Originally published on December 1st, 2011
Don’t care how it works. Just tell me if it can do this —> Marty McFly’s hoverboard
Originally published on Dec 16, 2011
Brin speaks out against SOPA and PIPA. link
In just two decades, the world wide web has transformed and democratized access to information all around the world. I am proud of the role Google has played alongside many others such as Yahoo, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Whether you are a student in an internet cafe in the developing world or a head of state of a wealthy nation, the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips.Of course, offering these services has come with its challenges. Multiple countries have sought to suppress the flow of information to serve their own political goals. At various times notable Google websites have been blocked in China, Iran, Libya (prior to their revolution), Tunisia (also prior to revolution), and others. For our own websites and for the internet as a whole we have worked tirelessly to combat internet censorship around the world alongside governments and NGO promoting free speech.Thus, imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress — SOPA and PIPA — give the US government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial). While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.This is why I signed on to the following open letter with many other founders – http://dq99alanzv66m.cloudfront.net/sopa/img/12-14-letter.pdf
See also: http://americancensorship.org/ and http://engineadvocacy.org/
Originally published on November, 2011
- On September 6, 2010, I spake: Action Oriented Speech Recognition for everyday computing
- In October 2011 Siri was launched
Originally published on November 6, 2011
I've been thinking about these sentient beings. Sentient beings that we'd be able to create by leveraging technology. But also, sentient beings that are able to replicate the essence of consciousness.
I recall this short story called “the fun they had“ written by Isaac Asimov. In this short story, Asimov envisions mechanical tutors and how the process of learning is completely mechanized.
Now, that short story was satire as it hypothesizes what children miss out on by not being in school. It's all about mechanical tutors and home schooling in that short story.
But in a future state, learning need not be like that. At the same time, making use of a sentient AI. Backed by a sentient network, big data and cloud. Something like that could truly customize and revolutionize learning as we know it.
An individualized, more engaging, enhanced form of learning in a social environment. Wouldn't that be something.
One of those questions that get lodged in your brain and is unable to shake off. “Why is earth’s center so hot?”. Must be a lazy Monday evening, as I have spent the better part of the last hour or more thinking about and researching this one question. Well, one thing led to another and I learned a couple of useful things along the way, which I will share towards the end.
Coming back to the question at hand. I know it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to compare the heat that the sun (star) generates vs the heat being generated inside the earth’s (planet) various cores. From what I know about how the sun operates, basically you have this giant ball of hydrogen, and the and the enormous weight/mass pulls on itself. This is what gives the sun and pretty much all the other planets it’s spherical shape. At this point I am going to steal the actual description of what’s going on inside the sun from this website as they have been able to summarize quite well in one paragraph, what I will probably take a page to describe:
If you could travel down into the Sun, you’d reach a point where the pressure and temperature are enough that nuclear fusion is able to take place. This is the process where protons are merged together into atoms of helium. It can only happen in hot temperatures, and under incredible pressures. But the process of fusion gives off more energy than it uses. So once it gets going, each fusion reaction gives off gamma radiation. It’s the radiation pressure of this light created in the core of the Sun that actually stops it from compressing any more.
Interesting stuff. Now having looked at the basics of how a star powers itself up. Let’s focus on our good ol Planet earth. A 4.5+ billion year old piece of rock that is pretty hot inside. 4.5+ billion years is a long time. The age of the universe is determined to be anywhere from 12 to 14 billion years ago. So this particular solar system that we dwell upon, formed along the way, approximately 66% into the universe’s existence to date. Meaning from the big bang till now (not the overall existence.) Again, 4.5 billion years is a long time and yet the center of the earth remains quite hot. Why?
Image and text (excerpt below): Courtesy of physorg
I will steal from physorg to be able to shed more more light on this subject:
“We don’t think this original heat is a major part of the Earth’s heat, though,” Marone says. It only contributes 5 to 10 percent of the total, “about the same amount as gravitational heat.”
Referring to the time when the earth first came into existence, well along with the better part of the solar system itself.
and then to build on the heating bit:
For all this, however, Marone says, the vast majority of the heat in Earth’s interior—up to 90 percent—is fueled by the decaying of radioactive isotopes like Potassium 40, Uranium 238, 235, and Thorium 232 contained within the mantle. These isotopes radiate heat as they shed excess energy and move toward stability. “The amount of heat caused by this radiation is almost the same as the total heat measured emanating from the Earth.”
So we started with a simple question. Then drew parallels between a sun and a planet and their ability to generate heat in a cold universe. Interesting stuff eh?
Some of the other stuff I was referring to earlier on, worth thinking about:
Originally published on November 15, 2011
Jeff Bezos on:
On disrupting business practices in order to create new revenue streams:
“As a company, one of our greatest cultural strengths is accepting the fact that if you’re going to invent, you’re going to disrupt. A lot of entrenched interests are not going to like it. Some of them will be genuinely concerned about the new way, and some of them will have a vested self-interest in preserving the old way. But in both cases, they’re going to create a lot of noise, and it’s very easy for employees to be distracted by that. It could be criticism of something that we actually believe in. It could also be too much praise about something that we’re not doing as well as the outside world says we’re doing it. We’re going to stay heads-down and work on the business.”
On the broken patent system:
“For many years, I have thought that software patents should either be eliminated or dramatically shortened. It’s impossible to measure the toll they’ve had on the software industry, but on balance, it has been negative”
On long term strategy:
““It’s all about the long term.” If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. At Amazon we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow—and we’re very stubborn. We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details.”
This is what Jeff had to say about Steve Jobs. And I completely agree with him:
“Steve was a teacher to anyone paying attention, and he’s gone way too soon.”