The Last Word


black and white etching, magical being on the left, rabbi on the rightFebruary 6-10, 2017

This week, Craig unplugs from the wired world during his travels, and it’s not the blissful state of nature he imagined it to be—at least, not entirely. “I’d like to tell you it was sweet silence, but I could feel the Pavlovian side of myself wanting to drool. The limb ached.”

Ann interviews Mike Lemonick, whom she’s known for yonks, about his new book. It tells the story of a woman who lost her memory but—interestingly—not herself. ‘If you asked [H.M.] what he’d be doing the following day, he’d usually reply: “whatever is beneficial.”’

Meteors are usually shooting stars that make a pretty streak across the sky, except in the disturbingly frequent instances when they are huge fireballs whose sound cracks your windows. Cassie has videos. “The meteoroid was about the size of a minivan when it entered the atmosphere. The meteorite that splashed down was about the size of a lunch box.”

Michelle’s parenting duties include delivering a feminist education, enveloped in an age-appropriate spoonful of sugar. She has some bedtime story recommendations for parents who want more non-traditional female exemplars for their families, including “several fascinating subjects who are not what you’d call role models, such as suspected double agent Mata Hari and bloodthirsty pirate captain Ching Shih.”

Speculation about the perils of AI has been preceded by centuries of Jewish folklore about golems, writes Rose. The golem concept informs our ideas of what a robot is. “And the fears here are the same as well: what happens when the creature no longer wants to obey. What happens if it falls in love and is rebuffed?”

Image: Rabbi Loew and Golem by Mikoláš Aleš, 1899.

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