MOTD::Archive::Spring 2009 (15 May 2009)

Fall 2008 MOTD

Week Ending 09 May 2009

EDU::Exam, Test, Quiz
I suspect many students are just like myself in that they consider words such as "exam," "text," and "quiz" to be dirty four-letter words. Lectures are over and it is time to do the exam (which for most of my students means do the math).

EDU::Graduation is This Friday
I enjoy graduation ceremonies a lot and this Friday's will be no exception. Barack Obama is going to read the commencement speech to ASU graduates this year. Kudos to ASU for getting the President of the United States to Arizona; however, Obama is coming to Arizona for one reason and one reason only--politics.

Quotes::718 and Counting
"Insist on yourself. Never imitate." was selected to be the last QOTW (Quote Of The Week) for the Spring 2009 semester.

Knowledge is learning something new every day.
Wisdom is letting go of something every day.

-- Zen proverb {Wikiquote.org}

Insist on yourself. Never imitate.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson (01803-01882) {American essayist, philosopher and poet; more...} [life]

Man's heart away from nature grows hard.
-- Standing Bear (01834?-01908) {Ponca Native American chief; more...} [nature]

[11 May 2009 (summer break starts in five days; 70° at 5:53am) top]


Week Ending 02 May 2009

Computing::IBM's Watson System to Play Jeopardy!
The hyperlink contained in this posting was obtained from a tweet by Mitch Kapor (@mkapor).

IBM has created a system named Watson and Watson is part of IBM's goal to "get computers to be able to converse in human terms."

NYTimes.com::Computer Program to Take On 'Jeopardy!'

Speaks::About Obama's PCAST Dream Team
Obama has built a dream team to be his President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

PCAST has strong representation from the 'C' component of CSTEM (Computing, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). His computing dream team includes Eric Schmidt (Google CEO); Craig Mundie (Microsoft chief research and strategy officer); and, William Press (Raymer Chair in Computer Sciences and Integrative Biology from the University of Texas).

We are living in the age in genomics. Recently, the Broad Institute, a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, acquired an additional 22 genome analyzers. The Board Institute is led by Eric Lander and Lander is on the PCAST team.

Northwestern University is a leader in nanotechnology research and the PCAST team includes chemistry professor Chad Mirkin. Dr. Mirkin is Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and he is now a member of PCAST.

I've commented about only five of the twenty members on Obama's PCAST roster.

Whitehouse.gov::President Obama Announces Members of Science and Technology Advisory Council

Computing::Women in Computing AzCentral.com Posting
I posted the following to my AzFoo at AzCentral.com blog.

Oxymoronic phrase? Women in Computing

June 1st of 02009 will mark my 30th anniversary of being a computing professional. Back in 01979 there was a strong push to get more women interested in computing and this push had a modicum of success. However, over time, I think the "women in computing" push has lost its momentum. One tiny example: Earlier this week I sat in on a computer science class at a private high-school and all eight of the students were males.

In 01997, I was hired by Scottsdale Community College to help expand its computing program. I was asked what could be done to increase computer enrollments and I remember saying: If we had one female student for every male student, we'd double enrollment. [Side-bar: At SCC in 02009 we have virtually zero students (male or female) learning about computing.]

In a nutshell, "women in computing" remains an oxymoronic phrase.

My posting prompted the following comment.

   "Maybe in academia.  Over the last ten years I've noticed a huge 
    increase in women in engineering and other computing positions."

And I replied to the comment with the following.

Thanks for the comment. You may have observed a "huge increase," but that's not consistent with many of the numbers. Here is just one tiny example: The number of female students entering computer science fell by 80% in 02004 from 01998 levels. Not all students who enter a program graduate and these days most successful computer companies don't hire computer professionals unless they have at least an undergraduate degree in something. I do believe that more women entered into the computing profession during the dot-com speculative period (01995-02001), but I believe that momentum (trend) has stalled (reversed).

Bottom-line: I hope you're right and I am wrong; and that "women in computing" is not an oxymoronic phrase.

[03 May 2009 (the semester ends in two weeks; 75° at 8:40am) top]


Week Ending 18 April 2009

Computing::Aneesh Chopra is CTO of the U.S.
Obama has selected Aneesh Chopra to be Chief Technology Officer of the United States. I'm disappointed Obama didn't select one of my three recommendations (Vinton Cerf, Dennis Ritchie, Bill Joy), but I'm optimistic that Obama's choice of Chopra will be a good one.

Obama says Aneesh Chopra "will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities -- from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure." Chopra's government experience (he's been categorized as a "venture governmentalist") should help make a tough job slightly less tough.

I knew nothing about Aneesh Chopra; therefore, I am grateful to Tim O'Reilly for sharing with us his thoughts as to why Chopra will be a great CTO for our country.

