When the machine is connected to an expanded online catalog of titles later this year, Morrow said, the bookstore will be able to offer customers an “ATM for books’’ that will provide access to millions of works.“The idea is that soon we’ll be able to print out any book that’s ever been printed,’’ he said. “That could really change people’s image of the small bookstore.’’...In its first year, Northshire’s book machine printed dozens of original books by customers, including memoirs, autobiographies, poetry collections, and cookbooks, usually producing from 30 to 50 copies of each. The bookstore also published a young adult novel written by a local 12-year-old and a previously out-of-print guide to Manchester.Self-publishers pay a $49 setup fee and a per-page rate that ranges from 5 to 9 cents, depending on the length. Northshire provides an a la carte menu of editorial and design services from a network of providers. Copy editing costs 1 cent per word; book design services, $40 an hour....Rodefeld, a former graphic designer who works at a tiny desk next to the Espresso machine, produces up to 35 books a day. “It’s exciting to see an author’s face when I hand them the first book off the press,’’ she said. “To see the dream, the fantasy, become a reality - that really tickles me. I get to be Santa Claus all the time here.’’...The numbers at Northshire Bookstore, Morrow said, are “on the cusp’’ of working out. The big payoff will come, he said, when the Espresso machine is seamlessly connected to the entire universe of books, allowing the store to fulfill any request in minutes.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Great story! Probably apocryphal, but the kind of story I want to believe because I love the man so much.
Monday, June 29, 2009
I gotta stop this, else I'll end up posting every dang video of Feynman here. What an incredible teacher! He breathed such life and color and intensity into every little idea about the universe. He must have received a standing ovation at the end of each of his lectures.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
With a nod to Daniel Pink where I found this video. Very, very neat -- especially the leftover box at the end. Just when you thought there no more innovation possible in this most minimal of designs comes this redesign which requires no additional material or even a significant change in the manufacturing process. And yet avoids using additional material to wrap any leftovers. Leftover box takes little room in a refrigerator. This is pure genius.
Posted by Murli N at 6/28/2009 09:15:00 PM
To be honest, I never was one of your fans. And yes, over the last decade or two, whatever fame and adulation you may have garnered, was overshadowed -- with considerable support from a rapacious media -- by your eccentricities, of you which you had more than your fair share.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Every now and then a monumental event occurs, or a seemingly innocuous innovation enters human society which then dramatically alters its configuration, power structure, processes, communication and a whole lot else. It's hard to tell after the passage of many years how dramatic the impact was, but we live in a time when many such events occur.
The impact of the world wide web has not only been well-researched, it has been experienced all over the world. The web caused a very rapid, nearly discontinuous change in the way the peoples of the world generate exchange and absorb information. Many predictions about the world made before 1990 are practically worthless -- or change happened much, much earlier than may have been anticipated.
The digitization of music followed by the infrastructure to stream it over the web electronically without the need for permanent recording media like tapes, vinyl records or CDs has rendered the music publishing industry in its current form virtually superfluous. And the same impact is beginning to be felt in the book publishing business -- ironically, after, rather than before the music business, although text and graphics were available on the net much before music was.
And now, the Apple iPhone. According to one report, within a week of the introduction of the iPhone GS which is capable of recording video, there has been an incredible 400% surge in YouTube video uploads. Why? The iPhone makes it trivial not only to record, but also to edit and directly upload video from the phone, eliminating the intermediate step of transferring video to a computer, editing it there, and uploading it.
Again and again we see that one of the most common ways in which innovations transforming existing structures and processes is by eliminating intermediaries or intermediate steps. Telephones, email, personal vehicles, personal computers, TV ...
Forecasting is a chancy game in these times; most forecasters end up looking foolish, eventually. Who knew how popular was Michael Jackson? His untimely death is almost bringing down the internet with people communicating their grief, sharing stories and songs and celebrating his life.
Posted by Murli N at 6/26/2009 11:39:00 PM
Thursday, June 25, 2009
You'd think success, even middle age, or Total Market Dominance -- or something -- would transform Microsoft. No such luck. The company that ripped off DOS (CP/M), Windows (Mac), Powerpoint (Persuasion), Internet Explorer (Mosaic), NT (VMS), and an almost endless list of technologies now rips off a small travel site called Kayak via its 'new/improved' Bing search engine. Take a look at the picture above and decide for yourself. And read the story too.
