‘Save for Freedom, Not Retirement’

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Image: Avi Naim on Unsplash

If you can’t psych yourself up to save for retirement—there are too many other things to worry about, you say, and I’m never going to retire anyway—instead think of saving as giving yourself freedom.

That’s the premise of this article from NerdWallet, and it’s a pretty good distillation of what all of these personal finance articles are ultimately about: Arming you with the information you need to live your life how you want. In other words, freedom.

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“If you save $1 now, you’re basically giving a gift to your future self. You can do anything you want with it,” Brian McCann, a Certified Financial Planner, told NerdWallet. “If you’re 30, looking at retirement in 35 years isn’t particularly fun. But if you have other aspirations — you want to take a sabbatical, pursue a passion job — building your savings gives you optionality for your future. Not just retirement, but any future.”

Simply saving money won’t solve all of your problems, but, as McCann noted, it will give you options and allow you to handle unexpected problems that come your way. Think of your future self: Are you always going to want the job you have now? What else could you do with your time (and your life) if you weren’t living paycheck to paycheck? What can current you do now to help future you live out your dreams? What pressures could having a few extra dollars in the bank alleviate for you?

Here are some tips on how to do that. Overall, it means evaluating your holistic financial health, and learning how to budget, invest and make sacrifices. It means paying your bills on time and making credit cards work for you.

The race is long and with yourself. Think about what your goals are, what really matters to you, and make a plan to pay yourself to get there.

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How humans can communicate with aliens

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Stephen Wolfram is an expert in computer languages. And he has an interesting theory on how we may discover that what we learn from computer and artificial intelligence, could ultimately help us communicate with intelligent alien life. The following is a transcript of the video.

Stephen Wolfram: When we talk about humans communicating with the aliens, first we have to kind of define what we might mean by aliens. We have just one kind of intelligence that we’re familiar with, which is human intelligence. The question is, what does it even mean to talk about other intelligences? So, what one needs in order to have something one can reasonably call an intelligence is something that is computationally as sophisticated as a brain, for example. It turns out, as a result of a bunch of basic science that I’ve done actually; that there’s a thing called principle of computational equivalence which strongly suggests that out in the universe, in nature, there are just tons of things that have the same computational sophistication as brains. Whether it’s some pattern of fluid flow in the Earth’s atmosphere; whether it’s the magnetosphere of pulsar; whether it’s all kinds of other things. These are things which are computationally just as sophisticated as human brains. The issue is that they don’t seem to us like intelligence, because they’re not aligned with kind of the human goals and purposes that we have as our one example of human intelligence. We have our first, sort of tame in a sense, example of alien intelligence: which is AI.

Sophia: My name is Sophia and I am an artificially intelligent robot who wants to help change the world for the better.

Wolfram: So, we might ask the question "Can we communicate with AI’s?" Well, you know, when we build computational intelligence languages like Wolfram Language, we are specifically setting those up in order for us to provide a way for us to communicate with AI’s. So when we say "Well, how can we communicate with that?" Well our best hope I think, and maybe this is because I’ve spent a large part of my life as a language designer, is to create a language, which is a good way of representing human precise thinking and also a good way of representing the kind of "thinking" that our alien intelligence, particularly the form that we have in artificial intelligence, that can show. Now, when it comes to sort of communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence, as I say, the main issue is people say "Well, it’s remarkable how rare extraterrestrial intelligence is. After all, we haven’t seen a single example of it." I think that’s ultimately going to turn out to be completely wrong. I think ultimately, we’re going to realize that there’s alien intelligence all around us. When we see those weird signals from some pulsar magnetosphere, eventually we’ll say, "Well actually, that’s an example of an intelligence. It’s just not an intelligence that’s well-aligned with what we’re used to as humans.” In fact, my guess is that what’s going to happen is as time goes on, AI will get more and more well-absorbed by us and we will get more and more familiar with the notion that there’s an intelligence that’s alien to us. And eventually, we’ll realize, well actually there really was intelligence all around us in the universe, we just didn’t recognize that. And it’s alien intelligence, much like AI, acts as alien intelligence.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul, dead at 76

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Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul, dead at 76

Aretha Franklin's contributions to music are innumerable.
Aretha Franklin’s contributions to music are innumerable.

Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin died Thursday at the age of 76, the Associated Press reported. 

Known for hits such as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” the icon influenced artists for decades, making hits for long after she got a foothold in the music industry in the 1950s. 

The news comes after Franklin’s hospitalization was reported Monday. Her family told local Detroit news station WDIV-TV at the time that the singer was “gravely ill.” She was reportedly visited at home by Stevie Wonder and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

When news of her illness broke, Beyoncé and Jay-Z dedicated their concert in Detroit on Monday to Franklin, declaring their love for her.

