Scary polls on demonic possession

Poll: Nearly six in ten voters believe in demonic possession | The Daily Caller.

From my friend Mike Bastasch, who works at the Daily Caller News Foundation:

The “Exorcist” may have moved public opinion more than previously thought. Nearly six in ten registered voters believe it’s possible for people to become possessed by demons, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling.

Fifty-seven percent of voters believe possession is possible. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to believe in demonic possession by a 68 percent to 49 percent margin. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to believe possession is possible by a 59 percent to 56 percent margin.

The most interesting part, though, is this:

Republicans by a 39 percent to 35 percent margin. And women are more likely than men are to believe in ghosts by a 39 percent to 35 percent margin.

Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to say that they have seen a ghost by a 31 percent to 22 percent margin. However, only 26 percent of voters at large say they have seen a ghost.

And they say Republicans are unscientific.

Second most interesting:

Despite, widespread fear of ghosts and demons, they don’t actually rank as the scariest monster. That dubious honor goes to zombies with 29 percent of voters saying they are the scariest, and coming in a distant second were vampires with 15 percent saying they are the scariest monsters. However, the category “something else” did actually beat out vampires suggesting voters have something much spookier in mind than lame Twilight vampires.

And Mike scores points for bashing Twilight.

To be fair, even though I’m an atheist, I’m not what they would call a “philosophical naturalist,” who totally rules out ghosts and such like that. I am inclined to think that these things don’t actually exist in real life…but I have never experienced such a thing, and I like to keep my mind open, particularly on ghosts. I mean, they could be artifacts from trans-dimensional bleedthrough, and only some people are sensitive enough to notice.

I don’t know, though, but when you consider that 41% of Americans think Jesus will return by 2050, it’s not all that surprising to see such high numbers.

Is Algebra Necessary? [I Say No]

As American students wrestle with algebra, geometry and calculus — often losing that contest — the requirement of higher mathematics comes into question.

via Is Algebra Necessary? – NYTimes.com.

This is a very interesting article that puts forward the argument that algebra (and other higher mathematics, such as calculus) are unnecessary and should not be mandated. I agree with it wholeheartedly, not only because I struggled mightily with math in high school (though I believe some small part needs to be blamed on teachers who barely knew the subject themselves), but also because, after I left high school, I never used it.

EVER.

I’m serious. I have not once had to use algebra or calculus in my life, just as I have never had to use those obscure facts from history or much of what they pretend is English class. If I have succeeded at all in this life, it is in spite of high school, not because of it.

Fortunately, the author, Andrew Hacker, addresses concerns that we’re being too easy on people who should pass an essential subject by pointing this out. That’s important.

Nor is it clear that the math we learn in the classroom has any relation to the quantitative reasoning we need on the job. John P. Smith III, an educational psychologist at Michigan State University who has studied math education, has found that “mathematical reasoning in workplaces differs markedly from the algorithms taught in school.” Even in jobs that rely on so-called STEM credentials — science, technology, engineering, math — considerable training occurs after hiring, including the kinds of computations that will be required. Toyota, for example, recently chose to locate a plant in a remote Mississippi county, even though its schools are far from stellar. It works with a nearby community college, which has tailored classes in “machine tool mathematics.”

That sort of collaboration has long undergirded German apprenticeship programs. I fully concur that high-tech knowledge is needed to sustain an advanced industrial economy. But we’re deluding ourselves if we believe the solution is largely academic.

A skeptic might argue that, even if our current mathematics education discourages large numbers of students, math itself isn’t to blame. Isn’t this discipline a critical part of education, providing quantitative tools and honing conceptual abilities that are indispensable — especially in our high tech age? In fact, we hear it argued that we have a shortage of graduates with STEM credentials.

Of course, people should learn basic numerical skills: decimals, ratios and estimating, sharpened by a good grounding in arithmetic. But a definitive analysis by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce forecasts that in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above. And if there is a shortage of STEM graduates, an equally crucial issue is how many available positions there are for men and women with these skills. A January 2012 analysis from the Georgetown center found 7.5 percent unemployment for engineering graduates and 8.2 percent among computer scientists.

