November 25, 2016 / by James Whatley">James Whatley / 5things / No Comments

Five things on Friday #204

Things of note for the week ending Friday November 25th, 2016.

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1. HOLY HELL, LET’S GO TO MARS FOR THE SUMMER

Well, not yet. But soon.

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This is the ‘EM Drive’ – or the ‘Impossible Drive’ – and it’s been floating around as a theoretical propulsion system for a couple of years now (I think I first read about it back in 2015). Actually, scratch that, apparently the idea of the EM Drive has been around for 15 years.

It transpires that people have been nay-saying it for years. Why? It fundamentally equates to propulsion without propellant. Impossible. Hence the name, I guess.

Anyway, the REALLY IMPORTANT AND EXCITING THING is that NASA paper on the EM Drive has been peer reviewed and published. And it shows that the impossible propulsion system works.

LOOK!

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2. ABOUT YOUR NEXT MACBOOK PRO

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so you’d be forgiven for missing the new Macbook Pro announcements that basically said ‘Hey look, here’s a Macbook Pro with a touch bar that does emojis and shizzle’ – and it hasn’t really gone down that well.

E.g.: The Verge, famous for its Apple favour, ran this op-ed:

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“Many of us have been talking our way around this issue for the past week without directly confronting it, so I feel like now’s as good a time to address it as any: Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops are not designed for professional use.”

Burn.

Where does that leave you if you want a new MBP? Ewan Spence, [one of a small handful of decent writers] at Forbes, has put together a decent argument on why Apple’s refurb marketplace is a proverbial goldmine for the 2016 Macbook Pro detractor.

If you’re looking to upgrade that heaving machine, read the above first.

Just in case.

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3. COLBERT & OLIVER

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“As the two late-night comedians sat across from each other onstage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center here on Saturday night, Stephen Colbert asked John Oliver why he had not yet been given a commitment for four more seasons. “There’s a clear road that you can put your foot out,” said Mr. Colbert, the host of “The Late Show” on CBS. Mr. Oliver, anchor of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” replied brightly but fatalistically: “The kind of road that ‘Thelma & Louise’ drove off.””

This meeting of satirical minds was booked long before the US Election result was announced and, if we’re honest about it, was probably setup to go ‘Well, thank God that’s over’ when it was indeed over. Alas, things didn’t exactly work out that way.

The New York Times has the write up.

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4. ZUCK THE POLITICIAN

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‘Facebook is the most influential commercial enterprise ever created, with unparalleled power that is yet to be fully understood. Mark Zuckerberg himself is a multi-billionaire in charge of a network that has intricate personal data on 1.8 billion people and counting. How do you define the checks and balances that need to exist for this kind of entity?’

It’s a HELL of a question.

In light of the fake news scandal currently enveloping Facebook, where does the accountability lie, if at all?

The BBC has more.

This is going to be one to watch in 2017 and beyond…

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5. RORY ON LIFE

I work in the same building as Rory Sutherland. Sometimes I see him around. I often see him speak. Very occasionally we work on the same project together. And once I even gave him a lift to the station (two weeks after I passed my test and I’m pretty sure I stalled it about seventeen times while we attempted to discuss the merits of an Apple Watch vs a Pebble – oh how we lol’d).

If you’ve never had the pleasure of knowing Rory (what? why? start here), then let me tell you he likes to provoke. He throws together interesting data points and together creates a new one to make you think. To wit:

“Whenever I wish to scandalise people, I have a sentence which works every time: ‘I would prefer my daughters took up smoking than started cycling in London.’ If my daughters take up smoking and find it impossible to quit, there is a fairly high chance of a fairly bad outcome. They may die early and very unpleasantly. Perhaps at 58 rather than 85 years old. But if they take up smoking and resist the seductive lure of the bicycle, well at least they won’t die at 22 beneath the wheels of a truck. The first outcome is a disaster, the second is a catastrophe.”

This, is standard Rory.

Go read the full article, via WIRED.

Much fun.

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Bonuses this week are:

Nearly there…Thanks for the birthday wishes, you nutcases. Bonus bonus items are things that you sent me as a weird kind of internet-based birthday gift. Brilliant.

And I’m spent.

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Bonus bonus bonus – I literally just finished reading this Aaron Eckhart interview.

It was great.

AND NOW WE ARE DONE.

YOU CAN CLOSE THE INTERNET NOW.

 

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