Information Overload….and the Dark Side of Hollywood Movies

INTERNET & COMPUTERS

“We live naked on the internet…in a brave new world where our data lives forever,” writes John Hendel in The Atlantic. Americans have come to accept this, but Europeans are trying to maintain a legal “right to be forgotten” — even a “right to delete” one’s data trail. The bizarre assumption that anything “erased” will stay erased is nonsense. The mighty will never let themselves be blinded. A so-called ‘right to delete’ only guarantees the elite castes a permanent advantage.

Can you turn off the internet for a day without suffering Information Withdrawal Syndome? Its effects are similar to those seen in drug addicts.

A map of the Twitterverse: an evolving ecosystem by Brian Solis.

Facebook topped Google as the most visited website of the year, accounting for 8.9% of all visits in the U.S. for 2010. Google accounted for 7.2% of visits, and Youtube 3.3%

Wired’s Clive Thompson bucks current wisdom, suggesting that Tweets and Texts actually serve as catalysts for subsequent in-depth analysis: “We talk a lot, then we dive deep.” Oh, I am sure that’s true for some. Still….

How do we define wealth? More and more, in the modern world, reputation is wealth: The Whuffie Bank (a term coined by author Cory Doctorow) aims to build an economy based, not on productivity, but on reputation — which could be redeemed for goods (real and virtual) and services.

Quora: a site dedicated to questions and answers created and answered by users http://www.quora.com/ My page is: http://www.quora.com/David-Brin

A graphic comparison of Facebook (500 million users) vs. Twitter (106 million users)

Room for mistakes? There are applications where a margin of error is acceptable. The payoff for allowing imprecise calculations is that computer chips could operate thousands of times faster.

Time for a return to cursive? Less legible fonts promote better recall of information.

Is there an afterlife in cyberspace? What happens to one’s digital identity after death? Increasingly, the record of our life is online: photos, videos, musical creations, posts, tweets, opinions, manuscripts, avatars — an unsorted, chaotic mass of digital expression. This will become profound legal implications in the near-future. Businesses are attempting digital afterlife management.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

Welcome to the Information Age Each day we are bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers a day. There was a time when most of the news you needed landed on your doorstep each day.

The Coming Data Deluge: Petabytes, exabytes and more. Our vocabulary expands to keep up with data-intensive science, such as mapping the brain’s neurons, and sensors scattered across the Earth, tracking climate, toxins and ocean currents. The Large Hadron Collider will generate about 15 petabytes of data per year.

How much data can the world store and compute? The fraction of the data stored digitally has increased from 0.8% in 1986 to 94% in 2007. And even higher today…

“Of course, just because there’s more information out there doesn’t mean we are consuming it,” says Roger Bohn of UCSD in Science News.

HOLLYWOOD & THE DARK SIDE

My latest Youtube video: A look at sci-fi movies. Who was the bad guy in the movie, E.T. The Extraterrestrial? How about District Nine? Sometimes, the villains are obvious, as in Independence Day or Lord of the Rings – in other flicks, the real bad guy may not be who you think it is.

Inspired by news of uprisings overseas? How about 12 Revolutionary Uprisings from Sci-fi movies, TV shows and books: From Star Wars to District 9, I, Robot to V for Vendetta.

Five scientific reasons the Dark Side Will Always Win, by Paul & Trevor Pickett on Cracked.com

5. The color black is scientifically proven to intimidate people
4. Thinking evil thoughts & clenching your fist makes you stronger
3. Arrogance inspires confidence
2. Doom & gloom makes you smarter
1. Speaking with a deep voice gives you power

To which I would add Five Reasons the Good side will win:
5. Evil guys get better clothes, but messed-up faces. Good is always pretty.
Pretty always equals good.
4. Red glowing eyes really sting after a while.
3. Your underlings (whom you’ve Force-strangled) will sabotage the targeting sites in your special TIE fighter.
2. Wimpy American audiences can’t stand unhappy endings
1. Really easy to convert new converts from dark side. They’re so dumb, they’ll believe unlikely stories about being someone’s father.

SOCIETY

Evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar claimed the size of the average human’s social network is 148 – correlating the size of the average human neocortex vs that of a primate & the size of species’ social groups. Dunbar also said that in order to maintain a cohesive group, 42% of the group’s time would be devoted to social grooming. Does nit-picking count? Clearly I’m going to have to unfriend a lot of ‘friends’ on Facebook…

Nit-picking? Studies of lice DNA shows humans first wore clothes 170,000 years ago

Time declared that 2045 is The Year Man Becomes Immortal with an article on the Singularity and Ray Kurzweil’s vision for “humanity’s immortal future.” Hm… well… maybe that’s the year a baby will be born who will be the first immortal. I am a really far-out thinker. But these singularity guys are just too UTTERLY similar to the wild-eyed transcendentalists who were around in every era.

MISC

What if the world’s population was reshuffled so that citizens of the most populous country (China) would spread out across the country with the largest land area (Russia). Members of the world’s 2nd largest population (India) would move to Canada. Third in population, Americans would stay in the United States! Fourth in population, Indonesians would move to China. Why should Australians get so much empty land? Now they would move to Spain, and poor, overcrowded Pakistanis would take over Australia. It’s like a game of Risk gone wild.

63 million video game consoles in U.S. homes consume as much energy in a year as the city of San Diego. Can’t we hook those thumbs up to a generator? Seriously, part of the problem is games left idling. Gamers lose their progress when they shut down. My son is always saying, I can’t stop now Dad….

A wonderful resource: everything you ever wanted to know about primate skeletons (developed by the University of Texas at Austin). You can also look at specific bones: i.e. compare the scapula of a gibbon to that of an orangutan.

Oriental hornets harvest solar radiation for energy. Chitin structures in abdomen trap light, bouncing it between layers. A pigment, xanthopterin transforms light into electrical energy.

Lots of interesting stuff! Stay tuned…

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