We do need math. People who can’t add, subtract, multiply, divide, or understand percentages and fractions are pretty much going to be worthless. (Everyone should also understand statistics, which, interestingly, I was actually good at.) And I can see certain subjects in algebra, particularly the basics of trying to find the value of an unknown variable. I can even see trigonometry, though that was an awful subject. But the more intense stuff, and particularly calculus, is utterly unnecessary.

I don’t expect much reform on this front to come from educators, though, because as my friend Doug Mataconis notes at OTB, they are hopelessly wedded to the past.

Hopefully, some people will be spared this idiocy and allowed to actually continue with their lives.

Battlestar Galactica, Eternal Return, and Life Out There

I’ve been watching the reimagined Battlestar Galactica lately, after I bought the first two seasons on Amazon’s Instant Video. It is really a stunning example of American television, what can happen when we focus on telling a compelling story and stop trying the “Hit Every Cliche To Get Every Demographic” game. There are a couple of things that bother me with the show, but quite frankly I think Galactica is one of the most intriguing TV shows we’ve had on air in the past, oh, 10-12 years?

To be honest, I like both versions of Battlestar Galactica. I like both of them for different reasons. The original was a fun, out of your mind space fantasy that almost was sort of a creation tale. Bad acting, bad writing, atrocious special effects, but fun–sort of like an archaic Michael Bay, though I think it did a better job at getting the point across. It was also fairly bright for a people who just had their homeworlds destroyed. The reimagined series had amazing special effects, amazing writing (well, initially, at least), fascinating philosophical questions, and a dark, edgy vibe that did turn me off at one point, but paradoxically also kept me orbiting nearby, intoxicated by its ragged edge that drew oh so much blood. And both had great music: the original Colonial Theme and prologue music (plus that short riff when the Vipers take off from Carillion to aid the fleet, I cannot get that out of my head right now); the reimagined theme and, well, just about anything by Bear McCreary. That man is a god. (But not the jealous god. I don’t know what he could be jealous about.) In all fairness, while both are good, the reimagined series–for all its faults–is superior.

And let’s be honest, only the reimagined series has the frakking hotness that is Katie Sackoff in a jumpsuit.

As I watch the reimagined series again, I’ve been thinking a bit about Galactica–and like a worm, two memes buried its way into my head and stayed there.

Continue reading Battlestar Galactica, Eternal Return, and Life Out There

Odds of Scientist Being a Fool Likely 99%

Don’t want to knock the guy, but if he says this:

“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during a press briefing today. “I have almost no doubt about it.”

Then he’s probably not a really good scientist. At least from my understanding, scientists weren’t supposed to say things like that. Gotta be humble. Gotta recognize the limits of your knowledge. Gotta know that if you say something is definite, the universe, being the practical joker it is, will deliberately do the opposite.

Is it incredibly likely? Maybe. Is it 100%? No. Nothing is guaranteed. Although I would be very interested if it did have life. Whether or not that life would be intelligent, I’m not so sure if I’d be okay with that.

2012 Predictions

Since a couple of my friends are posting their predictions for 2012, I figured I would get in on it too:

Political

  • Ron Paul wins Iowa and New Hampshire, has not terrible but not great either performances in South Carolina and Florida, and then flames out afterward (but sticks around until the convention)
  • Gary Johnson wins the Libertarian Party nomination and goes on to receive 3-7% of the popular vote in the general election but no electoral votes (or maybe 1-2 at the most from faithless electors)
  • Republicans hold the House and take the Senate
  • Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination and the presidency
  • Battles begin over public sector pensions as states and local governments cannot pay them all; Democrats start cutting Big Labor loose, seeing it more as a liability than an asset
  • The Eurozone and the European Union break up
  • Widespread civil unrest in China
  • The Middle East explodes, as if it were punched by the holy fist of Chuck Norris
  • Kim Jung-Un is disposed and North Korea gets taken over by a junta, which later collapses due to factional infighting
  • Russia finally becomes a parafascist state and just gets on with it
  • Civil liberties across the world take a beating, especially in the United States
  • Simulatenously, “social democracy” around the world takes a beating of its own, as entitlement and welfare programs are simply unsustainable
  • I become a Canadian to get away from it all
Economics
  • Keynesianism gets kicked in the face (I wish)
  • China’s economy begins to implode, though not completely
  • Entitlements are not reformed, debt is not tackled, and the Federal Reserve continues to exist, which sets the stage for the economy to end in 2013

