Way Beyond The Web: ha-da-da-dee-da da-da hava da da

Exhorting the world to “start taking the internet seriously“, David Gelernter says:

No moment in technology history has ever been more exciting or dangerous than now. The Internet is like a new computer running a flashy, exciting demo. We have been entranced by this demo for fifteen years. But now it is time to get to work, and make the Internet do what we want it to.

Pushing the multi-mega-ton jumbo jet of human thought-style backwards a few inches, back in the direction of dream logic, might be the Internet’s greatest accomplishment. The best is yet to be.

Changing thought patterns can be hard but fortunately there’s help. One source is the solution to the riddle of experience vs memory as shown by David Kahneman and the Short Course In Thinking About Thinking looks very worthwhile as well. Alternatively, one can go into Second Life and as Dusan Writer describes very well

Consider a few of Gelernter’s calls to action and ideas, and then go read it yourself, and extrapolate your view of the Web’s future with what you’ve learned in a virtual world:

The Web, Drifting Into View

George Clinton would say “think, it ain’t illegal yet!” but George was about more than talking:

“Flash Light” is one of the all-time great dance songs, but that only begins to describe its brilliance. It starts with the solid but unobtrusive drumming of Bootsy, allowing the other instruments to stand out. It’s anchored by the shining guitar riff of Catfish Collins, one of the greatest examples of rhythm guitar ever. And it stars Bernie Worrell, who propels the song with an addictive bass-keyboard line while keeping us engaged on the high end with tasty synth explorations. The song on the surface sounds like a simple chant song, but one can hear the battle being raged between life and death here…can Starchild make Sir Nose dance? As depicted on the album cover, he shoots the Bop Gun at him, and Sir Nose must yield. `There’s nothing that the proper attitude won’t render funkable`, and so it happens. Openness overcomes fear, as `everyone’s got a little light under the sun.` And the `ha-da-da-dee-da da-da hava da da`, (based on a Jewish Bar Mitvah chant) is one of their most engaging chants.

This album seriously challenges Mothership Connection as P.Funk’s best overall album, taking previously established ideas to new and exciting levels. It proves that it is possible to create something popular that is still challenging, exciting and revelatory, both on the lyrical and musical levels. Try and find it on vinyl, because it included a comic book detailing Starchild’s battle with Sir Nose done by Overton Lloyd, as well as a huge poster.


With a new web-enabled Second Life viewer, Avatar, Alice In Wonderland and the continuing wave of 3D movies, perhaps 2010 will be the year we make contact with our virtual selves.


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Second Life Assimilates The Web

There’s a lot of buzz around the recent beta of the new Second Life viewer. Much  of the talk deals with playing Flash videos but the real impact is going to come from using interactive web sites in world. Things like Google apps come to mind but what will have the most impact IMO are web apps that control in-world objects while integrating the virtual currency system with traditional e-commerce and social networking. Check out this Scoble interview with Linden Labs CEO Mark Kingdon and stay tuned to the MJ.

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Exoplanet Mesh: Scratching The Surface

Launched just this past March, the Kepler Telescope is already producing useful results:

NASA scientists who put the telescope through a 10-day test after its March 6 launch said this week that Kepler is working well. Its ability to detect minute changes in light has enabled scientists to determine that a planet orbiting a distant star has an atmosphere, shows only one side to its sun and is so hot it glows.

Kepler’s ability to take measurements that precise at such a great distance “proves we can find Earth-size planets,” William Borucki, Kepler’s principal science investigator told reporters at a recent briefing.

The powerful scope is looking at thousands of stars in its vision field in the Milky Way on a 3½-year mission to find planets the size of Earth and to determine how common these planets are.

For folks interested the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Kepler helps put some things into context – mainly that we’re just scratching the surface since the Kepler Mission is only looking at a 100,000 stars. Click the image below to see just how small a slice of the Milky Way(let alone the universe) this is)


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Must See! 60 Minutes On Man-Machine Meshing

Tonite’s 60 Minutes has a segement called BrainPower which provides stunning examples of brain interfaces peopler are using today which enable them to control computers with thoughts. A preview video is available now – I suspect the entire segment will be there tomorrow. UPDATE: it’s here. The segment mentions something called BrainGate which the FDA has recently approved for clinical trials. Like iLimb that was noted here previously, this is yet another step in the process of people being able to mesh more deeply with machines. There are profound considerations involved in the choice to  not be strictly biological – considerations which are close at hand, not in the far distant future.

Flash forward one year to see how far the technology has evolved.

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Transportation, Manufacturing and Twittering Things

Having spent some time recently at the interesting convergence of people and vehicles known as AltWheels, I’m wondering how transportation and local manufacturing will mesh. A great deal of  our transportation infrastructure deals with moving goods from centralized factories to distribution centers, retail outlets and consumers. Some think a radical decentralization of this existing process will be too inefficient, but I’m old enough to remember personal computers being seen as inadequate for the serious work of mainframe computers. It took about a decade for personal computers to supplant mainframes for new application development. Most of the mainframe companies were acquired or went under. Today, IBM has a thriving mainframe business, albeit one that runs Linux, an operating system designed for personal computers.

As with information systems, transportation systems are deeply intertwined with human activities so the most significant opportunities for improvements tend to  stem from process reengineering. IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative recognizes the need to rethink existing processes:

Traffic systems are part of a larger system

Rethinking how we get from point A to point B means applying new technology and new policies to old assumptions and habits. It means improving the drivers’ experience, not just where and when they drive. And it could lead to advances in the cars we drive, the roads we drive them on, and the public transit we might take instead.

and their blog also has a Transportation category. Often the most significant barrier to process improvement is that people don’t recognize some of the terrain they are acting in and can’t align themselves with other participants in their ecosystem. Clearly, social networking is helping to break down these barriers – Twittering Things will only accelerate the evolution.

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CNBC Videos on Social Networking for Business

Social Climbing, a 5-part series of short and generally informative videos looking at the business impact of social networking is worth viewing. There doesn’t seem to be a single page where all the segments are linked so I decided to post them here.

  1. The Power of Social Networking
  2. Companies Look To Facebook To Reach Consumers
  3. The New Definition of Networking
  4. Twitter: Popularity to Profitability
  5. Social Networking Goes Mainstream

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Leveraging Twitter for Business

ReadWriteWeb has a good review of Twitter’s recently launched Twitter 101 site. The review is short but if you really want to cut to the chase, see their recommended links to best practices and real life case studies. There’s more Twitter-for-business tips on the Groundswell blog which was mentioned here on the MJ recently in Leveraging Social Networks for Businesses.

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