Friday, January 2, 2015

It’s a beautiful time to be alive and educated

Your Story ^ | January 2, 2015 | Vivek Wadhwa 

I grew up watching Star Trek and believing that by the time I became an adult we would all be using communicators, replicators, tricorders, and transporters. I was optimistic that the world would be a much better place: that we would have solved humanity’s problems and be exploring new worlds.
That’s why my first career choice was one of astronaut. I thought it would best prepare me for Starfleet Academy.
Needless to say, I was disappointed. I grew up into a world filled with hunger, poverty, and disease—in which we fight wars over dwindling natural resources. It is a world of pessimism and sorrow, in which people obsess over maximizing their share of the pie. There is a greater focus on building wealth than on bettering the world.
No wonder so many MBA students want to join investment banks: it is the best way to reap big financial rewards and to get ahead.
I’m an MBA myself, so I can be critical about MBAs. I too worked at an investment bank, Credit Suisse First Boston, so I know what I am talking about. I too used to obsess over building wealth, and didn’t believe I could really make a difference in the world. So don’t take my comments too personally.
I am here to tell you that you have opportunities that I could not even have imagined when I was young. You can build the Star Trek future that we have dreamed about. It has become possible for people such as all of you here to solve the big problems; to rid our civilization of the ills that have long plagued it; to take humanity from eons of scarcity to an era of abundance. You can take us into a world in which we worry more about sharing prosperity than fighting each other over what little we have.
This period in human history is unique, because now entrepreneurs can do what only governments and big corporations could do before. You are the space cadets with the opportunities to make amazing things happen.
Let me explain what changed over the last couple of decades and why I have become so optimistic.
You have seen the advances in our computers: how they keep getting faster and smaller. The Cray supercomputers that I used to read about when I was young were considered to be strategic government assets. They could not be exported; they were for scientific research and defense; and they cost in the tens of millions of dollars. They needed to be housed in huge buildings, and required water cooling. The smartphones many of you carry in your pockets are many times more powerful than these were.
This progression is known as Moore’s Law. For more than 100 years, the processing power of computers had doubled every 18 months. Faster computers are now being used to design faster computers. Computers—and the information technology that they enable—are absorbing other fields. So we are seeing exponential advances in sensors, artificial intelligence, robotics, medicine, 3D printing, and so on. Futurist Ray Kurzweil says: “As any technology becomes an information technology, it starts advancing exponentially.”That is what is happening. These technologies are also converging — and making amazing and scary things possible.
Take the advances in sensors such as the camera in your smartphone. Kodak introduced the first “computerized” camera in 1976. It weighed 4 pounds, cost $10,000, and had a resolution of a whopping .01 megapixels. Today, some phones have 41-megapixel cameras, and these cameras are just a feature. And do you remember those really expensive HD cameras that film studios started purchasing about 20 years ago? Your iPhone’s camera is better. The same advances have happened in accelerometers, gyroscopes, and in sensors of temperature, gas, humidity, and so on. The same advances are happening in microfluidics and allowing us to perform chemical and biological tests on small, inexpensive chips.
In the ’70s, we were also very excited about artificial intelligence. We began fearing that Japan would dominate the field and gain superpower status with it. Nothing ever happened, and we thought that A.I. was dead. A.I. didn’t die — it’s everywhere. It powers our air-traffic control systems and our games. It’s what IBM Watson used to defeat human players in Jeopardy. It’s what SIRI uses to recognize our voices.
When you combine exponentially advancing technologies, the magic happens. This convergence makes possible new applications and allows the creation of new industries and the destruction of the old.
Take the data we are collecting from our sensors, from the Internet, and from the computerization of almost all knowledge work, and apply artificial intelligence to analyze it. You get the ability to predict traffic patterns, crime, sales, and trends. You gain the ability to put financial analysts out of business — because computers can do a better job of analyzing data.
