply arrangement – implies giving Scotland unfair concessions. On the contrary, the SNP’s resistance to more austerity and Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a modest rise in UK public spending over the life of the next parliament, should be more than acceptable to the ordinary English Labour voter.

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Prominent Yes figures support moves towards left coalition for 2016 election

Prominent Yes figures support moves towards left coalition for 2016 election | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Scottish news and politics, analysis and opinion. Scotland's political social media hub. SSP backed project to build left electoral alliance at its party conference on 23 May
PROMINENT pro-independence figures Pat Kane, Jim Sillars and Mike Small have welcomed a vote by the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) to work with the Scottish Left P

Via Peter A Bell
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Leaving far behind those of the English left who maintain the faux Marxist mantra against independence

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Peter A Bell: A smear backfires

Peter A Bell: A smear backfires | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Having listened to Alistair Carmichael's defence in the matter of what I suppose we must grit our teeth and call #MemoGate, I am even more convinced than ever that he should resign immediately. Unbelievably, Carmichael is now insisting that we should simply ignore his despicable behaviour and focus instead on some unspecified things he may have done for his constituents in the past.

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Exclusive Humza Yousaf interview: We will work with Westminster parties to shut down detention centres

Exclusive Humza Yousaf interview: We will work with Westminster parties to shut down detention centres | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Scottish news and politics, analysis and opinion. Scotland's political social media hub. SNP minister hits out at Labour leadership for being “happy to have a pop at immigrants at any opportunity for cheap political gain”
HUMZA YOUSAF has slammed the UK's “inhumane” detention centres and said he hopes the SNP can

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SNP manifesto: 5 policies SNP and Labour agree on, and 5 they disagree on

SNP manifesto: 5 policies SNP and Labour agree on, and 5 they disagree on | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
A fresh rolling Scottish news and politics service. We're part of the Common Weal, and our full launch is coming soon. CommonSpace takes a look at the SNP's manifesto, and compares it to Labour's to see what areas of agreement and disagreement could be found in a possible Labour-SNP deal after the General Election
THE SNP’s manifesto launch offers the fir

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Police ask campaigner to tell them anti-Murphy protest plans in advance

Police ask campaigner to tell them anti-Murphy protest plans in advance | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
POLICE Scotland has been accused of stifling democratic protest after asking an anti-austerity campaigner to reveal his plans for challenging Jim Murphy.

Via Peter A Bell
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Makes you ask, why is Jim Murphy so paranoid about opponents? Or merely trying to demonize them again, as during the referendum campaign?

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Labour MP Ian Murray breaks ranks over Trident

Labour MP Ian Murray breaks ranks over Trident | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
LABOUR’S shadow business minister, Ian Murray, has broken ranks with the party leadership over the renewal of Trident by stating that he would not vote for the renewal of the submarine missile fleet under any circumstances.

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, April 15, 5:14 AM

It is gratifying to find that there are still traces of principle to be found in British Labour in Scotland. It is a measure of how out of touch the leadership of British Labour is when there is such a significant level of agreement within their own ranks with the position of  party the leadership seek to portray as unfailingly wrong on every issue.

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An Unholy Alliance

An Unholy Alliance | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
As the pressure mounts on Jim Murphy for tonight’s debate Tony Blair stepped out of whatever Gold Digging corporate hellhole he’d been working to announce his ‘100% backing for Miliband’, a strangely un-reassuring commitment probably about as welcome as his rejected  money.

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Can I vote for the SNP if I live in England?

Can I vote for the SNP if I live in England? | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
The question of whether non-residents of Scotland can vote for the Scottish National party unexpectedly featured in a list of most searched-for terms provided by Google after Thursday night’s leaders’ debate.

Via Peter A Bell
Kit Newton's insight:

Millions of England's voters wish they could!

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Three new tribes of voters will dominate this election | Paul Mason

Three new tribes of voters will dominate this election | Paul Mason | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

Right now, party strategists are squinting at demographic tools that divide Britain into sub-tribes in a battle to woo voters in individual postcodes. But they’re missing the bigger picture. This election is set to be dominated by political divides that are new, and much larger. Instead of micro-demographic categories, what we’ll need to understand are dreams. These can be reduced to three geospatial identities, which I’ve labelled Scandi-Scotland, the asset-rich south-east and post-industrial Britain.


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Total Eclipse Of Douglas Alexander

Total Eclipse Of Douglas Alexander | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Greg Moodie on Douglas Alexander's problem with social media.

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ALLAN MASSIE: 'I can foresee the Thames foaming with much blood'

ALLAN MASSIE: 'I can foresee the Thames foaming with much blood' | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
This year’s General Election will be the closest since 1974 – and the nastiest, writes ALLAN MASSIE.

Via Peter A Bell
Kit Newton's insight:

Absolute hysteria - from a British Unionist Scot!

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, March 9, 6:57 AM

Let's be clear. Allan Massie is a British nationalist. Not quite in the spittle-flecked, purple-faced, ranting style of Alan Cochrane. (Although he appears to be competing with Poor Old Cockers in this diatribe.) But a British nationalist nonetheless. As such, he portrays the SNP, not as they are, but as British nationalists would like them to be seen by the public.


The same applies to Scotland's politics and what we might term the "mood of the nation". Either Mr Massie is so completely detached from the political scene in Scotland that it is invisible to him, or he is deliberately trying to mislead when he describes that mood as "ugly". In fact, the mood is very upbeat and hopeful. One might almost say exited at the prospect of putting a democratic dent in the the armour of a British state that has hitherto been deaf to the voice of the people and impervious to meaningful reform.


There is ugliness,of course. But it comes, not from the ranks of the SNP and other progressive parties in Scotland, but from the relatively small band of British nationalist fanatics engaged in an increasingly shrill and vitriolic campaign in defence of the ruling elites of the British state.


Massie also claims that the SNP is still fighting the referendum. Again, he is either tragically ill-informed or dishonest. Certainly, independence remains the long-term goal. But the SNP is fighting this election on a policy platform that is progressive and so clear that even a blinkered British nationalist such as Alan Massie can't avoid acknowledging at least some of it.


That policy platform includes such things as,


  • an end to austerity economics
  • no renewal of Trident
  • real Home Rule for Scotland, as promised in the lead up to the referendum vote
  • abolition of the House of Lords
  • introduction of a living wage


While these sort of policies are evidently anathema to right-wing ideologues like Allan Massie, to most people they appear no more than the kind of considered alternatives to the stultifying orthodoxies of the British state which, in a properly functioning democracy, would be on offer from any party seeking to oust the Tories.


Massie opines that Middle England would be "furious" if the British political system fails to ensure that hegemonic two-party duopoly is maintained. His view is that, if any party other than those which are approved by the British establishment gains political power while playing by the British state's own rules, then those rules must be ignored.


His reasoning is that the rules must be ignored so as to avoid a turmoil of public outrage that he himself is doing his level best to whip up. Not because the SNP has broken any rules, but precisely because they are working within those rules.


Massie and his fellow British nationalists are playing a dangerous game with their hate-mongering. Compare the language deployed by the British nationalist propaganda machine with the reasoned rhetoric of Nicola Sturgeon and other Scottish progressives such as Patrick Harvie. There may well be a whirlwind to reap from the seeds of anti-Scottish animus that they are sowing.


Massie is mightily concerned about a backlash in England to any SNP involvement in the government of the UK. His British nationalist bigotry prevents him giving so much as a moment's thought to the reaction of the people of Scotland if their democratically elected representatives are excluded in a storm of spitting, contemptuous vilification such as Massie gives us a glimpse of here.