Google rolled out quite a few changes across a number of products today, one of my favorite being their Web Fonts Collection (which are used on this site). Another area that was updated was their home page. Now, in place of a white menu bar across the top, we get to see a black menu bar. This completely clashed with the rest of the white screen millions of people have used for the last decade, and forced me to take some drastic measures.
Andrei Finkelstein, one of Russia's top astronomers, believes that humans will encounter, in some way, civilizations from another planet in the next two decades. Considering how we've yet to find any signs of life elsewhere in our solar system, many are wondering whether there is more fiction in this man's science than the science itself. Regardless of whether we find conclusive evidence for intelligence outside of our sphere of knowledge in the near future or not, I do believe humans will one day encounter a previously unknown species with intelligence greater than our own ... though it may not be as distant as we think.
Many people believe humans have stopped evolving since reaching the top of the food chain and conquering much of the world. Whether this is true or not, one thing that is becoming apparent is our ability to integrate once unimaginable technology into our lives. There are a number of machines that can interface directly with our brain, eyes, nervous system, and other muscles. It may only be a matter of time before the next "must have" piece of technology for the general public includes this type of feature.
Canadians generally don't know very much about the great moments in the history of their nation, but one thing most of us do know is a simple four-word line uttered by a patient of Dr. Wilder Penfield as she lay on a surgical table, brain exposed to the world. I was reminded of this line earlier today on Twitter by a fellow Canadian, which triggered an ancient memory on how most of us learned this reference: the Historica Heritage Minutes.
Since leaving Ontario many years ago, staying in touch with family has always seemed like a one-way street. I have to reach out and make the effort to stay in touch, otherwise entire years can pass without so much as a word coming from the other side. Since moving to Japan, the situation has become worse.
Though it sounds strange to say, not owning a web-connected mobile phone may be in our best interests. It seems that not a week goes by where someone we know has picked up a smart phone, be it their first or tenth, and are genuinely excited by all of the web-enabled applications and tools they can use to keep in touch with people while out and about. Humans are a social species and, as such, being able to socialize with people plays a key role in our psychological well being. Unfortunately, this could also be our undoing. Our ability to use technology to extend and enhance our view of the world, this same technology can distract us from our surroundings.
Oddly enough, our extended and enhanced view of the world comes from the palm of our hand and, like a drug, it commands our absolute attention. Not a week goes by where we don't hear of a person who lost their life while texting and driving. Cyclists are hit either by distracted drivers, or are themselves distracted while staring at the screen of some electronic device. Pedestrians, who often distract themselves from the noisy outside world with even noisier music blaring from headphones, are walking through crowds and across streets with their focus fixed on a shiny screen displaying real-time updates of what their friends are doing, seeing, hearing, watching, and saying.
Wonder how many of these 296 followers are real people. There is no way anyone would want to see dozens to tweets per minute from this account filling up their timeline ...
Over the last five years I've written a great deal on the importance of backups as well as my ever-growing home NAS. While most people will likely not need to have 25TB of data at home in the foreseeable future, it is becoming very clear to many that families need to have a central place to store music, pictures, movies, and anything else they may want to hold onto for extended periods of time. On top of this, many people use notebook computers which are far more likely to be stolen, lost, or broken than their desktop components.