Category Archives: cool stuff

SITRA is Building Something? Frankenstein or Paradise?

Errr … if you made it this far, you are probably wondering what the hell is a SITRA?

SITRA is a Finnish thing.  It calls itself an “innovation fund”. What does that mean? Ha! You miss the point! Part of being an innovation fund is to not know precisely what you are doing!

That sounds like a joke, but it is not! You cannot know what you are doing when you are trying to learn about what to do!

Hmmm … interesting, n’est ce pas?

So SITRA is trying to figure this stuff out in order to “add value” to society from its learning. They say

We are building understanding of current societal transformations and future of just society.

But there is an unspoken challenge here. You cannot build understanding solely from an internal perspective. That is called being subjective. You need an outside perspective as well. Where does SITRA get its outside perspective?

I will be exploring this in the new year … with them. õ

Stay tuned!


Cheap Eats in New York?

Ligaya Mishan starts off her NYT article this way

The places to eat that I like best are imperfect. They might have unsteady tables and bony chairs, set too close together, and doors that don’t shut properly, letting in every hiss of wind. They might keep erratic hours, close early without warning and never answer the phone. A dish might touch heaven on one visit and fall to earth the next.

I agree. Local is always more fun than stuffy —- even if excellent — haut. And Lgaya has some cool picks. Most interesting – The Queens Night Market.

Image result for Queen's Night Market

Check it out!

Kickstart your day! Backing Brooklyn Cider House

You might wonder why I — who live in Tartu — would back a project that wants to build a cider bar and restaurant in Bushwick. Isn’t it a bit far away?

Geographically, it is. But in another way, and I think a more important way, it is not.  Getting people to join in community based projects is very close to my heart. And when those projects combine natural local foods, friendly gathering spots, and learning, I am in.

What about you? The project is just a little short with less than a day to go!

Want to be part of this adventure?

Cryptokitties is Silly, and that is the Point

What is a cryptokitty? It is a useless thing you can create using the ethereum blockchain. Fred Wilson just posted on this.

Before you shake your head and start saying “Is this the so-called great promise of blockchain?” consider a few thoughts

  • Steve Johnson points out in his book Wunderland that innovation generally arises from the pursuit of fun – not grind it out engineering or science, but the desire to have pleasure (BTW, I recommend the book. It is a fun read – nice Christmas gift as well)
  • Crypto is a new technology and no one knows how to use it. So why not have fun with it – that will make it less mysterious
  • As people use it, they will begin to see what else it can do

So yes, Cruptokitties are silly. And that is a good thing!


Aliens Underground?

Enrico Fermi had a curious mind. And we are still scratching our heads about one of the questions that he posed over lunch to his colleagues. The question is a simple one

Where is everyone?

By everyone, he means life forms from other planets. After all,  our galaxy has been around a lot longer than it took for us to evolve from single cell creatures to space jockeys (4.4 billion years). And because the galaxy has lots and lots of planets, the odds are that there are other planets like ours that would be able to sustain life. There should be other civilizations out there. So why do we find no evidence of any?

No one knows the answer. Some think there are no other civilizations. We are alone.BTW, you might wonder why God would create a universe that is so empty.  Some think that advanced civilizations exist but have no interest in our puny and backward ways. Some think that intelligent civilizations tend to be short lived.  They self-destruct before they can become galaxy travelers.

Alan Stern thinks there may be a geological explanation. Life needs water to develop. And there is lots of water on other planets. But it appears that the water on those planets is below the surface. Our planet is the outlier where water exists above ground. So life may exist in lots of places, but it may be contained and unable to exit its habitat underground.

Perhaps like alien whales? Very weird.