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Rohan Sharma
520 followers - Come unleash the fire within, for some fires, like some heroes, never die. Come unleash the fire within, for some fires, like some heroes, never die.

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This is not what it looks like. The blue squares have been painted on the walls, floor and window of this building! And they're not really squares: they only look square from this one very special point of view. If you don't believe me, go here:

This is an amazing piece of anamorphic art by Felice Varini, and you'll see more on that webpage. Thanks to +Halfdan Reschat for pointing it out!

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Do a web search by taking a photo with Google Goggles. Here's the intro video of the phone app I mentioned in my last post.

Have you ever thought about how much language affects how you see the world? It's by having words for things that we remember, demarcate and conceptualize one "object" from the next. When I open the hood of a car I see a "motor" - my friend Dave, who's an expert mechanic, sees about 1000 things when he looks under the hood. I went on a nature hike yesterday and the guide has words for almost every tree, plant & bush. He understands different types of winds and can feel which direction they're coming from. This is such a prominent part of culture in Hawaii that they have names for their different winds.

When I was younger I had trouble trying to understand meditation. I wasn't sure about the value of the idea that you were supposed to stop the "inner dialogue" in your head, or to pick one mantra to focus on. Thinking about language helped me grasp meditation from an intellectual level and and realize that when you stop talking then you stop separating things. You and me and the world are "one" when you stop using words like me & you during a meditative session.

I was thinking about this in part because I've been imagining how image recognition and Google Goggles might develop. For those not in the know, Google has developed machine learning technology in its study of human language -- they used it to develop the language translation services built into Chrome & Goggles, and to determine "intent" when people type in search queries. I wonder if Google's research in language will help them in their quest to recognize more objects in Google Goggles?

My first reaction is "no" -- they'll just have to keep working on image recognition in terms of shapes, shadow, colors, and angles of perception. Can your recognize this object from every conceivable angle? But part of me wonders if as Google Goggles advances, and as it gets to know more about its particular user (you, or me) and all the text that x user has ever displayed to the engine (via posts on G+ and search, etc) if it could build a profile about the user to guess what he or she is looking for. That's what Google does with web search -- it takes into consideration your location and past searches, among many other factors. If I pointed my Google Goggles app at the jungle, I probably just want to know something about jungles in general. If my Hawaiian tour guide pointed it at the jungle, he may be looking for very specific info. Anyway, just a thought.

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Ingenuity + Creativity + some Guts = Innovation.
How to turn a country's roadway infrastructure into a power grid, that is green and sustainable...

Solar Roadways: The Prototype

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232 30-second exposures combined by Michael Menefee to make an awesome picture of Perseid Meteor Shower.

It's Perseid Meteor Shower time, i.e. time to plan your outing for the upcoming peak! NASA has put together a page featuring some of my photos to help plan your Perseid viewing experience. You can see it here:

Shot Notes from Michael: I sure got lucky with my brightest meteor caught this year (2009) going right through the North Star/Polaris (the "bulls-eye" at the middle of all the circles). There are at least 4 clear Perseids in this image, but I saw many more when the shots where being taken.

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Last night I wrote about how G+ sharing was driving my creative spark. Does sharing actually stifle innovation? This intriguing article says it does:

The author, +Francisco Dao muses on the idea that "democratization of media will create a more open society and fuel innovation" but ultimately he concludes that this idea is bunk. Visionaires "don't need the feedback of the poorly-informed masses," says Dao.

Dao has put this idea into practice by creating an invitation-only tech conference called 50 Kings, where, he believes, the participants get more out of their experience with less people there.

On the website, Dao writes "After several years of producing large technology conferences, I realized the conference model was broken. Senior level people didn’t care about the presentations on stage since they were often more successful than the speakers. The real players only came to build relationships with people who could enhance their life or business."

This makes a lot of sense. And I think it's true. Back to the article, Dao says "Larger groups increased the likelihood of ill-fitting deviants, which decreased trust and candor. Smaller groups effectively set people free — free to share, explore, and solicit intelligent feedback. The tyranny of the public actually stifled visionary thinking, while the comfort of exclusivity released people from their behavioral and intellectual inhibitions, allowing them to consider a wider range of possibilities."

You might think Dao's ideas offer a counterargument to my suggestion that G+ sharing was driving creativity. Or that it's odd for me to agree with him considering the points I made last night. To me, it's just a matter of context (as are most things). Dao can be "right" and "wrong" at the same time, because it just depends on where you're standing that determines what you see. (Or what you're trying to see.)

In the context of Google+ -- a public social network -- I think we actually are able to "solicit intelligent feedback" for our ideas. The smaller user base and the somewhat self-selected type of user base, is replicating (in the social networking sphere) what Dao tries to do in his 50kings conference. Conversely, if I were to post this to my Facebook "Fan page," I'd get shouted down by teenagers telling me to "make MySpace like it used to be," having not even realized I left the company years ago. (I guess that begs the question, on Facebook, is it me, or the teenagers that are the "ill-fitting deviants," to use Dao's phrase?)

So my conclusion is, for now anyway, we are experiencing a little bit of that 50kings mentality here in a public forum.

Dao ultimately argues that "breakthrough innovations — the type that create new markets — are typically the result of a visionary (or visionaries) who ignored the fickle whims of public opinion." I don't disagree with that. We can apply that to the creation of the G+ product (rather than the community it has engendered). It's kind of what I was suggesting in my piece 5 Things I Learned At MySpace That Could Help Google+ ( I suggested that Google needs to analyze user behavior work with a group of gifted product people, but that ultimately one visionary leader needs to make the decisions.

There is a time and place for you to make your visionary decisions & insights and there is a time and place to cast your net wide and far to draw inspiration from the "poorly-informed masses" -- in fact, I'd argue that with the right frame of mind, you may actually be led to your ideas by those very same "masses" because they were expressing their "fickle whims" -- even if you don't do what they say. That said, I'm enjoying the mostly well-informed masses on G+ right now. You guys are swell. :-)

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Thousands of people fleeing, yet only one casualty thusfar... and it's from a heart attack.
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