You can also have computers doing the job of doctors. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors about the Apple iWatch and seen people use devices such as Fitbit. These are sensors that monitor our health. There are thousands of medical sensors in development worldwide. They will watch our activity levels and monitor our sleep, our vital signs and body fluids, everything about us. Imagine having an A.I. system — an app — read these data 24×7; advise us when we are about to get sick; recommend better lifestyles, habits, and treatments. These technologies are becoming possible because of the combination of sensors, computing, medicine, and artificial intelligence. Within a decade, we will not need doctors to advise us on the basics of our health.
When I was young, in addition to dreaming of replicators — which would produce all the ice-cream and dessert I could eat — and tricorders, I also dreamed of having a robotic assistant like Rosie from the Jetsons clean up after me. This way, I wouldn’t get yelled at for keeping my room so untidy.
But Rosie never came. All I got was a Roomba—a pathetic little automated vacuum cleaner.
Why no Rosie?
Because the computation power required for a robot to do voice recognition and speak intelligently would have required a Cray computer, and the sensors—the camera, motion detectors, gyroscopes, accelerometers—were too bulky and expensive. Guess what your iPhone can do today?
Rosie has become possible, and I won’t be surprised if some kid in Silicon Valley—or a graduate from Hult—creates her. We’ll also see robots doing the jobs of humans in manufacturing plants, in grocery stores, in pharmacies, driving cars and making deliveries, and so on. Robots will soon do everything routine that humans do. Imagine the possibilities and disruptions these create.
These are just a few of the examples of what has become possible. In the next decade, we will also be 3D printing household goods, entire buildings, electronic circuits, and even our food. We will be designing new organisms that improve agriculture and clean up the environment. We will be delivering our goods—and perhaps be transporting ourselves—by drone. Amazing things are becoming possible.
These technologies make it possible to do a lot of good. They also enable large-scale destruction, spying, and many unimaginable horrors. They create social and ethical dilemmas. They take us into a future in which there isn’t enough work for humans and we have to figure out what to do with ourselves. There will surely be social unrest as the rate of change accelerates, and there will be efforts to stop the progress of technology.
These advances cannot be stopped. The same technologies that we have access to, here in Silicon Valley, and the same knowledge and ideas, are available everywhere. Entrepreneurs and governments—and criminals—all over the world are developing them. If we stop driverless cars from travelling down our roads in the United States, or drones from delivering our goods, other countries will still develop those technologies. We will be left behind. If we outlaw A.I.-physician apps in the U.S., we’ll end up downloading apps from the Indian App Store. The good and the bad technologies have globalized. For example, you can be anywhere in the world and download designs for 3D printed guns.
There is a lot to be excited about — and to worry about. The jobs and careers you think you are headed into may not exist a decade from now. I am serious, even jobs such as financial analyst, market researcher, and production manager may disappear. Silicon Valley will also be disrupted. The social-media bubble will pop, and new technologies will create excitement—and new bubbles.
I didn’t mean to scare you; just to make you aware of the realities that we are headed into. Right now, there are amazing opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to make the world a better place. It is a wide-open field. There will be many new jobs and professions created, new industries, and new opportunities. We will have heated policy debates about what is good and what is bad. This means that you can take almost any role that you want in this new future. You can be a CEO, a marketing executive, a designer, or a policy maker.
The most important skill of the future will be the ability to learn and adapt. You need to be resourceful, keep your eyes open for advances coming out of nowhere, and embrace the new opportunities as they emerge. You need to be able to collaborate with others and build relationships. You need to be able to share ideas, inspire, and motivate.
Whatever you do, don’t take a mindless, meaningless job with a big company just because they offer you a big salary. Try to be somewhere where you can constantly redefine yourself and keep learning. That is what it is going to be about: constant learning and reinvention.
The future is going to be what we make it. It can be the Star Trek utopia or a Mad Max wreck, a creative playground or an Orwellian nightmare. That is why we need people with good values and ethics leading the way. We need people who care about enriching humanity rather than just themselves. We need people who can lead by example and bring along those behind them; who give back to the world and make it a better place. I really hope you will amongst those who lead the charge, who watch out for the interests of humanity, who build the utopia.

