On small step for NASA, one giant leap for Google

NASA and Google have signed a MOU to cooperate on large-scale data management, massively distributed computing and bio-info-nano convergence.

Google will also develop up to one million square feet within the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field — sounds more like a stronghold, than a foothold.

Now that NASA has ceded all its precious information to the fastest-growing corporation in the world, can we hope that they will find alien life in there somewhere?


Negroponte pushes forward with nutty laptop idea

A notebook for every child at US$100 a pop? Sounds crazy? MIT Media Lab guru Negroponte is pushing forward with this idea.

It should be out in November, he says. The tail-end of this story addresses the real-world realities.

Negroponte says his team is addressing ways this project could be undermined.

For example, to keep the $100 laptops from being widely stolen or sold off in poor countries, he expects to make them so pervasive in schools and so distinctive in design that it would be “socially a stigma to be carrying one if you are not a student or a teacher.” He compared it to filching a mail truck or taking something from a church: Everyone would know where it came from.

As a result, he expects to keep no more than 2 percent of the machines from falling into a murky “gray market.”

And unlike the classic computing model in which successive generations of devices get more gadgetry at the same price, Negroponte said his group expects to do the reverse. With such tweaks as “electronic ink” displays that will require virtually no power, the MIT team expects to constantly lower the cost.

After all, in much of the world, Negroponte said, even $100 “is still too expensive.”

You got that right bro. And boy do you NOT get business realities.

The specs for the product is limp at best. 500MHz processor running on Linux with flash memory storage of 1 GB? Ho hum.

Negroponte expects his nonprofit One Laptop Per Child to get 5 million to 15 million of the machines in production, when “children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, South Africa are due to begin getting them.”

Great choice of countries. Watch China clone the machine in five minutes if there is a demand. And watch Thailand, Brazil and S. Africa ship half of it to other countries at profit.

In the second year — apparently — when Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hopes to start buying them for all 500,000 middle and high-school students in this state — Negroponte envisions “100 million to 150 million being made.” He boasts that this would surpass the world’s existing annual production of laptops, which is about 50 million.

Yeah, and so Dell, HP, Apple, Toshiba, Acer, Lenovo, and every other major brand on this planet will just be sitting on their hands watching the carpet go from under their feet.

And we’re not even talking about horrendous service problems these machines may be faced with. Nice try Mr Negroponte, but this pig just won’t fly.

Sony’s chief asks 10,000 to walk, man

Sony’s Howard Stringer has done the American thing. When you can’t fix it, slash and burn. It was just a matter of time, as we suggested in March.


The new head of Sony, maker of Walkman portable music players and PlayStation game consoles, introduced a plan on Thursday for turning around the struggling Japanese electronics giant that will cut 10,000 jobs – about 6.5 percent of its work force – as well as shed unprofitable products and centralize decision-making in the sprawling group.

But in a possible sign of rough waters still ahead, Sony said it expected to post its first annual loss in more than a decade this year. The company said it now foresaw a loss of ¥10 billion, or $90 million, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, down from a previously forecast $90 million profit.

The chief executive, Howard Stringer, released his widely awaited turnaround plan in his first news conference since June, right after taking the helm at Sony. He promised to return Sony to profitability next year, saying the job cuts, product eliminations and other steps like factory closings would save almost $2 billion over the next two and a half years.

But he said that cost-cutting alone was not enough to ensure Sony’s future. The plan also included organizational changes aimed at improving communication between Sony’s notoriously autonomous divisions. Stringer said he hoped this cross-fertilization would lead to new products, allowing Sony to stay ahead of low-cost rivals in China and South Korea, which are quickly climbing up the technology ladder.

“We must be like the Russians defending Moscow from Napoleon, scorching the earth ahead of our competitors,” he told reporters.


"Can I please go wee-wee, Ms Rice?"

I don’t vouch for the accuracy of this photo, but found it on Yahoo, credited to Reuters.

Apparently, Mr Bush needs to ask permission from Ms Rice to go to the Men’s Room.

Voice of reason in Bushspeak world

Clinton is has finally broke with tradition of the muted ex-Presidents and emerged as a lone voice of reason in the screaming chorus of sycophants.

