Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Culture of Short Attention Spans

Poorly transcribed; excuse the mistakes: 'Several thousand years ago, during an era pretty similar to what we're living in now, all of the literate, rational people were rounded up and hoarded into a system of monastic communities; these are coed monasteries. But they're not allowed to reproduce. The only way to get new people into this new system is by a process called "collecting" - if you're living on the outside and you're one of those kids who's frequently seen curled up into a corner reading a book, you'll be picked up and dropped off at the nearest monastery.

The people on the inside own nothing, except a piece of cloth that they wrap around their body as a garment. They sit around and read and write books and think about philosophy and mathematics and science, and they do other kinds of scholarly activities. The landscape on the outside is - coast to coast, oceans to oceans - walmarts, casinos, big box retail stores. Over the Millenia, dark ages, renaissance, world wars, have come and gone and so on, but it doesn't affect the people in the inside. It turns out that the two cultures have found out to get along pretty happily.

The people on the outside have pretty darn short attention spans. They can't tear themselves away from their cell phone-like devices. The people on the inside look upon them with a certain amount of horror, and simply can't understand how anybody could live that way. If you're interested in these topics, you could do worse than picking up this book as maybe an entry point for thinking about those kinds of issues, and carrying that conversation forward.'

- Neal Stephenson, @ Google on September 12th 2008, Mountain View, CA

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What Will the LHC Find?

"Something that Has Never Been Predicted: 50%. Here is my favorite thing to root for. Particle theorists have been coming up with new models for so long without being surprised by new experimental results, some of them have forgotten what it’s like. Nature has a way of throwing us curve balls — which is not only something to be anticipated, it’s something to be very grateful for. Surprises are how we learn things."

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin

"I'm a 66 year old man. I have a disabled child. He has cerebral palsy. When he was born I changed my life entirely to be near him and to help take care of him. I quit a high powered job and started a small business close to home. I have spent the last 40 years helping my wife to care for our son. He is my best friend and we will be pals forever. I think Sarah Palin should have said in her speech, "I would love to accept the nomination as Vice President, but I can't. I owe it to my newborn disabled child and my other children to stay close to home and work with my husband to take care of them. So I respectfully decline the nomination as Vice-President." This is not a sexist comment. It takes two committed parents to take proper care of a disabled child. She is not a decent role model for those of us who have disabled kids. She is never going to be able to fulfill her obligations to her child and be a decent Vice-President. She knew this child was coming. I did not know that ours was disabled until he was 9 months old. She is absolutely unqualified to be President. She is not pro-family values. The odds that McCain will not survive 8 years are pretty high, so realize that you are really voting for President Sarah Palin. Does that send chills up your spine. We don't need a pit bull, we need a grown-up. The world is watching. Lets not screw it up again!" - jugglerforpeace,

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Google Chrome Announcement.

How much time do you spend inside an internet browser? Should a browser be self-important? Should we make you forget that you are using a browser? Is there a story to tell about all this?

Friday, August 01, 2008

We Have Found Water on Mars.

"We have water," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. "We've seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted." This is incredible. That is all, I have nothing else to say at this point. Here is the full excerpt from

Sunday, June 29, 2008

3 Minutes on Refrigeration without Electricity

"Adam Grosser talks about a project to build a refrigerator that works without electricity -- to bring the vital tool to villages and clinics worldwide. Tweaking some old technology, he's come up with a system that works."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good evening Sir, my name is Steve.

A friend of mine sent me a link today off of Jeremy Zawodny's blog. Apparently a comment I made on Reddit made his blog. This made me laugh so hard I am compelled to share. Here's the full size snapshot. I wonder if that movie will ever get old. I wonder if people will ever scratch the surface of the genius that is Mike Judge. Back up in your ass with the resurrection, bitches.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Popping Corn with Cell Phones

Upping the creativity bar a tad...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Human Energy Distribution

What if you were told that time was overrated? Have you given much thought to your energy distribution, giving the concept of time a break?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Effort Some Spend On Writing Music

In this eclectic world we live in, there are musicians out there who incorporate the Fibonacci Sequence whilst composing their songs. (Don't worry if you don't know what that is, the video will explain it.) Couple that with the vocal range of this singer, and you have yourself a pretty intense, thought provoking, clever music video. Take a listen, spiral out, keep going, spiral out, keep going...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Will Climate Change Personally Affect me in 10 Years?

