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Posts Tagged ‘History’

All Humans Have A Blind Spot!

HUMANS ARE BLIND

The human eye sends signals to the brain that allow us to navigate our environment. For the most part, we see things as they are. However the human eye has a blind spot — located at the area of the retina where the optic nerve leads to the back of the brain.

 

These spots in each eye are symmetrically aligned; at each given moment one eye is compensating for the blind spot, or loss of vision, in the other. We take information from what surrounds that blind spot and fill in the blank.

 

Unless you’re Superman, you can only see what scientists call “visible light.” Some animals are able to see infrared and ultraviolet, but we cannot. Also humans are unable to distinguish the difference between polarized and non-polarized light, but many birds can.

 

Light passes through the pupil directly to the retina, where the light is “digested” by proteins. The information the retina receives from the amount of light given is sent through the optic nerve to the brain. This tells us what we are seeing — or what we think we see.

 

This can tested by covering one eye and focusing on one singular detail. A corner of your line of vision falls away and the details are blurred.

 

Cameras are instruments that capture exactly what the eye sees… more or less.

 

A Selected History of the Camera

400 B.C. Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti first discovers a version of the pinhole camera. He refers to his invention as the “locked treasure room,” essentially a darkened room with only  a pinhole in the window shade, through which light can project images on the opposite wall.

 

350 B.C. Aristotle appropriates Mo Ti’s technology to safely observe solar eclipses.

 

1021 Abu Ali Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haitham, an Egyptian man, is the first to document the technology of pinhole cameras in a book called Book of Optics. Not until the 19th Century will the “camera obscura” be combined with photosensitive paper to record images.

 

1839 Louis Jacques Daguerre presents his Daguerreotype process to the French Academy of Sciences, and the Daguerreotype camera is born. Early Daguerreotype cameras require exposure times as long as 30 minutes and are incredibly cumbersome. The earliest of these devices are today some of the most expensive cameras available.

 

1883 After toiling with wet-plate technology for years, George Eastman announces the invention of the first dry photographic film.

 

1888 Eastman begins selling the Kodak camera, which is designed to utilize the new Kodak film in rolls. These revolutionary inexpensive and portable devices come loaded with 100 exposures. Once all exposures are used, the whole camera is sent back to Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., for reloading.

 

Little more than a hundred years later, the now indespensible smart phones do all kinds of amazing things including taking pictures that are easily and instantly shared with friends thousands of miles away.

 

Much of this posting is courtesy of Timeline Theatre Company’s current production, Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West in its midwest premiere. The playwright is Naomi IIzuka.

 

Talking about things you can see and not see…. would you like to see how easy it is to find out if going in to your own business is right for you. Do you need to find some way to make more money? If your answer to that question was YES, read on.

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE, is a complete guide to starting your own home based business. Fred Broitman is a well known mail order authority and principal at SUNMAN DIRECT, Chicago’s largest independently owned mail order advertising agency has completely revised and up-dated his  book. This comprehensive manual to help you start, run and manage your own mail order business includes an all new section on how  to use the power of the Internet so that you can sell anywhere in the world right from your home.

 

Chapters include:

HOW TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

and an entire chapter of 14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS.

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can order direct from the publisher and save 25% Send your name and address along with check or money order for just $29.95 to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601. Postage is FREE and it’s sold on a 100% Money Back Guarantee of Satisfaction.

Nostalgia For All Those Born Before 1945

WE ARE SURVIVORS!!! CONSIDER THE CHANGES WE HAVE WITNESSED

 

We were born before televison, before penicillin, before polio shots, ballpoint pens; before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry clothes — and way before man walked on the moon.

 

We even got married first and then lived together. How quaint can you be? In our time closets were only for clothes, not for “coming out of”. Designer Jeans were scheming girls named Jean or Jeanne, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with our cousins.

 

We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent, and outer space were the upper rows in the balcony of our favorite movie theatre. We were born before anybody had coined the term house-husbands. There were no such things as gay rights or computer dating, dual careers or commuter marriages and this was before day-care centers, group therapy and nursing homes.

 

We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, let alone computers, yogurt and guys wearing earrings. For us, time-sharing meant togetherness not computers or condominiums; a chip referred to a piece of wood, hardware meant screw drivers or hammers, and software wasn’t even a word.

