Re: A History of the Internet

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Joly MacFie.  DLH]

From: Joly MacFie <>
Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] A History of the Internet
Date: March 18, 2019 at 9:59:35 AM EDT

Hi Dewayne,

I am just about to livestream a much improved video of this.


A History of the Internet
Feb 5 2019

A History of the Internet

A History of the Internet
Feb 5 2019

This talk provides a history of the reasons for and the technology of the Internet. It also presents some of the reasons that the Internet has had such an impact and some of the challenges that may cause the Internet of tomorrow to be significantly less revolutionary than the Internet to date.

Scott Bradner has worked in the areas of computer programming, system management, networking, IT security, and identity management at Harvard for 50 years. He was involved in the design, operation and use of data networks at Harvard University since the early days of the ARPANET. He was involved in the design of the original Harvard data networks, the Longwood Medical Area network (LMAnet) and New England Academic and Research Network (NEARnet).  He was founding chair of the technical committees of LMAnet, NEARnet and the Corporation for Research and Enterprise Network (CoREN).

Mr. Bradner served in a number of roles in the IETF. He was the co-director of the Operational  Requirements Area (1993-1997), IPng Area (1993-1996), Transport Area (1997-2003) and Sub-IP  Area (2001-2003). He was a member of the IESG (1993-2003) and was an elected trustee of the Internet Society (1993-1999), where he was the VP for Standards from 1995 to 2003 and Secretary to the Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2016. Scott was also a member of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) as well as a trustee of the IETF Trust from 2012 to 2016.

Mr. Bradner retired from Harvard University in 2016 after 50 years working in the areas of in computer programming, system management, networking, IT security and identity management. He continues to do some patent related consulting.

Video: 58:13 min

Is Computer Code a Foreign Language?

Is Computer Code a Foreign Language?
No. And high schools shouldn’t treat it that way.
By William Egginton
Mar 17 2019

Maryland’s legislature is considering a bill to allow computer coding courses to fulfill the foreign language graduation requirement for high school. A similar bill passed the Florida State Senate in 2017 (but was ultimately rejected by the full Legislature), and a federal version proposed by Senators Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, and Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, is being considered in Congress.

The animating idea behind these bills is that computer coding has become a valuable skill. This is certainly true. But the proposal that foreign language learning can be replaced by computer coding knowledge is misguided: It stems from a widely held but mistaken belief that science and technology education should take precedenceover subjects like English, history and foreign languages.

As a professor of languages and literatures, I am naturally skeptical of such a position. I fervently believe that foreign language learning is essential for children’s development into informed and productive citizens of the world. But even more urgent is my alarm at the growing tendency to accept and even foster the decline of the sort of interpersonal human contact that learning languages both requires and cultivates.

Language is an essential — perhaps the essential — marker of our species. We learn in and through natural languages; we develop our most fundamental cognitive skills by speaking and hearing languages; and we ultimately assume our identities as human beings and members of communities by exercising those languages. Our profound and impressive ability to create complex tools with which to manipulate our environments is secondary to our ability to conceptualize and communicate about those environments in natural languages.

The difference between natural and computer languages is not merely one of degree, with natural languages’ involving vocabularies that are several orders of magnitude larger than those of computer languages. Natural languages aren’t just more complex versions of the algorithms with which we teach machines to do tasks; they are also the living embodiments of our essence as social animals. We express our love and our losses, explore beauty, justice and the meaning of our existence, and even come to know ourselves all though natural languages.

The irony is that few people appreciate the uniqueness of human language more than coders working in artificial intelligence, who wrestle with the difficulty of replicating our cognitive abilities. The computer scientist Alan Turing noted that the question of whether a machine can think is incredibly difficult to determine, not least because of the lack of a clear definition of “thinking”; he proposed investigating instead the more tractable question of whether a machine can convince a human interlocutor that it’s human — the so-called Turing test.

One of the important lessons of Turing’s test is the reminder that in our interactions with other people, we are fundamentally limited in how much we can know about another’s thoughts and feelings, and that this limitation and the desire to transcend it is essential to our humanity. In other words, for us humans, communication is about much more than getting information or following instructions; it’s about learning who we are by interacting with others.

The interpersonal essence of language learning extends to learning as a whole. We know that small-group, in-person instruction is more effective than traditional lectures. We ask questions, are asked in return, and we learn more, learn faster and retain more when we care about the people we are interacting with. It’s no accident that despite the initial enthusiasm generated by MOOCs, or massive online open courses, they have in fact been a major disappointment, with completion rates as low as 5 percent. By comparison, online courses with smaller groups of students and direct feedback from the professor show completion rates as high as 85 percent.


Nazis in our classes: The 50-year-old lesson about fascism still terrifying us today

Nazis in our classes: The 50-year-old lesson about fascism still terrifying us today
In 1967, a teacher from Palo Alto radicalised his students into a fascist party in five days. Here’s what he taught humanity that week.
By James Rush
Dec 10 2018

‘Why did the German people let the holocaust happen?’. This question is one often asked of history teachers by their inquisitive students. It’s a valid question and doesn’t have a simple soundbite answer. The reasons sit deep in the complexity of human psychology.

For Ron Jones, the answer was to show his students and not tell them. It was 1967 at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto California. Jones was a popular teacher, a recent Stanford graduate who ran engaging classes.

