Never Mind Homework Helpers. Robots Are Being Primed for War
Perhaps the contemporary crop of war strategists grew up watching one too many times Terminator movies. Perhaps it was just unavoidable. Because, at least by its iconography, war is beginning to resemble more and more those cyborg pictures you used to see not long ago a dime a dozen at your local multiplex.
Gone are the Jacksons’ future that was supposed to be, with its friendly rolling maids and servants, doing house chores and helping little Timmy with his homework. A boring and bourgeois future that, frankly, no one will ever miss.
Still, the alternative is not quite as realistic and if your toaster one day becomes a transformer and chases you around the house, well, consider yourself warned. We bet you never read Continue reading →
———————— The Earth Shook & Burn But The World Only Moved Sideways ————————
A year of extremes but no breakthroughs. Records of the wrong kind (U.S.’s longest armed conflict in Afghanistan and worst environmental disaster ever, highest temperature indexes in several regions of the world, increased infection diseases mortality rates in the Caribbean and Africa, and staggering drug trafficking casualties in Latin America) plagued the world, with the additional bonus of a certified freak: a snowstorm in the middle of the Australian summer.
But there was no progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; no curbs on Iranian and North Korean authoritarian antics or scary nuclear ambitions; no meaningful proposals to solve political impasses in the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria or Zimbabwe.
Disturbing tactics did get deployed, though, by the world’s superpowers but with the only intention of curbing whistle blowers and freedom of information acts such as WikiLeaks. It gave civil rights activists of every stripe a chilling pause to see Continue reading →
A trove of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, leaked to three major global newspapers over the weekend, is renewing questions about the validity of that conflict, while shedding a new light on some of the reasons for its overextended duration and the staggering human toll it’s exacting.
With the six-year secret reports the Wikileaks Website obtained without disclosing how and made available to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, a much darker picture of that war effort began to emerge. Since the three newspapers Continue reading →
Flooding Drives Pakistanis
To the Middle of the Road
It has killed an estimated 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of about 20 million. It’s ruined an area the size of Italy. And to some, it drove them to camp by the side of a highway, where cars zip by at high speeds but drivers often stop to offer water and scrapes of food.
The floods in Pakistan, the country’s worst natural disaster, may bring even more misery to its impoverish population. Dispossession and disease are expected to increase casualties tenfold, and the world’s slowness to help will only compound the crisis.
Life alongside the Peshawar-Islamabad expressway is not any easier than the one most left behind. Their homes, farms and livelihood taken by the rains, all that’s left is to beg for help and not be killed by the speeding traffic on this muddy 27-mile stretch, with no toilets or running water.
Most resist the government’s plans to transfer them to even crowder camps. In the meantime, as heavy rain alternates with baking heat, a feeling of resignation starts to settle in. They’re now living on the road but most likely, no one will get to go anywhere anytime soon.