Monday, September 5, 2011

Animoto Video - Extreme Tourism in Afghanistan

This video represents my time in Afghanistan a few years ago as an "extreme tourist" delivering cash to small villages within the vicinity of Kabul. We were pleased to land in situations where we'd be met, and then to visit landmarks along the way.

Web 2.0 - Springnote

If any of you tend to spend time at multiple terminals (PCs, laptops, workstations, handhelds) during a typical week, and just also happen to be writing a paper by yourself or as part of collaboration, then you just might be interested in

You can set a workspace to maintain a running collections of citations and notes on a matter (or several) or open up an account for several people in order to enable a group effort. One of the best parts is that an account includes 2 GB of FREE ONLINE STORAGE. This seems to be yet another way around paying for a flash drive.

Engineer the Future

I sifted through the TED talks for nearly a week looking for someone who saw the future as an entity that is NOT to be embraced passively, but as a destiny that might be engineered into existence. Dr. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a professor at NYU whose predictions have been proven more 90% correct by the CIA. In summary:
Game theory can be used to predict future events.
Pay attention to all the players influencing an outcome.
There are approximately 120 thought leaders influencing each of Obama’s decisions, for instance.
Note that people tend to look out for themselves, as a function of their choices, values, and beliefs.
If you can predict what will happen, then you can engineer the future.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Different Perspective on the Future

Today I re-read a book by William Halal, “Technology’s Promise”, and was impressed that many of his futuring concepts can conceptually be reduced into a form of  answers to present-day needs.  Many of us are huge fans of science fiction and maintain a train of thought that travels well into the next decade.  However, we typically won’t have a clue as to the next social paradigm shift. For instance, in 1879, the administrators of the five boroughs of New York City were hugely concerned that within another ten years the city streets would be covered in twenty-foot piles of horse manure. Of course, good German engineering resulted in the internal combustion engine and that concern conveniently went by the wayside.

On page 22 of “Technology’s Promise” there’s a blurb concerning an increasing need for desalination, and this might turn out to be a non-event in the future. Already, I’ve toured a desalination plant in Kuwait City that supplies all the water needs for the entire nation. This is done by way of a large-scale, low-tech process of heating water from the Arabian Gulf and then collecting and condensing the steam. Of course, fuel in Kuwait City costs the equivalent of 20 cents per gallon, but what if we altered the process slightly and used solar heating instead? What if we heated the water by way of a particular FM radio frequency that boiled the water at almost no cost? Often, real breakthroughs are accomplished by combining technologies that no one had imagined belonging together.

The way for us to slay society’s dragons might actually be more straightforward than we had imagined. What if people turned off their diversions for a few hours per week and worked together in virtual communities of interest? Would that be the participative society we want?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Civil Response to Violence

I was thoroughly impressed by this call to action. Emiliano Salinas is a son of a former president of Mexico and in essence he's spoken to a lot of people in Mexico and the effect is that people in that country are beginning to see the wisdom of peaceful protest in response to the acts of terrorism and kidnapping in that country. Salinas pointed out two separate events that triggered people to band together in protest of kidnappings and the net effect was that the hostages were released without ransom in either situation.
Point 1.)  Innovators should work together in order to increase the synergy of particular innovations that could change society.
Point 2.)  Society can evolve into something better if people choose to overcome their fear of working in groups. Sometimes a horrific trigger will stimulate the advent of teamwork where it was not observed prior.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Second Life -- follow me

You can follow my Second Life misadventures in my guise as "Peritus." Peritus looks fairly much like me insofar I'm not keen on the idea of an avatar that looks like a robot or a giant bird, except maybe
in circumstances dictating that my avatar would be responsible for cleaning up Chernobyl-type incidents. ...not sure that happens routinely in a virtual society.

Incidentally, "peritus" is the Latin word denoting "skilled" or "expert."  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Suspended Imagination

Does this mean that I'll have to put away my Crayolas? Ha! The coffee in cyberspace is always flat but you have no fear in this sphere and we'll engage in setting the world in its proper direction.