Posts Tagged ‘Technology’
Foreclosures with Google Maps

When Bernanke said the subprime problem is contained:

“At this juncture . . . the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime markets seems likely to be contained,” Bernanke said in prepared testimony to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

He was wrong. Similar claims about foreclosures are also wrong, except in so far as their being contained within the borders of the USA, as clearly indicated by this excellent post.

The post shows how Google maps can be used to examine foreclosures around the USA.

It shows that there are lots of houses that will have to rot or drop before prices can sustainably rise in real terms. At least that’s my interpretation. But read the post.

The range of uses that Google Maps is being put to says something about the versatility of technology and humanity. It says something of the ability of people to create something new. Of the potential of technology to create and satisfy needs we currently can’t even imagine, to the benefit of us all.

Technology for Tyranny and Liberty

I found this comment on the above map to be truly uplifting:

what I find interesting with this, with wikileaks, and going right back to older underground video news outlets like undercurrents, is that it does feel a bit as if the tools traditionally only available to the state for things like surveillance, evidence gathering, coordination and dissemination are being democratized. Hat tip Bong Boing

Crowdmap also looks interesting.

I particularly liked this comment by Andy Lewis on this post

Interesting. And what the government do not get is that the Met might spend £20M on developing an application to gather real time geo Intel like this.

The people know how to do this for the price of a packet of quavers.

How much will the police and intelligence services spend trying to create something with similar functionality? If the anti-Assange coalition of Western governments gets their way, we will never know. Already Australia has multiple restrictions on speech. The government already believes the dissemination of much information is illegal:

“If you look at the fact that this information was held . . . on any description . . . on a secure and highly sensitive and classified database, which was clearly the property of the US, that information has apparently been accessed in an unauthorized manner, and has been provided, again presumably without authorization, far and wide, then you would have to assume that there is a reasonable case that the act of sourcing the information did involve illegal events,” The Australian

The fact you are reading this post shows how the gatekeeper role traditionally played by members of the establishment has been weakened. That the barrier to entry for the mass dissemination of ideas and information has been lowered. We have already seen in elections that mass media lies have been undone by the work the uncoordinated masses. It’s like the story of the pencil operating in politics.

Yes technology can be used for good or ill, like most of humanities significant creations. We have been passing through a time when technology readily enabled a police state. We are still in that time. The State can watch us, listen to us, uniquely identify us through our DNA, store and retrieve information about us, incarcerate us and even exterminate us with unprecedented ease.

But in the odd form of student protests we are seeing that technology might have also started to restore power to the people. Not in a socialist sense. But in an equalizing of the technological balance of power sense. No longer do you need the resources of the state to know what is happening. No longer do you need immense resources to be able to communicate your views to the masses. There need be no gatekeeper.  The world could become a much freer place. Alternatively for those living in the lands of liberty, a far more despotic one as vested interests seek to perpetuate their power.  Which effect will dominate? Well that is partly up to you, all of you.

But we are talking old technology with the internet. It has moved down the cost of production. It has influenced many industries. The next level is robotics. The government still has the advantage with robotics and nanotechnology. I dread the day when Robocop reflects reality. But that too will be democratized as long as we live in some semblance of a capitalist system. It is what capitalism does. It makes things cheaper, thereby bringing to the masses what once only the privileged elite could afford.

Surely we will not totally stuff it up. We must not return to tyranny and despotism. We must not betray our birthright. We must be free, we must live in liberty.

Bar-codes attached to embryos

Scientists attach barcodes to mouse embryos, human ones coming soon

Scientists from Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), along with colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council, have successfully developed an identification system in which mouse embryos and oocytes (egg cells) are physically tagged with microscopic silicon bar code labels. They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon.

Hat tip Kurzweil

No doubt homeland security will appreciate the possibilities. It could make the job of the TSA much easier. Bet someone is looking at ways to apply this retrospectively.

Spain of course is a pioneer in social as well as clinical matters:

The parliament’s environmental committee approved a resolution that commits the country to the Declaration on Great Apes, which states that nonhuman apes are entitled to the rights of life, liberty, and protection from torture.

Got to love those progressives, end the differential between man and beast, bar-code embryos. That’ll end well.