Thursday, 25 December 2008

The Value of Brands

What are the real values of the brands that businesses spend so much to build? Do they have tangible values that can be bought and sold, or are they more closely tied to actual products so that they can disappear overnight if product quality diminishes?

In recent years there has been great focus on building brands and rating their values, but, like the sub-prime loan debacle, is this another case of assigning tenuous values to dubious qualities that could disappear overnight?

http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/hey-wait-minute/2008/12/22/whats-name-0?page=0,0

Friday, 19 December 2008

European Opposition to the US Auto "bridge loan"

European automakers seem to view the US governments "bridge loan" to US automakers as an unfair subsidy to bolster competitiveness.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Obesity Tax?

Interesting article by NY Governor David Paterson about childhood obesity. He wants to treat unhealthy food as any other consumable product and tax the hell out of it. yay for economics. How will food/beverage companies react? How will consumers, especially the poor, react?

I'm especially concerned given the current debate of nationalized health care. I fear that future health care costs in the US will be significantly higher than they are today because of our unhealthy eating habits, and I wonder if proponents of 'universal health care' have accounted for these additional costs? Should healthy tax payers fund the by-pass surgery of a citizen who knowingly eats unhealthy food?

In the current US insurance system, unhealthy citizens (ie, tobacco users) pay a higher insurance cost to compensate for the additional problems they will inevitably encounter.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

John Bird, Founder of the Big Issue

http://www.cambridgebusinesslectures.com/john-birds-talk-online/

Good talk on social entrepreneurship.

Obama's team of centrist rivals...

...Jim Jones, Hilary Clinton, Rahm Emmanuel, Eric Shinseki, Larry Summers, etc. Recipe for success or disaster? And does he risk losing the left wing of the democratic party?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Napoleon Dynamite Problem

Remember that PMP on prize money? This contest "has galvanized nerds around the world." Predicting human behavior...

Does the free market corrode moral character

Not sure if you've been following the 'big questions' conversation in The Economist and Foreign Affairs magazines, but the Templeton foundation will be hosting a webcast with 3 of the contributors on Wednesday, Dec 3 at 19:00 GMT.

www.templeton.org/market

About the Speakers

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor of economics and law at Columbia University, senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of In Defense of Globalization. He writes widely on public policy and international trade.

John Gray is emeritus professor at the London School of Economics. Among his recent books are False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (Granta) and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (Penguin).

Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French philosopher, has written more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller American Vertigo (2006) and, most recently, Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (2008), both published by Random House. www.bernard-henri-levy.com

Friday, 21 November 2008

Obama New Deal

Good article from a Cambridge Professor comparing and contrasting the situations inherited by FDR and Obama.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

And a bottle of rum...

Pirates going for the big time: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/27787397#27787397

Mercenary action: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27789400/

Send us your rum and women!: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/19/somalia.pirates.boomtown.ap/index.html

Is this nuts to anyone else? Some random (and admittedly not well formed) thoughts:

1) Naval officials the world over must be scrambling to redefine their doctrines to counter this threat
2) Goodbye nation-state, hello globalisation of security - Pirates operating out of a failed state, state-run navies helpless to intervene, and companies hiring mercenaries
3) What will this do to insurance rates on international shipping? And what will that do to world trade?
4) If this continues, can someone say 'military intervention in Africa'?
5) Piracy is widely supported by the African populace - they see only benefit and poetic justice from it. How might this relate to failed states that spawn terrorists?

Lots of Wonks...

Does Obama's new cabinet seem very tilted towards current or former congressmen to anyone besides me?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Auto Bailout?

Should the US government bail out US automakers?

Is the 21st Century Russia's Century?

The conventional wisdom says that the 20th century was America's century, while the 21st will belong to China, or perhaps India. To put forward a provocative thought, what if the 21st century sees a resurgence in Russian influence and way of doing things? Recent events make this more likely:

1) The financial crisis has precipitated the weakening of free market principles that formed the basis of the Western model of organising economies
2) Russia's variety of state supported capitalism has done better than some economies in dealing with the crisis, though it's still been hurt. Other countries are moving in the direction of this model.
3) The Russia natural resource base is huge and largely untapped, which will be an advantage as commodity prices remain generally high
4) Russia has great military power and has the will to use it (see: Georgia)
5) Russia has an expanding sphere of influence in China, Central Asia, and Europe since they control many vital energy transits and economic interests in those regions

Will this next century be Russia's? It is, of course, never that simple, but a case can be made that Russia will be a much bigger player in world politics in the next 100 years than their struggles in the last 20 years would seem to indicate.

