Ted Kaczynski

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pages: 261 words: 71,798

Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to Identify and Protect Yourself From Harmful People by Joe Navarro, Toni Sciarra Poynter

Bernie Madoff, business climate, call centre, Columbine, delayed gratification, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, Norman Mailer, Ponzi scheme, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski

The reclusive neighbor who insists on telling you about the new world order or conspiracies or secret organizations that control the federal government. The former employee or ex-boyfriend who, angry about how he’s been treated, shows up at the office unannounced and armed. The brilliant scientist no one listens to, so he moves to a smelly cabin in Montana where he can warn us of the threat of technology by sending bombs (16 in all) through the mail that killed 3 and injured 23 (“Unabomber” Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski, PhD). These are more than cranky people. They’re driven by irrational fear and distrust. They’re thin-skinned and hyperreactive. And when crossed, rejected, or embarrassed, they may lash out and can be extremely dangerous. When coupled with narcissism, the paranoid personality drives violence on every level: from criminals to cult leaders to dictators who live by their own rules, vilify others, and annihilate anything that gets in their way.

They often turn up the heat in conversations because they enjoy arguing. These individuals may show up at demonstrations and make it a point to not just argue but to be vitriolic, even physical, pushing others, blocking cars, damaging property. They skate very close to being unstable—all it takes is a trigger. Some are mental lightweights, while others have high IQs and achievements to their name. Ted Kaczynski had a very high IQ and a real knack for making bombs and hiding their origin. Howard Hughes was smart and rich but very paranoid—so much so that he cocooned himself in hotel rooms during the last 10 years of his life, allowing no outsiders to see him. He died isolated from the world in a Las Vegas hotel room in 1976. Jimmy Lee Dykes won medals for his US Navy service but over the years repeatedly frightened his neighbors in Midland City, Alabama, with his “eccentric” and menacing behaviors (e.g., threatening to shoot trespassers, making nocturnal armed tours of his property).

Each one of these individuals has his or her own particular fear, gripe, or insecurity. Eventually, if you associate or interact with the person long enough, these will be revealed to you—if not in words, then through the person’s paranoid, eccentric, or dangerous behavior. Some are so mistrusting that they keep lists of the comings and goings of co-workers, neighbors, family members, strangers, or anyone who passes by. Ted Kaczynski did just that from his remote cabin in Montana. President Richard Nixon, who had many of the features of the paranoid personality, kept an enemies list and repeatedly stated to others that he just could not “confide in anyone.”5 Opinionated, Argumentative, Prone to Hate Adaptability is a hallmark of a healthy human being. We can embrace new ideas and change in response to circumstances. While we hold steadfast to certain beliefs (for example, religious or political views), we recognize that others feel differently.


pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

An exploding circle of choices encompasses much more actual freedom than simply increasing the latitude within limited choices. Inside the Unabomber’s Shack. Ted Kaczynski’s library and workbench where he made bombs. I can only compare his constraints in his cabin to mine, or perhaps anyone else’s reading this today. I am plugged into the belly of the machine. Yet technology allows me to work at home, so I hike in the mountains, where cougars and coyotes roam, most afternoons. I can hear a mathematician give a talk on the latest theory of numbers one day and the next day be lost in the wilderness of Death Valley with as little survivor gear as possible. My choices in how I spend my day are vast. They are not infinite, and some options are not available, but in comparison to the degree of choices and freedoms available to Ted Kaczynski in his shack, my freedoms are overwhelmingly greater. This is the chief reason billions of people migrate from mountain shacks—very much like Kaczynski’s—all around the world.

Langdon Winner claims that “technical artifice as an aggregate phenomenon [or what I call the technium] dwarfs human consciousness and makes unintelligible the systems that people supposedly manipulate and control; by this tendency to exceed human grasp and yet to operate successfully according to its own internal makeup, technology is a total phenomenon which constitutes a ‘second nature’ far exceeding any desires or expectations for the particular components.” Ted Kaczynski, the convicted bomber who blew up dozens of technophilic professionals, killing three of them, was right about one thing: Technology has its own agenda. It is selfish. The technium is not, as most people think, a series of individual artifacts and gadgets for sale. Rather, Kaczynski, speaking as the Unabomber, echoes the arguments of Winner and many of the points I am making in this book, claiming that technology is a dynamic, holistic system.

