Dated Can Be Deadly
January 27, 2016
On December 21, 2015, The Wall Street Journal ran an article observing that gas was now cheaper than milk. “At $2 a gallon, gasoline cost 1.6 cents an ounce. Milk costs about 2.6 cents an ounce.” In one of his autobiographies, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins described a conversation that Dawkins’ wife Lalla had with astronaut Neil Armstrong during an airline flight to Tenerife, “They talked of many things, including the remarkable fact – vivid demonstration of Moore’s Law – that the total computer memory on board Apollo 11 (32 kilobytes) was a small fraction of the capacity of a Gameboy that Armstrong pointed out in the possession of a child in a neighboring seat.” Today you can pack away a gigabyte of storage on Google Cloud for (coincidentally) 2.6 cents a month! Times change . . . and they change faster than ever before. The most dangerous relics in our own memory banks are the perilous assumptions we scarcely notice.
The Ascent Of Sensors
January 20, 2016
Scroll through Business Insider’s list of “8 gadgets that’ll help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions” at http://www.businessinsider.com/best-tech-for-new-years-resolutions-2016-1 From the BACtrack S80 Personal Breathalyzer to the Moov Now fitness tracker, one fact is hard to ignore: Sensors are playing a soaring role in consumer products. The Google Self-driving Car would be unthinkable without advanced sensor technology. The most exciting sensor frontier may be in apparel. Sensors are already morphing themselves from gadgets into the freshest innovations in the threads we wear. The fashion of the future may hinge far more on what it does as well as how it looks, and chances are these wanted differences will be as invisible as they are powerful.
Risky Business: What You Think You Know
January 16, 2016
In his book The Sense of Style, linguist Steven Pinker cites a perceptive quote misattributed to Mark Twain: “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that aren’t so.” For fun revelations, scan Wikipedia’s “List of common misconceptions”, and you’ll learn that: “Not all sushi includes raw fish. The name sushi refers to any dish including vinegared rice; raw fish is a common inclusion, but not a necessary one.” And, “Fortune cookies, despite being associated with Chinese cuisine in the United States, were in fact invented and brought to the U.S. by the Japanese. The cookies are extremely rare in China, where they are seen as symbols of American cuisine.” That leads irresistibly to a quote from the film Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum: “Always prefer to utilize element of surprise, never to be victim.”