December 2016

In the mobile age, does it still matter where you are?

One of the predicted consequences of the global village was the fading importance of place.  After all, if everyone can talk to and look in on everyone else regardless of location, through the miracle of telephones and TV and Internet, then location would become irrelevant.

We do not yet live in that world.  Many people continue to commute to work, for example, to be in the same building with their colleagues.

The right right stuff.

John Glenn died December 8, aged 95. Glenn had been the last surviving member of the Mecury Seven, the first group of astronauts as selected by NASA.

Fake news, hoaxes, lies, misinformation, and errors

Will Oremus at Slate has written an interesting piece on the semantic spread of the term "fake news."  The term recently came to prominence over the propagation of fraudulent news items as a tool of persuasion in the recent US election.

Facebook, misinformation and censorship

Three recent New York Times articles illustrate some issues facing information providers like Facebook when it comes to dealing with potentially harmful content being shared through its service.

Hyperloop hype, and atmospheric rails

Have you heard of "hyperloop"? According to Wikipedia, it's a "a new mode of passenger and freight transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube." Imagine a subway but over longer distances between major cities, and much faster, comparable to airplanes and beyond, I suppose, mag-lev trains.

A tale of two robots

Today brings another pair of interesting news items to compare.  The first concerns an automated vehicle that delivers hot food.  The second concerns an automated vehicle that delivers hot lead.  (Some lines just write themselves!)

AI, discovery, and censorship

My news feed put up an interesting pair of articles about applications of AI to what might be called knowledge discovery.

The first was an article by Adrienne Lafrance about the search for another Antikythera mechanism.  The Antikythera mechanism is an astronomical computer made in Hellenistic Greek times and found in a shipwreck off the island of Antikythera in 1901.

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