More than two decades ago when I was in graduate school, pursuing a PhD, I nervously carried a draft proposal of a topic that really excited me to a faculty member whom I looked upon as a potential dissertation advisor. A European with a reasonable command of English she was reputed to be sharp, cold, curt, and fastidious. She was all that and more. She spent no more than about ten minutes with me (she was extremely organized) and during that span, she browsed through my apology for a topic analysis, marked it all over in red ink, and left deep long gashes in it. With each stroke of her pen, my enthusiasm dropped several feet, and by the time I left it must have gone right through the ground and emerged from the other side of the earth. I don't recollect anything she scribbled on the paper other than the following words: "you are scatterbrained".
These sudden insights, they found, are the culmination of an intense and complex series of brain states that require more neural resources than methodical reasoning. People who solve problems through insight generate different patterns of brain waves than those who solve problems analytically. "Your brain is really working quite hard before this moment of insight," says psychologist Mark Wheeler at the University of Pittsburgh. "There is a lot going on behind the scenes."
In fact, our brain may be most actively engaged when our mind is wandering and we've actually lost track of our thoughts, a new brain-scanning study suggests. "Solving a problem with insight is fundamentally different from solving a problem analytically," Dr. Kounios says. "There really are different brain mechanisms involved."
By most measures, we spend about a third of our time daydreaming, yet our brain is unusually active during these seemingly idle moments. Left to its own devices, our brain activates several areas associated with complex problem solving, which researchers had previously assumed were dormant during daydreams. Moreover, it appears to be the only time these areas work in unison."People assumed that when your mind wandered it was empty," says cognitive neuroscientist Kalina Christoff at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who reported the findings last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As measured by brain activity, however, "mind wandering is a much more active state than we ever imagined, much more active than during reasoning with a complex problem."
Apparently, people -- if you can call those over 35 that -- don't want to eat pizza anymore. At least, not the kind of junk served at Pizza Hut. This has the corporation's mandarins worried. They sat around a swank table and exclaimed, 'Holy crap, they don't want to eat junk anymore?! I wonder why?!' So they went and asked them (the 35-and-up geezers). And they said (and I quote):
one of the big things that would reignite their passion with the category is to have a pizza made with multigrain crust and an all natural tomato sauce...
... that ties in nicely with (today's) texting generation.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Twenty-five years ago, before we had Azim Premji and Narayanamurthy to inspire us; before Abdul Kalam fired our imaginations and became a household name; there was Sam Pitroda to provide leadership in advanced technologies to an emergent India. Pitroda grew up in a humble Gujarati family in Orissa and after moving to the US, made it big as an telecom entrepreneur, eventually becoming a US citizen. He was invited by then newly anointed Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to help navigate India into the 21st century on a technology platform. Pitroda was reputed to have turned in his US citizenship in order to serve as an advisor to Rajiv Gandhi.
Who would you vote to lead the corporations of the present into the future: suits who network with their peers at a country club, nursing a glass of Scotch, or folks in jeans (or even or suit, maybe?) connecting across the globe through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, wikis, etc.)? Okay, my bias is showing here, but so what? And granted, it takes a whole lot more than being social media savvy to run a company -- today. Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems, has had a blog for years, dang it, and yet couldn't do better than sell out to Oracle. Then again, maybe he was so savvy, he sold out, and that was the best thing anyone could have done in the prevailing circumstances.
- Only two CEOs have Twitter accounts.
- 13 CEOs have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than 10 connections.
- 81% of CEOs don't have a personal Facebook page.
- Three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information.
- Not one Fortune 100 CEO has a blog.
Wikipedia had the highest level of engagement among the Fortune 100 CEOs, yet 28% of those entries had incorrect titles, missing information or lacked sources.