Monday, 10 November 2008

What Clean Tech Boom?

Lots of people have been promoting a "Clean Tech Boom," likening it to the "Tech Boom" of the '90s. In his latest book, Thomas Friedman calls for investment in ET, Environmental Technology (a play on IT, Information Technology).

On the surface, it makes sense: Solve global warming while stimulating economic growth. Clean Tech is obviously an underdeveloped industry thanks to historically cheap fuel. While traditional, labor-intensive industry continues its migration off-shore, ET can thrive given western strengths of research and innovation.

But there is a HUGE difference between the IT boom and the proposed ET boom which is somehow being overlooked (despite being front page news): access to capital.

The IT boom was financed in the private sector by historic levels of liquidity. Will companies be able to invest in the R&D needed for a Clean Tech boom if banks aren't lending? Can governments drive a Clean Tech boom though other policy mechanisms?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Election Results

Now that the American people have elected Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the United States, does this change how you perceive the United States?

It seems like this guy thinks so...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Thoughts on the Consequences of a Clean Tech Boom

A common catch-phrase in US politics is the need to "free ourselves from a dependence on foreign oil." So for arguments sake, lets assume there is a boom in Clean Tech and a variety of alternatives become economically viable. Not only improvements in efficiency and cost, but also improvements in functionality making their uptake more attractive. I'm NOT suggesting government policy mandate, but legitimate free market uptake of alternatives.

If this is the case, is it possible that the price of oil will drop given a lack of demand? Or could OPEC increase production of oil to squash the uptake of cheaper alternatives?

So to answer Grant's earlier question, I think the eventual uptake of clean-tech technologies will fuel another economic boom (much like how steam power fueled the industrial revolution and cheap oil spurred growth in the 1900s). However, the more interesting question is what becomes of the current oil producing nations when oil can no longer fuel their growth given the decreased cashflow (from lower demand and/or lower prices). Will they become more stable or less stable? Could regional instability offset the economic boom experienced by the rest of the world (consider potential simultaneous conflicts in South America, the Middle East, and Africa)? Or will traditional oil nations invest HEAVILY in alternatives (rather than football teams and stock exchanges) to hedge against such a result?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Predict the Future, Win £1,000,000 (just kidding)!

One thing I've noticed is that after huge events like the current financial crisis, it's always easy to look back and say, "yea, I saw that one coming from a mile away". I'd like to apply this line of thinking to the future and see how good we really are. So I'd like to post a series of questions about the future for people to answer now (just use the comments feature and copy and paste the questions), and we can see how good we really are at predicting the future. Answer as many questions as you feel like. If nothing else, it's a fun way to think about future global scenarios and to get insight into how others are thinking about it.

What will the Dow Jones Industrial Average be in 6 months?
One year?
Five years?

Assuming the Democrats sweep the US Election, how long will they stay in power before screwing it all up?

What will the Dollar/Pound exchange rate be in one year?

When will the housing crisis be 'over' (defined as when cable news networks stop talking about it)?

Will there be a clean tech bubble similar to the IT bubble of the late 90s?

What is the next big 'hot' area of the global economy?

Will this be accompanied by a global boom similar to the 1990s?

Who will Russia or the US invade next? (joking, sort of)

Are we looking at a new cold war? Are there any prospects for continued collaboration and cooperation between the two former superpowers?

Is the term 'superpower' relevant any more?

When will China's GDP surpass the US (or EU) based on purchasing power
parity?

When will India's GDP surpass the US (or EU) based on purchasing power
parity?

Will there be a permanent shift away from concentrated political power in North America and Europe to concentrated power in Asia and South America in the coming years, or will the world be more balanced?

What will the price of oil be in 6 months?
1 year?
5 years?

When will we reach peak oil?

How much longer will gordon brown remain the prime minister?

Who will host the Olympics in 2016?

While this financial crisis precipitate a depression (10% or greater contraction in GDP) or just a recession?
And how long will it last?

Does the current crisis mean an end to globalisation and liberal markets on the western model?

Will there be a nuclear power renaissance? What about wind? Solar?

