Friday links! Binary new world edition

Utopian dystopia

We know two things about the future: it’s coming, and it will be either all bad or all good. That second part is obvious from movies. Films about the future are either set in utopias (Star TrekGattaca2001: A Space Odyssey)—or dystopias (Aliens, IdiocracyBack to the Future.) It follows that at this moment, everything is either about to be fine or just setting off for hell in a handbasket. The odds of some problems getting better and others getting worse just doesn’t make sense. It’s an immense mathematical unlikelihood that the world would stay exactly as good as it is now. Today is Friday, and what comes after will surely be different. Won’t you call it in the air with me?

First, the good news: Robert Bates, a reserve deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department who shot and killed Eric Harris as police held him on the ground, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. The bad part is that police shot an unarmed black man, but that’s not exactly news. Perhaps Bates was charged because he isn’t really a cop. The 73 year-old Bates donated his time and thousands of dollars in equipment to the sheriff’s department, and apparently he got to go on the sting operation that ended in Harris’s death as a kind of reward. That reward seems to have included the chance to taser a suspect in custody, which is what Bates says he was trying to do when he accidentally shot Harris. He wasn’t trying to murder him. He just wanted to shock him with a stun gun while several other guys held him down.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the future will allow any sufficiently wealthy old man to hunt criminals on a kind of safari. It’s possible the future will let him marry a dude instead. Behold this genius advertisement for marriage equality in Ireland:



Why does everyone in Ireland have such amazing hair? I think it’s because they’re letting people be gay now. For reference, the Irish national referendum on this issue happens on May 22. Hack comedians still have time to practice their lispy brogues.

On a long enough timeline, of course, gay marriage becomes inevitable because of the total obliteration of states and laws. At some point, all that will remain of our culture and its evolving mores will be styrofoam cups and unsold copies of Dianetics. Also nuclear waste. The problem of what to do with our rods that will still be emitting deadly, invisible radiation 10,000 years from now occasioned this fascinating discussion of how best to design the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, better known as Yucca Mountain. How do you tell future people, who probably will not speak any currently-existing language, to stay out of a place without convincing them that there’s treasure inside? You can start with this viscerally disturbing sign:




Edward Munch knew what he was about. I’m not sure who that other guy is, but he looks sick. Certain secrets are better left buried. Your teenage son’s Google search history, for example—this Clickhole editorial writer looked at it, and it was all about Bugles. Perhaps what’s most satisfying about this piece is that it parodies a form that is only about a decade old. Surely someone is doing scholarly research on how long it takes for parody to emerge after a form is developed. I suspect that Clickhole has set a record.

I’m still waiting for that Ayn Rand parody, unless I just don’t get Glenn Beck. Here’s the 20th century’s great excuser of selfishness appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

For historical comparison, here’s a lip sync battle on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

Here’s a prediction: It’s going to be awesome when that guy loses his looks.


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