Tim O'Reilly posted: "Chopra demonstrates a deep understanding of the idea that the government is an enabler, not the ultimate solution provider. From the list of initiatives above, you can see that Chopra grasps the power of open source software, Web 2.0, user-participation, and why it's better to harness the ingenuity of a developer community than to specify complete top-down solutions."

Obama's choice of Chopra of CTO may be great news for the FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) movement.

Radar.OReilly.com::Why Aneesh Chopra is a Great Choice for Federal CTO

Computing::Google Reports 1st-Quarter 2009 Results
Google reported 1st-quarter 2009 results after the markets closed on 16 April 2009. I mined the following information from Google's press release.

For the three months that ended on 31 March 02009...

   Effective tax rate: 25% (too bad it's not 15%)
   Capital expenditures: $263 million (economically stimulating)
   Free cash flow: $1,990,000,000 ($1.99 billion)
   Cash and cash equivalents:  $17.8 billion ($0 debt)
   Full-time employees:  20,164 (down from 20,222 three months ago)

Google generated $1.99 billion in free cash flow during an economic "crises," which makes me excited about what they're going to do when the economy turns around.

Quotes::More, More, More (715 and counting)
I mined quotes by Benjamin Franklin and Bertrand Russell last week and here are the ones that have been posted to GDT::Quotes to date.

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
-- Benjamin Franklin (01706-01790) {polymath/Founding Father of the U.S.; more...} [happiness/life]

I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.
-- Benjamin Franklin (01706-01790) {polymath/Founding Father of the U.S.; more...} [failure]

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
-- Benjamin Franklin (01706-01790) {polymath/Founding Father of the U.S.; more...} [knowledge]

The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being
more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence,
is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.

-- Bertrand Russell (01872-01970) {British philosopher/mathematician; more...} [math/life]

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
-- Bertrand Russell (01872-01970) {British philosopher/mathematician; more...} [knowledge]

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.
-- Bertrand Russell (01872-01970) {British philosopher/mathematician; more...} [knowledge]

[19 April 2009 (here comes some heat; 66° at 7:09am) top]


Week Ending 11 April 2009

Math::nBABs Becoming a Key Resource
nBABs are Number BABs (Basic Arithmetic Bits) and nBAB creation gets easier and easier with the help of the the MBNA (MathBabbler Number Analyst) and BASH shell scripting. nBAB# 161 was posted on 12 April 2009. 15 nBABs have been posted since the 29th of March. Nicholas Eberstadt was right when he said, "Although he may not always recognize his bondage, modern man lives under a tyranny of numbers."

MathBABs.us::Collection of Number BABs

Computing::I Don't Know Why
I don't know why, but I working on an ATE grant proposal with a couple of ASU computer science professors. ATE grants are for Advanced Technological Education and they are funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation).

EDU::Spring 2009 Semester Nearing an End
It is hard to believe, but my Spring 2009 semester ends in less than 30 days. To date we have one trip planned that is to fly to Chicago to visit my parents in Joliet (5 days/4 nights). There is a good chance that we will spend two nights in Green Bay.

[12 April 2009 (rainy weekend has turned sunny; 58° at 8:15am) top]


Week Ending 04 April 2009

Computing::Computing Bits Backlog Cut in Half
On 5 April 2009, I made nine postings to the ComputingBits blog. The nine postings cut the ComputingBits backlog in half.

Computing::I Gave a Lecture on HPC at SCC
On 1 April 2009, I gave a lecture at Scottsdale Community on the topic if high-performance computing in the 21st century. About ten people attended the lecture.

GDT::AzGrid::20 Petaflops by 02012

Biotech::AzBiotech.net Domain Name Lives
I have renewed the AzBiotech.net domain name for another year. The domain name was registered for the first time on 3 April 2003; therefore, on 3 April 2009 it turned six years of age.

AzBiotech.net::Learning About Biotechnology for Biotech Newbies

Quotes::709 and Counting
I dig quotes.

When thoughts arise, then do all things arise.
When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.

-- Huang Po (9th century) {Chinese Zen master; more...} [life]

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think;
the wise reject what they think, not what they see.

-- Huang Po (9th century) {Chinese Zen master; more...} [life]

The more we get out of the world the less we leave, and
and in the long run we shall have to pay our debts at a
time that may be very inconvenient for our own survival.

-- Norbert Wiener (01894-01964) {The Human Use of Human Beings; more...} [progress]

I'm more shocked than any time in my life except
maybe when I got served with divorce papers.

-- Steve Wozniak (01950-) {on not being voted off Dancing With The Stars; more...} [computing]

Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey,
at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages.

-- James Madison (01751-01836) {U.S. President #4; a Founding Father; more... [travel]

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

-- Thomas Jefferson (01743-01826) {U.S. President #3; a Founding Father; more...} [democracy]

[05 April 2009 (furnance kicked in this morning; 60° at 8:26am) top]


Week Ending 28 March 2009

Computing::Google Calculator Moments
It started out as a BAB (Basic Arithmetic Bit), but my collection of Google Calculator Moments has morphed into a blog.

