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Why Did Facebook Lift Its Ban on Political Ads for the Georgia Senate Runoff?

Political advertising is both the greatest celebration of democracy and, presently, one of democracy’s most strained relationships. The courts scrutinize government regulation of political advertising more tightly than they do commercial advertising; yet the companies hosting media and social media platforms are themselves under no obligation to allow any kind of advertising at all. They […]

Time Travel Roundup

Fittingly, for a year that many of us would like to fast-forward past or, alternatively, rewind and start different, 2020 has ushered in a massive shift in time travel discourse. Time travel into the past, once thought to be theoretically impossible, became theoretically possible thanks to advanced math and simulations.  Retiring the Grandfather Paradox Thus […]

Will Ransomware Threaten Municipal Election Security?

Lucas Ropek put up a moderately long piece on Governing last week on the threat of ransomware attacks on state and local government websites, and the specific threat such attacks may pose for elections. Ransomware comes from the world of cryptovirology, the use of cryptography to design troublesome and powerful software that can create “trapdoor” […]

The Indelible Influence of Asimov: Apple’s Streaming Service Debuts Foundation

It has inspired innovations in sociology and psychology. It has sparked the imagination of liberals like Paul Krugman and conservatives like Newt Gingrich. It even shares credit (or blame) for some of Elon Musk’s innovations. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is, arguably, one of the most influential literary creations in history. And now, it’s finally going […]

The Impact of Ancient Encryption

Communication is an essential part of humanity, and, presumably, we need to be honest in most of our communicative acts in order for society to function. Yet, dishonest communication has often been a driver of history, and systemic communicative dishonesty — like encryption and cryptography — has been around for millennia. In fact, the development […]

Sci-Fi Pets Roundup

In Poor Richard’s Almanack, Benjamin Franklin includes dogs in his list of essentials for a good life. “There are,” he writes, “three faithful friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.” In many science fiction scenarios, spouses and money are in short supply, but pets — either of a traditional earthling or exotic […]