Technology

  • They fail to introduce an Android phone that doesn’t suck ass
  • They finally release a version of the iPhone for prepaid carriers
  • RIM (makers of the Blackberry) go bankrupt; nobody in the United States cares
  • Research into cold fusion technology (AKA this guy) proves fruitful, and while not leading into “proven!” territory, dispels the stigma around it and opens up new doors
  • Drones take over most combat operations in the US military
  • AI are not developed
  • Cloud computing takes a hit as more and more regulations over the Internet (think SOPA) are debated and some passed, encouraging people to stop using the web so damn much
  • On the other hand, “hacktivists” become more prominent, and governments around the world start seeing their control over the web slip away, giving credence to “crypto-anarchist” movements

Science

  • More experiments involving FTL neutrinos (and/or other particles) are confirmed, radically changing our understanding of physics
  • A prototypical form of the Grand Unified Theory is discovered, but not confirmed; everyone argues over it
  • More evidence concerning multiple universes is acquired

Personal

  • I fail to play or GM a pen-and-paper RPG adventure (at least one!) due to various reasons
  • After a four-year hiatus, I publish a short story, though I do not publish a novel

Climategate 2, Electric Boogaloo?

Probably not, but it’s back in the news again:

A new batch of emails and other documents from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit has been released on the internet.

There are more than 5,000 emails, while other documents include working papers relating to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

A similar release in 2009 triggered the “ClimateGate” affair and accusations of fraud that inquiries later dismissed.

Now, as then, the release comes shortly before the annual UN climate summit.

The university says it has “no evidence of a recent breach in our systems”, and says that the sheer number of documents – posted on a Russian server – makes it impossible to confirm that all are genuine.

“These emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks,” it said in a statement.

Well, that’s more than likely true. There’s all sorts of shenanigans that go on nowadays that aren’t being done by governments or large corporations. One thing the Internet and modern technology has done has empowered ordinary citizens, on the both the left and the right.

What I find very interesting, though, are some of these messages that indicate that “consensus” on climate change may not be so ironclad after all (via Tallbloke)

<1939> Thorne/MetO:

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical
troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a
wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the
uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these
further if necessary […]
<3066> Thorne:

I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
<1611> Carter:

It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much
talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by
a select core group.
<2884> Wigley:

Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive […] there have been a number of
dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC […]

I focus on this bit because I’m always hearing how “well all scientists agree on global warming” and how we totally have “consensus” on this issue (even though we actually don’t. Also, make sure to read about Ivar Giaever and Hal Lewis, two scientists who quit the American Physical Society over it’s support of climate change and labeling it “incontrovertible.” Now I realize they are not “climatologists,” but are physicists; but in that case, why would the organization of physicists in America take a stand on it, then? And isn’t physics the backbone of just about every scientific field, since it actually studies how the universe itself works? And maybe they’re just objecting to the process behind these claims? We can’t dismiss them out of hand.) Yet, it seems the consensus is somewhat fictive–nevermind the fact that it would be an example of the bandwagon fallacy to argue this way.

