The Importance Of Lore In The Development Of Data

Crime Scene on Valley Forge Ln

“Beauty In Truth” …Crime Scene on Valley Forge Ln somewhere in Texas. photo/nick

The promise of ‘Big Data’ to clean-up misperception remains elusive but the shortcomings of information technology can no longer be blamed. Data and the tools to work it are in abundance but truth is really hard work. In Star Trek, Data’s evil older brother Lore finds truth easy—he has a positronic brain possessing a total linear computational speed of 60 trillion operations per second. Lore instantly sees the ugly truth behind the beautiful myths humans concoct and he strives to subject the human race to the Borg collective where no one can make up stories about anything. Lore’s name is brilliantly ironic.

Lore’s younger brother Data also has total linear computational speed of 60 trillion operations per second and he also knows the truth instantly. But Data has something Lore does not—an intense curiosity regarding ethos: why do humans invent beliefs, ideals, morals, and what is the real purpose of “lore” in human evolution? We can not forget that in the development of Data, Lore comes first. And that eventually Data deactivates Lore…an act rich with symbolism.

With each nanosecond it becomes more clear that some version of transhumanism is our destiny. Even now corrective DNA sequences are being printed on storage media and soon engineers will be able to insert the code into our bodies and correct mistakes in our “programming.” Technology like that is already so mundane you can watch it on CNN. The merging of information technology with human evolution is happening right now and sometime this century we too will experience life at 60 trillion operations per second. The only question is…

Will we be Lore, or will we be Data?


“Data” on Allen Parkway, Houston. photo/nick


Zero Privacy, The Day After

Two tech girls walk into a bar . . .

Dining on The Riverwalk in San Antonio

“Zero Privacy” on The Riverwalk In San Antonio. Photo/nick noecker 04/14

They order craft beers, retire to a table with a colleague, and talk shop. An eavesdropper walks by and instagrams them to a popular tech-blog. At sunrise one of them is fired. Why? (Hint: It wasn’t for drinking on the job)

It turns out the posted photo included an attribution of “hurtful speech.” Social whacking is being used now by some as a tactic in the battle for hearts and minds. In their strange dystopian world, social-tech is a tool of inquisition, and social media-ites the self-appointed ecclesiastical tribunals.

Against this bizarre backdrop, regular business executives are actually beginning to view social technology infrastructure as a compelling architecture for exposing hidden processes in the firm—processes that have no inherent right to privacy. Mundane things like meter tweets and status updates. Social Web sites, on the other hand, depend on private information shared on a voluntary basis for 100% of their content. Without privacy, people have nothing to share and the social business model will fail when the content dries-up. Social is totally dependent on the preservation of privacy.

So far, incidents like the tech girls have been met with silence by the very firms who have the most interest in preserving privacy. And in Promethean acts of self-destruction some social media companies even engage in inquisitions themselves. The logical response to all this is inescapable: Do Not Share. And that will be the end of social on the Web.

Inquisitions can’t really destroy privacy no matter how hard they try. It’s easy to imagine The Day After when people retreat to a world only they control. But it’s difficult to imagine the world as a better place when nothing is shared.

To know when privacy should be preserved, we should first ask ourselves….is it a process, or a human being?

Quiet Spot On The Riverwalk

“The Day After” somewhere on The Riverwalk. Photo/nick noecker 04/14

Author notes:

“Zero Privacy” refers to Scott McNealy’s famous ridiculing in 1999 of concerns about privacy on the Web (“There is zero privacy, get over it.”)

Scott McNealy had never heard of social media in 1999 so he couldn’t imagine how much the Web would come to depend on privacy

No one in social media today even knows who Scott McNealy was or that the entire internet ran on his servers back in the 90s

The tech girls incident actually happened at PyCon 2013 (with changes to protect privacy)

A “social technology infrastructure” is a notification architecture for the firm where processes have micro-blogging technology embedded that “tweet” status autonomously to corporate subscriber robots and real people

Done right, social technology is the most transformational technology for business…ever…whether the social Web survives or not

Grid Hero

To kill an out of control fire you need a Grid Hero…

Heights Presbyterian Church Fire

The Heights Presbyterian Church is 110 years old but nearly burned-down in an afternoon when it caught fire last week

Fires like this require high pressure tactics from up-high and that’s when linemen join the fight.

Ladder 38

These ladders feed high-pressure water guns into the air…they’re a weapon of mass destruction for any fire…but they come in frequent contact with power lines

Fernando piloting the cage

Fernando showed-up in his truck…by himself. He strapped himself in the cage and set the controls for battle. He piloted himself up, cut the lines, capped them, and re-routed power so the hospital, doctor’s office, and dozens of businesses on 19th Street could continue operating…and so the ladder water gun could be safely deployed.

