Computers Old Quotes

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Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
Did he just rip out the engine?" I asked. "Yes", Saiman said. "And now he is demolishing the Maserati with it." Ten seconds later Curran hurled the twisted wreck of black and orange that used to be the Maserati into the wall. The first melodic notes of an old song came from the computer. I glanced at Saiman. He shrugged. "It begged for a soundtrack.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5))
By the way, if you get mad at your Mac laptop and wonder who designed this demonic device, notice the manufacturer's icon on top: an apple with a bite out of it.
Peter Kreeft (Jesus-Shock)
now it’s computers and more computers and soon everybody will have one, 3-year-olds will have computers and everybody will know everything about everybody else long before they meet them. nobody will want to meet anybody else ever again and everybody will be a recluse like I am now.
Charles Bukowski (The Continual Condition: Poems)
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park / Congo)
Aunt Prue was holding one of the squirrels in her hand, while it sucked ferociously on the end of the dropper. 'And once a day, we have ta clean their little private parts with a Q-tip, so they'll learn ta clean themselves.' That was a visual I didn't need. 'How could you possibly know that?' 'We looked it up on the E-nternet.' Aunt Mercy smiled proudly. I couldn't imagine how my aunts knew anything about the Internet. The Sisters didn't even own a toaster oven. 'How did you get on the Internet?' 'Thelma took us ta the library and Miss Marian helped us. They have computers over there. Did you know that?
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1))
(in response to the question: what do you think of e-books and Amazon’s Kindle?) Those aren’t books. You can’t hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. A computer does not smell. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell. You have to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and you walk with it. And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn’t do that for you. I’m sorry.
Ray Bradbury
Living alone,' November whispered, 'is a skill, like running long distance or programming old computers. You have to know parameters, protocols. You have to learn them so well that they become like a language: to have music always so that the silence doesn't overwhelm you, to perform your work exquisitely well so that your time is filled. You have to allow yourself to open up until you are the exact size of the place you live, no more or else you get restless. No less, or else you drown. There are rules; there are ways of being and not being.
Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest)
Indeed, the ratio of time spent reading versus writing is well over 10 to 1. We are constantly reading old code as part of the effort to write new code. ...[Therefore,] making it easy to read makes it easier to write.
Robert C. Martin (Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship)
Computers will have to learn that when I quote from some old author who spelled differently from the machine, the wishes of the long-dead author will have to be respected, and the machine will have to mind its manners
Robertson Davies
A computer does not smell ... if a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better… And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn’t do that for you. I’m sorry.
Ray Bradbury
Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. I have bought this wonderful machine — a computer ... it seems to me to be an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy.
Joseph Campbell
I had been hobbled, perhaps even crippled by a pervasive internet society I had come to depend on and take for granted... hit enter and let Google, that twenty-first century Big Brother, take care of the rest. In the Derry of 1958, the most up-to-date computers were the size of small housing developments, and the local paper was no help. What did that leave? I remembered a sociology prof I’d had in college - a sarcastic old bastard - who used to say, When all else fails, give up and go to the library.
Stephen King (11/22/63)
You see, unlike most writers today, I do not use a computer. I write the old-fashioned way: on the walls of caves.
Cuthbert Soup (Another Whole Nother Story)
The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.
Edward R. Murrow
I wish that in order to secure his party’s nomination, a presidential candidate would be required to point at the sky and name all the stars; have the periodic table of the elements memorized; rattle off the kings and queens of Spain; define the significance of the Gatling gun; joke around in Latin; interpret the symbolism in seventeenth-century Dutch painting; explain photosynthesis to a six-year-old; recite Emily Dickenson; bake a perfect popover; build a shortwave radio out of a coconut; and know all the words to Hoagy Carmichael’s “Two Sleepy People”, Johnny Cash’s “Five Feet High and Rising”, and “You Got the Silver” by the Rolling Stones...What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.
Sarah Vowell (The Partly Cloudy Patriot)
I think the iPod is the true face of Republican politics, and I’m in favor of the music industry … standing up proud and saying it out loud: We in the Chiclet-manufacturing business are not about social justice, …we’re not about a coherent set of national ideals, we’re not about wisdom. We’re about choosing what WE want to listen to and ignoring everything else…. We’re about giving ourselves a mindless feel-good treat every five minutes. …We’re about persuading ten-year-old children to spend twenty-five dollars on a cool little silicone iPod case that costs a licensed Apple Computer subsidiary thirty-nine cents to manufacture.
Jonathan Franzen (Freedom)
Here I am, ninety years old and ready for the cooling board, using a brand new Macintosh computer, and there you sit, twenty-two and gorgeous, fresh as a new peach, yet scrawling on a yellow legal pad like an old maid in a Victorian romance.
Stephen King (The Colorado Kid)
Something like missionary reductionism has happened to the internet with the rise of web 2.0. The strangeness is being leached away by the mush-making process. Individual web pages as they first appeared in the early 1990S had the flavor of personhood. MySpace preserved some of that flavor, though a process of regularized formatting had begun. Facebook went further, organizing people into multiple-choice identities, while Wikipedia seeks to erase point of view entirely. If a church or government were doing these things, it would feel authoritarian, but when technologists are the culprits, we seem hip, fresh, and inventive. People will accept ideas presented in technological form that would be abhorrent in any other form. It is utterly strange to hear my many old friends in the world of digital culture claim to be the true sons of the Renaissance without realizing that using computers to reduce individual expression is a primitive, retrograde activity, no matter how sophisticated your tools are.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
The Nevernever is dying, human. It grows smaller and smaller every decade. Too much progress, too much technology. Mortals are losing their faith in anything but science. Even the children of man are consumed by progress. They sneer at the old stories and are drawn to the newest gadgets, computers, or video games. They no longer believe in monsters of magic. As cities grown and technology takes over the world, belief and imagination fade away, and so do we." "What can we do to stop it?" I whispered. "Nothing." Grimalkin raised a hind leg and scratched an ear. "Maybe the Nevenever will hold out till the end of the world. Maybe it will disappear in a few centuries. Everything dies eventually, human.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1))
Boys who cry can work for Google. Boys who trash computers cannot. I once was at a science conference, and I saw a NASA scientist who had just found out that his project was canceled—a project he’d worked on for years. He was maybe sixty-five years old, and you know what? He was crying. And I thought, Good for him. That’s why he was able to reach retirement age working in a job he loved.
Temple Grandin (The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum)
Curran lunged at a silver Bentley. The hood went flying. He thrust his hand into the car. Metal screamed, and Curran jerked a twisted clump out of the hood and smashed it into the nearest car like a club. “Did he just rip out the engine?” I asked. “Yes,” Saiman said. “And now he’s demolishing the Maserati with it.” Ten seconds later Curran hurled the twisted wreck of black and orange that used to be the Maserati into the wall. The first melodic notes of an old song came from the computer. I glanced at Saiman. He shrugged. “It begged for a soundtrack.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5))
How does it feel to be seven thousand years old?" "That depends." "On what?" "On how I want to feel.
Greg Egan (Permutation City (Subjective Cosmology #2))
Some people, I am told, have memories like computers, nothing to do but punch the button and wait for the print-out. Mine is more like a Japanese library of the old style, without a card file or an indexing system or any systematic shelf plan. Nobody knows where anything is except the old geezer in felt slippers who has been shuffling up and down those stacks for sixty-nine years. When you hand him a problem he doesn't come back with a cartful and dump it before you, a jackpot of instant retrieval. He finds one thing, which reminds him of another, which leads him off to the annex, which directs him to the east wing, which sends him back two tiers from where he started. Bit by bit he finds you what you want, but like his boss who seems to be under pressure to examine his life, he takes his time.
Wallace Stegner (The Spectator Bird)
It's not that I think that computers don't have their place, but surely their place is not in bed, which is my favorite place to read, and surely their place is not snuggled up with a cat in your lap in an old armchair. You can't have your laptop computer and your cat in your lap simultaneously, while trying to manage a cup of tea, which you might spill on your computer. On the other hand, if you spilled your cup of tea on your book -- well, Charles Lamb would probably just like it better. He once said that he particularly liked books that had old muffin crumbs in them. Muffin crumbs in your computer would not be a good idea.
Anne Fadiman
Teenagers are embarrassed by old people. Old people don’t get it, are hard of hearing, don’t even own a computer, are slow, are clueless about fashion and music, and all they have to offer you is a cookie.
Hendrik Groen (The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old)
No sociologist, for instance, should think himself too good, even in his old age, to make tens of thousands of quite trivial computations in his head and perhaps for months at a time.
Max Weber (From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology)
You know that when your partner deletes their messages to a past lover after being accused of cheating, then it is likely that they were being unfaithful in some way.
Steven Magee
The best computer programmers never write a new program when they can use an old one for a new job.
Gerald M. Weinberg (Becoming a Technical Leader)
We need a language that lets us scribble and smudge and smear, not a language where you have to sit with a teacup of types balanced on your knee and make polite conversation with a strict old aunt of a compiler.
Paul Graham (Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age)
As years pass, and the abundance of the future is depleted, the crux of old mistakes and the cost of old choices are ever recalibrated. Resentment, the interest in umbrage derived from being wronged, is computed minute by minute, savagely, however you try to ignore it.
Gregory Maguire (Out of Oz (The Wicked Years, #4))
it. The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to consumer culture. Saying no to takeout, $4 lattes, and that shiny new computer when the old one still works fine.
Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative)
Phoenix sank to the desk chair and stared at her computer screen. “I don’t know. I’ve lived like this for so long, it’s who I am. Everything seems so stupid. Like, look at this girl,writing to Sasha. She’s all”—he spoke in a falsetto voice—“‘OMG!’ and ‘LOL!’ and ‘WTF?’ and ‘Girl, you should totes go out with Tyler in Telluride!’” He looked up at her.“You’re seventeen years old, and this is how seventeenyear-olds talk to each other. I’m a thousand years old, and this stuff is like alien-speak to me. If I found another Anabo,she’d be writing OMG and I’d be thinking, You’re f’ing kidding me.
Trinity Faegen (The Redemption of Ajax (The Mephisto Covenant, #1))
At some point during my research, I came across the term "gender fluid." Reading those words was a revelation. It was like someone tore a layer of gauze off the mirror, and I could see myself clearly for the first time. There was a name for what I was. It was a thing. Gender fluid. Sitting there in front of my computer--like I am right now--I knew I would never be the same. I could never go back to seeing it the old way; I could never go back to not knowing what I was. But did that glorious moment of revelation really change anything? I don't know. Sometimes, I don't think so. I may have a name for what I am now--but I'm just as confused and out of place as I was before. And if today is any indication, I'm still playing out that scene in the toy store--trying to pick the thing that will cause the least amount of drama. And not having much success.
Jeff Garvin (Symptoms of Being Human)
Real arms races are run by highly intelligent, bespectacled engineers in glass offices thoughtfully designing shiny weapons on modern computers. But there's no thinking in the mud and cold of nature's trenches. At best, weapons thrown together amidst the explosions and confusion of smoky battlefields are tiny variations on old ones, held together by chewing gum. If they don't work, then something else is thrown at the enemy, including the kitchen sink - there's nothing "progressive" about that. At its usual worst, trench warfare is fought by attrition. If the enemy can be stopped or slowed by burning your own bridges and bombing your own radio towers and oil refineries, then away they go. Darwinian trench warfare does not lead to progress - it leads back to the Stone Age.
Michael J. Behe (The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism)
I wish it were different. I wish that we privileged knowledge in politicians, that the ones who know things didn't have to hide it behind brown pants, and that the know-not-enoughs were laughed all the way to the Maine border on their first New Hampshire meet and greet. I wish that in order to secure his party's nomination, a presidential candidate would be required to point at the sky and name all the stars; have the periodic table of the elements memorized; rattle off the kings and queens of Spain; define the significance of the Gatling gun; joke around in Latin; interpret the symbolism in seventeenth-century Dutch painting; explain photosynthesis to a six-year-old; recite Emily Dickinson; bake a perfect popover; build a shortwave radio out of a coconut; and know all the words to Hoagy Carmichael's "Two Sleepy People," Johnny Cash's "Five Feet High and Rising," and "You Got the Silver" by the Rolling Stones. After all, the United States is the greatest country on earth dealing with the most complicated problems in the history of the world--poverty, pollution, justice, Jerusalem. What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.
Sarah Vowell (The Partly Cloudy Patriot)
I know it's common for old people to complain about the modern moment, and lament the passing of a golden age when children were polite and you could buy a kilo of meat for pennies, but in our case, my boy, I think I am not mistaken when I say that something fundamental has changed about the world in which we live. We have reached a state of constant reinvention. Revolutions have moved off the battlefield and on to home computers.
G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen)
Doyle: "What is it now, then?" Cordelia: "Isn't java supposed to be a coffee?" Doyle: "Ready to abandon the the Web project?" Cordelia: "No way. We have a chance here to make contact with the millions of people out there who are glued to their computers." Doyle: "All those millions, shunning human contact. I'll never understand it. Call me old-fashioned, if you like, but I want to interface with a face, not a hunk of plastic and glass." Cordelia: "Climb out of the Dark Ages, Munchkin man." Doyle: "It's leprechaun, and either way, I don't appreciate the insult.
John Passarella
Face-book has all the social graces of a nose-picking, hyperactive six-year-old, standing at the threshold of your attention and chanting, “I know something, I know something, I know something, won’t tell you what it is!
Cory Doctorow (Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future)
Second by second, the Queng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth's moon. But if you looked at it still more closely ... the starting instant was actually about fifteen million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind's first computer operating systems.
Vernor Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2))
And isn’t it actually unbelievable that one simple name encompasses all of this? The fetus in the belly, the infant on the changing table, the forty-year-old in front of the computer, the old man in the chair, the corpse on the bench?
Karl Ove Knausgård (My Struggle: Book 3)
I try not to hate anybody. "Hate is a four-letter word," like the bumper sticker says. But I hate book reviewers. Book reviewers are the most despicable, loathsome order of swine that ever rooted about the earth. They are sniveling, revolting creatures who feed their own appetites for bile by gnawing apart other people's work. They are human garbage. They all deserve to be struck down by awful diseases described in the most obscure dermatology journals. Book reviewers live in tiny studios that stink of mothballs and rotting paper. Their breath reeks of stale coffee. From time to time they put on too-tight shirts and pants with buckles and shuffle out of their lairs to shove heaping mayonnaise-laden sandwiches into their faces, which are worn in to permanent snarls. Then they go back to their computers and with fat stubby fingers they hammer out "reviews." Periodically they are halted as they burst into porcine squeals, gleefully rejoicing in their cruelty. Even when being "kindly," book reviewers reveal their true nature as condescending jerks. "We look forward to hearing more from the author," a book reviewer might say. The prissy tones sound like a second-grade piano teacher, offering you a piece of years-old strawberry hard candy and telling you to practice more. But a bad book review is just disgusting. Ask yourself: of all the jobs available to literate people, what monster chooses the job of "telling people how bad different books are"? What twisted fetishist chooses such a life?
Steve Hely (How I Became a Famous Novelist)
The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to consumer culture. Saying no to takeout, $4 lattes, and that shiny new computer when the old one still works fine.
Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative)
All this home-computer gaming, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, now this Xbox thing, maybe I just want the boys to see what blowing aliens away was like in the olden days.
Thomas Pynchon (Bleeding Edge)
Old Enochian running on neural wetware is not the fastest procedural language ever invented, and it’s semantics make AppleScript look like a thing of elegance and beauty
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
They almost looked like one of those old computers he’d heard about with a glassy screen called a monitor.
James Dashner (The Game of Lives (The Mortality Doctrine, #3))
They all agreed that things were better in the old days. Some of them were sad about it and some were bitter, but it was always, 'Nothing is as good as it used to be.' I swore I would never talk like that and you know what? Now that I'm an old lady myself, I think that most things are better than they used to be. Look at the computers. Look at your sister, the cardiologist, and you, graduating from Harvard. Don't talk to me about the good old days. What was so good?
Anita Diamant (The Boston Girl)
When a printed book—whether a recently published scholarly history or a two-hundred-year-old Victorian novel—is transferred to an electronic device connected to the Internet, it turns into something very like a Web site. Its words become wrapped in all the distractions of the networked computer. Its links and other digital enhancements propel the reader hither and yon. It loses what the late John Updike called its “edges” and dissolves into the vast, rolling waters of the Net. The linearity of the printed book is shattered, along with the calm attentiveness it encourages in the reader.
Nicholas Carr (What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains)
The time has come,” said Dr. Dimitri Moisevitch to his old friend Heywood Floyd, “to talk of many things. Of shoes and spaceships and sealing wax, but mostly of monoliths and malfunctioning computers.
Arthur C. Clarke (2010: Odyssey Two (Space Odyssey, #2))
I'll bite: Hard science TA's and RA's often repair equipment; it's part of our science. If you want a silver spoon, don't go to grad school. Science is all about dangerous chemicals, semi-safe experimental equipment, and 4am drives down gravel roads in old vans with a nice steep drop on one side. Guardrail? Ho ho ho. Fixing the computers is just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, where else could you get on-the-job experience with a PDP-8?
Greg Lindahl
The novel had a framework made by thinking. The thought was that to divide off and compartmentalize living was dangerous and led to nothing but trouble. Old, young; black, white; men, women; capitalism, socialism; these dichotomies undo us, force us into unreal categorisation, make us look for what separates us rather than what we have in common. That was the thought, which made the shape or pattern of 'The Golden Notebook'. But the emotions were stronger than the thought. This is why I have always seen TGN as a failure: a failure in my terms, of what I had meant. For has this book changed by an iota our tendency to think like computers set to sort everything - people, ideas, history - into boxes? No, it has not. Yet why should I have such a hubristic thought? But I was in the grip of discovery, of revelation. I had only just seen this Truth: I was watching my own mind working like a sorting machine, and I was appalled.
Doris Lessing
It's a piece of cake, being a lawyer or a doctor or a computer systems analyst or an accountant. Libraries are full of books telling you how to do it. The only textbooks for private eyes are on fiction shelves, and I don't remember ever reading one that told me how to interrogate an eight-year old without feeling like I was auditioning for the Gestapo.
Val McDermid (Crack Down (Kate Brannigan, #3))
If you are reading this on planet Earth then: A. Good luck to you. There is an awful lot of stuff you don’t know anything about, but you are not alone in this. It’s just that in your case the consequences of not knowing any of this stuff are particularly terrible, but then, hey, that’s just the way the cookie gets completely stomped on and obliterated. B. Don’t imagine you know what a computer terminal is. A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about.
Douglas Adams (Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #5))
The old adage tells us that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” but the math tells us why: the unknown has a chance of being better, even if we actually expect it to be no different, or if it’s just as likely to be worse.