Don’t get me wrong; I definitely think there is global warming or climate change of some sort going on. Our planet is not a static snapshot, it changes frequently. What I disagree with is how bad everyone thinks its going to get, and I’m just not convinced it is necessarily anthropogenic (though I’m willing to accept that it might be.) When people are screaming that the polar bears will be dead by 2020, the coral reefs will all be gone by 2050, and we’ll be extinct in 2090, well, you have to take it with a grain of salt. 95% of the time, such hyped up claims of disaster turn out to be two things:

  1. Ridiculously exaggerated
  2. Plays for more power

This brings me to public choice theory, a form of economics that tries to answer questions posed by political science, namely, “Why on earth do these legislators act like such numbskulls?” (My first answer would be “Because they’re reptiles from Omicron Theta,” but that doesn’t really have the intellectual du jour for discussion.) Basically, the answer comes down to “to maximize their own self-interest.” Politicians do dumb things because they know it will be popular with voters and lead to them getting re-elected (mostly because voters are not educated on the issues.) It’s similar with scientists, unfortunately: most of them depend on government money in order to fund their projects, and will likely lean towards publishing reports that give a greater role to government agencies and a problem for them to solve, which will lead to more research funding for solutions to said problem.

When Climategate 1.0 emerged, I asked people: Why did these scientists massage the data? Why did they apply these algorithms and equations to the data in order to change it? I just wanted a straight answer, because I figured there would be some reason. However, all I received were very vague statements, handwaving, and “go read this site, it explains it”–which it didn’t. It convinced me that there was no scientific basis to it at all–it was political, in order to better obtain more and more funding from taxpayers.

Dwight Eisenhower knew exactly what I was talking about over 50 years ago. Next to his military-industrial complex was a government-science complex that he felt was just as dangerous (bolded emphasis mine):

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

This is what I’m seeing with some of those messages up there. “Political spin.” “Deceptive.” Some of these scientists are worried, and there’s now further evidence that what is going on isn’t actually “science,” but is actually “pseudoscientific, politically-driven propaganda.”

Of course, one will likely say “But you’re not a scientist, how can you critique them?” Well, I can certainly do so when we have stories such as the EU scientists claiming that water doesn’t cure dehydration (and then criminalizing such claims with two years in jail.) When you have such absurdities, the credibility of science just goes out the window. When the public has concerns about your science, you do nothing to dissuade them, and then resort to handwaving, then your credibility goes out the window.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable for ordinary citizens to question scientists, particularly since science is all about questioning. We should do a lot more of it, both of our scientists and politicians (and businesses as well.) Hopefully, digging through these emails and documents will shed more light on the situation, and let us make a more reasoned determination as to what to actually do about it.

Too Much Information Damages Your Reputation

TMI Nation – Reason Magazine.

I love Reason. They’re one of the best magazines out there. It’s not just because they’re libertarian, but because they also cover technology, policy, and even occasionally stuff like transhumanism and science. They do a lot of things.

The above link is an article by Greg Beato on how, in our social media age, we share so many things, our reputation’s are bound to take a beating no matter what happens, and we are all at the mercy of information, most of which we can’t control, but don’t even know exists in the first place. Here’s a snippet:

That our permanent records finally live up to their name is unsettling. Over a lifetime, even relatively pure souls generate piles of dirty laundry. In his 2007 book The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet, Daniel J. Solove, a law professor at George Washington University, contemplates what may happen when information about our pasts—information, that is, that was “once scattered, forgettable, and localized”—becomes too comprehensive, too cumulative, too retrievable by anyone with a computer. “The more freedom people have to spread information online, the more likely that people’s private secrets will be revealed in ways that can hinder their opportunities in the future,” he writes.

In part, what worries Solove and other observers of the online world is how easily the Internet allows individuals to publish false and defamatory claims about others. “So far,” Reputation.com co-founder Michael Fertik explains in his 2010 book Wild West 2.0, “U.S. courts have held that [Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996] completely exempts websites from liability for the actions of their users—including defamation and other torts against private individuals.”

But what may be most unnerving about the Web is not how it empowers malicious smear merchants but how it standardizes chronic self-disclosure through mechanisms as innocuous as Facebook “likes,” and how it allows content aggregators to amass the tiny truths we disclose about ourselves in ways we can neither predict nor control. Imagine car insurers monitoring your tweetstream to see how often you use Foursquare to check-in at bars at least 30 miles from your apartment. Imagine dating sites assigning you a narcissism quotient based on how often you review hair salons and Pilates instructors on Yelp.com.

