Monthly Archives: August 2013

Decompression, Two Sleeps and The Future

(A late posting, and it’ll just be an actual blog night)

After two fun filled ‘four day weekends’ of conventions across North America, I am slowly getting back into the swing of things.

(It’s 2:24 AM, the usual time I post)

A most peculiar thing happened to me on Sunday evening, I read this online article regarding how Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You.

Long story short, people would hit the sack the moment it became dark.  This would be hours before the standard ‘norm’ of sleeping today.  Effectively they were ‘bed potatoes’ who would just get into their jammies and live like sleepy hobbits in their dens.

The peculiar thing is, within a day of reading this article, I found myself falling asleep at much earlier hours.  Falling asleep would be a passive description to the actual ‘dropped like a stone’ event, passing out on couches, ignoring brightly lit monitors and in various states of non-sleep-readiness as if some big game hunter had just shot me full of tranquilizer from the hallway window.

For whatever reason, I had suddenly joined the community of having two sleeps.

I’d wake up in a dreadful state, around 2AM, go through a very slow pre-bed routine and gargle with mouthwash.  It would appear my first sleep was an open drool type of sleep, leaving an aftertaste that said “this breath would kill the warning canary in a coal mine”.  I’m quite certain I’ve discovered the breath of the ancestors.

I’d go back to sleep around 3 or 4AM and then the day would be as per normal with no changes in energy level.  It was like I was doing my usual routine except now I’ve subtracted 6 hours from my day.  Forcibly passing out several nights in a row at such an early hour delayed this blog, took away my jog, and I fell behind in the numerous media entertainments I’ve been conditioned to follow.

If I was to hazard a guess, I was probably just exhausted from the past ten days.  If I was to make a second guess, I could make the argument that my state of mind was so fatigued that the idea of living the life of two sleeps (spending 10-12 hours in bed) just was something I couldn’t pass up.

(Luckily it was only temporary, and I’m back to ‘one sleep’.  In an interesting sidenote, I see that my usual sleep pattern is one of someone who would ‘skip first sleep’ and only take the second that occurs in the early morning.)

Nonetheless, I did do some thinking in between these red eye hours.  Two impacting TedTalks that I had covered earlier in the year.

Automatic cars and Google Glass.

Both of these represent inevitable ‘updates’ to society.

Yesterday Nissan announced plans to have an affordable autonomous car by 2020.   (

A few days earlier tech experts announced that Google Glass will be a dead product on arrival.  (well, if it keeps the goal of being an ultra luxury product at $1,500)  ( )

However, assuming these do become norms.  That 13 year old one percent-er who shows up to class might say, “Sorry I’m late, my car was low on gas”.  Graduated licensing might indeed take a major change but an even bigger change would be in the world of recreational motor homes.

The RV that you can pack your family into, transforms into the mobile travel lodge.  As an entire family unit, you can play boardgames, watch a movie and sleep all night and in the morning the family arrives at their vacation destination.  This is actually better than air travel, in a multitude of ways.

Locations that are six to eight hours away by car become over night naps on the road.  Truckers can technically work ‘forever’ (or… be completely out of a job) as shipments now move themselves while still obeying traffic laws.

The company that becomes the cornerstone of automated travel, is going to be huge, that might be why there’s already signs of a tech race in the works.

In a similar notion the ‘smart gear’ revolution, from Pebble watches, Google Glass, ‘Chip wear’, these are likewise inevitable norms.  Currently the focus is both utility and entertainment but its that clever twist that will steal the market.  As long as most data remains text driven the ‘eyeball sized viewscreens’ are going to have issues.  Cloud computing is about having your computer on any virtual dumb terminal, wearable private computer systems that can use dumb terminals would probably be more popular.  (Let’s face it, people want to keep whats ‘theirs’)

There is a current trend of re-modding traditional control systems to access our androids/iphones and Ouyas.  (If you’re going to play a game, you want to have the best controls system possible)  It’s possible that this might occur with wearable tech (aka> using best interface, like not talking to Google Glass, and instead plugging in a keyboard) however it’s much too early to see the trend.

(What should exist is a Google Glass camera split to represent two eyes for virtual recording streams and promote virtual tourism.)

Life is amazing.  Getting philosophical about it, why are we alive now?  At this specific point in time, where so many things are about to change?

How lucky we are.

(Don’t get me started on how we’re supposed to become immortal in a few decades)

It’s 3:30, I think I better use some mouthwash.