Poll: 60% of GOP Voters Want Boehner Out as Speaker ^ | 1/2/15 

A new poll out today reveals GOP opinions about Speaker of the House John Boehner.
The poll was commissioned by a group called The People’s Poll, supervised by Pat Caddell of Caddell Associates and fielded by EMC Research.
The survey was conducted among self-identified Republicans and independents who say they lean Republican so the opinions in the poll come from the GOPers around the country, not the public-at-large.
When asked if Speaker of the House John Boehner should be re-elected only 25% say so, with a paltry 11% strongly supporting Boehner. On the other hand, almost two-thirds (60%) want someone new on the job, with 26% saying they strongly want a new Speaker of the House.
And it gets worse. Boehner isn’t much trusted by his own party.
Only 13% say they strongly agree with the statement “I trust House Speaker John Boehner to fight for the issues that are important to most Republicans” and an additional 39% saying they “somewhat” agree with the statement.
Furthermore, Boehner gets weak marks for opposing Obama’s agenda. Almost two-thirds agree with the statement “Speaker Boehner has been ineffective in opposing President Obama’s agenda.” The party and its supporters are split on whether Boehner has the “best interests of the American public at heart, rather than special interests” which is hardly a vote of confidence moving forward with the new Congress.
Rick Manning writes over at The Hill:
“Next week during the Speaker’s vote, if 29 Republicans decide that they will not vote for Boehner to continue as Speaker, he doesn’t get to be Speaker unless he convinces a Democrat to vote for him.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Warren = Obama


Hillary's Baloon

Abortion Wendy




A+ or F?



BA in Art History

Playing Trough!

GOP in 2015


I gotta have some!

The WaPo is Suddenly Terrified of Executive Orders... And Ted Cruz!

Townhall Finance ^ | January 2, 2015 | Michael Schaus 

It was as if the editorial board over at the Washington Post suddenly stopped what they were doing, looked up from their work, and dropped their jaws as a (rare) coherent thought suddenly manifested inside their collective brains.
“Wait a minute…” they muttered, as the thought of Obama using executive action played over and over again in their minds. “If he can change the law unilaterally,” a gradual expression of horror engulfed their faces, “then if Republicans end up winning in 2016, they could just -- ”

I imagine the rest of that thought was almost unbearable for the liberal clones of Ezra Klein to articulate. But they did manage to spell it out in an Editorial:
Democrats urging President Obama to “go big” in his executive orders... might pause to consider the following scenario: It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare. The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program.
Whoa, whoa… How did the Senate swing back to the Dems? The Post’s hypothetical world (where their “birther” concerns aren’t enough to derail a Ted Cruz Presidential campaign) brings up a pretty good point: If working with Congress is suddenly deemed optional, what would stop those evil Republicans from implementing a little executive action of their own next time they’re in power?
It’s almost too much fun to imagine the nuclear meltdown that would take place in the Leftist media if a GOP President decided to use Obama’s patented style of governance to repealing the contraception mandate, neuter Obamacare, and reinforce immigration law. Heck… With just a phone and a pen the newly elected President could erase much of Obama’s legacy. The mere thought of such actions undoubtedly send some liberals into blind hysterics…
Which is why they should probably stop cheerleading for King Obama. After all, it was only a mere paragraph later that the editorial board at theWash Po decided to “warn” Republicans about being obstinate:
It would not be rational for Republicans to spurn compromise in [some] areas just because Mr. Obama acts unilaterally in others; but it is entirely foreseeable.
For being an editorial board, I don’t think these folks have a solid handle on the English language. If there is only one side “compromising”, isn’t that considered a surrender? But their larger point, warning against setting a new precedent for executive power, should be well taken.
It was somewhat refreshing to see a traditionally Leftist paper balance their enthusiasm for Obama with a little pragmatism. Sure… The Wash Posteditorial board still has a ways to go before they start waiving the Gadsden flag and calling for Obama’s impeachment, but at least they seem to understand that Americans vote for representatives, rather than Kings.
(Of course, there is also an outside chance that they are simply terrified of a Ted Cruz Presidency.)

