Summary of “Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Has Many Problems”

Arguments about the interpretation of quantum mechanics are noted for their passion, as disagreements that can’t be settled by objective evidence are wont to be.
For the interpretation speaks not just to quantum mechanics itself but to what we consider knowledge and understanding to mean in science.
After the Danish physicist Niels Bohr articulated and refined what became known as the Copenhagen interpretation – widely regarded as the orthodox view of quantum mechanics – in the 1930s and ’40s, it seemed that the central problem for quantum mechanics was the mysterious rupture created by observation or measurement, which was packaged up into the rubric of “Collapse of the wave function.”
You can probably see why the MWI is the interpretation of quantum mechanics that wins all the glamour and publicity.
If we take what it says seriously, it soon becomes clear that the conceptual and metaphysical problems with quantum mechanics aren’t banished by virtue of this apparent parsimony of assumptions and consistency of predictions.
Roland Omnès says the idea that every little quantum “Measurement” spawns a world “Gives an undue importance to the little differences generated by quantum events, as if each of them were vital to the universe.” This, he says, is contrary to what we generally learn from physics: that most of the fine details make no difference at all to what happens at larger scales.
If splitting can be guaranteed by any experiment in which the outcome of a quantum process is measured, then one can imagine making a “Quantum splitter”: a handheld device that measures, say, an electron’s intrinsic quantum angular momentum, or spin, which can be thought of as having two states, either pointing up or down; it then converts the result to a macroscopic arrow pointing on a dial to “Up” or “Down.” This conversion ensures that the initial superposition of spin states is fully decohered into a classical outcome.
Attempts to explain the appearance of probability within the MWI come down to saying that quantum probabilities are just what quantum mechanics looks like when consciousness is restricted to only one world.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression”

There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “Free.” That nation is Tunisia.
Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “Partly free.” The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as “Not free.”
The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011.
As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.
Qatar’s government continues to support international news coverage, in contrast to its neighbors’ efforts to uphold the control of information to support the “Old Arab order.” Even in Tunisia and Kuwait, where the press is considered at least “Partly free,” the media focuses on domestic issues but not issues faced by the greater Arab world.
The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power.
The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events.
Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Dieter Rams scolds Apple in new Gary Hustwit movie”

6 minute Read. Dieter Rams is done giving interviews, and Gary Hustwit can only poke at his tempeh hash with a laugh here and a sigh there, hoping he did the legend justice.
Hustwit cannot know this documentary represents the last time Rams will speak to the press, of course, but Rams has certainly left him with that impression.
Rams is known for saying that “Good design is as little design as possible.” But in Rams, addressing a world that throws away its phones every two years and can’t look away from a screen, he’s tweaked the message a bit.
Exactly how Hustwit courted Rams to be in the film is something he glosses over, even when pressed.
Rams also hinted that the only way he’d consider making the film was if Hustwit himself directed it, which only put more pressure on Hustwit.
So the moment Rams agreed, Hustwit booked a ticket to Germany and began his first week of filming.
For the remainder of the film, Hustwit follows Rams to speaking engagements and museum exhibit openings, while digging deep into the history of Braun and the influential Ulm School of Design.
In what may be the film’s most damning moment, Rams walks into an Apple store in London, and looks at a tablet with a detached sadness, while lamenting that people don’t look each other in the eye anymore.

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Summary of “One Thousand Years of Labor”

