Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Another year bids us goodbye as we zoom in to 2013. 

While the world continues to stay mired in war, politics, religious fanaticism - the world of technology and science continues to push its frontier ensuring that progress will indeed be made. If 2011 was the year that made  smartphones, tablets and social media a global phenomenon, the biggest stories in 2012 were really about the basic sciences. 

In fact, the most memorable scientific milestones of 2012 happened in space, far away from our home, in Mars, where NASA's 2-ton rover Curiosity flawlessly landed on Mars and became our explorer extraordinaire in the red planet. Videos available in YouTube show how technologically challenging and awesome a feat it was. I wish the popular media spent as much time on it as the dog-fight between Apple and Samsung.

 I will also remember 2012 as the year of yet another feat that combined science with man's indomitable spirit of adventure, when FelixBaumgartner jumped off the edge of the space, from 127,000 feet of altitude breaking both sound barrier and few  world records and providing vital information for NASA's space research. In some sense, this was the mother of all reality-TVs, where precise calculations, space science, preparation, and sheer human grit all came together.

And on October 10, a privately built robotic cargo capsule aboard the unmanned Dragon spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station to make the first-ever commercial cargo delivery to the orbiting lab 250 miles high up in the space. Even if it is only a small transition from public to commercial enterprise, the event symbolically takes space exploration to a new frontier.

To me,  iPad Mini, Windows phone, launch of Lytro camera were all good news, but I am glad that fundamental scientific progress continues to happen to build foundation for even greater future technology.

We can't wrap up 2013 without the recent visibility of the science of probability and uncertainty - as personified by NateSilver during the last US presidential election.  Silver’s prediction model — based on a weighting of the public polls available in each swing state — continued to suggest that the incumbent was a strong favorite. Silver achieved a rock star status and in the process made 2012 a memorable year for statisticians, data geeks, number-crunchers, and  political junkies. 

Looking forward to more progress and technology wonders in 2013 !