America Is a Cyberpunk Dystopia

The women tar­get­ed by Gamer­Gate have final­ly come out with their books about the hor­ror — and it makes for har­row­ing read­ing. Zoë Quinn, whose ex-boyfriend start­ed the entire mess, is remark­ably san­guine about the nev­er-end­ing death threats. “It bare­ly even reg­is­ters when it hap­pens any­more because I’m used to it now” Her expe­ri­ences, espe­cial­ly…

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Dirty Underwear, and Other Practical Considerations in Space

Space colonies are cool: they are a sta­ple of our pop­u­lar cul­ture, our lit­er­a­ture, even our polit­i­cal sci­ence. And it seems like every­one these days wants to build one, from nation­al gov­ern­ments to inter­na­tion­al con­sor­tia to bil­lion­aires with a sav­ior com­plex. But the messy real­i­ty of actu­al­ly liv­ing in one of these places is some­thing…

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How Our Invisible Monuments Haunt Us

In many ways, the Nazi ral­ly and sub­se­quent vio­lence in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia rep­re­sents the most frus­trat­ing con­tra­dic­tions of Amer­i­ca’s his­to­ry. You can see it on a map of vot­ing behav­ior: a speck of blue in the red sea of cen­tral Vir­ginia. It isn’t elec­toral­ly “pur­ple” in any real sense, but rather dis­joint­ed: peace activists live…

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On Recloseting

Note: this post has been repub­lished on Mic.com. One of the most hope­ful things I have seen in past year came from Orrin Hatch, the Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor from Utah, who had a strong reac­tion to Pres­i­dent Trump’s sur­prise announce­ment of a ban on trans Amer­i­cans serv­ing in the mil­i­tary. In a state­ment last week, he said,…

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The Trump Ban on Trans Military Service

In what is sure­ly a first, Pres­i­dent Trump issued an order to the mil­i­tary via Twit­ter: “After con­sul­ta­tion with my Gen­er­als and mil­i­tary experts, please be advised that the Unit­ed States Gov­ern­ment will not accept or allow trans­gen­der indi­vid­u­als to serve in any capac­i­ty in the U.S. Mil­i­tary,” Trump wrote on Twit­ter. “Our mil­i­tary must…

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Fully Automated Gay Space Communism Is the Future of Humanity

This past week, at the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion R&D con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton, DC, Elon Musk dra­mat­i­cal­ly down­sized his vision for col­o­niz­ing Mars. Musk explained that Red Drag­on was no longer in line with the evolv­ing vision SpaceX has for get­ting to Mars—specifically, the part where you have to land on Mars. The com­pa­ny is hit­ting…

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When Boredom Is A Great Thing

It was about the third week of teach­ing Eng­lish, when I was fight­ing off a mild case of food poi­son­ing, des­per­ate­ly drink­ing an orange Fan­ta (my first taste of soda made from sug­ar, rather than corn) to set­tle my stom­ach while sit­ting at a Turk­ish café to eat the same meat-filled fried pas­try I’d had…

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A Cold Comfort

There was some­thing of a doozy at Mon­day’s Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry hear­ing with for­mer Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence James Clap­per and for­mer Act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al Sal­ly Yates: [Nebras­ka Sen­a­tor Ben] SASSE[R]: Direc­tor, do you stand by the IC’s Jan­u­ary assess­ment that Wik­iLeaks is a known pro­pa­gan­da plat­form for Rus­sia? CLAPPER: Absolute­ly, and I am in agree­ment with…

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Why Would You Want to Die on Mars?

SpaceX just hit an impres­sive new mile­stone with its lat­est rock­et launch. Last week, the com­pa­ny launched a satel­lite into orbit and suc­cess­ful­ly land­ed its big first stage on a drone barge in the Atlantic ocean — itself an impres­sive feat that now has the com­fort­ing feel­ing of rou­tine­ness. But the rock­et was most­ly reused…

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A Collapse of Privacy

I wrote a piece for Quartz, about how the chang­ing roles and norms of pri­va­cy cre­at­ed unex­pect­ed fault lines in our pol­i­tics: The ear­ly promise of the inter­net was that some­one would not need to be best friends with their phys­i­cal neigh­bors in order to be part of a com­mu­ni­ty. And indeed, for mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple…

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