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Saturday, February 23

23rd Feb - Weekender: Off-Topic

 Last weekend's Off-Topic post here.

Previously on MoreLiver’s:
Weekender: Weekly Support (weekly market reviews and previews)

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Vindication for Entrepreneurs Watching Sky: Yes, It Can FallNYT
For decades, scientists have been on the lookout for killer objects from outer space that could devastate the planet. But warnings that they lacked the tools to detect the most serious threats were largely ignored, even as skeptics mocked the worriers as Chicken Littles. No more.

There Is No Way to Stop Space Rocks From Hurtling to Earth and Killing YouWired

NASA data may have uncovered galaxy's youngest black holecnet
A rare distorted supernova explosion leads scientists to believe they may be witnessing the birth of a black hole for the first time ever.

Scientists ‘on the threshold’ of major dark matter discoveryRaw Story

When Brain Damage Unlocks The Genius WithinPopsci
Brain damage has unleashed extraordinary talents in a small group of otherwise ordinary individuals. Will science find a way for everyone to tap their inner virtuoso?

New Study Links Childhood Bullying to Adult Psychological Disorders, Surprising Even the Study's AuthorsSlate

The positional game and the end of the ageDiscover
By most material measures we're doing better as a species than we ever have. That is, in an absolute sense. But a lot of human life is about relative prosperity. I recall hearing once that role playing games which emphasized egalitarianism, with no "winners" or "losers," often had a difficult time gaining users. We are a cooperative species, but we're also a competitive species.

How unconscious processing improves decision-makingKurzweil AI

Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web WrongThe Atlantic
Most people think that first there was internet. Then a decade or so later there was the rise of social sites such as Facebook or Twitter and we could suddenly share links we found. Yet this isn’t really accurate. People have always, and continue to share links through email and instant messages. This is just as social as what we traditionally consider to be social media. The reason why this type of social sharing doesn’t get much attention is because it’s impossible to track.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk FoodNYT
A chemist by training with a doctoral degree in food science, Behnke became Pillsbury’s chief technical officer in 1979 and was instrumental in creating a long line of hit products, including microwaveable popcorn.

The Brain is Not ComputableMIT Technology Review
A leading neuroscientist says Kurzweil’s Singularity isn’t going to happen. Instead, humans will assimilate machines.

The Growing Spotlight on China’s Cyber ActivitiesThe Diplomat
There are serious implications for national security and trade policy, which experts will cover better than I can.  But if true, Mandiant's report also demonstrates a startling fact about China's political economy – that big business has so much power that it is able to wield the country's national security apparatus to get a leg up in contract negotiations.  It is as though Goldman Sachs were able to use the wiretapping expertise of the NSA in order to get a leg up on its overseas competitors.

Exposé of Chinese Data Thieves Reveals Sloppy TacticsMIT Technology Review
A report on the Chinese group that breached the computers of U.S. companies reveals that they took few precautions against detection.

Chinese cyber-attacks: How to steal a trillionBabbage / The Economist

China’s cyber-hacking: Getting UglyThe Economist

Timeline of Cyber-Attacks from ChinaThe Big Picture

Cybercrime: Smoking gunThe Economist

A smoking gun?Free exchange / The Economist

Making Sense of North Koreareason
The old definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. The new definition, which applies only in the case of North Korea, is: doing something different and expecting a different result.

North Korea’s Daily DoubleThe Diplomat
The intelligence on a regime as closed as Pyongyang remains less than optimal, and as such it is always difficult to truly comprehend what North Korea is up to, much less ascertain the rationale behind its actions. What is clear, however, is that Pyongyang’s belligerence under Kim Jong-un does not suggest he will be any different than his father, which bodes ill for future regional security.

The World’s North Korean TestProject Syndicate
How the international community responds, in both word and deed, to North Korea's latest nuclear test will say much about the world we live in. And, whether the Chinese like it or not, how they respond will speak volumes about what kind of role China will play in global governance.

Mossad, Prisoner X and Israel: for once, a conspiracy theory with a real conspiracyThe Telegraph

DIY Weapons of the Syrian RebelsThe Atlantic

Beyond the PivotForeign Affairs
A New Road Map for U.S.-Chinese Relations – The Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia made sense, because China was starting to doubt U.S. staying power. Now that Washington has sent Beijing a clear message it will be around for the long haul, however, the time has come for the two countries to deepen and institutionalize their relationship in order to secure Asia’s lasting peace and prosperity.