Reports coming in from across the web suggest that Palm's Pre smartphone is an outstanding device, and in many ways superior (slider keyboard, wireless charging, camera flash, background applications, web integration, removable battery, and slick, gesture-based user interface) to Apple's iPhone. While Apple's newly introduced iPhone 3GS ups the ante, there are sufficient reasons for people to stick with the iPhone. Back in the day, Apple's Macintosh, introduced in 1984, attracted a loyal following but the bulk of the market was owned by far inferior IBM/Microsoft PC, mainly for two reason: the lower price, and the availability of many applications.
If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth–and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.
"The products suck! There's no sex in them anymore!"-- On Gil Amelio's lackluster reign, in BusinessWeek, July 1997
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Life itself is a chancy thing, but like love, the pursuit of innovation, is among the most fickle and heartbreaking means to spend one's time on earth. And just as nobody ought to fall in love for any reason but to love, it is wise never to consider innovating unless the process of innovation is itself intrinsically appealing and satisfying to the heart. Whatever comes out of the process ought to be treated as a bonus.
America had been inspired by President Kennedy's wish, announced in 1961, of "achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth." After his assassination in 1963, the idea became a homage to him, a way of showing the world what the United States would have achieved had he lived. Within days of the Apollo 11 astronauts' safe return to Earth, someone put a message on Kennedy's grave: "Mr President, the Eagle has landed." Job done, in other words.
It was also an extraordinarily expensive project, it should be noted. The entire Apollo programme cost $24bn in 1960s money - around $1 trillion in today's - and for several years was swallowing up almost 5 per cent of the US federal budget. In addition, there was also a considerable emotional cost to the missions, a point stressed by Christopher Riley, co-producer of the 2007 documentary In the Shadow of the Moon. "A great many Americans suffered premature heart attacks and strokes from their efforts in making the Apollo project succeed. More than 400,000 workers were employed by private contractors to build capsules, rocket engines, space suits, and computers for Apollo and the vast majority worked flat out, over weekends and holidays, much of the time for free, for several years to make sure the programme succeeded."For example, at the Grumman factory in New Jersey, where the lunar module was built, staff would clock off at 5pm, leave by the front door, walk round to the back and work for free until midnight. Similarly, employees at the International Latex Corporation - which made the suits worn by the Apollo astronauts - worked with equally obsessive intensity. In a recent documentary, the company's senior seamstress, Eleanor Foraker, recalled working 80-hour weeks without days off or holidays for three continuous years, suffering two nervous breakdowns in the process. "I would leave the plant at five o'clock in the morning and be back by seven. But it was worth it, it really was."
In the end, the real problem for Nasa is that it did the hardest thing first. Kennedy's pledge to fly to the moon within a decade was made when its astronauts had clocked up exactly 20 minutes' experience of manned spaceflight. "We wondered what the heck he was talking about," recalls Nasa flight director Gene Kranz. To get there before the Russians the agency was obliged to design craft that were highly specific to the task. Hence the Saturn V, the Apollo capsule and the lunar module. Unfortunately, these vehicles were fairly useless at anything else in space - such as building a space station - and Nasa, having nearly broken the bank with Apollo, had to start again on budgets that dwindled dramatically as the decades passed.
The conclusion is therefore inescapable. Kennedy's great vision and Armstrong's lunar footsteps killed off deep-space manned missions for 40 years - and probably for many decades to come. As DeGroot says: "Hubris took America to the moon, a barren, soulless place where humans do not belong and cannot flourish. If the voyage has had any positive benefit at all, it has reminded us that everything good resides here on Earth."
Blu-ray will doubtlessly continue to grow in popularity as more of us buy large HD-capable flat screen televisions. In the same vein, it’ll continue to make inroads in computing and video gaming markets. But it’s a case of too little, too late, as long-term trends point to a slower uptake than DVDs ever had. When we can simply download a good-enough copy of a movie from iTunes and save it to a USB drive or mobile device for viewing pretty much anywhere, why would we even bother with a power-hungry, noisy, expensive and frankly inconvenient disc in the first place?By the time most consumers have asked themselves this question, the answer will already be in: Optical discs are a fading technology, and investing in them now could be a shorter-term move than you might have initially anticipated.
