Universal basic income and why it won't happen in the United States.

A meme that some of my transhumanist and technoprogressive colleagues have been bandying around for the past half year or so is that of a universal basic income, or at least a negative income tax. The scenario goes something like this:

Greater automation in the workplace due to the ever-greater proliferation of computers and deployment of sophisticated software means that companies have to hire and pay fewer people to do work for them. Sources of gainful employment are not assured these days (even for, say, certified Oracle admins being out of work for four or five years at a time …

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The times in which we live.

Can you remember ever having lived in a time of peace?

Seriously. Give it a little thought.

This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, and I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that I can't think of a single period of time beyond a week or two in all the years I've been alive that I've known anything like peace in the geopolitical sense. I was born in the late 1970's with the horrors of the Vietnam War fading slowly in popular memory. Even though I was too young to really record any memories the Vietnam War was …

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Biodegradable surgical implants and surreptitious DNA archival.

After badly breaking a load-bearing part of your body it's not uncommon for an orthopedic surgeon to install a couple of after-market bits of hardware to hold the bones together while they knit. This usually takes the form of a couple of titanium alloy screws, though plates, rods, and tubes are not unknown. The downside of using something made out of metal to put things back together is that the screw holes left behind after the implants are removed require additional time to heal. Plus, the holes further compromise the structural integrity of the bone until they fill in. In …

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The year is not getting off to a stellar beginning.

The board of directors of Saloncon announced a couple of days ago that there will not be a Saloncon in 2009. The board is not in a position to spend the money necessary to get it off the ground this year, unfortunately. Also, given the rising rate of unemployment this year (7.2% and climbing, as of December of 2008) and the generally sad state of the economy there is a high probability that many fewer people would be able to attend this year. They are working on throwing a charity event at Teaberrys instead but it isn't known if …

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Senator Barack Obama elected President of the United States!

As you may or may not have been aware, yesterday was Election Day in the United States, in which ballots were cast to decide who would take over as President of the United States in January of 2009. I have to admit, I didn't pay much attention to the usual campaign commercials, mailings, and e-mails, because quite frankly once the mud slinging started (which was almost immediately, in fact) I grew bored with the antics of all involved. I'm far more concerned with the voting records of the candidates, their backgrounds, and what they will do for me personally as …

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Fear, uncertaintly, and doubt: Voter registration shenanagains at Virginia Tech.

During the last presidential election, numerous dirty tricks were played in the weeks and months prior to votes being cast by anyone, such as absentee balllots not making it into the mail, voters being forced to wait so long that they couldn't cast their votes (because they had families to take care of or work to attend to), and unusual investigations were carried out that scared away potential voters. Many voters were wrongfully turned away at the polls in some areas. If what happened at Virginia Tech not too long ago is any indication, the political black ops are just …

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Is a cold net.war going on between the US and China?

Every once in a while a news article about attempts to crack US military and government systems coming out of China or the Middle East hits the 'wires; rumors of groups of systems crackers belonging to the Air Force/United Nations/Department of Homeland Security/Microsoft/the Illuminati regularly make their rounds at hacker conventions. Military data nets are increasingly becoming targets of crackers from abroad, safe from prosecution and extradition because it's so difficult to start legal proceedings against someone you don't even know, let alone can grab by the scruff of the neck (police dramas and MLATs to …

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Alberto Gonzalez resigns!

It's finally been made official: As of the end of August 2007, Alberto Gonzalez will no longer be attorney general of the United States of America. Rumors leaked out last week but official press releases have hit the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It's been said that he phoned up George W. Bush and resigned via telephone, probably while en route back to the state of Texas. A replacement has not yet been chosen, but given how Bush operates he already has someone lined up and ready to install. It's a little like Patch Tuesday in how …

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It's taken years of campaigning, but it's finally happened.

The United States military has finally conceded after all these years - the pentacle has now been approved for the headstones of veterans who are also neopagans. The familiar circled five-pointed star joins the ranks of thirty-eight other philosophical and religious sigils, including the crucifix, the happy human of Secular Humanists, and the Star of David.

Interestingly, they've been taking their sweet old time on this - they approved the happy human and the insignia of the Sikhs in mere weeks.

Gary, Gary, Gary, you got some 'splainin' to do...

Gary McKinnon, who cracked US government and military networks under the alias 'Solo' in search of information on unidentified flying objects and unusual power sources will be extradited to the United States to stand trial, possibly under the USA PATRIOT Act because he infiltrated a number of sensitive data systems and networks. They're calling it the largest compromise of military systems in history (92 boxen known compromised) but somehow I doubt this because McKinnon certainly wasn't the first person to go wandering around inside their systems after breaking in - Hans "Pengo" Hubner beat him to it by fifteen years, give …

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