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Scott Adams’ brought up several interesting points this morning. One, why we are giving two vaccinations, which prevents us from not vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible? And two, can someone please tell me why you would need a prescription for this at-home COVID test? I agree with Scott. This doesn’t seem merely […]

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I’ve written about this before, but now tales are being spun in Forbes. I’m working on a response and would appreciate comments. Here’s my draft. The recent Forbes article by Ethan Siegel claims that, “GPS Only Exists Because Of Two People: Albert Einstein and Gladys West”. Preview Open

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To occupy myself on a transatlantic flight some years ago, I started Disclosure by Michael Crichton, but I’d felt ill and put it aside. It certainly was the pageturner I’d wanted, but the central problem was less scientific or technological than legal, and I was too fatigued to hang in there with it. Recently, however, […]

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15th Anniversary of a Wonderful Day at the White House

 

On February 13th 2006 I saw President Bush give my father National Medal of Technology for his work on GPS.


Dad first conceived of what became GPS in 1964. As he said, 42 years is a long time to wait for recognition. He’d received other awards prior to this but none of them from the president. I’ve gone on several congressional tours of the White House but in these tours, you go through a few rooms at a relatively fast pace. Here we could see more rooms at our leisure. Here’s my first article about GPS which includes a picture by my wife after the ceremony.

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I recently appeared on this excellent podcast talking about the early space program and GPS. My co-author commented that, “This one had more polish on the production side. It’s one of your better interviews. Her questioning style sets her apart.” It’s also available on iTunes. Preview Open

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Join Jim and Greg for an all-crazy edition! They discuss additional evidence that Lin Wood cost Republicans the Senate, a New York Times columnist calling for a government “reality czar,” and Elon Musk working towards a brain chip to create “symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence.”

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63rd Anniversary of Explorer 1

 

Sunday was the 63rd anniversary of the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer 1. George Ludwig, who built the instruments for James Van Allen, attended the 50th for Vanguard 1 in 2008. Here are some of his comments.

Well, I was with Jack Townsend in the Russian embassy [when the announcement about Sputnik 1 was made]. We were drinking cocktails. You were talking about the Explorer 1 watch. Well, I would like to tell that story, because it’s a very interesting story. When the decision was made for the Army to go ahead and launch, based on a Jupiter C, it just so happened, by no accident, that our instrument at Iowa fit on both the Vanguard and the Jupiter C. And that was the result of Van Allen’s knowledge from clear back in ’56 of the potential capability of the Jupiter C. We talked this over at great length and made the decision that we would go with a 6-inch diameter package which would fit on Jupiter C and as well would fit within the canister of the Vanguard.

Anyway, after the launch of Sputnik 1, the Army got the go-ahead and the JPL people came out to see me at Iowa and we worked out the arrangement, right at the very beginning of how the instruments would be handled. So, we came to the conclusion that that could only really be brought about if I went out to JPL with all my designs and instruments and help them do the repackaging necessary to get it into the Jupiter C configuration. So, I did that and we and the time for the launch of Explorer 1 came up and I was tied up with JPL to the last minute because I was having trouble calibrating the Geiger counters so I appeared down at the Cape on the day, actually the countdown was underway for the first launch attempt for Explorer One.

The Emperor’s New Mind

 

Mathematical truth is not a horrendously complicated dogma whose validity is beyond our comprehension. -Sir Rodger Penrose

The Emperor’s New Mind is Sir Roger Penrose’s argument that you can’t get a true AI by merely piling silicon atop silicon. To explain why he needs a whole book in which he summarizes most math and all physics. Even for a geek like me, someone who’s got the time on his hands and a fascination with these things it gets a bit thick. While delving into the vagaries of light cones or the formalism of Hilbert space in quantum mechanics it’s easy to wonder “wait, what does this have to do with your main argument?” Penrose has to posit new physics in order to support his ideas, and he can’t explain those ideas unless you the reader have a sufficient grasp of how the old physics works. Makes for a frustrating read though.

Silicon Valley vs. Free Speech

 

Suddenly, free speech is in serious trouble.

Six years ago, CEO Jack Dorsey could proclaim “Twitter stands for freedom of expression. We stand for speaking truth to power.“ Last week, Dorsey and other big tech titans unleashed a massive speech suppression initiative, based on the notion that not only President Trump, but also anyone who supported him, including conservatives and Republicans en masse, must be silenced in the interest of public safety.

The silencing was comprehensive and ruthless. Recently increased censorship in social media had all been directed to the right. Then Facebook and Twitter joined in a permanent ban of the president. It was necessary to silence the President of the United States, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, because his claims of voter fraud were false and it would be dangerous to allow him to keep making them.

Joe Selvaggi talks with Martin Gurri, former CIA analyst and author of Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, about the wave of populism sparked by the disruptive force of the internet from Occupy to riots on Capitol Hill. Mr. Gurri shares his views on the connection between massive, broad information consumption and the new view toward elites.

Guest:

Parler, Web Hosts, and Masterpiece Cakes

 

Parler lost its rented server space with Amazon Web Services. Parler also found its phone apps booted off the Apple and Google app stores. This is not the “destruction” of Parler – not unless Parler was on such shaky ground that it cannot be rebuilt. This is certainly hamstringing it, but if this is a “death sentence”, then it is one that is easily overcome with cold hard cash (would that the Reaper were so easily fended off on more fleshly concerns). We need perspective here, and an honest reckoning of what happened, how, and why. We also need to yet again yank the plank from our own eye, for it was just a short while ago that we were adamantly defending another business for refusing paying clientele: I speak of none other than Masterpiece Cakes.

First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way – understanding how Parler was built, and how it planned to make money for its creators (let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it was all charity work) is key to understanding its demise. Web sites have to be located on computers. You can make a website on your laptop and share it with the rest of the internet if you want. Users just would need to know the numerical address in either IPV4 or IPV6 to find it. If you want to make it easier to find then you would have to register a domain name, and then map that domain name to your server address. Now suppose your little website got really popular because its topic was fun and lovable – let’s say, for the sake of argument, that your website was all about your pet bird. If you had just a residential internet connection, after a point your neighbors would start to complain that traffic to your laptop was killing their own connections. Plus, your laptop has limited processing power to keep serving page views out – and your addition of a little bird forum doubled traffic to the point where your laptop’s cooling fan failed from overuse. How do you fix these issues?

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To review: the audio lectures to which I have referred on these pages are ones I myself bought. The medical textbooks I have consulted, as well as issues of the New England Journal of Medicine, belonged to my former landlady. She left me her house and its contents, which included a vast quantity of fine […]

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I work with a guy who has a PhD in electrical engineering from a very prestigious university. When speaking during meetings, he routinely uses the word “incantation” when he actually means “incarnation”. I have no idea why he does this. I don’t think he does it on purpose but the effect on the listeners is…hilarious. […]

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Oh man, it’s media day in our year-end Three Martini Lunch awards and Jim and Greg are holding nothing back. Specifically, they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2020.