At least to me, the word 'government' brings up images of decrepit offices, musty files, endless ennui, inefficiency, corruption, obdurate stupidity, rule-oriented behavior, ... a long list of negatives Certainly nothing remotely redolent of innovation. If anything, one would imagine government departments and officials more than likely to destroy any innovation or creativity that is taking place, running all over it like a blind and drunken elephant.
- Small and flexible: DARPA has only about 140 technical professionals; some have referred to DARPA as “100 geniuses connected by a travel agent.”
- Flat organization: DARPA avoids hierarchy, essentially operating at only two management levels to ensure the free and rapid flow of information and ideas, and rapid decision-making.
- Autonomy and freedom from bureaucratic impediments: DARPA has an exemption from Title V civilian personnel specifications, which provides for a direct hiring authority to hire talent with the expediency not allowed by the standard civil service process.
- Eclectic, world-class technical staff and performers: DARPA seeks great talent and ideas from industry, universities, government laboratories, and individuals, mixing disciplines and theoretical and experimental strengths. DARPA neither owns nor operates any laboratories or facilities, and the overwhelming majority of the research it sponsors is done in industry and universities. Very little of DARPA’s research is performed at government labs.
- Teams and networks: At its very best, DARPA creates and sustains great teams of researchers from different disciplines that collaborate and share in the teams’ advances.
- Hiring continuity and change: DARPA’s technical staff is hired or assigned for four to six years. Like any strong organization, DARPA mixes experience and change. It retains a base of experienced experts – its Office Directors and support staff – who are knowledgeable about DoD. The staff is rotated to ensure fresh thinking and perspectives, and to have room to bring technical staff from new areas into DARPA. It also allows the program managers to be bold and not fear failure.
- Project-based assignments organized around a challenge model: DARPA organizes a significant part of its portfolio around specific technology challenges. It foresees new innovation-based capabilities and then works back to the fundamental breakthroughs required to make them possible. Although individual projects typically last three to five years, major technological challenges may be addressed over longer time periods, ensuring patient investment on a series of focused steps and keeping teams together for ongoing collaboration. Continued funding for DARPA projects is based on passing specific milestones, sometimes called “go/no-go’s.”
- Outsourced support personnel: DARPA extensively leverages technical, contracting, and administrative services from other DoD agencies and branches of the military. This provides DARPA the flexibility to get into and out of an area without the burden of sustaining staff, while building cooperative alliances with its “agents.” These outside agents help create a constituency in their respective organizations for adopting the technology.
- Outstanding program managers: The best DARPA program managers have always been freewheeling zealots in pursuit of their goals. The Director’s most important task is to recruit and hire very creative people with big ideas, and empower them.
- Acceptance of failure: DARPA pursues breakthrough opportunities and is very tolerant of technical failure if the payoff from success will be great enough.
- Orientation to revolutionary breakthroughs in a connected approach: DARPA historically has focused not on incremental but radical innovation. It emphasizes high-risk investment, moves from fundamental technological advances to prototyping, and then hands off the system development and production to the military services or the commercial sector.
- Mix of connected collaborators: DARPA typically builds strong teams and networks of collaborators, bringing in a range of technical expertise and applicable disciplines, and involving university researchers and technology firms that are often not significant defense contractors or beltway consultants.
But governments are increasingly wading into the innovation game, declaring innovation agendas and appointing senior innovation officials. The impetus comes from two fronts: daunting challenges in fields like energy, the environment and health care that require collaboration between the public and private sectors; and shortcomings of traditional economic development and industrial policies.
“If you make something for the rich, the poor cannot afford it,” Mr. Mashelkar said. “But if you design for the poor, everyone can afford it.”
- How can innovation be fostered most effectively at a societal level (country, region, city)?
- How can innovation be harnessed to address complex global challenges, and how should innovation stewardship work at a global level?
- How can international collaboration and alignment be encouraged in explosively growing new areas of scientific, technological and human design innovation, such as cleantech, nanotechnology and others?
- Supporting the emergence of a network of significant innovation leaders with the influence to provide a meaningful stewardship function for innovation at national and international levels.
- Developing agenda-setting intellectual capital that defines large-scale innovation and leads to the development of meaningful tools and best practices.
- Creating high quality learning experiences relevant to the next generation of innovation leaders.
