Two qubits… (0) Why? (1) SCREAM jobs

4 May 2012

It’s May 4th and my last posting was five days ago on April 29th. Summer break is approaching and I don’t know how much time this blog is going to get. Only time will tell (Duh! I know).

[qubit::0]

It’s graduation season. I’m excited about the future is a frequently encountered phrase and everytime I hear it I’d like to ask Why? I use the phrase frequently because I am excited about the future. Why? Because I’m a futurist and that’s exciting.

[qubit::1]

ChangeTheEquation.org has a posting titled “STEM Help Wanted”. The posting was about jobs, but again the STEM acronym sent me on a STEM, CSTEM, STEAM, CSTEAM, SCREAM detour.

STEM help wanted? Heck, yeah. I want stem cells to come to my rescue on an as needed basis. When I see STEM, I see the stock symbol for StemCells, Inc. [Note: I a nanoiota-sized STEM shareholder.]

Switch STEM to SCREAM and the CTEq headline morphs into SCREAM Help Wanted. SCREAM includes ‘Computing’ and ‘Robotics’. Scream “Help Wanted” and it morphs into a HELP WANTED scream.

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Brian David Johnson Chats With will.i.am

25 March 2012

The following are notes from chapter 9 (“The Future of Education: Are We Ready?”) by will.i.am and Brian David Johnson in the The Tomorrow Project Anthology.

will.i.am says he is a “wannabe geek in the geek.” I’m sort of like this, too. Here is something that I posted to Facebook last month… I like being around geeks even though I’m just a pseudo-geek. Sometimes I experience geek envy.

Brian David Johnson (DBJ; an Intel Futurist) wrote that in 02011 “will made a big investment in education. […] Dean Kamen and will teamed up to make an hour-long documentary called i.am FIRST–Science is Rock and Roll.

I added the following quote to GDT::Quotes (my quote collection)…

The planet is full of people who aren’t thinking about the future. Shouldn’t we all prepare? I think we should.

And I think Mr. am is spot on.

I liked the following exchange between BDJ and will.i.am…

will.i.am to BDJ: “You’re a futurist. […] Where are we going?”

BDJ: “For me the question is: Where do we want to go?”

will.i.am: “[…] there are two we’s. There’s the we that are all moving forward and passionate about the future. Then there’s the second we that is staying back and lagging behind.”

will.i.am speaking on the topic of education…

“My cousin is 12 years old now. When she’s 22 is she going to be intelligent because schools are going to change in the near future?”

I think it’s possible the answer to will’s question is no. The education system in the United States needs to be blown up and I don’t see that happening in the near future (i.e. by the end of this decade).

will.i.am continued…

“Someone is going to have to think how to redefine education and mental stimulation to keep kids like her motivated and give her an idea of what she might be competing with.”

Of course “someone” is plural and i.am.hopeful that one of those someones will be will.i.am.


Arizona SciTech Festival Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

5 February 2012

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the first annual Arizona SciTech Festival took place on 4 February 02012 in the planetarium at the Arizona Science Center located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.


The Future of CPSR

13 February 2011

I knew it was only a matter of time before I received the following email message.

From douglas@publicsphereproject.org Sat Feb 5 09:08:15 2011
To: cpsr-members@lists.cpsr.org
Subject: The Future of CPSR

This issue seems like an appropriate follow-up to the recent sad news about the death of Gary Chapman, CPSR’s first executive director.

This note is primarily addressed to people who have been involved with Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, although, in keeping with CPSR’s “big tent” approach, we are certainly interested in hearing from anybody who is interested in the future of CPSR and the further exploration of issues that CPSR members have focused on.

As many of you may have heard or suspected, there is a high probability that Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility will cease to exist in the near future. […]

The CPSR.org website gives the appearance that CPSR started dying during the spring of 2008 (e.g. the last “Recent News” was on 18 February 2008). The last “annual appeal” and “end of year campaign” were 2006 and 2007, respectively.