 

In 1940, “Made in Japan” meant  junk and the term “making out” referred to how you did on your exam. “Macdonalds” and Instant coffee were unheard of. We hit the scene when there were 5 & 10 cent stores, where you actually bought things for 5 and 10 cents.  Ice cream cones cost a nickel or at the most a dime.  If you lived in a big city you could ride a streetcar from one side of town  to the other for a nickel. What else could a nickel buy? Well you could make a telephone call, buy a “Pepsi” or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.

 

A brand new Chevy coupe was available for $600…but  who could afford one? A pity, too because gas was only 11 cents a gallon! In our day cigarette smoking was fashionable. Grass was mowed, never smoked. Coke was a cold drink and pot was something you cooked in. Rock music helped grandma’s put their babies to sleep and “Aids” were helpers in the principal’s office.

 

We certainly knew there were differences between the sexes but changing sexes would have been unthinkable. We made do with what we had. And we were so dumb as to think we needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder we are so confused and there is such a generation gap today.

 

But we survived!!!  What better reason to celebrate?

 

Another reason to celebrate is finding a new job for those who have been downsized by  their companies having to close stores or outsourcing jobs to low wage countries. If you or somebody you know is in this fix, I have good news for you. Here’s an inexpensive way to learn how to start your own money making business right from your own home A business you can be never be fired from.  A business that can provide a way for you to make part-time income when you retire or full time income without the expense of an outside office or the rent for a storefront. That business is MAIL ORDER and it’s booming like never before… all due  to  the world wide web. Selling a product or service right from your home to someone living hundreds or thousands of miles from you, even, overseas is a way for you  to say goodbye  to uncaring bosses forever.

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is a complete guide to starting your own home based business. Written by long time mail order expert Fred Broitman, founder of Chicago’s largest independently owned direct response advertising agency, SUNMAN DIRECT. If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home no matter where you live and sell a product or service to men and women all over the world, then take advantage of this special offer and save 25%. It’s available to order from Amazon for $39.95 plus s&h. However if you order direct from the publisher, it’s yours for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE.

***** Free Bonus ***** If you are among the first 10 to order, you will receive consulting services from FRED BROITMAN for a full year at no cost.

Just send check or money order for 29.95 to: SUPERIOR PRESS Dept. 81 03 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL. 60601

Sold on a Money Back Guarantee of Satisfaction… or your money back!

George Lauer — The Man Who Changed The Way Everyone Shops!

The Biggest Surprise is That Neither He or His Company Patented It

 

On a Sunday afternoon in 1971, an I.B.M. engineer stepped out of his house in Raleigh, N.C., to consult his boss, who lived across the street. “I didn’t do what you asked,” George Lauer confessed.

 

Lauer had been instructed to design a code that could be printed on food labels and that would be compatible with the scanners then in development for supermarket checkout counters. He was told to model it on the bull’s-eye-shaped optical scanning code designed in the 1940’s by N. Joseph Woodland, who died in December. But Laurer saw a problem with the shape: “When you run a circle  through a high-speed press, there are parts that are going to get smeared,” he says “so I came up with my own code.” His system, a pattern of stripes, would be readable even it was poorly printed.

 

That pattern became the basis for the U.P.C., the Universal Product Code, which was adopted by a consortium of grocery companies in 1973, when cashiers were still punching in all prices by hand. Within a decade, the U.P.C. — and optical scanners — brought supermarkets into the digital age. Now an employee could ring up a cereal box with a flick of the wrist. “When people find out  that I invented the U.P.C., they think I’m rich,” Laurer says. But he received no royalities for this invention, and I.B.M did not patent it.

 

As the U.P.C. symbol proliferated, so, too, did paranoia  about it. For decades, Laurer has been hounded by people convinced that he has hidden the number 666 inside the lines of his code. “I didn’t get the meat,” Laurer said ruefully, “but I did get the nuts.”.

 

This article first appeared in the New York Times Magazine January 6, 2013 under the byline of Pagan Kennedy.

 

Did you know there’s a Museum dedicated  to the bar code? The ID History Museum is run by Bill Selmeier who was interviewed for this story:

You worked at I.B.M. in the 1970’s and then helped promote the U.P.C? Yes, I started the seminars where we invited people from the grocery and labeling industry into I.B.M. We were there to reduce their fear.

 

What were they afraid of? They were afraid that anything that didn’t work right would reflect badly on them — particularly if it was only their own package that wouldn’t scan. The guy from Birds Eye said “My stuff always has ice on it when it goes through the checkout.” So we put his package in the freezer and took it out and showed him how it scanned perfectly.

 

Why are you still so interested in the history of the U.P.C. code? Let me put it this way: What bigger impact can you have on the world than to change the way everyone shops?