“The term ‘work,'” she explains, “Encompasses both market-oriented and subsistence activities; it includes human activity for the sake of naked survival and also the satisfaction of desires for luxury or status, as well as activities for the sake of cultural representation or demonstrations of power and faith.” Within this wide category, two extraordinary changes stand out over the last millennium: the increasingly widespread distinction between work and home in space, and between labor and leisure in time.
In Europe, two traditions-the Greek and the Judeo-Christian, which eventually intermingled in the vast post-Roman world-gave shape to premodern ideas of work and defined the relationship between work and home and between labor and leisure.
The terms today distinguish between work secured under the Maoist social contract and viewed as free and unalienated, and the more precarious labor of workers sprung loose from the decollectivization of agriculture, who were understood to be “Uneducated, uncouth, uprooted, dangerous and volatile, subject to constant supervision and harassment by authorities and employers alike.”9.
British factory workers also thought of their labor as embodied in the things they made; the wage was the price the employer paid the workers for the yarn they produced.
As a result, German workers conceived of their labor not in terms of its material output, but rather as an abstraction, arbeitskraft, that was measured in time.
As the historian Rudi Batzell noted in a 2014 essay on the xenophobic California Workingmen’s Party, party advocates argued that Chinese workers did not belong in the US labor market because they were “Content to be mere machines driven by their employers.” The thousands who crossed the Pacific to dig gold from the hills, build railroads over the Sierra Nevada, and harvest the fields of California were, by this alchemy, not workers.
If the first half of Work is spent teasing out these kinds of linguistic and categorical distinctions and some of their historical grounding, Komlosy sets out in the second half to make good on the book’s subtitle: “The Last 1,000 Years.” Her approach is to take global cross sections in the years 1250, 1500, 1700, 1800, 1900, and the present.
The rise of the financial elite, the displacement of industrial workers, and the absorption of millions of women into the labor market in the late decades of the 20th century created a new working class in the service sector-one that has tentatively begun to counterattack in recent years through living-wage and $15-minimum-wage campaigns aimed at the lower levels of American government, and through campaigns by downwardly mobile professionals.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Columbus Day: Christopher Columbus discovered the potato, tomato, tobacco and other New World crops”

On Columbus Day, the country commemorates the grand global changes – discoveries and destruction alike – that unfolded after Christopher Columbus linked the New World and the Old.
They transformed cultures, reshuffled politics and spawned new economic systems that then, in a globalizing feedback loop, took root back in the New World, as well.
Diseases common in the Old World quickly devastated the indigenous populations in the New.
“What happened after Columbus,” writes science journalist Charles Mann in “1493,” his book on the topic, “Was nothing less than the forming of a single new world from the collision of two old worlds – three, if one counts Africa as separate from Eurasia.”
“There really was no spicy food in the world before the Columbian Exchange,” said Nancy Qian, an economics professor at Northwestern University who has studied how the back-and-forth flow of new foods, animals and germs reshaped the world.
Before Columbus landed on Hispaniola, the European diet was a bland affair.
There, according to Mann, “Native plant breeders radically transformed the fruits, making them bigger, redder, and, most important, more edible.” The result would transform the cuisine of Italy and bestow upon the world pizza, ketchup and the Bloody Mary.
The journey of a stolen Christopher Columbus letter recounting his voyage to the Americas.

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Summary of “The world has barely 10 years to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say”

“There is no documented historic precedent” for the sweeping change to energy, transportation and other systems required to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote in a report requested as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
It is also likely to galvanize even stronger climate action by focusing on 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than 2 degrees, as a target that the world cannot afford to miss.
Most strikingly, the document says the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, which amount to more than 40 billion tons per year, would have to be on an extremely steep downward path by 2030 to either hold the world entirely below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or allow only a brief “Overshoot” in temperatures.
Current promises made by countries as part of the Paris climate agreement would lead to about 3 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, and the Trump administration recently released an analysis assuming about 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 if the world takes no action.
The upshot is that humans are allowed either 10 or 14 years of current emissions, and no more, for a two-thirds or better chance of avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The report clearly documents that a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius would be very damaging and that 2 degrees – which used to be considered a reasonable goal – could approach intolerable in parts of the world.
“1.5 degrees is the new 2 degrees,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, who was in Incheon for the finalization of the report.
“While we are still reviewing the draft, the World Coal Association believes that any credible pathway to meeting the 1.5 degree scenario must focus on emissions rather than fuel,” the group’s interim chief executive, Katie Warrick, said in a statement.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Russia Made The King Of Chess. The U.S. Dethroned Him.”

