TYR 30 November 2012 reads

‘Revolutionary’ eavesdropping technology patent to help governments monitor Internet chats @ Kurzweilai.net …assuming it ever was, VOIP privacy is now gone.

Rice unveils super-efficient solar-energy technology @ Kurzweilai.net Rice University “scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses silicon dioxide/gold nanoshells and N115 carbon nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent. Photovoltaic solar panels, by comparison, typically have an overall energy efficiency around 15 percent.” Among renewable energies, solar is the one with the most potential for improvement and provide some sort of “bridge” to overcome the coming “Peak Oil” crisis. Most likely it will not be enough though.

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When…”we’re no longer the smartest things around”

IBM simulates 530 billion neurons, 100 trillion synapses on supercomputer @ Kurzweilai.net …the race towards a true artificial intelligence organism goes on. Please check also the Blue Brain Project at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

‘Center For Study Of Existential Risk,’ Proposed Research Group, Wants To Examine Evil Computers @ Huffington Post …meanwhile, at Cambridge University a new research center devoted to assessing the existential risks that humanity faces in this century is being planned. “A proposed Center for the Study of Existential Risk will bring together experts to consider the ways in which super intelligent technology, including artificial intelligence, could “threaten our own existence,” the institution said Sunday.”

“In the case of artificial intelligence, it seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology,” Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price said. When that happens, “we’re no longer the smartest things around,” he said, and will risk being at the mercy of “machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us.”

The university said Sunday the center’s launch is planned next year.

Hollywood predicted and warned us about it long ago

TYR 19 November 2012 reads

Global Shadow Banking System Rises To $67 Trillion, Just Shy Of 100% Of Global GDP @ Zerohedge In case you assumed that 4 years after the onset of the present global financial crisis risks are at least gradually decreasing, please look again. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) in its latest report on the Shadow Banking System (SBS) has increased the global estimate for the size of the SBS by some $5 to 6 trillion in aggregate, bringing the 2011 estimate from $60 trillion with last year’s narrow coverage to $67 trillion, virtually the same as global GDP of $70 trillion at the end of 2011.

The Three “Financial Structure” Paradigms Of Modern Finance @ Zerohedge Please note how the second, “massive shadow banking system financing”, and third, “Central Bank finance based system”, paradigms are gradually displacing the traditional first paradigm, “conventional banking deposits as the main financing source”. As Zerohedge remarks…”the coordinated central bank cartel becomes the one and only source of money. And not just any money, but the definition of ‘Gresham Law’ money, as creeping central planning and ubiquitous monetization, means very soon only central banks will be the source of any incremental leverage, while all ‘good credit’ is slowly but surely driven out of the system”….”It is this third paradigm that is the preamble to the final collapse, because just before the endgame, it will be every central bank against everyone else, and against itself, whereby the only way to get ahead is to destroy your own currency of exchange as fast as possible, at first on a relative basis, by devaluing against all other currencies in a closed loop, then on an absolute, by devaluing against hard assets.”

Ron Paul bids farewell to the USA Congress & America loses a true hero

Perhaps the most outstanding USA political figure of the last  2 generations, certainly the most underappreciated & misunderstood, two days ago Ron Paul bid his farewell speech to the USA Congress after 23 years of service.

Notice the reluctant applause at the end of the speech, a reliable sign that some truths were uttered. Best of lucks Ron Paul.

Some excerpts:

“This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.”

“A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going.  One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and  corporate elite.”

“The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke.”

“If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty.”

“During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible.”

“Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth.  In our early history we were very much aware of this.  But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax.”

“Most of our wealth today depends on debt.”

“Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law.  A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.”

“If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored.  By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.”

“Economic ignorance is commonplace.  Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals.  Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.”

“The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.  Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.”

“Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society.  Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream.  We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000.  Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.”

“Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.”

“American now suffers from a culture of violence.  It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor…”

“Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate.”

“This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified.  This is similar to what we were once told that:  “destroying a village to save a village” was justified.  It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people.  And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.”

“When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused.”

“When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs.  All moral standards become relative.  Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth.”

“Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits.”

“It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time.”

“But that illusion is now ending.”

“Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek.  Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.”

“Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction.”

“What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.”

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.               

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.                                                         

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.                                        

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.                                               

 5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

“The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried.”

“Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack.”

“The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people.”

“Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  John Adams concurred:  “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.””

“A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.”

“The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow.”

“To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome.  Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare.  Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies.  These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.”

“The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles.”

“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.”  The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.”

“If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.”

TYR 15 November 2012 reads

The Bernanke-Obama-Keynes Toxic Triangle Dead End @ Zerohedge In this article originally published in Forbes Mark Spitznagel explores Frédéric Bastiat’s observation: “The bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.”

The Unabridged Ron Paul Guide To Being A Libertarian @ Zerohedge Ron Paul bids farewell to Congress. The libertarian, honest and constant enemy of the monetary debasement policies of the FED, honest and constant enemy of the imperial foreign policy of the USA government, constant advocate for a small government, sound currency and free markets, in his farewell speech summarizes the  greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society. They are five:

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

Detox from the pathetic 2012 USA elections with some soothing music from Madredeus: As Ilhas dos Açores

You can find decent analysis of the 2012 USA elections at Zerohedge, but whoever cares to look knows they don’t mean much in our neofeudal world. Decisions are taken by somebody else, somewhere else, most of the times long ago. You might instead perhaps listen to some soothing music by the traditional portuguese group Madredeus.

Madredeus is a Portuguese musical ensemble. Their music combines traditional Portuguese music (many times erroneously associated with the subgenre of Fado) with influences of modern folk music. The lyrics are often melancholic and related to the sea or travelling or absence, continuing a tradition of songs dating back to Medieval times (with obvious connection to cantigas de amigo among others).

Madredeus founding members were Pedro Ayres Magalhães (classical guitar), Rodrigo Leão (keyboard synthesizer), Francisco Ribeiro (cello), Gabriel Gomes (accordion) and Teresa Salgueiro (vocals). Magalhães and Leão formed the band in 1985, Ribeiro and Gomes joined in 1986. In search of a female singer, they found Teresa Salgueiro in one of Lisbon‘s night clubs. Teresa agreed to join and, in 1987, Madredeus recorded their first album, Os dias da Madredeus.

They released several albums and became very popular in Portugal, but remained relatively unknown abroad. This changed in 1994 when Wim Wenders, impressed by their music, asked Madredeus to perform in his movie Lisbon Story – the soundtrack gave the band international fame. Madredeus consequently toured Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.

As Ilhas dos Açores belongs to the album Lisboa (1992). It is an instrumental piece.

AI passing a Turing Test by 2029 is a “conservative” goal, says Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential technological visionary. A pioneering inventor and theorist, he has explored for decades how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities.

Now, in his new book How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, he takes this exploration to the next step:  reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines.

Drawing on the most recent neuroscience research, his own research and inventions in artificial intelligence, and compelling thought experiments, he describes his new theory of how the neocortex, the thinking part of the brain, works: as a self-organizing hierarchical system of “pattern recognizers” (PR). An important and novel aspect of his conceptualization of the machinery of the mind is his idea of the human brain consisting of about 300 million PRs, each one of them being a sort of universal pattern recognition machine, that work together to build the hierarchy of concepts that constitutes the human mind.

In the video Singularity Hub’s Keith Kleiner interviews Ray Kurzweil about his book. In the interview Mr. Kurzweil explains in broad terms his theory of the architecture of the mind and, in the second part of the interview, he explores the philosophical and practical problems and opportunities that the creation of true artificial intelligences, artificial minds, will bring. He now considers his well known prediction of an artificial mind being able to pass the Turing Test by 2029 as” conservative”.