It’s been a hectic week. I have had way more facetime with suits than I expected and the #movember tache is taking some explaining each time (how is it possible for corporates to work in the world and know so little about it at times?) a new writing project is taking up quite a bit of my ‘spare’ time. As a result my contact with the G+ stream was reduced to dipping in and out as I tried to make a sleep-starved brain refresh and get back on track.
Such is the wealth of information that flows through G+ every day that even at this truncated level of contact I came across content and connections that blew my mind and, as always, it was G+ people that made it possible. G+ is about building bridges. Connecting worlds, whether they are the traditional online/offline divide (like when I am on the go) or allowing formerly silo-ed disciplines, cross-pollinate, their adherents, talk to each other. So this issue is about bridges, the ones we build with each other, across nations and timezones and the ones we build inside ourselves, reconciling the ‘us’ of yesteryear with the self we are today and the ones we build now, today, every day, as our knowledge increases and our understanding unfolds.
The first one goes to Mike Allton whose post on G+ being gold, bridged a historical event in California with the need to dig for the nuggets here and establish a methodology that allows you to reach the mother lode each and every time. And then martin shervington (who hardly needs to be introduced to anyone) chipped in with a piece on G+ and online behavior and how the latter is influenced by the former.
Tim Rayner who’s working on a book on the subject of network culture and its mechanics and we really need him to write faster posted a brilliant post on the panopticon effect and the prismatic self. Tim is nothing if not an original thinker and if you do not have him in your circles, you should. He riffs on the Potlatch gift-giving culture and its reputational-building aspects and some of the behaviors observed in that environment are also observed here (and there is a really good reason for that – you really need to dig a little and check out his blog [Warning: do not act on this advice if you have looming deadlines this weekend. You are unlikely to come out of this rabbit hole before Monday.]
In what is probably the megapost of the week that’s gone, published just last Friday Sergey Andrianov, who does nothing by accident, takes us through history, science, social business and the practicalities faced by small business today.
More mind-blowing bridging of worlds went on when at the end of this week, sporting a very, very noticeable #movember tache (I hate it, please be kind) I joined a Chef Dennis Littley HOA and connected with musician (and mum) HEATHER FAY and Jenni Field and there we discovered that music, recipes and the writing of books have way more in common than anyone would have thought. The sharing of information within G+ is a transformative journey in itself (Heather shares her music and songs, I shared huge parts of my book on Google’s semantic search, Jenni and Chef Dennis share recipes they love) that allows us all to connect and co-create at a level and scale that simply was not possible in the past. The video is here.
On a bridging theme also Dirk Puehl talks about the Chimera the beast upon whose body the fantastical and the real, the world we see and the world we can imagine, historically come together, and fuse. And his discovery of a steampunk Pegasus is nothing less than engrossing.
And because I know the coffee’s strong on a Sunday and the bagels, donuts and cookies provide extra fuel and your brain’s not so frazzled I close with the bridging of two more worlds. The Macro world we live in where Newtonian mechanics provide a sufficiently good approximation for us to grasp its workings without much trouble (cause and effect, vector forces and directions of movement) and the micro one where the Quantum reality makes Alice’s Rabbit Hole seem like a totally sane place. A team working at the Simon Fraser University in Canada, used a well-understood material (silicon) in a highly purified form to achieve a world first: the storage and reading of information in a Quantum state at room temperature.
There are many astounding firsts here so let me itemize them:
1. The material used. In the past information encoded in Quantum states has required the use of exotic materials (i.e. man-made, rare and/or expensive) which makes their use unrealistic in anything approaching mass production.
2. The length of time the stability held. If you consider that our best efforts prior to this had Quantum information (Qubits) lasting a whole of 25 seconds before it self-destructed (too fast even for a Mission Impossible team to make any good use out of) the fact that this held for 39 minutes is amazing.
4. The temperature. This one is a mind-boggler. At the Quantum level of the universe everything is free-flowing energy (this is where Einstein’s ‘little formula’ of E=mc2 comes in). Mass and momentum are interchangeable qualities that depend on how much energy a system has. (Think of it like looking at the body of the sun. It looks solid but it actually is a seething ball of moving magma). To store and read anything in that environment researchers had to bring the ambient temperature to -273.15 degrees centigrade (that’s -459.67 degrees in Fahrenheit). This is the Absolute Zero state at which molecules ‘freeze’ in space and time and the dance of matter and energy stops. It doesn’t really, there is some background activity going on but from our point of view that can be discounted and we can treat electrons like little probability spheres suspended in amber (almost). Great, except it kind of makes it hard to use a computer in that state without having some serious thermal undewear on. This breakthrough happened at room temperature! Yep, like that of your living room (unless you’re living in QLD right now where living room temperatures are higher than average).
5. The information stored could be read. To understand the real importance of this read point number 4. Everything at a quantum mechanical level is energy. Trying to read the state of a system (or the information stored in it) introduces more energy which then changes that state (or that information) a little like having free-flowing letters somehow anchored on the page of a book. Your very act of turning a page changes their orientation and makes them reflow and reform so that when you read that page you have no way of knowing whether you are reading the passage that was already there or a new one created by the act of your turning the pages of the book. Here, for the first time ever the problem was not encountered. The Qubits (i.e. ‘letters”) were fixed and sufficiently stable so that the ‘page turning’ changed nothing. Information stored could be retrieved!
Quantum computing bring it on I say! I am just so ready for a computer that works at faster-than-light speeds (because of Quantum Entanglement) and lets me be way more productive than now.
And with that in mind I bid you adieu but not au revoir. Have a great Sunday wherever you are.