- Underwriting research that documents the emerging global innovation economy, key innovation flows as well as new competitive dynamics and opportunities.
The U.S. Government created a requirement that by 2020, the majority of cars sold here must get at least 35 miles per gallon. This requires a big commitment on the part of auto makers and so the Energy Department was authorized last year to lend $25 billion dollars. The first round of financing is expected to be announced today with Ford, Nissan, and Tesla getting all getting a sizable chunk during this first round. GM and Chrysler both wanted a bunch of money too, but neither fit the criteria of being a “financial viable” so they were disqualified for this first round.
In the evolutionary timeline of exchange of goods and services, barter is the grandmommy of them all, followed by a variety of tokens such as seashells and pebbles and then gold and silver coins, followed by promissory notes, paper currency, bank checks and drafts and then credit cards -- the last, perhaps, being largely responsible for the recent recession. In the evolutionary process, we moved from material objects to informatory marks on sheets of paper and then digital data enshrined in plastic cards. Now, perhaps, it's time to do away with plastic altogether (thereby ending the long-standing tradition in US retail of asking the customer -- paper or plastic? The new answer is: neither). Your new smartphone (that's why it's smart) now becomes your means of effecting financial transactions.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Search has become to the World Wide Web what word processing was (and largely is) for desktop computing: the single most important application. Before the advent of the Web (and the proliferation of networking) the most common use for personal computers was word processing; the purchase of a PC was justified on the basis of just this one application (and, perhaps, spreadsheets, among the bean-counting set). Now nobody I know justifies buying a PC in order to do searches on the internet; rather, people are interested in email and in surfing the web. But you can't just 'go surf the web': you need a place to start. And that place invariably is the search box of a Search Engine.
Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.
- Dates & Times
- Money & Finance
- Units & Measures
- Places & Geography
Hunch is a new way to help people make all kinds of decisions, such as:
- Where should I go on vacation?
- What's the best US college for me?
- What kind of smartphone is right for me?
- Which museum should I visit in the Netherlands?
- What blog should I read?Results are based on the collective knowledge of Hunch's users. Hunch already has more than 2,500 possible topics, and Hunch users add new topics every day.
As long as it is something computable, if I understand your question, I can figure out the answer. And only I. I'm not going to let the riff-raff mess with my pure and elegantly computed knowledge. And any question I cannot answer isn't worth answering.
I'll ask everybody what the answer is and maybe they'll know. Please ask everybody to join in the fun and together we'll be able to answer all of everybody's questions. Maybe. Eventually.
Let me parachute you into my vast junkyard, somewhere in the vicinity of where I think you might find the answer to your question. Or not. And if you don't find it today, come in tomorrow. Or the day after. Keep coming, you might find something you like. Or look at everything differently, and maybe you'll find your answer in there someplace.
Here are some definitions of stupid I found on the web:
- annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.
- lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
I had thought of her as one of the brightest people I knew and her subsequent career supports that view. What she said bothered me. I kept thinking about it; sometime the next day, it hit me. Science makes me feel stupid too. It's just that I've gotten used to it. So used to it, in fact, that I actively seek out new opportunities to feel stupid. I wouldn't know what to do without that feeling. I even think it's supposed to be this way.
... we don't do a good enough job of teaching our students how to be productively stupid – that is, if we don't feel stupid it means we're not really trying. I'm not talking about `relative stupidity', in which the other students in the class actually read the material, think about it and ace the exam, whereas you don't. I'm also not talking about bright people who might be working in areas that don't match their talents. Science involves confronting our `absolute stupidity'. That kind of stupidity is an existential fact, inherent in our efforts to push our way into the unknown. Preliminary and thesis exams have the right idea when the faculty committee pushes until the student starts getting the answers wrong or gives up and says, `I don't know'. The point of the exam isn't to see if the student gets all the answers right. If they do, it's the faculty who failed the exam. The point is to identify the student's weaknesses, partly to see where they need to invest some effort and partly to see whether the student's knowledge fails at a sufficiently high level that they are ready to take on a research project.
