Ordinary Russians are using the Internet to come together about issues that concern them instead of having everything run from the center. It’s a small measure of the growth of civil society but good to see.
These videos provide a glimpse of the fascinating mind of Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th Century. If you enjoy them, I recommend you get hold of Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman
"…Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature. It’s the process of looking at a leaf and trying to figure out how to make a better solar cell.
Biomimicry has been going on for a long time. Think about the Wright brothers looking at turkey vultures to learn about drag and lift in flight.
Now biomimicry is becoming one of the ways that engineers, product designers, and architects do their work. It’s mainly because people are looking for more sustainable ways to do things—to sip energy instead of guzzle it, to save materials, to do things in less toxic ways.
Organisms know how to do these things. After 3.8 billion years, life has learned what works and what’s appropriate on the planet. And that’s what the people trying to redesign our world are looking for—so we can live here in a way that enhances this place….”
"The latest edition of Real Time featured one of Bill Maher’s patented balance things out with three Republicans and a Democrat panels, but the Democrat was Alan Grayson. While P.J. fellow panelist P.J. O’Rourke broke out his bathing and hippie jokes, former Rep. Grayson schooled him on Occupy Wall Street."
Aren’t they tired of the bathing and hippie jokes yet? That’s so Ann Coulter!
"…There’s some good food for thought for news organizations in those findings. If you want user contributions, build platforms that are familiar and easy. Lower the barriers to participation; focus on helping users to understand what you want from them rather than on dazzling them. Though gamification — with incentives that encourage certain user behaviors, complete with individual rewards (badges! titles! mayors!) — certainly has a role to play in the new news ecosystem, Hill’s findings suggest that the inverse of game dynamics can be a powerful force, as well. His research highlights the value of platforms that invite rather than challenge — and the validity of contributions made for the collective good rather than the individual…."
Important ideas, as collaborative models can only become more and more common as technology improves.
"…If you look at a list of US cities sorted by population, the number of successful startups per capita varies by orders of magnitude. Somehow it’s as if most places were sprayed with startupicide.
I wondered about this for years. I could see the average town was like a roach motel for startup ambitions: smart, ambitious people went in, but no startups came out. But I was never able to figure out exactly what happened inside the motel—exactly what was killing all the potential startups. 
A couple weeks ago I finally figured it out. I was framing the question wrong. The problem is not that most towns kill startups. It’s that death is the default for startups, and most towns don’t save them. Instead of thinking of most places as being sprayed with startupicide, it’s more accurate to think of startups as all being poisoned, and a few places being sprayed with the antidote.
Startups in other places are just doing what startups naturally do: fail. The real question is, what’s saving startups in places like Silicon Valley? …”
"…Our songs are the music of futility, nihilism, despair—not the music of love, beauty, and truth. Our books are sets of instructions—to help us execute our function without breaking and fracturing mentally, physically, socially, emotionally. Our lives aren’t lived—they’re programmed, compiled, scheduled, bulleted, recorded. Orphaned by the human world, adrift on the open ocean—sometimes we bump into each other, and see the terror and confusion of remorseless obligation in each others’ eyes…."
This is for people who are younger than me. You ought to be good and mad.
Be nice if they’re right about this. I’m pretty gloomy about the future, but I certainly know better than to count out radical, unexpected technological solutions to at least some of our resource and climate problems.
The real problem is that the incentives are all wrong for the kind of innovation - scientific, technological, and financial - that needs to be supported.