Math::nBAB Collection Keeps Growing
nBABs are number BABs and thanks to shell programming and the MBNA (MathBabbler Number Analyst) it keeps getting increasily easy to create nBABs. The following happens a lot: I create a nBAB for a number and that nBAB prompts me to create one or more nBABs for related numbers. For example, today I created a nBAB for the number 7777, which in turn resulted in the creation of nBABs for the numbers 777 and 77. Also today, I created a nBAB for the square number 144 and that prompted the creation of a nBAB for the square number 121. There were 146 nBABs as of 29 March 2009. {MathBABs.us::nBABs::Collection of Number BABs}

[29 March 2009 (March is nearing an end; 71° at 11:30am) top]


Week Ending 21 March 2009

Computing::WWW is No Longer a Teenager
Oops... I missed this important date: 13 March 2009, which was the 20th anniversary of the World Wide Web (WWW).

I'd like to ignore dot-mobi domains, but that's impossible.

Happy (belated) 20th Birthday to the WWW!

Computing::About George Boole on St. Patrick's Day
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog.

Today (02009.03.17) is St. Patrick's Day.

George Boole was born in England (01815), but 160 years ago (01849) Boole became the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College, Cork, Ireland. Boole stayed at the college until his death in 01864.

George Boole is considered the father of Boolean algebra and in 02009 the power of AND, OR, NOT never ceases to amaze. Every time we use a computer, we should give thanks to the Irish.

Math::The Numbers Always Add Up
J. Craig Anderson has an AzCentral.com blog where he "covers Valley residential real estate issues."

On 12 March 2009, Anderson had a posting titled "Numbers don't add up for commercial projects" that started with "Sometimes basic arithmetic can feel as oppressive and inescapable as a maximum-security prison cell."

Bottom-line: Numbers always add up, but they might not always equal a sum that makes up happy.

[23 March 2009 (end Spring Break in San Diego; 50° at 7:04am) top]


Week Ending 14 March 2009

Math::Pi Day 2009
For the 4th year in a row I am doing something to celebrate Pi Day (March 14th, 3/14). {MathBABs.us::Pi Day 2009 Plan}

Computing::Sergey Brin Added to the GDT::DreamTeam
For the second session in a row I've added two members to the GDT::DreamTeam. During Fall 2008 Steve Wozniak and Larry Page were added to the DreamTeam. Earlier this semester (Spring 2009) I added Aubrey de Grey, but I just couldn't hold off until the summer session to add Sergey Brin to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Quotes::703 and Counting
The GDT::Quote collection now has 703 quotes with the following quotes being the most recent additions.

It takes real optimism and courage to go forth when the
inevitable course for the universe is downhill and knowing
that all humanity has done or is likely to do will probably
have less impact than a footprint on sand after a few dozen
or thousand waves pass over it.

-- George Smoot (01945-) {American astrophysicist; Physics Nobel Prize; more...} [optimism]

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work.
I want to achieve it through not dying.

-- Woody Allen (01935-) {American hollywoodite; more...} [immortality]

A user interface should be so simple that a beginner
in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.

-- Ted Nelson (01937-) {pioneer of information technology (IT); more...} [computing]

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.
-- James Thurber (01894-01961) {American author/cartoonist/wit; more...} [life]

If we evolved a race of Isaac Newtons, that would not be progress.
For the price Newton had to pay for being a supreme intellect was
that he was incapable of friendship, love, fatherhood, and many other
desirable things. As a man he was a failure; as a monster he was superb.

-- Aldous Huxley (01894-01963) {writer and "leader of modern thought"; more...} [progress]

The search for truth is more precious than its possession.
-- Albert Einstein (01879-01955) {German-born theoretical physicist; more...} [life]

Technical skill is mastery of complexity; creativity is mastery of simplicity.
-- Christopher Zeeman (01925-) {Japanese-born British mathematician; more...} [life]

Anyone that runs around and says that this can be done without
raising taxes, I think, has not really looked at it carefully,
or has a math problem and has to go back and take Math 101.

-- Arnold Schwarzenegger (01947-) {California gov. on CA's $42B deficit; more...} [math]

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.
-- E. B. White (01899-01985) {American writer (Charlotte's Web/Stuart Little); more...} [genius]

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is
delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.

-- Denis Waitley (01933-) {American motivational speaker/author; more...} [life]

[14 March 2009 (Pi Day 2009; 53° at 4:36am) top]


Week Ending 7 March 2009

Computing::Vivek Kundra Becomes CIO of the United States
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog on 6 March 2009.

Title: I like Vivek Kundra as CIO of the U.S.

I like Obama's pick of Vivek Kundra for Chief Information Office (CIO) of the United States.

Vivek Kundra immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 and he is now the most important CIO in the world. Sounds like an American Dream story.

