First - I'm putting on some tunes. A pretty decent cover of one of my favorites from The Meters
Second - It would indeed appear that I've managed to inadvertently delete all the graphic content off the blog. Managed to do that while exploring all my automatically linked accounts on my Google+ page. Eek. My apologies! I do still have the raw images, suppose at some point I could go back through and reconnect all the graphics. May take time.
Third - Special congrats to Rachel, about to ship out and get her MSc in the UK and then on to F1.
Fourth - Recently I got to follower #100 here. That is pretty damn awesome. That one hundred people, internationally, have had some level of entertainment or interest out of this astounds me. I sincerely appreciate all the comments and questions along the way.
This made me think a bit about living in a crucial part of the explosion of the Information Age, which Wikipedia (good enough) describes as:
...an idea that the current age will be characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer information freely, and to have instant access to knowledge that would have been difficult or impossible to find previously.
"Freely" and "instant" are a bit relative - I can't purchase and download an album quite in the snap of my fingers, but relative to a 28.8kbps line I had in high school it's pretty damn fast. The theme is there - characterizing an age by the rapid breakdown of agents limiting free communication and information exchange. It does amaze me that on a given night I could be blogging about mechanical design, reading what's on Mike Tyson's mind (which I honestly follow frequently - some of it is quite good), or not long ago hearing and reading messages left by protesters in Egypt.
Taking a step back, have we not been pushing for free and rapid communication for thousands of years? Written and verbal communication, couriers, general telegraphy, radio and television, the internet, and now the explosion of mobile communication via wireless broadband and smart phones. Seemingly then this has been a social "stress" (impetus and catalyst of change) for some time.
Furthermore, generally when I think of an environmental stress I'd imagine it as some exponential decay curve, tapering off to reach the desired equilibrium condition. In our case we seem to be in an increasing growth! Fifteen years ago it was a big deal if I called someone outside of my area code or had more than a few floppy disks worth of stuff worth having in digital format. Now, I think nothing of having a high resolution video chat across and ocean, carrying 16 GB of information in my hand, or 1TB in my pocket. As much as we expand our capabilities, we immediately fill them and push out further.
By the way, think about it - going from 1MB to 1TB is an outrageous jump in scale! In any other measure of a thing, that growth rate of 1,000,000x is almost impossible to fathom. We take for granted this growth of many orders of magnitude, when as followers of this blog likely know, a gain of a few tenths of a second (say on the order of one percent) in racing is enormous.
As an aside, if you want to find some interesting images, do a Google search for 'internet map' or something similar. Some of the results look almost cosmic. Interesting to think about what lives on each individual dendrite - be it a vehicle dynamics blog, a Nigerian bank scheme, a love letter, or a video of a crackhead chasing a laser like a cat.
In any event, thank you for following along over the past several years!