Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daisy, Daisy

Oh China, is there nothing you can't do? First, Huan Kitchen down the road makes the most scrumptious steamed dumplings, and now this.....(from the NY Times)

"A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower.

The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, aUniversity of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings.

The race to build the fastest supercomputer has become a source of national pride as these machines are valued for their ability to solve problems critical to national interests in areas like defense, energy, finance and science."

Who needs civil rights when you can download porn at 2.5 petaflops?


  1. Do you think there was any industrial cyber-espionage involved in this?

    The Chinese are especially talented in that area.

    Why re-invent the wheel, when you can more easily reverse engineer it and tweak it to be just a bit better?

  2. Well, of course, another factor is that our spoiled brat youth are -- today -- far more interested in Tweeting from their iPhones about their FaceBook profiles than learning anything about science or engineering.

    We are -- like all who came before us -- the victims of our own prosperity.

  3. I'm thinking about cyber-espionage myself, SBVOR. The ChiComs have all the money and money will buy you all the 'creativity' in the world.

    Your second point is one of my pet peeves. As a person who has a science degree, I can't believe how far our country is lagging in science and math education. I can't understand how modern people go about their lives without understanding the world around them.

  4. The Chinese supercomputer used processors from Intel and Nvidia, both American companies, just an interesting FYI.

    The Chinese influence in the world, both overtly and covertly; a function of what?

    geez, not to sound like an old man, but on a rainy, boring day, I used to bust out an encyclopedia or a National, to say that the kids are a "victim of our own prosperity," is true enough. They are never without a distraction or a reason NOT to read a book.

  5. Cube,

    I am both a scientist and an engineer. Imagine my dismay.

    I suppose all great nations are destined to fall into decadence, decay and decline.

    It has been said that all great nations follow this sequence:

    * From bondage to spiritual faith;
    * From spiritual faith to great courage;
    * From courage to liberty;
    * From liberty to abundance;
    * From abundance to complacency;
    * From complacency to apathy;
    * From apathy to dependence;
    * From dependence back into bondage.

    Click here & explore how we could -- maybe -- break that sequence.

  6. P.S.) Wishing to protect my anonymity, I never divulge too much about my personal life.

    But, suffice to say that members of my family, myself included, were intimately involved in some of the greatest and most innovative accomplishments of the twentieth century.

    Regrettably, none of us got rich doing so. But, rewards come in many forms.

  7. Feel that tiny, slightly painful pull in your right (haha) scapula? Thats from patting yourself on the back a smidge too hard.

    Take two advil for said pain. Midol for any cramps.

  8. Just the facts, ma'am.

    If I wanted to pat myself on the back, I would not be posting anonymously.

    I just wonder how many such accomplishments and innovations this country will produce in the current century. My guess -- not nearly as many. Socialism and other cultural forces will -- unless we can reverse those trends -- continue crush that aspect of our culture.

  9. We can't. It's the two greatest human failings; apathy and atrophy. Humans act and react, biologically and socially, only in accordance to what external forces demand upon us. We're just wired that way.

    Take, for example, the person who has a pneumonia or is septic or for whatever reason has to be placed on mechanical ventilation. So, now, a ventilator is breathing for said person. Well, the muscles of breathing (diaphragm, intercostals) are like "this is great! i don't have to work anymore, I'm just going to go ahead and atrophy/get all mushy." Fast forward a week later and whatever underlying cause is now resolved and guess what? The mechanisms of gas exchange aren't there, and it takes a hell of a lot of effort to get them back. More often than not they can't be brought back.

    And so now we have our current society. Why excel, why try when everything that I need, everything I am told that I need, is right at my fingertips? Younger members of our society to do not excel because they are not required to excel, and they fall into apathy.

    It is my hope that China will emerge as a true threat to this country, and that the prevailing wisdom will see it thus. Look at what the Soviet Union did for the U.S. Nothing like a common enemy to get the creative juices flowing.

    SBVOR - I'm sure that whatever you or your predecessors have done were very worthy undertakings and I apologize for being glib about them.

  10. AJ,

    Apology graciously accepted.

  11. AJ,

    Given your last comment, perhaps you would agree with the following quote from this post:

    "Extending unemployment entitlements primarily encourages people to remain unemployed"

    As you might expect, I substantiated that assertion with quantitative data.

    I can tell you that -- to a person -- everybody I have ever known who ever collected unemployment benefits freely admitted that they could find work in a heartbeat, but that they were less than thrilled with the job opportunities and preferred to collect unemployment instead. I submit that -- even today -- that is still true.

  12. I suppose what I had said regarding human nature could also be applied to the issue of unemployment and unemployment benefits, but what I don't understand is how one could subsist solely on unemployment benefits. What is it, $300-400/wk? With no health benefits? Wouldn't necessity, being the prime mover of people, dictate that one would need to find a better source of income?

    Or, is something even more insidious taking place? Here's an example: I have a friend who owns a restaurant/pizzeria. He has an employee who works 6 months out of the year in a seasonal tree-removal company. Every autumn, he is "fired" by his company due the seasonal slow-down. He files for unemployment for 6 months, and, while he collects unemployment, he works, off the books at my friends' restaurant. In the spring, he is re-hired by the tree company, and the cycle begins anew.

  13. AJ,

    Having never applied for unemployment "benfits", I don't know the dollar amount of said "benefits".

    I have, however, known many, many people who have lived quite well on these "benefits". And, every one of them milked these "benefits" for as long as the government allowed them to. In some (not all) cases, a spouse was involved to supplement the income.