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Abstraction Salesman December 18th, 2007

I’m always suspicious when there’s a knocking on my door. Everyone that I would want in my house knows not to knock. So if someone is knocking on the door, it’s either the Mormons, someone begging for change, or some other annoyance. I was tempted to pretend that I wasn’t home, a ...

Free Newspapers December 18th, 2007

I just watched a web-talk given by Chris Anderson (online here) that sort of blew my mind. The last thing to really do that was Everything is Miscellaneous. Which, I’ll grant you, I read about a week ago – so either my mind is easily blown, we live in mind blowing times, or ...

The Rich Man’s Burden December 18th, 2007

I recently gave a presentation on the American Dream, and why it’s a bunch of crap. Salient points reproduced here. As I see it, and as I often hear it, the American Dream (AD) is that any person, no matter where they start in life, can make it to the top. All it takes ...

Patterns of Information Consumption December 18th, 2007

A few centuries ago, there wasn’t as much history as there is today. That should be obvious, of course, because a few centuries of history have happened, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the 14th century, prior to the invention of the printing press, there wasn’t much that a person ...

Jetpacks (I want one) December 16th, 2007

Well, it turns out that the future does have jet packs. It just also turns out that they’re horrifically expensive. The price? $250,000 (with YouTube clip!). And they run on jet fuel, which is also probably not to cheap. But it gets 19 minutes of flight per fueling, which is ...

Robots! December 16th, 2007

There’s something really fascinating about robots. There are a whole lot of people working on the problem of humanoid robots, and it won’t be that long before they become efficient enough to do some jobs currently done by flesh and blood people. It’s already happening in millions of factories, but when we see ...

Traffic Lights December 16th, 2007

The traffic lights in my town aren’t automated. They run on 80 second timers. For most of that time, they’re red. Thirty seconds green, three seconds yellow, forty-seven seconds red. Someone timed it out that way for optimal traffic flow. When an ambulance comes through, they’re surrounded by green lights, ...

The Implications of AuthorBot December 15th, 2007

I like the idea of AuthorBot. Once I’ve learned enough, I’ll at least make an attempt at PoetryBot, because people are generally more forgiving when your lines don’t match up well (besides which, attempts have already been made for proof of concept). But more than AuthorBot, I like all the things that it ...

What Evolution Means December 14th, 2007

Evolution doesn’t mean what you think it means. It’s an emergent property of systems, a high level phenomenon. As stated by Darwin in The Origin of Species, if a system has the following three qualities: 1. Geometric ratio of increase2. Mutation3. Selective Forces then transitions in the makeup of the population will take place. ...

Why Privacy is a Bad Thing December 14th, 2007

Imagine a (magical) computer program that could store every action taken by every individual throughout their entire lifetime. It would record information about what they bought, what they ate, who they talked to, what they said, various bioinformation like heart rate, cholesterol levels, etc. Now imagine that this computer stores all this information with a series ...

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