Will Iran liberalise?
What about Pakistan?

Will Afghanistan collapse (more than it already has), or will things get better?
What about Iraq?

What is the future of the Kyoto Protocol and its successors? Will China/US/India succumb to an emissions monitoring agreement?

During what year will you first be able to take a holiday cruise to the North Pole?

Starbucks and the Collapse

Starbucks, world economic interconnectedness, and the financial collapse

http://www.slate.com/id/2202707/

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Power of Powell's Endorsement

With just over 2 weeks until the US election, today's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama by retired General Colin Powell is perhaps the most significant revelation since the conclusion of the party primaries (I would argue even more so than the announcement of Vice Presidential running-mates in August).

While I cringe knowing this overly US-oriented post will validate many of your preconceptions of my overly self-interested nation, I thought you might enjoy some insight given the significant amount of coverage that our elections have warranted in many of your nations.

Colin Powell is regarded by many as the preeminent American soldier/politian. A well decorated soldier in Vietnam, Powell eventually became a 4-star general and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (ie, the highest military position achievable in the US). Powell served as National Security Advisor under Republican President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State during George W. Bush’s first administration. Given his highly visible and highly influential role in such republican administrations, his endorsement of a democratic nominee is unprecedented and is considered by many as a possible determining factor in the upcoming election.

Powell, an African American, has frequently been discussed as a possible presidential candidate himself as his distinguished military service and conservative views appeal to a majority of Americans. If you were to poll Americans up until late 2006 as to who could be the first African American president, Colin Powell would have been the unanimous choice (I am not exaggerating when I say 100% consensus with no second place, for at that time, Barack Obama was still a little known 2nd year senator and no other credible candidates had ever emerged). Powell’s possible candidacy was mentioned both in 1996 (against Bill Clinton who was seeking a second term) and again in 2001 (as a possible successor to George W. Bush following his appointment as Secretary of State). It has been reported that he chose not to seek the office of the presidency at the request of his wife, who feared for his safety after receiving hate mail—an unfortunate reality.

Powell resigned as Secretary of State following the revelation that many of his decisions regarding the invasion of Iraq were founded on unreliable information. On Sunday’s interview, he also acknowledged that there would not have been an invasion given more accurate evidence from the US intelligence community.

It is thought that an endorsement by Powell, a moderate conservative, will have significant sway with not only independent voters, but traditional republicans who feel alienated by the party’s recent shift to the extreme right. His endorsement was extremely well thought out and exhibited a keen understanding of issues—domestic and international, economic and militaristic, immediate and enduring. I can only hope that most Americans will agree with his well articulated opinions, not only regarding the outcome of this election, but the direction of the Republican Party and United States politics in general.

You can read and view the interview at a variety of news outlets. I highly recommend it.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27265369/

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Scientia potentia est

[I've copy-pasted a few articles below, for a bit of light reading. Also emailed it to a few of you - apologies for the repeat spam. 

Anyone see a trend?

Rahul. 

]



"Jeff [a guy at Google - RN] wanted people to start thinking of having very large scale systems of 10M machines split into 1k different locations and how these would deal with consistency, availability, latency, failure modes, and adaptively minimizing costs (especially power costs)."

[That's ten million machines, in case you missed it, at a thousand locations.]

[PLUS]


"On Monday, a group of major libraries that are participating in Google’s Library Project, said they are working together to create what amounts to a publicly accessible backup of the digital library that Google is creating. The project, which is called HathiTrust, includes libraries at 12 Midwestern universities like the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois, plus the 11 libraries of the University of California system. (Hathi is Hindi for “elephant,” an animal that is said to never forget.)"

[PLUS all the old stuff:]


New satellite to give Google Maps unprecedented resolution


The idea of floating data centers is hardly a new one, but Google looks like it might be set to take things a big step further than most, at least if one of its recent patent applications is any indication. Apparently, Google not only plans to take advantage of the sea water for a cooling system, but generate power for the floating platforms using so-called Pelamis Wave Energy Converters as well. 


Google to Digitize Newspaper Archives

Thursday, 11 September 2008

One of the much hyped Cambridge University start ups may actually succeed!

