Tuesday Jul 17, 2007

New must-read: The Price of Liberty, by Bob Hormats

Robert Hormats has written a clear explanation, for even the most ideologically-challenged conservative, of the need for responsible public finance.

The next time someone mindlessly complains about taxes, remind them that our country would not exist if Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington had adopted today's right-wing fixation on reducing taxes, rather than fighting to build our country while innovating to find ways to pay for it. 

Saturday Apr 07, 2007

Six Million Dots: Global Monitoring of Schools and Clinics

Outline of a renewal of independent, completely decentralized data acquisition from the six million schools and clinics...each represented by a meter-accurate dot on GoogleEarth.

 This approach to immediate visualization and reporting has been warmly received by the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Statistical Division, UNDP, and a number of universities and foundations.

This is a continuation of the project initiated with NetDay, in 1996,  when every school in the United States was visible, with a meter-accurate dot marking its location, and with continual updating of the state of the school reflected in the color coding of the dot marking the school's location.

Thursday Mar 29, 2007

Rand Institute: Program for Public Policy Ph.D

Board of Governors meeting:

Water policy.

China and India economic development 

Monday Mar 26, 2007

Higher Education Politics and Policymaking, Then and Now : UC Berkeley


Monday Mar 19, 2007

Energy Future Coalition

 The Energy Future Coalition Executive Committee meeting.

Tim Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, has helped form a coalition of manufacturing, agriculture, utility regulators, electrical power generators, transportation industries and automobile manufacturers.

Thursday Feb 15, 2007

Energy Conference: Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Houston

Tonight, at the closing of the CERA conference dedicated to energy, and a the opening of the new CERA conference on innovation, Daniel Yergin leads off, and then Mitch Kapor and I begin the first session to explore how to bring innovative network ideas to bear on energy use and efficiency.

So far, this week, CERA attendees heard Rex Tillerson, the president of Exxon say, for the first time, that global warming should be taken seriously, and that we should act to address it.   As the New York Times pointed out, this was the first public statement by the Exxon president following the publication of the United Nations IPPC report, and it reversed many years of active Exxon opposition to any view supporting global warming.

Today was electricity day, and Thierry Vandal, president of Hydro Qu├ębec, made a great speech, calling for the electric companies to take back the role they had a hundred years ago in powering transportation in the US and Canada, committed HQ to 10% wind power, for 4,000 megawatts....and cited a Battelle Labs study saying that  50% of  US oil use could be displaced  if the  US  fleet could be moved to hybrid electric.

Thursday Feb 01, 2007

Hong Kong University

Climbing the stairs from the Hong Kong University Library to the Run Run Shaw Building housing the HKU Computer Science Department, I can see the towering HSBC building, home to one of the most advanced data centers in the world.

When the HSBC building went up, twenty years ago, it was at the forefront of technological design and efficiency. Today, it doesn't have enough room or power; HSBC is building a new, more expansive home for its distributed data center across the harbor, and adding new, vastly more sophisticated environmental and electrical power controls.

I'm proposing to UHK that they form an alliance with companies, such as HSBC, that have pledged to become carbon-neutral---a promise that HSBC made in 2004, and fulfilled by September, 2005---a remarkable accomplishment for an organization with over 260,000 employees.

An alliance would bring the research and engineering capabilities of universities to focus on networked sensor and control systems for buildings, transportation and logistics networks, water use, and material transport.

Making invisible uses and flows more visible allows management and control...as Sun hopes to demonstrate with all of its structures world-wide, and as we hope to show in cooperation with Woods Hole, the scientific research institute with one of the world's most energy-efficient buildings.

Every university can participate, every university can use its own campus and resources to study the processes of monitoring and reducing energy and water use.

Wednesday Jan 24, 2007

Davos: Web 2.0, the future of the Internet, and software

Jim Goodnight of SAS, John Markoff from the New York Times, and I are the opening panel of the World Economic Forum. We have a standing-room-only session on new economic and technical possibilities enabled by a new ease in combining applications in a seamless way....the core of the sudden expansion of easy-to-use applications based on existing applications on the web.

SAS has had to decide: do we remain a closed, stand-alone application, or do we become a web-based world, allowing access to our capabilities and combining our applications with others?  It was clear, Jim said, that the open model was the future, the only path that made sense.

I'm prepared to show a new direction for applications--the powerful combination of spatial and immersive environments with pre-existing applications to allow natural, human interaction.

The immediate example: the Second Life construction of the United States House of Representatives, with the avatars of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the new Chairman of the House Committee on Education, George Miller, and the in-world press conference that George Miller held for eighty press representatives, each with their own avatar.

As the session went, we decided not to show images....so I showed them in the evening in the session entitled "Avatars"; the Financial Times called it one of the "do-not-miss" sessions at Davos, so it was far over-subscribed; I'll describe it separately.  And I'll post the snapshots so that everyone can see them on flickr....or just teleport yourself to "Capitol Hill" inside SecondLife.  The design and execution was done by Clear Ink, in Berkeley.

 John Battelle did a wonderful job moderating...leading us into discussions of future directions for entrepreneurship, particularly for social entrepreneurship.

Tuesday Jan 23, 2007

Davos Social Entrepreneurs

Tuesday afternoon....cold but clear.


  • Rui
  • Yossi
  • Harvard Negotiation
  • South Africa initiative
  • Skol Foundation
  • Nicholas Negroponte

Wednesday Jan 03, 2007

Second Life and the United States House of Representatives



On Thursday, January 4, 2007, the swearing-in ceremony for the new Speaker of the House took place in Second Life for an audience of 80 reporters, seated in an elegant recreation of the House of Representatives chamber created by Clear Ink, a Berkeley-based Second Life design firm.

Here's what you saw in Second Life: the House of Representatives .  The design and construction took two weeks, and, when you are in SL, search for "Capitol Hill", teleport there, and fly around.

The avatars for Nancy Pelosi and George Miller are constantly being updated; this is what they looked like in January, 2007.

George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, John Gage 

Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, responded to questions from the press corps for almost an hour.  His avatar stood in front of the House podium, as the moderator, ......., fielded questions from press representatives.  His responses were audible to everyone; he used Skype, which streamed into Second Life and emerged in-world as a media stream.




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