Thoughts from a reflective educator.
My sister said to my mom, "We need to send an ecard to my son for his birthday." I suggested a video, and they loved the idea. We went around the room and each person said happy birthday. I then uploaded the video to Youtube, and marked it as unlisted, then sent the link to her son. I think this is a much more personal experience than one of those lame ecards...
QR codes, in case you don't know, are like clickable links in the real world, provided you have a smart phone with a QR reader. Here's an example of what a QR code looks like.
I have some ideas on ways these could be used in the real world (along with an accompanying short URL for those people without the QR reader).
Do you have any other ideas on how QR codes could be implemented in regular life?
Someone could make a fortune with a trading card game, like Magic the Gathering, or Pokemon, based on real-life celebrities. The goal of the game would be "to be the most famous person on the planet."
Basic idea: Twitter is a gigantic repository of conversations. You could analyze the text in these conversations, and try and use this data to construct an artificial intelligence which would "learn" from the conversations. End objective: build an artificial intelligence that can pass the Turing test.
I was down on the beach today, throwing a rock in my hand, wondering about how it "knows" which direction to fall, and realized that this is not a trivial thing. The rock always falls down toward my hand as I throw it up.
I thought about the graviton theory of gravity, in which the force of gravity is carried by gravitons between each mass, and as I did this, I wondered how many gravitons it would take to communicate forces between each mass on Earth. I then realized that the gravitons would also transport the information of gravity between each particle in the universe, and every other particle in the universe, and this made me think that is a bit weird. The number of particles in the universe is enormous, so the number of gravitons required to communicate the force of gravity would be absolutely disgustingly big. So it seems to me a bit weird that we should require all of these particles in order to communicate gravity. Surely Okham's razor suggests that this can't be so. That we shouldn't need an enormous number of particles we can't see to describe this force of gravity. If these particles had even the slightest bit of mass, they could easily outmass the rest of the universe.
I then thought, if we had gravitons, then each particle would have to individually "calculate" the total force applied from every other particle in the universe, which means that every atom would have computational power greater than any computer we could ever hope to build. Given that this seems a bit ridiculous as well, it stands to reason that this cannot be the case, that gravitons are a failed theory, at least from this perspective.
I then wondered about the theory I've heard wherein space-time itself is warped by mass, and as a result, particles travel along paths of least resistance through space, and thought that this handled nicely both the problem of a gigantic number of gravitons and the ability of individual particles to calculate the sum of the forces present on them. Instead of needing to "know" about every other particle, this information would be contained in space-time itself, and each particle would "calculate" it's own contribution to the deflection of space-time.
I also wondered, if space-time is warped, is it wrinkled anywhere, and if so, could we measure the size of these wrinkles. This may be a false analogy, but if you had a thin sheet of rubber, and then rolled something along the rubber in an elliptical path, the rubber would form wrinkles perpendicular to the direction of the motion, and in space-time, this would correspond to small perbutations in the force of gravity.
For example, imagine the Earth travelling in orbit around the sun. As it does so, it could bunch up and wrinkle space slightly. This deflection, should be in principle, measureable, although the effect would be incredibly small. I know there is some work being done to measure gravitational waves, which would also confirm the "rubber sheet" theory of gravity, but that we have yet to find any evidence this occurs.
Does anyone know if this wrinkling of space-time has been discussed before, and if so, how much an effect it would show? Does it even make sense to think of space-time as wrinkling?
Gather a room full of university and high school lecturers. Give them a lecture which is engaging and interesting, but not on a topic any of them know well. Test them at the end. Share the results with the participants. Discuss.
The basic idea is:
Essentially, you could take the game of Farmville (or something like it) and turn it into an a game around the act of voting, and potentially other acts of civic engagement. Make it fun to vote, so that the 20 or 30 minutes to do it doesn't seem like a chore.
Basically, political parties should award points and badges to people who sign up for their website, publicize their message, come up with good ideas, and communicate with each other via their public websites. Instead of politics being a one way broadcast message from the political parties, they should make a game of participating in the democratic process.
There are literally millions of Youtube comments, tied to individual users, many of which give some information about themselves. I see this is an amazing resource for data you could mine for ethnographic, social, or literary research.