Kundra is into "disruptive technology" and this is critically important given we have a slew of disruptive computing technologies in the pipeline.

Kundra doesn't appear to be in bed with Microsoft and this should bode well for the FLOSS movement. [FLOSS is Free/Libre and Open Source Software.]

Kundra is into cloud computing. According to gurus like Vinton Cerf, the networking and securing of clouds presents the same challenges and issues that internets did back in the 1960s and 1970s. [Side-bar: Vinton Cerf would make a great CTO of the U.S.]

Kundra likes Google Apps and is pro-YouTube. Google is one of the world's leading 21st century Informatics company and Kundra's job is all about turning data into information.

Kudos to Obama for selecting Vivek Kundra as Chief Information Office of the United States. And 0110101101110101011001000110111101110011 (Unicode) to Kundra.

Speaks::I Say YES to NSF $7B Funding Request
I say YES to the National Science Foundation's request for $7,000,000,000 for FY 02010 to fund CSTEM (Computing, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) at American universities. The NSF deserves more than $7 billion because NSF funding should exceed pork/lard spending, but that's just not possible given our current herd of political dinosaurs.

I am glad to see the NSF is receiving $3,000,000,000 from the $787,000,000,000 "economic stimulus" package. The $3 billion will enable universities to purchase scientific and robotic equipment. The NSF should be given a larger chunk of the "economic stimulus," but the NSF promotes research/discovery/innovation and not shovels. [Although I suspect the NSF could fund some robotic-shovel projects right now.]

News sources report that the NSF has been "focusing its technology research funding on nanotechnology, cloud computing and supercomputing." Woohoo! And I think the NSF's "Science and Engineering Beyond Moore's Law" and "Expeditions in Computing" programs are beyond exciting.

When it comes to NSF funding, I advocate more, morE, moRE, mORE, MORE.

Speaks::Maricopa Community Colleges Not the Best of the Best
This MiamiHearld.com headline caught my attention: "Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Jill Biden visit Miami Dade College."

MiamiHearld.com quoted Duncan saying: "Community colleges will play a big role in getting America back on its feet again. And they will no longer be undervalued and underutilized."

The Maricopa Community Colleges have been grossly "undervalued and underutilized" for the entire duration of the 21st century and I haven't been shy about stating this.

MiamiHearld.com quoted Duncan saying: "Miami Dade College represents the best of the best. It's no coincidence we're making our first visit here."

I hope the Maricopa Community Colleges are learning as to why U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan didn't visit Arizona.

[08 March 2009 (Great American Beer Fest is today; 50° at 8:11am) top]


Week Ending 28 February 2009

Computing::It's Only a Matter of Time
I watched a Frontline on stem cells and I heard a scientist say the following phrase: "science is ahead of the money." And I agree 100%. I also believe that "supercomputers are ahead of the software." But I disagree with the following blurb editorialized by a Financial Times editorial on 6 February 02009.

   "Should we add singularity to our long list of concerns? 
    Not yet. Singularity is likely to remain a fantasy during 
    the lifetime of even the youngest FT reader. Of course, in 
    the past few decades we have seen staggering increases in 
    computers' speed, memory, networking and communications
    abilities though less improvement in reliability and security. 
    But scientists have made little progress in understanding the 
    fundamental nature of human intelligence and consciousness, 
    let alone how to pass it on to computers. And even if researchers 
    do endow machines with real intelligence, whatever this may be, 
    why should rt suddenly grow exponentially in the way 
    Mr Kurzweil imagines?"--FT.com editorial on 02009.02.06

I have publically stated that DARPA funding should be increased 10-fold and I stand behind this position 100%.

FT.com::Singular fantasies

AzFoo::My Take on Obama's Recovery.gov Website
Obama said: "And we have created a new website called Recovery.gov so that every American can find out how and where their money is being spent."

I surfed around Recovery.gov and I'm on its mailing-list for updates.

Recovery.gov says it is "the centerpiece of the President's commitment to transparency and accountability, Recovery.gov will feature information on how the Act is working, tools to help you hold the government accountable, and up-to-date data on the expenditure of funds." Power of the Internet example: A website is the "centerpiece" for Obama's commitment to accountability.

I guess Recovery.gov is an example of "open government" and I appreciate Obama's effort for transparency; however, I don't have the time to critically read 1,000 page dot-pdfs that are written in legalese. I find cute graphs and charts virtually useless.

[side-bar] I wonder of Obama is trying to buy the Recovery.org, Recovery.com, Recovery.info, Recovery.us domain names? I see that Recovery.net is for sale.

The Recovery.gov FAQ stated there is also a USASpending.gov website that "collects data about all types of contracts, grants, loans, and spending across government agencies." I visited USASpending.gov on 1 March 02009 and its homepage indicated that USASpending.gov was last updated on 12 February 02009. Now that I think about it, I've never heard Obama say that his dot-gov websites will be updated on a timely basis (e.g. real-time).

