Archive for May, 2008

Future Computing

My major, Discovery Informatics, is, I hope and believe, the future of computing. A hybrid kind of major, encompassing programming skills, mathematics and statistics, and a cognate (an area of specialization), the acquired skills should enable a graduate to apply the skill-set to a variety of disciplines.

As someone that spent the better part of his working life in business, it makes sense to think that I can return to that area, ready to contribute (and earn) in a new, meaningful, and interesting way to the corporate weal.

Articles like this provide encouragement that this bold move may yet pay off in the near term:

Workplace social networks and cloud computing means that the need for a centralized IT department will go away. Firms will no longer need to own/maintain the boxes that they use to run their firm’s apps. With no need to touch a box, there will be no need to have the IT staff co-located with the boxes. Oh, oh — can you hear your job going away?

What does this all mean, and more importantly what should a successful IT staffer (or CIO) do today? The key to your future success is to understand how IT is going to change and what you need to do to change with it. IT is going to become much more about information and how it can be used to help the business grow and prosper. This IT function is going to leave the IT department as we know it today and will migrate into the business unit itself. What this means to you is that you need to know what your firm does, and even more importantly, how it does it. The next question will be what information is needed by the business units to improve how they do their work. This is what tomorrow’s IT staff will provide. Thanks Gartner for the peek into the future!

Can you dig it? I can………

Now I Know Why She Calls Me FatHead…

Via my friend, Dan, who shares stuff with me daily, a report that old brains are indeed capable of growing new cells.

The music to my ears…..

Researchers, however, are more optimistic than ever about the potential of the aging brain, because recent evidence has challenged long-held beliefs by demonstrating that the brain can grow new nerve cells.

“For a long time, we held the assumption that we’re born with all the nerve cells we’re ever going to have, and that the brain is not capable of generating new ones — that once these cells die we’re unable to replace them,” said Molly V. Wagster, chief of the Neuropsychology of Aging branch of the National Institute on Aging. “Those assumptions have been challenged and put by the wayside.”

The birth of new nerve cells, she said, “has been shown to occur in the adult — not only in adult rats and monkeys, but also in older adult humans.” Most of the areas that show neurogenesis and that have been investigated so far are important for learning and memory, particularly the hippocampus, she added.

So how does one stimulate neurogenesis?

Scientists do not have all the answers, but studies of older people who have maintained their mental acuity provide some clues. They tend to be socially connected, with strong ties to relatives, friends and community. They are often both physically healthy and physically active. And they tend to be engaged in stimulating or intellectually challenging activities.

Maybe these headaches I’ve had since the start of the academic journey are the result of my skull expanding to fit all these new brain cells in my already big, fat head……..

AfterMath and Longing

One week after the last exam of the semester, I have translated to a new milieu. Early (well, earlier) to bed, later to rise, a full read of the local and the WSJ, and then onto a few hours dedicated to the study of Java. Lunch, domestic duties, and before you know it, it’s supper time. Afterwards, reading of the enjoyable kind.

I know this interlude will be brief.

Today, after a nice lunch downtown with my bride and a brief spin through some specialty shops, we detoured through the CofC on our way home. The Cistern…..

is ready for the graduating seniors to “walk” for their hard earned degrees. The setting is beautiful, dignified, and reeks of academic ambience.

I can’t wait for my turn…….

Strange Feeling

It’s kind of strange right now. It’s Sunday afternoon and I am not studying, or not at least feeling guilty about not studying. For the past year, with a few weeks off for various vacations, I have most of every Sunday on schoolwork. It’s kind of strange right now…….

“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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