Brian Christian (Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions)
Centuries of navel-gazing. Millennia of masturbation. Plato to Descartes to Dawkins to Rhanda. Souls and zombie agents and qualia. Kolmogorov complexity. Consciousness as Divine Spark. Consciousness as electromagnetic field. Consciousness as functional cluster. I explored it all. Wegner thought it was an executive summary. Penrose heard it in the singing of caged electrons. Nirretranders said it was a fraud; Kazim called it leakage from a parallel universe. Metzinger wouldn't even admit it existed. The AIs claimed to have worked it out, then announced they couldn't explain it to us. Gödel was right after all: no system can fully understand itself. Not even the synthesists had been able to rotate it down. The load-bearing beams just couldn't take the strain. All of them, I began to realize, had missed the point. All those theories, all those drugdreams and experiments and models trying to prove what consciousness was: none to explain what it was good for. None needed: obviously, consciousness makes us what we are. It lets us see the beauty and the ugliness. It elevates us into the exalted realm of the spiritual. Oh, a few outsiders—Dawkins, Keogh, the occasional writer of hackwork fiction who barely achieved obscurity—wondered briefly at the why of it: why not soft computers, and no more? Why should nonsentient systems be inherently inferior? But they never really raised their voices above the crowd. The value of what we are was too trivially self-evident to ever call into serious question. Yet the questions persisted, in the minds of the laureates, in the angst of every horny fifteen-year-old on the planet. Am I nothing but sparking chemistry? Am I a magnet in the ether? I am more than my eyes, my ears, my tongue; I am the little thing behind those things, the thing looking out from inside. But who looks out from its eyes? What does it reduce to? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? What a stupid fucking question. I could have answered it in a second, if Sarasti hadn't forced me to understand it first.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
Gator, go wake that woman of yours. I need some answers. We need her to run the computers for us.” “Tonight, Boss?” Gator complained. “I had other ideas.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. “We all did. Hop to it.” “What about Sam?” Tucker asked. “His woman is the one who got us into this.” “I’m wounded.” Sam clutched his abdomen dramatically and staggered with quick, long strides so that he made it to the doorway in three quick steps. Jonas coughed, sounding suspiciously like he’d muttered “bullshit” under his breath. Kyle threw a peanut at him and Jeff surfed across the table in his bare socks to try to catch him before he bolted. “He’s in love, boys, let him go. He’ll probably just get laughed at,” Tucker said. “Do you really think Azami’s brothers are going to allow her to hook up with Sam? She’s fine and he’s . . . well . . . klutzy.” “That hurt,” Sam said, turning back. “Did you get a good look at those boys? I thought Japanese men were supposed to be on the short side, but Daiki was tall and all muscle. His brother moves like a fucking fighter,” Tucker added. “They might just decide to give you a good beating for having the audacity to even think you could date their sister, let alone marry her.” “Fat help you are,” Sam accused. “I could use a little confidence here.” Kyle snorted. “You don’t have a chance, buddy.” “Goin’ to meet your maker,” Gator added solemnly. Jeff crossed himself as he hung five toes off the edge of the table. “Sorry, old son, you don’t have a prayer. You’re about to meet up with a couple of hungry sharks.” “Have you ever actually used a sword before?” Kadan asked, all innocent. Jonas drew his knife and began to sharpen it. “Funny thing about blade men, they always like to go for the throat.” He grinned up at Sam. “Just a little tip. Keep your chin down.” “You’re all a big help,” Sam said and stepped out into the hall. This was the biggest moment of his life. If they turned him down, he was lost.
Christine Feehan (Samurai Game (Ghostwalkers, #10))
In a way, these old role-playing games had been the first virtual-reality simulations, created long before computers were powerful enough to do the job. In those days, if you wanted to escape to another world, you had to create it yourself, using your brain, some paper, pencils, dice, and a few rule books.
Ernest Cline (Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1))
On January 24th, Apple computers will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” – Old Hollywood film director Sir Ridley Scott’s classic “1984” Apple Macintosh commercial, first aired 15 Dec. 1983, Top Ten Commercials of All Time, 2050 edition “Well, it all did lead to 1984.” – Goli, the tek-lord, 2089
Austin Dragon (Thy Kingdom Fall (After Eden #1))
Most of the successful innovators and entrepreneurs in this book had one thing in common: they were product people. They cared about, and deeply understood, the engineering and design. They were not primarily marketers or salesmen or financial types; when such folks took over companies, it was often to the detriment of sustained innovation. “When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off,” Jobs said. Larry Page felt the same: “The best leaders are those with the deepest understanding of the engineering and product design.”34 Another lesson of the digital age is as old as Aristotle: “Man is a social animal.” What else could explain CB and ham radios or their successors, such as WhatsApp and Twitter? Almost every digital tool, whether designed for it or not, was commandeered by humans for a social purpose: to create communities, facilitate communication, collaborate on projects, and enable social networking. Even the personal computer, which was originally embraced as a tool for individual creativity, inevitably led to the rise of modems, online services, and eventually Facebook, Flickr, and Foursquare. Machines, by contrast, are not social animals. They don’t join Facebook of their own volition nor seek companionship for its own sake. When Alan Turing asserted that machines would someday behave like humans, his critics countered that they would never be able to show affection or crave intimacy. To indulge Turing, perhaps we could program a machine to feign affection and pretend to seek intimacy, just as humans sometimes do. But Turing, more than almost anyone, would probably know the difference. According to the second part of Aristotle’s quote, the nonsocial nature of computers suggests that they are “either a beast or a god.” Actually, they are neither. Despite all of the proclamations of artificial intelligence engineers and Internet sociologists, digital tools have no personalities, intentions, or desires. They are what we make of them.
Walter Isaacson (The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution)
What meaning our lives may seem to have is the work of a relatively well-constituted emotional system. As consciousness gives us the sense of being persons, our psychophysiology is responsible for making us into personalities who believe the existential game to be worth playing. We may have memories that are unlike those of anyone else, but without the proper emotions to liven those memories they might as well reside in a computer file as disconnected bits of data that never unite into a tailor-made individual for whom things seem to mean something. You can conceptualize that your life has meaning, but if you do not feel that meaning then your conceptualization is meaningless and you are nobody. The only matters of weight in our lives are colored by rainbows or auroras of regulated emotion which give one a sense of that “old self.” But a major depression causes your emotions to evaporate, reducing you to a shell of a person standing alone in a drab landscape. Emotions are the substrate for the illusion of being a somebody among somebodies as well as for the substance we see, or think we see, in the world. Not knowing this ground-level truth of human existence is the equivalent of knowing nothing at all.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror)
[Dialogue between Solon and an Egyptian Priest] In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais [...] To this city came Solon, and was received there with great honour; he asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old. On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world-about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man," and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened. Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you. Solon in return asked him what he meant. I mean to say, he replied, that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age.
Plato (Timaeus and Critias)
If you’ve ever wondered what we’re missing by sitting at computers in cubicles all day, follow Jessica DuLong when she loses her desk job and embarks on this unlikely but fantastic voyage. Deeply original, riveting to read, and soul-bearingly honest, "My River Chronicles" is a surprisingly infectious romance about a young woman falling in love with a muscle-y old boat. As DuLong learns to navigate her way through a man’s world of tools and engines, and across the swirling currents of a temperamental river, her book also becomes a love letter to a nation. In tune with the challenges of our times, DuLong reminds us of the skills and dedication that built America, and inspires us to renew ourselves once again.
Trevor Corson (The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice)
In fact , we might as well say "proprietary", which ,in fact, was the byword of the old computer industry.
Andrew S. Grove (Only the Paranoid Survive. Lessons from the CEO of INTEL Corporation)
As the old computer-science joke goes: “Let’s say you have a problem, and you decide to solve it with regular expressions. Well, now you have two problems.
Ryan Mitchell (Web Scraping with Python: Collecting Data from the Modern Web)
Windows 10 on both an old 2011 upgraded computer and a new 2016 computer was an excruciating experience
Steven Magee
The computer was the newest addition to the local library, and quickly had more viruses than the local whore house.
Giles Curtis (Looking Bloody Good, Old Boy (A raucous back-stabbing comedy))
Speaking of 2001, I celebrated the turn of the millennium with Stefan and Karin. The so-feared computer crash did not occur
John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Old Dreams Die)
When these pocket computers started getting common, old people like me catastrophized about how bad it was going to be, but we were wrong. It’s much worse. We’ve been looking at each other’s faces for a million years. But now you don’t see faces anymore. At night on the sidewalks of Toronto people walk around in the dark looking down into tiny lamplit rooms they hold in their hands.
Michael Redhill (Bellevue Square)
What to call it - the spark of God? Survival instinct? The souped-up computer of an apex brain evolved from eons in the R&D of natural selection? You could practically see the neurons firing in the kid’s skull. His body was all spring and torque, a bundle of fast-twitch muscles that exuded faint floral whiffs of ripe pear. So much perfection in such a compact little person - Billy had to tackle him from time to time, wrestle him squealing to the ground just to get that little rascal in his hands, just your basic adorable thirty-month-old with big blue eyes clear as chlorine pools and Huggies poking out of his stretchy-waist jeans. So is this what they mean by the sanctity of life? A soft groan escaped Billy when he thought about that, the war revealed in this fresh and gruesome light. Oh. Ugh. Divine spark, image of God, suffer the little children and all that - there’s real power when words attach to actual things. Made him want to sit right down and weep, as powerful as that. He got it, yes he did, and when he came home for good he’d have to meditate on this, but for now it was best to compartmentalize, as they said, or even better not to mentalize at all.
Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
techno boy -- seventeen years old. junior. red car. works at a restaurant. it hurts when he smiles. dandruff. computers, electronic music. seeking a girl that won't eat his heart with a steak knife.
Zoe Trope (Please Don't Kill the Freshman)
By contrast Hobie lived and wafted like some great sea mammal in his own mild atmosphere, the dark brown of tea stains and tobacco, where every clock in the house said something different and time didn’t actually correspond to the standard measure but instead meandered along at its own sedate tick-tock, obeying the pace of his antique-crowded backwater, far from the factory-built, epoxy-glued version of the world. Though he enjoyed going out to the movies, there was no television; he read old novels with marbled end papers; he didn’t own a cell phone; his computer, a prehistoric IBM, was the size of a suitcase and useless.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Tinkerers built America. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, all were tinkerers in their childhood. Everything from the airplane to the computer started in somebody's garage. Go back even further: the Industrial Revolution was a revolution of tinkerers. The great scientific thinkers of eighteenth-century England couldn't have been less interested in cotton spinning and weaving. Why would you be? It was left to a bloke on the shop floor who happened to glance at a one-thread wheel that had toppled over and noticed that both the wheel and the spindle were still turning. So James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, and there followed other artful gins and mules and frames and looms, and Britain and the world were transformed. By tinkerers rather than thinkerers. "Technological change came from tinkerers," wrote Professor J.R. McNeill of Georgetown, "people with little or no scientific education but with plenty of hands-on experience." John Ratzenberger likes to paraphrase a Stanford University study: "Engineers who are great in physics and calculus but can't think in new ways about old objects are doomed to think in old ways about new objects." That's the lesson of the spinning jenny: an old object fell over and someone looked at it in a new way.
Mark Steyn (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon)
My grandpa used to tell my dad, “Son, it’s not the money you make, it’s the money you hold on to.” Make yourself a budget. Live within your means. Pack your lunch. Pinch pennies. Save as much as you can. Get the education you need for as cheap as you can get it. The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to consumer culture. Saying no to takeout, $ 4 lattes, and that shiny new computer when the old one still works fine.
Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative)
The phrase, “technology and education” usually means inventing new gadgets to teach the same old stuff in a thinly disguised version of the same old way. Moreover, if the gadgets are computers, the same old teaching becomes incredibly more expensive and biased towards its dumbest parts, namely the kind of rote learning in which measurable results can be obtained by treating the children like pigeons in a Skinner box. (Papert, 1972a)
Sylvia Libow Martinez (Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom)
Who hasn’t grown up knowing the bitchy cheerleader, a dumb jock, the computer nerd, an overbearing mother, a distant father, a misunderstood old person, or an alienated artist, writer, musician, or dancer? If everybody knows these people, are they really clichés or merely categories? Maybe the various cities, towns, neighborhoods, and blocks are really replicating microcosms? The same strands woven together to create one large tapestry of life?
Karen Wojcik Berner (Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles #2))
I worked transferring books to computer discs, to cut down on storage space and replacement costs, they said. Discers, we called ourselves. We called the library a discotheque, which was a joke of ours. After the books were transferred they were supposed to go to the shredder, but sometimes I took them home with me. I liked the feel of them, and the look. Luke said I had the mind of an antiquarian. He liked that, he liked old things himself. It’s
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)
Harper’s brow furrowed. “Why are you even asking me questions? I know you did your research on me.” “I did,” he admitted unrepentantly. “I learned a lot about you. For instance, I learned that you’re responsible for the breakdown of an ex-boyfriend’s bank account—” “Allegedly.” “—that you hacked a human police database and messed up their filing system when your friend was unjustly arrested—” “Hearsay.” “—that you beat up a male demon who hurt your cousin—” “I have an alibi for that.” “—and that you infected an old teacher’s computer with a virus that caused clips of gay porn to pop up on his screen every thirty seconds.” “Closet gays do the strangest things when the pressure gets too much.
Suzanne Wright (Burn (Dark in You, #1))
Another reason we know that language could not determine thought is that when a language isn't up to the conceptual demands of its speakers, they don't scratch their heads dumbfounded (at least not for long); they simply change the language. They stretch it with metaphors and metonyms, borrow words and phrases from other languages, or coin new slang and jargon. (When you think about it, how else could it be? If people had trouble thinking without language, where would their language have come from-a committee of Martians?) Unstoppable change is the great given in linguistics, which is not why linguists roll their eyes at common claims such as that German is the optimal language of science, that only French allows for truly logical expression, and that indigenous languages are not appropriate for the modern world. As Ray Harlow put it, it's like saying, "Computers were not discussed in Old English; therefore computers cannot be discussed in Modern English.
Steven Pinker (The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature)
These days, things were different. Much different. For the most part, what fun there was to be had at Upton Park came from the cat and mouse side of the contest. Thinking on your feet and trying to outwit old bill while still trying to get one over on the opposition. It was like a real life computer game, Theme Hooligan. He still got a buzz from it though, but not the same buzz. And he wasn’t alone. The scene was dying on its arse although that wasn’t always down to the police.
Dougie Brimson (Top Dog)
The harbinger of a revolution, the Altair was the first mass-marketed personal computer. For the first time a computer was dedicated not just to a single task but to one person. The old guard of computing entirely missed the significance of this.
G. Pascal Zachary (Showstopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft)
And we were in our thirties. Well into the Age of Boredom, when nothing is new. Now, I’m not being self-pitying; it’s simply true. Newness, or whatever you want to call it, becomes a very scarce commodity after thirty. I think that’s unfair. If I were in charge of the human life span, I’d make sure to budget newness much more selectively, to ration it out. As it is now, it’s almost used up in the first three years of life. By then you’ve seen for the first time, tasted for the first time, held something for the first time. Learned to walk, talk, go to the bathroom. What have you got to look forward to that can compare with that? Sure, there’s school. Making friends. Falling in love. Learning to drive. Sex. Learning to trade. That has to carry you for the next twenty-five years. But after that? What’s the new excitement? Mastering your home computer? Figuring out how to work CompuServe? “Now, if it were up to me, I’d parcel out. So that, say, at thirty-five we just learned how to go on the potty. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment! They’d have office parties. "Did you hear? The vice president in charge of overseas development just went a whole week without his diaper. We’re buying him a gift." It’d be beautiful.
Phoef Sutton (Fifteen Minutes to Live)
But where were the other Old World monsters? I wondered. How did other vampires exist in a world in which each death was recorded in giant electronic computers, and bodies were carried away to refrigerated crypts? Probably concealing themselves like loathsome insects in the shadows, as they have always done, no matter how much philosophy they talked or how many covens they formed. Well, when I raised my voice with the little band called Satan’s Night Out, I would bring them all into the light soon enough.
Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2))
In 2010, computer games were sold to the tune of $46.7 billion. That’s more than double the total amount of music sold, $16.4 billion. If you believe the industry’s own statistics, the consumer demographics are a far cry from the usual picture of gamers as mainly young men and boys. Four out of ten players in the United States are women. Three out of ten are over fifty years old, and only one out of ten is a boy under seventeen years old. Today, gaming is one of the world’s largest, most appreciated, and most demographically widespread forms of entertainment.
Daniel Goldberg (Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything)
Ben Young is out on the deck with his team, having breakfast through his tube. I wonder how that feels. He seems to be content with it, although I am having some trouble reconciling the fact that Ben does not get all the big tastes anymore. He used to love Milanos and milk after every evening dinner. It was a tradition. Sometimes we still give him a tiny taste just for old times' sake. He is so accepting. It's a marvel. He is the most accepting human being I have ever met, and he is very happy. Not all the time, mind you; he has a flair for impatience if he is going somewhere and there is a delay. He just yells! You know he is pissed. There is no stopping him. More power to you, Ben Young! We had to stop feeding Ben Young by mouth because his lungs have become compromised by all the aspirating he does. It's a complex thing, eating. The body does a lot of work to protect itself and keep food out of the lungs. Ben's body is not working like a normal body does. Ben and Dustin and Uncle Tony are out on the deck listening to tunes on the computer and grooving. Ben's next support team is incoming for a shift. Uncle Marian and Ben Bourdon arrive in Hawaii today from the mainland, and the switch takes place around twelve-thirty. Time marches on. Because of the support, Ben has a very full life and keeps moving around, doing things, seeing people and going to events. I reflect on this. Life is good.
Neil Young (Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream)
Daniel Wolpert, of Cambridge University, is fond of pointing out that IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer is capable of beating a grand master at the game of chess, but no computer has yet been developed that can move a chess piece from one square to another as well as a 3-year-old child.
Stuart Firestein (Ignorance: How It Drives Science)
These words on the screen represented her latest project, an attempt at a series of commercial, discreetly feminist crime novels. She had read all of Agatha Christie at eleven years old, and later lots of Chandler and James M.Cain. There seemed no reason why she shouldn't try writing something in between, but she was discovering once again that reading and writing were not the same-you couldn't just soak it up then squeeze it out again. She found herself unable to think of a name for her detective, let alone a cohesive original plot, and even her pseudonym was poor: Emma T. Wilde? She wondered if she was doomed to be one of those people who spend their lives trying things. She had tried being in a band, writing plays and children's books, she had tried acting and getting a job in publishing. Perhaps crime fiction was just another failed project to place alongside trapeze, Buddhism and Spanish. She used the computer's word counter feature. Thirty-five words, including the title page and her rotten pseudonym. Emma groaned, released the hydraulic lever on the side of her office chair and sank a little closer to the carpet.
David Nicholls (One Day)
Few of the top ten participants in the new horizontal computer industry rose from the ranks of the old vertical computer industry, bearing testimony to the observation that it is truly difficult for a successful industry participant to adapt to a completely different industry structure.
