Technology

Perhaps the IRS will use drones, too

Think of the possibilities of the drone society. If you are short on your taxes, the Internal Revenue Service could send a drone to your door with a notice. If you miss a credit card payment, your bank could send a dunning letter to you, delivered by drone!

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Technology creates an inward society

Recently on CNN, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) appeared and discussed the ongoing stall in the fiscal-cliff talks, and delivered his take.

Congress, he said, was a much different place when he first arrived, because everyone in both parties socialized more, and they all had permanent residences in Washington. Before cellphones, the Internet, fax machines and other devices, people needed each other’s presence more to fill time, and members in both parties played golf together, went to happy hours and had family dinners and barbecues.

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Privacy, Google and Facebook: Chill!

Privacy is an ongoing concern for all of us; it's a real thing. However, there're a lot of bogus headlines regarding online privacy, and I figure some perspective is good.

Most of the panic regards Google and Facebook, and almost all of it is faked, from parties who're looking for headlines or people who don't understand tech, and panicked. Let's say very little fact-checking was done.

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Science subtext: Gender parity

At the White House science fair this morning, President Obama is expected to announce a new education initiative to invest $100 million into training 100,000 new teachers. Specifically, the president is trying to fend off the problem of a shortage of teachers in science, technology, engineering and math — known as STEM — in order to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace.

While he’s not expected to talk about the dearth of women in the STEM fields, you can be sure that’s part of the larger White House agenda.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s nerd manifesto

Mark Zuckerberg presses himself into the public eye. It was his insistence and demanding countenance that first brought to my mind those ancient socialist realist statues of Lenin pressing forward against the wind, oversized, waving a bronzed document, almost a hundred years ago in the century’s first great wave — worldwide wave — of “new man” generational politics. It came then from the realization that they simply had the numbers. Capital had already fled Russia. Russian gentry were now waiters in Paris and all was left were peasants; comrades then, millions upon millions of them. And the document: the three-page, single-spaced letter that Zuckerberg had prepared; a letter to potential investors for a $5 billion initial public offering of Facebook. It was a manifesto:

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This Internet Spring could lead to an Internet Awakening

People have asked me about the whole SOPA thing, how bad a law it could be.

Sure, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are really destructive, potentially damaging U.S competitiveness and genuinely killing jobs. However, there's some good news associated with the reaction to the bad law, news that we're missing.

As an industry, we've been able to rationalize that bad laws and politics don't matter, but now we're waking up. More importantly, this has also gotten the attention of "the Internet," meaning a lot of the people who use the World Wide Web. That includes some really smart Hill staffers who believe in the democratic potential of the 'Net.

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Wiki what?

I think it was my grandmother who once said, “Nobody buys the cow, if they can get the milk for free.”

I thought about Grandma in the context of the Wikipedia protest of the SOPA bill.

In full disclosure, one of my clients is a content company that care deeply that they are being forced to give their milk away for free, thanks to the vagaries of the Internet.

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Stem cells

Over the past decade there's been much excitement about the potential of stem-cell transplantation as effective treatment of various medical conditions. Unfortunately, most of it has been hype and fantasy. More recently, researchers have found ways to inject stem cells into the bloodstream and various other parts of the body in a way that does not produce uncontrolled growth or attempts by the body to reject those stem cells.

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Apple in mourning

When I heard of Steve Jobs’s death, the thought came to my mind of John Lennon’s death; the circumstances were different but the times — Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980 — remarkably the same. And both found symbolism in the apple. Drudge had a picture of Steve Jobs from the beginning, dressed in a business suit, holding an apple. Actually, offering us an apple. The apple appeared as well in Virginia Postrel’s remembrance of Jobs in Bloomberg, illustrated by Leif Parson’s rendition of the iconic Magritte painting of the Englishman in bowler hat with an apple obscuring his face. But the apple is sky blue, like the company’s logo, and the sky gray, in mourning.

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Einstein revisited

Will Einstein join Marx and Freud now as a god that failed? One of the “three visitors” who came to us at the turning, that is, at the end of the world and the beginning?

Einstein was Monkey God as the century opened to the new creation. His picture today hangs on the classroom walls everywhere where Jesus, Washington or Ganesh once did.

Even Franklin D. Roosevelt borrowed from his cosmic observations and made with them an atom bomb.

“My biggest mistake,” Einstein said later.

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