Unsurprisingly, we still have a lot to learn from ancient cultures, even when it comes to technology. Sure, it can be argued that the Romans half-invented this super-strong type of cement, half-stumbled upon it by chance. From what we know, they were far behind us when it comes to understanding complex chemical reactions, but as the saying goes, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.
Some years ago, I began passively collecting random bits of wisdom; quotes I would come across while roaming the web or during daily interactions with friends and colleagues. I didn’t limit myself at including only quotes from famous people. I collected from the anonymous, from the ancient unknown and included even original or quirky sayings I heard during some conversation. My collection of quotes is growing slowly but surely.
Diversity is beautiful. It’s the reason why our planet is so different than everything else we’ve encountered so far. Humans have added to the diversity through art and technology. But what if there is a boundary after which adding more diversity becomes ugly?
Do I blame the engineers that build hyper-cars? Of course not. Besides being a former Formula 1 fan, I know that these people are only doing their job. I do blame, however, a society that doesn’t encourage these bright minds to work on fixing bigger, more meaningful problems.
Every now and then, somebody is amazed at the ever-increasing power of computers to simulate reality. The accuracy of these simulations increases every year, in step with the increase in computing power. This has led some to extrapolate that eventually we will reach the ability to simulate an entire Universe, perhaps even including conscious beings. And if so, what if we’re a simulation ourselves? According to new research, this is, in principle, impossible due to, you guessed it, the most mysterious of phenomena: quantum effects.
Among the first questions I asked myself when I became a parent was: “what parenting book should I read now? Which is the best one?”. What the article below has taught me is that sometimes even an easy read can be more illuminating than all the books in the world. Make no mistake, there is a lot of knowledge that parents should absorb and parenting books are important. But so are little gems like this one, tiny pearls of perfectly concentrated wisdom, ready for you to integrate.
We live in the age of hyper-consumerism. Companies are desperate to convert as much raw material as possible into anything that can be purchased. The machine has been perfected to the point where even leftover byproducts from any production cycle can be fed back into another production line to manufacture something somebody would buy. Sometimes this includes using unhealthy materials, both for us and for the environment. But it doesn’t matter as long as it turns a profit. The machine has to keep producing something, anything, just please, buy it. This is wrecking our ecosystem and is woefully unsustainable.
Awareness regarding the bleak future we might be creating for ourselves after drowning our planet in toxic trash is increasing. However, most people still buy products built to last a very short time because there are no alternatives. And even when certain products could last longer, companies have gotten very good at fooling their followers that fashion doesn’t apply only to clothes, but to everything else as well. Now-a-days, many people willingly throw away perfectly operational devices just to jump on the latest model.
But a new economic model is becoming increasingly popular – the monthly payment for a certain service, sometimes metered based on how much a person has used the service. At the moment, this is particularly successful in the digital space (media streaming, software, data and bandwidth, games). Let’s see what a generalized version of this system could mean to our economy and ecosystem in the coming decades. I call it “anything as a service”. The term is already used for software, but in this case, it is truly anything.
Security vulnerabilities are a dime a dozen now-a-days. But, when a couple of months ago we learned about Spectre and Meltdown, it finally started to dawn on people just how insecure all our “high tech” really is. We’re using hole-ridden, bug-infested products.
I don’t know if the constant deluge of security exploits has resulted from the challenges that arise from working with highly complex technology or is caused by some sort of surveillance conspiracy. What’s certain is that this shows just how weak our technology is and how easily it can be overcome.
During the past year we’ve learned a lot about our closest primate relatives, the Neanderthals. For example we discovered the fact that they had long childhoods, which is an indicator of intelligence (in the sense that childhood is time allowed for the brain to mature). We also learned about their social habits, most interestingly the fact that they seemed to have intimate, consensual relationships with members of Homo Sapiens (the two species co-existed on Earth for a long period of time).
It’s amazing what engineers can do even today with a 40 years old spacecraft. They just used thrusters that were dormant for 37 years to make an adjustment to Voyager’s orientation.
That’s some damn awesome engineering right there! Good job US!
After the recent revelations about the way pornography influences our society, here’s another sobering piece, this time about the sex-cam industry, the fastest-growing sector of the global pornography business. In Romania, thousands of women work as “cam-girls” from studios and from home.
Let me be clear: it’s not shameful to have a job, and this job is less demeaning to women compared to other jobs in the pornographic industry. But from an ethical perspective, it’s a highly debatable topic. Often, it’s one step away from abuse and in general it tip-toes on the edge of the knife between legal and social inequality.