Andrew S. Grove (Only the Paranoid Survive)
Same thing with the distinction Johnnie made between good kids and bad kids—the distinction didn’t compute in my head. It seemed based on a premise that defied my experience, an assumption that children could somehow set the terms of their own development. I thought about Bernadette’s five-year-old son, scampering about the broken roads of Altgeld, between a sewage plant and a dump. Where did he sit along the spectrum of goodness? If he ended up in a gang or in jail, would that prove his essence somehow, a wayward gene … or just the consequences of a malnourished world? And
Barack Obama (Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance)
closed her computer. She felt herself breathing rapidly. I was going to be okay, she thought, if Lady Em had died in her sleep. That’s what old people do. If they’re right and she was murdered, will that change the way they look at me? It might provide cover for me and Ralphie. The article had said that the Cleopatra necklace was missing. That means the killer probably got into Lady Em’s safe. Unless he’s caught, nobody will know how much jewelry or which pieces were stolen. If I’m asked, I can say that Lady Em used to make copies of various pieces of her jewelry. She brought a number of legitimate pieces and a number of copies on the trip. The thief must have taken some of the good stuff and left the junk. Brenda was now feeling infinitely better. That also explains the guard at the door of her suite and not letting me in, she thought. The ship was trying to cover up the murder
Mary Higgins Clark (All By Myself, Alone)
What goes up, must come down." Well, Issac Newton's law doesn't apply to the internet. That's what people don't realize. When you put something up, as long as there is an internet there will be that same stuff. When you're a senior citizen, what you uploaded to Facebook at a high school party will still be there. Whatever you upload to the internet, no matter how strong your passwords and security are, guaranteed the government or some advertising corporation will look at what you post someday. The only law that applies to the internet is, "For every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Post a photograph and you'll get attention. Post your old scanned Kodak slides and family home movies, you'll get a nostalgia rush and you'll reunite people with better days. But post a bad thing, thinking you can go unnoticed, and you'll never be able to crawl out from underneath it.
Rebecca McNutt
In accordance with the law of accelerating returns, paradigm shift (also called innovation) turns the S-curve of any specific paradigm into a continuing exponential. A new paradigm, such as three-dimensional circuits, takes over when the old paradigm approaches its natural limit, which has already happened at least four times in the history of computation. In such nonhuman species as apes, the mastery of a toolmaking or -using skill by each animal is characterized by an S-shaped learning curve that ends abruptly; human-created technology, in contrast, has followed an exponential pattern of growth and acceleration since its inception.
Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near)
In search," Urs (Hölzle) believed, "the discussion was really, How can we outdistance our current system and make it look laughable? That's the best definition of success: if a new system comes out and everyone says, 'Wow, I can't believe we put up with that old thing because it was so primitive and limited compared to this.
Douglas Edwards (I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59)
You know what your mum might be?' 'You're not really asking, are you? This is rhetorical, isn't it?' 'A real life desperate housewife. Maybe your mum's hooking and she -' "What are you, drunk? There's a five-year-old in the back seat. And, PS, you're not helping. All she said is that she's at the station. Not in jail. Now, I don't want to talk anymore about it. Mark and I spend the remainder of the car trip in silence. Emma, on the other hand, takes it upon herself to sing every verse of It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp. Next chance I get I'm gonna confiscate her copy of Hustle and Flow and change her computer password from GEELOVE to MONOBROW. - Cat
Rebecca Sparrow (Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight)
From the perspective of my old laptop, I am a numbers man, something like that every instruction he gives me is a one or a zero I remember well I have information about him before he left for his new toy thinner, younger, able to keep up with him, I have information about him may 15th 2008, he listened to a song five times in succession it was titled Everybody, open parenthesis, Backstreet's Back, close parenthesis it included the lyric 'Am I sexual, yeaaaaah' He said once, computers like a sense of finality to them when I write something I don't want to be able to run from it this was a lie he was addicted to my ability to keep his secrets I am a numbers man, every instruction he gives me is a one, or a zero I remember well January, 7th 2007 I was young just two week awake he gave me, a new series of one's and zeros the most sublime sequence I have ever seen it had curves, and shadow, it was him he gave his face in numbers and trusted me to be the artist, and I was do not laugh I have read about your God you kill each other over your grand fathers memory of him I still remember the fingertips of my God dancing across my body After I learnt to draw him he trusted with more art rubric jpeg 1063 was his favourite Him, and that woman, resting her head in the curve of his nick I read his correspondence she hasn't written him back in years but he asks for it, constantly, jpeg 1063, jpeg 1063, jpeg 1063 it was my master piece it looked so, .., life like I wanted to tell him That's not her that is me that is not her face those are my ones and zeros waltzing in space for you she is nothing more than my shadow puppet you do not miss her, you miss me, I am a numbers man, every instruction he gives is a one or a zero I remember well but he taught me to be a Da Vinci and I sit here, with his portraits waiting for him to return I do not think he will Is that what it means to be human to be all powerful, to build a temple to yourself and leave only the walls to pray
Phil Kaye
Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign used e-mail several times a day in the autumn of 1976. The system they were using was a basic mailbox program, a technology already more than a decade old. But for a political campaign this was a revolutionary stroke in communications. On that basis, Carter was labeled the “computer-driven candidate.” By
Katie Hafner (Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet)
Of course, I don’t remember any of this time. It is absolutely impossible to identify with the infant my parents photographed, indeed so impossible that it seems wrong to use the word “me” to describe what is lying on the changing table, for example, with unusually red skin, arms and legs spread, and a face distorted into a scream, the cause of which no one can remember, or on a sheepskin rug on the floor, wearing white pajamas, still red-faced, with large, dark eyes squinting slightly. Is this creature the same person as the one sitting here in Malmö writing? And will the forty-year-old creature who is sitting in Malmö writing this one overcast September day in a room filled with the drone of the traffic outside and the autumn wind howling through the old-fashioned ventilation system be the same as the gray, hunched geriatric who in forty years from now might be sitting dribbling and trembling in an old people’s home somewhere in the Swedish woods? Not to mention the corpse that at some point will be laid out on a bench in a morgue? Still known as Karl Ove. And isn’t it actually unbelievable that one simple name encompasses all of this? The fetus in the belly, the infant on the changing table, the forty-year-old in front of the computer, the old man in the chair, the corpse on the bench? Wouldn’t it be more natural to operate with several names since their identities and self-perceptions are so very different? Such that the fetus might be called Jens Ove, for example, and the infant Nils Ove, and the five- to ten-year-old Per Ove, the ten- to twelve-year-old Geir Ove, the twelve- to seventeen-year-old Kurt Ove, the seventeen- to twenty-three-year-old John Ove, the twenty-three- to thirty-two-year-old Tor Ove, the thirty-two- to forty-six-year-old Karl Ove — and so on and so forth? Then the first name would represent the distinctiveness of the age range, the middle name would represent continuity, and the last, family affiliation.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 3 (Min kamp #3))
Because despite the undeniable knowledge that I wasn't human—or mostly human, anyway—despite the proof the computer screen had show in the repair room, I still picture my interior just the same as any other sixteen-year-old girl's. Blood and guts and bones. A brain, and a functioning heart. Hopes and dreams, fears and sorrow. They could tell me the truth, but they couldn't force me to accept it.
Debra Driza (MILA 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1))
There isn’t an equation that can confirm something as self-evident (to us humans) as “muggy weather is uncomfortable” or “mothers are older than their daughters.” There has been some progress made in translating this sort of information into mathematical logic, but to catalog the common sense of a four-year-old child would require hundreds of millions of lines of computer code. As Voltaire once said, “Common sense is not so common.
Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind)
Literature is as old as human language, and as new as tomorrow's sunrise. And literature is everywhere, not only in books, but in videos, television, radio, CDs, computers, newspapers, in all the media of communication where a story is told or an image created. It starts with words, and with speech. The first literature in any culture is oral. The classical Greek epics of Homer, the Asian narratives of Gilgamesh and the Bhagavad Gita, the earliest versions of the Bible and the Koran were all communicated orally, and passed on from generation to generation - with variations, additions, omissions and embellishments until they were set down in written form, in versions which have come down to us. In English, the first signs of oral literature tend to have three kinds of subject matter - religion, war, and the trials of daily life - all of which continue as themes of a great deal of writing.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
They wanted you to grow up into some helpless combination of old person and infant. They wanted you to have a house and a family and a refrigerator and a TV, and not know how any of it worked. They wanted you to spend your life working on something that was never concrete, never anything you could see or hold in your hands, and if you didn't do that they wanted to put you in jail. Cutting down forests, poisoning the earth - it was a country driven by stupid, blind impulse. It was a country where nobody knew where their food came from or where their garbage went, they just flushed the bowl, kept eating it and throwing it away, building bombs and computers, cars and TVs, sending people off to Vietnam so they could set it on fire. It was a country that had turned against everyone he knew, cast them out like garbage, and all they could do was smile to themselves at all they'd learned and wait patiently for the fires to start here at home.
Zachary Lazar (Sway)
bringing back all they can find in the old world’s ruins and collecting them in Babel’s great library. Most of them already exist in our computer archives, but there’s nothing quite the same as sitting with a real book in your hands. Breathing in the ink and feeling all those wonderful lives beneath your fingertips. In between the pages, I’m an emperor. An adventurer. A warrior and a wanderer. In between the pages I’m not myself—and more myself than in any other place on earth.
Jay Kristoff (LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike, #1))
Running? Jumping?" Anthony turned an anxious face to William. "He'll hurt himself. You can handle the Computer. Override. Make him stop." And William said sharply, "No. I won't. I'll take the chance of his hurting himself. Don't you understand? He's happy. He was on Earth, a world he was never equipped to handle. Now he's on Mercury with a body perfectly adapted to its environment, as perfectly adapted as a hundred specialized scientists could make it be. It's paradise for him; let him enjoy it." "Enjoy? He's a robot." "I'm not talking about the robot. I'm talking about the brain-the brain-that's living here." The Mercury Computer, enclosed in glass, carefully and delicately wired, its integrity most subtly preserved, breathed and lived. "It's Randall who's in paradise," said William. "He's found the world for whose sake he autistically fled this one. He has a world his new body fits perfectly in exchange for the world his old body did not fit at all.
Isaac Asimov (The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories)
When we choose wicked images over God, we’re pulling ourselves farther and farther away from Him. Imagine you are in prison and can only talk to your loved ones on an old phone through a glass wall. It’s not that God won’t hear you when you speak to Him, but there will be a wedge between you. There’s intimacy that you cannot have with God while chasing after counterfeit intimacy with men or women on computer screens. For every moment you seek your satisfaction elsewhere, you will not be seeking it in God.
Trip Lee (Rise: Get Up and Live in God's Great Story)
Yes?” he said impatiently. There was a pause. “You wouldn’t believe how many people I had to bribe to get this new number of yours. But I didn’t think past getting you to answer the phone,” Colby said reluctantly. “I don’t know how to tell you this.” “You and Cecily are getting married,” Tate drawled sarcastically, hating the very idea of it and trying not to let it show. “I can’t say it’s any big surprise. Was there anything else?” There was another pause. “Cecily won’t marry me.” “Tough.” Tate wasn’t going to admit how much that admission pleased him, even if she wouldn’t answer her damned phone when he tried to call her. “So?” Colby laughed mirthlessly. “I thought this was the right thing to do. Now, I’m not sure if it is.” “I’m not pleading your case for you,” Tate replied. His voice was icy. Then he hesitated. His heart skipped a beat as another reason for this call occurred and chilled his blood. “Has something happened to her?” he asked immediately. “She’s not hurt or anything,” the other man replied. “It’s just than I can’t find her. Maybe they can’t find her, either,” he continued, sounding as if he was talking to himself. Tate had a terrible sinking feeling in his stomach. He broke the Internet connection on the other line and turned off the computer. “What’s up?” he asked, sounding the way he used to, when he and Colby were colleagues in the old days. “Cecily’s done a flit,” Colby told him. “She’s gone and I can’t find her. Believe me, I’ve used every contact I could find or buy. She didn’t leave a trail.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Another reason we know that language could not determine thought is that when a language isn't up to the conceptual demands of its speakers, they don't scratch their heads dumbfounded (at least not for long); they simply change the language. They stretch it with metaphors and metonyms, borrow words and phrases from other languages, or coin new slang and jargon. (When you think about it, how else could it be? If people had trouble thinking without language, where would their language have come from-a committee of Martians?) Unstoppable change is the great given in linguistics, which is not what you would expect from "a prisonhouse of thought." That is why linguists roll their eyes at common claims such as that German is the optimal language of science, that only French allows for truly logical expression, and that indigenous languages are not appropriate for the modern world. As Ray Harlow put it, it's like saying, "Computers were not discussed in Old English; therefore computers cannot be discussed in Modern English.
Steven Pinker (The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature)
The government’s Intelligence Assessment Department is a very small federal agency with very large computers, located in Sterling, Virginia. The IAD’s purpose is to maintain files of names, faces, physical attributes and personal preferences of national security threats and to analyze data about all of the above. If anybody’s ever wondered why the CIA or the military can be so certain that one bearded thirty-year-old on the streets of Kabul is an innocent businessman and, to our Western eyes, an identical one a block away is an al Qaeda operative, IAD is the reason. However,
Jeffery Deaver (Edge)
A comparably tiny time unit is the amount of time required for light, which travels at 300,000 kilometers per second, to traverse the length of one of the above tiny cubes, whose edges are 10−13 centimeters. Taking the universe to be about 15 billion years old, we determine that fewer than 1042 such time units have passed since the beginning of time. Thus, any computer calculation which requires more than 1042 steps (each of which is certainly going to require more time than our unit of time) requires more time than the present history of this universe. Again, there are many such problems.
John Allen Paulos (Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences)
Online’ sales on the Internet are only an improvement of the old mail order catalogues, which were introduced in . . . 1850; they do not represent a structural change. Similarly, the Internet, multimedia cell phones, cable television, smartcards and the general computerisation of society — even genetic engineering — do not represent structural changes. They are all only developments of what already existed. There is nothing in all this to compare with inventions that really turned the world upside down, the real techno-economic metamorphoses introduced between 1860 and 1960 that revolutionised society and the framework of life: internal combustion engines, electricity, the telephone, telegraph, radio (which was more revolutionary than television), trains, cars, airplanes, penicillin, antibiotics, and so forth. The ‘new economy’ is behind us! No fundamental innovation has taken place since 1960. Computers only allow us to accomplish differently, faster and more cheaply (but with much greater fragility) what was already being done. On the other hand, the automobile, antibiotics, telecommunications and air travel were authentic revolutions that made possible what before had been impossible.
Guillaume Faye (Convergence of Catastrophes)
A file on a hard disk does indeed contain information of the kind that objectively exists. The fact that the bits are discernible instead of being scrambled into mush - the way heat scrambles things - is what makes them bits. But if the bits can potentially mean something to someone, they can only do so if they are experienced. When that happens, a commonality of culture is enacted between the storer and the retriever of the bits. Experience is the only process that can de-alienate information. Information of the kind that purportedly wants to be free is nothing but a shadow of our own minds, and wants nothing on its own. It will not suffer if it doesn't get what it wants. But if you want to make the transition from the old religion, where you hope God will give you an afterlife, to the new religion, where you hope to become immortal by getting uploaded into a computer, then you have to believe information is real and alive. So for you, it will be important to redesign human institutions like art, the economy, and the law to reinforce the perception that information is alive. You demand that the rest of us live in your new conception of a state religion. You need us to deify information to reinforce your faith.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
AFTER DINNER, WITH A GREAT FLOURISH, my friend Andrew brought out a lovely leather box. “Open it,” he said, proudly, “and tell me what you think.” I opened the box. Inside was a gleaming stainless-steel set of old mechanical drawing instruments: dividers, compasses, extension arms for the compasses, an assortment of points, lead holders, and pens that could be fitted onto the dividers and compasses. All that was missing was the T square, the triangles, and the table. And the ink, the black India ink. “Lovely,” I said. “Those were the good old days, when we drew by hand, not by computer.” Our eyes misted as we fondled the metal pieces. “But you know,” I went on, “I hated it. My tools always slipped, the point moved before I could finish the circle, and the India ink—ugh, the India ink—it always blotted before I could finish a diagram. Ruined it! I used to curse and scream at it. I once spilled the whole bottle all over the drawing, my books, and the table. India ink doesn’t wash off. I hated it. Hated it!” “Yeah,” said Andrew, laughing, “you’re right. I forgot how much I hated it. Worst of all was too much ink on the nibs! But the instruments are nice, aren’t they?” “Very nice,” I said, “as long as we don’t have to use them.
Donald A. Norman (Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things)
Arrayed against them as hard-core troops: an elite! the Freud-ridden embers of Marxism, good old American anxiety strata—the urban middle-class with their proliferated monumental adenoidal resentments, their secret slavish love for the oncoming hegemony of the computer and the suburb, yes, they and their children, by the sheer ironies, the sheer ineptitude, the kinks of history, were now being compressed into more and more militant stands, their resistance to the war some hopeless melange, somehow firmed, of Pacifism and closet Communism. And their children—on a freak-out from the suburbs to a love-in on the Pentagon wall.
Norman Mailer (The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History)
I opened my computer and stared at the text on the screen, which had become so familiar to me that the words seemed drained of meaning. The heart of the speech, an echo of Reagan with a twist of Obama, was the one part I was confident about, so I read it over and over aloud—a ringing affirmation of globalism over crude nationalism: “The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
Ben Rhodes (The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House)
He pokes his katana through the side of the cube and follows it through the wall and out the other side. This is a hack. It is really based on a very old hack, a loophole that he found years ago when he was trying to graft the sword-fighting rules onto the existing Metaverse software. His blade doesn't have the power to cut a hole in the wall -- this would mean permanently changing the shape of someone else's building -- but it does have the power to penetrate things. Avatars do not have that power. That is the whole purpose of a wall in the Metaverse; it is a structure that does not allow avatars to penetrate it. But like anything else in the Metaverse, this rule is nothing but a protocol, a convention that different computers agree to follow. In theory, it cannot be ignored. But in practice, it depends upon the ability of different computers to swap information very precisely, at high speed, and at just the right times. And when you are connected to the system over a satellite uplink, as Hiro is, out here on the Raft, there is a delay as the signals bounce up to the satellite and back down. That delay can be taken advantage of, if you move quickly and don't look back. Hiro passes right through the wall on the tail end of his all-penetrating katana.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
Being unable to deal with the complexity of the world has seen us retreat into what Curtis calls a “static world”. Instead of looking to change the world for the better, we look either to change small things (our bodies, our own rights as an individual), or we fall back into the past. “This obsession with risk that politicians, terror experts and finance people have, it’s about going back into the past, looking for patterns – which computers now allow you to do – and adjusting everything to make sure things are stable. “When I was working with Massive Attack, I used an old Bauhaus song called Bela Lugosi’s Dead and [on the big screens] I constantly repeated the phrase, ‘If you like this, then you’ll love that.’ I think in a way that’s the motto of our time. We’ll give you tomorrow something very similar to what you had yesterday. And then the world will be stable. And that’s true in politics, finance and culture. “Look at the way culture plays it,” he continues. “I mean, look at me. Look at Edgar Wright: he makes movies constantly referencing things. We constantly play yesterday back to you in a slightly altered form, to try and make you feel stable and happy. And the world stays stuck and everyone gets ratty, which is why they all snark at each other on the internet.
