Descriptions of the Nondescript

Did you know the world is getting richer and there are fewer poor people today than ever per capita?

Some countries are emerging from poverty. Education is on the rise.

We're all to be blamed for not realizing the truth, actually. But our sources of news are driven by economics, which means they have to live and die by their ability to sell newspapers, magazines, online eyeballs, advertisers' products, or whatever. This leads to what Nicholas Kristof calls in this op-ed piece a true selection bias that leads directly to a corresponding bias in public opinion.

We're making progress in our quest to uplift all of humanity. It's just not considered real news to report that this is the case. And it isn't, really. The process has been been a slow, painful climb whose progress isn't exhilarating so much as it is tedious to watch. Except, of course, by those who benefit from that progress: poverty stricken countries, decaying inner cities, and moribund agrarian populations that couldn't make any progress against commodity market price reductions.

The idea of farming, mining, and other ancient and labor intensive jobs as ways of life is slowly dying and being replaced with automation, economies of scale, and higher technology solutions to creating society's base materials. We're now seeing populations whose leaders are forced to turn to other means to keep the gravy train going for themselves. Formerly ruthless dictators of countries filled with abject poverty are seeing the writing on the wall and inviting education and investment to enrich their countries so they can get even richer. This last bit is a negative side effect of this progress, and it will eventually have to be resolved. But for now it's not such a bad thing that some asshole at the top of a poor country sucks a little of the oxygen out of the room if everyone else gets some too.

We need to see what's true and not just what's reported. It would be very helpful if world economic progress were something that was studied and encouraged actively rather than as a passive side effect of famines, forced migration, capitalism's endless search for new markets, and the like.

Making profits is great as long as it isn't carried too far on the backs of the wrong people. When those backs finally break and the profits stop flowing, there are those who seem to wake up and realize, "Hey. We could invest in those people just a little and get a great new cash cow out of it in a few years!"

Well yes. Let's do that then.

Promising New Approach to Small Scale Nuclear Fusion

Lawrenceville Focus Fusion architecture. Lawrenceville Focus Fusion architecture.


Al Fin and I disagree on a great many things, but his coverage of Brian Wang's story about small scale nuclear fusion is worthy of note.

By far the single greatest problem we face as a civilization is energy. Nearly every other challenge derives from the bad solutions currently providing this vital commodity, from the geopolitics associated with acquiring its fuels, from the exhaust from burning those fuels, or from energy's cost in economic terms.

When energy production is ecologically harmless, ubiquitous, cheap, and cannot be controlled by any single entity, our human civilization will finally begin to be free. We will require huge amounts of energy to achieve this freedom, but solving its production is the first step.

Source: Promising New Approach to Small Scale Nuclear Fusion

In the Beginning: A.N.G.E.L. - Sample Chapter

[angel]

My next story is the first installment of a series of novels set in roughly our time. The second one is already started, and the third is plotted. I'm excited about this series!

A bored software developer and an NSA agent join forces with an artificial intelligence called A.N.G.E.L. to become the Triumvirate - the world's first provably benevolent secret society. And they're only just in time to save the world from disaster.

I'm trying something new here - publishing via pre-order through a company that will do my publishing, editing, marketing, etc. if they get a large enough collection of pre-order customers.

Here's a sample chapter to whet your appetite. You can pre-order a print or eBook copy there if you like it.

Interactions between things that don't interact with each other

This isn't a science post. I want to use a scientific discovery to show a principle that can be employed in many situations in sociology, government, running companies - and yes in physics as well. ](http://phys.org/news/2015-09-physicists-molecules.html) Photons interacting virtually.This article from PHYS.org is a little technical, but the essential point I want to make here can be summarized simply.

Imagine pairs of things. I could call them "photons" here, but they might be people or companies or countries. These things can't or won't interact with each other for fundamental reasons of their nature or because of some choice they make. Now imagine that it would be useful for these things to interact with each other. How can this be done?

The answer is to find some other things with which your things (again, these could be people or countries or whatever) will interact. ](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo_Accords) The Oslo Accords logo. This is a lot like the process that led to the Oslo Accords. Countries that wouldn't interact with each other, but would interact with other countries, under the right circumstances, came together and accomplished something useful.

Schwarzschild black hole](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole)Black Hole Lensing. Suppose you can't see some thing because it's invisible, but it will interact with other things that you can see. Right. You can use the visible things and the way they are visibly affected by the invisible thing to see where the invisible thing is, what it's doing, or whatever. This is very commonly used in astronomy, for example, to see black holes. You can't see them, but their interactions with other things you can see are apparent. This technique is applicable to criminal investigations, espionage, remote sensing of weather, and way more uses than I can think of right now.

These ideas are incredibly powerful. Given their broad applicability across many disciplines, I suspect they were discovered and named called many things over the years.

Next Big Future: Google's Technology Moonshots and the Costs of the Apollo Moonshot and Spacex rocket development

This is some very revealing data. Doing R&D in government programs is way worse than in private ones, but that's not surprising in itself. It is surprising that government is no longer the sole source of R&D money in those magnitudes.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/08/googles-technology-moonshots-and-costs.html?m=1

Dystopian Futures Not Helpful

This article lists "26 essential science fiction novels to get you ready for tomorrow".

As has become heartbreakingly typical lately, these are nearly all dystopian views of the future. What we desperately need as a society is to see "Wow, it's lucky for us brilliant Dr. Greefel Burblatts invented the polygorphal exgraminator to avoid the global warming disaster we were headed for" and the joyful future that follows.

The age of plenty, ubiquitous computing, millions of educated and well fed geniuses alive today, space travel and exploration, wonderful gadgets and architecture and art forms - these are all things we can imagine and look forward to. We have already a great surplus of dark tales to warn us of the dangers of the future.

Why not stories that help us to prepare for what could be if only we will imagine and then achieve what is possible in a positive universe?

Ursula K le Guin on The Future of Capitalism

Black and white photo of Ursula K. Le Guin Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. le Guin is a top science fiction writer and has been for decades. This article on her call for sci-fi writers to write more about alternatives to capitalism caught my eye.

Precisely! We live in the age where we must adapt our traditions for new realities that appear as a result of those traditions. Adapting is what humans do. But sometimes we also do wars and other stupid stuff before we finally do adapt. Let's not do that stupid stuff. Let's just adapt when the time comes, shall we?

My stories to this point all include, as a central theme, a world run by alternatives to capitalism, although capitalism is what gets my first book's characters into their life-long struggle. I am writing more. I hope someday to inspire someone to do something positive in the real world - not because my vision was accurate, but because it led them to think about what the accurate vision would be.