Category Archives: future

we must also embrace clean coal

“…coal produces more than 40 percent of the world’s electricity, a foundation of modern life. And that percentage is going up.”

http://www.wired.com/2014/03/clean-coal

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Filed under energy, energy-efficiency, erik-green, future, green

How to get a job at Google

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-get-a-job-at-google.html

0. coding ability (for tech positions)
1. general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly.
2. leadership ability
3. humility
4. ownership
5. expertise

Excerpt:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — LAST June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.” He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. At a time when many people are asking, “How’s my kid gonna get a job?” I thought it would be useful to visit Google and hear how Bock would answer.

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Filed under future, google, jobs, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Climate scientists calling for revolution

Is avoiding a 2 degrees C rise “impossible” or is it “difficult but doable” — “…scientists have been dramatically soft-peddling the implications of their research”

Naomi Klein in Russell Brand’s New Statemen issue: http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt

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Filed under climate change, contrarian, erik-green, future, green, revolution

2040: Our robot… paradise?

“…I chose Lake Michigan because its size, in fluid ounces, is roughly the same as the computing power of the human brain measured in calculations per second.”
(see cool animation in the link below…)

LINK
Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us?
Smart machines probably won’t kill us all—but they’ll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.

“What are the signs of a computer-driven economy?
1) First and most obviously, if automation were displacing labor, we’d expect to see a steady decline in the share of the population that’s employed.
2) Second, we’d expect to see fewer job openings than in the past.
3) Third, as more people compete for fewer jobs, we’d expect to see middle-class incomes flatten in a race to the bottom.
4) Fourth, with consumption stagnant, we’d expect to see corporations stockpile more cash and, fearing weaker sales, invest less in new products and new factories.
5) Fifth, as a result of all this, we’d expect to see labor’s share of national income decline and capital’s share rise.
These trends are the five horsemen of the robotic apocalypse, and guess what? We’re already seeing them…”

Exciting times. Hard to say whether to be optimistic or pessimistic. Probably it will all work out and best to focus on 2013!

===================

SEE ALSO:
How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, MIT Technology Review
By David Rotman on June 12, 2013

http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/

“Then, beginning in 2000, the lines diverge; productivity continues to rise robustly, but employment suddenly wilts. By 2011, a significant gap appears between the two lines, showing economic growth with no parallel increase in job creation. Brynjolfsson and McAfee call it the “great decoupling.””

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Filed under computers, future, predictions, work

The problem with twitter (and facebook (and wordpress))

The problem with twitter is that it isn’t more like facebook.
And the problem with facebook is that it isn’t more like twitter.
And the problem with wordpress is that it isn’t more like facebook and twitter.

By which I mean:

Facebook is annoying because:
- images are big now and everyone has figured out that the clever way to advertise their website is to put a clever saying in an image which is now huge and I have to scroll like mad now to read anything. I mean, I am guilty of sharing these sometimes, but will resist now I think. I usually hide article previews too.
- It’s not open

Twitter is annoying because:
- It’s a river (vs folders like is an option in RSS reader) so you can’t easily do things like group feeds, click to read one person (or one cluster) when you want to, etc. I know you can click (TWICE!) to read more from a person, but come on!
- It’s suggesting celebs to subscribe to. Uh, no.
- I pretty much totally hate URL compressor things since I can’t tell if I am interested cause the website name is hidden
- I am sorry but I am not conversing with you there
- hashtags are ugly and painful and useless unless it is a niche.
- It’s not open

WordPress is annoying because:
- It’s slow
- It doesn’t do nice/automatic previews of articles when you paste them in
- It’s slow
- All my friends aren’t there
- I can’t easily protect posts by friendship

The future:
- Might bring some open way of doing things like all of the above but in an open “internet standards” sort of way.
- simpler but also maybe more modular/programmable
— examples of tiny evidence of hope:
—– RSS
—– Dave Winer’s littleoutliner.com (see http://scripting.com/) is a sign (I hope) of things to come.
—– https://ifttt.com/
—– flickr.com API and APIs in general
—– bootstrap, and responsive design / HTML5
—– some google tools (books, forms) seem hopeful, but I won’t count on them now that I see that Google just close things down (ala Google Reader)

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Filed under computers, freedom, future, tech, thinking

Stuck on writing

Some of us adults are a bit stuck on writing. Don’t get me wrong, writing of all types in the 21st century is still tremendously important. But there are some other forms of communication most schooling seems to have forgotten about. Well, not exactly forgotten… more likely in more cases not feeling up to the challenge.

- Audio (Radio Programs, Music, Internet: podcast only productions)
- Video (Movies, Shorts, Commercials, Internet: Video blogs/reviews/youtube)
- Videogames

Cheap computing power and the interwebs have brought tools of creation, collaboration and distribution to the 99% that would have been unthinkable to even the “professionals” of only just half a generation ago working in expensive studios.

And of course, being able to organize one’s thoughts OR produce a creative or compelling product is still what it is all about. That’s no different than with writing — all have in common the ability to sit down and collect one thoughts to put together something a little different than live performance or “face-to-face” (or Facetime) communication.

That’s the real question… what do you want to say?

So get to it people (I include myself of course…) Writing isn’t everything. It’s just one way. I would say it’s “just the beginning” except that I don’t think the order is clearcut either as it’s now possible to use things like an $150 iPod Touch to film, edit and publish videos before one is even able to write well or much (or at all). A and his friends can do this. And sure, there is still expensive editing equipment and methods one can maybe learn best from someone who is doing it. But don’t underestimate what one can do with 10,000 hours of one’s own time and a FINAL CUT PRO FOR DUMMIES type of book and explanatory youtube walkthrus and tutorials.

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Filed under contrarian, creativity, future, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, work

“Even the hard core in the green movement use washing machine”

Hans Rosling: The magic washing machine — one of the best TED talks I’ve seen (or via youtube) He divides the world into 4 groups. Below the poverty line. (fire people) Below wash line (bulb people). Below air line (wash people). And the rest (the air people) And it’s a zero-sum sustainability game so the dots need to be distributed somehow. Are you going to deny a washing machine to the rest of the world?

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Filed under climate change, energy, energy-efficiency, erik-green, future, green, visualization