As psychologist Bruce Hood writes in his book The Self Illusion, you have an origin story and a sense that you’ve traveled from youth to now along a linear path, with ups and downs that ultimately made you who you are today. Babies don’t have that. That sense is built around events that you can recall and place in time. Babies and small children have what Hood calls “unconscious knowledge,” which is to say they simply recognize patterns and make associations with stimuli. Without episodic memories, there is no narrative; and without any narrative, there is no self. Somewhere between ages two and three, according to Hood, that sense of self begins to come online, and that awakening corresponds with the ability to tell a story about yourself based on memories. He points to a study by Alison Gopnik and Janet Astington in 1988 in which researchers presented to three-year-olds a box of candy, but the children were then surprised to find pencils inside instead of sweets. When they asked each child what the next kid would think was in the box when he or she went through the same experiment, the answer was usually pencils. The children didn’t yet know that other people have minds, so they assumed everyone knew what they knew. Once you gain the ability to assume others have their own thoughts, the concept of other minds is so powerful that you project it into everything: plants, glitchy computers, boats with names, anything that makes more sense to you when you can assume, even jokingly, it has a sort of self. That sense of agency is so powerful that people throughout time have assumed a consciousness at the helm of the sun, the moon, the winds, and the seas. Out of that sense of self and other selves come the narratives that have kept whole societies together. The great mythologies of the ancients and moderns are stories made up to make sense of things on a grand scale. So strong is the narrative bias that people live and die for such stories and devote whole lives to them (as well as take lives for them).
David McRaney (You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself)
We should do this on computer," she said, chalking it carefully for the eighty-ninth time. "With a drawing pad." "Nonsense. You're lucky I don't make you inscribe it with a stylus on a wax tablet, like the old days," Myrnin snorted. "Children. Spoiled children, always playing with the shinest toy." "Computers are more efficient!" "I can perform calculations on that abacus faster than you can solve them on your computer," Myrnin sneered. Okay, now he was pissing her off. "Prove it!" "What?" "Prove it." She backed off on her tone, but Myrnin wasn't looking angry; he was looking strangely interested. He stared at her for a second in silence, and then he got the biggest, oddest smile she'd ever seen on the face of a vampire. "All right," he said. "A contest. Computer versus abacus." She wasn't at all sure now that was a good idea, even if it had been her idea, essentially. "Um -- what do I win?" More importantly, what do I lose? Making bargains was a way of life in Morganville, and it was a lot like making deals with man-eating fairies. Better be careful what you ask for. "Your freedom," he said solemnly. His eyes were wide and guileless, his too-young face shining with honesty. "I will tell Amelie you were not suited to the work. She'll let you go about your life, such as it is." Good prize. Too good. Claire swallowed hard. "And if I lose?" "Then I eat you," Myrnin said.
Rachel Caine (Midnight Alley (The Morganville Vampires, #3))
I think we're all just doing our best to survive the inevitable pain and suffering that walks alongside us through life. Long ago, it was wild animals and deadly poxes and harsh terrain. I learned about it playing The Oregon Trail on an old IBM in my computer class in the fourth grade. The nature of the trail has changed, but we keep trekking along. We trek through the death of a sibling, a child, a parent, a partner, a spouse; the failed marriage, the crippling debt, the necessary abortion, the paralyzing infertility, the permanent disability, the job you can't seem to land; the assault, the robbery, the break-in, the accident, the flood, the fire; the sickness, the anxiety, the depression, the loneliness, the betrayal, the disappointment, and the heartbreak. There are these moments in life where you change instantly. In one moment, you're the way you were, and in the next, you're someone else. Like becoming a parent: you're adding, of course, instead of subtracting, as it is when someone dies, and the tone of the occasion is obviously different, but the principal is the same. Birth is an inciting incident, a point of no return, that changes one's circumstances forever. The second that beautiful baby onto whom you have projected all your hopes and dreams comes out of your body, you will never again do anything for yourself. It changes you suddenly and entirely. Birth and death are the same in that way.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs (Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss)
Okay.First things first. Three things you don't want me to know about you." "What?" I gaped at him. "You're the one who says we don't know each other.So let's cut to the chase." Oh,but this was too easy: 1. I am wearing my oldest, ugliest underwear. 2.I think your girlfriend is evil and should be destroyed. 3.I am a lying, larcenous creature who talks to dead people and thinks she should be your girlfriend once the aforementioned one is out of the picture. I figured that was just about everything. "I don't think so-" "Doesn't have to be embarrassing or major," Alex interrupted me, "but it has to be something that costs a little to share." When I opened my mouth to object again, he pointed a long finger at the center of my chest. "You opened the box,Pandora.So sit." There was a funny-shaped velour chair near my knees. I sat. The chair promptly molded itself to my butt. I assumed that meant it was expensive, and not dangerous. Alex flopped onto the bed,settling on his side with his elbow bent and his head propped on his hand. "Can't you go first?" I asked. "You opened the box..." "Okay,okay. I'm thinking." He gave me about thirty seconds. Then, "Time." I took a breath. "I'm on full scholarship to Willing." One thing Truth or Dare has taught me is that you can't be too proud and still expect to get anything valuable out of the process. "Next." "I'm terrified of a lot things, including lightning, driving a stick shift, and swimming in the ocean." His expression didn't change at all. He just took in my answers. "Last one." "I am not telling you about my underwear," I muttered. He laughed. "I am sorry to hear that. Not even the color?" I wanted to scowl. I couldn't. "No.But I will tell you that I like anchovies on my pizza." "That's supposed to be consolation for withholding lingeries info?" "Not my concern.But you tell me-is it something you would broadcast around the lunchroom?" "Probably not," he agreed. "Didn't think so." I settled back more deeply into my chair. It didn't escape my notice that, yet again, I was feeling very relaxed around this boy. Yet again, it didn't make me especially happy. "Your turn." I thought about my promise to Frankie. I quietly hoped Alex would tell me something to make me like him even a little less. He was ready. "I cried so much during my first time at camp that my parents had to come get me four days early." I never went to camp. It always seemed a little bit idyllic to me. "How old were you?" "Six.Why?" "Why?" I imagined a very small Alex in a Spider-Man shirt, cuddling the threadbare bunny now sitting on the shelf over his computer. I sighed. "Oh,no reason. Next." "I hated Titanic, The Notebook, and Twilight." "What did you think of Ten Things I Hate About You?" "Hey," he snapped. "I didn't ask questions during your turn." "No,you didn't," I agreed pleasantly. "Anser,please." "Fine.I liked Ten Things. Satisfied?" No,actually. "Alex," I said sadly, "either you are mind-bogglingly clueless about what I wouldn't want to know, or your next revelation is going to be that you have an unpleasant reaction to kryptonite." He was looking at me like I'd spoken Swahili. "What are you talking about?" Just call me Lois. I shook my head. "Never mind. Carry on." "I have been known to dance in front of the mirror-" he cringed a little- "to 'Thriller.'" And there it was. Alex now knew that I was a penniless coward with a penchant for stinky fish.I knew he was officially adorable. He pushed himself up off his elbow and swung his legs around until he was sitting on the edge of the bed. "And on that humiliating note, I will now make you translate bathroom words into French." He picked up a sheaf of papers from the floor. "I have these worksheets. They're great for the irregular verbs...
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
This kind of pragmatism has become a hallmark of our psychological culture. In the mid-1990s, I described how it was commonplace for people to “cycle through” different ideas of the human mind as (to name only a few images) mechanism, spirit, chemistry, and vessel for the soul.14 These days, the cycling through intensifies. We are in much more direct contact with the machine side of mind. People are fitted with a computer chip to help with Parkinson’s. They learn to see their minds as program and hardware. They take antidepressants prescribed by their psychotherapists, confident that the biochemical and oedipal self can be treated in one room. They look for signs of emotion in a brain scan. Old jokes about couples needing “chemistry” turn out not to be jokes at all.
Sherry Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)
As a society, we've become suspicious of such acts. Out of ignorance or laziness or timidity, we've turned the Luddites into caricatures, emblems of backwardness. We assume that anyone who rejects a new tool in favor of an older one is guilty of nostalgia, of making choices sentimentally rather than rationally. But the real sentimental fallacy is the assumption that the new thing is always better suited to our purposes and intentions than the old thing. That's the view of a child, naive and pliable. What makes one tool superior to another has nothing to do with how new it is. What matters is how it enlarges us or diminishes us, how it shapes our experience of nature and culture and one another. To cede choices about the texture of our daily lives to a grand abstraction called progress is folly.
Nicholas Carr (The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us)
Issib wasn't thrilled to see him. I'm busy and don't need interruptions." "This is the household library," said Nafai. "This is where we always come to do research." "See? You're interrupting already." "Look, I didn't say anything, I just came in here, and you started picking at me the second I walked in the door." "I was hoping you'd walk back out." "I can't. Mother sent me here." Nafai walked over behind Issib, who was floating comfortably in the air in front of his computer display. It was layered thirty pages deep, but each page had only a few words on it, so he could see almost everything at once. Like a game of solitaire, in which Issib was simply moving fragments from place to place. The fragments were all words in weird languages. The ones Nafai recognized were very old. "What language is that?" Nafai asked pointing, to one. Issib signed. "I'm so glad you're not interrupting me." "What is it, some ancient form of Vijati?" "Very good. It's Slucajan, which came from Obilazati, the original form of Vijati. It's dead now." "I read Vijati, you know." "I don't." "Oh, so you're specializing in ancient, obscure languages that nobody speaks anymore, including you?" "I'm not learning these languages, I'm researching lost words." "If the whole language is dead, then all the words are lost." "Words that used to have meanings, but that died out or survived only in idiomatic expressions. Like 'dancing bear.' What's a bear, do you know?" "I don't know. I always thought it was some kind of graceful bird." "Wrong. It's an ancient mammal. Known only on Earth, I think, and not brought here. Or it died out soon. It was bigger than a man, very powerful. A predator." "And it danced?" "The expression used to mean something absurdly clumsy. Like a dog walking on its hind legs." "And now it means the opposite. That's weird. How could it change?" "Because there aren't any bears. THe meaning used to be obvious, because everybody knew a bear and how clumsy it would look, dancing. But when the bears were gone, the meaning could go anywhere. Now we use it for a person who's extremely deft in getting out of an embarrassing social situation. It's the only case that we use the word bear anymore. And you see a lot of people misspelling it, too." "Great stuff. You doing a linguistics project?" "No." "What's this for, then?" "Me." "Just collection old idioms?" "Lost words." "Like bear? The word isn't lost, Issya. It's the bears that are gone." "Very good, Nyef. You get full credit for the assignment. Go away now.
Orson Scott Card (Magic Street)
You act like a normal human and you’ll win an Oscar,” Marco said. He led the way up to his house and opened the door. “Okay, look, you wait right there by that table. Don’t go anywhere. If my dad comes in and talks to you, just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Got it? Yes and no answers only. I’ll run up to my room. I’m gonna call one of the others to meet us at the bookstore. You’re already driving me nuts.” I stood by the table. There was a primitive computer on the table. It even had a solid, two-dimensional screen. And a keyboard! An actual keyboard. I touched the keyboard. It was amazing. Andalite computers once had keyboards, too. Although ours were very different. And it had been centuries since we’d used them. On the screen of the computer was a game. The object of the game was to spot the errors in a primitive symbolic language and correct them. Of course, before I could play I had to make sense of the system. But that was simple enough. Once I understood the system, it was easy to spot the errors. I quickly rewrote it to make sense out of it. I said to myself. “Hello?” I turned around. It was an older human. He was paler than Marco, but other features were similar. Marco had warned me to say nothing to his father but “yes” and “no.” “No,” I said to Marco’s father. “I’m Marco’s dad. Are you a friend of his?” “Yes.” “What’s your name?” “No,” I answered. “Your name is ‘No’?” “Yes.” “That’s an unusual name, isn’t it?” “No.” “It’s not?” “Yes.” “Yes, it’s not an unusual name?” “No.” “Now I’m totally confused.” “Yes.” Marco’s father stared at me. Then, in a loud voice, he yelled, “Hey, Marco? Marco? Would you . . . um . . . your friend is here. Your friend ‘No’ is here.” “No,” I said. “Yes, that’s what I said.” Marco came running down the stairs. “Whoa!” he cried. “Um, Dad! You met my friend?” “No?” Marco’s father said. “What?” Marco asked. Marco’s father shook his head. “I must be getting old. I don’t understand you kids.” “Yes,” I offered.
Katherine Applegate (The Alien (Animorphs, #8))
When problems of transference are involved, as they usually are, psychotherapy is, among other things, a process of map-revising. Patients come to therapy because their maps are clearly not working. But how they may cling to them and fight the process every step of the way! Frequently their need to cling to their maps and fight against losing them is so great that therapy becomes impossible, as it did in the case of the computer technician. Initially he requested a Saturday appointment. After three sessions he stopped coming because he took a job doing lawn-maintenance work on Saturdays and Sundays. I offered him a Thursday-evening appointment. He came for two sessions and then stopped because he was doing overtime work at the plant. I then rearranged my schedule so I could see him on Monday evenings, when, he had said, overtime work was unlikely. After two more sessions, however, he stopped coming because Monday-night overtime work seemed to have picked up. I confronted him with the impossibility of doing therapy under these circumstances. He admitted that he was not required to accept overtime work. He stated, however, that he needed the money and that the work was more important to him than therapy. He stipulated that he could see me only on those Monday evenings when there was no overtime work to be done and that he would call me at four o’clock every Monday afternoon to tell me if he could keep his appointment that evening. I told him that these conditions were not acceptable to me, that I was unwilling to set aside my plans every Monday evening on the chance that he might be able to come to his sessions. He felt that I was being unreasonably rigid, that I had no concern for his needs, that I was interested only in my own time and clearly cared nothing for him, and that therefore I could not be trusted. It was on this basis that our attempt to work together was terminated, with me as another landmark on his old map. The problem of transference is not simply a
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
The collapse, for example, of IBM’s legendary 80-year-old hardware business in the 1990s sounds like a classic P-type story. New technology (personal computers) displaces old (mainframes) and wipes out incumbent (IBM). But it wasn’t. IBM, unlike all its mainframe competitors, mastered the new technology. Within three years of launching its first PC, in 1981, IBM achieved $5 billion in sales and the #1 position, with everyone else either far behind or out of the business entirely (Apple, Tandy, Commodore, DEC, Honeywell, Sperry, etc.). For decades, IBM dominated computers like Pan Am dominated international travel. Its $13 billion in sales in 1981 was more than its next seven competitors combined (the computer industry was referred to as “IBM and the Seven Dwarfs”). IBM jumped on the new PC like Trippe jumped on the new jet engines. IBM owned the computer world, so it outsourced two of the PC components, software and microprocessors, to two tiny companies: Microsoft and Intel. Microsoft had all of 32 employees. Intel desperately needed a cash infusion to survive. IBM soon discovered, however, that individual buyers care more about exchanging files with friends than the brand of their box. And to exchange files easily, what matters is the software and the microprocessor inside that box, not the logo of the company that assembled the box. IBM missed an S-type shift—a change in what customers care about. PC clones using Intel chips and Microsoft software drained IBM’s market share. In 1993, IBM lost $8.1 billion, its largest-ever loss. That year it let go over 100,000 employees, the largest layoff in corporate history. Ten years later, IBM sold what was left of its PC business to Lenovo. Today, the combined market value of Microsoft and Intel, the two tiny vendors IBM hired, is close to $1.5 trillion, more than ten times the value of IBM. IBM correctly anticipated a P-type loonshot and won the battle. But it missed a critical S-type loonshot, a software standard, and lost the war.
Safi Bahcall (Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries)
Hannah was his, too, yes, except that she had Rachel’s straight blond hair and narrow blue eyes and sharp nose—her whole face an accusation, just like her mother’s. But she had a specific kind of sarcasm that was a characteristic of the Fleishman side. At least she once did. Her parents’ separation seemed to ignite in her a humorlessness and a fury that had already been coming either because her parents fought too often and too viciously, or because she was becoming a teenager and her hormones created a rage in her. Or because she didn’t have a phone and Lexi Leffer had a phone. Or because she had a Facebook account she was only allowed to use on the computer in the living room and she didn’t even want that Facebook account because Facebook was for old people. Or because Toby suggested that the sneakers that looked just like Keds but were $12 less were preferable to the Keds since again they were exactly the same just without the blue tag on the back and what about being too-overt victims of consumerism?
Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Fleishman Is in Trouble)
Like I said last time, the world our parents grew up in is history. All the old rules, we've thrown them out. We're the ones making the future. We're the founding fathers. Hand us universal Wi-Fi and soup dumplings and we'll fix the world. So how do you fit in? What if you can't code? What if you've never been able to build anything more than a birdhouse? It doesn't matter. You've got skills that you probably disniss as tricks. That dance you can do, that song you can sing, the painting hanging in your room, those are all skills we need. See there's a reason my status online is recruiting for the future. We broke some eggs and we baked a cake. It was delicious, really amazing cream cheese frosting. I saved you a piece, but I don't want to give it to you. I want to teach you how to bake your own cake from scratch. Only, instead of flour and water and eggs, I want you to make something with oil paints, yarn, peptides, or computer parts. The revolution is now. Welcome aboard. And, uh, get ready to create...
Leopoldo Gout (Genius: The Revolution)
Megan resumes darting her eyes back and forth between me and my sperm donor. “So,” she says after several seconds pass in silence. “Is someone going to fill me in?” “There’s nothing to fill,” I say, then blush because I’m a bad liar and because Chase has been filling me quite well. Apparently, he’s also turned me into a pervert. Megan narrows her eyes. “Are the two of you…?” “No!” Chase and I say at once. Like that’s not obvious. “I’m helping Pop with his computer,” I say in a rush, eager to make this situation seem anything other than what it is. Though, at this point, I’m not sure what it is. This morning’s activities have had nothing at all to do with our contractual agreement. “Ah. I see.” Megan doesn’t seem convinced, but she turns to her grandfather anyway, and says, “I told you Phil would help you with that, Pop.” “She’s nicer than Phil,” Pop says, nodding in my direction. “She’s prettier than him, too.” He winks as though he knows he’s part of a cover-up. And because I’ve completely fallen for this old man, I wink back.
