You may recall that Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information”. So if you’ve been seeing the Birthdays of people you hardly know appearing UFO-like in your Google Calendar lately, never fear — this is just Mountain View doing its thang organizing your stuff.
Specifically, this bit of Googly info-admin boils down to its algorithms harvesting the birth dates of all of your Google contacts (which means anyone you might email regularly) and any Google+ users you added to the circles of your (in all likelihood Google-enforced) Google+ profile, and then inserting those dates into your calendar so you don’t have to.
Q: how useful is it to have the birthdays of people whose birthdays you don’t at all need to have in your calendar mixed in with the birthdays of people you do need in your calendar, cluttering up the place where you record other stuff you do really need to know?
A: not useful at all!
Like most business owners and managers, you are likely inundated with oceans of data on a daily basis, yet not much of it helps you make decisions that improve results.The problem we all face is having too much data because we know that’s a good thing, yet very little of it enables effective decisions. Often, the data isn’t going to help you. Either it’s not the right kind of data or it isn’t compiled and analyzed properly.In other words, it isn’t Information — it’s just data. You need information for decision making.
For infographics and design nerds, there are few books as useful as Data Flow, a compendium of data visualization experiments ranging from the poetic to the absurd to the wonky.
We are at, arguably, the zenith of the human experience. On every front of art or science, both practical and theoretical knowledge built on thousands of years of human observation has accumulated into massive amounts of information stored electronically, magnetically or optically. Unlike the ancients who preserved their most valuable observations in stone, stable for thousands of years, or in books, which last hundreds, our information is stored in technology such as hard disk drives, compact disks or magnetic tape with typical lives of around 10, 15 and twenty years. In the event of a breakdown in society or technology, this information would be lost to future generations. The Rosetta Project is an attempt to develop storage that will last thousands of years while being compact.
Our first prototype of a very long-term archive is The Rosetta Disk – a three inch diameter nickel disk with nearly 14,000 pages of information microscopically etched onto its surface. Since each page is an image, rather than a digital encoding of 1’s and 0’s, it can be read by the human eye using 500 power optical magnification. The disk rests in a sphere made of stainless steel and glass which allows the disk exposure to the atmosphere, but protects it from casual impact and abrasion. With minimal care, it could easily last and be legible for thousands of years.
Learn About The Rosetta Project.