|If Isaac Newton were alive today, what would his blog read like?
||[Apr. 27th, 2008|04:40 pm]
This is probably a weird thought, or just plain obvious... but, just think, there are going to be new scientists growing up in this age. Actually, just new greats in any field. That, in itself, is nothing new given that each generation will have those who are better than others in the field, but the diaries are becoming blogs. The people that they are will be a lot more accessible. Historians of a field could, potentially, have more access to what a major player in their field of choice thought. Assuming the servers stay up, or Google just archives everything anyway. It might take ages to find someone's dead tree diary, but these blogs might still be accessible. That said, I still hold out hope for the dead tree method.
There again, who'd want to know about the drahmahz surrounding Bertie Einstein conducting a f-list cut? Or who'd want to see Isaac Newton's memes on what his favourite colours, films and sexual positions are? (On that note, I'd say he was into S&M - how else would you get the famous phrase "Newtonian force"?)
On the upside, you might get to see the forming links as various players get in contact with one another, see the comments from one to another on their respective blogs. That might be of some historical value.
Of course, this thought it probably way behind the times - thought of by people who get caught up in the hype of web 2.0, and believe that the value of the network is equal to the square of the size of the population. There again, I'm only someone involved with making the technology, that's all I really aspire to be. I don't really look too hard at the uses.
Which brings me nicely to another point, I was talking in the labs with a friend. His project involves harnessing some GooglePower and putting it into his application, so he knows his way around Google these days. At one point he showed his mum Google Earth or Google Maps (I'm not sure which), and he left her for a few hours. When he came back he found that she'd done a lot more than he'd ever have expected her to. She got in contact with all her distant relatives, by hunting down bits of what she knew about them using those tools.
Hearing that story amazed me. To a large degree, I don't really think about how the technologies can be used. I mean, I look at the latest toy by Google and think "Oooh, that's shiny." but then someone almost completely divested from the technical world takes these tools and does something that makes me think "Wow, I'd never have thought of that one in a million years, especially if my kid just showed me Google as something random and shiny." Personally, I just look at what bits of software are out there that can be integrated to become what I need/want to make - I view them as components for my next tool, but for some weird reason I'm amazed by what someone can do with just one of those components in their own right.
I guess what this means is that I don't really think of the uses of something when I'm making it, or when I see someone else makes it. I'm more interested in how it works, rather than seeing what happens when we give it to Other People. However, do I want to start thinking in terms of what the Other People may or may not do? Probably not, because it's a nice surprise to see them do it. I like seeing new experiments form and see if they sink or swim, or how others might integrate them, or how they just turn out to be used.
It just seems more exciting this way.