[…]

Still, if you’re the kind of person who believes the electric chair is an appropriate penalty for people who cut in line at the bagel shop, 21st-century justice may exceed even your wildest fantasies. Soon you’ll be able to snap a photo of anyone whose public behavior rubs you the wrong way, determine their real identity, and let the Internet crowd-source their punishment. With even minor transgressions triggering public shaming campaigns, parking space theft will plummet and movie theaters will become quiet as cemeteries. But do we really want to inhabit this dystopian Eden of compulsory virtue?

There was a really good short story about a society like this. The story was “The Right’s Tough,” by Robert J. Sawyer, and I found it in an anthology called Visions of Liberty, which is sadly out of print. In it, Earth is an anarcho-capitalist utopia, but everyone carries weblinks that identify their reputation score. For instance, a thief moving through a crowd warns everyone else’s weblinks, and so a bubble emerges around the thief. That’s a good application. However, just before that, one character asks for another to cover him for lunch, but the second character’s weblink pulls up the first’s history, showing that he had overdue debt–and that he was stingy on the tip last year with a third person. I think we can all agree that is just TMI.

Then again, maybe I’m just an old fart.

One good idea I like in the piece is the concept of “reputation bankruptcy,” where you get information on you wiped every so often. Bankruptcy is a vital part of our market, where people who have made mistakes can wipe their slates clean and try again. It’s necessary; if you’re never allowed to recover from failure, how can you succeed down the line? I don’t see why it shouldn’t be extended to reputation and information. Beato’s own solution is to overpower the bad data with good data, which I suppose works, but that seems to be hewing too close to “just be a good guy and the truth will come out.” That doesn’t always work.

As for myself, I have my Facebook and old Livejournal locked down, with the occasional public entries. My Twitter is public, but it’s intended to be. I’m careful about what I say–though I do occasionally swear–and I don’t rush into things (or at least, don’t try to.) I will admit, it is extremely annoying to do so, and I don’t feel it’s fair. We shouldn’t have to do it. Unfortunately, life is not fair, and we have to compromise. Maybe that will change one day. But it will not be this day.

We need more POWAAAAH!

Cold Fusion: Future of physics or phoney? (Wired UK).

Today is set to be the start of a new era of cheap power, as a new type of low-cost nuclear reactor goes live in front of an audience of scientists and media representatives in Bologna. Once the mystery customer who commissioned the device has confirmed that it really is producing one megawatt, they’ll pay the developer, Andrea Rossi.

Unless, of course, it all goes horribly wrong.

Rossi’s “energy catalyser” or E-Cat is based on a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction which produces vast quantities of energy from a few grams of hydrogen. Otherwise known as Cold Fusion, it’s a field largely shunned by mainstream physicists. Rossi’s work may have a significant number of followers, but  it’s still extremely controversial and some critics accuse him of outright fraud.

A demonstration earlier this month in Bologna with a smaller E-Cat was intended to answer some of the criticisms. Previously, Rossi had used the E-Cat to produce steam; this has led to arguments about the measurement method used to determine the weight and temperature of the steam. In a demonstration on 6 October, an E-Cat with a heat exchanger warmed a quantity of water. After initial electrical input from an external source, the E-Cat ran in “self-sustaining” mode for three and a half hours.

Just that. I really hope this works, because energy is the foundational bedrock to everything. That, and would really like to not have to pay for electricity.

What’s funny about me reading this article is that not two minutes earlier I was reading this on Life’s Little Mysteries about the challenges we face with rising energy costs:

Future energy

Currently, there isn’t enough energy being extracted from known sources of fossil fuels to sustain 10 billion people. This means that humans will be forced to turn to a new energy source before the end of the century. However, it’s a mystery what that new source will be.

