Very few people reading this will have any grasp of how much the technology Dennis Ritchie developed impacts their daily lives.
Without exaggeration, every single computing device that you are likely to interact with on any given day can in some way be traced back to work done by Dennis Ritchie.
It doesn’t matter if you use Microsoft Windows, or an Apple iPhone, they all rely in some way or another on the programming language “C”, which Dennis help write back in the 70s.
I have absolutely nothing against Steve Jobs, but the pronouncements by uniformed media pundits on his relative importance were, to say the least, highly exaggerated. Apple makes fancy gadgets that a lot of people happen to like at the moment. Nothing more. The iPod, iPad, and iPhone will be the Sony Walkmans of the future. Yes they are fantastic devices for their time but will be quickly replaced when the next hot gadget craze comes along in a few years. Apple (like Sony in the 1980s) deserves a ton of credit for what they have accomplished. Their devices are and always will be iconic symbols of their time, but they certainly are not the most important. Not by a long shot.
On the other hand, I think you could make a strong case for the C programming language and the Unix operating system being the most important bits of technology ever developed. Absolutely every modern device runs on or depends on a system written in “C”. Pick up any device with a microchip and chances are it needs “C”. Computers, phones, cars, TVs, microwaves. All of them.
It really is awe inspiring when you stop to think about it.
I felt this National Post editorial on climate change was uniquely concise. It’s unfortunate that the author (Dan Gardner) chose to attack one particular environmentalist (David Suzuki, whom I have a great deal of respect for), which tends to give the article a bit of a “wacko denier” tone, because his points are otherwise well worth considering.
In short, the astronomical complexity of the earth’s ecosystem makes it impossible to reliably predict not only the causes, but the outcome and affect of climate change. And just as we can’t predict the effect of climate change on our environment, nor can we predict the effect of attempting to alter climate change by changing human lifestyle.
Scientific evidence shows that the earth has always gone through climate cycles and most scientists agree we are currently experiencing a warming trend. The only point of real contention is whether humans are causing an unusually accelerated warming trend or is this a natural cycle?
Environmentalists argue that if it’s human caused, then we should radically alter course and try to reverse it.
My question is, what difference does it make what the cause is? Even if we are successful in reversing the effects of humans triggered change, presumably we’re still subject to the natural warming & cooling cycle. So wouldn’t we have to prepare for that anyhow?
Even the climate change fear mongers are predicting modest temperature changes over relatively lengthy time frames. Those changes will only be felt over generations. Humans are adaptive. We will adapt to whatever changes happen. Some areas will become less desirable to live, some more.
Maybe the cost of cooling and fresh water in America’s deep south will make it too expensive to live in? Or maybe not? If we all stopped driving cars tomorrow, what impact would that have on the environment?
The point is, nobody knows and radically altering course is just as unpredictable and dangerous as staying the course.
When they can give me a 5 day weather forecast that’s more reliable than a coin toss, then I’ll start to pay attention. In the mean time I think we should all just relax a little.
Here is a crazy rant; I don’t normally talk about politics on this blog because, well, i’m a techie and I feel that people better qualified should talk about politics.
However, having seen little evidence that “people better qualified” actually exist, I’m going to take a stab at it.
The Liberals have just named their new leader, Micheal Ignatieff. And, on the same day the newly re-appointed United States Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates has gone out of his way to praise Canada and its solders on the job they have done in Afghanistan. He barely stopped short of formally requesting Canada stay on longer.
Never the less, the conservatives quickly dismissed the idea saying we are going home on time and bla bla bla….
What a golden opportunity! The Liberals should get ahead of the curve and support Obama. They should immediately commit to keeping our troops in Afghanistan as long as the new U.S. administration is committed to getting the job done!
This would put the Conservatives in the awkward position of either supporting the Liberals or opposing Canadian troops and the U.S.
But forget politics! If I thought the only reason for keeping our troops in Afghanistan was to embarrass the Conservatives then I’d throw-up on myself.
The mission is the right thing to do and now is the time for Canada to show our support! It’s only because of Bush and Iraq that it hasn’t always seemed that way. With Bush gone and a new commitment by Obama, lets get focused and do the job!
Let me set this straight; to date I’ve been no fan of the mission in Afganistan. Bush exploited the grief we felt on 9-11 and then lied to us. This was supposed to be a hunt for Bin Ladin and the 9/11 attackers when in fact it quickly became apparent that G.W. Bush had no interest whatever in Bin Ladin and diverted the efforts of the U.S. military to Iraq while hanging our Canadian asses out to dry in Afghanistan. And the Conservatives were mystified as to why we didn’t support it?
Forget Bush. He’s gone. Fast forward to Obama. Obama is not even in the white house yet and already the U.S. is committing 20,000 new troops to Afghanistan and pleading for Canada’s help. The “real” war to get Bin Ladin is just starting.
Obama is the world’s most popular leader. If he, or his administration were to make a personal appeal for continued support in Afghanistan along with a dramatically increased commitment by U.S. forces, Canadians would support it.
No, correct that. We would overwhelmingly support it! Canada has always wanted Bin Ladin and those responsible for 9-11 brought to justice. We won’t hesitate to pledge our support for their capture as long as we feel like we aren’t out there alone.
So we can support Obama, or, I guess we could just pull out at the end of our term like the Conservatives want to do.
Can we finally get Bin Ladin?
YES WE CAN
In light of the horrid treatment Canadians (and one can only assume everyone) who is unfortunate enough to come in contact with the Mexican “justice” system receives, I just can’t stomach the thought of putting any of my tourist dollars into a country like that.
It seems blazingly obvious to anyone that Brenda Martian was innocent, but even if you assume she did know where the money came from that raises the question of why, Marco Antonio del Toro, Alyn Waage’s lawyer is allowed to remain free. Alyn Waage gave del Toro a million dollar mansion purchased with the proceeds of crime and yet faces not even a hint of the same “Mexican justice” that Brenda Martian has been subjected to. [full story]