Change.gov (transition website), Recovery.gov, USASpending.gov and more to come.

AzFoo posting from 5 November 02008...

AzCentral.com::21st century political informatics is coming

[01 March 2009 (might hit 90 tomorrow; 62° at 8:15am) top]


Week Ending 21 February 2009

ThurmSpeaks::Cool Math Versus Hollywood and Sports
"U.S. kids need to do 'cool' math" was the title of Taylor W. Lawrence's "My Turn" printed by the Arizona Republic on 17 February 02009. Lawrence is president of Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems and it comes as no surprise that he is worried about having a computationally thinking workforce in the 21st century.

Lawrence lamented about how today's young people are turned off to CSTEM (Computing, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) because it morphs them into geeks and nerds. I agree with his assessment.

"Even the success of ubergeek Bill Gates has not really reversed this trend," wrote Lawrence. Again, I agree with Lawrence.

Lawrence's words reminded me of the following quote by Jerry Yang (co-founder of Yahoo!): "Today in China, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears--and that is our problem."

Yang's words are right on; too bad Raytheon can't hit Hollywood with some of their missiles. U.S. educators can try to make CSTEM cooler than kewl, but they'll always be on the losing end as long a fortunes are being made by actors and athletes.

Biotech::Kudos to ASU for Hiring Dr. Joshua LaBaer
Kudos to the Biodesign Institute at ASU for hiring Dr. Joshua LaBaer to lead the new Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Being able to more accurately diagnosis of diseases is a going to be a near term outcome of today's bioscience research efforts. I agree 100% with ASU's assessment that "personalized medicine is an emerging field with potential to improve patient treatments and outcomes by factoring in an individual's unique genetic and metabolic profile."

The ASU press release quoted Dr. LeBaer saying: "We are especially excited to be doing this in Arizona where there is a strong collaborative atmosphere and a palpable excitement about this new direction for medicine."

I agree with LaBaer that there is a "palpable excitement" among Arizona CSTEMmers about biosciences/healthcare, but I think Arizonans like John and Jane Doe believe it is a waste of money.

Biodesign.asu.edu::Dr. Joshua LaBaer press release

Nanotech::Stanford Writes in World's Smallest Letters
Kudos to Stanford University for creating the world's smallest writing.

   "How small is the writing? The letters in the words are 
    assembled from subatomic sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, 
    or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter." [ScienceDaily.com]

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was an American physicist whom many consider the father of nanotechnology.

   "Feynman offered a $1,000 prize for anyone who could find a way 
    to rewrite a page from an ordinary book in text 25,000 times 
    smaller than the usual size (a scale at which the entire contents 
    of the Encyclopedia Britannica would fit on the head of a pin)."
    [ScienceDaily.com]

ScienceDaily.com::Stanford Writes In World's Smallest Letters

[22 February 2009 (last week of February begins; 54° at 7:55am) top]


Week Ending 14 February 2009

Computing::Aubrey de Grey Added to the GDT::DreamTeam
The Wikipedia says Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist. [Gerontology is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging.]

de Grey, who was born in 1963, received a Computer Science from the University of Cambridge in 1985. Upon graduation he became an AI/software engineer at Sinclair Research Ltd. Until 2006, he was in charge of software development at the University of Cambridge Genetics Department for the FlyBase genetic database. These day de Grey is chairman and chief science officer of the Methuselah Foundation.

Although highly respected, many people consider Aubrey de Grey full of himself, but I tend to agree with E.B. White (author of Charlotte's Web/Stuart Little) that "genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one."

I agree with the following assessment by Aubrey de Grey.

   "There are really very important differences between the type 
    of creativity involved in being a scientist and being a technical 
    engineer. It means that I'm able to think in very different ways 
    and come up with approaches to things that are different from 
    the way a basic scientist might think." -- Aubrey de Grey

GDT::DreamTeam

Computing::Question to Obama: Where's Your CTO?
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog on 11 February 2008.

   Title:  Question to Obama: Where's your CTO?

   "Where in the World Is America's CTO?" was the title of a 
    blog posting by Kara Swisher to her "All Things Digital" 
    blog on 11 February 02009.

   I want to ask Obama the same question.

   I read a couple of days ago (Monday, 9 February 02009) that 
   Obama had "ordered an immediate 60-day review of federal 
   cyber-security efforts."  If I was going to be CTO of the 
   United States, then I'd want to be involved in these efforts 
   from day one.  Cyber-warfare has the potential of being uglier 
   than ugly.

   My opinion about Obama's choice for CTO hasn't changed since 
   I last posted about it on 16 November 02008.

My posting generated one comment and it was noise.

By the way, my CTO recommendations to Obama were Vinton Cerf, Bill Joy, or Dennis Ritchie.

Robotics::Personal Computer Today, Personal Robot Tomorrow
Alexander Stoytchev is Director of the Development Robotics Laboratory at Iowa State University.

