Does the world really need another internet chat room? Fair question. But what about a chat room that’s fundamentally different from every other chat room in existence? On March 22, Doug Brown and I opened up Talkomatic after several months … Continue reading →

School Placement Lotteries: Problems and a Solution

In 1994 when my son was about to reach kindergarten age, I realized there were¬† glaring problems with the way the Minneapolis Public Schools operated their school choice placement program. With a bit of research I discovered a solution, patterned … Continue reading →

Web Discussions: Flat by Design

In his Coding Horror blog, Jeff Atwood makes the case that online discussions should be flat rather than threaded. “Flat” means a discussion consists of a single linear chain of messages in chronological order. “Threaded” means replies can be inserted … Continue reading →

NoSQL Databases, Lotus Notes, and PLATO

Revised December 10, 2012 On December 5, Wired published an article by Klint Finley documenting the development of “NoSQL” databases — i.e., nonrelational databases — that keep track of ginormous quantities of information for enterprises like Google and Amazon. These … Continue reading →

Christof Koch: Could the Internet Learn to Feel?

In a new interview by Steve Paulson, neuroscientist Christof Koch, a self-described “romantic reductionist,” discusses the science of consciousness, including the notion that all matter is, to varying degrees, sentient. A few quotes from Koch follow. In answer to the … Continue reading →