Tac Anderson

The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.
― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Late night scribbles.

Late night scribbles.

15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies
A very good and very diverse list of sci-fi.
I once read that China, which used to ban sci-fi, approved it solely because it was proven to make scientists more creative. 

15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies

A very good and very diverse list of sci-fi.

I once read that China, which used to ban sci-fi, approved it solely because it was proven to make scientists more creative. 

I Have A Confession: I Don’t Get Emoji
As someone who has passionately studied every new communications trend that has been influenced by technology, I have a confession: I don’t get emoji. Beyond a winking emoticon to tell people my rude comment was a joke, I don’t see the point in the million variations of these things and I have no clue what they mean.
Maybe I’ve finally just finally reached the crusty old cynic stage of life, but I have no interested in understanding it and I suspect it will go the way of l33t (or 1337 if you prefer).
Again, I’m willing to admit that my age could leave me disconnected from this trend, but even my teenage kids don’t use it. Someone please explain it to me. 

I Have A Confession: I Don’t Get Emoji

As someone who has passionately studied every new communications trend that has been influenced by technology, I have a confession: I don’t get emoji. Beyond a winking emoticon to tell people my rude comment was a joke, I don’t see the point in the million variations of these things and I have no clue what they mean.

Maybe I’ve finally just finally reached the crusty old cynic stage of life, but I have no interested in understanding it and I suspect it will go the way of l33t (or 1337 if you prefer).

Again, I’m willing to admit that my age could leave me disconnected from this trend, but even my teenage kids don’t use it. Someone please explain it to me. 

Reddit, Twitch, and Imgur have created a research partnership called DERP

DERP will help researchers study the sites by setting them up with access to publicly available data. It’s not stated whether DERP might allow researchers to access more than that on request, but the idea is more that DERP can serve as a single, simple source for researchers to start working with these sites. Rather than having go through one or more of these sites individually, DERP will handle all requests and should be able to get researchers the information they need.

What would be really powerful is if they not just provided the data but also somehow sponsored or organized crowdsourced research work. Reddit has already proven hugely powerful for these kind of activities. 

Reddit, Twitch, and Imgur have created a research partnership called DERP

DERP will help researchers study the sites by setting them up with access to publicly available data. It’s not stated whether DERP might allow researchers to access more than that on request, but the idea is more that DERP can serve as a single, simple source for researchers to start working with these sites. Rather than having go through one or more of these sites individually, DERP will handle all requests and should be able to get researchers the information they need.

What would be really powerful is if they not just provided the data but also somehow sponsored or organized crowdsourced research work. Reddit has already proven hugely powerful for these kind of activities. 

No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn’t Bad for Society. We Need It More Than Ever

As for the dramatic explosion of young adult, predominantly female dystopian fiction—there was a time when kids didn’t want to read 1984, when that kind of fiction was a high-school-English-class required-reading bummer. Now it’s flying off the shelves, not because being afraid is hip, but because life as a young person has become increasingly uncertain. If dystopian fiction were really exacerbating the fear of technology, teenagers and young adults wouldn’t be such high-volume users of new tech.

I don’t get why people hate on dystopian fiction so much. I find it beautiful and inspiring. It helps to warn us about our own potential choices, but in most cases still highlights the strength of the human spirit. And while I’m not a huge fan of the newer genres of dystopian fiction (dystopian teen romances?) I still love that they’re popular. 

No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn’t Bad for Society. We Need It More Than Ever

As for the dramatic explosion of young adult, predominantly female dystopian fiction—there was a time when kids didn’t want to read 1984, when that kind of fiction was a high-school-English-class required-reading bummer. Now it’s flying off the shelves, not because being afraid is hip, but because life as a young person has become increasingly uncertain. If dystopian fiction were really exacerbating the fear of technology, teenagers and young adults wouldn’t be such high-volume users of new tech.

I don’t get why people hate on dystopian fiction so much. I find it beautiful and inspiring. It helps to warn us about our own potential choices, but in most cases still highlights the strength of the human spirit. And while I’m not a huge fan of the newer genres of dystopian fiction (dystopian teen romances?) I still love that they’re popular. 

