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Sunday, April 22

22nd Apr - Weekender: Off-Topics

Just some random off-topic links that I've seen during the last couple of days

Peter Thiel on What Makes A Great Technology Company & Other ThoughtsCan Turtles Fly
No Death, No Taxes (Nov 2011)The New Yorker

No more inhibitionEmanuel Derman / Reuters
It could be like a distributed denial-of-service attack that brings down the banking system. Probably I shouldn’t be allowed to publish this idea.

Derivatives: The Unregulated Global Casino for BanksDemonocracy
Banks’ derivatives exposures visualized. Sure, this is BS, but at least the pics are impressive.

Iran's Strategy (10-Apr)Stratfor
Whether ruled by shah or ayatollah, Iran's strategy remained the same: deter by geography, protect with defensive forces, and engage in complex diplomatic maneuvers. But underneath this reality, another vision of Iran's role always lurked.

North Korea’s gulag: Never again?The Economist
The gross abuses of human rights in North Korea shame the whole world

France: Where Freemasons Are Still FearedBusinessweek
In France, the story that keeps coming back is about Freemasons. It’s everywhere. Most big French magazines run at least one big Freemason cover a year. Books dissect the “state within a state,” to borrow from a recent title. Blogs abound.

On Science Fiction, Building Towers 20 Kilometers High ... and Insurancetechnology review
The best-selling author Neal Stephenson talked about the obstacles faced by real emerging technologies.

The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in SecretRolling Stone
An inside look at how killing by remote control has changed the way we fight.

The Laziest Scams in Internet HistoryBusinessweek

To Boldly Go: Risk and the Prime DirectiveThe Psy-Fi Blog
If you prime people by exposing them to information that advocates taking risks it causes them to boldly go out and start taking more risks with their investments. This is no real surprise.  Of course, if they’re a professional their behavior is different. They’re more likely to take risks. 

Can we talk about your anger at the banks?The Guardian
Join me and psychoanalyst Leslie Chapman in the comments thread below to discuss your anger at the financial sector

Can You Make Yourself Smarter?The New York Times

Tuck into our latest round-up of the best psych and neuro links:

How I Stay Productive and Get Massive Amounts of Shit DoneIlluminated Mind
The battle for focus is one that I wage daily. And the fight never ends… So, what follows is every tip, trick, and hack that I use to stay prolific, get shit done and win the battle for focus.

Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012The Chicago Tribune
In memoriam: After years of health problems, Facts has finally died.

If Darth Vader Actually Raised Luke Skywalkerbrain pickings
Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son — a sweet, funny, charmingly illustrated story that imagines an alternate universe in which the Dark Lord of the Sith actually raises his son.

Up for Bids: Classic Soviet Space Propaganda PostersWired

How Grand Theft Auto changed video games (and the world)CNET
With "Jacked," veteran video games journalist David Kushner explains how the Grand Theft Auto franchise helped usher in a new generation of games and set the tone for a decade.

FiveBooks Interviews: Stephen Cave on ImmortalityThe Browser
Will it be possible to live forever? Is there such a thing as the soul, or immortality in one’s legacy? The author of a new book on immortality explores the eternal questions, from elixirs of life to modern-day cryonics