Awaken

“Awaken is a new feature documentary by Tom Lowe detailing humans’ relationship with technology and the natural world. The project was shot in over 30 countries during a five-year period, all while making use of next-level cinematography techniques such as time-dilation and underwater photography, ultimately providing viewers with a look at the universe like never before. No post-production effects have been used for the picture, as everything has been captured and thus showcased ‘in-camera.'” (Release in 2018)

Things I’m Older Than

I don’t recall when I first had the experience of looking around and realizing I was the oldest person in the room. It’s been long enough that I no longer notice but I had a bit of a flashback while hanging out on Mastodon.Technology. Am I — I wonder — the older person posting there? I then began ruminating on just how much technology is younger than I (3/8/48). A few examples:

  • Commercial Jets – “The British Overseas Aircraft Corporation (BOAC), the national British carrier, first introduced a commercial jet airliner into service. The 36-seat Comet 1, built by De Havilland, flew for the first time on July 27, 1949. BOAC inaugurated the world’s first commercial jet service on May 2, 1952.”
  • Color TV – “Color television had its beginnings in the late 1940s alongside black and white television. It was not a commercially viable until the early 1950s. At that time, two competing color mechanisms were being championed separately by CBS and RCA (which at the time was affiliated with NBC).”
  • The Honda motorcycle – “The first complete motorcycle, with both the frame and engine made by Honda, was the 1949 D-Type, the first Honda to go by the name Dream.”
  • TV Remote – “The first remote intended to control a television was developed by Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950. The remote, called “Lazy Bones”, was connected to the television by a wire. A wireless remote control, the “Flashmatic”, was developed in 1955 by Eugene Polley.” Before remotes, one walked up to the TV and turned a knob to change channels. As more and more became available, this knob was used more and more (a child was ordered to get up and change to channel x). These plastic knobs quickly stripped from constant turning and a pair of wire pliers had to be used. It was common to see pliers sitting on top of the living room TV in the ’50s.
  • Power Steering – “Chrysler Corporation introduced the first commercially available passenger car power steering system on the 1951 Chrysler Imperial under the name “Hydraguide”.”
  • Cable TV – “Cable television originated in the United States almost simultaneously in Arkansas, Oregon and Pennsylvania in 1948”
  • ATM – “It is widely accepted that the first cash machine was put into use by Barclays Bank in its Enfield Town branch in North London, United Kingdom, on 27 June 1967.” (Wikipedia)

The rise of the internet of value

Blockchain: the ledger that will record everything of value to humankind

The internet is entering a second era that’s based on blockchain. The last few decades brought us the internet of information. We are now witnessing the rise of the internet of value. Where the first era was sparked by a convergence of computing and communications technologies, this second era will be powered by a clever combination of cryptography, mathematics, software engineering and behavioural economics. It is blockchain technology, also called distributed ledger technology.

This is much more than the financial services industry. Innovators are programming this new digital ledger to record anything of value to humankind – birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, deeds and titles of ownership, rights to intellectual property, educational degrees, financial accounts, medical history, insurance claims, citizenship and voting privileges, location of portable assets, provenance of food and diamonds, job recommendations and performance ratings, charitable donations tied to specific outcomes, employment contracts, managerial decision rights and anything else that we can express in code.

Is time real?

A pretty good (admittedly brief) look at two views of time:

  • Presentism: there’s nothing but the eternal now. Here, the past and the future are only present in our minds.
  • Eternalism: The past, present, and future aren’t the makings of our conscious mind. They’re as real as the dimensions of space. ‘Now’ is to time, as ‘here’ is to space.

Alas, they both make sense to me.

Could blockchain fix broken Internet?

A day doesn’t pass that I don’t see half a dozen articles about some new use for distributed ledger technology (Blockchain). Some interesting ideas in a short piece from Fortune:

“If we were to design the Internet all over again, it’s a good bet we wouldn’t build what we have today: A giant advertising oligopoly where consumers trade privacy for free services, and which is so insecure that hackers and criminals run wild.”

One idea for ‘fixing’ the Internet comes from a company called Blockstack:

“Blockstack is building a new type of Internet browser using the distributed ledger software known as blockchain. The idea is that people will no longer have to supply log-in information to the likes of Facebook and Google to interact with others on the web. Instead, they’ll keep control of their identity by using blockchain’s authentication features.”

Will demand for oil plummet?

It would be like a game of Risk that’s been going on for three days and your three-year-old comes in and gleefully turns the board over. [CNBC]

RethinkX co-founder and Stanford University economist and professor Tony Seba told CNBC’s Street Signs that the rise of self-drive cars will see oil demand plummet, the price of oil drop to $25 a barrel, and oil producers left without the political or financial capital they have today.

“He says we are not going to stop driving altogether, just switch to self-drive electric vehicles, which will become a much larger part of the sharing economy. And these electric vehicles are going to cost less to both buy and run. […] There will be no more petrol or diesel cars, buses and trucks sold anywhere in the world within 8 years. Which also means no more car dealers by 2024.”

“China wants to get electric, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell cars to account for 20 per cent of all auto sales by 2025, while India aims to electrify all vehicles in the country by 2032.”

Older people and technology

“By 2050, 22% of Americans will be 65 and older, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections. […] Around four-in-ten (42%) adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013. Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home. […] Smartphone ownership among seniors whose annual household income is $75,000 or more increased by 39 percentage points since 2013 – 15 points higher than the growth reported among seniors overall.”

World Economic Forum »

When every conversation is recorded

You might have seen a story about an embarrassing recording from 2016:

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post.

I don’t care much about the exchange but I would like to know more about how the recording was made. Surreptitiously, one would think. Perhaps a smartphone in a jacket or shirt pocket? Doesn’t sound like the sort of gab-fest reporters would be invited to so it was one of The Boys. Did he know something embarrassing would be discussed? Did he record every such discussion… just in case? And if one guy is doing this, doesn’t it follow others would as well? Every question spawns three more.

Are there meetings where the Alpha Dog demands everyone put their phones in a basket which is placed in another room? Does everyone get a pat-down?

I started the recording app on my iPhone and put it in my pocket (mic up), to see what kind of audio quality I could get. Not bad. Good enough to end a career.

Let’s say I turn on a small jamming device that prevents recording within a 10 foot radius. Could someone on the other side of the room capture so