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

Ms. Guidry, 35, earns money by using her own car to ferry around strangers for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, ride services that let people summon drivers on demand via apps. She also assembles furniture and tends gardens for clients who find her on TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for chores.
Her goal is to earn at least $25 an hour, on average. Raising three children with her longtime partner, Jeffrey Bradbury, she depends on the income to help cover her family’s food and rent. That has become more unpredictable of late. Uber and Lyft, her driving mainstays, recently cut certain passenger fares. Last month, TaskRabbit overhauled the way its users select their helpers; immediately after the change, Ms. Guidry’s stream of new clients dried up.
“You don’t know day to day,” she said. “It’s very up in the air.”

It’s amazing how often freedom and uncertainty go hand in hand. 

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

Ms. Guidry, 35, earns money by using her own car to ferry around strangers for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, ride services that let people summon drivers on demand via apps. She also assembles furniture and tends gardens for clients who find her on TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for chores.

Her goal is to earn at least $25 an hour, on average. Raising three children with her longtime partner, Jeffrey Bradbury, she depends on the income to help cover her family’s food and rent. That has become more unpredictable of late. Uber and Lyft, her driving mainstays, recently cut certain passenger fares. Last month, TaskRabbit overhauled the way its users select their helpers; immediately after the change, Ms. Guidry’s stream of new clients dried up.

“You don’t know day to day,” she said. “It’s very up in the air.”

It’s amazing how often freedom and uncertainty go hand in hand. 

Futures, Ranked
A comprehensive list of possible futures, ranked from least desirable to most desirable:
3. Dystopia
2. The one where your phone is a little bit thinner and takes nicer pictures
1. Utopia

Futures, Ranked

A comprehensive list of possible futures, ranked from least desirable to most desirable:

3. Dystopia

2. The one where your phone is a little bit thinner and takes nicer pictures

1. Utopia

Scientists Made Lab-Grown Brains to Study Brain Hacking 

Over the last couple years, scientists have grown blood vessels, skin, parts of organs, and even vaginas in the lab. But now, for the first time, they’ve managed to grow three dimensional, “brain-like” tissue (from rats).
In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tufts University researcher David Kaplan details a process that has allowed him and his team to make 3D brain tissue to study injury.
It’s not, of course, a real brain, you can’t just pop it into a living creature and expect it to function, and there’s a lot more to a brain than a bunch of neurons. But these brains have both grey matter and white matter, organize themselves in a manner much like a brain, and apparently express a much higher number of genes than neurons do when they are simply grown on a two dimensional dish.
The brains grown at Tufts are also unlike the “mini brains” that have been grown before: Those were created using stem cells, and the lack of blood supply keeps them limited to just four millimeters in diameter. Tufts’ brains shouldn’t have that limitation, and they’re able to survive for long periods in the lab, allowing longer-term growth and study.

While the application of studying brain injury (and implants and brain-hacking) is really interesting, it’s important to note the continued and rapid evolution (used non-ironically) of our ability to grow human body parts. Between growing and 3D printing, we’ll soon be able to replace almost any body part with a suitable, biological replacement.
First the replacement parts will be suitable, but not perfect, replacements, then they’ll become just as good in most ways, and then quickly we’ll have parts better than the original. That’s when things get crazy. 

Scientists Made Lab-Grown Brains to Study Brain Hacking 

Over the last couple years, scientists have grown blood vessels, skin, parts of organs, and even vaginas in the lab. But now, for the first time, they’ve managed to grow three dimensional, “brain-like” tissue (from rats).

In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tufts University researcher David Kaplan details a process that has allowed him and his team to make 3D brain tissue to study injury.

It’s not, of course, a real brain, you can’t just pop it into a living creature and expect it to function, and there’s a lot more to a brain than a bunch of neurons. But these brains have both grey matter and white matter, organize themselves in a manner much like a brain, and apparently express a much higher number of genes than neurons do when they are simply grown on a two dimensional dish.

The brains grown at Tufts are also unlike the “mini brains” that have been grown before: Those were created using stem cells, and the lack of blood supply keeps them limited to just four millimeters in diameter. Tufts’ brains shouldn’t have that limitation, and they’re able to survive for long periods in the lab, allowing longer-term growth and study.

While the application of studying brain injury (and implants and brain-hacking) is really interesting, it’s important to note the continued and rapid evolution (used non-ironically) of our ability to grow human body parts. Between growing and 3D printing, we’ll soon be able to replace almost any body part with a suitable, biological replacement.

First the replacement parts will be suitable, but not perfect, replacements, then they’ll become just as good in most ways, and then quickly we’ll have parts better than the original. That’s when things get crazy. 

(Source: motherboardtv)

The Jobs of 2030

Found this via Fast Company

All of the predictions we’ve seen lately regarding the “jobs of the future” assume that we’ll even have jobs once the robots take over. Eventually, we may not. But in the medium-term future, there will still be jobs for the taking (including jobs overseeing robots).

The Canadian Scholarship Trust teamed up with futurists to imagine a job fair in 2030, with predictions based on the environmental, social, technological, and social trends happening now. Here are some of the jobs they came up with.

I think my favorite job on the list is Simplicity Expert. This could be a job today. 

The simplicity expert is there to reduce fifteen administrative steps to three, or four interviews to one, or three days of work to a half hour. Part designer, part math whiz, and part sociologist, the best simplicity experts need an understanding of how humans work to come up with new and creative methods of working that benefit people throughout an organization. How might a business improve by re-organizing its resourcing operations? Could tasks be redistributed to fewer people?

Corporate America Hasn’t Been Disrupted

The startup rate has declined in every major industry, every state and nearly every city, and the failure rate’s rise has been nearly as universal. Here, for example, are the trends for the San Francisco metro area, supposedly ground zero for the startup economy

This is interesting. I know the numbers of startups that apply to incubators and for seed funding is higher than it’s ever been before, so I wonder if there is a serious decline in bootstrapped startups. The article also points out that acquisitions count as a “failed” startup, which isn’t really accurate. But either way, there’s definitely something changing. 

Corporate America Hasn’t Been Disrupted

The startup rate has declined in every major industry, every state and nearly every city, and the failure rate’s rise has been nearly as universal. Here, for example, are the trends for the San Francisco metro area, supposedly ground zero for the startup economy

This is interesting. I know the numbers of startups that apply to incubators and for seed funding is higher than it’s ever been before, so I wonder if there is a serious decline in bootstrapped startups. The article also points out that acquisitions count as a “failed” startup, which isn’t really accurate. But either way, there’s definitely something changing. 

Gartner Hype Cycle Pegs Wearables, Connected Homes & Consumer 3D Printing as 5 to10 Years Out
The Gartner Hype cycle is a fantastic tool for businesses to plan their attack in using emerging tech in their portfolios. This year’s report shows the long road wearables, consumer 3D printing and even the connected home have before they reach success with the mass market. 
Read More

via/ designersofthings

Gartner Hype Cycle Pegs Wearables, Connected Homes & Consumer 3D Printing as 5 to10 Years Out

The Gartner Hype cycle is a fantastic tool for businesses to plan their attack in using emerging tech in their portfolios. This year’s report shows the long road wearables, consumer 3D printing and even the connected home have before they reach success with the mass market. 

Read More

via/ designersofthings

Exclusive Deep Dive Into the Facebook Buy Button

A very thorough look into Facebook and their potential impact on retail. 

  • Part I/II - Introducing ‘Buy on Facebook’ (here)
  • Part II/III - Tour:Completing a transaction and post transaction flow (here)
  • Part III/III - What does this mean? (here)
emergentfutures:

The rise of data and the death of politics


Tech pioneers in the US are advocating a new data-based approach to governance – ‘algorithmic regulation’. But if technology provides the answers to society’s problems, what happens to governments?

Full Story: The Guardian

This is a tough trade off. Would you be willing to trade our current government system for an algorithm? The biggest plus being we could get rid of politicians.

emergentfutures:

The rise of data and the death of politics

Tech pioneers in the US are advocating a new data-based approach to governance – ‘algorithmic regulation’. But if technology provides the answers to society’s problems, what happens to governments?
Full Story: The Guardian

This is a tough trade off. Would you be willing to trade our current government system for an algorithm? The biggest plus being we could get rid of politicians.

The Public Library Wants To Be Your Office
This is a really good example of playing to your strengths, even they were unintentionally developed. Libraries needed space to hold all those physical books, and people went there, not just for the books, but as a place to study individually and as groups. As knowledge work becomes the predominant form of work, collaboration becomes even more important, and libraries are left with all this space (because books are taking up less of it).
What better place is there to do knowledge work, than a library?

The Public Library Wants To Be Your Office

This is a really good example of playing to your strengths, even they were unintentionally developed. Libraries needed space to hold all those physical books, and people went there, not just for the books, but as a place to study individually and as groups. As knowledge work becomes the predominant form of work, collaboration becomes even more important, and libraries are left with all this space (because books are taking up less of it).

What better place is there to do knowledge work, than a library?

brucesterling:

*That was some week

Wow.

brucesterling:

*That was some week

Wow.