Tag: Technology

Eating Cheetos with Chopsticks

 

Chopsticks are, in a general manner, inferior to the fork. Forks are more effective over a wider range of food, and they’re easier to master as well. Really in this day and age, the major reason to learn chopsticks is to look sophisticated. You don’t want to look like a dolt in front of your friends. So I’m using chopsticks to eat Cheetos.*

Cheetos are pretty much on the opposite end of the sophistication spectrum from sushi.** If you learn chopsticks to look suave in one of those swanky Japanese restaurants that’s one thing. You simply can’t look debonair eating bright orange cheese puffs. So why bother with the chopsticks? Aren’t they a finger food? They are if you don’t mind leaving blaze orange fingerprints everywhere.

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Podcaster Joe Rogan recently sat down for a long conversation with id Software and Armadillo Aerospace founder John Carmack. The legendary programmer and engineer no longer designs video games or rockets. He now leads Oculus (purchased by Facebook) in improvement of virtual reality (VR) hardware and software. More

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In the latest episode, the Young Americans get super nerdy, with the help of real-life tech policy researcher Caleb Watney of the R Street Institute. He and Jack discuss the virtues of free markets vs. Millennial skepticism thereof, question the emerging conventional wisdom on tech addiction and Silicon Valley, rebut the Unabomber (!), and go […]

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A Wall Street reporter made some 120 tests of the new 5G technology offered by her new phone. She found that it is super fast – when it works. However, it doesn’t seem to like to work that much in the summer when it is hot… Of course, when it doesn’t work, you can always […]

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Quote of the Day: Historia Calamitatum

 

The title of this post may look like rather esoteric, bluestocking, or even erotic clickbait, but there’s nothing to that theory. It’s not a feminist take on the story of poor Peter Abelard, and no guy ends up minus an essential piece of equipment at the end of it. No. It’s just a rumination on one of the dumbest things I ever did in my life (that I’m willing to cop to, at least), and how I got past it, beyond it, and how it all turned out for the best. (It’s also, perhaps, an object lesson in heeding the warning signs, something else I’m not always very good at.)

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Will we ever see a day when baseball umpires are replaced by holographic and sensor technology that can more accurately call strikes and balls or even whether a player was tagged out at home? As in football, where the instant replay from several angles, is already relied upon during questionable touchdowns, fumbles, or receptions to […]

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It was the best of games. It was the worst of games. This week E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) — the video game industry’s biggest annual gathering and press event — is spinning out a flurry of announcements in Los Angeles, like it always does. New platforms and services have been scheduled for release next […]

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As a Man Thinketh in His Heart . . .

 

After numerous startling Facebook suggestions echoing sentiments I’d expressed aloud less than twenty-four hours before, I’ve quit fighting the idea that some apps on our devices are picking up on our conversations to suggest products and articles that suit our needs. Too far-fetched? How about this? I feel old and tired, I remark to my sister as we ride together in the car. The next day, an article with helpful tips appears in my feed. The title: “Feeling Old and Tired?” I took a screenshot of this stunning example of eavesdropping devices.

Then there was the time someone said to me, Not everyone appreciates me being frank and honest. The next day, there in my newsfeed, in case I needed to read up on the topic, was the article, “The Virtues of Frankness and Honesty.” Coincidence? Probably I had more chance of winning the lotto than encountering a coincidence like that.

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American Inventors

 
Edwin Armstrong on the beach with his wife and his portable superheterodyne radio 1923

Yesterday, @richardeaston wrote a post Affirmative Action in Inventions in which he noted that in recent years a black female, Dr. Gladys West, has been given credit for inventions associated with GPS for which the credit belongs to others. I was going to comment on Richard’s post; but, my comment got too long and I think this post can stand on its own.

Unfortunately, I don’t think what Richard found is a one-off honest mistake. Rather, there appears to be a concerted effort to overstate the accomplishments of black Americans in some fields. This becomes apparent when searching various terms using the most popular Internet search engine: Google. For example, searching the term “American Inventors” gives the following result.

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Animatronic Zoos

 

There’s a great scene in the comedy film Fierce Creatures involving a panda.

Vince McCain, the billionaire playboy put in charge of increasing profits at his father’s latest acquisition, a zoo, reveals its latest addition. Zookeepers are initially ecstatic at the unveiling of a panda exhibit. Then they notice something that raises their hackles.

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The Future Is Now

 

I was promised flying cars. A robot butler. Vacations on the moon. Living in the 21st century, I do have access to all kinds of technology I never would have dreamed of as a kid. Still, one of my most common interactions with robots is waving my hands back and forth hoping that the machine will grant me access to a piece of paper towel so I can dry my hands. And it could get worse…

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Why I Don’t Have a Smart Phone: Five True Stories

 

1. I was carpooling with some people on a six-hour trip (to Urbana), but before we could start, we had to get on the highway. Our GPS navigator took us right past the highway on-ramp we all knew, down some other road, then on a crazy four- or five-mile detour through other neighborhoods and odd side streets, finally coming full circle, back to the same on-ramp where we had started, which, this time, we took.

2.  For the next six hours, an extroverted older guy (maybe in his sixties) sat next to a younger guy (early twenties) and tried to make polite conversation. Even though they didn’t know each other previously, the older guy was friendly and full of energy, and it was clear that he really valued human interaction. The younger guy sometimes engaged, but his talking and even his listening eventually trailed off, as he lost interest in the conversation and paid more and more attention to reading whatever was on his phone. Perhaps unintentionally, the younger guy’s visible boredom sent the message loud and clear that he wasn’t interested in talking to the older guy. I ended up feeling bad for the older guy, and spending a lot of the trip engaging with him, even though we were sitting in different rows and had to crane some to make it work.

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I recently read an intriguing book concerned with the exponential advances in technology and the impact thereof on human society. The author believes that the displacement of human labor by technology is in its very early stages, and sees little limit to the process. He is concerned with how this will affect–indeed, has already affected–the […]

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Recently, I have seen four movies about artificial intelligence. Ex Machina, the Machine, Automata and Her. I liked all four, but I could only recommend two because there is only so much time in the day. I think that this kind of selective elimination will become ever more present in our lives for two simple […]

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In an episode of multiple firsts, Jack strikes out on his own to interview Matthew Hennessey, the deputy op-ed editor of the Wall Street Journal, author of Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials, and, at 44, a decidedly un-young American. They discuss whether Millennials or Baby Boomers […]

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In 2009, Microsoft brought the game show format online through Xbox Live. Every owner of an Xbox 360 video game console had a cartoonish avatar to represent the player in a variety of virtual interactions. In the trivia game show 1 vs 100, these avatars could fill a virtual crowd of a hundred players competing […]

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The last couple of months have been full of learning experiences and tests. The most recent test has to do with technology, and I am failing. After almost 10 years of using Windows Vista on a wonderful computer, my system crashed; dead as a doornail. So, after my initial meltdown I went on the journey […]

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Arthur C Clarke famously said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Likewise, any sufficiently advanced automation will be mistaken for life. Recently, I watched Netflix’s Altered Carbon series, based on the science fiction novel by Richard K Morgan. The core premise is that the essence of humanity is intelligence or consciousness alone. Therefore, […]

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Matthew Hennessey joins City Journal managing editor Paul Beston to discuss Matthew’s new book, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials. More than a decade after the introduction of social media, it’s evident that Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture has more drawbacks—from violations of privacy to deteriorating attention spans—than many of us first realized. For many […]

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I wrote this column about Paul Ryan’s retirement for USA Today, and C-SPAN was nice enough to have me on this morning to talk about it. An excerpt: More

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