Laurelin Paige (Hot Cop)
The business is a simple one. Hiro gets information. It may be gossip, videotape, audiotape, a fragment of a computer disk, a xerox of a document. It can even be a joke based on the latest highly publicized disaster. He uploads it to the CIC database -- the Library, formerly the Library of Congress, but no one calls it that anymore. Most people are not entirely clear on what the word "congress" means. And even the word "library" is getting hazy. It used to be a place full of books, mostly old ones. Then they began to include videotapes, records, and magazines. Then all of the information got converted into machine-readable form, which is to say, ones and zeroes. And as the number of media grew, the material became more up to date, and the methods for searching the Library became more and more sophisticated, it approached the point where there was no substantive difference between the Library of Congress and the Central Intelligence Agency. Fortuitously, this happened just as the government was falling apart anyway. So they merged and kicked out a big fat stock offering.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
When Elon was nearly ten years old, he saw a computer for the first time, at the Sandton City Mall in Johannesburg. “There was an electronics store that mostly did hi-fi-type stuff, but then, in one corner, they started stocking a few computers,” Musk said. He felt awed right away—“It was like, ‘Whoa. Holy shit!’”—by this machine that could be programmed to do a person’s bidding. “I had to have that and then hounded my father to get the computer,” Musk said. Soon he owned a Commodore VIC-20, a popular home machine that went on sale in 1980. Elon’s computer arrived with five kilobytes of memory and a workbook on the BASIC programming language. “It was supposed to take like six months to get through all the lessons,” Elon said. “I just got super OCD on it and stayed up for three days with no sleep and did the entire thing. It seemed like the most super-compelling thing I had ever seen.” Despite being an engineer, Musk’s father was something of a Luddite and dismissive of the machine. Elon recounted that “he said it was just for games and that you’d never be able to do real engineering on it. I just said, ‘Whatever.’” While
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Corvallis sometimes thought back on the day, three decades ago, when Richard Forthrast had reached down and plucked him out of his programming job at Corporation 9592 and given him a new position, reporting directly to Richard. Corvallis had asked the usual questions about job title and job description. Richard had answered, simply, “Weird stuff.” When this proved unsatisfactory to the company’s ISO-compliant HR department, Richard had been forced to go downstairs and expand upon it. In a memorable, extemporaneous work of performance art in the middle of the HR department’s open-plan workspace, he had explained that work of a routine, predictable nature could and should be embodied in computer programs. If that proved too difficult, it should be outsourced to humans far away. If it was somehow too sensitive or complicated for outsourcing, then “you people” (meaning the employees of the HR department) needed to slice it and dice it into tasks that could be summed up in job descriptions and advertised on the open employment market. Floating above all of that, however, in a realm that was out of the scope of “you people,” was “weird stuff.” It was important that the company have people to work on “weird stuff.” As a matter of fact it was more important than anything else. But trying to explain “weird stuff” to “you people” was like explaining blue to someone who had been blind since birth, and so there was no point in even trying. About then, he’d been interrupted by a spate of urgent text messages from one of the company’s novelists, who had run aground on some desolate narrative shore and needed moral support, and so the discussion had gone no further. Someone had intervened and written a sufficiently vague job description for Corvallis and made up a job title that would make it possible for him to get the level of compensation he was expecting. So it had all worked out fine. And it made for a fun story to tell on the increasingly rare occasions when people were reminiscing about Dodge back in the old days. But the story was inconclusive in the sense that Dodge had been interrupted before he could really get to the essence of what “weird stuff” actually was and why it was so important. As time went on, however, Corvallis understood that this very inconclusiveness was really a fitting and proper part of the story.
Neal Stephenson (Fall or, Dodge in Hell)
Most of the messaging and chatting I did was in search of answers to questions I had about how to build my own computer, and the responses I received were so considered and thorough, so generous and kind, they’d be unthinkable today. My panicked query about why a certain chipset for which I’d saved up my allowance didn’t seem to be compatible with the motherboard I’d already gotten for Christmas would elicit a two-thousand-word explanation and note of advice from a professional tenured computer scientist on the other side of the country. Not cribbed from any manual, this response was composed expressly for me, to troubleshoot my problems step-by-step until I’d solved them. I was twelve years old, and my correspondent was an adult stranger far away, yet he treated me like an equal because I’d shown respect for the technology. I attribute this civility, so far removed from our current social-media sniping, to the high bar for entry at the time. After all, the only people on these boards were the people who could be there—who wanted to be there badly enough—who had the proficiency and passion, because the Internet of the 1990s wasn’t just one click away. It took significant effort just to log on.
Edward Snowden (Permanent Record)
We already have eight hundred million people living in hunger—and population is growing by eighty million a year. Over a billion people are in poverty—and present industrial strategies are making them poorer, not richer. The percentage of old people will double by 2050—and already there aren’t enough young people to care for them. Cancer rates are projected to increase by seventy percent in the next fifteen years. Within two decades our oceans will contain more microplastics than fish. Fossil fuels will run out before the end of the century. Do you have an answer to those problems? Because I do. Robot farmers will increase food production twentyfold. Robot carers will give our seniors a dignified old age. Robot divers will clear up the mess humans have made of our seas. And so on, and so on—but every single step has to be costed and paid for by the profits of the last.” He paused for breath, then went on, “My vision is a society where autonomous, intelligent bots are as commonplace as computers are now. Think about that—how different our world could be. A world where disease, hunger, manufacturing, design, are all taken care of by AI. That’s the revolution we’re shooting for. The shopbots get us to the next level, that’s all. And you know what? This is not some binary choice between idealism or realism, because for some of us idealism is just long-range realism. This shit has to happen. And you need to ask yourself, do you want to be part of that change? Or do you want to stand on the sidelines and bitch about the details?” We had all heard this speech, or some version of it, either in our job interviews, or at company events, or in passionate late-night tirades. And on every single one of us it had had a deep and transformative effect. Most of us had come to Silicon Valley back in those heady days when it seemed a new generation finally had the tools and the intelligence to change the world. The hippies had tried and failed; the yuppies and bankers had had their turn. Now it was down to us techies. We were fired up, we were zealous, we felt the nobility of our calling…only to discover that the general public, and our backers along with them, were more interested in 140 characters, fitness trackers, and Grumpy Cat videos. The greatest, most powerful deep-learning computers in humanity’s existence were inside Google and Facebook—and all humanity had to show for it were adwords, sponsored links, and teenagers hooked on sending one another pictures of their genitals.
J.P. Delaney (The Perfect Wife)
So many synapses,' Drisana said. 'Ten trillion synapses in the cortex alone.' Danlo made a fist and asked, 'What do the synapses look like?' 'They're modelled as points of light. Ten trillion points of light.' She didn't explain how neurotransmitters diffuse across the synapses, causing the individual neurons to fire. Danlo knew nothing of chemistry or electricity. Instead, she tried to give him some idea of how the heaume's computer stored and imprinted language. 'The computer remembers the synapse configuration of other brains, brains that hold a particular language. This memory is a simulation of that language. And then in your brain, Danlo, select synapses are excited directly and strengthened. The computer speeds up the synapses' natural evolution.' Danlo tapped the bridge of his nose; his eyes were dark and intent upon a certain sequence of thought. 'The synapses are not allowed to grow naturally, yes?' 'Certainly not. Otherwise imprinting would be impossible.' 'And the synapse configuration – this is really the learning, the essence of another's mind, yes?' 'Yes, Danlo.' 'And not just the learning – isn't this so? You imply that anything in the mind of another could be imprinted in my mind?' 'Almost anything.' 'What about dreams? Could dreams be imprinted?' 'Certainly.' 'And nightmares?' Drisana squeezed his hand and reassured him. 'No one would imprint a nightmare into another.' 'But it is possible, yes?' Drisana nodded her head. 'And the emotions ... the fears or loneliness or rage?' 'Those things, too. Some imprimaturs – certainly they're the dregs of the City – some do such things.' Danlo let his breath out slowly. 'Then how can I know what is real and what is unreal? Is it possible to imprint false memories? Things or events that never happened? Insanity? Could I remember ice as hot or see red as blue? If someone else looked at the world through shaida eyes, would I be infected with this way of seeing things?' Drisana wrung her hands together, sighed, and looked helplessly at Old Father. 'Oh ho, the boy is difficult, and his questions cut like a sarsara!' Old Father stood up and painfully limped over to Danlo. Both his eyes were open, and he spoke clearly. 'All ideas are infectious, Danlo. Most things learned early in life, we do not choose to learn. Ah, and much that comes later. So, it's so: the two wisdoms. The first wisdom: as best we can, we must choose what to put into our brains. And the second wisdom: the healthy brain creates its own ecology; the vital thoughts and ideas eventually drive out the stupid, the malignant and the parasitical.
David Zindell (The Broken God (A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, #1))
Globalization has shipped products at a faster rate than anything else; it’s moved English into schools all over the world so that now there is Dutch English and Filipino English and Japanese English. But the ideologies stay in their places. They do not spread like the swine flu, or through sexual contact. They spread through books and films and things of that nature. The dictatorships of Latin America used to ban books, they used to burn them, just like Franco did, like Pope Gregory IX and Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Now they don’t have to because the best place to hide ideologies is in books. The dictatorships are mostly gone—Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. The military juntas. Our ideologies are not secrets. Even the Ku Klux Klan holds open meetings in Alabama like a church. None of the Communists are still in jail. You can buy Mao’s red book at the gift shop at the Museum of Communism. I will die soon, in the next five to ten years. I have not seen progress during my lifetime. Our lives are too short and disposable. If we had longer life expectancies, if we lived to 200, would we work harder to preserve life or, do you think that when Borges said, ‘Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in immortality, but the veneration paid to the first century of life is proof that they truly believe in only those hundred years, for they destine all the rest, throughout eternity, to rewarding or punishing what one did when alive,’ we would simply alter it to say ‘first two centuries’? I have heard people say we are living in a golden age, but the golden age has passed—I’ve seen it in the churches all over Latin America where the gold is like glue. The Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages but only because they are forgotten, because the past is shrouded in darkness, because as we lay one century of life on top of the next, everything that has come before seems old and dark—technological advances provide the illusion of progress. The most horrendous tortures carried out in the past are still carried out today, only today the soldiers don’t meet face to face, no one is drawn and quartered, they take a pill and silently hope a heart attack doesn’t strike them first. We are living in the age of dissociation, speaking a government-patented language of innocence—technology is neither good nor evil, neither progress nor regress, but the more advanced it becomes, the more we will define this era as the one of transparent secrets, of people living in a world of open, agile knowledge, oceans unpoliced—all blank faces, blank minds, blank computers, filled with our native programming, using electronic appliances with enough memory to store everything ever written invented at precisely the same moment we no longer have the desire to read a word of it.
John M. Keller (Abracadabrantesque)
On 7 December 2017 a critical milestone was reached, not when a computer defeated a human at chess –that’s old news –but when Google’s AlphaZero program defeated the Stockfish 8 program. Stockfish 8 was the world’s computer chess champion for 2016. It had access to centuries of accumulated human experience in chess, as well as to decades of computer experience. It was able to calculate 70 million chess positions per second. In contrast, AlphaZero performed only 80,000 such calculations per second, and its human creators never taught it any chess strategies –not even standard openings. Rather, AlphaZero used the latest machine-learning principles to self-learn chess by playing against itself. Nevertheless, out of a hundred games the novice AlphaZero played against Stockfish, AlphaZero won twenty-eight and tied seventy-two. It didn’t lose even once. Since AlphaZero learned nothing from any human, many of its winning moves and strategies seemed unconventional to human eyes. They may well be considered creative, if not downright genius. Can you guess how long it took AlphaZero to learn chess from scratch, prepare for the match against Stockfish, and develop its genius instincts? Four hours. That’s not a typo. For centuries, chess was considered one of the crowning glories of human intelligence. AlphaZero went from utter ignorance to creative mastery in four hours, without the help of any human guide. 18
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
On December 7, 2017, a critical milestone was reached, not when a computer defeated a human at chess—that’s old news—but when Google’s AlphaZero program defeated the Stockfish 8 program. Stockfish 8 was the world’s computer chess champion for 2016. It had access to centuries of accumulated human experience in chess, as well as decades of computer experience. It was able to calculate seventy million chess positions per second. In contrast, AlphaZero performed only eighty thousand such calculations per second, and its human creators had not taught it any chess strategies—not even standard openings. Rather, AlphaZero used the latest machine-learning principles to self-learn chess by playing against itself. Nevertheless, out of a hundred games the novice AlphaZero played against Stockfish, AlphaZero won twenty-eight and tied seventy-two. It didn’t lose even once. Since AlphaZero had learned nothing from any human, many of its winning moves and strategies seemed unconventional to the human eye. They may well be considered creative, if not downright genius. Can you guess how long it took AlphaZero to learn chess from scratch, prepare for the match against Stockfish, and develop its genius instincts? Four hours. That’s not a typo. For centuries, chess was considered one of the crowning glories of human intelligence. AlphaZero went from utter ignorance to creative mastery in four hours, without the help of any human guide.18
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
To love is to lose, Sam. Unfortunately, it’s just that simple. Maybe not today but someday. Maybe not when she’s too young and you’re too young, but you see that being old doesn’t help. Maybe not your wife or your girlfriend or your mother, but you see that friends die, too. I could not spare you this any more than I could spare you puberty. It is the inevitable condition of humanity. It is exacerbated by loving but also simply by leaving your front door, by seeing what’s out there in the world, by inventing computer programs that help people. You are afraid of time, Sam. Some sadness has no remedy. Some sadness you can’t make better.” “So what the hell do I do?” “Be sad.” “For how long?” “Forever.” “But then why isn’t everyone walking around miserable all the time?” “Because ice cream still tastes good. And sunny and seventy-five is still a lovely day. And funny movies make you laugh, and work is sometimes fulfilling, and a beer with a friend is nice. And other people love you too.” “And that’s enough?” “There is no enough. You are the paragon of animals, my love. You aspire to such greatness, to miracle, to newness and wonder. And that’s great. I’m so proud of you. But you forgot about the part that’s been around for time immemorial. Love, death, loss. You’ve run up against it. And there’s no getting around or over it. You stop and build your life right there at the base of that wall. But it’s okay. That’s where everyone else is too. Everyone else is either there or on their way. There is no other side, but there’s plenty of space there to build a life and plenty of company. Welcome to the wall, Sam.
Laurie Frankel (Goodbye for Now)
Similarly, the computers used to run the software on the ground for the mission were borrowed from a previous mission. These machines were so out of date that Bowman had to shop on eBay to find replacement parts to get the machines working. As systems have gone obsolete, JPL no longer uses the software, but Bowman told me that the people on her team continue to use software built by JPL in the 1990s, because they are familiar with it. She said, “Instead of upgrading to the next thing we decided that it was working just fine for us and we would stay on the platform.” They have developed so much over such a long period of time with the old software that they don’t want to switch to a newer system. They must adapt to using these outdated systems for the latest scientific work. Working within these constraints may seem limiting. However, building tools with specific constraints—from outdated technologies and low bitrate radio antennas—can enlighten us. For example, as scientists started to explore what they could learn from the wait times while communicating with deep space probes, they discovered that the time lag was extraordinarily useful information. Wait times, they realized, constitute an essential component for locating a probe in space, calculating its trajectory, and accurately locating a target like Pluto in space. There is no GPS for spacecraft (they aren’t on the globe, after all), so scientists had to find a way to locate the spacecraft in the vast expanse. Before 1960, the location of planets and objects in deep space was established through astronomical observation, placing an object like Pluto against a background of stars to determine its position.15 In 1961, an experiment at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California used radar to more accurately define an “astronomical unit” and help measure distances in space much more accurately.16 NASA used this new data as part of creating the trajectories for missions in the following years. Using the data from radio signals across a wide range of missions over the decades, the Deep Space Network maintained an ongoing database that helped further refine the definition of an astronomical unit—a kind of longitudinal study of space distances that now allows missions like New Horizons to create accurate flight trajectories. The Deep Space Network continued to find inventive ways of using the time lag of radio waves to locate objects in space, ultimately finding that certain ways of waiting for a downlink signal from the spacecraft were less accurate than others. It turned to using the antennas from multiple locations, such as Goldstone in California and the antennas in Canberra, Australia, or Madrid, Spain, to time how long the signal took to hit these different locations on Earth. The time it takes to receive these signals from the spacecraft works as a way to locate the probes as they are journeying to their destination. Latency—or the different time lag of receiving radio signals on different locations of Earth—is the key way that deep space objects are located as they journey through space. This discovery was made possible during the wait times for communicating with these craft alongside the decades of data gathered from each space mission. Without the constraint of waiting, the notion of using time as a locating feature wouldn’t have been possible.
Jason Farman (Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World)
Each purpose, each mission, is meant to be fully lived to the point where it becomes empty, boring, and useless. Then it should be discarded. This is a sign of growth, but you may mistake it for a sign of failure. For instance, you may take on a business project, work at it for several years, and then suddenly find yourself totally disinterested. You know that if you stayed with it for another few years you would reap much greater financial reward than if you left the project now. But the project no longer calls you. You no longer feel interested in the project. You have developed skills over the last few years working on the project, but it hasn’t yet come to fruition. You may wonder, now that you have the skills, should you stick with it and bring the project to fruition, even though the work feels empty to you? Well, maybe you should stick with it. Maybe you are bailing out too soon, afraid of success or failure, or just too lazy to persevere. This is one possibility. Ask your close men friends if they feel you are simply losing steam, wimping out, or afraid to bring your project to completion. If they feel you are bailing out too soon, stick with it. However, there is also the possibility that you have completed your karma in this area. It is possible that this was one layer of purpose, which you have now fulfilled, on the way to another layer of purpose, closer to your deepest purpose. Among the signs of fulfilling or completing a layer of purpose are these: 1. You suddenly have no interest whatsoever in a project or mission that, just previously, motivated you highly. 2. You feel surprisingly free of any regrets whatsoever, for starting the project or for ending it. 3. Even though you may not have the slightest idea of what you are going to do next, you feel clear, unconfused, and, especially, unburdened. 4. You feel an increase in energy at the prospect of ceasing your involvement with the project. 5. The project seems almost silly, like collecting shoelaces or wallpapering your house with gas station receipts. Sure, you could do it, but why would you want to? If you experience these signs, it is probably time to stop working on this project. You must end your involvement impeccably, however, making sure there are no loose ends and that you do not burden anybody’s life by stopping your involvement. This might take some time, but it is important that this layer of your purpose ends cleanly and does not create any new karma, or obligation, that will burden you or others in the future. The next layer of your unfolding purpose may make itself clear immediately. More often, however, it does not. After completing one layer of purpose, you might not know what to do with your life. You know that the old project is over for you, but you are not sure of what is next. At this point, you must wait for a vision. There is no way to rush this process. You may need to get an intermediary job to hold you over until the next layer of purpose makes itself clear. Or, perhaps you have enough money to simply wait. But in any case, it is important to open yourself to a vision of what is next. You stay open to a vision of your deeper purpose by not filling your time with distractions. Don’t watch TV or play computer games. Don’t go out drinking beer with your friends every night or start dating a bunch of women. Simply wait. You may wish to go on a retreat in a remote area and be by yourself. Whatever it is you decide to do, consciously keep yourself open and available to receiving a vision of what is next. It will come.
David Deida (The Way of the Superior Man)
the absence of an ‘international standard burglar’, the nearest I know to a working classification is one developed by a U.S. Army expert [118]. Derek is a 19-year old addict. He's looking for a low-risk opportunity to steal something he can sell for his next fix. Charlie is a 40-year old inadequate with seven convictions for burglary. He's spent seventeen of the last twenty-five years in prison. Although not very intelligent he is cunning and experienced; he has picked up a lot of ‘lore’ during his spells inside. He steals from small shops and suburban houses, taking whatever he thinks he can sell to local fences. Bruno is a ‘gentleman criminal’. His business is mostly stealing art. As a cover, he runs a small art gallery. He has a (forged) university degree in art history on the wall, and one conviction for robbery eighteen years ago. After two years in jail, he changed his name and moved to a different part of the country. He has done occasional ‘black bag’ jobs for intelligence agencies who know his past. He'd like to get into computer crime, but the most he's done so far is stripping $100,000 worth of memory chips from a university's PCs back in the mid-1990s when there was a memory famine. Abdurrahman heads a cell of a dozen militants, most with military training. They have infantry weapons and explosives, with PhD-grade technical support provided by a disreputable country. Abdurrahman himself came third out of a class of 280 at the military academy of that country but was not promoted because he's from the wrong ethnic group. He thinks of himself as a good man rather than a bad man. His mission is to steal plutonium. So Derek is unskilled, Charlie is skilled, Bruno is highly skilled and may have the help of an unskilled insider such as a cleaner, while Abdurrahman is not only highly skilled but has substantial resources.
