My picks for 2008: Top 11 People and lists reporting on and/or predicting breakthroughs in Science and Technology. You’ll notice I cheated a lot; but, I still left a LOT of stuff out:
Big Bang Theory giving way to the Big Bounce Theory? Einstein’s relativity comes up short in simulations of the beginning of the Universe, but the theory of this Universe emerging from the gravity-driven collapse of a previous Universe has potential, according to this article in New Scientist
ABHAY ASHTEKAR remembers his reaction the first time he saw the universe bounce. “I was taken aback,” he says. He was watching a simulation of the universe rewind towards the big bang. Mostly the universe behaved as expected, becoming smaller and denser as the galaxies converged. But then, instead of reaching the big bang “singularity”, the universe bounced and started expanding again. What on earth was happening?
Ashtekar wanted to be sure of what he was seeing, so he asked his colleagues to sit on the result for six months before publishing it in 2006. And no wonder. The theory that the recycled universe was based on, called loop quantum cosmology (LQC), had managed to illuminate the very birth of the universe – something even Einstein’s general theory of relativity fails to do.
Cell phones, the internet, blogs and web streaming technology have created an almost seamless interaction between any event you witness and the world wide web.
Source, September 13, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/technology/14novel.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
STILL keeping in touch with friends by texting? [Still waiting until you get home to upload those videos of human rights violations and political faux pas?] How old-fashioned. Some early adopters of technology are now using their mobile phones to send not typed words or photographs, but live video broadcasts. They’re streaming scenes from their daily lives — like trips to the mall, weddings, a new puppy’s antics or even a breaking news story that they happen upon.
“You can record whatever’s happening around you and send it back to wherever you’ve embedded your channel,” Ms. Thompson said. “You don’t have to set up a camera — it’s really instant.”
Viewers can respond immediately to videos, typing messages on their keyboards, for instance, and sending them along to a live session. The typed chat appears instantly at the bottom of viewers’ screens.
The relatively simple technology, which requires no television cameras or satellite links, has much potential, Ms. Thompson said, although the quality will vary when users stream live video, depending on the available bandwidth from the provider.
Original, August 11, 2008 New York Times
1. a person empowered to decide matters at issue; judge; umpire.
2. a person who has the sole or absolute power of judging or determining.
This is an oped about how human nature and the Network Age are forcing the corporate media to bend to our will, and our demand for choice in news, information and content. The web and related networking technologies, as this article points out, can be a powerful positive influence on their news gathering and dissemination; trying to interfere with it may be their downfall.
Emerging technologies that threaten to destroy the current paradigm can have precisely the opposite effect. Remember when VCRs and then DVDs were going to lay waste to the movie industry and ended up saving it instead? The Web leaks of entertainment that NBC bought and paid for served as a kind of trailer for the real thing.
There is a lesson there for rest of the media, most specifically The Philadelphia Inquirer, where the managing editor, Michael Leary, issued a memo last week suggesting that all of the paper’s good stuff — “signature investigative reporting, enterprise, trend stories, news features and reviews” — would not appear online until they first appear in print.
“For our bloggers, especially, this may require a bit of an adjustment,” Mr. Leary informed the staff. “Some of you like to try out ideas that end up as subjects of stories or columns in print first. If in doubt, consult your editor.”
Even to the eye of this reporter — to use a hack newspaper term — The Inquirer seems to be making a mistake. If the future of our business is online, then why set up a firewall, delaying the best content to protect a legacy product? And more adept reporters are beginning to realize that the Web is not just a way to broadcast news, it is a great way to assemble it as well.