Tag: Technology

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Prof. Paul Israel, Director & General Editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University, and author of Edison: A Life of Invention, the definitive biography of America’s greatest inventor. Professor Israel describes Edison’s public and private life, as well as the impact of his world-changing inventions, such as the hot-filament light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion-picture camera. Called the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” Edison is still the American with the most individual patents — 1,093 in the U.S. and 1,200 in 34 foreign countries. They discuss what educators and students in the 21st century can learn from how Edison ran the country’s first industrial research laboratory in New Jersey, and the importance of the U.S. Patent Office in protecting inventors’ exclusive right to profit from their inventions. They also discuss what students should learn about the role inventions have played in the historic success of the United States and in the highly dynamic and competitive global economy. Professor Israel concludes with a reading from his biography.

Stories of the Week:  The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is celebrating its 75th anniversary of providing education for the children of American service members. Today, DoDEA operates 160 schools in eight districts across 11 countries, seven U.S. states and two U.S. territories for more than 67,000 students. (Read Pioneer’s related 2015 report.) In West Virginia, the Professional Charter School Board approved three applications for the state’s first ever charter public schools, which will provide another option for families who want and need a different learning environment.

A Disillusioned Generation

 

I’m 25 years old.

I arrived on this planet in the midst of a technological revolution. In my lifetime, my generation traveled from VHS to VR.  The generation before me had seen a man land on the moon.  With the internet, the knowledge of the world was now at our fingertips. Disney said “dream big,” our parents said, “aim high.”  The impossible was now possible. “We will do great things!”

A Few Small Thoughts

 

I’ve been busy. A customer is building a specialized milling machine, and I’m writing the software to create the tool paths — the motions the machine will have to make — required to manufacture sets of a few hundred slightly different precision parts that have to fit together fairly precisely. I’ve never done something quite like this, and it’s taken several iterations to get the math right and the paths precise down to the “tenths” (engineer talk for 0.0001″) required by the machine, and to do so without devouring the spinning cutting bits.

I’m very happy with the results so far. I’ll be at it the rest of this week and then, I hope, back to life as usual.

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First, the funny.  LGBT is coming to a classic sitcom near you!  Paramount is going to stream a new series called Dragging the Classics.  Here is what’s in store for viewers: https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2021/06/26/hollywood-reimagining-classic-tv-sitcoms-like-brady-bunch-with-drag-queen-makeovers/ Preview Open

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of several books, including Be the Parent, Please. They discuss findings from her book on how excessive technology use negatively impacts children’s intellectual, social, and moral development – which was even more of a challenge with the wide usage of remote learning during COVID-19. The conversation turns to Riley’s extensive commentary on the relationship between religion and education in American society, and lessons K-12 education policymakers should learn from higher education’s handling of faith on campus. She delves into why religion and church-state issues remain such a stark fault line across American K-12 education. They also talk about the development of anti-intellectual efforts on college campuses, and in the larger society, to use speech codes, political correctness, wokeness, and now cancel culture to shut down the free exchange of ideas, and why such campaigns to undermine the fundamentals of democracy persist.

Stories of the Week: EducationWeek reports that over 1.3 million American students did not return to school this year due to the pandemic-related closures. School districts are scrambling to lure them back, but will it work? Juneteenth, which honors the 1865 ending of slavery in this country, has officially become a U.S. federal holiday.

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Something incredible happens when teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen. Ultimately, when everyone on your team is equally invested in the overall purpose and goal, the performance and success of the project(s) skyrocket. You have each other’s backs, work faster, find and fix mistakes more easily, and innovate more.  Preview Open

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Eli Dourado, a senior research fellow at Utah State University, joins Brian Anderson to debunk myths about the great stagnation, discuss new technologies that are on the precipice of unleashing growth, and detail the regulatory strictures and complacency that stand in their way.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

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Prof. Ed Roberts of MIT Sloan – Startup Prof Listen here: https://www.angelinvestboston.com/ed-roberts-mit-startup-prof Ed Roberts started the scholarly study of startups. Learn from this brilliant academic pioneer and seasoned investor in Sohu.com and HubSpot about the keys to success in founding a tech company. Along the way you will be entertained and charmed by his most engaging […]

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The entrepreneurial spirit among immigrants and refugees allows them the flexibility to pursue unexpected courses of action, adapt, accept risk and make the most of opportunities they didn’t even know of before. For Dr. Amar Sawhney from India, that started at the University of Texas at Austin with 30 job rejections out of 30 applications. But he charted a path that would see him go in directions hitherto unknown to him: getting a PhD, helping found a company, journeying to Boston, and starting a string of new companies, using his chemical engineering background to save lives through remarkable local therapy innovations. To date, he has founded eight companies accounting for 4,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in revenue. He’s been named a “Champion of Change” by The White House, one of the “five most innovative Medical Device CEOs” by MassDevice, the EY regional entrepreneur of the year, The Immigrant Learning Center’s own Immigrant Entrepreneur Awardee for Life Science Business. But his influence extends well beyond that space into environmental conservationism, safeguarding refugees, mentoring and promoting STEM education, and building public understanding of America’s Sikhs, as you’ll hear in this week’s episode of JobMakers.