 

Even my book How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire has its own unique U.P.C. and as a visitor to my blog I want to offer you a special low price to order the book on a no risk trial. Plus an extra bonus. You can save more than 30% off the price and if you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a full refund. Sold everywhere for $39.95 plus s&h, you can order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE.

It has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in mail order/direct response

 

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire is a complete guide to starting your own business, a business you can run from your home with no cost for an outside office or place of business and utilizing the power of the World Wide Websell your product or service all over the world.

 

You’ll learn:

 

How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How To Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Product or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Seure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits
and included in this newly revised edition:
 
Complete Up-To-Date Information on How To Use the Internet To Super-Charge Your Mail Order Business

 

and for all new buyers I’m offering you a huge bonus. Order from this posting and you also receive a full years personal consultation from the author at no cost. Fred Broitman is the founder/CEO of SUNMAN DIRECT Chicago’s largest independently owned direct response advertising agency.  To receive this extra bonus, just send your name and address along with your check or money order for $29.95 to: SUPERIOR PRESS Dept. 8103 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60611

Seeing Ourselves in a Grain of Sand!

Science Can Really Deflate You!

You really think human beings are special? Well, crows can use tools, chimps can paint, and Neanderthals had bigger brains.

Heck, octopuses can open jars. Is earth special? Not really. Astonomers have found well over more than a thousand planets orbiting distant stars and they will probably find a “mirror earth” — a rocky doppelganger with liquid water — within the year. In a book review by Sam Kean, “THE UNIVERSE WITHIN” written by Neil Shubin and first appeared in the Saturday/Sunday January 12-13 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

Sam Kean, continues. Surely, though, the universe itself is unique, almost by definition. Afraid not. Physicists now routinely invoke the “multiverse” with its bazillions of parallel universes to explain how space-time works. As Neil Shubin writes in his book, “you could legitimately wonder if it is part of the job description of scientists to make people feel utterly puny and insignificant.”

So is science inherently depressing? Absolutely. At least at first. But once you accept our cosmic triviality, and let go of the man-is-the-measure-of-all-things attitude, you can learn to see science in a more affirming manner. Books like “The Universe Within” teach us how to see things the right way around.

Mr. Shubin, a professor of biological sciences, at the University of Chicago, wrote this book as a sort of sequel to “Your Inner Fish” (2008), which traced the origin of various human body parts back to fish and worms and their ilk, to show how we can still see vestiges of our fishy ancestry inside us today. “The Universe Within” reaches even deeper: It tracks  the very atoms in our bodies back to the Big Bang, and shows how all the molecules that comprise us have roots in the formation and maturation of Earth. As Mr. Shubin puts it, “the bodies in the graves, and the stones that mark them, are united by the history they share.”

That might sound like one more disheartening fact — we came from nothing, and in the long run, we’re all dead. But Mr. Shubin makes it all seem rather glorious. You mean there are traces of the moon’s cataclysmic birth inside of every human being? (We owe the length of our days, seasons, and circadian rhythms to the moon.) You can see remnants of ancient supercontinents in the birth of little old me? (The rift that created the Atlantic Ocean long ago raised oxygen levels worldwide and allowed mammals to gestate their babies intenally.) It is downright flattering: Every speck around us betrays a hidden compliment, and anyone can learn the trick of identification with a little training.

Seeing our connections to the natural world is like detecting the pattern hidden inside an optical illusion.” Mr Shubin writes. “When you learn to view the world through this lens, bodies and stars become windows to a past that was vast almost beyond comprehension.” Amid the poetry, Mr. Shubin interlaces anecdotes about hunting for fossils in Greenland as part of his own fieldwork, as well as historical tales about oceanography, geology, and natural history. (I especially enjoyed the “experiment” where two Harvard professors chucked a bucket of frogs off a five-story building.) The leaps from one domain to another can be dizzying.

When discussing the origin of color vision in primates, he comments, “every time you admire a richly colorful view, you can thank India for slamming into Asia, continents for retreating from Antartica, and the poles for becoming frozen wastelands.” But he also takes the time to explain, quite clearly, how a cooling earth, by reducing the supply of edible vegetation, created conditons that favored those organisms that could discern one color of a plant from another. After he has lain out his chain of reasoning, it does seem reasonable to think about color vision and plate tectonics together. More than reasonable. It seems inevitable.

Mr. Shubin doesn’t present, and doesn’t claim to present, any profoundly new facts or theories here. What is special about the book is its sweep, its scope, its panorama — how physics, biology, geology, chemistry and seemingly every other science are brought to bear on the most intricate details of human life.

