Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Link roundup

1. "Reasons I Would Not Have Been Burned As A Witch In The Early Modern Era No Matter What I Would Like To Believe About Myself And Would Have In Fact Been Among The Witch-Burners"

2. "A Skeptic Infiltrates a Cruise for Conspiracy Theorists"

The people on the cruise tended to be there with a primary focus on one or two big issues. They were there to learn about vaccines. Or they were there to find out more about astrology. But they were interested in everything else. I didn’t talk to anybody who wasn’t willing to kind of go outside their comfort zone.
3. "Welcome to the Age of Robot Animals"
And while we’re not there yet, the very rapid rise of animal monitors and geotracking implants — in sharks, in hawks — does point the way to a possible near future in which the world’s wildlife is so intricately surveilled that we stop being able to reasonably refer to it as wildlife at all. (Maybe better not to mention that to ravens, who are, scientists have just discovered, quite capable of paranoia.)

And then there are all the ways we’ve set about transforming wildlife directly. There are the much-hyped GMO phytoplankton, for instance, designed to gobble up carbon in the ocean to help cool the planet. There are fish that go neon to send pollution alerts, and plants we’ve made to change color, too, when growing on top of land mines.
4. "Hackers used malware to penetrate the defenses of a Russian regional bank and move the ruble-dollar rate more than 15 percent in minutes, according to a Moscow-based cyber-security firm hired to investigate the attack."