The Singularity

Just realized that I have not linked to Vernor Vinge’s article on the singularity (which you can read here). The reason I bring this up is this article which a coworker just refered me to. It talks about the coming robotic age (my appelation for it, not his) and it’s affect on our economy. The reasons this caught my eye are twofold: one, it evokes the idea of the singularity and what might happen when all of this technology accelerates to these speeds; and, two, the idea that our economy is not quite prepared to handle this sort of change.
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Predictable Emergence

Here’s a quote from the Neil Gershenfeld article I linked to in the previous entry that I find particularly intriguing: The kind of taxonomy that biologists do has to turn into predictive design theories. Shannon did that once. He showed that the channel capacity, that threshold I was talking about, is equal to bandwidth times the logarithm of 1 plus the signal-to noise ratio. That let you suddenly take these disparate attributes and, independent of the details of a particular design, learn how to price them and trade them off.
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Enabling Technology

In the latest edition of EDGE there’s a great article from Neil Gershenfeld on the empowerment of people through enabling technology. In this case, though, we’re not talking so much about the usual digitial technology (the internet and it’s related mechanisms) so much as fabrication tools and microcontrollers. A few choice excerpts: In support of this basic research we started teaching a class, modestly called “How To Make (almost) Anything,” where we show students how to use the millions of dollars of machines available at MIT for making things.
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Clarke's Laws

  1. First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. Second Law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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Moving to Boston... Eventually

Yup, that’s right, as the title says, we’ve decided Boston is the place. Nicole’s applying to law school for next year and we’ve decided that instead of applying all over the place she’s just going to apply to schools in the Boston area. I think the list includes Suffolk, Northeastern, Boston University and Harvard last I heard. Seems like I’m forgetting one, but I’m sure she’ll tell me when she reads this.
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Getting Old...

I just noticed that the content on this site is getting so old and is so poorly maintained/updated that the sidebar on the right isn’t displaying correctly. And this isn’t even the first time I’ve noticed that. I guess it’s time to start with the inane updates about my life and crap like that, eh? I mean, that’s what you want isn’t it? Most of the links I give you are just stuff I’ve found somewhere else and I’m sure most of you read those sites anyways right?
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Survival of the Fittest

Read Creation Science Fair 2001 for an example of some good, old fashioned non-science and an example of why our future is pretty bleak if this kind of garbage continues to be taught. Particularly disturbing is the second place winner at the middle school level titled “Women Were Designed For Homemaking.” I’m having trouble believing that this is for real.

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