I saw this on cnn.com today...

http://techland.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/09/09/plastic-fantastic/

It details the efforts of one of the much talked about Cambridge University start ups this year, Plastic Logic, to get their e-reader to market. While I'm impressed that one of the companies that Tim Minshall mentioned about 10,000 times this year is actually moving forward, I have two questions about it:

1) Do you think that e-readers will succeed in their current dominant design form in the next 5 years in becoming a mass market product, given their lack of success in the last 10 years? Or will they end up in another form not yet envisioned, such as being subsumed into mobile phones, much as PDAs have been? What if Apple were to take their Macbook Air and slap the screen on the front to form a combined reader/laptop?

2) What will it take to give one of these devices mass market appeal? Will it require a device that looks and feels almost exactly like printed paper? Is cost the driving issue? Compatability? Unfamiliarity? Some combination of these?

Thursday, 21 August 2008

New Home

Howdy folks, I've settled into my newest home away from home and will be sending out periodic email updates. Let me know if you want in on my crazy adventures.

P.S. Computer privacy update.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Can government be imposed?

In last month's Foreign Affairs, Condoleezza Rice summarizes the successes, failures, and motivations behind the Bush administration's foreign policy. Rice is an exceptionally intelligent academic and dedicated public servant, thus I am surprised not by her acknowledgment of the idea that democracy cannot be imposed by a foreign power, but her subsequent dismissal of this point.

The idea that democracy cannot be imposed is not new. Machiavelli, arguably the first political scientist, discussed this issue at length in his Discourses. History has shown that successful democracies are manifested by the people (the most obvious example comes from the US and French Revolutions in which virtuous people seized democracy from tyranny). Rice acknowledges this point, in affect foreshadowing the ultimate failure of her previously outlined policy. However, she immediately dismisses this logical fallacy on the basis that that tyranny is more likely to be imposed. To me, this is an unrelated issue and does not justify her previously outlined strategy.

Considering that most of us come from democracies, I have two questions: Was your current government imposed by a foreign power? And if so, what else helped to facilitate its successful adoption (institutions, etc)?

Read the full text of her article at:
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080701faessay87401-p0/condoleezza-rice/rethinking-the-national-interest.html

Or read the passage in question:
"For the United States, promoting democratic development must remain a top priority. Indeed, there is no realistic alternative that we can -- or should -- offer to influence the peaceful evolution of weak and poorly governed states. The real question is not whether to pursue this course but how.

"We first need to recognize that democratic development is always possible but never fast or easy. This is because democracy is really the complex interplay of democratic practices and culture. In the experience of countless nations, ours especially, we see that culture is not destiny. Nations of every culture, race, religion, and level of development have embraced democracy and adapted it to their own circumstances and traditions. No cultural factor has yet been a stumbling block -- not German or Japanese "militarism," not "Asian values," not African "tribalism," not Latin America's alleged fondness for caudillos, not the once-purported preference of eastern Europeans for despotism.

"The fact is, few nations begin the democratic journey with a democratic culture. The vast majority create one over time -- through the hard, daily struggle to make good laws, build democratic institutions, tolerate differences, resolve them peacefully, and share power justly. Unfortunately, it is difficult to grow the habits of democracy in the controlled environment of authoritarianism, to have them ready and in place when tyranny is lifted. The process of democratization is likely to be messy and unsatisfactory, but it is absolutely necessary. Democracy, it is said, cannot be imposed, particularly by a foreign power. This is true but beside the point. It is more likely that tyranny has to be imposed."

Friday, 1 August 2008

US Border control can retain your laptop for an unspecified period of time.

"Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. [...] DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies -- which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens -- are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism."


"The policies state that officers may "detain" laptops "for a reasonable period of time" to "review and analyze information." This may take place "absent individualized suspicion."
The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080103030.html


I have two questions:


1) How can they not understand that data can pass their borders far more easily over network connections than on private laptops and CDs carried on planes?


2) Do they seriously expect to click on "Last Viewed Documents" and find "Terrorist_Attack_Plan.pdf"?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Technological Doping?

Controversy over swimsuits to be used in Olympics.

D'oh! for Doha

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7531099.stm

There are a lot of things going on here. Perhaps most striking is the rising confidence of developing nations, who don't want to be pushed around by the US and EU anymore. With the collapse of the Doha round, who are the biggest winners/losers?

Beyond that, do you think future economic stability and growth depend on global consensus? Or will a plethora of bilateral or regional agreements suffice?

