4:41 PM, Dec 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Yale University professor David Gelernter is not a typical computer scientist. Most days, he sits at an easel near a wide window in his Woodbridge, Conn., house and paints. Two parrots fly around the house, which is filled with stacks of books and papers. The birds screech sporadically and one pops up from behind the couch to say "Peekaboo." There are no gadgets in sight, aside from a desktop computer barely visible in an adjacent office.
"I hate computers, and I refuse to play with them," he says. "Any success I've had in computing is because I fit so badly in the field." He thinks that using computers should be more logical. "I want software to work in 30 seconds," he says.
It is this desire that led Mr. Gelernter to start Lifestreams, a new company that aims to make desktops more user-friendly and the stream of information more intuitive. Years ago, a first try at commercializing his ideas ended in failure, but Mr. Gelernter is used to recovering from setbacks. In 1993, he was the target of a mail bomb from the Unabomber. The explosion disfigured his right hand and blinded his right eye.
Lifestreams, which is based on software originally developed by Mr. Gelernter and his colleagues at Yale, is set to launch in late January. It will organize computer documents, emails and other information as a narrative stream, with a look similar, for example, to the flow of CD covers in Apple's iTunes. Here the contents will be photos, videos, real-time chats and word documents shared within a certain group, such as a bridal party or a youth soccer league. Mr. Gelernter's personal slogan for the company is "by humans for humans."
Whole thing here.
2:06 PM, Oct 9, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
While everyone else has spent the last few days obsessing about Gravity, the government shutdown, and the real possibility that the NFC East division champ will have six wins, it’s quietly been an interesting week for sociology nerds who think about marriage.
Behind the curtain at the IPCC.Oct 14, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 06 • By STEVEN F. HAYWARD
Thought experiment: Imagine you are a national security reporter, covering the release of a massive, 2,000-page report on domestic intelligence gathering activities and future threat assessment from the National Security Agency. But instead of issuing the full report, the NSA issues a 30-page “Summary for Policymakers” (SPM) written by political appointees at the Justice Department, promising that the full 2,000-page report will be released a few days later. Would you print a front-page story based only on the 30-page summary, or would you demand to see the full report?
Aug 26, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 47 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook has previously commented on the “new breed of pundit/political scientist who seems to think that a pie chart is a substitute for argument.” Whether it’s the fault of an education system and corporate sector saturated with PowerPoint presentations, the increasing desperation of polemicists, reporters, and poli-sci types to cast their work as hard “science,” or just the rising tide of philistinism, it seems an ever-growing number of writers and thinkers have taken to substituting the siren song of the computer-generated chart for the hard work of written argument.
1:25 PM, May 9, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Just this week, news broke that the "world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun" was successfully built and test-fired by an engineer in Texas. The technology involves a special printer that uses melted polymers to generate plastic components for a variety of uses, now including working firearms. Today, in a press release announcing a $200 million program for a "Competition for Three New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes," the White House also touted a $30 million award in a similar competition in August 2012 for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
1:02 PM, Apr 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama thanked the the National Academy of Sciences and said if it weren't for them, "I would not be here." He was referring to the work they did to help the Union in the Civil War.
Via the pool reports:
We must deal "responsibly with the clear and present danger of climate change."2:29 PM, Apr 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement marking Earth Day, Secretary of State John Kerry pledges to deal "responsibly with the clear and present danger of climate change." The former presidential candidate also notes the "fragile planet we share with the rest of humanity and which we must protect for future generations."
11:05 AM, Apr 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a speech this morning at the White House to outline a new science initiative, President Barack Obama named himself "Scientist-in-Chief."
"I’m glad I’ve been promoted Scientist-in-Chief," Obama said to laughter at the White House. "Given my grades in physics, I’m not sure it’s deserving. But I hold science in proper esteem, so maybe that gives me a little credit."
This is what happens when dogma distorts science. Mar 18, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 26 • By MICHAEL ROSEN
A meta-study that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine last September found no “strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods.” A dozen Stanford researchers combed some 237 studies that analyzed food consumption and health outcomes among thousands of people, only to conclude (in the words of the study’s senior author) that “there isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your heal
9:17 PM, Feb 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In his State of the Union Address this evening, President Barack Obama will encourage Congress to adapt a cap and trade plan to deal with climate change. Energy, climate, and taxes are a sizable portion of Obama's speech.
9:02 AM, Dec 18, 2012 • By ARI SCHULMAN
In December 1972, Eugene Cernan took a long climb up a short ladder on the lunar surface and became the last human being to set foot on another world. It was forty years ago this week that Apollo 17 completed its quarter million mile journey home, marking the last time to date humans have traveled more than a few hundred miles from earth.
The evolution of the Harvard guinea pigs.Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
In the 1930s, a group of psychologists and physical anthropologists at Harvard chose 268 students whose medical, amatory, and career experiences they wished to document over the remaining decades of their lives. Department-store mogul W. T.