After serving as communications chief with a Burma-based bomber squadron during World War II, Arnold Spielberg became an electrical engineer and a vital figure in the incipient computer revolution.
He helped design and build the first business computer, patented the first electronic library system, designed the first electronic cash register, and took a leading role in developing the massive digital Shoah Institute archives holding more than 105,000 hours of visual history.
Early on he promoted the concept that technology, frequently accused of diminishing man’s humanity, can instead build connections among individuals and societies.
“The results of this historical legacy for England’s educational system are profound, unmistakable and mostly regrettable. England has (after the US) the most highly stratified major university system in the world, the most extravagant and rapidly growing provision of elite private schooling, among the most unequal distribution of opportunity, wealth and income, and some of the lowest levels of social mobility in the developed world, according to the OECD. And these problems are now being compounded by the highest university fees by far of any public university system anywhere.”—Howard Hotson for Times Higher Education, in Germany’s Great Tuition Fees U-turn, from February this year (hat tip to Simon Wistow)
“This almost feels like a parody. no modern, wealthy society—say, one in which an app-powered “your own private driver” service might thrive—would force professional, full-time teachers to also drive cars in order to make a living, nor would anyone celebrate that it was happening. Certainly you wouldn’t expect corporations to rush to attach themselves to the phenomenon. And yet. Something, something, teachers, free markets, living wages, man.”—Matt Buchanan: Uber Optics (via iamdanw)
“Tumblr’s reputation and brand is “activists, porn, and the ability to reconstruct an entire episode of Doctor Who from gifsets within twenty-four hours of it airing.””—Psychochronography, as part of a longish thread about so-called social justice warriors on Tumblr (via)
“We made a lot of new elements and colors for the Futuron theme, but when we tested with kids, they were un-impressed, it was the mini-figures new diagonal print still with the space logo on it that all of them were impressed with. Kids like this kind of detail.”—
Jens Nygaard Knudsen, “creator of the mini-figure and LEGO space”, quoted in Mark Stafford’s interview, The Truth About Space, in BrickJournal #6. (You can see the first couple of pages of the interview on Issuu.)
“Sparq’s customers are suffering, too. One of the startup’s services was providing QR codes for businesses, many of which were likely printed onto marketing materials that may still be in circulation. Those QR codes, unfortunately, are now null and void—printed ads turned into garbage thanks to Yahoo’s acquisition.”—Yahoo: Destroyer Of Startups by Selena Larsen at ReadWrite (via iamdanw, deathbeard)
“Four to six-year-olds struggle with ‘little LEGO’ so the product line was trying to help them with that. We did a lot of research in Europe and the US about what both parents and kids’ needs were. Generally speaking, parents in the US and to a lesser extent the UK are quite fixated on educational outcomes at ever earlier ages, whereas in Scandinavia and especially Germany they openly reject that, feeling strongly that this age is for play and socialising and scholastic learning comes later.”—Morgan Walker, a Lego designer, quoted in The enduring appeal of LEGO at Northern Soul.
“Jasons also contributed to the invention of adaptive optics, which boosts the power of telescopes by correcting for atmospheric distortion. On the other hand, the Pentagon kept the technology classified for almost a decade to reserve it for a project that many Jasons opposed, the Strategic Defense Initiative.”—
(For those who need some context, adaptive optics were incredibly important in taking optical and near-IR astronomy from its previous maximum of 6m diameter telescopes into the new world where the 10m Keck telescopes are beginning to look small compared to the EELT’s 39m main mirror. You may know the SDI better by the popular nickname- Star Wars.)
Today the way we track threats in geosynchronous orbit is by basically points of light, and as we take a picture of the sky and dwell on that part of the sky, [we know] things that are moving are satellites, things that are stationary are stars … Through our points of light and various other means, we make inferences on what a particular [foreign] satellite can do.
A picture is worth a thousand inferences because we can see literally what that [foreign] satellite looks like, and you can effectively reverse-engineer and understand what the capabilities are … to a much greater extent than you can today
“It’s a very romantic notion to want to live some totally off-grid hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but having seen the sheer monotonous toil and graft that some of the local peasantry put into their existence, it really put me off doing the same.”—Edward O’Toole, quoted in a Vice interview / article, Preppers Taught Me How to Eat When the World Ends (via)