I've got my own ideas, but I would like to hear from you guys first.

-Blake

Monday, 28 July 2008

World's Most Ethical Companies

The place where I interned over Easter holiday made the list.

Freakonomics

From the NY Times Freakonomics blog...

Really wishing I could pick your brain on this--what are the greatest lyrics of the 21st century?

Monday, 30 June 2008

U2, I Mean, YouTube Now Faces Political Speech Regulation in Brazil

Check this out - the story's covered at 463 blog - old post, but only just came across it. Preview:

I've said it before: The Internet has created the greatest generational divide since Rock 'n' Roll. This borderless divide has also proven that cultures of all stripes have the ability to enact profoundly counterproductive (and technically impossible) rules that increase the chasm between both sides.

http://463.blogs.com/the_463/2008/06/u2-i-mean-youtu.html

Patrick's point - keeping critical thinking alive

Hey -

Had a great conversation with Patrick today, who said something I know I agree with. He said that one of the best things he'd gotten out of Cambridge was the ability to think critically; and that leaving Cambridge could sometimes lead to a weakening (perhaps an atrophying?) of that ability. I know I sometimes wonder about the same thing.

Which is why this blog is such a great idea.

I think there are two reasons why we've been able to think critically (or more critically) this last year. First, our continuous engagement with the essays, assignments, term papers, theses - a whole bunch of tasks that force us to stretch out and think - helps keep the machinery degreased, so to speak. Second - and most important - this luxury we have of being able to bounce ideas off a lot of smart, clear-headed people, and in turn have ideas bounced off of us, has been really helpful. It's a huge bonus, something we may not always get when we leave Cambridge; and I think this is what I've really gotten from the discussions and conversations we've had in and out of class.

I think this blog helps with both. We're sharing brain fodder here, with the links and comments we post. If we can get (and keep) our discussions going on in here, we'll keep our brains exercised - and our edge sharp.

I'm glad this thing has been set up!

Just a thought.

Monday, 9 June 2008

ID cards are the ultimate identity theft

From
March 7, 2008

Computer systems always fail - and the national database will do so big time

The ID card project is still on track - more or less. Jacqui Smith is just the latest in a long line of Home Office ministers to sell us the benefits of ID cards, while casually informing us of the latest rise in costs or slippage in its implementation schedule. Ms Smith is also yet another Home Secretary who subscribes to the “pixie dust” school of technology: computation is a magic substance to be sprinkled over problems, that, hey presto, then vanish. Little wonder that Britain has an appalling record in government IT projects.

The ID project is one of the biggest computer systems envisaged - far more complex than the failing NHS system. And it's another disaster waiting to happen. Still the politicians naively claim there will be no problems: it will be totally secure because of biometrics. Apparently iris scans, fingerprints, face-recognition software will all work perfectly, be amazingly cheap to implement - and all foolproof. It must be true, as they've been told this by those selling the technology. Baroness Anelay of St Johns, with a group of parliamentarians, was once given a demonstration of a facial recognition system. It failed; indeed the system subsequently crashed, twice. The reason? The baroness was told her face was “too bland”.

The only property that all systems have in common is that they fail. And the bigger the system - 60 million entries on a compulsory ID card database - the greater the opportunity of failure. Systems are much like any life form: they degrade over time, they entropy. In the case of databases, the pick up errors and then build data error upon error. The DVLA in Swansea in 2006, for instance, admitted that a third of entries contained at least one error, and that the proportion was getting worse.

We've all had encounters with computer systems that get it wrong. Barclays once refused one of my transactions because they said I was accessing an account owned by a teenage girl named Ian Angell, who lived at my address and was a professor at LSE. I still had to take a morning off work to explain that a 14-year-old couldn't own an account that, according to their own records, had been open for 35 years.

And however scrupulous the managers might be, errors leak and take on a life of their own. They are sampled by other databases, known as “farming”: errors, even when corrected in the original database, live on elsewhere.

But the ID project will be different, we are told. According to the rhetoric, an ID card, one central point of reference, will be so much more efficient and beneficial than you having to prove your identity daily, by producing driving licences, gas bills and so on. Its proponents fail to see that if any of these documents is erroneous, then we don't use the one with, say, a mistake in the address to prove our identity. With the ID card, we won't have the choice. Even if the card is not compulsory, all financial systems will converge on it, and anyone without a card faces great cost and inconvenience. Just like Oyster cards on the London Underground, you're not forced, but it's so much more expensive and tiresome without one.