The Lost Logic of DeterrenceForeign Affairs
What the Strategy That Won the Cold War Can -- and Can't -- Do Now – For half a century, deterrence was the backbone of U.S. national security strategy. But now, Washington doesn't seem to know how and when to use it properly. The United States has needlessly applied deterrence to Russia, failed to apply it when it should have against Iraq and Iran, and been dangerously confused about whether to apply it to China. U.S. policymakers need to relearn the basics of deterrence in order to apply it successfully in the appropriate circumstances.

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail Rolling Stone
How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958–1962Foreign Affairs
A growing scholarly literature has left no doubt that the greatest famine in history, with a death toll of around 36 million Chinese, was caused not by natural disasters but by excessive state levies ordered by Chairman Mao Zedong. But in China, these facts remain officially taboo. For Yang, a journalist and one-time believer in Mao’s utopian vision, discovering the truth was a personal quest.

The Evolution of Irregular War: Insurgents and Guerrillas From Akkadia to AfghanistanForeign Affairs
Pundits tend to treat terrorism and guerrilla tactics as something new, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although the agendas have changed over the years -- from tribalism, to liberalism and nationalism, to socialism, to jihadist extremism -- guerrilla and terrorist warfare has been ubiquitous throughout history and consistently deadly.

Generation Kill - Foreign Affairs
A Conversation With Stanley McChrystal – The former Afghanistan and special forces commander talks frankly about his accomplishments, his mistakes, his lessons learned, and the future of the new American way of war he helped create.

Welcome to the Malware-Industrial ComplexMIT Technology Review
The U.S. government is developing new computer weapons and driving a black market in “zero-day” bugs. The result could be a more dangerous Web for everyone.

Gangster’s ParadiseForeign Affairs
Despite media hoopla, cross-border crime -- illegal drugs sales, evasion of taxes, intellectual property theft, and money laundering -- is hardly a new phenomenon. For much of history, moreover, the United States was as much perpetrator as victim. Recognizing this awkward truth should help cool down overheated debates about today’s transnational problems and how to respond to them.

The long arm of the GoogleFelix Salmon / Reuters
Is Google becoming a key arm of the law-enforcement complex?

Winding down the war on drugs: Towards a ceasefireThe Economist
Experiments in legalisation are showing what a post-war approach to drug control could look like

Illegal drugs: The great experimentThe Economist

Winding down the war on drugs: Towards a ceasefireThe Economist

Life of a Call Girl: Fantasy vs. RealityJon Millward

Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their CareersJon Millward
Applying big data analysis to Internet Adult Film Database, the IMDB of porn.

Roma exploitation: end of the dreameuobserver
Roma who turn to prostitution, theft or badly-paid labour often do so because of financial pressure. Back home, someone is waiting for money: the 'king' who brought them to western Europe.

The Origins of MonopolyFarnam Street
Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land.

The Power-Hungry Elite Aren't Who You Think They Arebig think

4 Things Politicians Will Never Understand About Poor Peoplecracked

Happy Birthday, United Amateur Press Associationbrain pickings
H. P. Lovecraft on the Early Spirit of “Blogging”

The World's Most Problematic VideogamesDiscover
Is 'video game addiction' a useful concept? Some people certainly play an awful lot of games, and therefore have little of a life outside of them; but that doesn't in itself mean that games are harming them. Maybe that's just how they prefer to live. Maybe games are just filling a void that would otherwise be occupied by something else. However, some people do report suffering problems as a result of their gaming and wishing they could cut down on it. Such self-declared problematic use

Visualizing The World's Megatrends In 2020ZH

Tony Robbins and the Buddha Compare NotesBig Think
An imaginary round table discussion with Anthony Robbins and Gautama the Buddha on being the best we can be.

Silicon Valley’s best networker teaches you the secrets to making connectionsbakadesuyo
It might be surprising that I know Adam Rifkin. What’s not surprising is that Adam Rifkin knows me — because Adam knows everybody. In 2011 Fortune Magazine declared him the best networker in Silicon Valley.

Data, Stimulus, and Human NatureKrugman / NYT
What Data Can’t DoNYT
Big Data?Economist’s View

Career Arc: Bruce WillisGrantland
How did a 30-year-old bartender turn into one of the great American movie stars?

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk FoodNYT
Inside the battle for how America snacks.

The End of Cheap AirfareSlate
The US Airways/American merger will mean fewer flights, higher prices, and worse service. But that’s OK.

The Myth of “Saudi AmericaSlate
Straight talk from geologists about our new era of oil abundance.

The Economist: Here’s How You Will Probably DieThe Reformed Broker

The RunnerESPN
Fauja Singh ran his first marathon at age 89 and became an international sensation. Now 101 years old, he will run his final race on Sunday in Hong Kong -- and try to find peace with a Guinness World Records slight.