JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 40 : April 20, 2001

Business, marketing & futures commentary.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
Stay e-tuned....

  • MIT - free on the web !
  • Wireless - faster than DSL or cable-modems
  • Ray Kurzweil's new website & coming book
  • Computing - one atom at a time
  • Printing flavors and fragrances from the web
  • eFeedback
    • CEO pay in Europe/UK
    • Electric Car

MIT - free on the web !

Many universities are now striving to market their courses to the Internet masses in hopes of dot-com wealth. But the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has chosen the opposite path: to post virtually all its course materials on the Web, free to everybody.

MIT recently announced a 10-year initiative, apparently the biggest of its kind, which aims to create public Web sites for almost all of its 2,000 courses, and to post materials like lecture notes, problem sets, syllabuses, exams, simulations, even video lectures. Professors' participation will be voluntary, but the university is committing itself to post sites for all its courses, at a cost of up to $100 million.

Charles Vest, the president of MIT, said the giveaway idea came in a "traditional Eureka moment" as the institute - like nearly every other university - brainstormed and soul-searched about how best to take advantage of the Internet.

Click Read about MIT OpenCourseWare

Wireless - Faster than DSL or cable-modems

A big wireless breakthrough benchmark has just arrived on the scene. Sprint and Lucent have just completed that first on-the-air test of a cellular phone capable of transmitting data at a whopping 2.4MB per second - that's faster than most DSL or cable modems and about 165 times faster than any other wireless network can deliver. This is not just third generation, but the top end of the so-called 3G scale. It is so fast that it's bordering on the fourth generation of telephone service that was supposed to arrive 10 years from now.

Within the next two years, these high-speed data rates promise to alter the way people traditionally use wireless services and will enable Sprint PCS customers to take advantage of 3G advanced mobile phone applications such as streaming video and audio.

Click Read the Sprint & Lucent press release

Click Read David Coursey's analysis

Ray Kurzweil's coming book & new website

You will recall that we introduced (JimPinto.com eNews 6 Feb. 2001) the subject of "The Singularity Watch" as the "fringe-thinking" of John Smart (yes, that's his real name). Raymond Kurzweil's upcoming book is entitled "The Singularity Is Near" and he has published a précis on the web which I recommend that you read.

Ray Kurzweil suggests that few people have truly internalized the implications of the fact that not only is change accelerating, but the rate of change itself is accelerating. We will not experience a hundred years of progress in the twenty-first century; rather we will witness something like twenty thousand years of progress (at today's rate of progress) in the next hundred years.

Relating to revolutionary Nanotechnology, a Noble Prize winner recently insisted that "we're not going to see self-replicating nanoengineered entities for a hundred years". In response, Ray Kurzweil points out that that 100 years is indeed a reasonable estimate of the amount of technical progress required to achieve this particular milestone - at today's rate of progress. But, because the rate of progress is doubling every decade, we'll see a century of progress - at today's rate - in only 25 calendar years.

For a wide variety of technologies ranging from electronic to biological, the acceleration of progress and growth applies. Indeed, we find not just simple exponential growth, but "double" exponential growth, meaning that the rate of exponential growth is itself growing exponentially. Clearly, this cannot continue. So something significant must inevitably happen.

“The Singularity” is technological change so rapid and so profound that it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. Some would say that we cannot comprehend The Singularity, at least with our current level of understanding, and that it is impossible, therefore, to look past its "event horizon" and make sense of what lies beyond.

Click Read The précis of Ray Kurzweil's new book

Click Look at Ray Kurzweil's remarkable new website

Click Visit John Smart's Singularity Watch website

Computing - one atom at a time

Less than a decade ago, quantum computing was just an intellectual parlor game, a way for theorists to test their mettle by imagining absurdly small computers with parts the size of individual atoms. At its root, computation is just a matter of shuffling bits - flipping atoms into different orientations would result in extremely tiny computer. But that is just the beginning. Quantum mechanics, the rules governing subatomic particles, dictates that these quantum bits, called qubits (pronounced KYEW-bits), can also be in a "superposition," indicating 1 and 0 at the same time. Two atoms can simultaneously be in four states: 00, 01, 10 and 11. Three atoms can say eight things at once: 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110 and 111. For each atom added to the chain, the number of possibilities increases exponentially, by a power of 2. Put together a few dozen atoms and they could perform vast numbers of calculations simultaneously.

