Tag Archives: Computers

The next economic era is here

The world my children inhabit looks superficially like the world I grew up in during the 1970s. The house they live in, the clothes they wear and the food they eat – none of these would be very strange to the kids of a generation ago (although even here there are notable differences.) But the way they spend their time is completely different to anything I dreamed of doing.

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The end of the world is nigh

Lightning by vegglefrog (Creative Commons License CC BY 2.0)

Lightning by veggiefrog (Creative Commons License CC BY 2.0)

Don’t worry. This isn’t about Trump. I’ve returned to my first love – science fiction – with two new novels in the pipeline. The first is a conspiracy thriller set in the near future, the second an apocalyptic blockbuster set in the present day. Continue reading

Do you prefer Donald Duck or Donald Trump?

Do you prefer Donald Duck or Donald Trump?

Do you prefer Donald Duck or Donald Trump?

Seriously, I’d love to know. And I have more questions for you. Like, do you prefer Dinosaurs or Cheese Burgers? And, do you prefer Vampires or The Muppet Show?

You can answer all these questions and more at a new website called Xory (pronounced “zory” – short for X or Y) which my family has created as a summer project. We hope you like it.

We’ve had lots of fun making this, using my wife’s management skills, my own web programming expertise and the accumulated useless knowledge of our kids.

What we need now is your help to spread the word. So why not try it, and if you like it, tell your friends and family. They might like it too.

Logic gates and neurons

At their most abstract level, the logic gates that make up a digital computer are machines for destroying information. That might not be immediately apparent, but take a look at this (image from Wikipedia):

AND symbol

Two inputs; one output. At every operation, one bit of information is lost forever in an irreversible process. Continue reading

Watching paint dry

This is something we all do. Me especially. I’m a paint-watcher by nature. Not literally. I have never seen anyone literally watching paint dry. But metaphorically, we do it all the time. Continue reading

Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment (Book review)

frozentolifeI was sent a free copy of this book by the author, and asked to write an honest review. As the author noted in his email to me, ‘I think we have quite a few interests in common. ‘That’s very true, so I thought my review might also be of interest to my blog readers.

The book is the story of why the author (DJ MacLennan), has chosen to have his brain cryogenically frozen when he dies – or as he puts it – when current medicine can do no more to save him from death. It’s a personal story, and a scientific and philosophical investigation of what it means to live and die. Here’s my review of the book. Continue reading

Alien mathematics class

Indulge me in a little thought experiment. Imagine a rocky planet a long way from here, orbiting a star rather similar to our own sun, at just the right distance for water to remain liquid. Let this planet have an atmosphere containing all the elements needed for interesting biochemistry to take place – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and so on. Now imagine that on this planet lives a single lifeform – one composed of trillions of tiny plant-like organisms amassed in one huge layer that covers the entire planet. This lifeform quietly converts the sun’s energy into food, and while it does so, it thinks. What kinds of thoughts might it ponder? Continue reading

No one expected Russia to come up with this Weapon

I was going to blog about something else this week, but then I received this spam email public service message, and I felt I ought to share this urgent warning with you. You know, before it’s too late. Continue reading

An infinite number of monkeys with typewriters

This is how I plan to write my blog in future. I will keep this little guy in my basement and supply him with bananas until he produces an article I’m happy with. It’s a great method if you’re lazy but patient.

But how patient would I have to be? How long would it actually take? Continue reading

Will robots replace humans?

Consider this. Nearly every large animal on this planet is stronger than us. Almost every predator has claws, or venom, or sharp teeth. But humans have two advantages that have enabled us to survive and thrive – a large brain, and hands that can pick up and manipulate objects. At the very dawn of pre-history we were busy making stone tools, turning animal skins into clothing, and decorating our own bodies with things that we’d made. We just can’t help it. We have to make things. Give any human a physical object and they will try to do something with it.

In the modern world, we are constantly surrounded by machines and inventions – from the clothes we wear, to the houses we live in, to the cars, trains and planes we travel around in, to the computers and other electronic devices we use for work and leisure. In this article, I want to consider this special relationship between humans and the machines we create. I want to look at where this relationship with our creations is heading.

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