“Energy is the basic resource which underlies every other,” said Klaus Lackner, director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy. “And actually, technology is not quite ready to solve the [energy] problem. We know there’s plenty of energy in solar, in nuclear, in carbon itself — in fossil carbon — for probably 100 or 200 years (if we are willing to clean up after ourselves and pay the extra to make that happen). But none of these technologies are quite ready. Solar has its problems and is still too expensive.”

Carbon storage — a technology that prevents carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned — is still on the drawing board, though it looks possible, he added. “And lastly, nuclear energy: if we were betting on that, we may have just lost that one,” Lackner said, referring to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, earlier this year.

“Let me just give you a feeling how big today our energy consumption is: In New Jersey, the energy consumption exceeds the photosynthetic productivity of the same area if it were left pristine,” Lackner said. “We have to have technology help us out. I am optimistic … that the technologies can be developed to solve these problems … but I am a pessimist because we lack the societal structures which would enable us to employ these technologies, and we could very well fall on our own faces.”

In short, the future will match one of these two pictures: Either some new, superior form of energy extraction (such as highly efficient solar panels) will be widespread, or the technology, or its implementation, will fail, and humanity will face a major energy crisis.

Assuming that this project goes well, I think we’ll be in good hands. Cheap energy for all. It will certainly revolutionize the entire world, and all of our preconceptions will have to change. For one thing, with this new source of power, I doubt the Middle East will be anywhere near as important for US interests in the future. Goodbye, OPEC. Since energy would also be drastically cheaper, expect shipping costs to go down, as well as damn near the costs of everything (since you need energy to manufacture new items.) I can’t even begin to think of what other things would change, either.

This, of course, assuming it all works, and doesn’t, yanno, blow up in your face.

I want my Coruscant!

The Daily Mail–or, as some of my colleagues call it, the “Daily Fail”--published a story on cities of the future, and I just have to say: wow.

That is a lot of huge pictures. Do the editors get paid extra to put them up like that?

But past the snark, I do find future architecture and city planning to be fascinating. Ever since I saw that History Channel Modern Marvels episode on the giant city-tower they were planning to build in Tokyo in, oh, 1 Berjillion AD, I’ve been fascinated. To think that we could, with the right technologies, radically overhaul our urban areas, and even change the fundamental living arrangements of our society, is breathtaking. For a while now, I’ve been thinking that the optimal living situation on Earth would be to have most of the planet uninhabited wilderness, with arcologies scattered across the globe, connected via either high-speed rail, air transport, or a global highway network, or maybe a combination of all three. (Who says libertarians don’t care about the environment?)

The ocean towers are particularly interesting. The oceans are really the last frontier on Earth (space being the last frontier for everything.) Why haven’t we colonized them yet? We could have Seaquest and talking dolphins and a genius kid who won’t shut up and that nerdy guy and then go into outer space to fight those–whoops, went into season 3. Sorry about that. *Ahem* Needless to say, there is great opportunity here for better use of our oceans, and also some interesting political questions, namely: If you’re out there, in the middle of an ocean, outside of any national territory, do you become a new state? (Well, if you can hold your “territory,” that is…)

There is one thing I have to gripe about, though: that third picture, the tower with the big balloons. The caption says it will have “helium-filled observation decks” moving up its side, and work will apparently start next year. To which I say: yeah right. Does anybody seriously think this will actually come to pass within the next, oh, let’s be generous, 50 years? I like interesting ideas and glimpses to the future, but let’s be honest with ourselves here, that isn’t going to be finished until I’m a pensioner. At least the Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid says its still only a “pipe dream.” That thing is just…nuts.

I should point out that I don’t actually want Coruscant, the famous city planet capital of that galaxy far, far away. It might be a cool place to visit a few times, maybe even bearable to do work there, but who in their right minds would want to visit a planet entirely covered by mile-tall skyscrapers? You’d be dead inside. No, I’d rather live out in the countryside, where I feel the dirt under my feet if I choose, go camping in the woods, fish in the streams, and ride giant grizzly bears.

You heard me.