Friday, April 21, 2006

Earth Day Quiz

Answers tomorrow, on Earth Day, together with pointers to some Google goodies...

(0) What is E85?

(1) How many 16-oz bottles of bottled water does the average American consume each year?

(2) Why does Vinod Khosla (co-founding CEO of Sun Microsystems and venture capitalist extraordinaire) want California to add a new tax?

(3) Is it a coincidence that this (clickable) front-page ad from GM on bears colors from the Brazilian flag?

(4) Who is Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran?

(5) What is the single largest energy consuming appliance in a typical household?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Science du jour...

NYT has this article on the "science of services", whatever that means.

An ex-colleague of mine wonders: why is this article in the Business section of NYT?

I won't whine (in this post, anyway) about why this is not a science, but will merely lament NYT's lack of critical reporting: there's no discussion of operations research, industrial engineering, "management science", and other mathematical/engineering/business school disciplines (sciences and non-sciences) that subsume this field of deep scientific inquiry many times over.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ashamed to be Indian

I am usually proud about the culture, heritage, yada yada of India - being the largest democracy, more or less peaceful coexistence of numerous languages, religions, an advanced intellectual core, tons of entrepreneurship, etc. etc.

This I fail to understand: a popular movie actor, whose last movie was probably a decade or two ago, dies at age 77 of natural causes, and his fans and others indulge in looting and violence and general unrest. At least five people have been killed following this burst of violence. And they threw stones at a Microsoft office in Bangalore. The technology capital remains shut for two days. This is absolutely idiotic. I fail to see even a sliver of logic behind this.

Monday, April 03, 2006

NYT's new design sucks

Decidedly more "content" (links to blogs, etc.), but I find the new design ugly and not user-friendly. Starting with the smaller font, longer pages, ad-heavy top screen, etc., I think I am going elsewhere for my hourly news fix. Both The Times and the BBC have better layout and navigation, I think. BBC even has a sidebar that gives links to the same story in other major newspapers of the world, a definitely cool feature: this site "gets" the web -- your overall value is not just a function of the content you provide but also a function of the links you provide.


Recently at Google, I got to watch parts of a very interesting "Tech Talk" by folks from -- "... a non-profit venture for development and provision of free software that visualise human development. [This is] done in collaboration with universities, UN organisations, public agencies and non-governmental organisations."

The talk had really cool animations of time-series data about various correlations between health and income of populations across the globe. The talk had a strangely interesting kind of self-reference: it was as much about the presentation technology as it was about the data being presented, not unlike, but richer in content than, a power point presentation about powerpoint, or a coffee table book about coffee tables...

You can view the Gapminder talk in its entirety at Google Video (about 70 minutes).