a boy, alone, shadows, crafted by leaves, filtered sunlight, these empty days, with no obligations, wandering wonders, of the world, this moment, heart pounding, he runs, chasing the hunted, hunted by a hunter, swift, silent, silence, look right, look left, up, swerves, he whirls, the unknown still unknown, dusk, rods and cones, mesopic optics confused, blue, green, dark blood, drips slowly, drop, surrounded, he flees, raised among the markets, he retreats, returns to them, passing tree upon tree, dodge, duck, jump, hide, sprint, back back back, to the artificial, light, light of man, man’s lit streets, beasts cannot roam, the ones created by nature, disallowed, too afraid, unable to survive, this maze of brick, steel, dung, motive means, rigid paths, paved more, less, to drive, anonymous exchange, eye of God, attempts, a reminder, that indeed we do trust, that, which isn’t, what, a boy, should know.
Archive for the ‘research’ Category
Here’s my top 10 most pressing questions in life.
- Can you be satisfied and functional AND integrate the idea that there is no universal meaning?
- Is ignorance bliss?
- How long will it take for us to give up on free will? will we ever do that?
- Will technology take over for athletic skill in all sports? if it does, will we enjoy it all the same?
- What’s the next big thing after the Internet? will we recognize it when it happens?
- If there is a formal limit to knowledge, is there a point in knowing anything at all? see question. 2
- why do people assume “intelligence” in the human sense is a better strategy? the dinosaurs survived hundreds of millions of years without this “intelligence”. or did they?
- If the universe expands to the point where observers on earth cannot observe any other object in the universe that isn’t on earth or near to it, will observers consider our scientific theories myth? or will we beat that unobservable future with technology?
- Can you have thoughts without language (verbal or other symbolism)?
- What is time? no, really. what is it?
Business Week has a really great article about the value of basic research in R&D Labs to future economies.
Many of the classic scientific research labs, such as Bell Labs and RCA Labs (now Sarnoff Corp.), were started and funded by companies with virtual monopolies and very strong, predictable cash flows. They were able to embrace the uncertainty and serendipity of pure research in the context of their business. But such companies don’t exist today. With the increasing focus on shareholder value that began in the 1990s as global competition heated up, Fortune 500 companies could no longer justify open-ended research that might not directly impact their bottom line. Today, corporate research is almost exclusively engineering R&D, tending more toward applied research with a 3- to 5-year time horizon (or shorter). IBM, Microsoft MSFT, and Hewlett-Packard HPQ, for example, collectively spend $17 billion a year on R&D but only 3% to 5% of that is for basic science.
It’s not just a shame, it’s actually a very bad strategy in play right now and for the future. I once remarked at company retreat I was at that often a company or industry matures so much that it’s only strategy is to invent just for the sake of inventing, with the idea that completely new revenue streams might evolve. I was quickly slapped down by a major executive, “We need to work on things that can be commercialized now.” I knew then the fate of that company would be mostly an arbitrage of wall street expectations. And that’s exactly what it, and 1000s of other companies have become. This is also why this particular recession is so painful – most companies have no institutional ability to innovate. Two decades of chaising the near term exit, the 30% stock market rocket shot leave industry stagnant.
Know one knows what the next big idea is. And no one will figure that out without basic research. And by big ideas, I mean things like the printing press, the Internet, germ theory, genetics, the Wheel. You know – THE BIG STUFF that powers generations of commerce.