Recently, scientists at Los Alamos, NM coaxed a molecule called crotonic acid into executing a simple calculation. If they can find ways to leverage this achievement to embrace multiple atoms (say 40), this will execute 10 trillion calculations in parallel. The goal, still a distant glimmer, is to harness thousands of atoms, resulting in a machine so powerful that it will solve problems that are impossible for even the fastest supercomputers. At Los Alamos, some of this thinking about Quantum computers is starting to turn into reality.

Click Read The NY Times story

Printing flavors and fragrances from the web

Browsing takeaway pizza websites will never be the same again: you'll soon be able to download and print the pizza's aroma and taste. A company called TriSenx of Savannah, Georgia, will launch a device next month that looks like a desktop printer but which can "print" smells and tastes. The $269 printer is loaded with a cartridge containing more than 200 water-based flavors that are deposited in varying combinations by a print head onto fiber-based cardboard to make over a thousand different smells. The company is adapting the device to print on an edible paper-like wafer, allowing it to print out tastes too. Included in the price is software to help avoid combinations that don't smell or taste too good.

Click New Scientist first provided this interesting news

Click Visit Trisenx website


Relating to the item on outrageous CEO compensation (JimPinto.com eNews 9 April '01), Peter Reilly [peter.reilly@db.com], European Engineering Analyst, Deutsche Bank (UK) provided his input on CEO pay from the UK/European perspective:
    “UK/Euro pay is a lot more modest than US so the issue has been less contentious. Here in the UK there is a debate taking place about how to account for stock options and it seems likely that the value of options awarded will be treated as an operating expense. The issue is less clear in Europe as many companies only disclose total board compensation, not individual pay. In summary, the old world seems to have avoided some of the new world's excesses but the trend is for executive pay to grow faster than general employee's pay and for more use of share price related rewards such as options, equity grant, share price linked bonuses etc.”

Regarding the story on the imminent electric car revolution, Klaus Kretzschmar [kaymar@pd.jaring.my] from Malaysia e-wrote :

    “Peter Huber of Forbes only got it half right. Fast silicon power switches have already come to the limits of what is technologically possible. The real breakthrough is in Silicon Carbide (SiC) based MOSFETS, Schottky diodes etc. which can withstand much higher temperatures. I am convinced that the electric car of the future will have "SiC inside".”

On the same subject, Bill Volk [bvolk@youworkit.com] e-said:

    “Fiat had "electric valves" (solenoid operated valves) on some race engines in the 1970's. This was used to create the sort of variable valving you see on the better engines today. Of course, Fiat didn't get it right - which is a lesson for all of us: it isn't who's first; it's who gets it right first.”

JimPinto.com eNews - on the web

If you've missed a couple of issues of eNews, or wish to refer to earlier items, please note : You can see ALL past issues online at :

Click Click here to see the Index of ALL past JimPinto.com eNews

eSpeak to me

If smell something fishy in your pond, please e-let me know and I'll check it out. Please send your tips and alerts, your news, views and stews. I'd like to e-hear from you.

If you have comments or suggestions for Growth & Success News, please contact me directly at : Click Jim@JimPinto.com

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

To subscribe to the E-news list just click here : Sign up for regular hot news, views and stews
Note : Your information will never be used for anything else, or sent to anyone.

To be removed send a blank email message to Click eRemove@JimPinto.com with subject line "Remove".

Stay in e-touch!


Return to eNews Index Return to eNews Index

Return to Jimpinto.com Homepage Return to JimPinto.com HomePage

If you have ideas or suggestions to improve this site, contact: webmaster@jimpinto.com
Copyright 2000 : Jim Pinto, San Diego, CA, USA