"The north polar ice cap is exactly the same size of the US minus the size roughly the area of the state of Arizona."
"The amount of ice remaining in the polar ice caps will most likely be gone in the next 5 years. Some of it might come back, but will come back as thin ice."

How much trash do you generate? How long are your daily showers? How much gas do you burn? Do you use halogen light bulbs, or the old school, rob-you-out-of-your-beer-money kind? Have you looked into solar panels to power your house and make money by providing energy back into the grid? Is your house insulated properly? What exactly is the correlation between buying and consuming animal based protein (meat, eggs, dairy) and the impact of cow grazing, domestication, breeding, etc.. on our atmosphere? How much flying do you do? What the hell is a carbon footprint and what does it have to do with our planet eventually looking like Venus (same size as earth, same amount of CO2) where the average temperature is enough to kill you in minutes?
How much do you know about climate change and what effects it will have on your children and the rest of us? If I made you think, this video will make you think some more.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Elephant Paints Self Portrait

Let them keep their husks...seriously.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tariffing Brazilian Ethanol, all the while Cherishing Saudi OPEC >$100-a-barrel petroleum. Why...?

This is quite possibly one of the most important questions to be addressed for the 21st century. Why are we so hell bent on spending half of our defense budget and hand it over to OPEC when we don't have to? When trillions of dollars are being transferred from the US to a Saudi conglomerate such as OPEC for a natural resource that doesn't operate under a free market, are we then not indirectly supporting totalitarian regimes and transferring absolute power away from the US into the hands of countries such as Saudi Arabia who still practice barbaric acts against their own citizens and denigrate free speech? Are we then indirectly doing everything BUT spreading democracy? When such high volumes of capital exchange takes place, are we talking about money or transfer of absolute power?

Why don't we use most of this OPEC money towards third world agricultural sector ethanol production to fuel our cars? Why don't we have Congress mandate that every car sold in the US be flex fueled cars so they can run on ethanol as well as petroleum, hence creating a world standard and creating a tremendous win for world development? This would also make it much easier to lift international trade barriers, and fund tractors for low income families instead of helping Saudi princes buy stake in American Media.

Dr. Robert Zubrin argues the points above in his new book, and offers quite an intriguing solution.

Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free Of Oil.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jill's Stroke of Insight

Have you seen a real human brain held up close? The next 18 minutes will be a jaw-dropping experience for you if you decide to go ahead and watch this TED talk.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Positive Outlook Into the Future

In layman's terms, we refer to nanotechnology as being the field of science and research that involves tinkering with things as small as 1 billionth the size of 1 meter (1 meter = 1*10^-9 nanometers). This is engineering at the atomic and molecular scale. It's hard to visualize this, but you should be getting goosebumps.

Once we reach a tipping point in applied nanotechnology, to the point where your average joe can pick up a nanoelectric device as they would now an iPhone, this world will look a whole lot different. Touring the new nanotech research labs in UC Santa Barbara, I was mesmerized and humbled as to what's being worked on, and at the scale that is being worked on. 10,000 transistors capable of fitting into a SINGLE FLY hair? Nanograss capable of harvesting sun's energy? Buildings completely encapsulated by nanosolar cells to harvest solar energy? Needless to say, this doesn't mean we needn't watch our carbon footprint and pollute carelessly, yet it goes to show that it's becoming extremely challenging to predict the future reasonably. As Kurzweil argues, the rate of change of technology growth is increasing; technology builds upon itself. The result is an exponential curve.