It is easy to sympathize with Kaczynski’s plight as a dissenter. You politely try to escape the squeeze of technological civilization by retreating to its furthest reaches, where you establish a relatively techno-free lifestyle—and then the beast of civilization/development/industrial technology stalks you and destroys your paradise. Is there no escape? The machine is ubiquitous! It is relentless! It must be stopped! Ted Kaczynski, of course, is not the only wilderness lover to suffer the encroachment of civilization. Entire tribes of indigenous Americans were driven to remote areas by the advance of European culture. They were not running from technology per se (they happily picked up the latest guns when they could), but the effect was the same—to distance themselves from industrial society. Kaczynski argues that it is impossible to escape the ratcheting clutches of industrial technology for several reasons: one, because if you use any part of the technium, the system demands servitude; two, because technology does not “reverse” itself, never releasing what is in its hold; and three, because we don’t have a choice of what technology to use in the long run.


pages: 756 words: 167,393

The Tylenol Mafia by Scott Bartz

Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, intangible asset, inventory management, Just-in-time delivery, life extension, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, too big to fail

But first, it needs a patsy for the 1986 Tylenol murder who can also conveniently take the fall for the 1982 Tylenol murders. Ted Kaczynski would fit that role quite nicely. The FBI’s search for someone who could take the fall for both the 1982 and 1986 Tylenol tampering incidents was evident back in January 2010 when the Certificate of Materiality was served on James and LeAnn Lewis, requiring them both to submit DNA samples. The FBI cannot frame James for the 1986 Tylenol murder because he was in prison at that time – hence, the FBI’s injudicious interest in LeAnn. The fact that the FBI collected fingerprints and DNA samples from both LeAnn and James in January 2010 suggests that authorities had hoped to close out the 1982 and 1986 Tylenol murders in one fell swoop. It now appears that the FBI has moved on to Ted Kaczynski as the Tylenol murders patsy because officials from the FBI and the State’s Attorney’s Office in DuPage County were unable to frame James and LeAnn Lewis as the Bonnie and Clyde of the 1982 and 1986 Tylenol murders.

The FBI put an end to Carl Vergari’s investigation of the Tylenol manufacturing and distribution network just as he was closing in on the repackaging facility where the Tylenol killer had dropped cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules into the bottling production lines. The FBI’s active participation in the reactivated 1982 Tylenol murders case may be primarily about keeping hidden its conspicuous role in covering up the 1986 Tylenol killer’s modus operandi. A clue to the real reason for the FBI’s involvement in this reactivated investigation came from Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber. Court documents that Kaczynski filed in May 2011 revealed that the FBI had added him to its list of suspects in the reactivated Tylenol murders case. Kaczynski had been arrested in 1996 as the perpetrator of a mail bombing spree that spanned from 1978 to 1995, killing three people and injuring 23 others. He pled guilty on January 22, 1998 to thirteen bombings. In a Motion for Retention of Evidence filed on May 9, 2011, Kaczynski wrote: “the Chicago office of the FBI wanted a sample of my DNA to compare with some partial DNA profiles connected with a 1982 event in which someone put cyanide in Tylenol.”

On May 19, 2011, the news media got wind of Kaczynski’s court filing and had a field day reporting that the Unabomber was now a suspect in the Tylenol murders. FBI spokesperson Ross Rice confirmed that the FBI had asked Kaczynski for a DNA sample. “As part of our re-examination of the evidence developed in connection with the 1982 Tylenol poisonings,” said Ross, “we have attempted to secure DNA samples from numerous individuals, including Ted Kaczynski. The feds cannot charge Kaczynski for the 1982 Tylenol murders, because those murders were not federal crimes. The 1986 Tylenol tamperings and murder, however, were federal crimes. In response to the 1982 Tylenol tamperings, Congress passed the Federal Anti-Tampering Act on October 13, 1983, making it a federal crime to tamper with consumer products. Under the Federal-Anti-Tampering Act: Whoever, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk, tampers with any consumer product that affects interstate or foreign commerce, or the labeling of, or container for, any such product, or attempts to do so, shall - (1) in the case of an attempt, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; (2) if death of an individual results, be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both; (3) if serious bodily injury to any individual results, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both; and (4) in any other case, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.


pages: 306 words: 85,836

When to Rob a Bank: ...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, feminist movement, food miles, George Akerlof, global pandemic, information asymmetry, invisible hand, loss aversion, mental accounting, Netflix Prize, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, Pareto efficiency, peak oil, pre–internet, price anchoring, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, Richard Thaler, Sam Peltzman, security theater, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, The Chicago School, the High Line, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, US Airways Flight 1549

Why I Like Writing About Economists (SJD) Over the years I have had the opportunity to write about a great many interesting people. My mother had an extraordinary (and long-buried) story to tell about her religious faith. I’ve interviewed Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber; the rookie class of the NFL; a remarkable cat burglar who stole only sterling silver. But lately I have been writing about economists—and, most fruitfully, with the economist Steve Levitt. This is a whole new bag, and here’s why. A non-fiction writer like me, trained equally in journalism and literature, is constrained by what his subjects tell him. Yes, I am afforded great latitude in surrounding a subject—if Ted Kaczynski won’t discuss his trial, for instance, there are plenty of others who will—but I am gravely limited by what people will tell me and how they tell it. The obvious fact is that when most people are being written about, they present themselves as well as they can.

., In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (Harper & Row, 1982; HarperBusiness Essentials, 2004). 287 “WHY I LIKE WRITING ABOUT ECONOMISTS”: “My mother had an extraordinary (and long-buried) story to tell”: See Dubner, Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son’s Return to His Jewish Family (William Morrow, 1998); republished as Choosing My Religion: A Memoir of a Family Beyond Belief (HarperPerennial, 2006.) / 287 “I’ve interviewed Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber”: See Dubner, “I Don’t Want to Live Long. I Would Rather Get the Death Penalty Than Spend the Rest of My Life in Prison,” Time, October 18, 1999. / 287 “The rookie class of the N.F.L.”: See Dubner, “Life Is a Contact Sport,” The New York Times Magazine, August 18, 2002. / 287 “A remarkable cat burglar who stole only sterling silver”: See Dubner, “The Silver Thief,” The New Yorker, May 17, 2004. / 288 “After I wrote about the economist Roland Fryer”: See Dubner, “Toward a Unified Theory of Black America,” The New York Times Magazine, March 20, 2005.


Science...For Her! by Megan Amram

Albert Einstein, blood diamonds, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, double helix, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, pez dispenser, Schrödinger's Cat, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Wall-E, wikimedia commons

Angelina Jolie! Angie is barely recognizable as a tenth grader at Beverly Hills High School! Good thing this ugly duckling turned into a swan! * * * 2. Daniel Day-Lewis! Even this young, you can recognize the future talent in his expressive features. * * * 3. Cameron Diaz! Not pointing any fingers, but it looks like someone’s had a little work done since then . . . * * * 4. Ted Kaczynski! It’s very disturbing to look at this early picture of a killer and truly see the evil radiating from within as early as high school. Genes * * * Since it’s distracting to bring up a homophone of one of women’s favorite things without showing them, I will start off this section with a treat—a glossy page chock full of photos of beautiful jeans! Phew! I’m glad we got that out of the way!

Baseball, the “American Pastime,” is about using bats (“dicks”) to hit balls (“balls”) all while blowing each other in the dugout (“RBI”). And how about the American flag? Obviously thirteen dicks going into fifty buttholes. America has time and time again proved itself as a launching ground for young starlets. It’s fun seeing people before they became huge stars, like John Ritter, Stella McCartney, Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski, and Ted “Ted” Bundy. But the ensemble works best when we see the regulars yearn for a raise or promotion, struggle with Mary Tyler Moore’s foibles, and be there for Mary Tyler Moore when the going gets rough. I stole this from a review for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but I think it completely and entirely makes sense to literally lift from that review and drop it into this context as well. As someone with more quirky and alt tastes, I can’t say that America is my favorite thing to watch.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

The only way for the species to keep pace will be for humans to gain greater competence from the computational technology we have created, that is, for the species to merge with its technology. Not everyone will find this prospect appealing, so the Luddite issue will broaden in the twenty-first century from an anxiety about human livelihoods to one concerning the essential nature of human beings. However, the Luddite movement is not likely to fare any better in the next century than it has in the past two. It suffers from the lack of a viable alternative agenda. Ted Kaczynski, whom I quote above from his so-called “Unabomber Manifesto,” entitled Industrial Society and Its Future, advocates a simple return to nature. 22 Kaczynski is not talking about a contemplative visit to a nineteenth-century Walden Pond, but about the species dropping all of its technology and reverting to a simpler time. Although he makes a compelling case for the dangers and damages that have accompanied industrialization, his proposed vision is neither compelling nor feasible.

Keep in mind that Aaron does not seek to emulate other artists. It has its own set of styles, so it is feasible for its knowledge base to be relatively complete within its visual domain. Of course, human artists, even brilliant ones, also have a boundary to their domain. Aaron is quite respectable in the diversity of its art. OKAY, JUST TO SWITCH TO SOMEONE MUCH LESS RESPECTABLE, YOU QUOTED TED KACZYNSKI TALKING ABOUT HOW THE HUMAN RACE MIGHT DRIFT INTO DEPENDENCE ON MACHINES, AND THEN WE’LL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO ACCEPT ALL MACHINE DECISIONS. BASED ON WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS OF ALL THE COMPUTERS STOPPING, AREN’T WE ALREADY THERE? We are certainly there with regard to the dependence, not yet with regard to the level of machine intelligence. THAT QUOTE WAS SURPRISINGLY— Coherent?

., The Statistical History of the United States from Colonial Times to the Present; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1997. 20 Ben J. Wattenberg, ed., The Statistical History of the United States from Colonial Times to the Present. 21 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1997. 22 Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto was published in both the New York Times and the Washington Post in September 1995. The full text of the document is available on numerous web pages, including: <http://www.soci.nui.edu/~critcrim/uni/uni.txt>. CHAPTER 9: 2009 1 A consortium of eighteen manufacturers of cellular telephones and other portable electronic devices is developing a technology called Bluetooth, which provides wireless communications within a radius of about ten meters, at a data rate of 700 to 900 kilobits per second.


pages: 223 words: 72,425

Puzzling People: The Labyrinth of the Psychopath by Thomas Sheridan

airport security, carbon footprint, corporate governance, double helix, Haight Ashbury, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, Milgram experiment, quantitative easing, Rosa Parks, Ted Kaczynski

