The Societal Cost of Computer Science

(I’ve been sitting on this post about abstraction, indirection, and disintermediation for nearly a year, figuring I’d flesh out the argument into a long post with numerous examples; Greer’s post tonight is on a similar topic, so I decided I might as well post it as is.) It’s often said as a joke among computer … Continue Reading

Observations and Questions

For some time I’ve been accumulating observations and questions on a variety of topics but have felt the need to have, for the former, deep analysis, and for the latter, answers. I don’t have much in the way of either, but I’d like to share them nevertheless. Cause and Effect. Is technological progress driving prosperity, … Continue Reading

The Decline of Falsifiability

Recently there has been much discussion and debate on the revelations of government surveillance programs. While I think the specifics of those revelations, and the debate around them, are interesting in themselves, I think the manner in which the debate is happening points to a deeper issue that our society is facing that I haven’t … Continue Reading

Networking for Undeveloping Regions

I wrote the short position paper below, with a bit of help from a colleague, for an academic audience, but never published it. Today I was thinking about it and realized that it synthesizes some of my thinking on computing and economic trends. For the last decade there has been an active area of computing … Continue Reading

Programmable Permaculture

There’s a cultural phenomenon, one that has been growing for the past decade, of hobbyist hackers exemplified by Make Magazine and TechShop. These hackers want to have the experience of building something in the physical world while still applying the tools and techniques of computing. With the rise of open hardware platforms like Arduino—even whole … Continue Reading

Internet vs. Travel

A few months back, I was asked the following question via email: I am trying to find out how much power will be used, both in my home and on the systems computer hubs, if I were to use Skype for and hour and a half to people who live 20 miles away. Is it … Continue Reading

A Singul(arity) Track Mind

I like reading things that I think I’ll disagree with. I just borrowed one such book from the library—Peter Diamandis’s Abundance. His book has gotten a fair bit of traction in the mainstream and technology press, and more than that Diamandis seemed to be one of the few techno-centric authors willing to at least attempt … Continue Reading

Computing in the Long Emergency, part 2

I recently learned about a (so-called) international development project taking place in Niger. People in a region of the country have been suffering from malnutrition and outright hunger due to periodic drought-induced crop failures. To help respond to this humanitarian crisis, an NGO that was providing food aid to the region partnered with some researchers … Continue Reading