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Offline Last Active Oct 10 2017 04:21 PM

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A.I. Godhead - Religions of the Future

29 September 2017 - 03:24 PM

Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski is emerging from the shadow of a self-driving lawsuit to create a robot god.
The present continues to take inspiration from science-fiction author Isaac Asimov’s visions of the future. In “The Last Question,” Asimov conceived of an artificial intelligence project known as Multivac. Its purpose was to solve for the inevitable heat death of the universe, but in the end, it becomes that answer.
Levandowski seems to have taken that story very closely to heart. His newly founded Way of the Future organization, whose filings were first uncovered by Wired, exists to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”
Yes, you read that right. To quote Wired’s Mark Harris, “God is a bot, and Anthony Levandowski is his messenger.” At least, that is the plan.
Extreme futurists like Ray Kurzweil have replaced religion with faith of their own in the form of a technological Singularity. Elon Musk and his peers, however, are much less confident in humanity’s ability to survive its own future creations. He has called AI “potentially more dangerous than nukes,” and compared the rise of super AI to “summoning the demon.” At a 2014 conference, he warned, “…in all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”
Former Transhumanist presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan believes God and AI may not be separate in the first place. He sees that potential god as “the most powerful of all singularities,” a being that “has certainly already become pure organized intelligence” and “spans the universe through subatomic manipulation of physics.”

Mysterious Metal Towers Propped in Tunnels & Bridges

28 September 2017 - 03:47 PM

Mystery Surrounds Metal Towers Popping Up In Tunnels & Bridges
Mysterious metal towers are popping up at local tunnels, and soon they’ll start appearing at bridges, too.
But even people on the MTA board in charge of the towers can’t say why they’re being used or what’s in them, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reports.
Jose Lugo said the tall metal towers quickly appeared up after the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel tolls booths came down.
“We don’t really know what’s the purpose of this,” he told Carlin.
It’s a $100 million MTA project shrouded in secrecy, with 18 of them for tunnels and bridges. So what are they exactly?
The MTA’s man in charge of the bridges and tunnels, Cedrick Fulton, dodged Carlin’s questions Wednesday.
“I said no comment,” he said.

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

04 September 2017 - 02:13 PM

Scientists and archaeologists are making new, incredible discoveries all the time about the history of Earth’s civilizations. Here are some of the most important--and the most bizarre--findings.
The Copper Scrolls
Between 1946-1956 the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of 981 texts in the caves of Qumran. The copper scroll, in particular, is said to describe copious amounts of gold and silver–yet no one knows where it may be. There is some confusion about the date of the scroll, but multiple archaeologists agree on around 70 CE. It’s pretty fascinating that there might be a lost treasure hidden in the world.
Piles of hands
While excavating a 3,600-year-old palace in the once-great city of Avaris, Egypt, a team of archaeologists (after, presumably, fending off no fewer than three vengeful mummies and losing half their team to flesh-hungry scarabs) unearthed four pits. Now, we've already established in previous articles that ancient pits are often wells of unspeakable stuff best left to fade into history with their abominations unmined, but luckily (for the purposes of this article), the researchers decided to keep right on a-diggin' anyway.
"What's in the pits?" you're probably saying right now, in your best angsty Brad Pitt impression. And that's somewhat appropriate, because it's hands. No bodies -- just a bunch of dismembered hands.
These ancient hand recycling bins were found in the palace of King Khayan of the Hyksos, a West Asian people who once ruled over part of Northern Egypt. While two of the pits were located in an outer portion of the palace, the other two were right smack dab outside the throne room, indicating some ceremonial importance. According to Manfred Bietak, the leader of the excavations, "Most of the hands are quite large and some of them are very large," further signifying that they were all taken from adult males, and possibly that ancient Egypt was plagued by giants. Also, they're all righties, because even way back then no one wanted anything to do with the freak devil-hand.
Ancient animal traps
Low stone walls crisscrossing the deserts of Israel, Egypt and Jordan have puzzled archaeologists since their discovery by pilots in the early 20th century.
The chain of lines some up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) long and nicknamed "kites" by scientists for their appearance from the air date to 300 B.C., but were abandoned long ago.
The mystery might be somewhat clearer thanks to a recent study claiming that the purpose of the kites was to funnel wild animals toward a small pit, where they could easily be killed in large numbers. This efficient system suggests that local hunters knew more about the behavior of local fauna than previously thought.
Ancient Scrolls Reveal That Budget Cuts, Not Fire, Destroyed The Library of Alexandria
The Royal Library of Alexandria was one of the largest scholarly institutions ever built, containing thousands of scrolls and texts from the greatest thinkers of ancient times. However, its quick disappearance from history has led many to believe that it was destroyed in a fire, possibly at the orders of Julius Caesar when he attacked Egypt. Recent evidence uncovered by Luciano Canfora, in the form of scrolls written by people working in the library, reveal that it was actually brought down due to budget cuts from the government rather than a dramatic event. Texts gradually fell apart or were given to other institutions, and what was left of the Library's collection was likely destroyed in 642.

Chemical Waste Spilling from Harvey's Wake

02 September 2017 - 12:43 PM

New dangers lurk in Harvey’s wake
The water was leaving, at last. But, across Southeast Texas on Thursday, new dangers kept appearing in Hurricane Harvey’s wake.
Above, Environmental Protection Agency planes sniffed for toxic-chemical releases. Below, there was floodwater that authorities warned could contain pollutants and pathogens. In between, there were authorities and people trying to find order and supplies in a landscape totally changed by the massive storm.
Harvey pounded the nation's chemical epicenter. What's in the foul-smelling floodwater left behind?
Broken tanks, factory fires and ruptured pipes are thought to have released a cocktail of toxic chemicals into the waters. Explosions that released thick black smoke were reported at the Arkema Inc. chemical plant, where floods knocked out the electricity, leaving the facility outside Houston without refrigeration needed to protect volatile chemicals.
Exhaustive investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Engineering after Hurricane Katrina, in which floodwaters languished in New Orleans for about six weeks, showed that toxic concentrations and the resulting exposures were too low to cause significant long-term health problems.
That festering flood caused a stench for weeks that left soldiers gagging for air as they flew helicopters 2,000 feet over the city. The Army Corps of Engineers had to pump the water out of New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.
The situation is far different in Houston, where the floodwaters are receding much faster.
But because Houston is far more industrialized, Harvey could have a much larger potential for leaving a toxic trail.
Texas regulators urged caution. “Floodwaters may contain many hazards, including infectious organisms, intestinal bacteria, and other disease agents,” the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said in a statement. “Precautions should be taken by anyone involved in cleanup activities or any others who may be exposed to floodwaters.”

Is Putin trolling Trump?

11 August 2017 - 05:47 PM

Russian spy plane buzzes over DC and Trump’s New Jersey golf course
The “semi-routine” mission appeared to be a slight ribbing of the president 
A Russian air force spy plane flew from Moscow to the U.S. on Wednesday, buzzing over the nation’s capital before making a pass over Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is currently vacationing at one of his golf resorts. The flight path of the jet suggests the Russians might have had Trump in mind during their reconnaissance mission.
Under the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, 34 participating states (including Russia and the U.S.) allow reconnaissance missions over the other’s territory.  The U.S. State Department says Russia and the U.S. have buzzed each other 165 times over the past 15 years. These missions are highly controlled, typically involving representatives of the country being observed participating in the mission.

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