It turns out that Mars and Earth will be closer than they have been in 60,000 years, on August 27, 2003. As a result, three missions will leave Earth in the next five weeks heading to Mars.
Seeing as how this is the first time humans are launching multiple probes at this planet, I hope that if there happens to be any sentient life already on Mars, they don't get the wrong idea.
The obligatory emergence-related mention in this round-up is from this New York Times article. Talking about the Beagle II, the project's lead scientist said:
"We didn't have any money, so we had to think harder,"
said Dr. Colin T. Pillinger, the project's lead scientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, England.
Having fewer resources usually means you are forced to innovate. It also means you can avoid the trap of top-down design, which usually only works if you're solving a well-known problem. Since as far as I know, we haven't been to Mars that often, going to Mars does not qualify as a "well-known problem." That's why I'm most optimistic about these sorts of scrappy, bottom-up approaches (relatively speaking, anyway) than I am about top-down, big-budget bureaucratic approaches.
Given my personal interest in markets and efficiencies, I've always been interested in these fantasy markets. Joi exposes the number one problem I have always had with them, however: it doesn't work like a real market if the value created and exchanged in the marketplace isn't "real" value.
"Real" value has to be transferable to other goods or services. The reason we don't still (for the most part) have a barter economy is that "money" is far more efficient. I'll trade you ten dollars for your bushel of apples, and then you'll take my ten dollars and trade them for a couple of magazines. You don't care that I also want to get rid of an old sack of potatoes, and you weren't about to trade your apples for my potatoes, since you weren't sure the guy at the magazine stand even liked potatoes.
With Blogshares, or generally any fantasy market, the value created isn't transferable outside the market, and therefore isn't useful.
But Joi brings up a really good idea. Take that value and make it transferable not in terms of wealth, but in terms of influence. Interestingly, in the real world, wealth and influence are sometimes linearly correlated also. I think this is a very promising direction to explore.
However, Joi is reluctant to fully endorse this idea because as he says, "voting shares is [market] oriented, but not really 'democratic.' It's about as democratic as wallstreet [sic] and the millionaires would control the blogs."
At the risk of evoking the response of "yeah, you would say that," I'll respond to Joi's concern by saying, "Yes, that's the way it's supposed to work."
There are an increasing number of applications for complexity science approaches. Modeling the swarming behavior of ants or bees, for instance, yields interesting results for the possible future of UAVs (unmanned airborne vehicles).
Icosystem, a Cambridge, MA, based firm, specializes in the application of agent-based modeling to business.