Required Reading, 4th Week of October 2015

Throughout the week, I read a LOT of online articles. What follows are the three I found most interesting:

The Lonely Death of George Bellvia The New York Times—Some people die alone. This article is both a riveting investigation into who George Bell was, as well as a meditation on what it means to grow old and how to do so with dignity:

The solitude of so many deaths wears on Mr. Plaza, the fear that someday it will be him splayed on the floor in one of these silent apartments. “This job teaches you a lot,” he said. “You learn whatever material stuff you have you should use it and share it. Share yourself. People die with nobody to talk to. They die and relatives come out of the woodwork. ‘He was my uncle. He was my cousin. Give me what he had.’ Gimme, gimme. Yet when he was alive they never visited, never knew the person. From working in this office, my life changed.”

How Your Junk Mail Shows If You’re Rich Or Poorvia The Washington Post—Those junk mail credit card offers aren’t random. If it’s in your mailbox, it’s for you.

Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill, via MIT Technology Review—As discussed in The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us, the more we ask from automation, the more necessary an electronic ethical code becomes:

Here is the nature of the dilemma. Imagine that in the not-too-distant future, you own a self-driving car. One day, while you are driving along, an unfortunate set of events causes the car to head toward a crowd of 10 people crossing the road. It cannot stop in time but it can avoid killing 10 people by steering into a wall. However, this collision would kill you, the owner and occupant. What should it do?

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