Amazing! Mobile web gets a new meaning…
Abundant and cheap natural gas and oil stand to halt clean energy developments. That’s bad news for technological gains and climate change alike.
Since the 1950s, the US has had a perverse approach to energy. In effect we have maximized demand by building bigger, hungrier cars, homes, and lifestyles and minimized supply by limiting oil drilling, coal mining, and nuclear development. And how do we make up the difference? We buy oil from the people who hate us most.
But this is changing. We’ve long been acutely aware of the geopolitical ramifications of relying on Middle Eastern oil. And the threat of climate change—along with high fuel prices—has made us all realize the need for greater energy efficiency. Thankfully, technology is coming to the rescue. New methods of extracting gas and oil, combined with efficiency gains in nearly every industry, mean that we are now minimizing demand and maximizing supply. And that’s a good thing, right? Not so fast.
Flipping the supply-demand relationship is having some unexpected consequences. Chief among them is that, as fossil fuels become more abundant—and we consume less of them—the incentives to develop clean, renewable energy drop dramatically. As a result, we may no longer be looking at an age of increasing solar, wind, and nuclear power. Instead we are likely moving into a new hydrocarbon era. And that’s very bad news for climate change.
Last anniversary to celebrate this week: Eighty years ago this month Carl D. Anderson, American physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, discovered the positron.
Who could engineer such a marvel as the Golden Gate Bridge, but a true geek? Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss conquered many engineering challenges to create the bridge, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
The technological singularity will help us take photos of our babies! Google is clearly pro-singularity.
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This year Geek and I may be celebrating one year of marriage, but Spiderman has been around for 50! That’s quite a run for Peter Parker as superhero and pop culture icon. Check out the above interview with Spiderman’s creator, Stan Lee. Also see this link for a look back at Spiderman and his wardrobe through the past 50 years. In this interview Dan Slott, current writer for Amazing Spiderman, plugs the big changes that will occur in the series at the end of this year.
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In celebrating Geek and my one year anniversary, I discovered a few other geek anniversaries that definitely deserve mention. Far more impressive than our one year is The Incredible Hulk’s 50 years, which were celebrated May 1 this year.
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One year of marriage today! It’s hard to believe that one year ago Geek and I stood in a beautiful church surrounded by family and friends, and promised to live out our love for one another for all the years to come. From the music our friends and family sang, played and composed; to the meaningful service led by our loving pastors; to the supportive presence of our families; to the cupcakes baked and decorated by our loved ones; to all of the work our amazing team of friends put into decorating and setting up—we were certainly surrounded by Blessings and Love that day. It was such a wonderful way to share with others the love we already knew, and to kick-off a life together. The wedding festivities that day ended by cutting into a cake topped by—who else?—Donatello and April O’Neil. (+geek cred)
All of the funny moments I’ve shared here, all of the joys, all of the fights, the changes, decisions, challenges and small sweet moments have wrapped up into one amazing first year of marriage!
See it’s already happening. This robot wants to dance with your grandma!
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This weekend Geek and I enjoyed a trip to the movies. What struck me was not the exciting visual effects or the talented actors. What struck me was our trip through the parking garage.
Upon entering the garage, the machine that dispenses a ticket for your car also greets you in a metallic female-sounding voice. This odd attempt at hospitality always makes me giggle. But turning to the machine with a smile, Geek replied, “Why thank you so much! I appreciate it.” When I laughed Geek told me, “I want her to remember us kindly when robots rule the world.”
And there it is. The age old geek belief that robots will one day make a grab for power and rule us humans as overlords. We see it in movies, books, and—my personal favorite—music, likeFlight of the Concords”Robots” which takes place in “the distant future, the year 2000” (see above).
This belief is an actual theory, predicting that a “technological singularity” will occur at sometime in the future, likely in the 21st century. This singularity is the future point at which a greater-than-human superintelligence will be created through technological means. Since mere human intelligence won’t really comprehend the superintelligence, from this point on future events can be neither predicted nor understood. But it is likely that human existence as we know it will vanish. The term singularity was coined by Verner Vinge, a science fiction writer, and greatly popularized by Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, inventor, and top authority on singularity.
I learned more about this concept by taking the “Will robots rule the world quiz?” on Curiosity.com (Of course! Why wouldn’t there be an online quiz about this?). While the quiz didn’t give a definitive answer, it did leave me terrified and pretty much sure of a robotic takeover. I learned things like some robots are already being fitted with a skin-like covering to help them better replicate human facial features, which they are being taught to perceive and mimic (why are we helping them?!). And that the term “Artificial Intelligence” has recently been expanded to include not only robots and computers, but also electronic and digital devices—so when the takeover begins you cannot trust your iphone. And also that one of the hardest human abilities to replicate in robots is the way humans walk. Great, that’s comforting. Because to take over the world, you really need to walk correctly even though you are already generations of intelligence beyond human comprehension.
I will not laugh next time Geek thanks the parking drone.
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