Sneering at the Sniper Movie ^ | January 2, 2015 | Brent Bozell 

At this point in George W. Bush's presidency, Hollywood uncorked a barrel of anti-Iraq-war movies, all of them in their varying styles trashing the American military or intelligence agencies as vicious murderers, rapists and all-around freedom-tramplers. Most were duds because the public wanted nothing to do with those messages. But oh, did the critics love 'em.
In Obama's "fourth quarter," as he calls it, Clint Eastwood has released his movie "American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, a NAVY Seal who survived four tours of duty in Iraq and was credited with an astonishing 160 confirmed kills. The story ended horribly in 2013, four years after he left the Navy, when he and a friend were shot down at a Texas shooting range. Oh, how the critics hate it.
New York Times film critic A.O. Scott has indicted the film as political propaganda: "The politics of the Iraq war are entirely absent, which is a political statement in its own right," he declared. "And though George W. Bush's name is never invoked, 'American Sniper' can be seen as an expression of nostalgia for his Manichaean approach to foreign policy."
It's just pathetic that a film that doesn't strike a partisan note is somehow political by being non-political. Scott loved the non-political Iraq war film "The Hurt Locker" in 2009, but the main military characters in that film were fully fictional men disarming bombs, not a real-life Silver Star winner with a talent for picking off terrorists.
Scott admits that Eastwood "doesn't flinch from portraying the toll of his (Kyle's) service on his psyche and his marriage, though it may tidy up the damage a bit too quickly and neatly. But this, too, is part of the film's loyalty to its hero's understanding of himself and his work. Or, you might say, its commitment to printing his legend. 'Legend' is one of the nicknames Chris earns from his admiring fellow servicemen, who are in awe of his bravery and skill, and Mr. Eastwood engages in his share of mythmaking."
Liberal film critics today don't like the pairing of "military" and "hero" in the same breath. In their forever-Vietnam mentality, "duty, honor, country" are just fancy words for being tools of a ravenous military-industrial complex that lies its way into war for power and profit.
Scott is a blatantly dishonest critic for a blatantly dishonest newspaper. Time and again, he demonstrates that films he sees as conservative must be denounced as ridiculously propagandistic, but films he sees as liberal aren't propaganda, but important lessons for the country. Conservative films are often pulp; liberal films are often works of art.
Let's match "Sniper" with "Milk," the 2008 film about assassinated gay San Francisco city councilman Harvey Milk. In this exercise in liberal mythmaking and propaganda, Scott hailed Sean Penn for conveying "Milk's fundamental kindness, a personal virtue that also functions as a political principle."
Scott can hail how "Milk had a profound impact on national politics, and his rich afterlife in American culture has affirmed his status as pioneer and martyr." And yet the script "manages to evade many of the traps and compromises of the period biopic with a grace and tenacity worthy of its title character."
Facts don't matter one whit. After all, Scott loved "Fahrenheit 911" 10 years ago. He asserted that while Michael Moore's mockumentary would be "properly debated on the basis of its factual claims and cinematic techniques, it should first of all be appreciated as a high-spirited and unruly exercise in democratic self-expression." He honored Moore as "a credit to the Republic."
Note that nothing here has anything to do with the artistic merits of the film. It's pure political commentary. That's supposed to be the purview of editorials and columnists, not film critics.
Americans face a double whammy in the world of entertainment media: Movie studios often make syrupy liberal movies, and then liberal critics try to praise them right into the Oscar cavalcade and the film history books. Movies about real-life American military heroes need not apply.