His students would frequently skip other classes to come and sit on his fun and imaginative lectures.

What transpired in this Californian classroom would resonate around the world. Jones would teach all his students and the rest of the world a very important lesson about fascism. It would later be called ‘The Third Wave’ experiment. Jones was clear, history can repeat itself, but sometimes it does under controlled conditions.

This is exactly what happened across one week in April 1967.

The ‘Third Wave’ Experiment

Monday — Jones establishes his authority

Jones’ bubbly persona gave way to something a little more stern on Monday morning. He ordered the students to call him ‘Mr. Jones’. He followed this with a strong lecture about the benefits of discipline. The class was drilled in how to sit and stand to attention. According to Jones, his idea was simple. He was giving the children first-hand experience of what it was like to operate under a totalitarian regime.

This was where he’d imagined the experiment would end. He was wrong.

Tuesday — Slogans and salutes

The following day the students were back in their seats, sat at attention, alert and ready. Jones did a double take upon arrival, ever the improviser he then wrote ‘Strength Through Discipline’ on the board. He followed this with “Strength through Community’. The movement was underway. These phrases would go on to the group slogan and chants.

Those in the Contemporary History class faced a decision. He told them if they participated in his movement they would receive an A grade. If they went along with the movement but didn’t fully take part that they would get a C grade. If they tried to revolt he would send them to the library for the duration of the class and they would fail with an F.

Jones invented a salute, a cupped hand moving across the chest to the opposite shoulder. This salute was compulsory. It was to be given to party members both inside and outside of the classroom. The movement was also given a name. ’The Third Wave’. Silence fell as the bell rang for the end of lesson and Jones saluted the class.

Chillingly reminiscent of the Nuremberg rally, the class saluted back in perfect unison.

Wednesday — The establishment of the secret police

The group of thirty had expanded to forty-three by Wednesday. Students from other classes had heard about ‘The Third Wave’ and were keen to get involved. Jones issued membership cards, appointed some select students to be his elite bodyguard. Members of the Third Wave got instructions on how to recruit new members.

Mr. Jones then instructed the students to put their heads down on the desk and close their eyes. He tapped three of them on the shoulder. These three students then became ‘secret policemen’, duty bound to report any deviation from the rules to Jones. Students were banned from congregating in groups of more than three.

The secret police would inform Jones of any transgressions and a show trial would follow. The accused stood at the front of the class, Jones would read the charges and presume guilt. He would ask the accused to explain themselves before starting a ‘guilty’ chant. Being found guilty meant ostracism from the group and Jones began to suggest that it might mean expulsion from the college itself. Fear ran amok.


A Future Without Fossil Fuels?

[Note:  This item comes from friend Jock Gill.  DLH]

A Future Without Fossil Fuels?
By Bill McKibben
Apr 4 2019 Issue

“Kingsmill Bond” certainly sounds like a proper name for a City of London financial analyst. He looks the part, too: gray hair expertly trimmed, well-cut suit. He’s lived in Moscow and Hong Kong and worked for Deutsche Bank, the Russian financial firm Troika Dialog, and Citibank. He’s currently “new energy strategist” for a small British think tank called Carbon Tracker, and last fall he published a short paper called “2020 Vision: Why You Should See the Fossil Fuel Peak Coming.” It asks an interesting question: At what point does a new technology cause an existing industry to start losing significant value?

This may turn out to be the most important economic and political question of the first half of this century, and the answer might tell us much about our chances of getting through the climate crisis without completely destroying the planet. Based on earlier technological transitions—horses to cars, sails to steam, land lines to cell phones—it seems possible that the fossil fuel industry may begin to weaken much sooner than you’d think. The British-Venezuelan scholar Carlota Perez has observed that over a period of twenty years, trains made redundant a four-thousand-mile network of canals and dredged rivers across the UK: “The canal builders…fought hard and even finished a couple of major canals in the 1830s, but defeat was inevitable,” as it later was for American railroads (and horses) when they were replaced by trucks and cars.

Major technological transitions often take a while. The Czech-Canadian academic Vaclav Smil has pointed out that although James Watt developed the coal-powered steam engine in 1776, coal supplied less than 5 percent of the planet’s energy until 1840, and it didn’t reach 50 percent until 1900. But the economic effect of those transitions can happen much earlier, Bond writes, as soon as it becomes clear to investors that a new technology is accounting for all the growth in a particular sector.

Over the last decade, there has been a staggering fall in the price of solar and wind power, and of the lithium-ion batteries used to store energy. This has led to rapid expansion of these technologies, even though they are still used much less than fossil fuels: in 2017, for instance, sun and wind produced just 6 percent of the world’s electric supply, but they made up 45 percent of the growth in supply, and the cost of sun and wind power continues to fall by about 20 percent with each doubling of capacity. Bond’s analysis suggests that in the next few years, they will represent all the growth. We will then reach peak use of fossil fuels, not because we’re running out of them but because renewables will have become so cheap that anyone needing a new energy supply will likely turn to solar or wind power.

Bond writes that in the 2020s—probably the early 2020s—the demand for fossil fuels will stop growing. The turning point in such transitions “is typically the moment when the impact is felt in financial markets”—when stock prices tumble and never recover. Who is going to invest in an industry that is clearly destined to shrink? Though we’ll still be using lots of oil, its price should fall if it has to compete with the price of sunshine. