Trending In Our News Feeds – PolicyMic interviews Ray Kurzweil. PolicyMic editor Mike Luciano sat down with “restless genius” and Director of Engineering at Google Ray Kurzweil to discuss the future of technology, artificial intelligence, climate change, and the human race. Here are some highlights from Kurzweil’s interview:
On the future of solar energy: “The total amount of solar energy produced in the world is now about 1% of our energy needs but is doubling every two years. So, it is only 7 doublings from meeting all of our energy needs. This means we can meet all of our energy needs with solar energy in less than 20 years and that it will be much less expensive than energy from current techniques and, of course, completely non-polluting … Our conclusion is that within two decades, we will be able to produce all of the energy we need at lower cost and with no negative effect on the environment.”
On the power of modern communication technology: “Due to increasingly pervasive communication, we are now in much closer touch with problems than ever before… If there is a battle in Damascus, we are there. A hundred years ago, if there was a battle in the next village, we didn’t know about it… People thought it was ridiculous that [the Soviet Union] would be swept away by a few clandestine hackers with teletype machines, but in the 1991 coup against Gorbachev that ended the Soviet Union, that is exactly what happened. So while the world may seem chaotic, people today have far greater knowledge and power to shape events and respond to problems.”
On the uses of artificial intelligence: “We are already smarter today than we were, say, a decade ago because of all the brain extenders we have at our fingertips, such as search engines and Wikipedia. During that one day SOPA strike (in which Wikipedia, Google, and other online services went on strike for one day to protest pending legislation that would have limited online access to information), I felt like a part of my brain went on strike… A kid in Africa today with a smart phone has access to more instantly available information than the President of the United States did 15 years ago.”
Make sure to read the entire interview and share with your friends!
Authorities search for new suspects in Boston investigation. Members of Congress revealed that the FBI is still searching for “persons of interest” who may have helped the Tsarnaev brothers plan their attack. Meanwhile, new details about the radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev emerged over the weekend. Intelligence officials said Russian authorities recorded a conversation in which Tamerlan discussed jihad with his mother. Christian Caryl with the New York Review of Books tracked down and interviewed the man who has been accused of radicalizing Tamerlan. In the interview, Caryl reveals that the man previously known only as “Misha” is named Mikhail Allakhverdov. Allakhverdov says that he did not teach Tamerlan violent ideas and he is cooperating fully with an FBI investigation.
Politicians call for action in Syria. Following the White House’s accusation last week that Syria used chemical weapons against its people, members of Congress used appearances on the Sunday political talk shows to encourage Obama to ramp up U.S. involvement in Syria. Heavy-hitting Republicans including Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned that a “hands-off” approach towards Syria would embolden dangerous nations like Iran. Democrats, including Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) called on Obama to increase humanitarian aid to Syria. Meanwhile, Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli minister of strategic and intelligence affairs and international relations said Israel does not want the U.S. to send troops to Syria: “We never asked, nor did we encourage, the United States to take military action in Syria.” The BBC reports Syrian Prime Minister has survived a car bomb attack in the capital Damascus. The Washington Post reveals half of Americans can’t find Syria on a map.
Soldiers arrest Bangladesh building owner. Members of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion have captured Mohammed Sohel Rana, the owner of the garment factory that collapsed last week. Rana is accused of ignoring signs that his factory building, the Rana Plaza, was unsafe for workers to enter. Rescue workers at the site of the collapse celebrated the news amid continued efforts to save workers trapped in the rubble. The death toll from the collapse has reached 377. PolicyMic pundit Andrea Ayres-Deets reports that American consumers can prevent future tragedies by demanding stricter safety standards.
Martial-arts instructor arrested in ricin case. Over the weekend, FBI agents arrested Mississippi martial-arts instructor J. Everett Dutschke in connection to the ricin-laced letters that were sent to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). The previous suspect, Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis, testified in court that he had been framed by long-time rival Dutschke. Dutschke will appear in court today. The Daily Beast digs into Dutschke’s intriguing past.
Status Updates – Nick Baker takes over Mic Check! Over the past year and a half, it has been a fun and exciting challenge to write the daily Mic Check. I’ve worked hard to provide a balanced, diverse summary of the top news from PolicyMic and across the internet from a millennial perspective. I’ve learned so much and have enjoyed getting your news tips and suggestions for how to do better. As PolicyMic grows, things are only getting more exciting, and we want to make sure we’re bringing you the best, most dynamic morning newsletter possible. That’s why we’re excited to officially introduce PolicyMic’s newest editor Nick Baker, who will be taking over Mic Check full-time starting today! Nick is a true rockstar. He’s originally from the Bay Area, a Columbia University-grad, and a self-described news-junkie. Follow him on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
We’ve got huge goals for this year, ranging from growing our amazing community of readers to getting Mic Check in your inbox earlier every day and getting even better at scouring the web to bring you the most exciting links. As always, we highly encourage you to reach out to Nick with your daily feedback and creative ideas. We’re excited for this next step and know you will be too!
Help Jane Chiao become Australia’s Chief Funster! PolicyMic pundit Jane Chiao has been selected as one of 25 finalists to become Australia’s Chief Funster. If she wins, she’ll get to travel all over Australia for six months and blog about her experiences. Find out how you can join Stephen Colbert in supporting Jane’s bid to win the competition.
Are you active in politics, art, or business? Let us know what you’re up to and we’ll feature you in this section!
Must Reads From PolicyMic – Obama Has Created An Illegal Internet Program That Is Scarier Than CISPA (Michael Brew) – The Justice Department has expanded a cyber security program that would exempt AT&T and other participants from wiretap laws. This law is a miscalculated, dangerous move.
[16 Mics, 9 Comments, 11 Shares]
Meet the Black Jockey Who’s Trying to Make Kentucky Derby History (Christine Salek, @christinesalek) – Kevin Kriggers hopes to break the monopoly on success that white jockeys enjoy in the equestrian world.
[6 Mics, 5 Comments, 26 Shares]
America is Violating Its Core Values By Refusing to Release These 4 Prisoners (Areej Elahi-Siddiqui, @andareejsays) – These innocent Guantánamo hunger strikers are no longer hungry for food: they are starving for freedom.
[5 Mics, 3 Comments, 13 Shares]
Next Time You're in Jail, Be Sure to Yelp About It (Andrea Ayres-Deets, @missafayres) – You won’t believe what inmates are saying about prisons on Yelp.
[3 Mics, 3 Comments, 0 Shares]
Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev Radicalized By the Loss Of a Boxing Title? (Shwetika Baijal, @shwetika) – The Boston bombing suspect was a star boxer who was even slated to represent New England in competition. However, everything changed after the National Tournament of Champions changed their eligibility rules.
[1 Mics, 1 Comments, 9 Shares]
What We’re Sharing – Hunger strikers tell their horror stories from Guantánamo (AlterNet). ALSO: NY Times and NPR bring you a graphic history of the detainees.
A 75-year Harvard study reveals the recipe for a happy life (Business Insider).
The benefits of going to church: they’re not just religious (NY Times).
How Silicon Valley is going to revolutionize the food industry (NY Times).
14 time-tested methods for making yourself smarter (Brain Pickings).
How a mentor can accelerate your career (Mashable).
The 7 most ridiculous 911 calls of all time (The Week).
Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear from you. Send us your feedback, give us a tip for what we should be reading, and tell us how we can do better: firstname.lastname@example.org.