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has lorded over the sport as the president of the World Chess Federation, more commonly known by its French acronym FIDE, for more than two decades.
In a series of interviews with ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, former U.S. government officials, political rivals, criminal investigators, Russia experts, chess insiders, and top players dissected Ilyumzhinov’s career, revealing new details about the mysterious provenance of some of his wealth, the Kremlin connections that critics say kept him in power, and the ongoing battle for the sport over which he presided.
With 188 national chess federations scattered across the globe, Ilyumzhinov’s opportunities for chess diplomacy were all but endless.
Ilyumzhinov vehemently denied allegations that he had assisted the Assad regime, but the sanction created a legitimacy crisis for him at FIDE. Despite that, Ilyumzhinov continued to enjoy a level of state support that revealed how important chess remains to Putin and his inner circle.
The end of Ilyumzhinov’s reign Results for World Chess Federation presidential elections.
Whether he’s on the ballot or not, the upcoming chess election, like every chess election since 1995, is about one thing: Ilyumzhinov.
Makropoulos, Ilyumzhinov’s longtime deputy, is the de facto incumbent put in the awkward position of running on reform, framing the election as a choice between the federation’s political independence and continued “Kremlin control.” And Short, the longshot challenger, appears to have made more accusations than progress – he hoped for “The removal of the Makropoulos administration, which is nothing but a giant cancerous tumour on the body of chess.”
Dvorkovich has supported Ilyumzhinov in the past – he reportedly ordered the raid on the Russian Chess Federation in 2010 – and in many ways represents a continuation of the sport’s alignment with the Kremlin.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s leaders are softening their stance on AI”

China might be at loggerheads with the United States over trade, but it is calling for a friendlier approach to the development of artificial intelligence.
Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai this week, China’s vice premier, Liu He, said that AI would depend heavily on international cooperation.
Xi said that China would “Share results with other countries in the field of artificial intelligence.” He also called for collaboration between nations on AI topics such as ethics, law, governance, and security.
China’s tech industry has already embraced machine learning and AI at an impressive rate.
China’s ambitions and progress to date have led to talk of an artificial-intelligence arms race with the US. In fact, the technology is largely a product of collaboration among researchers from around the world.
The influence of China’s tech industry is growing internationally as its companies export AI to other parts of the world through cloud computing services.
The statements from China’s political leaders may also constitute something of a soft-power play.
How the technology spreads to the rest of the world is still very much up for negotiation, and China no doubt wants to guide discussions concerning standards and norms.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Pretend Billionaire Jho Low Threw Insane Parties for Celebs and Vanished”

Malaysian-born Wharton grad Jho Low was perhaps best known for his love of partying with celebrities.
A mastermind behind a state-owned Malaysian investment fund known as 1MDB, the US Department of Justice has claimed in a civil-forfeiture action that Low helped siphon off billions from the fund through fraudulent deals and complex money laundering.
With the kind of money Low was throwing around, he was well past living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
VICE talked to the authors to find out how Low cultivated an image as a billionaire and got in with the one percent, what his story says about the elite and high society of the world, and why law enforcement can’t catch the alleged swindler.
In the 20s, Old Money still held a sway over Gatsby, but Low cared more about celebrity.
Even now, Low is sending messages from his hiding spot in China, offering to help out the Malaysian government in negotiations to recover the money.
Low helped negotiate a number of dodgy infrastructure deals last year between China and Malaysia, from which money was allegedly stolen.
The new government wants to cancel the infrastructure projects and has charged Low in absentia for money laundering.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Only Story in the World: John Steinbeck on Kindness, Good and Evil, the Wellspring of Good Writing – Brain Pickings”

“All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up,” John Steinbeck wrote as he contemplated good, evil, and the necessary contradiction of human nature at the peak of WWII. “It isn’t that the evil thing wins – it never will – but that it doesn’t die.”
A decade later, and a decade before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck turned this abiding tug of war between good and evil into a literary inquiry in East of Eden – the 1952 novel that gave us his beautiful wisdom on creativity and the meaning of life, eventually adapted into the 1955 film of the same title starring James Dean.
A child may ask, “What is the world’s story about?” And a grown man or woman may wonder, “What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we’re at it, what’s the story about?”.
Humans are caught – in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too – in a net of good and evil.
A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well – or ill?
At the most fundamental level, the triumph of good over evil presupposes an openhearted curiosity about what is other than ourselves and a certain willingness for understanding – the moral choice of fathoming and honoring the reality, experience, and needs of persons and entities existing beyond our own consciousness.
There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme.
Complement with Hannah Arendt on our mightiest antidote to evil, James Baldwin on the terror within and the evil without, Mary McCarthy on human nature and how we determine if evil is forgivable, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky on why there are no bad people, then revisit Steinbeck on being vs. becoming, the difficult art of the fried breakup, and his remarkable advice on falling in love in a letter to his teenage son.

The orginal article.