The following sounds like an interesting combination of disciplines.

   "His research specialty is developmental robotics, a blend of 
    robotics, artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, 
    developmental neuroscience and philosophy."

I agree with Stoytchev when he says...

   "In the not-too-distant future, we will have personal robots 
    just like we have personal computers today.  The robots of 
    the future will be generalists. They will be employed in a 
    large variety of tasks that require a lot more smarts and 
    autonomy than is currently possible. They will have the 
    ability to learn how to perform new tasks on their own 
    without human intervention."

ScienceDaily.com::Robots To Clean Your Kitchen And Play A Game Of Hockey?

ECE.IaState.edu::Alexander Stoychev's Home Page

Foo::Happy Birthday Arizona!
The state of Arizona turned 97 years of age on 14 February 2009 so I say Happy Birthday Arizona!

[14 February 2009 (Arizona turns 97 today; 40° at 5:57am) top]


Week Ending 07 February 2009

Computing::Vinton Cerf on Cloud Computing
Government Computer News posted an inverview with Vinton Cerf to its website on 4 February 2009.

   "A third thing, which is only beginning to become clear: This 
    interest in cloud computing is appropriate. But the question 
    is, what happens if there's more than one cloud? And how do 
    clouds interact with each other?"

Cerf believes the interfacing of clouds is similar to the Internets (a network of networks). Cerf was quoted saying: "Intercloud stuff is going to be the next decade's really interesting communications and networking challenge."

GNC.com::Vinton Cerf | Internet forecast calls for clouds

CSTEM::Singularity University Getting Set to Open
Singularity University is scheduled to open during June of 2009 at the NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

   "The subjects taught over a nine-week period are a menu of the 
    disciplines whose exponential advancement Kurzweil suggests will 
    overturn the world as we know it--nanotechnology, robotics, 
    artificial intelligence, biotechnology, energy, and more."

Googlers Vint Cerf, Larry Page and Peter Norvig are going to be involved with Singularity University. [Note for myself: Who is Robert Freitas? (a leader in the development of nano-robots)]

I found the following particularly exciting.

   "The campus at NASA Ames is at Moffett Airfield, just a few miles 
    down the road from Palo Alto's Sand Hill Road, a locus of venture 
    capital. Venture capitalists will be part of the faculty, and there 
    will be a 'pitch day' toward the end of the program when students 
    can try to attract funding for a proposed business."

BusinessWeek.com::Singularity U.: No Frats, Just Breakthroughs

Computing::Crackers + Flashmob + ATMs = $9 Million
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com on 8 February 2009.

Back on 17 December 02008 I had a posting titled "Twitter and flash mobs" in which I wrote: "I don't hear about flash mobs these days, but it sure seems as though Twitter would be a great tool for flash mobbers."

I hadn't heard of the following when I did my posting...

A computer system is cracked (not hacked) by a cracker (not hacker). Information obtained (stolen) from the cracked system is distributed to a flashmob. The flashmobbers steal $9 million from "over 130 different ATM machines in 49 cities worldwide in a 30-minute period on 8 November 02008." [source: FBI]

People who use computers for criminal activity are crackers; not hackers. Granted, some crackers are hackers, but it is easy to be cracker without being a hacker. True hackers do not use computers for criminal activity.

The following was copied from Eric Raymond's "How To Become A Hacker" essay.

   "Unfortunately, many journalists and writers have been fooled into 
    using the word 'hacker' to describe crackers; this irritates real 
    hackers no end.  The basic difference is this: hackers build things, 
    crackers break them." -- Eric Raymond

CATB.org::How To Become A Hacker

[08 February 2009 (rain has hit the Valley of the Sun; 49° at 9:32am) top]


Week Ending 31 January 2009

Computing::McNealy Speaks and I've Started to Listen
I've never was a Scott McNealy fan, but I've liked what McNealy has done since stepping down as the CEO of Sun Microsystems. Forbes posted an interview with McNealy on 26 January 2009 and I found it a worthwhile read.

   Question to McNealy:  "How did you pick who to hire?"

   McNealy's response:  "My interview process wasn't very scientific. 
   Usually by the time they got to me they were pretty talented people. 
   I would interview the person and--unless it was such a brain-dead 
   obvious decision--I wouldn't let the moment get me. I'd let my mind 
   process it while I was asleep. I'd wake up the next morning, and if 
   I was thinking about the person that next day at work, I'd hire them. 
   If I went two days, and [someone] came back and said 'What did you 
   think of so-and-so?' and I said 'I haven't thought about 'em for 
   a nanosecond. I'm not interested' [then they weren't hired]."

McNealy also likes people to say yes or no.

   "I used to beg people to answer a yes or no question with a 
    'yes' or a 'no.' If you watch any CEO ask a simple yes or 
    no question of somebody on their staff, I don't care who 
    they are, 999,999 out of a million won't say 'yes,' or 'no.' 
    They'll launch into an answer. I used to laugh and say, 
    "I'll take that as a 'no.'" or "Was that a 'yes'?" 

