Archive for category Information Technology


Posted by on Tuesday, 11 February, 2014
Cartoon about robots inventing stuff



What’s the opposite of the crazy guy inventor?  How about the ROBOTIC crazy guy inventor?

Alan Porter (Georgia Institute of Technology) is the principal investigator on a way to bulk up technology by using information from patents and publications. His system looks at the way  the citations in various patents reference each other. His system then uses that information to figure out  where the holes are in a collection of patents – the “intersections for new technology”. 

Cell phones have sensors for acceleration and brightness and temperature? Maybe you missed something. Look through the stuff about sensors. Anything good there? A key patent for automotive suspensions expires next month? That’s an opportunity, right? Patents tend to “cluster” in certain areas. You can see where new areas are starting to emerge by noticing the density of new categories.

“Patent maps” aren’t new. It’s the way corporations  look for where there’s weakness in the patent “portfolios” they own. Patents aren’t inventions anymore. They’re bullets in a war against evil competitors who are also trying to figure out what has to be invented, bought, or stolen to bulk up their own side of the patent wars.  The old system grouped patents into eight major categories. The new system is much more granular and, according to Jan Youtie, director of policy research services in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, it works a lot better.


Do you want to know what MISTER ScienceAintSoBad thinks about a “systems approach” to inventing? Does he think a cold blooded technology based approach to invention is ever a real substitute for individual intuition, talent, and genius?

Not really.

In fact, I think it’s why big rich companies that have unlimited access to scientists and engineers, struggle so mightily to come up with the next biggie. They spend too much time gluing extra sensors and more pixels into their products.

They should spend more time in the garage.

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The cartoon is mine.


Posted by on Thursday, 5 December, 2013
Funny cartoon about teens and passwords



MISTER ScienceAintSoBad has many passwords. I keep a list. If it ever fell into the wrong hands, a stranger – maybe a scientologist or an astrologer  – could impersonate me. A fake MISTER ScienceAintSoBad could ruin  our relationship. I would hate that. So I work hard to protect my list of passwords.

You’re careful with your own passwords, right? But not everyone is as crazy meticulous as you. Most people do stuff like 123456 for their passwords. And use it over and over too.

Stupid? I guess. But people have other things on their minds. And they usually get away with it.

Sometimes they don’t.

Billions and billions of dollars are lost to account hacking. McCafee said it might be a trillion dollars worldwide. Maybe it’s not that bad. But it’s bad.

Supposedly, every single account should have its own login and password. And these should be changed often.

And crocodiles?

They have wings and a single horn in the middle of their snouts.

Most people aren’t ever going to manage their passwords right. They’re just not.  As long as we rely on people using passwords right, we’re pretty much screwed.

So Google has developed a device that can make passwords unnecessary. It has as much of a stake in getting rid of passwords as anyone.

Here’s its plan.

YubiKey Neo

Google wants people to own a thing.

Right now it’s called the Yubikey Neo. It will probably get a better name and a cute Google-like icon. The Yubikey Neo has  some impressive technology behind it and it’s already gaining support from other big players who don’t like passwords either.

Where did I find this?

It’s in an article by Amadou Diallo (Forbes Magazine) which describes the idea. Yubikey Neo plugs into the USB port of your computer. Or your tablet or your phone.  When it’s plugged in, security gets easy.  Once you log in, all you need is a simple four digit pin.  The real security is in Yubikey Neo.

The first version  is only for stuff with NFC (Near Field Communication chips) – mostly Android phones and tablets.  The “pilot project” has gone great. It shouldn’t be too too long til the wraps come off publicly and, by next year, it should be available for non-NFC stuff meaning pretty much everything.

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad likes this. PayPal, Mastercard, Lenovo, LG, and NXP are already lined up. That means it should have a good chance.

I hope so.

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The cartoon is, as usual, mine



Posted by on Monday, 29 July, 2013




You know about saccadic eye movements?

Ha ha!

But, seriously, this is interesting.

First what it is. Then I’ll get to to why we’re  even talking about it. .


Your eyes are  strange. No offense. But they are. You wouldn’t think they would work as well as they do. There’s only one small part of  your retina where the vision receptors are close enough together to tell a bear from a bush. If our ancestors had tried to pick berries from bears, we wouldn’t be having this little talk,  now would we?

