Many of us cannot help looking because of what Susan Sontag has called “the perennial seductiveness of war.” It is a kind of rubbernecking, staring at the bloody aftermath of something that is not an act of God but of man. The effect, as Ms. Sontag pointed out in an essay in The New Yorker in 2002, is anything but certain.
“Making suffering loom larger, by globalizing it, may spur people to feel they ought to ‘care’ more,” she wrote. “It also invites them to feel that the sufferings and misfortunes are too vast, too irrevocable, too epic to be much changed by any local, political intervention.”
So now that war comes to us in real time, do we feel helpless or empowered? Do we care more, or will the ubiquity of images and information desensitize us to the point where human suffering loses meaning when it is part of a scroll that includes a video of your niece twerking? Oh, we say as our index finger navigates to the next item, another one of those.
As war becomes a more remote, mechanized activity, posts and images from the target area have significant value. When a trigger gets pulled or bombs explode, real people are often on the wrong end of it. And bearing witness to the consequences gives meaning to what we see."
Google is teaching its Now service to sift through big data—both personal contextual information and public data—to notify you about things ranging from sports scores to traffic conditions to people’s birthdays.
Here’s one powerful example: If you buy movie tickets on Fandango, that site will send you details to your Gmail account, if you have one. Google Now will “read” that Fandango email, check your location, check the time and location of the movie, monitor traffic between those locations, then interrupt you to suggest that you’d better get going if you want to make it on time.
It’s becoming a true, proactive virtual assistant."
Albert Einstein once told a friend that quantum mechanics doesn’t hold water in his scientific world view because “physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance.” That spooky action at a distance is entanglement, a quantum phenomenon in which two particles, separated by any amount of distance, can instantaneously affect one another as if part of a unified system.
Now, scientists have successfully hijacked that quantum weirdness — doing so reliably for the first time — to produce what many sci-fi fans have long dreamt up: teleportation. No, not beaming humans aboard the USS Enterprise, but the teleportation of data."