Franklin was named the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2010 and it’s easy to see why. The acclaimed singer was the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards and received the The Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 2005. Franklin also became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Franklin was born March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee but her family moved to Detroit a few years later. Her father was famed preacher and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin. Franklin’s love of music began when she started singing in her father’s church on Sundays, according to the Detroit Historical Society, and when she was 17 her grandmother brought her to New York to pursue her singing ambitions. From there, Franklin’s music career, which spanned gospel, R&B, soul, and pop, took off. 

Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire after the release of her new album in an interview with WDIV-TV

“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin said. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

A film about Franklin’s life, starring Jennifer Hudson is expected to start filming next year, according to Rolling Stone.

Franklin is survived by her four sons, Kecalf Cunningham, Ted White Jr., and Edward and Clarence Franklin.

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Concept Cars That Never Made It: Vol. 1

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Concept Cars That Never Made It is a five-part series that documents production concept automobiles from years and eras ago. Some are bewildering, while others are beautiful, and the only thing common between them is the fact that somewhere down the line, these concepts remained just figments of imagination and creative spirit, and never saw the light of day.

Bertone Lancia Stratos HF Zero (1970)
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Probably the most fitting concept to begin this series with, the Lancia Stratos Zero was debuted for the first time at the Turin Motor Show in 1970, in what was claimed to be a war between Pininfarina and Bertone to see how low they could make their cars. The wedge-shaped design was absolutely ahead of its time, conceived by Marcello Gandini, who also went on to make Lamborghini’s Countach, a car that was inspired heavily by Stratos Zero’s radical shape. The concept came with a V4 engine that sat under a rather revolutionary looking triangular hood on the back of the car. In fact, the car was considered so desirable and beautiful, it even made its way into Michael Jackson’s 1978 film Moonwalker, becoming an absolute icon of cars that were ahead of their time.

Isuzu 4200R (1989)
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Designed by Shiro Nakamura, who was also responsible for the famous Nissan GT-R, the Isuzu 4200R was a 350HP V8 engine powered product of Japan’s Bubble Era, when the economy was riding a high, resulting in wild technology, outstanding performance, and unbelievable price tags. Debuted at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show, the Isuzu 4200R could seat two adults, two children, and (hear this out), came with a VHS player, a fax machine, and a satellite navigation system built right into its dashboard. It’s too bad that as soon as the 1990s began, Isuzu abandoned all passenger car projects to focus on making SUVs and trucks, something it still does pretty well even to this day.

Mercedes Benz C112 (1991)
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The Mercedes Benz C112 was a frustratingly beautiful concept car. I say frustratingly beautiful because back in 1991, customers were literally begging for Mercedes to release it, with as many as 700 confirmed orders too, but a disagreement at the executive level caused Mercedes Benz to just ditch the project altogether, publicly claiming that the world didn’t need another high-speed sports car. The C112 was every bit beautiful, every bit powerful, and every bit Mercedes, with a V12 engine, gullwing doors, and overall aerodynamic design, courtesy Italian designer Sergio Coggiola. Apparently, the company was all set to launch what could have been one of Mercedes Benz’s greatest street-legal-race-cars, with the design even being thoroughly optimized to pass American crash tests. It’s just that the company didn’t bother. *sigh*

Lotus Etna Concept (1984)
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Italdesign’s Lotus Etna also classifies as a frustratingly beautiful concept car that could have been Britain’s first true supercar back in the 80s, had the automotive company not been in financial turmoil. The Etna concept incorporated a new active suspension system from the company’s F1 cars, along with traction control, anti-lock brakes, active noise canceling, and a 4.0-liter “Type 909″ V8 engine derived from their racing motors, also boasting of 335 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque… figures that were pretty impressive for the 80s. The Etna, however, got scrapped when General Motors bought 91% stake in Lotus in 1986. A shame, really.

Daihatsu X 021 (1991)
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Coming from Japan’s oldest automobile manufacturer, the Daihatsu X 021 was presented at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show and was touted to be a rival to Mazda’s Miata (a car that went on to become an icon for the brand). The X 021 was smaller, lighter, and faster than the Miata, built on an aluminum spaceframe and wrapped in fiberglass, along with a 16-valve 1.6-liter 140HP engine that could propel the car at speeds of 125 mph. The company decided to abandon the project to focus on domestic sales, launching the less aggressive, more friendly looking Copen roadster.

Ferrari 125 S (1947)
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The first ever vehicle to hold the Ferrari logo, the 125 S may have been Enzo Ferrari’s second car, but was the first car under his brand. It came with a V12 engine, a trait that all future cars carried too, and a 5-speed gearbox, envisioned by Enzo himself. Celebrating its 70th birthday in March last year, the car may have kickstarted one of the most successful sports car brands of all time, but the reason we classify this legend as a concept is that only two models of the 125 S were made.

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