As the eye evolved,  it learned to keep the fovea, the aforementioned part,  on the move. The fovea follows a complex track around whatever you’re looking at, darting quickly over everything before steadying.  These quick eye  movements are automatic; you aren’t aware of them. To you, seeing the world seems  simple  and natural. Behind the scenes, the brain and the eyes are involved in a saccadic dance.

That’s how it works,  okay?

Back to my point.


Well YOU might not have been aware of your eye movement but it’s nothing new to scientists and physicians. In Finland,  Dr.  Martti Juhola at the University of Tampere, wondered if saccadic eye motion could be used for identification (International Journal of Biometrics). He knew that these movement  patterns are unique for each individual. Could eye movements be used like passwords are used? Maybe instead of passwords?  Could we use a video camera to turn saccadic eye movements into a biometric ID that might – just might – free us from “password hell” someday? Just a video camera and the right software and we could lose the passwords? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Juhola ‘s group is developing a system for doing just that. If it proves viable,  maybe you will use it some day.


They’ve been trying to replace passwords with “biometrics” for years and years. It isn’t an easy thing to do get right. This Finnish idea might have legs but it will take time till we know.

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Image credits for the image above: ‘fraid it’s me again. 


Posted by on Saturday, 2 February, 2013
Missing Science Guy

Science Guy Out Of Office?



Has Google taken away his  Internet license?

Is he being held in a state institution for the criminally inane?

Where IS MISTER ScienceAintSoBad?

Readers complained. You don’t start a blog and then just turn out the lights  Where the HELL you been?



I have been reamed out for not keeping up my end of the deal. I know that I am supposed to update regularly and I feel bad about it. I do. But, here’s the thing. We are buying a place. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms. Nice kitchen. Honking big basement. This is a big, big house. By our standards.

And the huge house  needs fixing up. Lots of it. So we made me the “general contractor”.

I have a clip board.

And each day, I walk around behind the electricians and plumbers and carpenters and tin knockers looking official.

What are we doing today? I ask.

Staying out of our way, they say.

We have smart friends who suggest things. I write them down and add them to the drawings. Sometimes I argue a little. Just to show I’m paying attention.  Mostly I do the calling, coordinating, checking, and making sure  the door is unlocked in the morning. It doesn’t take a genius.

But it does take a lot of time.

I manage to keep up on  the scientific literature and I fantasize about actually updating my neglected blog. This (if I tap “publish”) will be the first time I actually pumped one out since construction started.

I will be back on my regular beat soon; I promise.  A few weeks. In the meantime, here’s something to chew on.


A little thing. From Google. Not a secret, exactly. But you never heard of it.

Very cool!

If you like to keep up on specific stuff like – I dunno – architecture, or book collecting, or phrenology (that’s head bumps and I’m just being funny) you can “subscribe” to some “feeds”, using an rss “reader” such as Google reader.  But if you just want to have fun surfing the feeds, Type www. Very hard to put down. You’ll see what I mean.










My Galaxy Nexus phone is 12 months old.

A senior citizen of a phone.

It still does great tricks, takes decent pictures, and keeps me connected. And with the help of my graying pal there, I tap out this article, waiting in  the doctor’s office  for my name to be called. What more could I ask from my pocket slab? Am I getting restless for a better phone? Do I need an upgrade?

The rush to the future has slowed. Are smartphones  amazing? For sure. But in the world of “what have you done for me lately”, higher screen resolution, faster processors, and a few more more pixels won’t make me rush to the store for a new phone.  My Galaxy Nexus is as good as the newest stuff in most ways. I don’t feel so bad when I walk by the kiosk. Nothing there makes me drool.

Maybe this will.

How about a smartphone with a battery that lasts for days?  And a great display that you can drop without damage, that won’t scratch and – seriously – that can be bent and twisted.

See? I got your attention.

Phone displays are the next big thing. Instead of glass, they will soon become unscratchable, unbreakable plastic with amazing clarity. Most important of all, the display, instead of sucking the battery dry, will help to conserve energy, finally allowing you to focus on  something beside how long it’s been since the last charge.

The new OLED displays will bend easily so that they can be folded up like a piece of paper while still functioning.  Star Trek had great tricorders for beaming Scotty up. But they couldn’t bend and twist..

Here’s the thing. According to Mathew Humphries of,   Dai Nippon Printing already has the thing working. They say this technology has been licensed to Samsung. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad thinks the first phones will be announced next month.

Don’t say I never told you nothin’.

Now. Back to the house project.

See ya.

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Image of MISTER ScienceAintSoBad: My own (processed) image.

IBM’s Doctor In A Box

Posted by on Wednesday, 7 November, 2012


What if your doctor knew everything?

Instead of just acting like he did.

I mean what if your physician ACTUALLY had all those studies and papers – all the latest stuff – in his.her head?

Nobody’s saying doctors aren’t smart but they can’t be up on every possible disease or every possible drug. Nobody could keep all that information “upstairs”.

Except for Dr. Watson.

The latest incarnation of  Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, takes in the Internet as well as other sources of up-to-date medical information, sorts out all the useful stuff, and  shares this with busy medical professionals as it is needed. Easy access to everything. And an algorithm to help.

Maybe you remember Watson. From Jeopardy. Watson was a contestant on the show and trounced  all the other (human) players.

They never had a chance.

IBM now wants to get Watson in the medical game, offering direct help as well as second opinions to physicians. Maybe, eventually, aiding and abetting the delivery of primary health care. (This, by the way, is from Brandon Kleim, Wired Magazine).

Would it work? Is this a good idea? Well… doctors do make mistakes.

No. I’m serious. It can happen.

Like.. all the time.

Thousands of errors every year. People who should get better, don’t. People who should go home, die. Not knocking the docs. They are amazing. But nobody’s perfect, right?

“I am. I am.” (Shut UP Watson!)

Okay. That’s the idea, anyway – that a machine, indefatigable, without human biases, with always up-to-date information – can offer useful assistance to healthcare providers.


Nobody’s threatened by THAT idea, right?

One of the doctors quoted in the article above reminds us that doctors have enough knowledge. No need to waste electricity. We’re fine here.

Mister ScienceAintSoBad will stand aside while the geniuses from medical school figure this out. Some would say that most medical errors can’t be prevented this way. Well, guess what? This one’s inevitable. Watson, Shmatson. Eventually? The strong right arm of every physician will be his Doctor In A Box.

I’m right on this.

Trust me.


MISTER ScienceAintSoBad.

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Credits for the animation: to Heather’s Animations. Please note that donations are gratefully accepted in return for which (or even without a contribution) you can utilize the work you find there in your emails, articles, and what not.



Posted by on Thursday, 14 June, 2012




It started simple. With the Palm Pilot.

You could do a few functions – notes, calendar, some calculations, that kind of thing. There was a modem, 512 kilobytes of memory, and a monochrome screen. The Palm was just a glimmer of what was coming. Microsoft got into it with it Microsoft Mobile devices and Apple caught the wave with its IPod and IPhone. And Google threw Android phones at the wall; and was amazed at how many of them stuck. Which pissed off Microsoft so it made a new version of its own phone.

Palm Pilot

The race was on.

They’ve gone all out. Gargantuan marketing budgets, out-of-this-world technical innovation, manufacturing prowess, and skyscrapers full of patent trolls trying to imagine and lock up every conceivable variation of computer and communications technology out into the distant, distant future.

It’s like the race for the atom bomb. Only that was scary. This is fun, right? Cute little I-things. Pictures of lovable green robots.

The primary field of battle was raw intelligence. The problem: improving the understanding of “natural language” for text input or speech input. Google wanted to make it easier to search. Not long ago, if you made a typo in a long search string, you got the wrong stuff. Or nothing at all. Google realized it had millions of users. “Why not,” it thought ” take advantage of  what we can learn from their efforts to ‘understand’ speech?” If all that data was used right, maybe it would be the thing that would finally bring artificial intelligence into the mainstream.

Did it work? You know it did. When you type in Sicence Ain’t So Bad, what happens? It knows what you were trying to say, right?


The competition between the giants – Microsoft, Apple, Google took many forms. Last year, Apple released IRIS, its voice system. The BS may have gotten out a little ahead of its functionality and some users are so mad they’re suing. But you can see what those SteveJobsians are up to. An alter ego in your pocket  Could Google afford to ignore IRIS?  Hardly. Besides, Google, already had its own voice technology stuff. So it just cranked harder. Wait’ll you see the Galaxy S3!


There’s nothing wrong with healthy competition.

Or even unhealthy obsession.

