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Father Regrets Inventing the Internet… Sort of!

“I used to play the cello — and regret that I gave it up so entirely in pursuit of science and math.”

Those were the the actual words of Vint Cerf, the “Father of the Internet”. He actually wanted to be an actor, and even did a small role in Earth: Final Conflict. The lesson is, you may deeply regret giving up your passions, even if you get to do something as huge as inventing the internet. I, for one, still welcome our old cello playing internet inventing actor overload.

Read Vint Cerf’s latest interview.

This is what Global Warming Looks Like

These were taken almost exactly one year apart (Right: 30th December, 2006, Left: 28th December, 2005) of the village of Schwangau in Bavaria.

Link

The Dooms Day Clock, 5 Minutes to Armageddon

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have moved the hand of the Dooms Day Clock to five minutes to midnight. The Dooms Day Clock acts as a metaphorical measure of how close humanity is to it’s demise. In 1947 when it was started, it was set at 7 minutes to midnight. The first Soviet atomic test brought it to three minutes to midnight, and subsequent nuclear tests by the US and the Soviet Union in the next 3 years brought it to just 2 minutes. It was 1953 and it was when humanity was the most likely to had been wiped out. The “safest” it ever got was in 1991 when the US and the Soviet Union signed the famous Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

With the recent events in the “war on terror”, Iran and North Korea’s nuclear developments being about to trigger another nuclear arms race, and new scientific evidence on climate change and the fact that it has the potential to wreck global havoc, the Dooms Day Clock has once again ticked.

1 Brain Cell vs the Universe

One is micrometers wide, the other light years across. Together they suggest surprisingly similar patterns found vastly in natural phenomena.

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Vision 2020: Get out of Maldives!

Some more environmental stuff. Back in the 90’s the global warming models kept suggesting that sea levels could rise by about 3 feet by 2100. That was based on the minimal set of data available. Now with new data (and with the discovery of the exponential rise in temperatures), it is time you change that 3 feet to 18 feet. Yes 18 feet! That is way up over our heads. Big cities like London and New York are going to be underwater too.

So what are these new results about? The latest data suggests that at the present rate, Earth’s temperature would rise to the level as it was 130,000 years ago. In that time, the sea levels were about 20 feet higher - and that was because of the heat melting Arctic ice. Back then, the Earth was slightly tilted on the axis than it is today and it caused the polar regions to experience much warmer summers.

So, by the time we get done with the 2020 stuff, we should be making evacuation plans. Make sure you are not moving to a coastal city. Pick a place with an altitude of about 100 feet.

Some reference - Basque News, BBC and Google search.

Global Dimming and the Research in Maldives

Here is the tag line. Scientists have proven that the Northern atolls in the Maldives are getting about 10% less sunlight than the Southern atolls, and it is because of India! Weird and its real, but its not the real concern. It is part of the enviromental fondness known as Global Dimming, which is experienced in many parts across the globe as it says, and it is set to change almost everything we’ve previously thought about climate change - including Global Warming.

Sometime in the late 90s there was a group of scientists here in the Maldives doing a reasearch on the amount sunlight reaching the Indian Ocean. They spent 25 million dollars on the project, it took about 4 years and they used nearly all sorts of methods to measure. I saw it on the local news when they first started it, the project was called INDOEX. I always thought that it was a useless experiment and that those measurements would end up in some scientific library to be left unused for years - I saw no point in such a rush and such a huge undertaking just to get a figure on how much solar energy the Maldivian atolls were getting. What the heck eh? But obviously I never bothered to read much about it, now that I have seen the BBC documentary, I wish I did some references earlier.

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You are Colorblind too

6 percent of men are having the popular red-green color blindness (known as deuteronomy), where it is hard to identify between some shades of red and green - they both look either green or red. There are other variants, like the blue-purple blindness and the rare yellow-light green blindness. But you all are thinking that you have normal vision aren’t you? No. You are wrong.

Recently published research shows that people not having deuteronomy suffer a newly discovered khaki blindness. People having the red-green blindness can easily identify a particular 15 shades of khaki, while the subjects with normal vision could not identify them. They could see just a few out of the 15 shades. How about that!

Read the original publication.

Intelligent Design vs Darwin’s Evolution: Bad Idea

So much for the evolution vs intelligent design debates. Basically, the religious folks say that the universe was created just 10,000 years ago and it was created as it is now, and humans did not evolve from apes. On the other side, the science folks have fossils and other various material to support the evolution theory. These two parties do not go very well together, and it is turning the education system in western countries head over toes.

The problem is that some people take some pieces of the religious scriptures literally while some portions are considered to be abstracts. How are they classified? Not using any methodology but simply by following their hearts. This has essentially made people rebel against Darwin’s theory, head to head, while they may not have an idea what they are talking about.

So the religious scriptures mention a time frame for the creation and that we were made out of clay or “earth”, and it obviously doesn’t give any specifics. Neither do they say anything about the various stages, not even one. We’ve got it all up in our heads, spiced with our own imagination and ready to be mixed with the facts. Basically there is no reason why they cannot be put together. You might say that humans were created through a long natural (earthly) process in which “earth” itself was the essential ingredient, instead of saying that we were molded into shape, literally, as we think of pottery. According to Darwin’s Theory, a single cell organism made its way from hot muddy lands onto more hospitable grounds and continued to multiply and evolve branching into millions of different species. Both sides seem to be saying the same thing, in different mindsets.

Religious folks have a fetish into believing that God is like the Sea King in Little Mermaid, and that he creates things with a snap and that he would rather create things as it is, instead of going through an earthly evolution process. They think that if we can figure out the laws and the building blocks, and even part of the process, then that shall not be how God would have done it.Why not? After all, we are in it ourselves. Just as stupid as the debate is, it is part of the long going scientific vs spiritual debates humans have had since ancient times. Move along, there is nothing more to read here.

World Usability Day

Today is the World Usability Day. Today is the day for people who asked the questions, “Why doesn’t this work better? Why can’t they make this is easier?” BBC has run a survey and according to the results, the worst candidate is DVD package wrapping, and the best is, obviously, the iPod.

I would agree on the iPod myself, and so would everyone else; and also I would put Google and all of their services right next to the iPod. This also raises one more concern. How exactly would you measure usability? If good usability means a product or service being instantly accessible for people of all cultures, with no or a small learning curve, then the idea of usability should not be applied for everything out there. Usability (most of it) is actually in our heads. Since some things are meant for repetitive use and with such frequent use, the usability seems to improve afterwards. For example, many of us use Vi. It is the one and only console text editor of choice for many of us. But almost all of us found it difficult and annoying to use in our first attempts. But with time and frequent use, it is has now become as easy to use as the iPod.

Weather Forecast for August 2060?

If you are lucky you, or unlucky if you say, you may get to see those days. The arctic will start to see ice-less (almost) summers. The sea level will rise by about half a foot. The North Atlantic current and the Pacific streams will be on steroids, extreme hurricanes, typhoons, heat waves. Every year from then on. So much water on the move, so much heat. This is no longer a theory. What’s on the menu for the Indian Ocean?