MySci Round-Up, July 23: Ubiquitous Computing


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Today would be the 58th birthday of the late American computer visionary Mark David Weiser, who in 1988 predicted that eventually computers would be so plentiful and utilized so much in every aspect of our lives that they would “vanish into the background,” weaving “themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” “Ha,” we all probably said at the time. “That’ll never happen.” Well, of course, it already has. A website called Worldometers, which purports to update statistics continually in real time, reported that as of 4:05 p.m. yesterday, about 158,772,037 computers had been purchased worldwide in this year, alone. And pretty soon, with the advent of incredibly tiny nano computers, not just our desktops and knapsacks and pockets will be filled with computers, but so will the very air itself. We’re going to find ourselves in an equivalent situation to a character from a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. novel whose name I forget, who sneezed from inhaling a noseful of people who had been reduced to microscopic size to cope with population growth. And with that disturbing thought, there are the stories of the day.


Buckeyballs spotted in interstellar space. Scientists found a bunch of the tiny little balls of carbon floating in a nebula around a white dwarf star, 6,500 light years from Earth. But so far, no nano computers or tiny people.

Physicists use triple-slit experiment to prove quantum mechanics governs reality. And somewhere, Isaac Newton and Einstein are weeping.

Primitive frogs did belly flops. Evolutionary scientists prove that frogs learned to jump first, and later figured out how to land.

Robot scientists are running experiments. We’re not talking about robotics researchers. We’re talking about a new generation of researchers who actually are robots. Seriously.

Millions of Americans can’t get broadband Internet. The FCC says between 14 and 24 million of us can’t get a connection that’s 4 mbps or faster.