isaac asimov

isaac asimov bw

20 yrs ago..

3:04 – spot on – learn all you want about baseball – if you love it, if it’s your choice, you’ll learn other things

5:00 – so in a sense – every kid has his own school.

then he says you’d still go to school.. well unless..

and yes – for all ages..

i think isaac might like this little plan..

how everyone will enjoy learning….

what about the fact that computers dehumanize people..
isaac – just the reverse
in old days had live individual tutors, hired, but not everyone could afford it…
but wanted more educated – so only way was to have one teacher for many…
either 1 to 1 for very few
or 1 to 1 for many
but now – we can have 1 to 1 for many….

dang – 22 years ago… what have we been doing?

ie: the kids in sugata’s video – wanted to be football players until they watched teds – and now want to be picasso…

this is a way for every kid to create their own class
and to make it so school isn’t a thing kids do


asimov predicts


“[M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014.


feb 2015 – trailer – future of work



What Is Intelligence, Anyway?

By Isaac Asimov

What is intelligence, anyway?

When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big fuss over me.

(It didn’t mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP – kitchen police – as my highest duty.)

All my life I’ve been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I’m highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so too.

Actually, though, don’t such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by people who make up the intelligence tests – people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was.

Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles – and he always fixed my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test.

Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I’d prove myself a moron, and I’d be a moron, too.

In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly.

My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.

Consider my auto-repair man, again.

He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me.

One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: “Doc, a deaf-and-mute guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with the other hand.

“The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?”

Indulgently, I lifted by right hand and made scissoring motions with my first two fingers.

Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed raucously and said, “Why, you dumb jerk, He used his voice and asked for them.”

Then he said smugly, “I’ve been trying that on all my customers today.” “Did you catch many?” I asked. “Quite a few,” he said, “but I knew for sure I’d catch you.”

“Why is that?” I asked. “Because you’re so goddamned educated, doc, I knew you couldn’t be very smart.”

And I have an uneasy feeling he had something there.


~ ~ ~
Autobiography by Dr. Isaac Asimov (1920–1992): 

It’s Been a Good Life




Kush Shah (@shahkush)
The 2013 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate on The Existence of Nothing… via @singularityblog

2013 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: The Existence of Nothing

Isaac Asimov – perhaps the last polymath of our civilization

4 min – poem – … nothing speaks volumes… nothing waits and waits

7 min – the panel works – .. see what we would talk about if we were at a bar

9 min – nothing is the most important part of the universe

15 min – roman numberals no representation to zero – why did attention to zero take so long… humans have a revulsion for zero, for nothing, … nothingness represents something we’re afraid of.. disorder.. breaking the rules. nothingness represents a return to lawlessness…

18 min – tohoo (chaos) bohoo (void)

leibniz thoughts on nothing – the calculus of the infinitely small –

23 min – 2 kinds of nothing 1\ empty space – the vaccuum – if you want to visualize this.. close your eyes   2\ zero universe  3\ really nothing –   (38 min)

29 min – our first understanding of nothing.. has been changed by einstein’s relativity and quantum physics

38 min – 0 radius does not mean nothing in string theory

we’re all whistling in the dark here

40 min – quantum tunneling – instantaneously tunneling through – ie: buckaroo bonzai – everywhere you go – there you are

49 min – nothing as the absence of something.. so have to figure out what something is

50 min – i used words… elliott – words as slippery

52 min – the why question is stupid.. when we say why what we really mean is how

54 min – but you said.. but that’s so i could talk about it in our universe.. but it could be

55 min – Eva describing nothing: space time is an emergent thing.. can evolve toward/or out of a singularity.. time can keep going forever.. hartle/hawking wave function..  as you approach this phase you can ask within string theory.. what is dimensionality anyway.. you can ask.. how many dimensions can a string oscilate into. exponential of the square root of the dimension.. masses going exponentially.. so that measurement of dimensionality decrease.. to nothing

1:00- no .. that’s just to help you visualize it..

love that we have no means to explain the unexplainable.. and that that keeps coming up

so focus on rev of everyday life.

hosting life bits.. not for proof.. or for measurements.. just a trail to augment connections/convos .. to/with others and self..

