Category Archives: Imagination

All the world’s computers equal to one human mind

By | All Blog Posts, Imagination, Science, Technology, The Future | 18 Comments

The time may come when a computer will be able to out-compute a human, but not yet. According to a recent study, adding up all the computation power in every laptop, server, mainframe, cell phone, and digital processors of all kinds, everywhere on the planet will give you approximately the ability to handle approximately 6.4 x 10^18 operations a second. About the same as a human brain.

All the worlds storage – paper, film, hard-drives, etc. would give you same amount of storage as human DNA. In other words, somewhere around 2011 the planet has enough computing power to account for 1 extra person. The vast amount of “thinking” is still done by organic chemistry. Read the article I read on ARS Technica.

It’s time for celebrity teachers?

By | All Blog Posts, Imagination, Philosophy, Thoughts, Web Design | 3 Comments

In the US we have celebrity trainers, celebrity cooks, athletes, song writers, scientists, CEOs, politicians, zoo keepers, mechanics, comedians, and ballon-boy. But where are the celebrity teachers? When a preacher is really good they build a mega-church and broadcast to millions of people. But the best 7 grade math teacher IN THE WORLD can only have 30 students. Why?

Why can’t we celebrate exceptional educators with a nationwide platform to let them reach as many students as possible? Pay them the mega-salary and give them the rockstar treatment. Why can’t the guy in first class sitting next to Vanna White be Mr. Smith – celebrity Algebra 2 teacher one his way to his next Opera appearance?

Just wondering…

A “Thanks for your order” message with authenticity

By | All Blog Posts, Email, Humor, Philosophy, Social Networks | 9 Comments

The Saddleback Leather Company is the real deal. It has something the rest of the world is now trying to recreate after a century of washing it away with bureaucratic, six sigma, dehumanization – authenticity.   The problem most large organizations will have with being authentic this is identifying exactly WHO is thankful. Think about it – the first line of customer interaction at your company is probably more authentically happy when the phone STOPS ringing and they can take a break. This means of coarse that you are going to have to hire someone (ahemmm) to help you find your voice.

Study this email. I don’t recommend you copy his style (which is reminiscent of overindulgent catalog king J. Peterman on “Seinfeld”) but rather think about how honest-to-goodness thankfulness, and transparency can be incorporated into your business, regardless of its size.

Hello there Ben Shoemate

Just wanted to let you know that I sent your bag out just a little bit ago. Your tracking number is listed below along with a link to the shipping company so you can track your leather piece every couple of hours.  To care for your leather piece and read about the photo contest please see the Questions page on the website. I have all sorts of tips to keep your leather in top shape.

Oh, and by the way, I didn’t want to tell you this before you joined, but 10% of the gross amount that you gave to Saddleback went directly to one of those aid organizations on the Dave’s Links page.  If you spent $500 + $20 for shipping then $52 went out to love people.  Basically, you just contributed to drilling a well for an entire village or partially sponsored a 5 year old street kid in Rwanda to get into a loving orphanage and go to one of the best schools in the country. This is the main reason Saddleback Leather exists. Just wanted to let you know… between friends. Thanks for helping.

The way I see it, out of the thousands and thousands of companies in the world, on the Internet or down on the corner selling leather goods, you chose mine and I really do feel honored.  You are very much appreciated.. Welcome to the family.

Thank you and have a great week.

Warm regards,

Dave Munson
Saddleback Leather Co

Your order number is SBL-*********.

The tracking numbers are:
You can track your package by visiting the links below:

The following items have been shipped to you:
line items
Small Wallet Light Tobacco Brown (WA-SM-LTB)
quantity: 1
total price: $28.00
subtotal:                        $28.00
sales tax:                        $2.28
standard shipping: *             $12.98
*shipping total includes handling and insurance fees
grand total:                     $43.26

This order will be billed to:

Ben Shoemate

Orders for merchandise ship UPS and will receive a confirmation email and tracking number when your UPS order has shipped.
Orders for gift cards only ship via USPS mail with Delivery Confirmation and usually arrive in 3 to 5 business days.

This is an automatically generated email

Even down to letting you know this email was generated automatically – the message is honest and personal. Well done Dave.

A primer to communication – 1953 film

By | All Blog Posts, Imagination, Information Visualiation, Technology | One Comment

The basics of communication presented in this 1953 introduction to "the era of communication" (aka the information age) are still true in 2003. Transmission, noise, redundancy, distortion… misunderstanding. Charles and Ray Eames were husband and wife, not brothers. They were not initially architects. Ray was a visual artist. This is a classic Eames film and a great introduction to their creativity that spanned many industries.

Complex information put to music

By | All Blog Posts, Art, Humor, Imagination, Science | 6 Comments

Since your first day of kindergarten when you sang your “ABC’s” educators have used music to teach the otherwise boring lists, numbers, patterns and history of our world and universe.  I don’t know if it is actually easier to memorize when put to music or simply more rewarding so you try harder – after all, it is very impressive to name all 192 odd countries in the world in 60 seconds to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance (see number 5).

#1 The periodic table

I would love to be able to memorize this song, but even I’m not that big of a geek.


#2 The Pi Song

This could have been horrible if it was not sung so well. This is another song I have little interest in actually learning but its always fun to know PI to at least 10 places…just incase.  

#3 The Universe Song – Monty Python

I really love this song and sing it all time to remember how big the universe really is. This version is sang by Clint Black (I am from Texas you know, plus the original lacks such quality visuals).


#4 The Universe…Again

A catchy tune and inspiring version, but since it lacks the numeric information of the Monty Python version it will always live in its shadow.


#5 The Nations of the World

This is one of my favorites. I have the first 2 sections memorized, but I loose it when he gets to Africa. Unfortunately, like most of these songs the information is increasingly out of date. 


#6 I am the very model of a modern major-general

While not necessarily conveying a lot of scientific or practical information (that’s kind of the point of the joke), this famous scene for the play the “Pirates of Penzance” does have a lot of historical perspective on what he nerds of the 19th century where talking about. From a time when things like “beings animalcules” (microscopic organisms) were first discovered. The late great science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote an essay about this song where he identified the meaning behind every strange and forgotten word. If you’re into retro steam punk, you’ll enjoy this vocabulary lesson.


I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse

The rest is here: Major General’s Song

#7 Parts of the Brain

#8 All the words in the English Language

A parody of this type of song sang by the animated team that gave so much to this genre.

#9 The 50 US states and their capitols

I’m pretty sure kids use this song in school today to learn the states.


#10 US Presidents from Washington to Clinton


#11 We didn’t start the fire

Billy Joel rattles through the incredents of live in the 20th century.

#12 Natural Decay

#13 How a bill becomes law – school house

A public service announcment that interrupted every cartoon marathon of my 1980’s youth.


#14 Sink the Bismarck

Learn some WW2 history.

#15 The Battle of New Orleans

Get pumped up about the War of 1812 – USA v Britan part 2, the sequel to the revolution.