I agree with McNealy when he says "to ask is to seek denial" and that "the right answer is the best answer, the wrong answer is second best. No answer is the worst."

Forbes.com::McNealy: Hire Great People And Delegate

Quotes::Approaching 700 Quotes
The GDT::Quote collection now has 693 quotes with the following quotes being the most recent additions.

Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look
foolish is one of youth's many burdens; as we get older we
are exempted from more and more, and float upward in our
heedlessness, singing Gratia Dei sum quod sum.

-- John Updike (01932-02009) {American novelist; more...} [life]

School is where you go between when your parents
can't take you, and industry can't take you.

-- John Updike (01932-02009) {American novelist; more...} [education]

We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and
digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.
We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield
technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and
lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and
the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will
transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet
the demands of a new age.

-- Barack Obama (01961-) {2009 inauguration speech; more...} [future]

Only the mediocre are always at their best.
-- Jean Giraudoux (01882-01944) {French novelist; more...} [life]

It is not to say that verbal taboos have disappeared, but merely
that they have shifted somewhat. In my youth, for example, there
were certain words you couldn't say in front of a girl; now you
can say them, but you can't say "girl".

-- Tom Lehrer (01928-) {musician/mathematician; more...} [political correctness]

October is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate
in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November,
May, March, June, December, August and February.

-- Mark Twain (01835-01910) {American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer; more...} [economics]

As a general rule, wherever you find a large group of people who
are baffled by complexity, you will find a smaller group of people
making a good living screwing them. It's true with all complex things:
insurance, cell phone plans, legal stuff, technology, you name it.

-- Scott Adams (01957-) {creator of the Dilbert comic strip; more...} [opportunity]

RoadHacker::Tempe to Tehachapi Loop in California
A three day 1,102 mile roadtrip to the Tehachapi Loop in California taken during the last three days of 2008. Colorado River at Parker. CA Hwy-62 (Colorado Desert, RR trestle, Tamarisk shoetree remains, cement slab, Rice, shoe fence). Fortynine Palms Oasis in the Joshua Tree National Park. Mojave Desert, Barstow (murals and Harvey House). Rainbow Basin Natural Area. Mojave. Tehachapi (murals). Tehachapi Loop. California City. Desert Tortoise Natural Area. Boron (Twenty Mule Team Museum). Route 66. Amboy Crater. Shoe trees along Route 66. Needles (El Garces Train Station [Harvey House]). US Hwy-95 in California. Vidal. Colorado River.

RoadHacker::Three Day Roadtrip to the Tehachapi Loop

[01 February 2009 (MOTD updates will now happen on Sundays; 58° at 11:02am) top]


Week Ending 24 January 2009

Biotech::FDA Approves an Embryonic Stem Cell Trial
The headline from the Geron press release says it all...

Geron.com::Geron Receives FDA Clearance to Begin World's First Human Clinical Trial of Embryonic Stem Cell-Based Therapy

Geron Corp. is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Geron's CEO is not Obama, but it is Okarma.

Computing::Happy 25th Birthday To the Mac
Apple debuted the Macintosh computer on 24 January 1984. In other words, the Mac has turned 25.

   "It's amazing the Mac has lasted so long and had such a positive 
    impact on the world." -- Macintosh designer Andy Hertzfeld

I remember having one of those early Macs--I wished I held onto it. I kept a budget spreadsheet (using Excel I think) on it and I used MacWrite and MacPaint.

BBC.co.uk::Apple's first Macintosh turns 25.

Nanotech::Survey of Nanotechnology at SCC
On Friday, 23 January 2009, the Survey of Nanotechnology class met for the first time at Scottsdale Community College (SCC). It took three tries, but this semester SCC allowed the Survey of Nanotechnology class to occur even though it only had an enrollment of eight students. I sat in on the first class period and I think it is going to be a great class for those students who attend.

[24 January 2009 (weather has been damp and humid; 61° at 8:35am) top]


Week Ending 17 January 2009

GDT::Quote Collection
The following six quotes have been added GDT::Quotes and the collection now has a total of 686 quotes.

To err is human - and to blame it on a computer is even more so.
-- Bill Orban (01922-02003) {Canadian athlete, scientist and academic; more...} [responsibility]

A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than
a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

-- Mahatma Gandhi (01869-01948) {political and spiritual leader of India; more...} [life]

Learn to be an actor. You have to learn to be confident
when you are not. You have to learn to be calm when you
are not and brave when you are not. Learn to be a cobra
and act until you really have that confidence.

-- Carol Bartz (01948-) {became Yahoo! CEO on 2009.01.13; more...} [life]

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively
and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is
the goal of true education.

-- Martin Luther King Jr. (01929-01968) {American clergyman; more...} [education]

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking.
There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked
solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

-- Martin Luther King Jr. (01929-01968) {American clergyman; more...} [society]

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.
We have guided missiles and misguided men.