We should not completely discard the imagery of the quack doctor or mad scientist either, because such individuals really do exist. The notorious UNABOMBER Ted Kaczynski was accepted into Harvard University at the age of 16, where he earned an undergraduate degree, and later a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley at age 25. Then he started making bombs and killing innocent people in order to save the planet. Now where this gets very interesting is his manifestos are almost identical to the current depopulation fetish among intellectuals and college professors. Ted Kaczynski’s population reduction plan was implemented in an immediate ‘hands-on’ manner, whereas the pontificating psychopathic academics prefer mass sterilisation and forced abortions rather than pipe bombs.


pages: 761 words: 231,902

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

MOLLY 2004: Hiding from those little robots— RAY: Nanobots, you mean. MOLLY 2004: Yes, hiding from the nanobots will be difficult, for sure. RAY: I would expect the intelligence that arises from the Singularity to have great respect for their biological heritage. GEORGE 2048: Absolutely, it's more than respect, it's ... reverence. MOLLY 2004: That's great, George, I'll be your revered pet. Not what I had in mind. NED: That's just how Ted Kaczynski puts it: we're going to become pets. That's our destiny, to become contented pets but certainly not free men. MOLLY 2004: And what about this Epoch Six? If I stay biological, I'll be using up all this precious matter and energy in a most inefficient way. You'll want to turn me into, like, a billion virtual Mollys and Georges, each of them thinking a lot faster than I do now. Seems like there will be a lot of pressure to go over to the other side.

—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD This brings us to the issue of relinquishment, which is the most controversial recommendation by relinquishment advocates such as Bill McKibben. I do feel that relinquishment at the right level is part of a responsible and constructive response to the genuine perils that we will face in the future. The issue, however, is exactly this: at what level are we to relinquish technology? Ted Kaczynski, who became known to the world as the Unabomber, would have us renounce all of it.31 This is neither desirable nor feasible, and the futility of such a position is only underscored by the senselessness of Kaczynski's deplorable tactics. Other voices, less reckless than Kaczynski's, are nonetheless likewise arguing for broad-based relinquishment of technology. McKibben takes the position that we already have sufficient technology and that further progress should end.

Progress in medical science depends on progress in chemistry, physics, biology, computer science and other fields. Advanced medical treatments require expensive, high-tech equipment that can be made available only by a technologically progressive, economically rich society. Clearly you can't have much progress in medicine without the whole technological system and everything that goes with it. The observer I am quoting here is, again, Ted Kaczynski.33 Although one will properly resist Kaczynski as an authority, I believe he is correct on the deeply entangled nature of the benefits and risks. However, Kaczynski and I clearly part company on our overall assessment of the relative balance between the two. Bill Joy and I have had an ongoing dialogue on this issue both publicly and privately, and we both believe that technology will and should progress and that we need to be actively concerned with its dark side.


pages: 339 words: 95,988

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

airport security, Broken windows theory, crack epidemic, desegregation, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, longitudinal study, mental accounting, moral hazard, More Guns, Less Crime, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, pets.com, profit maximization, Richard Thaler, school choice, sensible shoes, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, War on Poverty

The black boy from Daytona Beach was abandoned by his mother, was beaten by his father, and had become a full-fledged gangster by his teens. So what became of the two boys? The second child, now twenty-eight years old, is Roland G. Fryer Jr., the Harvard economist studying black underachievement. The white child also made it to Harvard. But soon after, things went badly for him. His name is Ted Kaczynski. BONUS MATERIAL ADDED TO THE REVISED AND EXPANDED 2006 EDITION The original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book. Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006. Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.

A sample of Evans’s work is available as of this writing at academic.bellevue.edu/~CKEvans/cevans.html; see also Cleveland Kent Evans, Unusual & Most Popular Baby Names (Lincolnwood, Ill.: Publications International/Signet, 1994); and Cleveland Kent Evans, The Ultimate Baby Name Book (Lincolnwood, Ill.: Publications International/Plume, 1997). EPILOGUE: TWO PATHS TO HARVARD THE WHITE BOY WHO GREW UP OUTSIDE CHICAGO: This passage, as well as the earlier passage about the same boy on pp. 141–42, was drawn from author interviews and from Ted Kaczynski, “Truth Versus Lies,” unpublished manuscript, 1998; see also Stephen J. Dubner, “I Don’t Want to Live Long. I Would Rather Get the Death Penalty than Spend the Rest of My Life in Prison,” Time, October 18, 1999. THE BLACK BOY FROM DAYTONA BEACH: This passage, as well as the earlier passage about the same boy on p. 142, was drawn from author interviews with Roland G. Fryer Jr. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Jointly, we would like to thank two people who helped nurture this book: Claire Wachtel of William Morrow and Suzanne Gluck of the William Morris Agency.


pages: 385 words: 105,627

The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester

Berlin Wall, British Empire, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of gunpowder, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stakhanovite, Stephen Hawking, Ted Kaczynski, trade route

(The last reflected his keen interest in what was then Ceylon, when he chaired the country’s University Policy Commission in 1958). There was an oddly chilling coda to Needham’s brief visit to Chicago in the spring of 1978. He had been invited to give three public lectures at Northwestern University. For his second talk he decided on the topic “Gunpowder: Its Origins and Uses.” One of those who came to hear his lecture was a wild-haired loner of a mathematician, a tragic, brilliant man named Ted Kaczynski. A short while earlier, professors at a Chicago branch of the University of Illinois had summarily rejected a brief essay Kaczynski had written on the evils of modern society, and one mathematician there had heard him mutter, bitterly, that he would eventually “get even” with those who had spurned him. On May 24, six weeks after sitting through Needham’s lecture, Kaczynski fashioned a wooden-cased explosive device made of gunpowder and match heads, and mailed it to one of the professors who had rejected him.

On May 24, six weeks after sitting through Needham’s lecture, Kaczynski fashioned a wooden-cased explosive device made of gunpowder and match heads, and mailed it to one of the professors who had rejected him. It was intercepted, exploded, and injured a campus security guard. There were no clues as to who was the perpetrator of the crime, and the incident marked the beginning of an extraordinary, bizarre, and frightening period in modern American history. Over the next two decades Ted Kaczynski, who lived alone in a remote shack in the mountains of Montana, went on to send waves of carefully made and ever more lethal bombs to academics, killing three people and injuring more than twenty. The press and the FBI called him the Unabomber. He remained at large until his arrest in April 1996. Few knew at the time that he may have initially been schooled in his deadly craft, though entirely unwittingly, by Joseph Needham.


pages: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

Every correct answer is necessarily a secret: something important and unknown, something hard to do but doable. If there are many secrets left in the world, there are probably many world-changing companies yet to be started. This chapter will help you think about secrets and how to find them. WHY AREN’T PEOPLE LOOKING FOR SECRETS? Most people act as if there were no secrets left to find. An extreme representative of this view is Ted Kaczynski, infamously known as the Unabomber. Kaczynski was a child prodigy who enrolled at Harvard at 16. He went on to get a PhD in math and become a professor at UC Berkeley. But you’ve only ever heard of him because of the 17-year terror campaign he waged with pipe bombs against professors, technologists, and businesspeople. In late 1995, the authorities didn’t know who or where the Unabomber was.


pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, longitudinal study, low earth orbit, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

The Responsibility Record doesn’t try to change the voices; all it does is retune our hearing. Another long-view service has been suggested by Esther Dyson. Every so often the public is gripped by a great mystery. Who kidnaped the Lindbergh baby? Who was behind the killing of President Kennedy? Did Dr. Sam Sheppard murder his wife? Who was the Unabomber? Time has solved two of these. Math instructor Ted Kaczynski was the Unabomber; and the convicted Dr. Sheppard was innocent back in 01954.3 DNA analysis forty-four years later proved that a window washer, Richard Eberling, not only killed Mrs. Sheppard but raped her first (something never mentioned in the celebrated trial). The Long Now Library could preserve rich archives of such mysteries so that they can be relived in light of what eventually is discovered.


pages: 170 words: 49,193

The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

* Examples of excellent books on technology which do not really consider the way in which technological advances and changes will be shaped by politics include Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0 and Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence. The opposite is true as well: Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die barely mentions technology at all. * Once questions of freedom and the human spirit are invoked, it’s impossible to know how far opposition can go. Between 1978 and 1995 the ‘Unabomber’, aka Ted Kaczynski, sent 16 bombs to targets that included universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23. Kaczynski, a Harvard maths prodigy who had disappeared to live off-grid in his twenties, was motivated by a belief that technological change was destroying human civilisation and would usher in a period of dehumanised tyranny and control. He set out his ideas in a 30-thousand-word anti-tech manifesto entitled Industrial Society and Its Future.


pages: 253 words: 75,772

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

airport security, anti-communist, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, Ted Kaczynski, WikiLeaks

I understood the reason for his tone, although I worried about how Gibson and Millar would react to reading the manifesto. I didn’t want them to think we were dealing with someone unstable, particularly since, having spent many hours talking to him, I knew that he was exceptionally rational and deliberative. My fear was quickly validated. “This is going to sound crazy to some people,” Gibson pronounced. “Some people and pro-NSA media types will say it’s a bit Ted Kaczynski-ish,” I agreed. “But ultimately, the documents are what matters, not him or his motives for giving them to us. And besides, anyone who does something this extreme is going to have extreme thoughts. That’s inevitable.” Along with that manifesto, Snowden had written a missive to the journalists to whom he gave his archive of documents. It sought to explain his purpose and goals and predicted how he would likely be demonized: My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.


pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, twin studies, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

Lenin Atomic Power Station transformed a place called Chernobyl into a synonym for technological disaster. They were the worst industrial accidents in history—one inflicting immense casualties and the other a worldwide sense of dread. The message was hard to misinterpret: “Our lives depend on decisions made by other people; we have no control over these decisions and usually we do not even know the people who make them,” wrote Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, in his essay “Industrial Society and Its Future”—the Unabomber Manifesto. “Our lives depend on whether safety standards at a nuclear power plant are properly maintained; on how much pesticide is allowed to get into our food or how much pollution into our air; on how skillful (or incompetent) our doctor is. . . . The individual’s search for security is therefore frustrated, which leads to a sense of powerlessness.”


pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, moral panic, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

He’s probably the world’s most famous anarcho-primitivist, and the author of several books on why technology – from the internet all the way back to subsistence farming – is at the root of many, if not all, of today’s social problems. He wants to get rid of it: Facebook, computers, telephones, electricity, steam-powered engines – the lot. Anarcho-primitivism is a branch of anarchist philosophy, which believes in stateless, non-hierarchical and voluntary forms of human organisation, based on simple, pre-civilisation collective living. The most infamous neo-Luddite of modern times was the American Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber. From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent sixteen bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring twenty-three. In his 30,000-word essay ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’, Kaczynski argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom brought about by modern technologies requiring large-scale organisation.


pages: 333 words: 86,662

Zeitgeist by Bruce Sterling

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, informal economy, invisible hand, Iridium satellite, jitney, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, new economy, offshore financial centre, rolodex, sexual politics, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, urban decay, Y2K

She’d rather cut her own ears off.” “Okay, how about: a big commune full of backwoods, Bible-thumping, apocalypse cultists. They’re totally insane. And they are armed to the teeth.” “That’s an ATF job. I never work with the ninja tobacco-inspectors.” “Uh, okay … how about a military washout kid who’s got a borderline, white-supremacist, paranoia thing? He’s buying fertilizer and he hired a rental truck!” “Tell it to Ted Kaczynski! I don’t do loners. There’s way too many of ’em. I need a case with some meat on it, like a good RICO thing.” “I’m with you here.… Okay, maybe I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel, but how about a private mafia of trench-coat-wearing high-school teenagers who want to shoot all the jocks in their gym class?” “That is kid stuff! Do I look twelve years old to you? Come on, get serious!” “Okay,” Starlitz said wearily.


pages: 317 words: 98,745

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace by Ronald J. Deibert

4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brian Krebs, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, failed state, Firefox, global supply chain, global village, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, invention of writing, Iridium satellite, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, South China Sea, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, Turing test, undersea cable, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, zero day

The neutron bomb was an enhanced radiation weapon under development during the Carter and Reagan administrations that would kill people while leaving buildings and infrastructure intact, through a highly concentrated dispersal of radioactive material. (Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev memorably described it as a “capitalist bomb” because it would destroy people, but not property.) Stuxnet-type weapons, on the other hand, are more like something inspired by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski: they would target industrial-technological systems, but leave people alone. The attraction of technology that allows one to believe in sanitary or “virtual war” has a long pedigree. Political scientist James Der Derian has spent considerable time turning over the argument, and believes that the appeal of high-tech means of fighting clean wars comes from it being “the closest we moderns have [come] to a deus ex machina swooping in from the skies to fix the dilemmas of world politics, virtually solving intractable political problems through technological means.”


pages: 327 words: 97,720

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo

Alfred Russel Wallace, biofilm, butterfly effect, Celebration, Florida, corporate governance, delayed gratification, experimental subject, impulse control, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, longitudinal study, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, Rodney Brooks, Ted Kaczynski, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Walter Mischel

In fact, fairly or not, people often judge individuals who are unable to tolerate solitude as being needy or neurotic. Accordingly, there are no easy-to-assign labels where loneliness is concerned. When a deranged man named Russell Weston Jr. stormed the U.S. Capitol in 1998, his picture appeared on the cover of Newsweek under a banner headline: “The Loner.” The media applied that same vague judgment to the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, to President Reagan’s assailant John Hinckley, to the Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui, and to any number of other socially marginalized individuals. However, our studies of a diverse group of healthy young adults show that everyday folks who feel the pain of isolation very acutely—people who may feel tremendously lonely—have no more in common with the dangerously troubled souls who make headlines than does anyone else.


pages: 360 words: 101,636

Engineering Infinity by Jonathan Strahan

augmented reality, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, gravity well, low earth orbit, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, post scarcity, Schrödinger's Cat, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski

No one knew how many timelines there were, though they were not infinite. Complex quantum processes generated them and some theorists thought the number might be quite few. If so, Warren could not reach some timelines. Already the cage had refused to go to four target murderers, so perhaps his opportunities were not as large as the hundreds or thousands he had at first dreamed about. He had already shot Ted Kaczynski, the "Unabomber." That murderer had targeted universities and wrote a manifesto that he distributed to the media, claiming that he wanted society to return to a time when technology was not a threat to its future. Kaczynski had not considered that a future technology would erase his deeds. Kaczynski's surprised gasp lay behind him now. He decided, since his controls allowed him to choose among the braided timelines, to save as many victims as he could.


pages: 405 words: 103,723

The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism by Ruth Kinna

Berlin Wall, British Empire, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Graeber, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, friendly fire, ghettoisation, Kickstarter, late capitalism, means of production, moral panic, New Journalism, Occupy movement, post scarcity, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, union organizing, wage slave

This was one of nearly thirty books he wrote on topics ranging from allotments, utopias, education and social policy to town planning and childhood development.12 JOHN ZERZAN (B. 1943) Raised in Salem, Oregon, Zerzan studied political science at Stanford University, history at San Francisco State University and completed his postgraduate degree at the University of Southern California. He became active in labour and left-wing politics in the 1960s and was arrested in 1966 at an anti-Vietnam protest. In his writing, Zerzan first explored the emergence of trade unionism and industrialization. This led to a study of technology and civilization in the 1980s. He attracted international attention in the 1990s when he began a correspondence with Ted Kaczynski, the ecological activist better known as the Unabomber, and refused to condemn his bombing campaign. Having settled in Eugene, Oregon, in the 1980s, Zerzan also became strongly linked to the anarchist movements that mushroomed there which helped catalyze the anti-capitalist activism of the noughties. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including: Elements of Refusal (1988), Future Primitive (1994), Against Civilization (1999), Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization (2002), Twilight of the Machines (2008) and Future Primitive Revisited (2012).13 Chapter 3: Practices ERNESTO AGUILAR (B.?)


pages: 349 words: 109,304

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton

bitcoin, blockchain, crack epidemic, Edward Snowden, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Ross Ulbricht, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the market place, trade route, Travis Kalanick, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

And then there are some objects that are more recent but will remain infamous for hundreds of years to come. Some of these newer artifacts sit on the Hubbard Concourse in the contemporary Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks away from the White House. The relics at this museum hail from some of the biggest criminal cases in American history. In one corner of the exhibit there is an old wooden cabin, barely big enough for a man, that belonged to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Nearby a pair of thick black sneakers sit, their bases torn open; they were worn by the Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid, when he tried to blow up an American Airlines flight in 2001. And then, farther along in the exhibit, a glass box contains exhibit number 2015.6008.43a, which is a silver Samsung laptop. “He called himself Dread Pirate Roberts after a character in The Princess Bride,” the text next to the laptop reads.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

They’re talking about what their country can do for them—get the hell out of their way as they bulldoze a new path straight to the future. In Yale computer scientist David Gelernterl’s novel 1939: The Lost World of the Fair, an homage to the great era of institutional futurism, the author recreates a time when we believed we could shape the future in amazing ways collectively through our institutions.45 But here’s the thing: he wrote the book while recovering from a package bomb sent to his office by the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. The bomb blew off most of his right hand and left him almost blind in one eye. Ironically, by then, like Kaczynski himself, he had become disillusioned with technological change. But unlike Kaczynski, who sought to kill scientists in order to bring a halt to technological change, Gelernter believed in the opposite problem: that we had lost our fervor, our collective faith in the revolutionary possibilities of technology to build a better world for all.


Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, bitcoin, Burning Man, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, index card, jimmy wales, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, McJob, Menlo Park, nuclear paranoia, Pepto Bismol, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Ted Kaczynski, The Future of Employment, uber lyft, young professional

I had an argument with an editor over that one: “This kind of program is simply not possible. You can’t use it. You’ll just look stupid!” In 2015 you can probably buy a mis-spellcheck as a forty-nine-cent app from the iTunes store…or upgrade to Mis-spellcheck Pro for another ninety-nine cents. What a strange world. It makes one long for the world before DNA and the Internet, a world in which people could genuinely vanish. The Unabomber—Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski—seems like a poster boy for this strain of yearning. He had literally no data stream, save for his bombs and his manifesto, which ended up being his undoing. How? He promised The New York Times that he’d stop sending bombs if they would print his manifesto, which they did. And then his brother recognized his writing style and turned him in to the FBI. Machine intelligence—artificial intuition—steeped in deeply rooted language structures, would have identified Kaczynski’s writing style in under one-tenth of a second.


pages: 443 words: 125,510

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities by John J. Mearsheimer

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, Clive Stafford Smith, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal world order, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Peace of Westphalia, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs

Daniel Defoe, who wrote Robinson Crusoe, said as much in later reflections on the book: “Man is a creature so formed for society, that it may not only be said that it is not good for him to be alone, but ’tis really impossible he should be alone.”41 It also seems clear, as Defoe hints, that we like interacting with other people. The evidence is overwhelming that humans are psychologically disposed to want to be part of a society. Humans are hardwired to want frequent interactions with other humans, including people outside their immediate families. Hardly anyone moves to a remote area and cuts off all contact with the outside world. Even Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber, continued to interact with American society, albeit in limited and wicked ways. The Survival Imperative Survival is the foremost reason that humans naturally operate in groups larger than the family unit.42 For starters, individuals need sexual partners, not only to satisfy their desires but also to help create and sustain families and the species more generally.43 The need to reproduce is common to all species, and for primates that necessitates looking for sexual partners beyond one’s immediate family.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

“Some part of your world—the town you live in, the company you work for, your school system, the city hospital—will hang there in a sharp color image, abstract but recognizable, moving subtly in a thousand places . . . fed by a steady rush of new data pouring in through cables . . . infiltrated by your own software creatures, doing your business.”37 It was a vision so all-encompassing and transformational that it spurred mail bomber Ted Kaczynski to break a six-year hiatus in 1993, and dispatch the incendiary missive that narrowly missed taking Gelernter’s life. Mirror Worlds foretold with astonishing accuracy the way sensing, networking, computation, and visualization are converging in our world today. But what’s really interesting is how over and over Gelernter used cities to illustrate the power of tools that capture vast complexity in real time.


The America That Reagan Built by J. David Woodard

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, colonial rule, Columbine, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, friendly fire, glass ceiling, global village, Gordon Gekko, gun show loophole, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, Live Aid, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, postindustrial economy, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, The Predators' Ball, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

Theodore John Kaczynski was an American terrorist who attempted to fight what he saw as the evils of technology by sending mail bombs to various people for a period of over eighteen years. The prospect of receiving a bomb in an unknown package caused thousands of people to refuse perfectly legitimate mailings. The bombs killed three people and wounded twenty-nine. Before his identity was known, the FBI referred to the mail bomber as the ‘‘Unabomber,’’ which was an acronym for ‘‘university and airline bombers.’’ The university part was certainly appropriate for Ted Kaczynski. Born in Chicago, he was an intellectually gifted child who was also shy and aloof. He skipped two grades, graduating from high school in 1958 and entering Harvard at the age of sixteen to major in mathematics. Kaczynski graduated in four years to attend the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. His specialty was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory.


pages: 522 words: 162,310

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, anti-communist, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, Celebration, Florida, centre right, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, large denomination, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, McMansion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Snapchat, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, young professional

That didn’t happen, of course, but then the 9/11 attacks and new viral epidemics (SARS, avian flu) helped give survivalism its momentum. Once you really believe, you can always find new evidence to support your beliefs. There are now millions of Americans counting on a nonsupernatural apocalypse. They got a bigger tent when the term preppers became common in the 1980s, a rubric encompassing everybody from hardcore survivalists to wannabes and lookie-loos, from that Ted Kaczynski–ish guy who carries his AR-15 into the diner to the nice couple down the block with a basement room full of whey powder and antibiotics. Preppers are to survivalists as evangelicals are to fundamentalists. Of course, the premise of prepping and survivalism isn’t necessarily delusional. It’s possible some sudden catastrophic breakdown of systems could occur and last for months or years. But any of us could also win Mega Millions, too, and we don’t rearrange our lives assuming it’s going to happen.


pages: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

RAY KURZWEIL: I’ve written more about the downsides than anyone, and this was decades before Stephen Hawking or Elon Musk were expressing their concerns. There was extensive discussion of the downsides of GNR—Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics (which means AI)—in my book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, which came out in 1999 that led Bill Joy to write his famous Wired cover story in January 2000 titled, Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us. MARTIN FORD: That was based upon a quote from Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, wasn’t it? RAY KURZWEIL: I have a quote from him on one page that sounds like a very level-headed expression of concern, and then you turn the page, and you see that this is from the Unabomber Manifesto. I discussed in quite some detail in that book the existential risk of GNR. In my 2005 book, The Singularity is Near, I go into the topic of GNR risks in a lot of detail. Chapter 8 is titled, “The Deeply Intertwined Promise versus Peril of GNR.”


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Then there is “Climategate,” a manufactured scandal in which climate scientists’ emails were hacked and their contents distorted by the Heartlanders and their allies, who claimed to find evidence of manipulated data (the scientists were repeatedly vindicated of wrongdoing). In 2012, the Heartland Institute even landed itself in hot water by running a billboard campaign that compared people who believe in climate change (“warmists” in denialist lingo) to murderous cult leader Charles Manson and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” the first ad demanded in bold red letters under a picture of Kaczynski. For Heartlanders, denying climate science is part of a war, and they act like it.26 Many deniers are quite open about the fact that their distrust of the science grew out of a powerful fear that if climate change is real, the political implications would be catastrophic. As British blogger and regular Heartland speaker James Delingpole has pointed out, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.”


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

Hammond, “When the Welfare State Met the Flat Tax,” Foreign Policy, June 16, 2016; R. Skidelsky, “Basic Income Revisited,” Project Syndicate, June 23, 2016; C. Murray, “A Guaranteed Income for Every American,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2016. 69. Studies of the effects of basic income: Bregman 2017. High-tech volunteering: Diamandis & Kotler 2012. Effective altruism: MacAskill 2015. CHAPTER 10: THE ENVIRONMENT 1. See Gore’s 1992 Earth in the Balance; Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), “Industrial Society and Its Future,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm; Francis 2015. Kaczynski read Gore’s book, and the similarities between it and his manifesto were pointed out in an undated Internet quiz by Ken Crossman: http://www.crm114.com/algore/quiz.html. 2. Quoted in M. Ridley, “Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times,” Wired, Aug. 17, 2012.