For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.
In response to this massive windfall, Netanyahu is angry that he is not getting even more.
Israelis enjoy universal health care coverage, while 10.4% of the US population is without health insurance — Israelis get better care for less money than we spend, Greenwald notes. They have longer life expectancies and better infant mortality.
What would it look like if you drew a single line through all Zip codes in the lower 48 in numeric order? Kosara wrote some code and let it rip, and what he ended up with was a map that clearly delineated state boundaries and gave a reasonable approximation of population density to boot. Since it looked as though it were created by scribbling in arbitrary regions of a U.S. map, he dubbed it the ZIPScribble map.
Kosara ran some calculations and discovered that if you started at the lowest-numbered Zip code (00544, Holtsville, NY) and walk through every Zip code in the continental U.S. in numeric order all the way up to the highest-numbered Zip code (99403, Clarkston, WA), the path you’d need to take would be roughly 1,155,268 miles long. Which naturally brought up a second question: What would be the shortest route you could take through all 37,000 of those zip codes?
What, then, of a traveling salesman problem with more than 37,000 points?
Kosara took a crack at it. He called it the Traveling Presidential Candidate Problem, after a hypothetical presidential candidate who wanted to visit all 37,000 contiguous Zip codes to clinch the nomination.
[Elizabeth Joh, law professor at the University of California, Davis] said she was worried that the decision by police to use robots to end lives had been arrived at far too casually. “Lethally armed police robots raise all sorts of new legal, ethical, and technical questions we haven’t decided upon in any systematic way,” she said. “Under federal constitutional law, excessive-force claims against the police are governed by the fourth amendment. But we typically examine deadly force by the police in terms of an immediate threat to the officer or others. It’s not clear how we should apply that if the threat is to a robot – and the police may be far away.” That, Joh added, is only one condition for the use of lethal force. “In other words, I don’t think we have a framework for deciding objectively reasonable robotic force. And we need to develop regulations and policies now, because this surely won’t be the last instance we see police robots.”
How is this situation ethically or legally different from taking out a criminal with a sniper?
John Robb says attackers would just need to use robodialers to phone in terrorism threats to heavily partisan electoral districts. The candidate for the other side wins the White House in a landslide. The losing candidate’s supporters take to the streets. Rioting, bloodshed, dogs and cats living together.
Possible because the direct marketing and debt collections industry has made sure the phone system is easy to hack.
Americans today are strangely averse to change. They are less likely to switch jobs, or move between states, or create new companies than they were 30 years ago.
Increasing housing prices are keeping Americans where they are, and when they do move they move from wealthier areas – where housing is more expensive – to poorer areas, where housing is cheaper. That’s the opposite of the pattern through the 19th and 20th Centuries, when Americans moved to find work and prosperity in wealthier areas.
Moreover, entrepreneurship is concentrating in wealthier areas, widening the wealth gap.