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Stephen Wolfram on the computational universe 2010-Apr-27 at 20:40 PDT

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What do we find when we explore the computational universe? Could it be that the complexity of the universe is based on just a few simple rules? What are candidate universes that might look like ours? Certainly, his approach is a very upper-right quadrant point-of-view, but still might be incredibly interesting. Video from TED is found here.


The demographics are in our favor 2010-Apr-07 at 22:41 PDT

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Relax, We’ll Be Fine, by David Brooks, 5-April-2010

Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all. The population will be enterprising and relatively young. In 2050, only a quarter will be over 60, compared with 31 percent in China and 41 percent in Japan.

In addition, the U.S. remains a magnet for immigrants. Global attitudes about immigration are diverging, and the U.S. is among the best at assimilating them (while China is exceptionally poor). As a result, half the world’s skilled immigrants come to the U.S. As Kotkin notes, between 1990 and 2005, immigrants started a quarter of the new venture-backed public companies.

The United States already measures at the top or close to the top of nearly every global measure of economic competitiveness. A comprehensive 2008 Rand Corporation study found that the U.S. leads the world in scientific and technological development. The U.S. now accounts for a third of the world’s research-and-development spending. Partly as a result, the average American worker is nearly 10 times more productive than the average Chinese worker, a gap that will close but not go away in our lifetimes.

I know it’s way more popular to talk about how everything is turning bad.  The problem is… it’s not.  Things are good, and despite the occasional hiccup, only getting better.

I do believe in the Law of Attraction, and so what we put our attention on tends to manifest.  It’s an explicit goal of my work to try to get people to stop putting their attention on the outcomes they don’t want (global warming, financial collapse, renewed superpower confrontation, the list goes on and on) and get everyone focused on the outcomes they do want (reform of major religions, Integral politics, intelligent ecological and technological policies, music that doesn’t suck, etc.).

Bottom line… the United States is poised for a prosperous and healthy 21st Century.  Deal with it.

New memory technology from HP 2010-Apr-07 at 22:31 PDT

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H.P. Sees a Revolution in Chip-Making, by John Markoff, 7-April-2010

The researchers previously reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had devised a new method for storing and retrieving information from a vast three-dimensional array of memristors. The scheme could potentially free designers to stack thousands of switches in a high-rise fashion, permitting a new class of ultradense computing devices even after two-dimensional scaling reaches fundamental limits.

Memristor-based systems also hold out the prospect of fashioning analog computing systems that function more like biological brains, Dr. Chua said.

“Our brains are made of memristors,” he said, referring to the function of biological synapses. “We have the right stuff now to build real brains.”

Hmm… massive computational power? Computing systems that function like biological brains? You don’t say….

How to fix the Catholic Church 2010-Apr-07 at 14:51 PDT

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Church: Norway bishop quit in ’09 over abuse, Associated Press, 7-April-2010

A Catholic bishop in Norway who resigned last year did so after admitting he had molested a child about 20 years earlier, when he was a priest, church officials said Wednesday.

The announcement came after a Norwegian newspaper pressed for an explanation for why Georg Mueller, a 58-year-old German, had stepped down unexpectedly as bishop in the western city of Trondheim in June 2009. At the time, Vatican and Norwegian church officials gave only vague reasons for Mueller’s departure.

Dear Catholic Church –

You don’t just have a P.R. problem. The issue is not that people are “attacking” the Pope. The problem is that you have covered up, for at least fifty years, that some of your priests are molesting children.

If you want this to go away… the answer is really, really simple. Turn over all of your records on child molestation to secular authorities, and make it clear to everyone in the world, especially your own hierarchy, that if you discover any new cases, they’ll immediately be turned over to the respective secular governments for prosecution. That’s all you have to do. It’s not that hard. Then your “problem” will go away because you will no longer be associating The Church with the scumbags who molest children.

It is really important to me that you clean this up and get healthy, because hundreds of millions of people around the world are counting on you for a healthy version of mythical religion, and we all need you functioning as well as you can.


P.S.  If you get a second, check out some of what St. Teresa of Avila was up to… she was on to something important.

Baseball returns 2010-Apr-03 at 16:33 PDT

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Bare-handed reach
to catch
incoming curve.
Leap higher than you thought you could and

— Eve Merriam, “End of Winter”, published in A Sky Full of Poems (1964)

The rhythm of near-daily games returns. This is joy.

Inexpensive solar panels coming from Lowe’s 2010-Apr-03 at 16:23 PDT

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Lowe’s move to sell solar panels will accelerate renewables, by John Dodge, 10-Dec-2009

The Andalay panels cost $893 each and the full 4,000 kilowatt system I have been envisioning would require 20-25 panels. But Andalay bills them as plug and play, suggesting easy installation and easy expansion as you go – you know, the stuff so-called experts will tell you can’t be done. Now it’s up to the utility companies to make tying into the grid plug and play.

This is the inevitable march of progress on solar energy.  In a few years, even this system will seem low-end, but know that a power grid completely run on solar is coming.