Thursday, May 11, 2006

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Egyptians look to Islam for answers

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Egyptians look to Islam for answers: "But these days Egyptians are increasingly seeking religious rulings on all aspects of life.

Islam Online

Fatwas are proliferating in the newspapers, on the internet and on satellite channels.

Islam Online is a phenomenally successful website which aims to present a comprehensive view of Islam to the world.

Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies
It runs a very popular fatwa section.

'We have a section called 'Ask a scholar' where you can find different fatwas on issues from laser surgery to correct eyesight down to April Fools Day,' said Sayed Mohamed Amin, an editor on Islam Online."

tags: chaos navigation tool evolution

Blueprinting the human brain | CNET

Blueprinting the human brain | CNET "SAN JOSE, Calif.--A 3D computer simulation of 10,000 neurons firing in the human brain produces a terabyte of data--a fraction of what it would take to map the brain's billions of neurons in algorithms.

That's according to Henry Markham, a scientist working on the Blue Brain project, a collaboration of IBM, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, or EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and others. The project is an attempt to create a blueprint of the human brain to advance cognition research."

Analysis of system evolution patterns shows that mapping is a precursor to route building. For example, 15th century voyages opened up the New World for future commercial exploitaion. This project is a clear indication that human brain has become the next frontier for bio-computational research.

tags: evolution mapping indicator trend maturity

Friday, May 05, 2006

The coward dies a thousand deaths

Dread lights up like pain in your brain: The feeling of dread lights up the parts of the brain linked with pain, making the experience so uncomfortable that people choose to end the wait for an unpleasant experience sooner, even if it means incurring a penalty.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of participants (84%) preferred to get the electric shocks over with quickly rather than endure the delays. But 28% of the subjects dreaded the delays so much that they were willing to endure stronger shocks simply to avoid the wait.
“Waiting, in itself, may have either a value or a cost”

Only this, Socrates, replied Crito: the attendant who is to give you the poison has been telling me that you are not to talk much, and he wants me to let you know this; for that by talking heat is increased, and this interferes with the action of the poison; those who excite themselves are sometimes obliged to drink the poison two or three times.

Then, said Socrates, let him mind his business and be prepared to give the poison two or three times, if necessary; that is all. (
Phaedo, by Plato.)

I wonder how it compares to other types of anticipation, e.g. waiting for something good to happen. It's well known that people, especially children and teenagers, prefer instant gratification, but it is not clear whether the same brain region is responsible for the behavior.

tags: psychology effect anticipation time

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Applied buys Applied and gets into solar | CNET

Economy of scale is being brought to solar panel manufacturing tools: "Applied Materials has signed an agreement to buy Applied Films for $464 million, a move that puts the world's biggest maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment into the energy business.

Longmont, Colo.-based Applied Films specializes in equipment for physical vapor deposition--complex machines for layering thin, uniform layers of materials onto surfaces. Solar panel manufacturers, LCD makers and producers of energy efficient glass buy equipment from Applied."

The acquisition underscores Silicon Valley's growing interest in alternative energy. In 2005, the amount of silicon used in solar panels exceeded the amount used in semiconductors, according to Nick Parker, founder of the Cleantech Venture Network. Several VC firms such as Mohr Davidow Ventures have plunked money into energy start-ups.

The same way high horse feed prices triggered invention and manufacturing of bicycles, high energy prices stimulate development of scalable manufacturing tools for solar panel production. It would be interesting to see if this technology domain follows Moore's law:'s_law

If it does, we are about to witness a major technology and business shifts in the energy industry.

tags: scale poly tool control efficiency problem

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is there a way to milk Social networks

Social network - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "A social network is a social structure made of nodes which are generally individuals or organizations. It indicates the ways in which they are connected through various social familiarities ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds. The term was first coined in 1954 by J. A. Barnes (in: Class and Committees in a Norwegian Island Parish, 'Human Relations'). The maximum size of social networks tends to be around 150 people and the average size around 124 (Hill and Dunbar, 2002)."

Tonight, after a VLAB planning meeting where we pitched the idea of a systematic innovation talk, a guy came to me and suggested an interesting problem to solve: "How to monetize a social network?". He also mentioned that the value of ads on social networking sites are ten times less than of those generated by Google search.
A good entry point into a problem space.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The battle for searching eyeballs

Google accused Microsoft of not playing fair in its quest for a bigger share of the $10 billion online advertising market on Monday and revealed that it has shared its concerns with antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe.

Google's gripe: An upcoming release of Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser will contain a search box that in some cases defaults to the MSN search engine."

Google's protest puzzled some observers, who noted that the objectionable feature was nearly identical to the search box of FireFox, an open-source browser with 10 to 13 percent of the U.S. market. manufacturers are free to set the default to any search engine they choose in accordance with deals they have struck with companies like Google and Yahoo.

While Microsoft remains the undisputed leader in operating system and browser software, its MSN search engine lags both Google and Yahoo, handling only 11 percent of U.S. searches in March, compared to Yahoo's 22 percent and Google's 49 percent, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Samir Patel, president of SearchForce, a San Mateo company that runs Internet advertising campaigns also said customers are finding ads delivered along with search results powered by Microsoft's newest search technology are significantly more profitable, as more shoppers who click on them buy products.

Search-driven ads bring about 80% of Google's revenues, so there's no surprise the company is very sensitive to "where and how" search requests originate. If Microsoft convinces advertisers that a) it can bring click-through volume; b) it's technology for converting clicks into sales is better than Google's, then Google faces a major disruption of its business.

Wrt system analysis, Explorer's search box is a Source with a pre-set Distribution Route. This configuration allows Microsoft to have a degree of control over the flow of search requests [Payload] to a link generation engine [Tool]. The goal is to increase the overall performance of the system by increasing the number of Sources.
The next stage is conversion of ad links into sales. Destination web site is the Tool, responsible for sales. Search site, where click originates is the Source, Links with pre-set destinations is the Control.

tags: source distribution