Fernando cutting the line


Fernando capping the line

Ladder water gun

Fernando wrapping-up

Like he did everything else, Fernando wrapped up by himself


As local media sought out bystanders to profile, Fernando left as quietly as he came…no one even knew he was there and fewer knew the crucial role he played in the firefight that day

Watch a Centerpoint lineman work in a crisis situation and see poetry in motion. These are consummate professionals who answer the call no questions asked. They know what needs to be done and they do it proficiently…no one from local media interviews them when it’s over…no one slaps them on the back before they drive off into the sunset. These men are Grid Heroes.

“Smartgrid” will take decades to do what Fernando did in 30 minutes. He sets a high-bar.

Photos/Nick Noecker

For more on the fire that day see Firefight!

Dumb Cities

The problem with city infrastructures is they have nothing to say . . .

Yale St Railroad Bridge relic

This railroad bridge relic was marooned here by a new flood control causeway, a new access road to Yale on Interstate 10, and gentrification of an ancient neighborhood … now it can not even be accessed for razing … it sits next to the failing Yale Street bridge (left) in Houston Heights – Photo/Nick Noecker

The Yale Street bridge in the Houston Heights is nearly a hundred years old, serves thousands of vehicles per hour, 24/7, and still can’t tell us how it’s holding-up. It’s slated for demolition before it kills somebody with silence.

New Yorkers built their first gas lines in the 1820s. Two hundred years later 6,300 miles of gas pipes serve millions of customers in New York City…the pipes average 56 years in age and still haven’t learned to talk. The recent explosion in Harlem was the result of a leaky 127 year old cast iron pipe. The blast killed eight, injured 60. Thousands of miles of pipe should be replaced before more people are killed. But will the new pipe have anything intelligent to say?

Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Large-scale urban areas present large-scale problems…and that makes the idea of “smart cities” as intriguing as the reality is elusive. It’s clear from incidents like the one in Harlem that human sensors are poor substitutes for intelligent infrastructure integrated with maintenance processes. Strangely, people find it impossible to ignore alerts from software robots but ignoring alerts from human beings is a “lead-pipe-cinch.”

Big Energy

Can a new wave of Big Energy stem the rising-tide of electricity prices…?

tide power plant

M3 Wave Energy Systems says they can overcome most problems of above-water and below-surface solutions  …image IEEE Spectrum

Lower electricity prices from renewables technology has proven elusive for most people. But as solar approaches the conversion efficiency experienced by legacy power plants the cost of electricity at the premise will fall. It’s interesting to note that a solar installation at the premise resembles a small grid. And the emerging electric power architecture at the enterprise level looks like millions of small power plants attached to premise-grids integrated with legacy distribution grids. This is the raison d’être of smartgrid in the near term. But people will be able to reap the benefits of solar with or without smartgrid. In other words whether the grid can take the excess generation or not.

Strangely, there is no shortage of ‘big energy’ concepts in the renewables space that involve a large centralized plant feeding electrons intravenously to a challenged legacy grid. Wind farms are infamous examples of big energy thinking. Massive hard-steel industrial farms wreaking havoc on every ecosystem they occupy. From the microbial level in the soil to the delicate balance of insects, birds, and plants for miles around. The Central Valley in California is a textbook case. The drought has played the dominant role but where there are wind farms, the ecosystem will not return with the rains. And in West Texas where there is no ecosystem to speak of…wind farms are off-line on any given day due to the inability of the grid to accept the power. Big Energy suffers from big problems wherever it’s tried.

Wind farm Central Valley California

Wind farm – Central Valley California where cattle have been reduced to eating dirt and are now being sold-off to Texas ranchers who have centuries of experience raising cattle in arid environments  …Photo/nick noecker 09/2013

There are many big energy solutions in the renewables space…harvesting energy from waves, tides, wind, even massive “solar utility” plants. But every single one of these big energy paradigms suffers from the very environmental problems experienced by fossil fuels. M3 Wave Energy Systems has a fascinating design for a massive power plant that sits on the bottom of the ocean and harvests energy from currents. But it’s worth remembering that no one predicted the environmental ravaging that resulted from wind turbines.

Concept: High Energy Costs

Britain says the cost of subsidizing renewable energy will cause electricity prices to rise another 33% by 2020, 41% by 2030 … image IEEE Spectrum

Economics determine outcomes in spite of our grand illusions. No matter how much we resist, real economics eventually overwhelms fake economics every time. But we can buy time for a little while and in some situations it pays. That is what happened with solar. The real big energy solution could well be massively-distributed small-scale solar power generation. Advances in local storage technologies are hastening the process. The arrival of this nascent system model will no doubt overwhelm us when it hits.

It makes you wonder… are Big Energy solutions doomed to end-up like cattle ranches in the Central Valley?

Cattle ranch in Central Valley

Cattle Ranch in Central Valley California where the drought has ravaged the land and where Wind Farms are ensuring it will stay that way  …photo © 09/2013 nick noecker

M3 Wave Energy
Britain Energy Prices To Rise