The romantic poet William Blake had many misgivings about science, in part for the reeason Mr. Shubin mentioned above—science dehumanized us, made humankind seem trifling. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Blake might have enjoyed parts of “The Universe Within.”  In “Auguries of Innocence” Blake wrote with rapture about the ability: “To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wildflower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.” Mr. Shubin’s ability to do all this comes from long experience, not blissful Blakean innocence. But the two ends some-how wrap around and meet: They tap into the same awe, and this makes science seem a very uplifting enterprise indeed.

Another uplifting enterprise, especially if you find yourself on the outside looking in as far as your career goes these days is owning your own business. Many highly qualified men and women have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. Companies have downsized or sent jobs overseas or just plain shut down due to the present economy.

One business, however, is doing better than ever and that’s Mail Order. The reason is because of how easy it is to sell products or services to eager buyers all over the world using the power of the World Wide Web. Your potential customer can live anywhere in the world and you can reach them just as easily as if they live in your own home town.  My book How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire answers all your questions on how to succeed.

You’ll learn:

HOW TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER OFFERS

14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE PROFITS

and included in this newly revised edition:

Complete Up-To-Date Information on How To Use The Internet To sell All Over The World

Sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfacton…..or Your Money Back!

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and postage is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60601

Darwin vs Creationists – All in Favor of Darwin Say Eye. The Eyes Have It!

New research suggests vision arose only once and earlier than expected, before 700 million years ago.

Until recently it was possible, even plausible, to think that the faculty of vision had originated several times during the course of animal evolution. New research suggests not: vision arose only once and earlier than expected, before 700 million years ago.

David Pisani and colleagues from the National University of Ireland have traced the ancestry of the three kinds of “opsin” protein that animals use, in combination with a pigment, to detect light. By comparing the genome sequences of sponges, jellyfish and other animals except sponges, but including a flat, shapeless thing called a placozoan. Some time after 755 million years ago, the common ancestor of ourselves and the placozoa duplicated a gene and changed one of the copies into a recognizable opsin.

Placozoans still have just that one kind of opsin, and it lacks the key amino acid change at position 296 that makes light detection possible, so Dr. Pisani concludes that the last opsin common ancestor, dubbed LOCA, had no vision. But on the other branch, the common ancestor of ourselves, insects and jellyfish made the change to light detection, then experienced two more duplications some time between 711 million and 700 million years ago to give the three kinds of light-sensing opsins we still possess today.

That vision was a single evolutionary innovation is a discovery that would have suprised an earlier generation of evolutionary biologists, who contrasted the compound eye of the insect with the the camera-like eye of human beings and imagined several parallel inventions. But some years ago it emerged that  the very same gene, called Pax6, commands the development of the insect eye and the human eye, hinting at a common origin. Still more surprising, a version of a Pax gene was then found directing the development of simple eyes in jellyfish. So the single origin of vision has become gradually more plausible.

All this would come as a relief to Charles Darwin, who worried about eyes, because their perfect complexity seemed to defy gradual evolutionary assembly: What use is half an eye? In 1860 he wrote to the American botanist Asa Gray: “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradation my reason tells me I ought to conquer the odd shudder.”

In fact, the anatomy of eyes shows every gradation between simple light-sensitive spots and full cameras. The detailed genetic evidence of descent with modification from a single common ancestor further vindicates Darwin and has largely silenced the Intelligent Design movement’s use of the eye as a favored redoubt.

After the duplications that led to working opsin molecules, there seems to have been a long pause before complex eyes appeared. The first lensed eyes  that fossilized belonged to the trilobites which dominated the Cambrian oceans after 525 million years ago. Andrew Parker of Oxford University argued in a book a few years ago that newly perfected eyes explain the sudden appearance of many kinds of hard-bodied animals, the so-called Cambrian explosion. With predators hunting by sight for the first time, prey needed protection and mobility, so an arms race led to a plethora of new hard-body designs.

Just as eyes suddenly enabled our ancestors to see the world around them, so the capacity to read genomes enables us to see deep into the past. Long before LOCA there lived a creature called LUCA, the last universal common ancestor. It was only about 50 years ago that the unity of life became apparent for the first time. The molecular biologist Frances Crick, surveying the experiments that were deciphering the genetic code in bacteria, animals and yeast cells, and seeing that they were all converging on the same universal cipher, concluded that there is only one kind of life on the planet: that plants, animals and microbes must have once shared a common ancestor.