In point form:

  • Bush invaded Iraq “virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction.”
  • There had been a “heroic but so far unsuccessful” effort to put together an constitution that would be universally supported in Iraq.
  • The US strategy of trying to develop the Iraqi military and police so that they can cope without US support “is the best strategy. The problem is we may not have, in the short run, enough troops to do that.”
  • On Hurricane Katrina, the authorities’ failed to evacuate New Orleans ahead of the storm’s strike on August 29.People with cars were able to heed the evacuation order, but many of those who were poor, disabled or elderly were left behind.”If we really wanted to do it right, we would have had lots of buses lined up to take them out.”
  • “When James Lee Witt ran FEMA, because he had been both a local official and a federal official, he was always there early, and we always thought about that.But both of us came out of environments with a disproportionate number of poor people.” (Witt was FEMA’s head during Clinton’s 1993-2001 presidency.)
  • On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included.
  • More quotes from Clinton:

    “What Americans need to understand is that … every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq,Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts.”

    “We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else.”

    “We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don’t think it makes any sense.”

    Firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts

    New Orleans Journalism

    Here’s a personal account, well-told in pictures and captions, of how New Orleans was hit and how one person escaped.

    The New Orleans video

    UPDATE, Sept 12: Wow. Over 1,000 downloads over at ClipShack after Dvorak blogged it.

    Have added the video at Ourmedia.org.

    Otherwise, click on image below:

    or follow this
    NewOrleans link

    Boom, bust, decay, and the house of cards

    Microsoft’s Steve Balmer threw a fit when he heard Mark Lucovsky was defecting to Google. He picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office, according to court documents. Mr. Ballmer then said: “F***ing Eric Schmidt is a f***ing pussy. I’m going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f***ing kill Google.” (via Searchblog)

    But the intriguing thing about this piece of information is Ballmer’s belief that: “Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”

    Henry Blodget in a WSJ op-ed says there are four phases of Internet development,akin to other industries: boom, bust, mature growth and decay.

    “The growth of the Internet has paralleled that of most industries based on revolutionary technology. Canals, railroads, telegraphs, telephones, cars, radios, personal computers – all progressed (or are progressing) through four phases of development: boom, bust, mature growth and decay.”

    He says we are now in a state of Mature Growth.

    So next up, another boomlet, then perhaps Decay? What happens in a future world when everyone has broadband on every mobile device ever invented? Will we need all that information?

    Emperor Bush Plays Guitar While Americans Drown

    Spotted these two pics on Yahoo News. Nothing can infuriate the public more than seeing their president indulging in photo ops that are in direct contrast to the disaster pics post-Hurricane Katrina. This was taken Aug 30, the same day thousands were caught trapped and drowned in their homes.

    News item: President Bush Plays Guitar

    News item 2: New Orleans Left to the Dead and Dying

    Flyover President and the Drowning of New Orleans

    From HuffingtonPost.com:

    The Flyover Presidency of George W. Bush
    By Arianna Huffington

    The president’s 35-minute Air Force One flyover of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama was the perfect metaphor for his entire presidency: detached, disconnected, and disengaged. Preferring to take in America’s suffering — whether caused by the war in Iraq or Hurricane Katrina — from a distance. In this case, 2,500 feet.

    Apparently, the president “sat somberly on a couch on the left hand side of the presidential jumbo jet peering out the window” at the catastrophe below, joined at different times by White House staffers including Karl Rove and Scott McClellan. McClellan later quoted the president as saying, “It’s devastating. It’s got to be doubly devastating on the ground.” Ya think?? Hey, here’s an idea, Mr. President: maybe you should, y’know, get off the plane and see for yourself?


    Bush’s Role in the Drowning of New Orleans
    by Van Jones

    Don’t say that a hurricane destroyed New Orleans. Hurricanes don’t drown cities.

    It was a “perfect storm” of a different kind that put that great city underwater: Bush-era neglect of our national infrastructure, combined with runaway global warming and a deep contempt for poor African-Americans.

    The result: catastrophe. The flooding was not a result of heavy rains.

    It is a result of a weak levee — one that was in mid-repair when the storm hit. And that levee, which has held back floodwaters for time beyond memory, collapsed for one simple reason: Bush refused to fix it last summer, when local officials were begging him to do so. Instead, he diverted those funds to the war effort.

    In other words, the dollars that could have saved New Orleans were used to wage war in Iraq, instead. What’s worse: funds that might have spared the poor in New Orleans (had the dollars been properly invested in levees and modern pumping stations), were instead passed out to the rich, willy-nilly — as tax breaks.

    With those two simple steps, Bush squandered the hard-won Clinton-era surplus. He left the national piggy bank empty for fixing and maintaining basic U.S. infrastructure. (And what was Clinton doing next to the president, giving him cover at a time like this?)

    Had the levee repairs been completed in a timely manner (two years ago), Katrina would have hit hard, destroyed buildings and probably taken some lives. But it would NOT have cracked open the floodwalls and submerged an entire CITY. It took Bush’s criminal neglect of his domestic duties to produce that outcome…


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