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How many people have you misunderstood today?

According to the World Clock there are 7.7 billion people (humans) alive in the world today.

How many of them have you misunderstood today? We have many mechanisms for failing to achieve consensus.

  • We receive different information
  • We interpret the same information differently
  • We commit new information to long-term storage at different rates, and in different ways
  • Everyone’s long term storage is different
  • We would make different estimates about the future, even if we started from the same information base

I misunderstand even the people closest to me on a daily basis. Even when my wife and I receive significant amounts of the same information every day, the above factors interfere with our ability to achieve consensus on the meaning of much of that.

How many people have I misunderstood today? About 7.7 billion.

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Doctor, you’ve been a beacon of light to me

You’re living proof

That ideology is a poor substitute

For kindness and decency

And that at the end of the day

It is our actions

And not our beliefs that define

Who we are.

What we are.

  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine, S07E23
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Miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant

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How Bitcoin Ends

This year will be the final year that Bitcoin and Blockchain maintain their stranglehold on thinking rationally about the global banking system. Imperfect though it is, Bitcoin does not, cannot, and will never offer a viable alternative.

Bitcoin was meant to cut out those unnecessary intermediaries, and replace them with computer cycles. The high processing cost of mining bitcoin–as well as an arbitrary limit on the total number of coin that can ever be mined–keeps the money supply scarce. But this means that instead of re-creating those high-velocity market monies of the Middle Ages, the abundant ones that worked like poker chips, bitcoin re-creates the market mechanisms of gold, a currency that invites hoarding and speculation while discouraging transactions. Oops.

This explains why bitcoin has become less a means of exchange than a speculative pyramid, as well as why the coin’s developers and early investors have ended up billionaires. The wealth disparity in bitcoin is worse than that of central currency, with 4% of users owning 96% of bitcoin. So much for breaking the banking monopoly; this is just hackers seizing the banking industry for themselves.
— Read on www.fastcompany.com/40537404/how-bitcoin-ends

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There’s also a wide disparity between perceptions and reality of regulation. A vast majority of Americans support a background check. In fact, the idea is so obvious that most Americans believe such checks are already mandated.

“No doubt, the NRA is influential. Not so much because of the campaign contributions it makes to candidates, but because it can count on an energized grass-roots base of gun-rights supporters to turn out at the polls and badger elected officials with calls and emails. But that influence has limits, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that it is on the wane.

For one thing, the proportion of Americans with guns has been steadily declining, to its lowest level in decades, though there are recent signs that the decline has leveled off. (The reason why the number of guns continues to rise despite this demographic trend is that the remaining gun owners are buying more and more weapons.) Meanwhile, gun ownership is growing more heavily clustered in certain states. That limits the voting power of the gun lobby.”

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What Syria Reveals About the Future of War

Syria demonstrates something that has been evident for decades: The United Nations is unsuited to play a major role in complex, modern wars, particularly when permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, each with a veto over its actions, are involved. But there is also no chance that any other multinational organization with the possible exception of NATO might serve as a platform for collective action to stop a war. And after Libya, even NATO is unlikely to do that outside Europe.

So this is what the Syrian war suggests about future conflicts: They will be intricately complex; they will involve conflict-specific configurations of participants; there will be no humanitarian intervention to stop them; and the United Nations will be a nonfactor. But that isn’t all. It gets even worse.
— Read on www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/24205/what-syria-reveals-about-the-future-of-war

Syria has strengthened or reaffirmed some relationships (US/Israel), but has challenged others (US/Turkey and Russia/Iran, the latter of which was never strong). The clear victors appear to be Russia and Iran, but even these victories appear to be under threat. The complex realities of Turkish, American, and now Israeli involvement in Syria is demonstrating how little real power Russia brought to Turkey, and increasing risks that will prove unpopular at home. Iran’s gains are already undermined by domestic turmoil.

Syria is clearly Obama’s greatest foreign policy blunder, but it isn’t clear yet how much can be extrapolated from a sample size of one.

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Northface Geodome 4

You know you want one because, well, why not?

日本で初めて開発/設営が容易で、居住性に優れた新型ドームテント「ザ・ノース・フェイス Geodome 4」を新発売 | COMPANY | GOLDWIN

https://www.goldwin.co.jp/corporate/info/page-22280

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Global Temperatures Reached New Highs in 2017 – Futurism

Unfortunately, recent trends in the US are not encouraging. The response of the US in 2017 was:

  • Lie about the accuracy of the data
  • Stifle the collection and dissemination of the data
  • Muzzle scientists likely to publicize “inconvenient” findings
  • Question the integrity of the scientists who make statements that contradict the official doctrine of the administration
  • Blame extreme events on the victims

“If people foresee 2018 bringing comparable or worse disasters than 2017, however, that could put us in a better position to prepare for the likely occurrence of new extreme events. No one wants to be in the position Puerto Rico was in following Hurricane Maria, even if companies like Tesla are there to help. And although preparedness requires time and huge amounts of money, greater awareness is an important first step.”

https://futurism.com/global-temperatures-reached-new-highs-2017/

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Shrugging Toward Doomsday – Defense One

“But there was something especially dismal about this year’s announcement. Many Americans know that the world has gotten more dangerous in the last few years (which would be true, by the way, no matter who won the 2016 election). But the necessity of daily life—of doing homework, having a career, going to the gym, getting dinner on the table—has compressed that fear into an ignorable background hum. And so the country once known for its can-do spirit has begun to adopt a personality tic more common in besieged cities and late Soviet states: Well, yes, the situation is terrible, but who has time to feel something about it?”

http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2018/01/shrugging-toward-doomsday/145529/

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Glenn Greenwald: Russia Investigation Is a Red Herring

‘Rather than see Trump as a product of a rotten power structure, as Greenwald does, and the 2016 election as a wild reaction against that power structure, as Greenwald also does, it was easier for most American liberals to frame his victory as an accident. And rather than look within to eradicate the conditions that wrought Trump, it was more comforting to pin his rise on an external foe.

The Russian scandal proved ideal. “Across the political aisle, American elites are preoccupied with rejuvenating a Cold War in the name of believing that all of our problems are traceable to the Kremlin,” Greenwald argued. The notion that “Putin is not some fumbling dictator but some kind of an omnipotent mastermind,” he went on, “stems very much from this human desire to believe that when things go wrong, it can’t be our fault.”’

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/glenn-greenwald-russia-investigation.html