However, the ID card itself isn't the real problem: it's the ID register. There, each entry will eventually take on a legal status. In time, all other proofs of identity will refer back to the one entry. If the register is wrong - and remember fallible human hands will at some stage have to handle your personal information - then all other databases will be wrong too. Given the propensity of officialdom to trust the details on their computer screen, rather than the person in front of them, you will have to conform to your entry in the register - or become a non-person.

In effect, your identity won't reside in the living flesh and blood of you, but in the database. You will be separated from your identity; you will no longer own it. All your property and money will de facto belong to the database entry. You only have access to your property with the permission of the database. Paradoxically, you only agreed to register to protect yourself from “identity theft”, and instead you find yourself victim of the ultimate identity theft - the total loss of control over your identity.

Errors won't just happen by accident. It's possible to imagine that workers on the ID database will be corrupted, threatened or blackmailed into creating perfectly legal ID cards for international terrorists and criminals. Then the ID card, far from eliminating problems, will be a one-stop shop for identity fraud; foreign terrorists, illegal immigrants will be waived past all immigration checks.

At a recent Ditchley Park conference on combating organised crime, a persistent warning from the law enforcement authorities was that criminal gangs had placed “sleepers” in financial sector companies, and they were just waiting for the one big hit. The perpetrators of 80 per cent of all computer security lapses are not hackers, but employees. Cryptographic systems don't help if the criminal has been given the keys to the kingdom. Why should the ID centre be immune, especially when there will be nearly 300 government departments logging in. Furthermore, the register will be the No 1 target for every hacker on the planet: the Olympic Games of hacking.

So why is the Goverment so keen to force ID cards on us? Is it because ministers are control freaks who, having read 1984, only saw it as a wishlist. John Lennon may have been right: “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs.” More likely, ministers have been dazzled by the myth of the perfectibility of computers.

Ian Angell is Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

What Does It Mean to Be Human?

And this _is_ a technology policy question - check this out:

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/06/what-does-it-me.html

Superb article at Wired - basically, they got a whole bunch of scientists/anthropologists/other smart people together, and had them comment on it. What's cool - are the people they've got on the panel:

Marvin Minsky, artificial intelligence pioneer
Daniel Dennett, cognitive scientist
Renee Reijo Pera, embryologist
Patricia Churchland, neuroethicist (see why I said it's a policy topic?)
Nikolas Rose, sociologist
Ian Tattersall, anthropologist

etc etc.

Don't be lazy - just click on the link.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Sensible Units

This is very useful - something that allows you to find your measurements in sensible units, like height in elephants or length in football fields: http://www.sensibleunits.com/

Shout out from Morocco

Who's excited about this blog!?!? I'M EXCITED ABOUT THIS BLOG! :)

I'm reporting live from Morocco's Hollywood, Ouarzazate, where of recent fame Gladiator and Babel were filmed. We took a tour of the Atlas Studios here and it was a fun behind the scenes look at how movies are made. Tomorrow we're off to camp out in the Sahara for a night. Transport=camel.

I was gutted I couldn't make it out to the noon celebration on Monday, but I enjoyed looking through the pictorial highlights from Facebook. Miss you all and in case you are missing West Virginia mentions...check out what Dick Cheney recently had to say about the Mountain State that is causing a stir.

Oh and here's a snippet of a fun bus conversation between my lovely travel companions and me that I now pass on to you: If you had 5 days at 5 star accomodation anywhere in the world where would you go?

Ceremonial First Post

Welcome to the Technology Policy 2007/2008 Alumni Blog. We’re all heading off to employment (or unemployment, as the case may be), but this will be a way to keep in touch and keep all those random corridor conversations going. The name of the blog, “I have Two Questions” was, of course, inspired by Rahul. I think I learned more from his questions than I did from the lectures themselves.

The name of the blog says it all. Feel free to post or reply to any topic that interests you, and try to end each post with a couple questions that other people can think or write about. If you read an interesting article, share it. If you want to get opinions on a concept or idea, throw it up on the blog for everyone to read. No word limits or grading or any other TP1 garbage, but short and light posts are welcome. We also reserve the right to laugh at you if you post something really stupid…such as mentioning West Virginia.