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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


Markham Nolan: How to separate fact and fiction online

This TED Talk speaks doubly so with me as the nature of its title brings about the question of what can we trust when we look to things online?

EDTalksTed is in many ways, a two sided coin where one, Ted Talks bring both insight and questions and the other, using the internet to solve these questions and hopefully gain additional insight. 

The Internet is the “big book of answers” that I dreamed about in my childhood, but it is fairly obvious that it also the “big book of lies and exaggerations”.  Where does one begin to sift through the madness that exists in its’ data distribution and interpretable facts, how is it better to read from a source that has multiple redundancies (ie> Wikipedia) or follow the word of a singular author/expert (ie> a university paper) ?    How balanced are the two in contrast, and at the end of the day, if knowledge is about accepted ideas (from peer review perspective), what happens when that knowledge is segregated to the point that armchair fans can’t relate to each other?

To make an analogy, sports jock meets science fiction nerd, these two experts in their own right have to simply take each others’ word on what is what in the prospective topic.  When someone quotes something they read on the internet, it’s not a ‘yes, I remember that from school’, rather it becomes a future confirmation.

In any case, Markham Nolan tells his side of finding truth in online news.

Speaker: Markham Nolan

Filmed: Nov 2012 at TedSalon London

Total running time: 13 minutes, 29 seconds

Views so far: 866,018


Now in Nolan’s case, he is referring more into the investigation of sources (sources being material found on the web).  Be it for legitimacy or copyright or even the dig deep of further details, this kind of data verification is definitely one of the new ‘skills’ of the modern age.

Secondly, it takes advantage of the randomness and volume of posts that exist today.  The idea of crowd sourcing news details on a local level, or a personal level, could create the additional bonds between events and readers.  It’s that personal touch that might sway a person into having a conversation with someone else.  News truly takes form when viewers speak about the story to other viewers (or non viewers). 

When that crowd sourcing happens to be every single person on the planet with a cellphone, it fractures the importance of having a person on the scene versus the team of experts Nolan is part of.

So what to ask?  I’d have to say, that I’m mostly curious about the tools Nolan references to.

What are three tools that help search the internet


1. Spokeo – The people search engine. 

What in the blue blazes, a people search engine?  Holy stalker batman!  From the looks of it, it is strictly for the United States and popular searches include famous celebrities such as Amanda Seyfried. 

Much to my surprise, she only weighs 105 lbs.  And it shows more details than I would ever want to know about her.  This is like some weird offshoot descendant of TMZ marrying the Farmer’s Almanac.  

Nonetheless, it exists and it seems to be ripe full of information, about your favorite celebrities. 

(I’m just kidding.)

2. Wolfram Alpha – The Computational Knowledge Engine

With that incredibly vague description, I’d imagine this thing must by Skynet plus Hal 9000.  It probably has learned more about me than I could learn about it just by typing it into a search engine.  (*cold shivers*)

It starts off innocuous enough.  A single text box asking what you want to calculate or know about. 

I have no idea what to look for with this thing.  Amanda Seyfried was a listed link on Spokeo so…

Amanda Seyfried:  Gives first name, date/place of birth, and some high level details that I would have expected.  This seems to be on par with my expectation and not anywhere near as creepy as Spokeo.  Let’s see if I can stump this thing.

“What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin with its diameter?”

Answer I’m hoping for:  Pumpkin Pi !

Actual answer: definitions for ‘divide’.  Ok, so it isn’t a snarky Skynet.  On the other hand, it does seem to be providing relatively solid answers for topic searches and general data.  I’m going to favorite this page.

3. Storyful – (Nolan is the managing editor of Storyful) – The first news agency of the social media age

Storyful is exactly what Nolan’s Tedtalk is about (what the heck, I didn’t even realize this was a ‘product/service kind of talk’)  A group of individuals whose expertise is to sift through the deluge of media (social or otherwise) to extract relevant details and turning the results into viable information which is more applicable. 

That’s not a canned description, it’s simply my interpretation so far. 

There is a .pdf on the site that is about Social Newsgathering which looks quite interesting, unfortunately, I cannot seem to download it at this time.  (Most likely because my laptop is old and everything is out of date)

Storyful definitely seems aimed at news organizations or possibly other social media reporters (or anyone else who wants real time news).   Below is a link to their Youtube video:

What is truly amazing is that this is a new form of media journalism, and it could easily be a foreshadowing of days to come.

Share what you know, even if they’re just ideas.


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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized