Couple of Guys, Middle of Nowhere

Just saw this commercial for Google Chrome and Angry Birds on television:

 

“It’s a simple metric….”

“Are you angry, Peter? You look angry….”

I use Google Chrome (beta) almost exclusively and have since shortly after it was launched. It’s come a long way, especially in the last year. I rarely use IE or Firefox anymore, and even then just to do a browser check when I’m toying with web page changes.

I played Angry Birds once on my iPhone … for about five hours. Then I removed it.

Not that is wasn’t fun … it WAS fun … but the time I spent with it seemed to qualify as “lost time” ….

“Games of that sort are designed to grab your attention…. But apart from a few isolated images, or a little thrill of achievement when you scored points, you come away with no memories. It is as though a black hole had swallowed up this piece of your life.” – Stefan Klein, The Secret Pulse of Time

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“We Are Living In Exponential Times”

From the following video comes a perspective on technology that illustrates the rapid, exponential pace of change since the 1990s – a pace unlike anything human beings have ever experienced. The video ends with: “What does it all mean?” A very good question, don’t you think?

Discovered on Dominik Deobald’s blog here:

Did You Know?

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On The Large Hadron Collider

I have to admit that even after reading several articles about it, I still don’t understand enough about the Large Hadron Collider to write an intelligent-sounding post. Physics, chemistry, astronomy — and anything that smacks of having even a distant relationship to math or calculus — don’t get past the internal censors in my head. I have enormous respect for people who do understand this stuff … I’m in awe of them, really … and this colossal experiment apparently has significance to these sciences that will be felt for many, many years.

So, here are a few related articles and sites that I came across yesterday:

From Computerworld:

Collider test called a ‘great milestone of mankind’ – “Today’s successful test run of a massive particle collider is being called ‘one of the great engineering milestones of mankind.’ On Wednesday morning, just outside of Geneva, scientists shot a particle beam fully around a 17-mile loop in the world’s most powerful particle accelerator — the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Twenty years after development of the collider began, a particle beam made the full journey around the accelerator for the first time. It’s a forebear to the time when scientists will accelerate two particle beams toward each other at 99.9% of the speed of light….”

Also from Popular Science:

It’s Christmas for Physicists! – “If you somehow managed to avoid seeing the comic, listening to the rap or reading anything in the all out media blitz, then let me be the first to tell you that earlier today the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most power particle accelerator, began operation. Scientists hope that the experiments conducted in the $9 billion dollar accelerator will help them discover the mysterious Higgs boson. The Higgs boson, colloquially referred to as the ‘God particle,’ is the hypothetical particle that imbues matter with mass, and finding it (or not finding it) will have profound implications on the world of physics….”

And from the Boston Globe’s consistently excellent photography blog, The Big Picture, a series of images of the collider inside and out, here:

Large Hadron Collider nearly ready.

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On Learning

From Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage:

We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art, as a teaching machine designed to maximize perception and to make everyday learning a process of discovery.

I’m putting together resources for a research paper on the cultural and social impact of photography. McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man is one of my sources, but I also picked up The Medium is the Massage, because it looked interesting (and, for a change, SHORT).

McLuhan’s books are full of gems like this. I just started browsing through them and didn’t know what to expect when I started; but nearly every page strikes me in some way or another. This particular quote leads a short piece that expresses admiration for the potential of technology, but simultaneously contains the warning that we aren’t good at grasping the effects of technological transitions. We lock ourselves in psychological and intellectual straightjackets, McLuhan suggests, because “the interplay between the old and the new … creates many problems and confusions.” McLuhan’s remedy:

The main obstacle to a clear understanding of the effects of … new media is our deeply embedded habit of regarding all phenomena from a fixed point of view….

The method of our time is to use not a single but multiple models for exploration….

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