Category Archives: Uncategorized

Charon 40 Years Ago and Today

Pluto’s moon Charon (technically a binary partner) was first discovered 40 years ago, on June 22, 1978, by U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer James Christy.  Like Pluto, it was known only as a blurry smudge until the New Horizons flyby in 2015. … Continue reading

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In the long run the winning company in any industry will be the best software company

The recent blowout financial results from the FANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) reminded me of Marc Andreessen’s bold prediction about software companies.  Seems more and more relevant with every passing quarter: 1) Every product or service that can become software … Continue reading

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Most visitors to a place are those who live nearby, and those who visit rarely.

Think about that for a moment.  Certainly fits with what most city downtowns are like — swarms of both tourists (rare visitors) and the people who work (or live) there.  Empirically the number of visitors scales inversely as the square of … Continue reading

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2017.05.08

Why Do Gas Station Prices Constantly Change? Blame the Algorithm.  Retailers are using artificial-intelligence software to set optimal prices on thousands of items a day, sometimes as often as every hour. Watch This Robot 3D Print a Building Out of Spray Foam.   … Continue reading

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2017.02.17

DESIGNER DRUGS, MICRO ROBOTS, DEEP SPACE MISSIONS.  The Origami Revolution. THE OPEN DATA SCIENCE CONFERENCE is coming to Boston on May 3.  

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If a Driverless Car Goes Bad, We May Never Know Why

Will Knight comments on how the recent Tesla autopilot crash highlights that  the increasing complexity of modern AI systems potentially outstrips our ability to comprehend them: Tesla hasn’t disclosed precisely how Autopilot works. But machine learning techniques are increasingly used to train automotive systems, … Continue reading

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New data and commentary on clinical research productivity

From BIO (a biotech trade organization), new data shows that over all trials, the 2006-2015 clinical development success rate was only 9.6% for phase I through approval.  Some disease areas have had better luck than others, but overall the report is a … Continue reading

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The Economy is not a car, and fiscal stimulus is not a gas pedal

Great observations from Arnold Kling, promoting his new ebook, Specialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to Economics. I don’t buy into everything Arnold writes, but I do agree that there are problems with the paradigm of macroeconomists treating the economy like a homogenous GDP factory … Continue reading

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The knowledge economy is a myth. We don’t need more universities to feed it | Andre Spicer

Interesting take on the somewhat overhyped knowledge economy.  It’s a pretty accurate assesment in terms of the types of jobs we have in the economy (even in the 21st century) — but it neglects that fact that knowledge management and data analytics … Continue reading

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SpaceX plans a reusable booster landing test …

… on Saturday.  If all goes well, the SpaceX booster will land on a sea-based autonomous landing platform built from deep sea drilling rig components!

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