-- Martin Luther King Jr. (01929-01968) {American clergyman; more...} [society]

Computing::Yahoo! Hires a New CEO
Yahoo! has hired Carol Bartz its new CEO. Bartz appears to be a respected leader within Silicon Valley. I'm okay with Bartz taking over the leadership of Yahoo!, but I was disappointed to see Susan Decker resign as Yahoo!'s President.

BoomTown's Kara Swisher stated the following: "Left to hire her own team and take advantage of the massive amount of talent that still miraculously exists at Yahoo, Bartz has every chance of reviving the company that is ripe with great assets."

I hope Swisher is correct when she says Yahoo! still has a "massive amount of talent" working for it. I have no doubt that the company is "ripe with great assets.

Bartz told the Wall Street Journal the following in 2006.

   "Learn to be an actor.  You have to learn to be confident 
    when you are not. You have to learn to be calm when you 
    are not and brave when you are not. Learn to be a cobra 
    and act until you really have that confidence."

Blogs.Fortune.cnn.com::Meet Yahoo's new CEO, Carol Bartz

Computing::LearningAboutComputing.com is Dead
I have let the LearningAboutComputing.com domain name expire. The domain name was created on 1 December 2001 as part of the CSzero system, but CSzero went belly-up a few years ago.

[17 January 2009 (starting a CSC100 with 7 students; 55° at 7:05am) top]


Week Ending 10 January 2009

Computing::Coming Soon? Cybergeddon?
This is the first time I've ever hear the term cybergeddon.

   "Cyber attacks pose the greatest threat to the United States 
    after nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction, and they 
    are increasingly hard to prevent, FBI experts say."
    --ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

ABC.net.au::US security experts fear 'cybergeddon'

Computing::IT Remains a Valid Career Choice
The following was from ACM TechNews.

   "The Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's ICT Skills (CCICT) is 
    hoping to increase the number of students studying information 
    technology through its new National ICT Week event. 'We need to 
    get the word out as to how the world is changing, and change 
    people's attitudes toward IT as a career plan,' says CCICT 
    executive director David Ticoll.  'In addition to being afraid 
    of the dot-com crash fall-out and offshoring, [students] don't 
    really think an IT career is competitive.  But the reality is 
    that the demand profile is changing: around 25 percent of IT 
    workers are business analysts, and those are the most in demand.'"

Time and time again I keep hearing president elect Barack Obama mention "healthcare IT."

Nonetheless, Computer Science at the Maricopa Community Colleges is virtually dead and there is zero demand for Computer Science courses at Scottsdale Community College.

ITWorldCanada.com::Get them while they're young: tomorrow's IT pros

Computing::Roland Piquepaille Added to the GDT::DeadTeam
Roland Piquepaille died on 5 January 2009. According to ZDNet, Roland "spent most of his career in software, mainly for high performance computing and visualization companies, working for example for Cray Research and Silicon Graphics. He left the corporate world in 2001 after 33 years immersed into it." Roland maintained a blog about "How new technologies are modifying our way of life."

Roland Piquepaille has been added to the GDT::DeadTeam.

Primidi.com::Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

[10 January 2009 (back to work next week; 57° at 11:10am) top]


Week Ending 03 January 2009

GDT::Blogging Stats for 2008
I did a lot of blogging during 2008.

                      -----postings----
   Blog               in 2008     total   posting since
   =========================================================
   InternetObserver...... 73      612     08 August 1998
   **ThurmSpeaks......... 22      113     01 January 1999
   UnixLinuxLogger....... 39      477     08 May 1999
   SecurityWatchdog...... 46      468     10 March 2000
   ComputingBits......... 88      393     14 September 2001
   BiotechTrekker........ 57      332     11 October 2002
   **Quotes.............. 143     677     27 August 2002
   StocksStuffer......... 112     373     19 May 2003
   NanotechSmallBlog..... 29      214     12 June 2003
   FLOSSER............... 38      178     18 September 2004
   GridUtilitarian....... 36      192     03 October 2004
   **BABs................ 664     1998    09 February 2005
   MathBabbler........... 211     343     17 December 2006
   AzFoo@AzCentral....... 265     270     19 June 2007
   RobotYottaFiler....... 42      42      08 June 2008

   ** not really a blog

Speaks::Edge.org--What Will Change Everything?
"The World Question Center" at Edge.org has asked an interesting "what will change everything?" question: What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?

ThurmSpeaks::Edge.org--What Will Change Everything?

[03 January 2009 (winter breaks are too short; 44° at 8:48am) top]


2009 Has Begun... Happy New Year!

2009 is off and running. The Spring 2009 MOTD is the 35th edition of the MOTD. The Fall 2008 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

[01 January 2009 (turning 52 this year; 55° at 9:54am) top]


Creator: Gerald Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:17:46 MST

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