It's a Good Day For Interstellar Travel

[GigaGalactic Rockets] Thanks be to GigaGalactic Rockets, which is "dedicated to revolutionizing space travel and making the galaxy accessible to everyone." Their key innovation:

After years of intense research and development, GigaGalactic Rockets unveiled the GigaGalactic Improbability Drive (GGID) in 2023. The GGID is a revolutionary propulsion system that enables instantaneous travel across vast distances by harnessing the power of improbability. The Improbability Drive calculates the infinite improbability of reaching a specific location in the universe and translates that improbability into a finite probability, allowing spacecraft to instantaneously traverse mind-boggling distances.

It's all due to their visionary CEO, Iam Shill. I'm looking forward to booking a trip.

Briefly noted:

  • Jeff Maurer describes his path to inner peace: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sweatshops. Starting with a couple of charts, for example:

    Maurer's commentary (footnote elided):

    These graphs are merely the latest in a long string of data showing that global poverty is plunging. Now, if you’re a socialist, this is terrible news. One of Twitter’s funniest running gags is socialists trying to pretend that global poverty isn’t declining. But, tragically for them, it is. Of course, if you’re not deeply committed to a 19th century ideology hatched by a misanthrope who thought that he could predict the future because he read a bunch of books, then scores of people living better lives is outstanding news.

    Maurer aims to discomfit both the socialist left and the xenophobic right. And succeeds.

  • Oh, yeah: Donald Trump went and got indicted. Since I am not a lawyer, or a Trump fan, I go to people I trust for commentary, and one of them is former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. And his headline is: Alvin Bragg Crosses the Rubicon, Indicting Donald Trump on Stormy Daniels Nonsense.

    Alvin Bragg, the elected progressive Democrat who ran for Manhattan district attorney as the candidate most likely to wield his power against Donald Trump, crossed the Rubicon on Thursday. His subordinate prosecutors presented and convinced a grand jury to vote for an indictment that will make Trump the first former president to be charged with a crime in American history.

    If reports are to be believed, it is not merely an unworthy exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It is one that will threaten the legitimacy of the justice system — on the public acceptance of which the rule of law hinges.

    So that sounds like a bad thing. Let's check on Jacob Sullum's take: Bragg's Case Against Trump Reeks of Desperation To Punish a Political Opponent.

    The New York indictment of Donald Trump, which won't be unsealed until he is arraigned early next week, reportedly includes "more than two dozen counts." That's a surprisingly large number if the case is based entirely on the $130,000 that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to keep her from talking about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump. The litany of charges reinforces the impression that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, is trying to justify this belated and dubious prosecution by transforming minor misconduct into a case that looks serious until you consider the underlying allegations.

    According to reporting based on anonymous sources close to the investigation, Bragg is relying mainly on a state law that makes it a misdemeanor to falsify business records "with intent to defraud." Trump, who reimbursed Cohen for the hush payment to Daniels, allegedly broke that law when his business misrepresented the reimbursement as payment for legal services under a nonexistent retainer agreement. If the Trump Organization recorded the payment in more than one document, those records could be the basis for several counts under this statute. But each of those counts would still be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to 364 days in jail.

    It sounds like one of those Rube Goldberg contraptions, transmogrified into a legal argument. So pass the popcorn, please.

  • Ron Bailey looks at that open letter suggesting a "pause" in AI research (that I've previously mentioned here and there) and concludes It's a Bad Idea and Won't Work Anyway. He has a veritable plethora of examples of pas "expert" doomsaying that turned out to be ludicrously wrong, strongly suggesting this might be the latest. Bottom line:

    A moratorium imposed by U.S. and European governments, as called for in the open letter, would certainly delay access to the possibly quite substantial benefits of new A.I. systems while doubtfully increasing A.I. safety. In addition, it seems unlikely that the Chinese government and A.I. developers in that country would agree to the proposed moratorium anyway. Surely, the safe development of powerful A.I. systems is more likely to occur in American and European laboratories than those overseen by authoritarian regimes.

    I'm sure that China would use their strong record of safe virology research to guide their AI research.

  • In our "Because Of Course They Did" Department, Kevin D. Williamson takes a look at a recent example of journalistic expertise: The Washington Post Misfires—Again.

    When it comes to the AR-15, the Washington Post keeps getting it wrong. A piece headlined “The Blast Effect” makes various claims about the rounds fired by AR-type rifles, some of which are untrue, the rest of which are common to almost all centerfire rifles. The Washington Post’s claim that the AR-type rifle is “uniquely destructive” is categorically false. The journalistically responsible thing to do would be to retract these claims, but the Post is not engaged in journalism—it is engaged in culture-war propaganda.

    And yet the Biden Administration has yet to announce any steps to combat this source of misinformation.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:11 AM EDT