A Flash of Mortality

A few hours ago I learned that Iain Banks, one of my favorite SF authors over the last twenty years, has been diagnosed with cancer. I was in the middle of writing up some of my research on citizen science and have been kind of gobsmacked for the last hour. In high school I dreamed of winning a Hugo award for an SF novel, along with a Nobel prize in physics, but now I will be happy to get a research job after I finish my Ph.

Approaching the limits of our understanding

Joi Ito posted about the cognitive limits of organizations at the MIT Media Lab blog. Ito posts a thought provoking slide by Cesar Hidalgo. The slide shows the interaction between the total stock of information in the world and time/history. Human beings, as civilization has evolved, have grown the total stock of information in the world and over time have reached various cognitive limits. It’s not hard to reach the cognitive limit of the individual.