Yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality… or it was yesterday

Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

US science/speculative fiction writer Neal Stephenson, argues that innovation is slowing down as we become increasingly unwilling to take risks and try new ideas, a trend that is also becoming manifest in much contemporary sci-fi writing, which in the past played a part in inspiring the development of ideas and technology.

SF has changed over the span of time I am talking about- from the 1950s (the era of the development of nuclear power, jet airplanes, the space race, and the computer) to now. Speaking broadly, the techno-optimism of the Golden Age of SF has given way to fiction written in a generally darker, more skeptical and ambiguous tone. I myself have tended to write a lot about hackers – trickster archetypes who exploit the arcane capabilities of complex systems devised by faceless others.

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The chances are a million to one of being killed by a micromort

Tuesday, 26 July, 2011

A micromort, a concept conceived by Stanford University professor Ronald A. Howard, measures the one-in-a-million probability of death associated with any given activity or undertaking, such as say smoking, driving, or residing in areas with high levels of pollution, and make for an easy to understand means of assessing risk.

Via Lone Gunman.

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The most dangerous day of the week is… pay day

Tuesday, 5 July, 2011

A US study has found that the mortality rate surges in the week following pay-day… with a large number of deaths resulting from car accidents and substance abuse, presumably as people get out and about spending their wages.

“What surprised us was how broad-based the phenomenon was,” says Evans. “We found increased mortality after payday for the young and old, low and higher income groups, for married and single individuals. The increase in short-run mortality also occurs for a large number of causes of death. The effect was particularly pronounced for car accidents, heart attacks and especially substance abuse,” according to Evans.

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Fast decision making may be not be the gamble it seems to be

Monday, 13 December, 2010

A gene, MAOA-L, previously thought to promote aggression or risk taking, may instead imbue those possessing of it the ability to weigh-up options and make decisions – usually beneficial – very quickly, behaviour that can otherwise appear – to some at least – to be aggressive or impulsive.

This edge may look like aggression or impulsivity in some situations, but may simply reflect more focused attention, thinks Frydman. “If two gamblers are counting cards, and one is making a lot of bets, it may look like he’s more aggressive or impulsive. But you don’t know what cards he’s counting – he may just be responding to good opportunities.”

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Sharemarket betting, the ASX index will reach 5000 this month

Tuesday, 9 March, 2010

Here’s one way of making money through the sharemarket without actually investing in any stocks, bet on what the value of ASX index will be at the end of each month.

From today Australians can place a bet on where the S&P/ASX 200, the index of the nation’s 200 biggest listed companies, will finish at the end of the month. Centrebet’s bourse book shows that so far, most punters expect the market will rise in March. There are longer odds on a fall or steady result.

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Risk is an essential component of originality

Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

At least on the web should your latest “masterpiece” in fact turn out to be a stinker, you can always take it off-line – get it out of sight – with a mouse click. And try something else. If you still have a budget that is.

How many Web projects have been shepherded by mindful executives that resist their natural tendency to avoid or minimize risks? As Ed Catmull outlines, the more common instinct is “to choose to copy successes rather than try to create something brand new -that is why you see so many movies that are so much alike and a lot of films that are not very good. If you want to be original you have to accept uncertainty and have the capability to recover when your organization takes a big risk and fails.”

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