Why this blog is now called Page F30

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I've finally found a title for the blog, Page F30. This comes from an article in the Washington Post a few weeks back (April 13th to be precise) about the future, where you find the following paragraph:

The most important things happening in the world today won't make tomorrow's front page. They won't get mentioned by presidential candidates or Chris Matthews or Bill O'Reilly or any of the other folks yammering and snorting on cable television.

They'll be happening in laboratories -- out of sight, inscrutable and unhyped until the very moment when they change life as we know it.

Science and technology form a two-headed, unstoppable change agent. Problem is, most of us are mystified and intimidated by such things as biotechnology, or nanotechnology, or the various other -ologies that seem to be threatening to merge into a single unspeakable and incomprehensible thing called biotechnonanogenomicology. We vaguely understand that this stuff is changing our lives, but we feel as though it's all out of our control. We're just hanging on tight, like Kirk and Spock when the Enterprise starts vibrating at Warp 8.

What's unnerving is the velocity at which the future sometimes arrives. Consider the Internet. This powerful but highly disruptive technology crept out of the lab (a Pentagon think tank, actually) and all but devoured modern civilization -- with almost no advance warning. The first use of the word "internet" to refer to a computer network seems to have appeared in this newspaper on Sept. 26, 1988, in the Financial section, on page F30 -- about as deep into the paper as you can go without hitting the bedrock of the classified ads. McLean won a $1,005,048 contract from the Air Force to supply a defense data network internet protocol router." Perhaps the unmellifluous compound noun "data network internet protocol router" is one reason more of us didn't pay attention. A couple of months later, "Internet" -- still lacking the "the" before its name -- finally elbowed its way to the front page when a virus shut down thousands of computers. The story referred to "a research network called Internet," which "links as many as 50,000 computers, allowing users to send a variety of information to each other." The scientists knew that computer networks could be powerful. But how many knew that this Internet thing would change the way we communicate, publish, sell, shop, conduct research, find old friends, do homework, plan trips and on and on?

Joe Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermilab research center in Illinois, tells a story about something that happened in 1990. A Fermilab visitor, an English fellow by the name of Tim Berners-Lee, had a new trick he wanted to demonstrate to the physicists. He typed some code into a little blank box on the computer screen. Up popped a page of data.

Lykken's reaction: Eh.

He could already see someone else's data on a computer. He could have the colleague e-mail it to him and open it as a document. Why view it on a separate page on some computer network?

But of course, this unimpressive piece of software was the precursor to what is known today as the World Wide Web. "We had no idea that we were seeing not only a revolution, but a trillion-dollar idea," Lykken says.

So there it is, the purpose of this blog summed up a nice succinct title: Page F30. I spend most of my time here just writing whatever comes to mind and it comes across as a bit of a jumble of languages, space, geopolitics and whatnot, but there is one unifying theme behind it: to try to uncover and show what is hidden and/or unknown, to be the Page F30 article that reveals something that will turn out to be that much more important later on.

Of course, places like Page F30 are not just reserved for first mentions of new technology, but also things like IALs like Ido (and others of course), another creation that doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Or to state the blog's goal in another way, it is to contribute to human development as a whole. We as a whole are very good at progressing when we're given the tools to do so, and you can see this in sites like Wikipedia. Before it was created searching for information online was a process of scouring newspapers, sites, blogs, and so on. Once people were given the tools to create a whole encyclopedia by themselves, off they went, and now we have Wikipedia. The same situation occurs between countries as well. When two countries that used to conflict with each other finally come to terms, trade and interaction between the two is astounding. Remember when France and England used to be at war? I doubt that'll ever happen again. As a result of the peace between the two people are free to interact with each other, trade with each other, and do pretty much anything they want. In that same way I suspect that if other hotspots in the world are done away with (Azerbaijan-Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia's breakaway republics, etc.) we'll be able to see a lot of progress in those regions that we've never seen before.

A universal language is another area in which the whole of humanity will be able to interact with each other, and that should have the same effect. Space travel as well: once we've found a second Earth in another solar system we'll never look at space the same way again. In this way, once we've overcome a certain obstacle or have stumbled upon something completely new, we almost never go back to the way we used to be.

So it's generally this ultimate goal that I have in mind whenever I write something here.

Finally, I might later on decide to register a domain name like pagef30.com, but don't bother registering it yourself in the hopes that I'll be interested because then I'll just change it to pagef29, or pageg30, or pagee35, or .org instead of .com, or I'll change page to pagino (Ido for page), or any other combination. Any combination that evokes the back of the newspaper will suit me fine.


LPereira said...


Anonymous said...

so cooool!

LPereira said...


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