Monthly Archives: October 2012

TEDx : Stop Stealing Dream

A few months ago, I was sharing with you a link to a document entitled “stop stealing dream”  discussing the birth of the public school system as we know it in the USA and Canada. The format, the disposition of the desks, the schedule and some of the rules have not changed since then. Yet, this system was built primarily to produce obedient workers for the factories.

Below, you will find a link to a TEDx talk by the author Seth Godin. I hope you will take the time to watch it: STOP STEALING DREAMS: Seth Godin at TEDxYouth@BFS – YouTube…and maybe read the (free) document afterward.

2012 Nobel prizes [updated]

All of the Nobel prizes have now been announced: Nobelprize.org

Of course I am a bit biased since I am a physicist and this blog is also about cool technologies. Have a look at this year physics Nobel prize. The contribution to the manipulation of the quantum states might help make quantum computing a reality 😉

Here’s to the crazy ones…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

– Apple Inc, Think Different “

I’ve said it a couple of times, I like computers and electronic gadgets, in particular those gadgets that do what they are supposed to do without getting in the way. You can just use them and they work (for a useful amount of time)!

I got my first computer in early 1983 (a small Radio Shack unit) followed a few months later by a C64. It was a great computer and learned a lot of programming from it. But when I saw a Mac and had the chance to work with one in school in 1985, I knew what a computer would looked like moving forward. This gaming changing business happened again a few times for Apple. Before the iPhone, most “smart” phones where really not that smart and the top of the line was the Blackberry (an e-mail on the go device). Even early version of Android was geared toward competing with the BlackBerry…2007 marked a pivotal year for smartphone, and nobody ever looked back (expect for those trying to revisit history after the fact). The same is true for tablet computing. Tablets have been there for a long time before the iPad but it was not even considered a factor in term of selling volume. Just a few years after the iPad, the tablet is now a bigger market than the “traditional” PC.

The most interesting things about all of the above is that when launched, all were declared DOA by most “market experts” : computers with GUI were toy computers just good for playing (and I am not even talking about the mouse…), iPhone was Apple biggest mistake since no one in its right mind would buy a phone that has no physical keyboard and buttons. The iPad was just a big iPod Touch, no way of doing real work on them. The truth is that all of the above broke or shifted a paradigm, a way of doing things that was so entrenched that they were seen as set in stone.

The same is true for many aspects of life, including scientific research. Once in a while, you get comments that your research program or project (or even paper) cannot be successful because that would mean the usual way of doing things, of thinking would have to change. Oh boy, that would be so impractical…

This leads me to the quotation used in the opening of this blog post and Steve Jobs.

Steve jobs passed away over one year ago (on October 5th 2011). Yet I find it fascinating how much it still written, especially online, about him even today. Some praise him as one of the genius of our time. Others, like to tell that he or Apple, in fact, didn’t do anything all. It does not really matter; the point is, as stated in the quote: “you can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.”. Clearly, he was someone who still can’t be ignored 😉

Steve Jobs delivered a great speech at Stanford University, which is worth listing to:

Steve Jobs: How to live before you die | Video on TED.com.

Observation of a new particle at LHC: Booklet / Journal issue

Not that I am promoting any buying of “derivatives” from the discovery of the Higgs boson but there is some interesting (free) images and free access to a PDF booklet, which includes the two published articles in Physics Letters B by ATLAS and CMS:

Elsevier Webshop.

Worth a look 😉

About productivity…

It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about?
― Henry David Thoreau

Productivity is not the same creativity, though being creative will get you lots of things to do for which you will need to be productive to get them done. In short, you need both 😉

I have known individuals who define their work productivity by being present at work 7 days a week, non-stop for 12 hours per day. I must say these encounters were mainly while working as a postdoctoral fellow in the USA. While it might appears more acute in that country, it is encountered in others as well.

Read the rest of this entry

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