It makes our devices better and better, right? But before phones went crazy with this stuff, the world of artificial intelligence was esoteric . It was inhabited by professor types. Now that Apple/Google/Microsoft are throwing everything at it to stay ahead,  and now that the behavior of hundreds of millions of phone and tablet users is being mined to deepen the understanding of language,  I gotta ask my usual question. Does ANYBODY have a CLUE where all this is leading?

How long will it be till – hype aside – we really can interact naturally with our devices? Till they acquire human-like characteristics but without human-like limitations such as fatigue, hunger, and lust?

It won’t be long. I CAN tell you THAT!


Because the devices  are in our pockets, the technology is ALREADY deployed. It’s just a matter of picking out which apps to use. Plus the devices are connected from here to hell, right? – 3G, 4G, Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC – you name it. So your brilliant phone will connect to your not-too-shabby car and, voila!, machines with unnerving human qualities. Machines we may come to regret. Robots, medical devices, all kinds of things that operate independently and without much need for us at all.


We are on the threshold of something very big. I don’t exactly know what it will mean. Nobody does.

Please don’t worry. I’ll keep you informed as the good/bad things become more obvious, as we race beside the future trying to keep up with it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The cartoon is by MISTER ScienceAin’tSoBad. (I don’t understand it either.)

Why Are Phones Getting So Large?

Posted by on Friday, 25 November, 2011




” Zoey” asked about screen size for smartphones. They’re getting so big. Why?

I said:

Phones started out small.

Apple made a big thing about how dainty the IPhone was. But, as people have come to expect more from their phones, small has become less cute and more aggravating. How are you going to read a book, watch a movie, or edit a document? With a magnifying glass?

So  there’s been some “size drift”.

It’s true you can add a tablet to your electronics collection – something like the very nice IPad.  But some people don’t want to have a permanent forward lean like a school kid with a backpack full of gadgets. Maybe bigger phones will  take pressure off of your need for multiple electronics, multiple accounts, and multiple charging technologies .

Saves money too, right?

We don’t know what is the best size for a smartphone yet. This is an experiment. We’re figuring this out together.

I thought you should know.

Thanks to David Baldinger for the cartoon figure used in the above image. Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Posted by on Thursday, 22 September, 2011


Maybe you hate Google.

Some do.

But you gotta admit, the big G is creative. Ideas fly out of Google  faster than films out of Bollywood – Picasa, YouTube, Maps, Panoramio, Android, Earth, Bookmarks.. Always something new.

How long can creativity like that last?

Well, recently, Google announced that it is trying to be  more focused. The  workers were having too much fun. Too much fun is never good. It annoys the investors. Hence, going forward, there’ll be no more throwing piglets at walls to see what sticks. According to Larry Page, there will be “more wood, less arrows”. (Larry’s the CEO and gets paid to maintain order). To get the wood properly aligned with the arrows, Google flipped through its multitudinous projects  to see what could go. Some projects were closed down, some remained. And some got combined. Just  in case the “we’re serious dudes now” message wasn’t clear, Google Labs, itself, got the ax.

Is creativity finally wrung out of Google’s guts? The time  spent on “go crazy” projects  (which used to be 20% of the work week) has been reduced to .. Well.. 20%. No change at all. So I guess creativity isn’t eggzactly a thing of the past. Just reducing the arrows is all. This, supposedly, keeps “The Street” happy.

One  project that was killed  is aardvark. Which you probably never heard of. It works like this.

Say you finally dumped the Subaru.

“Google,” you say, ” I finally sold my 1995 Subaru. What do I do now?”

Good question. I’m  on this.

I’m thinking “Subaru. This person probably shops at Whole Foods, wears natural fabrics, and wishes the Tea Party would drop dead!  He.she  should probably be looking at a Prius. Or a Mini.”

Well, dear reader,  aren’t I smart! In fact, I’m smarter then Google’s famous search engine which would choke on that question. And WHY am I so smart? Because I got DNA in me. I’m a human. Maybe Google Search will be that smart some day.

Don’t be a breath holder.

Well, a while ago,  Google Labs (rest in peace) realizing the problems of  “natural language” ,  decided to  waste an arrow. Maybe Google could come up with a way to get humans in the loop for certain questions.



The idea with aardvark was to “social up”. Users get to check off particular areas of knowledge. They become volunteer experts. They become the blood and bones of the animal.

