On today's Brief, Kim Jong-Un becomes the sexiest man in China, Elon Musk pitches a plan to colonize Mars and several countries push for the UN to regulate the interwebs.
First up, China is notorious for its attempts to control access to the internet with its aggressive firewall. The problem with segregated access like that is you create a bubble for yourself and when a satirical site like The Onion names Kim Jong-Un the Sexiest Man Alive, you have no idea that it's a joke. Seriously, China's Communist Party newspaper The People's Daily ran a 55-page photo spread of the North Korean leader to celebrate his fake honor. They also quoted the article which praised Jong-Un's "devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame." I guess that's what passes for sexy in the People's Republic. Either way, the People's Daily isn't commenting on their error, probably because they're too busy trying to convince everyone that the pudgy dictator truly is the World's Sexiest lunatic tyrant.
Next up, we all know that as a technology becomes more prevalent, its costs go down. So all you adventurous explorers out there can look forward to going to Mars for the low, low price of half a million dollars. That's what SpaceX pioneer Elon Musk is promising as he makes plans to colonize Mars. During a talk at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, Musk proposed sending 80,000 people to the Red Planet to build a city-sized settlement. For half a million dollars per ticket, you'd probably get setup in some kind of gated community safe from inner-city martians and wayward space probes. If you had half a million lying around would you take a trip to Mars or just have the memory implanted?
And finally, China's not the only party interested in controlling the internet. At a summit in Dubai several countries including Russia, Iran and China are trying to use a United Nations agency to enforce taxes, censorship and the ability to block access where they see fit. What makes the internet such a haven for development and free speech is the fact that there is no barrier to entry. You and I can create a site, throw it online and use it to say pretty much anything we want. Cluttering up the works with trade agreements and trying to introduce the equivalent of long distance charges will only stifle free expression and the two billion people who use the internet regularly will pay the price. Google agrees with us and has started an online petition to protect a free and open internet from closed door government regulation. So, if you guys enjoy your online freedoms, maybe head over there and sign.