It seems ironic that CPSR is preparing to go belly-up just when we have supercomputers with practically infinite storage capable of executing more than two quadrillion arithmetic calculations per second piping data/information into high-performance visualization systems. The computing roadmap is for exa-scale computing by 2018-2020 and historically the computing roadmap has been extremely accurate. Exa-scale computing is frighteningly powerful and socially responsible computing is more important than ever.

It seems ironic that CPSR is dying just when the “Digital Divide” is wider than ever; electronic voting systems remain mostly proprietary and capable of stealing elections; net neutrality is an issue that’s beyond the understanding of most of us; educational systems think “learning about computing” means learning how to simply be a user of “apps” even though “program or be programmed” is more true than ever; RFID e-product codes and sensor data are getting piped into HPC systems; robots are being equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities; too few cybersecurity gurus are being groomed; there remains a huge dearth of women in computing; etc. etc. etc.

It seems ironic that CPSR is dying at a time when we continue to be led by 18th century political dinosaurs who scream about the importance of SCREAM (Science, Computing, Robotics, Engineering, Art, Math), yet are luddites of the highest order.

What am I going to help keep CPSR alive? Nothing.


An Example of the Power of Twitter

25 August 2010

2010.08.24: During the first day of the Introduction to Computer Science class, I asked the 26 students the following question: How many of you use Twitter?

My question prompted some gentle giggling, but a couple of hands were raised.

I shared with the class about how I’ve been trying to turn students on to Twitter, but that my current grade would be an F-.

I shared with the class that for me the power of Twitter was in whom I followed. I told the class that the first thing I do when I log into my computer is scan my un-read tweets. I pointed out that if the “right” people are followed, then Twitter can be a treasure trove of great stuff.

Student (sitting in row one): Give us an example.
Me (excited): Did I pay you to say that?

The following example was then presented…

On 2010.08.20 at 6:14am @compufoo tweeted:

RT @hrheingold Doug Engelbart & Ted Nelson came to dinner (14 min vid): http://bit.ly/cprNC8

Student (excited): Doug Engelbart?
Me (yet more excited): Yes. Do know about Doug Engelbart?
Student: Yes, he invented the computer mouse.
Me: How do you know that?
Student: I learned it last semester from Peter Martin. Engelbart was his idol.

Back to the tweet…

RT @hrheingold Doug Engelbart & Ted Nelson came to dinner (14 min vid): http://bit.ly/cprNC8

I explain how my tweet was a re-tweet (RT) of a tweet by @hrheingold (i.e. I follow Howard Heingold on Twitter). Howard Heingold lives in Silicon Valley and he’s a visiting lecturer at Stanford and UC-Berkeley; a research fellow at the Institute for the Future; and a guru when it comes to understanding “virtual communities” (and these days “social networking”). Howard Heingold tweets; he is a user of Twitter. In his Twitter biography, Howard says he’s an “online instigator, educator, offline gardener.”

I click on @hrheingold and we see (which at that time was) Heingold’s most recent tweet.

Thank you! @jimmy_wales for great interview on collaboration. Will publish video eventually.

Wow! Look at that… It appears as though Howard Heingold has interviewed Jimmy Wales and he’s going to share the interview with the world. Question to the class: Who is Jimmy Wales? There’s a pause, so I tell the class that if they use the Wikipedia, then they should give thanks to Jimmy Wales. I also point out to the class that they too can follow @jimmy_wales on Twitter.

Back to the tweet…

RT @hrheingold Doug Engelbart & Ted Nelson came to dinner (14 min vid): http://bit.ly/cprNC8

I point out the class that the power of Twitter is significantly amplified by the ability to insert hyperlinks into tweets. Hyperlinks make the web the World Wide Web (WWW) that it is. But well before the WWW (almost 30 years before), one technologist was thinking about hypertext. Question to the class: Whom do think this technologist was?

“It felt like having Newton and Galileo over for dinner,” wrote Howard Heingold on having dinner with Engelbart and Nelson.

At this point, this power of Twitter example is over. With one tweet I was able to introduce Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart to the students in an introductory Computer Science class. In addition, the students were introduced to Howard Heingold and Jimmy Wales.


Doh! It turns out this power of Twitter example isn’t over. On 2010.08.26 (i.e. day two) of class, the following was presented.

