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The Best of The Week

"Go Set A Watchman" is the second novel by Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird. It was released in 2015, 55 years after the release of her first book. It was supposedly written first, with To Kill A Mockingbird being a prequel of sorts to it. but may have been edited in the intervening five decades.

"Go Set A Watchman" was very successful upon its release, selling some one million copies in its first week of sale. Much of the interest in the book was in its revisionist take on some of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, primarily Atticus Finch. To talk about "To Set A Watchman", we have to talk about "To Kill A Mockingbird", and more precisely, to the fact that it has gathered a central place in the literature curriculum of United States' high schools. The book has become so central, being one of the main works that everyone is exposed to, that is is almost possible to forget that it was ever written by a real person (partly due to the author's reclusive nature). It…

Lignum vitae is the common name for trees in the genus Guaiacum, and particularly for the heartwood of these trees, which is one of the densest and strongest woods in the world. These woods are also included under the expansive category of ironwood, a name often given to woods that are dense enough to sink in water.

Lignum vitae is Latin for 'wood of life', named so because of the medicines that early New World explorers claimed could be derived from its sap, gum, and…

'Hard takeoff' is a term used in futurism to refer to a sudden and probably unexpected singularity event (in the transhumanism sense, not a black hole). The most likely cause of this would be an AI that develops from human or near-human intelligence to super-intelligence in a very short time period -- a matter of months, weeks, or days. This is in contrast to a slow progression, AKA a soft takeoff, which is traditionally assumed to be more probable.

The…