This wonderful scientific article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2012 written by Matt Ridley.

If our eyes hadn’t developed over the millions of years to give us the gift of sight not only would I not have been able to write HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE, no one would be able to read it.

Lucky me…Lucky you, especially if you have the need for some part time income or maybe even a new career.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in the mail order/direct response business.”

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman will lead you step by step into a business that you can run from your home. No need to spend rent on an office or open a store. With the power of the Internet you can sell your product or service all over the world.

You’ll learn:

HOW  TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

and included in this new edition…COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPER CHARGE YOUR MAIL ORDER BUSINESS.

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfacton or Your Money Back!

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can order direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and free shipping. Send check or money order along with your name and address to:
SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601.

Who Really Invented the Internet?

Now There’s A Headline That Really Caught My Attention!

It’s from the July 23, 2012 issue of The Wall Street Journal written by L. Gordon Crovitz.

“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.” – President Barack Obama

Mr. Crovitz quotes President Barack Obama saying, “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet”  It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet.  The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens— and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.

“The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war.” – Robert Taylor, Computer Scientist

For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think“, Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a “memex” through which “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

That fired imaginations and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—“a world wide web.” The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn’t build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an email to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: “The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did?

Vinton Cerf developed TCP/IP, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.

But full credit goes to  the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.

According to a book about Xerox PARC, “Dealers of Lightning” by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so they would have to do it themselves. “We have a more immediate problem than they do,” Robert Metcalfe told his colleague John Shoch in 1973. “We have more networks than they do.” Mr Shoch later recalled that ARPA staffers “were working under government funding and university contracts. …and all that slow, lugubrious behavior to contend with.”

So having created the Internet, why didn’t Xerox become the biggest company in the world? The answer explains the disconnect between a government-led view of business and how innovation actually happens.

Executives at Xerox headquaters in Rochester, N.Y. were focused on selling copiers. From their standpoint, the Ethernet was important only so that people in an office could link computers to share a copier.

In 1979 Steve Jobs visits Xerox Parc – “They just had no idea what they had”

Then in 1979 Steve Jobs negotiated an agreement whereby Xerox’s venture-capital division invested $1 million in Apple, with the requirement that Jobs get a full briefing on all the Xerox Parc innovations. “They just had no idea what they had,” Jobs later said, after launching hugely profitable Apple computers using concepts developed by Xerox.

Xerox’s copier business was lucrative for decades, but the company eventually had years of losses during the digital revolution. Xerox managers can console themselves that it’s rare for a company to make the transition from one technology to another.

“The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government.” – Tyler Cowen, Economist

As for the government’s role, the Internet was fully privatized in 1995, when a remaining piece of the network run by the National Science Foundation was closed—just as the commercial Web began to boom. Economist Tyler Cowen wrote in 2005: “The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished…In less than a decade, private concerns have taken that protocol and created one of the most important technological revolutions of the millennia.”

It’s important to understand the history of the Internet because it’s too often wrongly cited to justify big government. It’s also important to recognize that building great technology businesses requires both innovation and the skills to bring innovations to market. As the contrast between Xerox and Apple shows, few business leaders succeed in this challenge.  Government had a role, but it is those who make it happen that deserve the credit.

The knowledge of how to use the Internet is a most important ingredient for business success. As a reader of my blog, I’d like to offer you a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success. It’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

Growing Greed, Income Gap Threaten America

A hardening caste system driven by the insatiable greed of its wealthiest citizens.

America is devolving into a desperate almost Third World society defined by a hardening caste system driven by the insatiable greed of its wealthiest citizens. Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues in his new book The Price Of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future.

This is excerpted from a book review published in the Chicago Tribune July 12, 2012 by Bernard Vaughan. “We are now approaching the level of inequality that marks dysfunctional societies,”  Stiglitz writes. “It is a club that we would distinctly not want to join, including Iran, Jamaica, Uganda and the Philippines.”

Statistics on widening U.S. income inequality are well known, but Stiglitz details them to show the trend has passed into a danger zone.

About 30 years ago, the top 1 percent of income earners received 12 percent of the nation’s income, which could have been unacceptable enough, Stiglitz writes. But by 2007, the average after-tax income of the top 1 percent had reached $1,300,000 while the bottom 20 percent averaged only $17,800.

With the end of the Great Recession, the gap has only widened: The ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker in 2010 was 243 to 1, the level it had been before the financial crisis, the author says.

