May 29, 2015


A hypothetical (because this is how I picture it - originally had tornadoes in mind): Take this (or some version of the concept). It’d obviously have to have a rotating mechanism built-in + this technology, fly over hurricane, drop device in eye.

Once it lands, have this tech built into device (synced with live satellite data of storm’s predicted path), and then turn it on (running in reverse of the system). Would probably work particularly well, assuming it worked at all, if storm system was in its infancy.

(Or, I suppose, if this device is too large for a flyover, you could drop pieces of it into eye of storm, with same technology - as previously stated - built into each piece, and then have them come together and interlock.)

April 23, 2013


“We need a group of the major economies – call it “G Major” – that announces monetary policies in a coordinated fashion.”

(Images: 1, 2, 3)

August 8, 2012


I'm testing an embeddable Tweet here. Yes, I realize this is exciting stuff. Some may even consider it mind-blowing. Anyway, the link in the embedded Tweet is fascinating. 
Here's my favorite paragraph:
Traffic control: if we have metre-level resolution in our monitoring, we can not only optimize our vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow (to the extent possible, within the hard limits of routing algorithms), we can also handle emergencies more effectively. A six-year-old chasing a ball towards a street may result in the local nodes notifying the autopilot of an approaching car to apply the brakes before the child runs out from between the row of parked vehicles ahead. Alternatively, automated vehicles can be diverted away from potential congestion choke-points before they develop, rather than blindly following a route in a map database.

April 26, 2012


(Image) This post is borderline science fiction. But no worries… Mankind is now attempting to mine asteroids. Need I say more? No? Ok then. Whew! I feel better already!! Now, let’s get down to business.
First, though, we’re going to need a couple of ingredients. First: a national high-speed rail infrastructure. Second: a national broadband network, capable of 100 megabit per second connections. Third: we have to jump a few years in to the future. Now, let’s cook.
The idea is this: A national high-speed rail infrastructure that doubles as a computer - a massive computer. I’ve written about this before (The World’s Most Powerful Computer?), but failed to explain the idea in any kind of detail. When I originally came up with this concept, one of the reasons behind wanting to place the Internet fiber in the high-speed rail infrastructure, itself, was to protect the fiber from an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). Though thoroughly unscientific, I assumed the fiber would be safe by encasing it with steel (the steel tracks of the rail system). Turns out, that’s not the case. I’m not an expert on what type of material could stop an EMP, so I won’t attempt to solve that here.
For a serious breakdown of why this stuff (EMP) matters (excerpt provided by: The EMP Commission - established pursuant to title XIV of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (as enacted into law by Public Law 106-398; 114 Stat. 1654A-345)):
The physical and social fabric of the United States is sustained by a system of systems; a complex and dynamic network of interlocking and interdependent infrastructures (“critical national infrastructures”) whose harmonious functioning enables the myriad actions, transactions, and information flow that undergird the orderly conduct of civil society in this country. The vulnerability of these infrastructures to threats — deliberate, accidental, and acts of nature — is the focus of heightened concern in the current era, a process accelerated by the events of 9/11 and recent hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita.
…to set the stage for understanding the potential threat under conditions in which all infrastructures are under simultaneous attack, it is important to realize that the vulnerability of the whole — of all the highly interlocked critical infrastructures — may be greater than the sum of the vulnerability of its parts. The whole is a highly complex system of systems whose exceedingly dynamic and coordinated activity is enabled by the growth of technology and where failure within one individual infrastructure may not remain isolated but, instead, induce cascading failures into other infrastructures.
So, why in the Hell would I even worry about an EMP? Because Vint Cerf sent me a link about the greatest potential threat to our infrastructure: an electro-magnetic pulse. And I wanted to learn more about the subject.
He wrote (via email):
As to EMP - it’s more than the Internet that would be wiped out – so would the mobile network. A 50 MT blast at 60,000 feet would be massively devastating. It would probably wipe out a lot of home electronics as well since the power system wiring would act as an antenna to pick up and propagate the signal. The power systems would also likely be blown.
Earlier this week, I emailed Vint, explaining that I wanted to revisit an old blogpost (and reminded him of his statement – “As to EMP…”). He replied, “The burst would actually do more damage simply from the blast if it were as close as 60,000 feet. However, at 250 miles, the EMP effect would be the primary one.” “As to enclosure - actually we found at MCI that putting fiber in trenches near railroad tracks invited disruption due to train wrecks! We had to trench pretty deep (more than 6 feet?) to eliminate that problem. The problem is that EMP penetrates and propagates…”
Now, I’ve thought about the possibility of train wrecks, it’s just hard to fathom that we haven’t been able to come up with a solution to prevent them yet. So, I took train wrecks out of the equation - thinking, we’d have a solution by the time a high-speed rail infrastructure was in place. Another reason for wanting to place the fiber in the rail system, itself, stems from the idea of using the motion of the train to compute. The tracks of a high-speed rail system would be designed to serve as a circuit board - or something similar. I suppose, though, with proper wireless transmission technology, the fiber could be buried and provide similar results (if train wrecks are the main concern) - if it’d be possible to accomplish a feat like this to begin with. Again, we are attempting to mine asteroids. 
So, that’s the idea. 
I’ll leave you with a line from “Maybe There Really Will Only Be Five Computers" (a blog post by John Battelle):
“We may access these brands through any number of interfaces, but the computation, in the manner [Thomas J.] Watson would have understood it, happens on massively parallel grids which are managed, competitively, by just a few companies.” 