Productive stupidity means being ignorant by choice. Focusing on important questions puts us in the awkward position of being ignorant. One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. No doubt, reasonable levels of confidence and emotional resilience help, but I think scientific education might do more to ease what is a very big transition: from learning what other people once discovered to making your own discoveries. The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
You've got to love a company that celebrates the misfits who made it anyway, transforming life as we knew it, unlike the other guys whose heroes come sporting suits and ties, and a photograph of them grinning a fake grin hangs on the wall outside a classroom named for them at Harvard Business School.
Posted by Murli N at 6/13/2009 03:11:00 PM
Welcome to a gathering that's like none other — remarkably uninhibited, intelligent and iconoclastic ... The regulars in this place include noted authors, programmers, journalists, activists and other creative people who swap info, test their convictions and banter with one another in wide-ranging conversations, using their real names.
''The whole Usenet phenomenon was one of the really early indicators of what was going to happen on the Web,'' said Dr. David Farber, a professor of telecommunications at the University of Pennsylvania. ''The incredibly dynamic discussion groups, the flames, the spamming, everything that's now considered a great and unique property of the Web, and everything that's considered a bad and unique property of the Web, was all there on Usenet.'' (NYT)
- members self-select to join
- membership is free and open: people may join or leave whenever they wish
- group tasks are established through discussion and consensus-generation among members
- members volunteer to accomplish various group tasks
- there is little or no hierarchy
- there are responsibilities and individuals who take ownership of responsibilities thereby becoming responsibility leads or point-persons
- there are extensive discussions among members
- members participate to whatever extent in and whatever manner they wish
- the act of participation and contribution to group goals is its own reward
- there are no material rewards, just the thrill of participation and possible peer-recognition
- if there are disagreements, some members may 'fork' (branch away) a project and take it in a different direction, yet retain links to the mainstream group
- a member's status in a group is built entirely through merit and contribution
- practically all communication and community building is carried out over the internet
The type of communism with which Gates hoped to tar the creators of Linux was born in an era of enforced borders, centralized communications, and top-heavy industrial processes. Those constraints gave rise to a type of collective ownership that replaced the brilliant chaos of a free market with scientific five-year plans devised by an all-powerful politburo. This political operating system failed, to put it mildly. However, unlike those older strains of red-flag socialism, the new socialism runs over a borderless Internet, through a tightly integrated global economy. It is designed to heighten individual autonomy and thwart centralization. It is decentralization extreme.
I recognize that the word socialism is bound to make many readers twitch. It carries tremendous cultural baggage, as do the related terms communal, communitarian, and collective. I use socialism because technically it is the best word to indicate a range of technologies that rely for their power on social interactions.
When masses of people who own the means of production work toward a common goal and share their products in common, when they contribute labor without wages and enjoy the fruits free of charge, it's not unreasonable to call that socialism.
But there is one way in which socialism is the wrong word for what is happening: It is not an ideology. It demands no rigid creed. Rather, it is a spectrum of attitudes, techniques, and tools that promote collaboration, sharing, aggregation, coordination, ad hocracy, and a host of other newly enabled types of social cooperation.
Having observed people helping one another in friendly, social and trusting communal ways on the Internet, the WELL, and Usenet, and feeling isolated as a relative newcomer to San Francisco, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark decided to create something similar for local events.
Thanks to YouTube, Facebook and blogs, it’s easier for young people to organize, express their grievances and learn personal information about top officials.
“One of the greatest challenges or losses that we face as older adults, frankly, is not about our health, but it’s actually about our social network deteriorating on us, because our friends get sick, our spouse passes away, friends pass away, or we move,” said Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology....
Some research suggests that loneliness can hasten dementia, and Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, an internist and social scientist at Harvard, says he is considering research on whether online social connections can help delay dementia, as traditional ones have been found to do in some studies.
Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School who is an expert on the Internet, said that Twitter was particularly resilient to censorship because it had so many ways for its posts to originate — from a phone, a Web browser or specialized applications — and so many outlets for those posts to appear.As each new home for this material becomes a new target for censorship, he said, a repressive system faces a game of whack-a-mole in blocking Internet address after Internet address carrying the subversive material.
“It is easy for Twitter feeds to be echoed everywhere else in the world,” Mr. Zittrain said. “The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what make it so powerful.”