Inside Out!!

Inside Out!!Quirky stories, bon mots, jokes and funny things that happened on the way to the Web … Schadenfreude is a great healer. Remember all that fuss about the Great British Banger with Brussels telling us what we could, or could not, put in our sausages? Well, now Italy is getting a bit of stick with the Eurocrats insisting that they accept imports of gooey spaghetti which is made from softer wheat than the chewy stuff preferred by your true Italian. Surely the Bruxellois can do better than this. How about insisting that the Scandinavians cook their fish? That it’s cruel to pull the legs off frogs ? la Fran?aise? Or that the Germans should drink beer from French-sized bottles?
Spam spam spam spam . Maybe John Cleese was more of a visionary than we give him credit for. Apparently you can send an E-mail message to 1,000 people for a cent (1?2p). This means that commercial companies wanting to get their messages over to consumers are much better off if they use junk E-mail (‘Spam’ in cyber speak) than if they use conventional paper and post junk mail (estimated to cost a dollar – 60p – a shot). This has led to moves in America to legislate against spam – the problem is that US laws don’t apply anywhere else in the world and you can, of course, originate spam from anywhere you like. So, brace yourself for more and more Spam – very Monty Pythonesque.
Everyone accepts that creativity is the key to modern corporate success. New ideas generate new intellectual property which generates revenues.
Trust the Swedes to take this process seriously. Skandia, the Stockholm-based insurance group, has a ‘Future Centre’ built to look like a boat (because the centre is ‘navigating’ the future) on the shores of a lake.
The centre employs thinkers with titles like ‘knowledge nomad’ and ‘digital salon cultivator’. Waltz music is played because it ‘stills the mind’ to prepare it for futuristic thinking. The ground floor smells like an old boat and the first floor like freshly baked bread.“We are prototyping the soil of the roots of the future,” says Leif Edvinsson, vice-president for intellectual property at Skandia. Steve Bush’s invention of the week
Claude Elwood Shannon was known at Bell Labs’ Murray Hill site for pedalling his unicycle, sometimes whilst juggling, inside the buildings. He is also the mathematician who pulled together the differing but related parameters of noise, data rate and channel bandwidth and is therefore the founder of information theory. Both pulse code, and pulse position, modulation were already in use when Shannon decided to determine the theoretical limits of such techniques. In 1948 he published his paper ‘A Mathematical Theory of Communication’ which set out his findings. Among his later researches, he studied learning machines and artificial intelligence. As part of this he built an electromechanical mouse which learned to negotiate a maze. Thus he may also be the forerunner of micro-mouse competitions.


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