Ross J. Anderson (Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems)
MAY 1 His Consistent Character In ages past you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. Even they will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will fade away. But you are always the same; your years never end. The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence. Psalm 102:25-28 Our world has seen more change from 1900 to the present than in all history recorded before 1900, and things continue to accelerate rapidly. As time speeds by, measured not just in minutes or seconds but in nanoseconds (billionths of a second), everything changes. Technology changes so fast in our twenty-first-century world that we can barely keep up with the upgrades on our computers. Our bodies undergo the inevitable aging process, and we witness constant upheaval in the nations of the world. Material things change and deteriorate. Even the flowers of the field and the stars in the heavens will fade away. But you, Lord, are always the same, says the psalmist in these verses. The changes in the world do not change God one bit or thwart his plans. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his love extends to the next generation and the next. This psalm reminds us that our security can’t be found in any of the things in this ever-changing world. Instead, our security is in God and his promises, including the wonderful ones in these verses: that the children and grandchildren of God’s people will live in security and will thrive in the Lord’s presence.   UNCHANGING LORD, I praise you and worship you for your love and faithfulness that extend from one generation to the next. Thank you for this reminder that although our circumstances may change and the things around us pass away, you remain the same forever. Help me to find my security in your eternal sameness.
Cheri Fuller (The One Year Praying through the Bible (One Year Bible))
But come on—tell me the proposal story, anyway.” She raised an eyebrow. “Really?” “Really. Just keep in mind that I’m a guy, which means I’m genetically predisposed to think that whatever mushy romantic tale you’re about to tell me is highly cheesy.” Rylann laughed. “I’ll keep it simple, then.” She rested her drink on the table. “Well, you already heard how Kyle picked me up at the courthouse after my trial. He said he wanted to surprise me with a vacation because I’d been working so hard, but that we needed to drive to Champaign first to meet with his former mentor, the head of the U of I Department of Computer Sciences, to discuss some project Kyle was working on for a client.” She held up a sparkly hand, nearly blinding Cade and probably half of the other Starbucks patrons. “In hindsight, yes, that sounds a little fishy, but what do I know about all this network security stuff? He had his laptop out, there was some talk about malicious payloads and Trojan horse attacks—it all sounded legitimate enough at the time.” “Remind me, while I’m acting U.S. attorney, not to assign you to any cybercrime cases.” “Anyhow. . . we get to Champaign, which as it so happens, is where Kyle and I first met ten years ago. And the limo turns onto the street where I used to live while in law school, and Kyle asks the driver to pull over because he wants to see the place for old time’s sake. So we get out of the limo, and he’s making this big speech about the night we met and how he walked me home on the very sidewalk we were standing on—I’ll fast-forward here in light of your aversion to the mushy stuff—and I’m laughing to myself because, well, we’re standing on the wrong side of the street. So naturally, I point that out, and he tells me that nope, I’m wrong, because he remembers everything about that night, so to prove my point I walk across the street to show him and”—she paused here— “and I see a jewelry box, sitting on the sidewalk, in the exact spot where we had our first kiss. Then I turn around and see Kyle down on one knee.” She waved her hand, her eyes a little misty. “So there you go. The whole mushy, cheesy tale. Gag away.” Cade picked up his coffee cup and took a sip. “That was actually pretty smooth.” Rylann grinned. “I know. Former cyber-menace to society or not, that man is a keeper
Julie James (Love Irresistibly (FBI/US Attorney, #4))
Like any place in Reality, the Street is subject to development. Developers can build their own small streets feeding off of the main one. They can build buildings, parks, signs, as well as things that do not exist in Reality, such as vast hovering overhead light shows, special neighborhoods where the rules of three-dimensional spacetime are ignored, and free-combat zones where people can go to hunt and kill each other. The only difference is that since the Street does not really exist -- it's just a computer-graphics protocol written down on a piece of paper somewhere -- none of these things is being physically built. They are, rather, pieces of software, made available to the public over the worldwide fiber-optics network. When Hiro goes into the Metaverse and looks down the Street and sees buildings and electric signs stretching off into the darkness, disappearing over the curve of the globe, he is actually staring at the graphic representations -- the user interfaces -- of a myriad different pieces of software that have been engineered by major corporations. In order to place these things on the Street, they have had to get approval from the Global Multimedia Protocol Group, have had to buy frontage on the Street, get zoning approval, obtain permits, bribe inspectors, the whole bit. The money these corporations pay to build things on the Street all goes into a trust fund owned and operated by the GMPG, which pays for developing and expanding the machinery that enables the Street to exist. Hiro has a house in a neighborhood just off the busiest part of the Street. it is a very old neighborhood by Street standards. About ten years ago, when the Street protocol was first written, Hiro and some of his buddies pooled their money and bought one of the first development licenses, created a little neighborhood of hackers. At the time, it was just a little patchwork of light amid a vast blackness. Back then, the Street was just a necklace of streetlights around a black ball in space. Since then, the neighborhood hasn't changed much, but the Street has. By getting in on it early, Hiro's buddies got a head start on the whole business. Some of them even got very rich off of it. That's why Hiro has a nice big house in the Metaverse but has to share a 20-by- 30 in Reality. Real estate acumen does not always extend across universes.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
I will give technology three definitions that we will use throughout the book. The first and most basic one is that a technology is a means to fulfill a human purpose. For some technologies-oil refining-the purpose is explicit. For others- the computer-the purpose may be hazy, multiple, and changing. As a means, a technology may be a method or process or device: a particular speech recognition algorithm, or a filtration process in chemical engineering, or a diesel engine. it may be simple: a roller bearing. Or it may be complicated: a wavelength division multiplexer. It may be material: an electrical generator. Or it may be nonmaterial: a digital compression algorithm. Whichever it is, it is always a means to carry out a human purpose. The second definition I will allow is a plural one: technology as an assemblage of practices and components. This covers technologies such as electronics or biotechnology that are collections or toolboxes of individual technologies and practices. Strictly speaking, we should call these bodies of technology. But this plural usage is widespread, so I will allow it here. I will also allow a third meaning. This is technology as the entire collection of devices and engineering practices available to a culture. Here we are back to the Oxford's collection of mechanical arts, or as Webster's puts it, "The totality of the means employed by a people to provide itself with the objects of material culture." We use this collective meaning when we blame "technology" for speeding up our lives, or talk of "technology" as a hope for mankind. Sometimes this meaning shades off into technology as a collective activity, as in "technology is what Silicon Valley is all about." I will allow this too as a variant of technology's collective meaning. The technology thinker Kevin Kelly calls this totality the "technium," and I like this word. But in this book I prefer to simply use "technology" for this because that reflects common use. The reason we need three meanings is that each points to technology in a different sense, a different category, from the others. Each category comes into being differently and evolves differently. A technology-singular-the steam engine-originates as a new concept and develops by modifying its internal parts. A technology-plural-electronics-comes into being by building around certain phenomena and components and develops by changing its parts and practices. And technology-general, the whole collection of all technologies that have ever existed past and present, originates from the use of natural phenomena and builds up organically with new elements forming by combination from old ones.
W. Brian Arthur (The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves)
The morning was already setting up to be hectic, and Jon thanked his lucky stars that Jessie was so good at his job and a constant spark-plug of activity. Oh god, you did not just think Jessie was a spark-plug? You really are getting old. Next thing you know you’ll being saying whipper-snappers and break a hip getting out of bed. He shook his head. I guess I had a good run. Jessie quickly re-entered the office. “Alright. Elisabeth has her caffeine fix and said she’ll be down to say goodbye in a few. So let’s get this bad boy going for the week. Travel plans are done for next month and meetings for the week are in you planner so I’m assuming they’ll be no more complaining about flying coach class this time?” Jessie gave a sly wink and kept organizing his desk. “Yes. And for that I thank you for that my color-coding, hyper computer organized planner. We have to make sure the next presentation for Chicago is ready in three weeks; the storyboards for the new campaign ideas have to be finished by Tuesday the 16th so we can get them shipped before I head out there.” “And let’s not forget our important morning ritual.” Jon looked at Jessie with a question about to form before the realization hit him. His expression changed from confused to stern. “No cat videos Jessie. I swear. Enough of the cat videos.” “C’mon. You know you love them and they brighten your dour moods. Look at this one.” Jessie turned his screen and Jon begrudgingly looked at the cute little puppy and kitten with captions over them. “How can you not love this?” Jessie smiled. “The cute little kitty tells the playful puppy not to do it and yet the puppy bonks the little kitty on the head with his little puppy paw. “Boop Boop.” And then the cat swipes at the puppy and it falls off the bed. You know this is internet gold.” Jon smiled. “Can we get back to work?” Jessie nodded and then walked up to Jon - without hesitating, he bonked him lightly on the head. “Boop.” He paused and added, “I think this puppy is onto something.” Jessie grinned ear to ear still. “I pledge, from now on if something makes me as happy as this bonking picture I’m just going to say Boop boop.” Jon stood stone-faced but a second later, could not stop his smile. “I am not amused.” Jon shook the smile away. “Now, if you’re done boop booping me, there is something else I want to talk with you about.” Jessie looked at Jon with a quizzical smile. “Not to blow my own horn but I have a new and brilliant thought my young apprentice.” Jessie opened his mouth to comment on the blowing horn, but Jon held up his hand and cut him off. “Stop it.” Jessie closed his mouth and swallowed the sexual innuendo-laced comment he had forming on the tip of his tongue.
Matthew Alan
Globalization has shipped products at a faster rate than anything else; it’s moved English into schools all over the world so that now there is Dutch English and Filipino English and Japanese English. But the ideologies stay in their places. They do not spread like the swine flu, or through sexual contact. They spread through books and films and things of that nature. The dictatorships of Latin America used to ban books, they used to burn them, just like Franco did, like Pope Gregory IX and Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Now they don’t have to because the best place to hide ideologies is in books. The dictatorships are mostly gone—Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. The military juntas. Our ideologies are not secrets. Even the Ku Klux Klan holds open meetings in Alabama like a church. None of the Communists are still in jail. You can buy Mao’s red book at the gift shop at the Museum of Communism. I will die soon, in the next five to ten years. I have not seen progress during my lifetime. Our lives are too short and disposable. If we had longer life expectancies, if we lived to 200, would we work harder to preserve life or, do you think that when Borges said, ‘Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in immortality, but the veneration paid to the first century of life is proof that they truly believe in only those hundred years, for they destine all the rest, throughout eternity, to rewarding or punishing what one did when alive,’ we would simply alter it to say ‘first two centuries’? I have heard people say we are living in a golden age, but the golden age has passed—I’ve seen it in the churches all over Latin America where the gold is like glue. The Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages but only because they are forgotten, because the past is shrouded in darkness, because as we lay one century of life on top of the next, everything that has come before seems old and dark—technological advances provide the illusion of progress. The most horrendous tortures carried out in the past are still carried out today, only today the soldiers don’t meet face to face, no one is drawn and quartered, they take a pill and silently hope a heart attack doesn’t strike them first. We are living in the age of dissociation, speaking a government-patented language of innocence—technology is neither good nor evil, neither progress nor regress, but the more advanced it becomes, the more we will define this era as the one of transparent secrets, of people living in a world of open, agile knowledge, oceans unpoliced—all blank faces, blank minds, blank computers, filled with our native programming, using electronic appliances with enough memory to store everything ever written invented at precisely the same moment we no longer have the desire to read a word of it.” ― John M. Keller, Abracadabrantesque
John M. Keller
Pham Nuwen spent years learning to program/explore. Programming went back to the beginning of time. It was a little like the midden out back of his father’s castle. Where the creek had worn that away, ten meters down, there were the crumpled hulks of machines—flying machines, the peasants said—from the great days of Canberra’s original colonial era. But the castle midden was clean and fresh compared to what lay within the Reprise’s local net. There were programs here that had been written five thousand years ago, before Humankind ever left Earth. The wonder of it—the horror of it, Sura said—was that unlike the useless wrecks of Canberra’s past, these programs still worked! And via a million million circuitous threads of inheritance, many of the oldest programs still ran in the bowels of the Qeng Ho system. Take the Traders’ method of timekeeping. The frame corrections were incredibly complex—and down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth’s moon. But if you looked at it still more closely. . .the starting instant was actually some hundred million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind’s first computer operating systems. So behind all the top-level interfaces was layer under layer of support. Some of that software had been designed for wildly different situations. Every so often, the inconsistencies caused fatal accidents. Despite the romance of spaceflight, the most common accidents were simply caused by ancient, misused programs finally getting their revenge. “We should rewrite it all,” said Pham. “It’s been done,” said Sura, not looking up. She was preparing to go off-Watch, and had spent the last four days trying to root a problem out of the coldsleep automation. “It’s been tried,” corrected Bret, just back from the freezers. “But even the top levels of fleet system code are enormous. You and a thousand of your friends would have to work for a century or so to reproduce it.” Trinli grinned evilly. “And guess what—even if you did, by the time you finished, you’d have your own set of inconsistencies. And you still wouldn’t be consistent with all the applications that might be needed now and then.” Sura gave up on her debugging for the moment. “The word for all this is ‘mature programming environment.’ Basically, when hardware performance has been pushed to its final limit, and programmers have had several centuries to code, you reach a point where there is far more signicant code than can be rationalized. The best you can do is understand the overall layering, and know how to search for the oddball tool that may come in handy—take the situation I have here.” She waved at the dependency chart she had been working on. “We are low on working fluid for the coffins. Like a million other things, there was none for sale on dear old Canberra. Well, the obvious thing is to move the coffins near the aft hull, and cool by direct radiation. We don’t have the proper equipment to support this—so lately, I’ve been doing my share of archeology. It seems that five hundred years ago, a similar thing happened after an in-system war at Torma. They hacked together a temperature maintenance package that is precisely what we need.” “Almost precisely.
Vernor Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2))
Chapter One Vivek Ranadivé “IT WAS REALLY RANDOM. I MEAN, MY FATHER HAD NEVER PLAYED BASKETBALL BEFORE.” 1. When Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team, he settled on two principles. The first was that he would never raise his voice. This was National Junior Basketball—the Little League of basketball. The team was made up mostly of twelve-year-olds, and twelve-year-olds, he knew from experience, did not respond well to shouting. He would conduct business on the basketball court, he decided, the same way he conducted business at his software firm. He would speak calmly and softly, and he would persuade the girls of the wisdom of his approach with appeals to reason and common sense. The second principle was more important. Ranadivé was puzzled by the way Americans play basketball. He is from Mumbai. He grew up with cricket and soccer. He would never forget the first time he saw a basketball game. He thought it was mindless. Team A would score and then immediately retreat to its own end of the court. Team B would pass the ball in from the sidelines and dribble it into Team A’s end, where Team A was patiently waiting. Then the process would reverse itself. A regulation basketball court is ninety-four feet long. Most of the time, a team would defend only about twenty-four feet of that, conceding the other seventy feet. Occasionally teams played a full-court press—that is, they contested their opponent’s attempt to advance the ball up the court. But they did it for only a few minutes at a time. It was as if there were a kind of conspiracy in the basketball world about the way the game ought to be played, Ranadivé thought, and that conspiracy had the effect of widening the gap between good teams and weak teams. Good teams, after all, had players who were tall and could dribble and shoot well; they could crisply execute their carefully prepared plays in their opponent’s end. Why, then, did weak teams play in a way that made it easy for good teams to do the very things that they were so good at? Ranadivé looked at his girls. Morgan and Julia were serious basketball players. But Nicky, Angela, Dani, Holly, Annika, and his own daughter, Anjali, had never played the game before. They weren’t all that tall. They couldn’t shoot. They weren’t particularly adept at dribbling. They were not the sort who played pickup games at the playground every evening. Ranadivé lives in Menlo Park, in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. His team was made up of, as Ranadivé put it, “little blond girls.” These were the daughters of nerds and computer programmers. They worked on science projects and read long and complicated books and dreamed about growing up to be marine biologists. Ranadivé knew that if they played the conventional way—if they let their opponents dribble the ball up the court without opposition—they would almost certainly lose to the girls for whom basketball was a passion. Ranadivé had come to America as a seventeen-year-old with fifty dollars in his pocket. He was not one to accept losing easily. His second principle, then, was that his team would play a real full-court press—every game, all the time. The team ended up at the national championships. “It was really random,” Anjali Ranadivé said. “I mean, my father had never played basketball before.” 2. Suppose you were to total up all the wars over the past two hundred years that occurred between very large and very small countries. Let’s say that one side has to be at least ten times larger in population and armed might
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants)
The creation groans from all the pain and sorrow that surrounds us. We have a strong sense that life is not the way it’s supposed to be.[4] We cry out at injustices, rail against inequalities, long for things to get fixed. The long march for racial, gender, and economic equality is an ongoing struggle. Progress is rare. When it comes to electronics, the advances seem to arrive on a regular basis. Every holiday season, we’re greeted by upgrades, by a new network from 3G to 4G to 5G. Products make progress seem easy and inevitable. The hard work of design and engineering is hidden. Yet, even the latest, greatest technology breaks down. Unfortunately, we don’t know how to fix our gadgets. The mechanics that drive our devices often defy our comprehension. We toss out our old computers and cell phones, and we embrace the new and improved. Replacing isn’t the same as redeeming.
Craig Detweiler (iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives)
An old guy was asked if he had ever googled himself. Probably not computer literate, he answered: “Of course, we all did, but we didn’t call it that.
Mike Bove (Willowtree (A Bruce DelReno Mystery #1))
The idea that John Lasseter pitched was called “Toy Story.” It sprang from a belief, which he and Jobs shared, that products have an essence to them, a purpose for which they were made. If the object were to have feelings, these would be based on its desire to fulfill its essence. The purpose of a glass, for example, is to hold water; if it had feelings, it would be happy when full and sad when empty. The essence of a computer screen is to interface with a human. The essence of a unicycle is to be ridden in a circus. As for toys, their purpose is to be played with by kids, and thus their existential fear is of being discarded or upstaged by newer toys. So a buddy movie pairing an old favorite toy with a shiny new one would have an essential drama to it, especially when the action revolved around the toys’ being separated from their kid. The original treatment began, “Everyone has had the traumatic childhood experience of losing a toy. Our story takes the toy’s point of view as he loses and tries to regain the single thing most important to him: to be played with by children. This is the reason for the existence of all toys. It is the emotional foundation of their existence.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
Computers break down. A lot. Especially if you’ve got an old one that doesn’t work so good anymore and you have to shut programs down when that beach ball keeps spinning or that hourglass never disappears. So what do you do? You hit those three “shutdown instantly” buttons, all at the same time: control + alt + delete.
