Archive

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Every once in a while you read something that really blows your mind.  Today I was reading notes from Peter Thiel’s Stanford startup class – the topic was Artificial Intelligence (AI).  While the entire topic is pretty impressive this line really blew me away:

If current trajectories hold, in 14 years the world’s fastest supercomputer will do more operations per second than the number of neurons in the brains of all living people

I’ve read there are something like 100 billion neurons in the average brain.  I’m not sure how many operations per second my brain is doing but I think I could count them on one hand.

Advertisements

I read a blog post on Zero Hedge today that suggests we train and arm teachers at schools to prevent school shootings such as Columbine and Sandy Hook.  I don’t understand how throwing more firearms into the mix will help anything.  The argument generally goes something like this – armed staff members could serve as a deterrent and or shoot the gunman down if need be.  That might work if these were rational people that actually thought through their actions and understood the consequences.

The shooters all seem to have similar agendas: enter the schools, go on a killing spree, and then either engage in a shoot out with the authorities or kill themselves.  In my mind an armed school will not serve as a deterrent to these people – they are clearly not afraid of getting killed – I think their sick and twisted minds might instead be enticed by the prospect of engaging in a firefight with what will, in all likelihood, be marginally trained marksmen (after all they are teachers not soldiers).

Also, unless we plan to outfit our schools with these:

bushmaster

they probably won’t stand much of a chance in a fire fight.  The kid in Connecticut rolled up with this model assault rifle, two pistols, and tactical gear.

Let’s say for a minute we do arm our schools.  Great, what about all the time we spend outside of school, like say going to the movies?  This same line of logic would lead to duct taping guns under movie theater seats in order to prevent massacres such as the one in Aurora, CO.

The foundation of the logic basically comes down to this: arm the citizenry because as long as there are more good people with guns than bad people with guns the good people will win.

The second amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

How delightfully / tragically vague – your interpretation depends on what you want it to say.  It’s worth noting that most people probably don’t know the first part about a “well regulated Militia” is even in there, to most it’s just “the right to bear arms”.

Now, I understand the argument that an armed citizenry is important to fight tyranny – it was clearly important during the American Revolution so it’s no surprise it was addressed in The Bill of Rights. However, we’ve reached an age where the weapons of war are no longer muskets and bayonets – they are nuclear bombs, stealth fighters, tanks, and other weapons of colossal power (world ending power in the case of nukes).  I’m not comfortable with governments having these weapons, much less everyday citizens!  The argument that “I should have a right to buy an assault rifle to defend myself from my government” is bunk.  I don’t care how many assault rifles you have, you’re not going to beat your government in a shootout.  At this point you serve as a threat to society, not a defender of it.

I do support the right to buy and own fire arms for sport (shotguns, rifles, etc.) but assault rifles with clips that can hold dozens of rounds are designed to do one thing and one thing only: Kill people, a lot of them.

So (1) let’s not arm our schools and (2) let’s ban assault rifles.  This is not a panacea, terrible acts like this are going to continue, but hopefully there will be less weaponry in the arsenal for those that commit them.

Yesterday I set a personal record by using Uber twice in one day.  First – to get a ride to SFO from San Francisco and second to get to a party across town in Denver.  For those of you who have never tried Uber – try it, it’s an awesome service.  Yes it is usually more expensive than a Taxi but you get superior service.  I like knowing for sure that a car is coming, where it is, and how long it will take to arrive.  I also really like not having to worry about paying once the ride is complete – it’s all done automagically.  

One famous VC describes services like Uber as being part of your “smartphone remote control for real life”.  The internet / smartphone used to only really apply to non-physical interactions like checking email, texting, or phone calls but more and more the smart phone is becoming a remote control for our real lives – need a car? Done.  Make a reservation? Click.  Buy movie tickets?… you get the idea.  I think it’s a really elegant way to think about the convergence of smartphones and literally everything else that goes on in our lives.

It’s time to start doing the Snow Dance if you live in CO or just travel there to ski.  The snow gods have not been kind to the state… yet.  While the Pacific NW, Tahoe, and the Northern Rockies have been getting some pretty decent snow, those of us looking to enjoy some winter activities in the CO Rockies have been left without much to do.

For a top notch snow forecast, look no further than here

snow