As it were.

Mister ScienceAintSoBad (in his human guise) was such a user. He claimed to know about science.

Questions began to show up. Most were dopey.

As someone who works almost every day, is to stay in shape with little time? 

Sounds like a fortune cookie, doesn’t it? He was probably looking for an efficient way to exercise. No WONDER it came to me. Probably because I checked off physics.

Another on-target question:  What is the best way to tell my girlfriend I love her in every-way possible, and I don’t think she is annoying or anything she says bad about herself. 

Whatever! I don’t consider myself an expert on this subject. If I were qualified to give advice on romance, would I wear these thick glasses and dress funny? Anyway, his syntax is off. If English is his second language, I’m impressed. If it’s his first one, he needs a new dictionary.

I’m looking for a excel spreadsheet app for ipad 2 that can use imported email documents that are excel spreadsheets already from a computer.

Okay, bubs. That’s legit, I guess. But kinda lazy. Ever hear of the App Store?

And here’s a guy who really doesn’t “get” natural selection: While some species ascend high in the atmosphere it seems as if birds do not fly too high for their safety. Do they, and if not how to they know what are safe altitudes for them? Why does say a magpie not have a go at flying up to geese migration heights?

That same day I received: How can you use only two fours to equal 4? Well, I passed on that one. Too deep for me. Maybe, the submitter isn’t originally from this solar system.

I also asked aardvark some questions of my own. I wanted to know if the minuscule vibrating strings that string theory’s based on can run out of gas. In other words, are they subject to the second law of thermodynamics?

In string theory, all “particles” are comprised of vibrating strings. The associated energy and mode of vibration of the string determines which specific particle the string will be. My question: does the energy of the vibrating strings decay over time? Do the laws of thermodynamics (entropy, in particular) apply at this level?

I got this response:

Well, I’m no expert, so feel free to restate the question when the answer is unsatisfactory. I believe a string will change its energy and mode only when it comes into contact with another string. This would be the same for conventional objects, except that the objects around us come into contact with other object all of the time, hence the decay in vibration energy.

He’s “no expert” but he BELIEVES that a string.. Always good to have someone share his opinions, I guess. I did wonder why he didn’t let the question pass  to someone who KNEW the answer. But I was polite.

I thanked him.

I believe you are right though that’s what I hope to confirm. You refer to “conventional” objects. I assume you meant things that are, by convention, particles in the Standard Model (quarks et al).

Goes out on a limb:

No, they don’t apply at that level.

As I suspected but I was hoping for a bit more explanation. I thank him politely and ask why.

Sorry, I can’t help with more explanation

Can’t tell me with why. I don’t like this. If you know what yer talkin’ about, you can defend yer answer, right?

Just to clarify. You’re saying you know that the rules of thermodynamics don’t apply at that level but you don’t know why? If you don’t know why, may I (respectfully) ask why you’re so sure of the answer?

He, bravely, goes another round.

Thermodynamics is about macroscopic variables. String theory is about particle physics. I’m sorry if this doesn’t help and hope someone else can give you a satisfactory answer.

This is nonsensical (but it didn’t fool you, did it?)  Anyway, I knew there wasn’t any more juice to be extracted. In the interest of civility, I was probably hypocritical:

In fact, that confirms my own understanding. Sorry to be pushy but I couldn’t tell from your very brief statement if you were just “playing” at aardvark as, unfortunately some do. I’m not sure what motivates people to do things like that (pretend to know when they do not) but it forces you to make a judgement about whether a responder is reasonably knowledgeable. Actually, you seem at about my own scientific level and I appreciate your thoughts on this.

I suspect that what’s going on at the string level is that a string is, in essence, a quantum of energy. Without an additional energy transaction, it is eternal. Maybe I will hear from a physicist who knows.

Later that month I tried to clear up my understanding of the way that separate particles get tangled up with each other over vast distances.

Does quantum entanglement transmit information faster than the speed of light (virtually instantaneous)? Some things I’ve read say that useful information can’t be sent this way. Others seem to suggest that this is an open question.

My answer came back:

Depends on your interpretation of “transmits information”. Unmeasurable things, such as a quantum state and phase, change instantly. But measurable things, things that are within the reach of experiments, cannot be used to transport information faster than light. Quantum physics has this loophole that some physical quantities are unmeasurable, out of reach for any kind of detection. That’s why Quantum theory can play this trick on us: a physical measure changes faster than light, but not a measurable one.

Thanks, Dan, for a knowledgeable and understandable answer. ( Not your fault that quantum mechanics is so damn nuts!)

I knew we were looking for radio signals from “ETs”. I wondered how far are we looking?

SEARCH FOR EXTRATERESTRIAL LIFE: I realize that the SETI program, itself, is currently mothballed, but I’m curious about something. What are the realistic distance limitations on this kind of radio search before noise is likely to overcome even a strong signal? Are their expectations of being able to identify (not translate, just identify) an intelligent signal beyond, say, 1000 light years? Further?

The answer arrived:

ask Carl Sagan

According to Brian Greene (and others), strings are under great tension but are not necessarily anchored at the ends. What force, then, balances this tension?

I don’t know, but sometimes he himself answers this kind of questions on his facebook page:

on: his personal fb page announcements can be found when he is answering questions (he is very kind)

I admit I got a little testy. For heaven’s SAKE!

If you don’t know, don’t answer. OK?

If you don’t know the answer, don’t respond, OK?

He got testy back and raised me one:

Did you know that you can ask him questions by yourself? What is YOUR problem to talk with me like this? NOT OK! WTF?! You could ignore my ! ANSWER. AND, DO NOT SCREAM AT ME, OK? Keep in mind when you do not know an answer, it’s important to know, who knows it. Thank you.

I gave you a direct link to one of the people who definitely will be able to answer you. Even much more trustworthy then me.

Who could answer your questions better then one of the scientists, who invented all that theories? You make me angry!


no, not you make me angry, not even know you, sorry David.

Rage management, anyone?

My last exchange was with someone who asked:

What are some must-have android apps?

I said:

This one is easy to figure out with Google search. No need for aardvark, really. Lots of articles about “favorite” or “best” or “must have” apps. However, these lists probably tell you more about the writer than anything else. “Must haves” really depend on you and your lifestyle/work style. They also depend on your phone since not all apps work on all version of Android. 

As far as I am concerned, I like to set the home screen on the computers I use to “iGoogle” and then add “gadgets” for Google “tasks” “calendar”, “finance” (stock portfolio), and Google documents. Then, on the phone I set up corresponding apps. This way, all my “stuff” gets synced to all my computers/phones. Other apps I rely on are the kindle ereader app (small, of course, but always with me), note everything, and spreadsheet. Of course, “Navigator”, Google’s GPS system is terrific. Comes with my phone. Yours too, probably.

He already knew:

Ha ha I know. I asked this because I wanted to know how aardvark worked.

Thanks for the ride, aardvark. It’s been real.

Credit for the above image to Abraham Williams and Flickr Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

YOU Get To Solve The Debt Crisis!

Posted by on Saturday, 6 August, 2011


Looks like a game. Under the covers?  Computer simulation with a friendly face.


Congress is a bunch of nitwits, right? You could do better. Here’s yer chance.  I’m not vouching for Budget Hero. MisterScienceAintSoBad doesn’t have time to vet everything he sees. Maybe there’s a built-in bias to make some sneaky point for the Tea Party. Or the Green Party. Or the Whigs.  But you’re bound to get SOME insight from this exercise.


Posted by on Friday, 14 January, 2011



You wouldn’t remember Esperanto.

Idealistic project.

The idea was to just make up a language. a good one with a logical grammar and no history behind it to piss anyone off who thinks that the Esperants exploited his people and enslaved his great grandparents. With no “baggage”, it could be introduced around the world and become the new common language for all.

Good idea, right?

What happened?

It wasn’t spoken in enough colonies so it got ignored.

Today, English is the global language. Maybe Chinese’ll be the next one.

But Google’s got an app for that all right.  It just announced that it’s cracked the “impossible” problem of rapid automated voice translation. Still a little rough. It’s available “for now” to converse in Spanish to English/ English to Spanish. Other languages will follow as the technology matures.

This is amazing. It was thought to be way beyond what could be done with present technology.

ScienceAintSoBadRating on this one?



Speaking of Google (aren’t we always?). Google’s announced a Science Fair. It’s for kids 13 to 18 years old. First prize: $50,000 and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Lot of other prizes. This is worldwide although certain “pariah” countries like North Korea and Syria are off the list for, I suspect, legal reasons.