April 12, 2012


(Image) I’d like to venture a guess: You use LinkedIn as an online Rolodex. That’s if you’re signed up for the social networking site to begin with. Many people seem to view LinkedIn as an excessive network they want no part of - a waste of time.
For those skeptical of LinkedIn, you’re sure to laugh at this: The founder of the site, Reid Hoffman, recently stated, "If Americans really learned how to use LinkedIn, it would raise the country’s GDP.”
Hilarious! Hoffman seems like a funny guy! Right?! You’re thinking, “Adam, he was shamelessly self promoting his website for personal gain!”
If those are the type of thoughts floating around in that brainsicle of yours (a brainsicle is similar to a popsicle, except it involves your brain being on a stick, or wedged, er…), well, then, my job here is to fix your melon.

To give this not-to-be-underestimated statement the blatantly obvious attention it deserves, here’s that line, again: “If Americans really learned how to use LinkedIn, it would raise the country’s GDP.”
How Reid Hoffman describes the network
Ask the average person,” Hoffman says with frustration. “They think it’s a place they keep their CV online and maybe have some connections with people they know professionally.
They don’t think of it as a place to get business intelligence, to research problems, to establish an online presence where other people in the network can find them. It’s as if we’re a screwdriver in a world where people don’t quite understand screws.
Here’s why LinkedIn could raise the country's GDP
"The future of media and business is powered by collaboration and co-creation" - Brian Solis (quoted from 'The End Of Business As Usual'). 
When I read that, the picture that comes to mind is a business world much different from the reality of the present moment. It’s a world where frictionless collaboration and co-creation allow whole industries to transform overnight, every night.
Rolodex Overload
I’m not attempting to solve LinkedIn’s usability problems here. Rather, my goal is to bring to light some real world cases that I feel are important.
Here’s one problem: How in the world would someone with tens of thousands of contacts (a super connected individual) use LinkedIn efficiently?
Why the extreme example? Because it's exactly the problem people like Vint Cerf have with a network like LinkedIn. Lord knows how much Mr. Cerf has accomplished in his career. Now, imagine, for a second, what he could get done if he had the tools to leverage his professional network to its utmost potential.
A Different Approach
In an email, Vint wrote, “I think the linked-in model is NOT to drown you in information about the people you are linked to.”
Now, assuming Cerf is correct in his analysis of the network (I mean, he is *pretty smart*), there are several angles one can take to bring signal from the noise on LinkedIn.
  • Forget LinkedIn entirely. The social networking website does not provide a sufficient platform for a true business network to flourish. Someone will have to start from scratch.
  • LinkedIn management needs to envision the network as a true business network. LinkedIn would almost act like an entirely separate Internet, in and of itself. Entire populations can collaborate to accomplish tasks, quickly and efficiently. Companies can swap teams for a day, or a week, to do whatever they need to do. And, yes, what I’m talking about here is different than how social platforms are currently leveraged. 
  • Etc, etc. (I could go on forever, well, maybe not forever, but I'll stop here).
Productivity - Lotus Notes
While I've not, personally, used Lotus Notes, from what I can gather (a buddy of mine, who does use it, filled me in) it may offerthat extra dimension to make this network (the one I've been attempting to describe) a reality. Here's Wikipedia's take on Lotus Notes:
Lotus Domino/Notes provides a broad range of integrated functionality including email, calendaring, instant messaging (with additional IBM software voice & video conferencing and/or web-collaboration), discussions/forums, blogs, an inbuilt personnel/user directory and IBM Lotus Symphony, a full office productivity suite. In addition to these standard applications the organization may use the IBM Lotus Domino Designer development environment and other tools to rapidly develop additional integrated applications such as request approval /workflow and document management.
Maybe LinkedIn needs to pivot
In a recent article, author Geoffrey James argues, "LinkedIn is all about business and people's resumes. Because its scope is limited to fundamentally dull information, LinkedIn is simply not vulnerable to something "cooler."" I must admit, I believe Mr. James is entirely off in his assumption - LinkedIn is entirely vulnerable to something "cooler." Case in point: Do you own a Rolodex? (If you’re over the age of 25, that question does not apply to you.)
On The Other Hand...
LinkedIn could fail to improve its functionality, usability, and overall flow. In that case, I’d invest in a social site that does make the much-needed improvements. Because they will be the next $100 billion company. (About six months ago, I wrote a little post entitled, “LinkedIn a $100 Billion Company?”).
There’s really nothing knowledgeable to gain from reading that post – I just wanted to point out its existence; I’ve had this idea brewing for a while. I also want to point out that I realize it's easy to criticize - I'm not criticizing LinkedIn here - I'm offering my perspective.) What are your thoughts?
Further reading: links about LinkedIn; articles that can better relay the concept of a business network; and some great reads on where social is headed
  • “This data clearly shows that LinkedIn is a good lead source. But few B2B companies use LinkedIn to its full potential.”
  • “To run a site such as Craigslist requires "continuous engagement between a company and its customers, its community", he says, which he believes applies to all companies and even governments.” 
  • "He added, “In the future, Google’s value will be greater than just search and social, it will be the integration of Google’s business and lifestyle services into one seamless experience that serves as a personal OS … a digital hub for people to share, communicate, transact, work, learn and collaborate.”
  • "I'd like to advance a hypothesis: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn't connecting us as much as we think it is. It's largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships."
  • "Here's a tiny question. What do you think most people really want? What do you think the average Jane — or even the less-than-average Joe — is capable of?"