The Cruel Waste of America’s Tech Talent
This ragtag group from Carl Hayden Community High School in West Phoenix constructed the robot out of cheap plastic tubing and garbage. It smelled so bad, they called the machine Stinky. The other entrants — almost all college students — had corporate sponsors and serious budgets. This was an underwater robotics contest, but Carl Hayden didn’t even have a swimming pool. Nonetheless, Stinky came in first place.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
— Thomas Jefferson
What Having No Help Can Lead To
On Edgar Allan Poe
Poe’s mind was by no means commonplace. In the last year of his life he wrote a prose poem, Eureka, which would have established this fact beyond doubt—if it had not been so full of intuitive insight that neither his contemporaries nor subsequent generations, at least until the late twentieth century, could make any sense of it. Its very brilliance made it an object of ridicule, an instance of affectation and delusion, and so it is regarded to this day among readers and critics who are not at all abreast of contemporary physics. Eureka describes the origins of the universe in a single particle, from which “radiated” the atoms of which all matter is made. Minute dissimilarities of size and distribution among these atoms meant that the effects of gravity caused them to accumulate as matter, forming the physical universe.
This by itself would be a startling anticipation of modern cosmology, if Poe had not also drawn striking conclusions from it, for example that space and “duration” are one thing, that there might be stars that emit no light, that there is a repulsive force that in some degree counteracts the force of gravity, that there could be any number of universes with different laws simultaneous with ours, that our universe might collapse to its original state and another universe erupt from the particle it would have become, that our present universe may be one in a series.
All this is perfectly sound as observation, hypothesis, or speculation by the lights of science in the twenty-ﬁrst century. And of course Poe had neither evidence nor authority for any of it. It was the product, he said, of a kind of aesthetic reasoning—therefore, he insisted, a poem. He was absolutely sincere about the truth of the account he had made of cosmic origins, and he was ridiculed for his sincerity. Eureka is important because it indicates the scale and the seriousness of Poe’s thinking, and its remarkable integrity. It demonstrates his use of his aesthetic sense as a particularly rigorous method of inquiry.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
Eureka was written in 1848.
Niels Bohr wasn’t born until 1885.
Einstein not until 1879.
The highest YouTube earner of 2014 made nearly $5 million just by opening Disney toy packages
An unidentified individual or group responsible for uploading videos that simply show a woman opening Disney toys made an estimated $4.9 million last year, more than any other channel for 2014, according to OpenSlate, a video analytics platform that analyzes ad-supported content on YouTube.
Almost nothing is known about the person or people behind the channel, DC Toys Collector (DC), which exclusively features a young woman in intricately painted nails removing the toys from their packaging and then assembling them. The account did not respond to a YouTube message.
Created in 2012, DC now features more than 1,600 videos and gets 380 million views a month. Its most viewed video, with more than 172 million streams, is called “Play Doh Sparkle Princess Ariel Elsa Anna Disney Frozen MagiClip Glitter Glider Princesas Magic Clip.” It was uploaded just this July.
Grumpy Cat Earns US$99 Million
That’s what I say here constantly. Now there’s PadNews saying it too!
You’re in for nothing but grief if you buy the first production run of a product — especially one from a China brand. Always wait at least a month.
A Generation Lost in the Bazaar
One of Brooks’s many excellent points is that quality happens only if somebody has the responsibility for it, and that “somebody” can be no more than one single person — with an exception for a dynamic duo.
A MIUI forum post listing all the products Xiaomi introduced in 2014 (I guess nothing is coming in the next nine days?).
I wasn’t paying any attention to the Huawei phone introduced this week.
Then I saw this chart.
Steve Jobs, 1985, Playboy interview:
Playboy: How about the low-priced computers: Commodore and Atari?
Jobs: I consider those a brochure for why you should buy an Apple II or Macintosh. I think people have already determined that the sub-$500 computers don’t do very much. They either tease people to want more or frustrate people completely.
Playboy: What about some of the smaller portables?
Jobs: They are OK if you’re a reporter and trying to take notes on the run. But for the average person, they’re really not that useful, and there’s not all that software for them, either. By the time you get your software done, a new one comes out with a slightly bigger display and your software is obsolete. So nobody is writing any software for them. Wait till we do it — the power of a Macintosh in something the size of a book!
I did a screensnap of that too.