Noam Chomsky, longtime chronicler of the gap between political bombast and legislative boorishness, recently sat down with Big Think to discuss a variety of issues, from his thoughts on Obama, to linguistics, taxes, protesting, love, and the beauty of the “people whose names you’ll never hear.”
When asked to evaluate Obama’s leadership thus far, Chomsky, an avowed anarchist by the age of 12, was unimpressed with any of the president’s current accomplishments. For Chomsky, Obama’s main virtues are in a negative sense—as he has “retracted” some of the more “extreme Bush positions” on issues like nuclear policy or imposed conditions for Cuba . Obama, Chomsky, says, has proven to be exactly what the linguist had imaged always thought he was, not a beacon of change, but a “familiar center democrat.”
Chomsky also leveled against the president’s treatments of the American workforce and the energy crisis, namely his avoidance of the most necessary and efficacious way to solve the crisis—to actually harness the power of the American workforce as we did during WWII to construct high-speed transit. Currently, “the government and the corporate sector, [are] dismantling the sector of the industrial apparatus, that could very well produce high-speed transit. The automobile industry could be re-tooled for high-speed transit. Much more radical steps have been taken.
After discussing the great unknowables of language, Chomsky, whose wife of 59 years passed away last December, weighed in on the concept of love, describing its “unbreakable grip,” and the hard fact that “life is empty without it.”
Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
A new paradigm for machine vision has just been demonstrated.
- Scientists have invented a way for a sheet of glass to perform neural computing.
- The glass uses light patterns to identify images without a computer or power.
- It's image recognition at the speed of light.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
"A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain," Musk said, referring to tests of the device.
- Neuralink seeks to build a brain-machine interface that would connect human brains with computers.
- No tests have been performed in humans, but the company hopes to obtain FDA approval and begin human trials in 2020.
- Musk said the technology essentially provides humans the option of "merging with AI."