These economic realities imperil America’s future, corrupting basic notions of fairness and justice critical in a thriving democracy.

Such dramatic inequality, according to Stiglitz is the byproduct of a bubble-strewn economy beholden to a deregulated and all-powerful financial industry all too often dictating government policies through its lobbying and money politics.  The author argues that these economic realities imperil America’s future, corrupting basic notions of fairness and justice critical in a thriving democracy. As inequality increases,opportunity decreases and cynicism is ascendant, Stiglitz says.

Alienation has begun to replace motivation,” Stiglitz writes. “Instead of social cohesion we have a new divisiveness.” Stiglitz’s book echoes others released recently by liberal-leaning voices examining America’s struggle to rebound from the financial calamity of 2008, including studies by economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs, former President Bill Clinton and filmmaker Charles Ferguson.

Stiglitz, a former Clinton administration and World Bank economist, received the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001 and published a series of popular studies in the last decade starting with Globalization and its Discontents (2002), an attack on the International Monetary Fund’s austerity policies.

While Stiglitz’s book zeros in on the idea of inequality, it follows a similar script. Most of its pages are devoted to how America got where it is as opposed to what it can do to reverse course. Ample blame is assigned to the Reagan administration for ushering in an anti-government zeitgeist that Stiglitz argues has engorged the financial industry at the expense of the middle class. Clinton exacerbated financial deregulation, and President Barack Obama has missed a critical opportunity to rein in Wall Street, the book maintains.

Though Stiglitz teases the reader with solutions, it’s not until late in the book that he outlines his economic reform agenda. With some exceptions, many of his suggestions are similar to those offered by Sachs, Krugman and liberal activists. They face the same steep odds in the current political environment, with Obama and Democrats facing a staunchly conservative Republican Party in Congress, in most states—and even on the Supreme Court, some critics say, after decisions such as Bush versus Gore and Citizens United.

Stiglitz’s ideas often echo the Democrats agenda: tax reform so the wealthy pay more; reining in Wall Street; investing in education, technology and infrastructure; and campaign finance reform. He also argues for tempering globalization, where capital is allowed to migrate to the cheapest labor force and free flow of goods is unimpeded by anything but dollar considerations.

It could be the 1 percent who try to do something about inequality as they realize that their fates are bound to how the other 99 prcent live.

Ultimately, and ironically, Stiglitz says, it could be the 1 percenters who try to do something about inequality as they realize that their fates are bound to how the other 99 prcent live.

Throughout  history, this has been something  that the top 1 percent eventually do learn,” he writes. “Often, however, they learn it too late.”

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Suffering for Science – Sign up for a One-Way Trip to Mars

HOW ABOUT SELF-INFLICTED SPIDER BITES? or…  WOULD YOU LIKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME A NUCLEAR TEST DUMMY? A weird few answer the call! The Pleasures of Suffering for Science!

HOW ABOUT SELF-INFLICTED SPIDER BITES? or…  WOULD YOU LIKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME A NUCLEAR TEST DUMMY?

Alex Boese is the byline on this article from the Jun. 9 Wall Street Journal. Mr. Boese is the author of “Electrified Sheep: Glass-Eating Scientists, Nuking the Moon, and More Bizarre Experiment.”

LAST WEEK, a private Dutch company, Mars One, announced that it hopes to send a four-person crew to Mars by 2023. To keep costs down, it will  be a one-way mission. Mars will become the astronauts’ permanent home.

It’s not clear whether this will be a scientific mission so much as a reality TV show, since the company plans to finance the operation by airing the entire  thing live, with commercial sponsors. But the scheme echoes similar plans  that bonafide members of the scientific community, including physicists Paul Davies and Lawrence Krauss and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, have been lobbying for since the 1990s. If humans do land on Mars any time soon, it could very well be on such a trip.

Mars offers a barren, inhospitable environment. The temperatures are freezing and the atmosphere is toxic. The crew of such a mission should expect their experience, and therefore the rest of their lives, to be at least somewhat unpleasant. Given this, who in their right mind would volunteer to go?

Interestingly enough, quite a few people.

When the Navy conducted its atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946, more than 90 people volunteered to man the ships stationed in the target area, so that scientists could gather data about the biological effects of the blasts. Navy researchers admitted that human test subjects would be “more satisfactory than animals”, but they worried about the public-relations aspect of using people, so all were turned down.

There’s also a long history of seemingly rational scientists who were willing to sacrifice their physical comfort, as well as their lives, for the sake of knowledge. Some are remembered as genuine heroes, such as the researchers led by Walter Reed who in 1900 let themselves be bitten by mosquitos carrying yellow fever, to prove that the insects carried the disease.