1:01 – greeks hated zero.. they would swap into base 60… from babylonians..

1:03 – there’s an aesthetic underlying fight here

1:12 –  we can’t speak of what is not (means you are speaking of what is not), hagel – what is pure being.. being=nothing; heiddeger nothing is an annialating force..  nothing is a noun – so it seems like a name for an entity.. but it’s not .. a state where there’s not anything.. what’s so special about nothing

1:16 – each giving short definition of zeri

start with zero, remove it, and get the null set – set of things that doesn’t even have zero, you can create zero out of the null set

jim – not anything. dreamless sleep.

rich – not there. what does it look like.. what color is that..

lawrence – empty space. no space. .. all of the definitions are from physical words

eva – the absence of the degrees of freedom. the ground state of a gapped quantum system.

neil – what’s outside of rich’s 4 universes.. behind the head.

neil – an all illusive moving target.. outside the universe.. so that you can ask.. what birthed that..

1:27 – q&a

lawrence – practical applications..? i can proudly say there is no practical application to any of the work i do … people never ask what’s the practical significance of a mozart symphany or picasso painting.. it’s part of what makes being human human… and the ideas of science are that way as doesn’t need anything practical. it actually does have practical application.. but doesn’t need to.

charles – infinity and nothing are two sides of the same coin. ie: money would be worthless if infinite amount.. math defn of infinite: set of stuff you can take away from and it’s still the same size.. same with defn of nothing.

eva – evidence of nothing.. acoustic peaks in the power spectrum

lawrence – most of the mass of protons comes from empty space.. we can calculate that.. so we know weird things are happening in empty space… we couldn’t ask the question if there was nothing

1:32 – hebrew is – in a beginning rather than the

universe – everything you can or could have interacted with

1:36 – we have the feeblist grasp

1:43 – jim – laws as high level summaries – but not enforcers – on absolute spontaneity.. can’t have a completely random world

1:45 – possibility of an oscillating universe that never goes away.. repeated crunch bang

1:47 – lawrence – why always assumes intentionality

jim – the question why does not assume intentionality

– – –


J. Richard Gott, professor of astrophysical sciences, Princeton University, and author of Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective

Jim Holt, science journalist and author of Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story

Lawrence Krauss, professor of physics, Arizona State University and author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing

Charles Seife, professor of journalism, New York University, and author of Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Eve Silverstein, professor of physics, Stanford University, and co-editor of Strings, Branes and Gravity

The late Dr. Isaac Asimov, one of the most prolific and influential authors of our time, was a dear friend and supporter of the American Museum of Natural History. In his memory, the Hayden Planetarium is honored to host the annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate — generously endowed by relatives, friends, and admirers of Isaac Asimov and his work — bringing the finest minds in the world to the Museum each year to debate pressing questions on the frontier of scientific discovery. Proceeds from ticket sales of the Isaac Asimov Memorial Debates benefit the scientific and educational programs of the Hayden Planetarium.


there is never nothing going on..


Tom Barrett (@tombarrett) tweeted at 5:45 AM – 4 Oct 2016 :

Published for the First Time : a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity (

from 2014 – how do people get new ideas

..person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits


..bring them together ….or allow them to work in isolation?

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it.

on the need for rp ness – via simple mech


The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.


..purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. ..

If a single individual present has a much greater reputation than the others, or is more articulate, or has a distinctly more commanding personality, he may well take over the conference and reduce the rest to little more than passive obedience. The individual may himself be extremely useful, but he might as well be put to work solo, for he is neutralizing the rest.

The optimum number of the group would probably not be very high. I should guess that no more than five would be wanted. A larger group might have a larger total supply of information, but there would be the tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating. It would probably be better to have a number of sessions at which the people attending would vary, rather than one session including them all. (This would involve a certain repetition, but even repetition is not in itself undesirable. It is not what people say at these conferences, but what they inspire in each other later on.)


today we can do better.. no?

ie: hosting life bits