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Futurism

November 30, 2010 1 comment

IEEE Spectrum pokes fun at Ray Kurzweil’s predictions about the future:

Therein lie the frustrations of Kurzweil’s brand of tech punditry. On close examination, his clearest and most successful predictions often lack originality or profundity. And most of his predictions come with so many loopholes that they border on the unfalsifiable. Yet he continues to be taken seriously enough as an oracle of technology

Ray Kurzweil is, among other things, a founder of the Singularity University (link currently down, maybe they can’t take the load).

Well, my reader may remember that I already wrote about the Singularity. And my conclusion was this: the Singularity as commonly defined has already happened. And in any case, chances are that any real singularity is something you can only observe from the outside, but that you will barely notice, if at all, while you are in the middle of it.

Alan Kay is famous among other things for his quote: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it“. I talked to Alan Kay on several occasions while we were both at HP, and after these discussions, I was rather tempted to rewrite his great word of wisdom as follows: “The best way to secure one’s future is to rewrite history.” Ironically, IEEE Spectrum seems to have reached the same conclusion about Ray Kurzweil.

Palais de la Découverte…

The Palais de la Découverte in Paris is one of these lovely spots where science and fun mix. There is a a rumor that the French government might be planning to close it down (sign the petition to save the place).

This is too bad: this may be the only place in the world that has an entire room that is dedicated to a number that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike π. More specifically, a mathematician named William Shanks spent 20 years of his life computing 707 decimals of π, but only 528 were correct. In 1937, the bogus result was cast in stone in the Palais de la Découverte. The mistake was only discovered in 1945.

In any case, if you think a place like this is worth saving, just click here.

Categories: History

3D simulation of the 9/11 attacks

A finite elements simulation of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks was carried out and visualized using 3D rendering.

600-years old music encoded with wave patterns?

Cymatics
Two musicians have analyzed 600-old carvings and believe that they encode music using cymatics.

What I find fascinating is that it might just be true. I can very well imagine monks observing that patterns of dust on a table organize themselves as they sing, improving their collective harmony by trying to obtain aesthetically pleasing patterns, and finally engraving these patterns as a record of the music they were chanting.

You can listen to this music in the video below:

Categories: History, Music, Science
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