O-bits: A Wee Dram of Death Edition

Oh, to be in Scotland. This week, Previously…, which calls itself Scotland’s History Festival, takes place. There’s plenty we’d love to check out: tours of Dean and Warriston Cemeteries, both fine examples of Victorian “garden” burial grounds with numerous ornate monuments; a look at the story of Agnes Normand, a 15-year-old servant girl who left a trail of death in her wake; a tour of the darker side Edinburgh’s history, and walk with undead in Scottish literature.

If they’re having problems keeping the dead in the ground in Scotland, in Hartford, Vermont, they don’t know if they’ll have enough space to bury them. According to the Hartford Valley News, all five of the town-owned cemeteries are filled to the brim; those in private hands expect to reach capacity in the next 15 years. The younger generation just isn’t as interested in keeping up the historic cemeteries, some of which contain the graves of Revolutionary War veterans, as those in the past. Exacerbating the problem: the closure of the Southeast State Correctional Facility in nearby Windsor. Work crews from the prison had been providing low-cost maintenance and other work, and are no longer available.

Finally, someone had the bright idea of outfitting drones with Artificial Intelligence. In the none-too-distant future, these autonomous drones will have the power to decide who they kill. And what happens when the Singularity comes, and they decide we’re all the enemy? If that scares you, you are not alone. CNet reports that group calling itself the Future of Life Institute—whose backers include Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk—has produced a video showing what can happen if these “slaughterbots” fall into the wrong hands.




Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

Leave a Reply

Notify of