I implore you to take all future predictions [by political pundits, news 'analysts', etc..] with a massive grain of salt. Not every author is an expert, and not all experts write bestsellers. Support your representatives and presidential candidates who are not afraid to take generous steps to support scientific research to the best of their capabilities. Most breakthroughs happen by accident, but it's up to us to foster that kind of environment where these noble accidents can take place. This quote fits nicely within this context: "undergrads think they know everything, graduates know they know nothing and phds know everyone else knows nothing." Let's not believe everything we think.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tool's Maynard James Keenan (rare interview)

Maynard prefers to be out the limelight most of the time. You won't see him on talk shows, or on TV. Though I did recently come across this video, which does a good job of summarizing their music and its purpose, and the inspiration behind the process. Tool is one of those bands you'd very much miss out on if you're a judge-a-book-by-its-cover kind of person.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

David Russell on Preserving Enthusiasm

Wise words from a wise man. Russell addresses issues that most musicians have to deal with on a frequent basis.

David Russell plays Barrios

One of the most profound guitar players of all time and one of my personal favorites plays "El Ultimo Cancion" by Barrios. He usually performs once every few years at the Herbst Theatre in San Fran. Enjoy.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Google's Official Statement on the Microsoft Bid for Yahoo

"2/03/2008 11:45:00 AM
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer

The openness of the Internet is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It's what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

So Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft -- despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses -- to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors' email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions -- and consumers deserve satisfying answers.

This hostile bid was announced on Friday, so there is plenty of time for these questions to be thoroughly addressed. We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously. They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first -- and should come first -- as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Eric Schmidt at NASA 50th Anniversary Lecture Series

Eric Schmidt gives a speech at NASA's 50th Anniversary Lecture Series, demonstrating Google Street View, Google Earth, along with touching up on a slew of other topics. A good watch.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Dr. Zubrin Paying Us a Visit

I'll be hosting a tech talk with Dr. Robert Zubrin (Founder of the Mars Society) coming up in the next few weeks. It's an honor to have him visit us, and frankly I'm very much looking forward to it. I'll post the Authors@Google link when it's ready. Happy groundhog's day.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Insightful" Comments

Just recently I came across a rather comprehensive paper, a Cost Analysis, rather, of Windows Vista content protection. I didn't have time to read the entire paper, but noticed some comments from high ranking Microsoft systems architects, research scientists, and engineers on the bottom:

“No amount of coordination will be successful unless it's designed with the needs of the customer in mind. Microsoft believes that a good user experience is a requirement for adoption” — Microsoft.

“The PC industry is committed to providing content protection on the PC, but nothing comes for free. These costs are passed on to the consumer” — ATI.

“How do I put all these companies in a position where, regardless of what they see is in their best interest, they have to adopt your technology? […] I realized that a major part of my job was to figure out how to use technology control to create economic force, or leverage, such that money and business flowed in Microsoft's direction” — Alex St.John, father of DirectX.

“I'm not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers, both business and home, the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems our customers face are” — Jim Allchin, Platform Products and Services Group, Microsoft.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Banff Mountain Film Festival Winners Announced

"The 32nd annual Banff Mountain Film Festival, presented by National Geographic and New Balance, brings you the world’s best mountain films and speakers. Experience the adventure of climbing, mountain expeditions, remote cultures, and the world’s last great wild places — all brought to life on the big screen.

Films are at the heart of the festival. From the over 300 films entered into competition, the top 50 or so are screened throughout the festival. Competition winners are[were] announced on Sunday evening."

Back in Santa Barbara, Campbell Hall is usually packed, every year, with UCSB students and other zealous outdoorsy free-spirited types to watch the 3-4 hour Banff Award winning movies. Some of the best outdoors footage you'll see before your eyes are shown in the festival. I'll be going again next year... Tuesday & Wednesday 27th, 28th of February, in Campbell Hall, Santa Barbara, CA. Well worth your $12. Here's the trailer; buckle up...