Let’s rewind three weeks to a tweet by Mitch Kapor.

2010.08.03 at 2:10pm @mkapor tweeted:

I’m grouchy that so few people (except us old-timers) have even heard of Ted Nelson http://bit.ly/cGbsWC (Wikipedia bio)

Observe… Mitch Kapor hyperlinked into the Wikipedia.

2010:08.03 at 2:11pm @mkapor tweeted:

All of the web is in essence a pale shadow of just one of Ted Nelson’s dreams. Now do I have your attention?

2010.08.03 at 2:15pm @nanofoo in reply to @mkapor:

I’m going to make sure my CS1 students learn a bit about Ted Nelson this fall. They’ll come in knowing Gates & Jobs, but not Nelson.

@nanofoo never got reply from @mkapor, but @rossk did…

2010.08.03 at 2:48pm @rossk in reply to @mkapor:

where should the Nelson-newbie start?

2010.08.03 at 8:07pm@mkapor in reply to @rossk

Read “Computer Lib” by Nelson. Also see the Wired article on him for a dissenting view

Mitch Kapor did not provide his followers with hyperlinks, but here they are…

Computer Lib/Dream Machine (dot-pdf) and Wired.com: The Curse of Xanadu

Ted Nelson

Ted Nelson

Hmm… Who is Mitch Kapor and more…


I Continue To Support the Arizona Science Foundation

1 July 2010

On 28 June 02010, I read Report touts contribution of Science Foundation on page B7 of the Arizona Republic. In the article Ken Alltucker reported the following.

“Science Foundation Arizona has returned more than $3 for every $1 the state has invested in the group’s university and non-profit grant programs over the past three years, a new report indicates.”

I logged into my AzCentral.com account and posted the following comment to Alltucker’s article.

This story should be on page A1; not buried on B7. If the Arizona Republic was serious about helping Arizona be a leading CSTEM state, then this would be A1 news.

Side-bar: STEM is a buzz-acronym and I’m not a fan of using it. Observe that I use CSTEM instead of STEM because STEM advances don’t happen without computing and computing gets lost in the STEM.

On 30 June 02010 (two days later), State should back real moneymaker was one of the Arizona Republic’s editorials. The Republic’s editorial included the following.

“A new evaluation shows the payoff from this public-private partnership from fiscal 2007 to 2009: 1,151 new jobs, 16 new companies, 84 patents and 11 technology licenses. And this remarkable achievement occurred in a severe recession.”

Many people (mostly politicians) use the phrase “worst recession since the great depression” instead of the phrase “severe recession” and it has been in this environment that the Arizona Science Foundation has been able to help Arizona become a 21st century state.

[side-bar] These days I’ve seen people (mostly educators) using STEAM instead of STEM, where the ‘A’ stands for the arts. STEAM, if used, needs to be CSTEAM. In addition, some people (mostly educators) use iSTEM, where the ‘i’ stands for integrated (not iPhone-based STEM). iSTEM, if used, needs to be iCSTEM.


New term: Geekification

7 November 2009

SourceForge Inc. has changed its name to Geeknet Inc. The company changed its name to better “articulate” its business: serving the wants and needs of the expanding world-wide geekdom.

The following quote is from Scott Kauffman, CEO of Geeknet.

The geek demographic is bigger than most people realize,
and it is growing every day in both scope and influence.
Its product appeal extends beyond servers and slide rules
to include video games, soft drinks, automobiles, fast food,
fashion, entertainment, consumer electronics and other goods.
We call this phenomenon the ‘geekification‘ of the world, and we believe that our network provides the best platform
for advertisers to reach this highly coveted audience.

Geeknet “communities” consist of Slashdot, SourceForge.net,
ThinkGeek, Freshmeat, and Ohloh. In addition, they handle advertising for the Linux Foundation’s Linux.com. According to Geeknet, the company serves more than 40 million tech-savvy geeks each month,

Given I’m a shareholder in Geeknet Inc. (nasdaq: LNUX), I hope the company plays a key role in the geekification of the world.