Other cases of suffering for science are regarded more as historical curiosities. In 1933, University of Alabama professor Allan Walker Blair induced a female black-widow spider to bite his hand. He allowed its fangs to stay in him for 10 seconds, so that he could get a full dose of venom, and then spent several days writhing in nightmarish pain at the local hospital. The attending physician said he had never seen “more abject pain manifested in any other medical or surgical condition”. A fellow entomologist had conducted the same self-experiment 12 years earlier, but Mr. Blair apparently felt the need to experience the sensation himself.

Then there was the Japanese pediatrician, Shimesu Koino, who ate 2,000 eggs of an intestinal roundworm in order to study the life cycle of the organism firsthand. His infection became so severe that he began to cough up the worms from his lungs.

Two London based doctors, Herbert Woollard and Edward Carmichael, earned a dubious place of honor among the ranks of sufferers for science by stacking weights on their testicles in order to examine how the subsequent pain spread throughout their bodies. Even mathematics offers an example of physical self-sacrifice, through repetitive stress injury. University of Georgia professor Pope R. Hill flipped a coin 100,000 times to prove that heads and tails would come up an approximately equal number of times. The experiment lasted a year. He fell sick but completed the count, though he had to enlist the aid of an assistant near the end.

This history suggests that something about suffering and self-sacrifice appeals to to the scientific mind. To paraphrase President Kennedy, scientists do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. 

But one has to wonder, at what point does the sacrifice cease to have any value for the advancement of sicence and simply become the pursuit of hardship for its own sake.

With respect to a manned, one-way mission to Mars, I suspect such questions will fall on deaf ears. Opponents of manned missions have long argued that everything to be gained by going to Mars can best be done by robots. But if Mars One is televising the whole thing, that would at least be good for ratings, allowing the company to earn enough money to send more teams out there. The suffering could become a self-perpetuating end in itself.

Ray Bradbury – The Passing of the Space Age Prophet

Ray Bradbury, Age 91, died peacefully in his sleep June 5. I don’t remember being as saddened as I was by anyone who was not a family member or an acquaintance but I felt as if I knew him well because I grew up with him through his books, short stories, TV shows and movies. He’s finally gone at 91, the last titan of the era when sci-fi fandom was a way of life. The maestros of that tight world were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein–and Ray Bradbury. You had to put Bradbury in that rank, even though your mom read him in the Saturday Evening Post. That could get embarrassing to those of us in the Sci-fi hard core.

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and used his memoires of this small town for settings in some of his best stories.

So begins a eulogy to Ray Bradbury by Bruce Sterling in the Saturday June 9th Wall Street Journal. Mr Sterling continues; His pedigree was impeccable, though he came from “Lassfuss”, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a primeval caldron of sci-fi geek culture, founded in 1934. In my own caldron of Austin, our literary mentor, Chad Oliver, came to us from Lassfuss. He told how he and Bradbury and the “Twilight Zone” screenwriter Charles Beaumont would hunt for all-night burger joints, talking sci-fi until dawn.

It sounded so wondrous that we never understood that we were hearing a hard-times story. This was depression-era California and the real Bradbury was displaced from the Midwest to Hollywood like a Steinbeck Okie, one of countless thousands who went West and inadvertently created a big chunk of postwar culture.

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and used his memoires of this small town for settings in some of his best stories. In 1934 his family settled in Los Angeles. There as a young boy he roller skated through Hollywood trying to spot celebrities. From 1938 to 1942 he was selling newspapers in the streets of L.A. He published his first paid work in 1941 a short story entitled “Pendulum” in the pulp magazine Super Science Stories. By the end of 1942 he had become a full time writer. That same year he married Marguerite McClure whom he met at a bookstore a year earlier. They had four daughters and eight grandchildren. He first shot to international fame after publication of his short story collection, The Martian Chronicles which was partially based on an idea from Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology.

His best known work Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1966. The film adaptation by director Francois Truffaut was a major hit starring Julie Christie. Many other novels and stories had been adapted to film and TV as well as radio, theatre and comic books. He wrote episodes for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. Total literary output is close to 600 short stories, more than 30 books and numerous poems and plays. It’s easy to forget that Bradbury wrote a lot of horror stories, too. Having been  through the Depression and war to emerge in the anonymity of postwar America, how could he not? An emptied world where the smart machinery grinds on, yakking inanely, as the mainstream consumers are nuclear blast shadows stenciled on the outside of their suburban home— a vision from a smiling guy in short pants who spoke reverently of Buck Rogers comics. People elided his dark, mournful side, because his affect was so brisk and boistrous. He was the sharpest of social critics, but never mean-tempered like Orwell or Huxley. He was rather, like that other great portraitist of hard–life Middle America, Edward Hopper, painting horror with an effect of stillness, bleakness, loneliness, bereavement  and deprivation.