Bathroom Readers' Institute (Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Weird Inventions)
What we need to consider about the computer has nothing to do with its efficiency as a teaching tool. We need to know in what ways it is altering our conception of learning, and how, in conjunction with television, it undermines the old idea of school. Who cares how many boxes of cereal can be sold via television? We need to know if television changes our conception of reality, the relationship of the rich to the poor, the idea of happiness itself. A preacher who confines himself to considering how a medium can increase his audience will miss the significant question: In what sense do new media alter what is meant by religion, by church, even by God? And if the politician cannot think beyond the next election, then we must wonder about what new media do to the idea of political organization and to the conception of citizenship.
Neil Postman (Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology)
But seat-back video screens and the hard frames that surround them pose a safety challenge, partly because of the potential for injuries caused by head strikes, and partly because the computers and the electrical systems that serve them have to be both fireproof and fully isolated from the plane’s—so that crossed wires in somebody’s seat don’t allow a ten-year-old playing a video game to suddenly take control of the cockpit. Largely as a result, in-flight entertainment systems are almost unbelievably expensive. The rule of thumb, I was told, is “a thousand dollars an inch”—meaning that the small screen in the back of each economy seat can cost an airline ten thousand dollars, plus a few thousand for its handheld controller.
meritocracies. Computer programming didn't operate as an old-boy network,
Take the Traders’ method of timekeeping. The frame corrections were incredibly complex – and down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth’s moon. But if you looked at it still more closely … the starting instant was actually about fifteen million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind’s first computer operating systems.
But the world is changing at warp speed, and cities have to evolve to stay ahead of the curve. Which brings us to the third generation of cities, Cities 3.0, where the city is a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship and technology. Cities 3.0 is paperless, wireless and cashless. In Cities 3.0, we have more cell phones than telephone landlines, more tablets than desktop computers, more smart devices than toothbrushes. We know that in order to keep up in the modern era, we have to be innovative. If cities are going to drive the nation's economic revitalization, then we need to become laboratories and incubators of change. Yet the pending state legislation, which seeks to require the same insurance for ride-sharing companies as for old-style taxi companies, would discourage innovation and force out-of-date thinking on Next Economy companies such as Uber and Lyft.
The innards of Ping’s G5 were supposedly computer-engineered with a process called “finite-element analysis,” a term that for all I know was stolen from an old Star Trek episode.
Carl Hiaasen (The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport)
Once we assembled the entire package, Mike named it Netscape SuiteSpot, as it would be the “suite” that displaced Microsoft’s BackOffice. We lined everything up for a major launch on March 5, 1996, in New York. Then, just two weeks before the launch, Marc, without telling Mike or me, revealed the entire strategy to the publication Computer Reseller News. I was livid. I immediately sent him a short email: To: Marc Andreessen Cc: Mike Homer From: Ben Horowitz Subject : Launch I guess we’re not going to wait until the 5th to launch the strategy. — Ben Within fifteen minutes, I received the following reply. To: Ben Horowitz Cc: Mike Homer, Jim Barksdale (CEO), Jim Clark (Chairman) From: Marc Andreessen Subject: Re: Launch Apparently you do not understand how serious the situation is. We are getting killed killed killed out there. Our current product is radically worse than the competition. We’ve had nothing to say for months. As a result, we’ve lost over $3B in market capitalization. We are now in danger of losing the entire company and it’s all server product management’s fault. Next time do the fucking interview yourself. Fuck you, Marc I received this email the same day that Marc appeared barefoot and sitting on a throne on the cover of Time magazine. When I first saw the cover, I felt thrilled. I had never met anyone in my life who had been on the cover of Time. Then I felt sick. I brought both the magazine and the email home to Felicia to get a second opinion. I was very worried. I was twenty-nine years old, had a wife and three children, and needed my job. She looked at the email and the magazine cover and said, “You need to start looking for a job right away.” In the end, I didn’t get fired and over the next two years, SuiteSpot grew from nothing to a $400 million a year business. More shocking, Marc and I eventually became friends; we’ve been friends and business partners ever since. People often ask me how we’ve managed to work effectively across three companies over eighteen years. Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after a while. Either people challenge each other to the point where they don’t like each other or they become complacent about each other’s feedback and no longer benefit from the relationship. With Marc and me, even after eighteen years, he upsets me almost every day by finding something wrong in my thinking, and I do the same for him. It works.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
I couldn’t help but think back to the look on my adoptive mother’s face when she walked into my room and saw the computer screen. Some guys got scolded for porn, but thirteen-year-old me got a hell of a tongue lashing for studying ancient Japanese weaponry. Now, I kind of wished I could go back and tell her it actually was useful knowledge, thanks.
Éric Vall (Metal Mage 5 (Metal Mage, #5))
I’ll tell you what I expect. If we keep splurging on overtime at the same rate we have been lately, my computer model says payroll will hit empty two weeks prior to the end of the fiscal year. What’s going to happen then?” “Nothing much,” Dick Voland said easily. “We’ll have ourselves an old-fashioned SDC with the board of supervisors.” “An SDC?” Frank Montoya asked with a frown. “What’s that?” “A stare-down contest,” Voland replied with a sardonic grin. “First guy to blink loses.” Montoya, chief deputy for administration, was not amused. “That’s no way to run a department,” he said.
J.A. Jance (Skeleton Canyon (Joanna Brady, #5))
Like many detectives he preferred to use his own laptop because the computers provided by the department were old and slow and most of them carried more viruses than a Hollywood Boulevard hooker.
Michael Connelly (The Overlook (Harry Bosch, #13; Harry Bosch Universe, #17))
old Dr. Wilson; she’s about sixty, and I can’t imagine she knows much about the latest drugs and medical breakthroughs. She can barely work the computer.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
Pulse shooter Omar Mateen does not seem to have received any direction or support from ISIS or any other international terrorist organization. ISIS inspired Mateen, but Mateen did not report to ISIS, even to the extent that there was any ISIS to report to. Mateen exemplified a new kind of international terrorist movement: a virtual movement that shared ideas and rhetoric rather than money and weapons. Just such a movement of international terror would kill hundreds of people worldwide in the Trump years, a movement of white racial resentment that often looked to Donald Trump as its inspiration and voice. The year 2019 suffered a peak in mass shootings in the United States, forty-nine shootings in total according to computations by the Associated Press, USA Today, and criminologists at Northeastern University. (The researchers defined a “mass killing” as taking four or more lives apart from the perpetrator’s.) The majority of those killed died at the hands of a stranger—typically a white male loner impelled by grievances against society.3 The deadliest mass shooting in US history (as of the end of 2019) occurred in October 2017. Stephen Paddock, a sixty-four-year-old white man, opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas from a thirty-second-floor hotel room. Paddock killed 58 people and wounded 413. More than 400 other people were injured in the rush to escape the attack. After firing thousands of rounds in only ten minutes, Paddock killed himself by a gunshot in his mouth.
David Frum (Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy)
Recognizing that old age is a time of exploitation helps provide new perspectives on some of the classic phenomena of aging. For example, while going to college—a new social environment filled with people you haven’t met—is typically a positive, exciting time, going to a retirement home—a new social environment filled with people you haven’t met—can be painful. And that difference is partly the result of where we are on the explore/exploit continuum at those stages of our lives.
Brian Christian (Algorithms To Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions)
I heard reiteration of the following claim: Complex theories do not work; simple algorithms do. I would like to demonstrate that in the area of science a good old principle is valid: Nothing is more practical than a good theory.
Vladimir N Vapnik
The first time I met Dr. Tuttle, she wore a foam neck brace because of a “taxi accident” and was holding an obese tabby, whom she introduced as “my eldest.” She pointed out the tiny yellow envelopes in the waiting room. “When you come in, write your name on an envelope and fold your check inside. Payments go in here,” she said, knocking on the wooden box on the desk in her office. It was the kind of box they have in churches for accepting donations for candles. The fainting couch in her office was covered in cat fur and piled on one end with little antique dolls with chipped porcelain faces. On her desk were half-eaten granola bars and stacked Tupperware containers of grapes and cut-up melon, a mammoth old computer, more National Geographic magazines.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
I began to imagine an unchanging rhythm of days, lived on firm soil where you could wake up each morning and know that all was how it had been yesterday, where you saw how the things that you used had been made and could recite the lives of those who had made them and could believe that it would all hang together without computer terminals or fax machines. And all of this while a steady procession of black faces passed before your eyes, the round faces of babies and the chipped, worn faces of the old; beautiful faces that made me understand the transformation that Asante and other black Americans claimed to have undergone after their first visit to Africa. For a span of weeks or months, you could experience the freedom that comes from not feeling watched, the freedom of believing that your hair grows as it’s supposed to grow and that your rump sways the way a rump is supposed to sway. You could see a man talking to himself as just plain crazy, or read about the criminal on the front page of the daily paper and ponder the corruption of the human heart, without having to think about whether the criminal or lunatic said something about your own fate. Here the world was black, and so you were just you; you could discover all those things that were unique to your life without living a lie or committing betrayal.
Barack Obama (Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance)
As Atari already had a side-business in distributing pinball machines*, they were able to install the first Pong prototype that August (1972) in one of their locations, a downbeat little bar called Andy Capp’s, in Sunnyvale, California, which was notable only in that it had an unusually large games room – several pinball machines, a jukebox and a Computer Space cabinet. To give you some indication of what sort of environments Atari operated in initially, Steve Bristow (another old contact previously employed by Ampex) was brought in to collect money on the route, and would frequently take his wife along for the ride, carrying a hatchet. She would have taken a gun, but they couldn’t get a permit.
Steve McNeil (Hey! Listen!: A journey through the golden era of video games)
Human beings always analyze reality in linear forms due to how the human mind perceives time and sequences, and learning. But, actually, reality is multi-dimensional, and not possible for the human mind to fully grasp. The human mind is like a very old computer that can't really process so much. On the other hand, it is also a mystery how the spirit is superior to the mind, for it is as if the mind, in itself, was a trap. Whenever you think of yourself as a product of your mind, you have automatically subverted the potential of your own existence.
Dan Desmarques (Codex Illuminatus: Quotes & Sayings of Dan Desmarques)
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Gary Hensley
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Gary Hensley
Exoteric machines - esoteric machines. They say the computer is an improved form of typewriter. Not a bit of it. I collude with my typewriter, but the relationship is otherwise clear and distant. I know it is a machine; it knows it is a machine. There is nothing here of the interface, verging on biological confusion, between a computer thinking it is a brain and me thinking I am a computer. The same familiarity with good old television, where I was and remained a spectator. It was an esoteric machine, whose status as machine I respected. Nothing there of all these screens and interactive devices, including the 'smart' car of the future and the 'smart' house. Even the mobile phone, that incrustation of the network in your head, even the skateboard and rollerblades - mobility aids - are of a quite different generation from the good old static telephone or the velocipedic machine. New manners and a new morality are emerging as a result of this organic confusion between man and his prostheses - a confusion which puts an end to the instrumental pact and the integrity of the machine itself.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories IV, 1995-2000)
As you test four or five different rewards, you can use an old trick to look for patterns: After each activity, jot down on a piece of paper the first three things that come to mind when you get back to your desk. They can be emotions, random thoughts, reflections on how you’re feeling, or just the first three words that pop into your head. Then, set an alarm on your watch or computer for fifteen minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself: Do you still feel the urge for that cookie?
Charles Duhigg (The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business)
As one Great Group after another has shown, talented people don’t need fancy facilities. It sometimes seems that any old garage will do. But they do need the right tools. The leaders of PARC threatened to quit if the lab was not allowed to build the computer it needed, rather than accept an inferior technology. Cutting-edge technology is often a key element in creative collaboration. The right tools become part of the creative process.
Warren G. Bennis (Organizing Genius)
So this was how our assistant directors were finding their guidance? Dug up from five-year-old e-mails? Later I learned that the staff members had to print out their e-mails in order to store them in safety. Evidently, the New York office server was scrubbed periodically to free up storage space. Dawn couldn’t save e-mails on her computer for long. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. A five-year-old crumpled paper copy of an e-mail in one employee’s files held crucial documentation for a federal agency? If SEC inspectors ever arrived at a financial firm for an examination and discovered that the firm had no manual on how to comply with federal securities laws, that firm would immediately be cited for deficiencies and most likely subject to enforcement action.
Norm Champ (Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis)
It feels like we're in some old movie from an ancient time like before they invented computers and internet and cell phones. You know, like the 80's.
Sybil Nelson (The Kiss of Life)
The distinction between serial and parallel processing of information may also explain what happens during incubation. In a serial system like that of an old-fashioned calculator, a complex numerical problem must be solved in a sequence, one step at a time. In a parallel system such as in advanced computer software, a problem is broken up into its component steps, the partial computations are carried out simultaneously, and then these are reconstituted into a single final solution. Something similar to parallel processing may be taking place when the elements of a problem are said to be incubating. When we think consciously about an issue, our previous training and the effort to arrive at a solution push our ideas in a linear direction, usually along predictable or familiar lines. But intentionality does not work in the subconscious. Free from rational direction, ideas can combine and pursue each other every which way. Because of this freedom, original connections that would be at first rejected by the rational mind have a chance to become established.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention)
Getting into the club’s tax information gave me Yukiko’s last name: Nohara. From there, I was able to learn a reasonable amount. She was twenty-seven years old, born in Fukuoka, educated at Waseda University. She lived in an apartment building on Kotto-dori in Minami-Aoyama. No arrests. No debt. Nothing remarkable. The club was more interesting, and more opaque. It was owned by a succession of offshore corporations. If there were any individual names tied to its ownership, they existed only on certificates of incorporation in someone’s vault, not on computers, where I might have gotten to them. Whoever owned the club didn’t want the world to know of the association. In itself, this wasn’t damning. Cash businesses are always mobbed up.
Barry Eisler (A Lonely Resurrection (John Rain #2))
Design doesn’t just work for creating cool stuff like computers and Ferraris; it works in creating a cool life. You can use design thinking to create a life that is meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling. It doesn’t matter who you are or were, what you do or did for a living, how young or how old you are—you can use the same thinking that created the most amazing technology, products, and spaces to design your career and your life.
Bill Burnett (Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life)
FATHER OF THE COMPUTER Alan Turing was sneered at for not being a tough guy, a he-man with hair on his chest. He whined, croaked, stuttered. He used an old necktie for a belt. He rarely slept and went without shaving for days. And he raced from one end of the city to the other all the while concocting complicated mathematical formulas in his mind. Working for British intelligence, he helped shorten the Second World War by inventing a machine that cracked the impenetrable military codes used by Germany’s high command. At that point he had already dreamed up a prototype for an electronic computer and had laid out the theoretical foundations of today’s information systems. Later on, he led the team that built the first computer to operate with integrated programs. He played interminable chess games with it and asked it questions that drove it nuts. He insisted that it write him love letters. The machine responded by emitting messages that were rather incoherent. But it was flesh-and-blood Manchester police who arrested him in 1952 for gross indecency. At the trial, Turing pled guilty to being a homosexual. To stay out of jail, he agreed to undergo medical treatment to cure him of the affliction. The bombardment of drugs left him impotent. He grew breasts. He stayed indoors, no longer went to the university. He heard whispers, felt stares drilling into his back. He had the habit of eating an apple before going to bed. One night, he injected the apple with cyanide.
Eduardo Galeano (Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone)
JazzyGirl: LOL. Since you and Alex kept in contact, I assume he knows your partner. Evilnbored: Alex is my partner. He didn't have to wait as long for her response this time. In fact, he could almost imagine her screaming through the computer. JazzyGirl: OMG, OMG, OMG. I had no idea. Were the two of you together in high school? Evilnbored: No, not at all. We've only been partners since our senior year in college. Back in high school ... I never admitted to myself I liked guys as well as I did girls, although I had some inkling. And Alex ... I'll let him tell you his story. JazzyGirl: I can't believe you guys never told me. I feel left out. Her words sounded so much like the old Jasmine he really did laugh out loud. 33 Coming Full Circle by Liz Andrews Evilnbored: Sorry? JazzyGirl: Unacceptable. I need to be completely caught up on all the news that's fit to print. And all the other stuff too. Evilnbored: Um, okay, what do you want to know exactly? JazzyGirl: Hehehe, oh, you don't know it, but you gave me the keys to the castle. Evilnbored: Should I be scared? JazzyGirl: I'm not the evil one, LOL. Evilnbored: Oh boy. Ask away before I regret offering to tell you anything. JazzyGirl: You can't see me right now, but I'm rubbing my hands gleefully
Liz Andrews (Coming Full Circle (Friends and Lovers #2))
wander over and take a closer look at the chair. It's an old wooden contraption, fitted out with lots of wires and sensors, and there are plenty of leather straps that are presumably used to tie patients down. The wires run to the computers, which in turn are hooked up to some older-looking equipment. My medical knowledge is pretty much zero, so I've got no idea what's actually going on down here. Despite my curiosity, I guess this is highly unlikely to be anything to do with the dead body, so I'd better put my curiosity on the backburner while I go and check out the parts of the basement that
Amy Cross (Asylum (The Asylum Trilogy, #1))
and Medicaid, which would help expand coverage and bring down costs. The other thing we should be honest about is how hard it’s going to be, no matter what we do, to create significant economic opportunity in every remote area of our vast nation. In some places, the old jobs aren’t coming back, and the infrastructure and workforce needed to support big new industries aren’t there. As hard as it is, people may have to leave their hometowns and look for work elsewhere in America. We know this can have a transformative effect. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration experimented with a program called Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing, which gave poor families in public housing vouchers to move to safer, middle-income neighborhoods where their children were surrounded every day by evidence that life can be better. Twenty years later, the children of those families have grown up to earn higher incomes and attend college at higher rates than their peers who stayed behind. And the younger the kids were when they moved, the bigger boost they received. Previous generations of Americans actually moved around the country much more than we do today. Millions of black families migrated from the rural South to the urban North. Large numbers of poor whites left Appalachia to take jobs in Midwestern factories. My own father hopped a freight train from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Chicago in 1935, looking for work. Yet today, despite all our advances, fewer Americans are moving than ever before. One of the laid-off steelworkers I met in Kentucky told me he found a good job in Columbus, Ohio, but he was doing the 120-mile commute every week because he didn’t want to move. “People from Kentucky, they want to be in Kentucky,” another said to me. “That’s something that’s just in our DNA.” I understand that feeling. People’s identities and their support systems—extended family, friends, church congregations, and so on—are rooted in where they come from. This is painful, gut-wrenching stuff. And no politician wants to be the one to say it. I believe that after we do everything we can to help create new jobs in distressed small towns and rural areas, we also have to give people the skills and tools they need to seek opportunities beyond their hometowns—and provide a strong safety net both for those who leave and those who stay. Whether it’s updating policies to meet the changing conditions of America’s workers, or encouraging greater mobility, the bottom line is the same: we can’t spend all our time staving off decline. We need to create new opportunities, not just slow down the loss of old ones. Rather than keep trying to re-create the economy of the past, we should focus on making the jobs people actually have better and figure out how to create the good jobs of the future in fields such as clean energy, health care, construction, computer coding, and advanced manufacturing. Republicans will always be better at defending yesterday. Democrats have to be in the future business. The good news is we have
Hillary Rodham Clinton (What Happened)
Honey, we know just about everything that goes on in this town. Between Twitter, Facebook, and everything else out there it is just a matter of being savvy with the computers. I may be old, but I’m not dumb.
Angela C. Blackmoore (Hot Tea & Cold Murder (Red Pine Falls Mysteries #1))
many of the oldest programs still ran in the bowels of the Qeng Ho system. Take the Traders’ method of timekeeping. The frame corrections were incredibly complex—and down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth’s moon. But if you looked at it still more closely…the starting instant was actually about fifteen million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind’s first computer operating systems.
Vernor Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2))
Well, I know you don’t want to talk about it anymore, but I signed you up for that computer match thingy.” Why is it that so many people over the age of sixty refer to everything on the Internet as some sort of “computer thing”? Helen was trying to contain her laughter. “Laura, do you mean” My father was groaning audibly now. “Yes, that’s it. Charles helped me put up her profile.” “Oh my god, Mother. Are you kidding me?” Helen jumped out of her seat and started running toward the computer in my dad’s home office, which was right off the dining room. “Get out of there, Helen,” my dad yelled, but she ignored him. I chased after her, but she stuck her arm out, blocking me from the monitor. “No, I have to see it!” she shouted. “Stop it, girls,” my mother chided. “Move, bitch.” We were very mature for our age. “This is the best day of my life. Your mommy made a Match profile for you!” “Actually, Chuck made it,” my mother yelled from across the hall. Oh shit. Helen typed my name in quickly. My prom picture from nine years ago popped up on the screen. My brother had cropped Steve Dilbeck out of the photo the best he could, but you could still see Steve’s arms wrapped around my purple chiffon–clad waist. “You’re joking. You’re fucking joking.” “Language, Charlotte!” my dad yelled. “Mom,” I cried, “he used my prom photo! What is wrong with him?” I still had braces at eighteen. I had to wear them for seven years because my orthodontist said I had the worst teeth he had ever seen. You know how sharks have rows of teeth? Yeah, that was me. I blame my mother and the extended breastfeeding for that one, too. My brother, Chuck the Fuck, used to tease me, saying it was leftovers of the dead Siamese twin I had absorbed in utero. My brother’s an ass, so it’s pretty awesome that he set up this handy dating profile for me. In case you hadn’t noticed, our names are Charlotte and Charles. Just more parental torture. Would it be dramatic to call that child abuse? Underneath my prom photo, I read the profile details while Helen laughed so hard she couldn’t breath. My name is Charlotte and I am an average twenty-seven year-old. If you looked up the word mediocre in the dictionary you would see a picture of me—more recent than this nine-year-old photo, of course, because at least back then I hadn’t inked my face like an imbecile. Did I forget to mention that I have a tiny star tattooed under my left eye? Yes, I’d been drunk at the time. It was a momentary lapse of judgment. It would actually be cute if it was a little bigger, but it’s so small that most people think it’s a piece of food or a freckle. I cover it up with makeup. I like junk food and watching reality TV. My best friend and I like to drink Champagne because it makes us feel sophisticated, then we like to have a farting contest afterward. I’ve had twelve boyfriends in the last five years so I’m looking for a lifer. It’s not a coincidence that I used the same term as the one for prisoners ineligible for parole. “Chuck the Fuck,” Helen squeaked through giggles. I turned and glared at her. “He still doesn’t know that you watched him jerk off like a pedophile when he was fourteen.” “He’s only three years younger than us.” “Four. And I will tell him. I’ll unleash Chuck the Fuck on you if you don’t quit.” My breasts are small and my butt is big and I have a moderately hairy upper lip. I also don’t floss, clean my retainer, or use mouthwash with any regularity. “God, my brother is so obsessed with oral hygiene!” “That’s what stood out to you? He said you have a mustache.” Helen grinned. “Girls, get out of there and come clear the table,” my dad yelled. “What do you think the password is?” “Try ‘Fatbutt,’ ” I said. “Yep, that worked. Okay, I’ll change your profile while you clear the table.
Renee Carlino (Wish You Were Here)
Performance Tactics on the Road Tactics are generic design principles. To exercise this point, think about the design of the systems of roads and highways where you live. Traffic engineers employ a bunch of design “tricks” to optimize the performance of these complex systems, where performance has a number of measures, such as throughput (how many cars per hour get from the suburbs to the football stadium), average-case latency (how long it takes, on average, to get from your house to downtown), and worst-case latency (how long does it take an emergency vehicle to get you to the hospital). What are these tricks? None other than our good old buddies, tactics. Let’s consider some examples: • Manage event rate. Lights on highway entrance ramps let cars onto the highway only at set intervals, and cars must wait (queue) on the ramp for their turn. • Prioritize events. Ambulances and police, with their lights and sirens going, have higher priority than ordinary citizens; some highways have high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, giving priority to vehicles with two or more occupants. • Maintain multiple copies. Add traffic lanes to existing roads, or build parallel routes. In addition, there are some tricks that users of the system can employ: • Increase resources. Buy a Ferrari, for example. All other things being equal, the fastest car with a competent driver on an open road will get you to your destination more quickly. • Increase efficiency. Find a new route that is quicker and/or shorter than your current route. • Reduce computational overhead. You can drive closer to the car in front of you, or you can load more people into the same vehicle (that is, carpooling). What is the point of this discussion? To paraphrase Gertrude Stein: performance is performance is performance. Engineers have been analyzing and optimizing systems for centuries, trying to improve their performance, and they have been employing the same design strategies to do so. So you should feel some comfort in knowing that when you try to improve the performance of your computer-based system, you are applying tactics that have been thoroughly “road tested.” —RK
Len Bass (Software Architecture in Practice)
VR is not as new as it seems: It germinated inside Alan Kay’s research lab at Atari. The lab collapsed when Atari did, scattering Kay’s people across the Valley, but a young, dreadlocked, programming prodigy, Jaron Lanier, continued the research on his own dime. His original goal was to revive an old dream. Like Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay, Lanier wanted to create a computing environment that was immersive, flexible, and empowering. The difference was the interface. Engelbart invented the mouse. Alan Kay added the desktop metaphor. And in Lanier’s iteration, one donned goggles and gloves and stepped into virtual reality. Lanier actually coined the phrase. And the whole point of this new, all-enveloping interface was to be able to program the computer from the inside. There was just one problem: Once people got inside the computer, virtually no one wanted to code. There was a whole world in there, a cyberdelic Disneyland just waiting to be explored. Lanier thought he was building a next-generation programming language with the corresponding next-generation graphical user interface, but what people experienced was something a lot more fun. VR was The Well’s cyberspace made real. Taking advantage of the ensuing limelight, Lanier swiftly assumed a more Jobs-like role and marketed the heck out of his virtual reality machine, but in the end, the cost of an E ticket was just too high.
Adam Fisher (Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom))
By 2008, storm clouds were gathering over Microsoft. PC shipments, the financial lifeblood of Microsoft, had leveled off. Meanwhile sales of Apple and Google smartphones and tablets were on the rise, producing growing revenues from search and online advertising that Microsoft hadn’t matched. Meanwhile, Amazon had quietly launched Amazon Web Services (AWS), establishing itself for years to come as a leader in the lucrative, rapidly growing cloud services business. The logic behind the advent of the cloud was simple and compelling. The PC Revolution of the 1980s, led by Microsoft, Intel, Apple, and others, had made computing accessible to homes and offices around the world. The 1990s had ushered in the client/server era to meet the needs of millions of users who wanted to share data over networks rather than on floppy disks. But the cost of maintaining servers in an ever-growing sea of data—and the advent of businesses like Amazon, Office 365, Google, and Facebook—simply outpaced the ability for servers to keep up. The emergence of cloud services fundamentally shifted the economics of computing. It standardized and pooled computing resources and automated maintenance tasks once done manually. It allowed for elastic scaling up or down on a self-service, pay-as-you-go basis. Cloud providers invested in enormous data ​centers around the world and then rented them out at a lower cost per user. This was the Cloud Revolution. Amazon was one of the first to cash in with AWS. They figured out early on that the same cloud infrastructure they used to sell books, movies, and other retail items could be rented, like a time-share, to other businesses and startups at a much lower price than it would take for each company to build its own cloud. By June 2008, Amazon already had 180,000 developers building applications and services for their cloud platform. Microsoft did not yet have a commercially viable cloud platform. All of this spelled trouble for Microsoft. Even before the Great Recession of 2008, our stock had begun a downward slide. In a long-planned move, Bill Gates left the company that year to focus on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But others were leaving, too. Among them, Kevin Johnson, president of the Windows and online services business, announced he would leave to become CEO of Juniper Networks. In their letter to shareholders that year, Bill and Steve Ballmer noted that Ray Ozzie, creator of Lotus Notes, had been named the company’s new Chief Software Architect (Bill’s old title), reflecting the fact that a new generation of leaders was stepping up in areas like online advertising and search. There was no mention of the cloud in that year’s shareholder letter, but, to his credit, Steve had a game plan and a wider view of the playing field.
Satya Nadella (Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone)
To paraphrase an old joke among programmers, “Writing code accounts for 90 percent of programming. Debugging code accounts for the other 90 percent.” Your computer will do only what you tell it to do; it won’t read your mind and do what you intended it to do. Even professional programmers create bugs all the time, so don’t feel discouraged if your program has a problem.
Albert Sweigart (Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners)
the roboticist Hans Moravec has observed, “It is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult-level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility.”27
Erik Brynjolfsson (The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies)
Whatever your age, whatever your income, how much should you be worth right now? From years of surveying various high-income/ high-net worth people, we have developed several multivariate-based wealth equations. A simple rule of thumb, however, is more than adequate in computing one’s expected net worth. Multiply your age times your realized pretax annual household income from all sources except inheritances. Divide by ten. This, less any inherited wealth, is what your net worth should be. For example, if Mr. Anthony O. Duncan is forty-one years old, makes $143,000 a year, and has investments that return another $12,000, he would multiply $155,000 by forty-one. That equals $6,355,000. Dividing by ten, his net worth should be $635,500.
Thomas J. Stanley (The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy)
Like,” he repeats with distaste. “How about I tell you what I don’t like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children’s books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires. I rarely stock debuts, chick lit, poetry, or translations. I would prefer not to stock series, but the demands of my pocketbook require me to. For your part, you needn’t tell me about the ‘next big series’ until it is ensconced on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Above all, Ms. Loman, I find slim literary memoirs about little old men whose little old wives have died from cancer to be absolutely intolerable. No matter how well written the sales rep claims they are. No matter how many copies you promise I’ll sell on Mother’s Day.” Amelia blushes, though she is angry more than embarrassed. She agrees with some of what A.J. has said, but his manner is unnecessarily insulting. Knightley Press doesn’t even sell half of that stuff anyway. She studies him. He is older than Amelia but not by much, not by more than ten years. He is too young to like so little. “What do you like?” she asks. “Everything else,” he says. “I will also admit to an occasional weakness for short-story collections. Customers never want to buy them though.” There is only one short-story collection on Amelia’s list, a debut. Amelia hasn’t read the whole thing, and time dictates that she probably won’t, but she liked the first story. An American sixth-grade class and an Indian sixth-grade class participate in an international pen pal program. The narrator is an Indian kid in the American class who keeps feeding comical misinformation about Indian culture to the Americans. She clears her throat, which is still terribly dry. “The Year Bombay Became Mumbai. I think it will have special int—” “No,” he says. “I haven’t even told you what it’s about yet.” “Just no.” “But why?” “If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you’re only telling me about it because I’m partially Indian and you think this will be my special interest. Am I right?” Amelia imagines smashing the ancient computer over his head. “I’m telling you about this because you said you liked short stories! And it’s the only one on my list. And for the record”—here, she lies—“it’s completely wonderful from start to finish. Even if it is a debut. “And do you know what else? I love debuts. I love discovering something new. It’s part of the whole reason I do this job.” Amelia rises. Her head is pounding. Maybe she does drink too much? Her head is pounding and her heart is, too. “Do you want my opinion?” “Not particularly,” he says. “What are you, twenty-five?” “Mr. Fikry, this is a lovely store, but if you continue in this this this”—as a child, she stuttered and it occasionally returns when she is upset; she clears her throat—“this backward way of thinking, there won’t be an Island Books before too long.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists. I’ve spent more than a decade studying this, and it turns out to be far less difficult than I expected. The starting point is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place. We’re driven to question defaults when we experience vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu. Déjà vu occurs when we encounter something new, but it feels as if we’ve seen it before. Vuja de is the reverse—we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems. Without a vuja de event, Warby Parker wouldn’t have existed. When the founders were sitting in the computer lab on the night they conjured up the company, they had spent a combined sixty years wearing glasses. The product had always been unreasonably expensive. But until that moment, they had taken the status quo for granted, never questioning the default price. “The thought had never crossed my mind,” cofounder Dave Gilboa says. “I had always considered them a medical purchase. I naturally assumed that if a doctor was selling it to me, there was some justification for the price.” Having recently waited in line at the Apple Store to buy an iPhone, he found himself comparing the two products. Glasses had been a staple of human life for nearly a thousand years, and they’d hardly changed since his grandfather wore them. For the first time, Dave wondered why glasses had such a hefty price tag. Why did such a fundamentally simple product cost more than a complex smartphone? Anyone could have asked those questions and arrived at the same answer that the Warby Parker squad did. Once they became curious about why the price was so steep, they began doing some research on the eyewear industry. That’s when they learned that it was dominated by Luxottica, a European company that had raked in over $7 billion the previous year. “Understanding that the same company owned LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, Ray-Ban and Oakley, and the licenses for Chanel and Prada prescription frames and sunglasses—all of a sudden, it made sense to me why glasses were so expensive,” Dave says. “Nothing in the cost of goods justified the price.” Taking advantage of its monopoly status, Luxottica was charging twenty times the cost. The default wasn’t inherently legitimate; it was a choice made by a group of people at a given company. And this meant that another group of people could make an alternative choice. “We could do things differently,” Dave suddenly understood. “It was a realization that we could control our own destiny, that we could control our own prices.” When we become curious about the dissatisfying defaults in our world, we begin to recognize that most of them have social origins: Rules and systems were created by people. And that awareness gives us the courage to contemplate how we can change them. Before women gained the right to vote in America, many “had never before considered their degraded status as anything but natural,” historian Jean Baker observes. As the suffrage movement gained momentum, “a growing number of women were beginning to see that custom, religious precept, and law were in fact man-made and therefore reversible.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
Eh, I’ll just get another computer. This will be my Disney trip computer.” My parents had boxes of photos in their closets. Now we have old computers in our closets. “Hey, honey, there’s our wedding computer.” “There’s my computer from when I was single. I guess I should destroy that one.
Jim Gaffigan (Dad Is Fat)
A Code of Nature must accommodate a mixture of individually different behavioral tendencies. The human race plays a mixed strategy in the game of life. People are not molecules, all alike and behaving differently only because of random interactions. People just differ, dancing to their own personal drummer. The merger of economic game theory with neuroscience promises more precise understanding of those individual differences and how they contribute to the totality of human social interactions. It's understanding those differences, Camerer says, that will make such a break with old schools of economic thought. "A lot of economic theory uses what is called the representative agent model," Camerer told me. In an economy with millions of people, everybody is clearly not going to be completely alike in behavior. Maybe 10 percent will be of some type, 14 percent another type, 6 percent something else. A real mix. "It's often really hard, mathematically, to add all that up," he said. "It's much easier to say that there's one kind of person and there's a million of them. And you can add things up rather easily." So for the sake of computational simplicity, economists would operate as though the world was populated by millions of one generic type of person, using assumptions about how that generic person would behave. "It's not that we don't think people are different—of course they are, but that wasn't the focus of analysis," Camerer said. "It was, well, let's just stick to one type of person. But I think the brain evidence, as well as genetics, is just going to force us to think about individual differences." And in a way, that is a very natural thing for economists to want to do.
Tom Siegfried (A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature)
There’s an old phrase,” Matthew says. “Knowledge is power. Power to do evil, like Jeanine…or power to do good, like what we’re doing. Power itself is not evil. So knowledge itself is not evil.” “I guess I grew up suspicious of both. Power and knowledge,” I say. “To the Abnegation, power should only be given to people who don’t want it.” “There’s something to that,” Matthew says. “But maybe it’s time to grow out of that suspicion.” He reaches under the desk and takes out a book. It is thick, with a worn cover and frayed edges. On it is printed HUMAN BIOLOGY. “It’s a little rudimentary, but this book helped to teach me that it is to be human,” he says. “To be such a complicated, mysterious piece of biological machinery, and more amazing still, to have the capacity to analyze that machinery! That is a special thing, unprecedented in all of evolutionary history. Our ability to know about ourselves and the world is what makes us human.” He hands me the book and turns back to the computer. I look down at the worn cover and run my fingers along the edge of the pages. He makes the acquisition of knowledge feel like a secret, beautiful thing, and an ancient thing. I feel like, if I read this book, I can reach backward through all the generations of humanity to the very first one, whenever it was--that I can participate in something many times larger and older than myself. “Thank you,” I say, and it’s not for the book. It’s for giving something back to me, something I lost before I was able to really have it.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
A man surrounded by genetic damage cannot help but mimic it with his own behavior,” Zoe says. “Matthew, David wants to set up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss one of the serum developments. Last time Alan completely forgot about it, so I was wondering if you could escort him.” “Sure,” Matthew says without looking away from his computer. “I’ll get him to give me a time.” “Lovely. Well, I have to go--I hope that answered your question, Tris.” She smiles at me and slips out the door. I sit hunched, with my elbows on my knees. Marcus was Divergent--genetically pure, just like me. But I don’t accept that he was a bad person because he was surrounded by genetically damaged people. So was I. So was Uriah. So was my mother. But none of us lashed out at our loved ones. “Her argument has a few holes in it, doesn’t it,” says Matthew. He’s watching me from behind his desk, tapping his fingers on the arm of his chair. “Yeah,” I say. “Some of the people here want to blame genetic damage for everything,” he says. “It’s easier for them to accept than the truth, which is that they can’t know everything about people and why they act the way they do.” “Everyone has to blame something for the way the world is,” I say. “For my father it was the Erudite.” “I probably shouldn’t tell you that the Erudite were always my favorite, then,” Matthew says, smiling a little. “Really?” I straighten. “Why?” “I don’t know, I guess I agree with them. That if everyone would just keep learning about the world around them, they would have far fewer problems.” “I’ve been wary of them my whole life,” I say, resting my chin on my hand. “My father hated the Erudite, so I learned to hate them too, and everything they did with their time. Only now I’m thinking he was wrong. Or just…biased.” “About the Erudite or about learning?” I shrug. “Both. So many of the Erudite helped me when I didn’t ask them to.” Will, Fernando, Cara--all Erudite, all some of the best people I’ve known, however briefly. “They were so focused on making the world a better place.” I shake my head. “What Jeanine did has nothing to do with a thirst for knowledge leading to a thirst for power, like my father told me, and everything to do with her being terrified of how big the world is and how powerless that made her. Maybe it was the Dauntless who had it right.” “There’s an old phrase,” Matthew says. “Knowledge is power. Power to do evil, like Jeanine…or power to do good, like what we’re doing. Power itself is not evil. So knowledge itself is not evil.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
When Ray left the free world in 1986, a computer hard drive had filled an entire room. A mobile phone came with a battery the size of a suitcase and the founder of Facebook was two years old.
Angela Marsons (Evil Games (DI Kim Stone, #2))