The Future is Rapidly Approaching

10 March 2014

This morning (02014.03.10) I’ve read postings having the following titles.

  • Sniffing out cancer with electronic noses — BBC.com
  • It’s time to build a bionic brain for smarter research — TheConversation.com
  • Bioprinting: Building living tissue with a 3D printer is becoming a new business, but making whole organs for transplant remains elusive — Economist.com
  • The rechargeable revolution: A better battery — Nature.com
  • Folding@home simulates activation of key cancer protein, could lead to novel drug design — Phys.org
  • SXSW Cognitive Cooking: Belgian Bacon Pudding — IBM on YouTube.com

The future is rapidly approaching, yet from a sociopolitical perspective it seems as though we can’t escape the 20th century.

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Human Genome; Autonomous Vehicles; Supercomputing; SpaceX

1 June 2012

From a sociopolitical perspective the 21st century has been a dud, but ignoring that…

Human Genome Project completed in 02003; DARPA Grand Challenge successfully met in 02005; DARPA Urban Challenge successfully met in 02007; TOP500 top supercomputer tops petaflops in 02008; IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy! in 02011; SpaceX successfully completes its first mission in 02012.

[update::02012.06.01] This posting should have included the following… Yesterday (02012.05.31) the front page of the Arizona Republic had the following headline: “U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy”. Today the New York Times has a news story titled “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”. My gut tells me cyberwarfare, which I think is in progress, is going to be uglier than ugly.


Is It Possible To Halt the Exponential Advancement of Technology?

9 March 2012

“It’s impracticable to halt the exponential advancement of technology.” — Ben Goertzel (01966-) {Director of Research for the Singularity Institute for AI}

Goertzel says that “it’s impractical to halt the exponential advancement of technology” and it’s possible he’s right. But let’s observe Goertzel’s use of the word impracticable instead of the word impossible because it’s possible that the power of sociopolitical factors will deem Goertzel’s impracticable as practical. Pondering the future is fun, but it is complicated by the fact that we’re a planet of seven billion people. It’s possible that this morph of Goertzel’s quote is false: “It’s impossible to halt the exponential advancement of technology.” [Ponder the Luddite riot of 01811-01812.]

Hmm… I have learned that learning about the future is easier if I ignore sociopolitical factors.


ACRONYM as an Acronym

31 July 2010

I’ve been on an acronym kick lately, so I decided to write this little ditty about acronyms.

From the world of politics…

ACCURATE: A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, And Transparent Elections
ACORN: Americans Corrupting Our Republic Nation [it’s really Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now]
BEST PRACTICES Act: Building Effective Strategies To Promote Responsibility Accountability Choice Transparency Innovation Consumer Expectations and Safeguards Act
DISCLOSE Act: Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act

From the world of education…

Getting AHEAD: Getting Access to Higher Education And Degrees
AIMS: Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards
DREAM Act: Development, Relief, Education for Alien Minors Act
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics
STREAM: using Robotics to Teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

I’ve known the following computing related acronyms for a long time.

BASIC: Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
FLOPS: FLoating-Point Operations Per Second
FLOSS: Free/Libre/Open Source Software
GIMP: Graphic Image Manipulation Program
GNU, which is a recursive acronym, is one of my favorites. GNU is Not Unix
KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid
LAMP: Linux, Apache, Mysql, Php
PLUG: Phoenix Linux Users Group
RAM: Random Access Memory
RAID: Redundant Array of Independent Disks
SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol
WIMP: Window, Icon, Menu, Pointer (Pointing device) [recently learned]
WORM: Write Once Read Many

I’ve rolled many of my own acronyms…

BAD: Basic Arithmetic Date
BARS: Basic Arithmetic Road Sign
EGG: Exam Generator and Giver
SPOT: Some Place Out There

I wanted to use the word “acronym” as a math related acronym and came up with the following.

ACRONYM: Another Candid Reason One Never Yearns Math

Used in a sentence: When one encounters an acronym, it’s ACRONYM.


Who is Howard Schmidt?

24 December 2009

Howard A. Schmidt has been named Cyber-Security Coordinator of the Obama Administration (i.e. Cybersecurity Czar). Schmidt was a cyber-adviser in President George W. Bush’s White House.

The only thing I know about Howard Schmidt is that he is not the father of Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt.

When it comes to computer security I try to listen to Bruce Schneier, Gene Spafford, Phil Zimmermann and Edward Felten; therefore, I am interested in what these computer security gurus have to say about Howard Schmidt. To date (as of 02009.12.24), I haven’t been able to find much, but I did find the following.

From Schneier.com…

Reporters are calling me for reactions and opinions, but I just don’t know. Schmidt is good, but I don’t know if anyone can do well in a job with lots of responsibility but no actual authority. But maybe Obama will imbue the position with authority — I don’t know.

From Spafford via TheCommandLine.net…

Well, to be correct about it, neither Bruce nor I was ever contacted about taking the position or about suggesting anyone to fill it.

I find it beyond amazing that President Obama did not seek out advice from Schneier and Spafford.

Spafford continued via TheCommandLine.net…

This may or may not say something about the search itself. I do not know of anyone with a primarily cyber technology background who was contacted — only people with business and/or military backgrounds. This is another factor that made me believe that the view of this position is skewed in a direction that will limit its effectiveness.

Keyphrases… Schneier: “a job with lots of responsibility but no actual authority.” Spafford: “this position is skewed in a direction that will limit its effectiveness.

Barack Obama himself has been quoted saying that a computer can be morphed into a “weapon of mass disruption.” Catchy words, but I’m not convinced President Obama knows what he’s doing when it comes to cybersecurity.


Promoting long-term thinking

19 November 2009

I posted the following comment in response to an AzCentral.com posting by editorial writer Joanna Allhands titled “The impact of long-term forecasts.

“30-year economic forecast”… Hee-haw.

“Recovery from this recession could take decades”… I don’t know how you define “recovery,” but I keep “seeing” 02013 as being a major breakout year. In other words, the “recovery” will take decades if we assume one-year decades (and one-decade centuries). Note: I use 5-digit years for a reason. [visit LongNow.org and subscribe to the SingularityU YouTube channel]

Want to get majorily depressed? Investigate “lump of labor.” We’re not yet in the Robotics Age; consequently, this recession’s “recovery” is giving us insight into the “lump of labor” problem that is awaiting us. The next recession has the potential to make this recession look like good times. In a nutshell: We need to start electing 21st century leaders rather than 20th century political dinosaurs.


Berlin wall replica in Dixon, Illinois

9 November 2009

9 November 1989… I was 32 years of age and the falling of the Berlin Wall meant nothing to me. In the fall of ’89 I was helping raise two kids (ages almost 8 and 6) and working full time as a computer programmer. I’m not sure I spent much time paying attention as to what was happening in the world. The Internet existed, but I didn’t have access to it (and the World Wide Web was in the process of being invented/created).

I remember during the earlier 1990s a co-worker going to Germany on a vacation. Upon their return, they gifted me with a small piece of the Berlin Wall, but I ended up losing it.

In 2004, I visited Dixon, Illinois, which was he boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, has the Wings Of Peace And Freedom Park. The park includes a full replica of a section of the Berlin wall. The following pictures were taken in Dixon, Illinois.

012_DixonStatue
Dixon Illinois014_DixonWall015_DixonPlaque