He used to speak of a mystical experience: instead of attending a family funeral, he ran off to a carnival. He found a sideshow huckster named “Mr. Electrico,” who told him that he was not a 12-year-old but a reincarnated spirit. He hit him on the head with an electrical wand and told him to aspire to immortality. If it sounds like a half-hour fantasy TV episode, it’s probably because Bradbury wrote so many of those, years later. But as a way of life: departing a funereal mainstream culture to play techno-trips with the tattooed sideshow weirdos.

Mr. Sterling concludes: But if that was Bradbury’s origin myth, it’s also what he became. Wine from Dandelions, lowly yet highly evolved, borne by the wind into the last places,you’d expect to find them blooming. Exotic, yet common as the soil.

In 2004 he received a National Medal of Arts. Also a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An asteroid is named in his honor “9766 Bradbury” and the Apollo Astronauts named a crater on the moon “Dandelion Crater” after his novel “Dandelion Wine“. Many of his short stories were published in PLAYBOY MAGAZINE and even a TV commercial for Sunsweet Prunes ran in the 1960’s. John Huston, a huge fan of Bradbury’s work asked him to write the screenplay for Huston’s film adaptation of “Moby Dick“. He submitted a working script to Huston in early 1954. By the time the film came out in 1956, Huston had listed himself as co-author. Bradbury protested Huston’s action to the Screen Writers Guild and initiallly was successful in having Huston removed as co-author but the powerful film maker had the decision over turned.  

 Ray Bradbury remained productive until the end. He has now departed and the world as he worried in 1979 is a much madder place. More reason to re-read Fahrenheit 451 including the afterword and oppose political correctness with the courage of the master himself.

For an overview on his 50- plus years career read “Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction” published by the Kent State University Press.

Charles Dickens and his Secret Teenage Lover

Charles Dickens, one of the greats of english literature whose image was that of a pillar of Victorian morality would have been right at home with today’s sex scandals.

In 1953, when future biographer Claire Tomalin was studying English literature at Cambridge, she came across intriguing refrences  to a figure named Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, a young stage actress of minor reputation. In two separate distinguished biographies on Dickens both mentioned “this girl hanging about (the author), and they were both scathing about her,” Tomalin recalls. “She was (described as) this mercenary, who made Dickens’ kids unhappy, but to whom he seemed very attached. I sensed there was a story there.”. Cut to three decades later, Tomalin, then literary editor of the Sunday Times, mentioned her interest in Ternan to David Parker, curator of the Dickens Museum in London. He encouraged her to write Ternan’s biography.

Tomalin spent the next few years piecing together clues in letterrs, address books, diaries and photographs as she traced the arc of the secretive 13-year liaison between the great author and the actress. The result was her celebrated 1991 book, The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens

Ternan met Dickens in 1857, when she, her mother and sisters were actors in a play he was producing. Dickens was 45; Trenan was 18. Anxious to preserve his image as a pillar of Victorian morality, Dickens purchased a house for her near London, where he visited her secretly. Dickens seemed both to revel in and regret the affair. Dickens and Ternan apparently destroyed all correspondence between them but Tomlin says, “there was plenty of material,” including details about Ternan in missives by Dickens children: Both his son Henry and daughter Katey, for example, “confirmed that (the couple) had a child,  and it died.” Tomalin believes that Nelly and the child, said to be a boy who did not survive infancy, had been sequestered in France.

In 1876, six years after Dickens death, Ternan, then 37, married a clergyman 12 years her junior;  they had two children, neither of whom learned of the relationship with Dickens until long after their mother’s death.

Having been rescued from obscurity by Tomalin, Ternan is about to to take center stage a second time; Ralph Fiennes will direct and star in a film adaption of  The Invisible Woman, with Felicity Jones in the title role, shooting is set to begin perhaps this Spring.

Looking forward to this movie and one other  thing I’m looking forward to are your comments on any of my earlier postings. Having your feedback will help me learn what you like and of even more importance what you don’t like so I can continue to make my blogsite a permanent part of your on line life.

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