Guest:

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Max Faingezicht, an immigrant who founded ThriveHive, a marketing software company for small businesses, and Telescoped, which uses remote software engineering to connect Latin American engineers with U.S. companies in need of their skills. The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Boston and Cambridge have allowed Max to achieve dreams he didn’t even know he had when he arrived. He can now foster entrepreneurship in his home country of Costa Rica while bringing much-needed talent to U.S. companies, all the while influencing what the future of work will look like. In this episode, he shares his fascinating immigration story, as well as his ideas on where workers go next.

Guest:

The Mental World of Joseph Biden–Technology Department

 

Here’s President Biden, in his ‘infrastructure’ speech, talking about the future of transportation:

I tell the kids…they’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds. Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. So much is changing. We have got to lead it.

Parenting Postscript: Our Best and Worst Decisions

 

In 1994, my dad introduced me to a friend of his and mentioned that I was engaged. My dad’s friend, with humor and kindness, told me, “Ah, yes. Marriage.  There’s nothing like marriage to show you who you really are.  Smokes you right out.”  All these years, I’ve  retained the image of a small frenzied mammal running back and forth in his tunnel until he finally pops out of his back door–heaving, exposed, and vulnerable–to gulp the fresh air.  Except in my case, it was not marriage, but parenthood that really smoked me out.

Christian blogger and author Tim Challies expressed it best when he described some challenges of being a parent as “muddling through.”  Yes–we can read all the books, survey parents we admire, attend Love and Logic conferences, determine to be kinder and gentler, ask for help on Facebook.  Yet, few children arrive as a neat, predictable package.  Each comes as a unique little creature, a complete person, yet pre-loaded with potential to be nurtured and developed over years.

The Computer Age Turns 75

 

In February 1946, the first general-purpose electronic computer, the ENIA, was introduced to the public. Nothing like ENIAC had been seen before, and the unveiling of the computer, a room-filling machine with lots of flashing lights and switches–made quite an impact.

ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was created primarily to help with the trajectory-calculation problems for artillery shells and bombs, a problem that was requiring increasing numbers of people for manual computations. John Mauchly, a physics professor attending a summer session at the University of Pennsylvania, and J Presper Eckert, a 24-year-old grad student, proposed the machine after observing the work of the women (including Mauchly’s wife Mary) who had been hired to assist the Army with these calculations. The proposal made its way to the Army’s liason with Penn, and that officer, Lieutenant Herman Goldstine, took up the project’s cause. (Goldstine apparently heard about the proposal not via formal university channels but via a mutual friend, which is an interesting point in our present era of remote work.) Electronics had not previously been used for digital computing, and a lot of authorities thought an electromechanical machine would be a better and safer bet.

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A highly-touted online panel purportedly addressing climate change featuring Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Toobin and Anthony Weiner went about as well as could be expected on Tuesday as all three men ended up in varying degrees of undress. Approximately 20 minutes into the conference Mr. Weiner seemed to lose all interest as Mr. Clinton was discussing […]

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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?

Member Post

 

…but did it really happen? A case study in the difficulties of finding historical truth. On Christmas Eve of 1906, a few shipboard radio operators–listening through the static for signals in Morse code–heard something that they had never before heard on the radio, and that most had never expected to hear. A human voice. Preview […]

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Radar Wars: a Case Study in Expertise and Influence

 

In today’s WSJ, David Mamet writes about expertise and influence, pointing out that experts who get important things wrong, sometimes causing great harm to millions of people, often pay no personal price whatsoever. One example he mentions is the pre-WWII secret British debate on air defense technologies and especially the role played by Churchill’s scientific advisor, Professor Frederick Lindemann.

It is an interesting and important story, and is discussed by the scientist/novelist CP Snow in his 1960 book Science and Government…which, he says, was inspired by the following thought:

QoTD: Push Polls and the Wrong Answers

 

Hi Thomas, I’m Mercedes w/ For our Future WI. We’re conducting a survey and want to hear from you. Our first question is simple. With everything that’s going on right now, what’s the biggest issue facing you & your family right now?

Spammers texting me without even getting my name right. Or were you thinking less immediately than “right now?” Well, the intersection between what’s possible with digital technology and what kind of human interactions are fundamentally destructive (mass push polls for example) ranks reasonably high on my list of worries. Is that one of the options? Somehow I think you’ll have to tick the “other” box on your form.

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On Monday night, my iPhone turned off and wouldn’t turn back on. That’s just a minor personal inconvenience with a straightforward, if not pricy, solution—right? So the next morning, I scheduled an appointment at a repair shop for that afternoon and tried to log in for work. And that’s where the “minor personal inconvenience” snowballed. […]

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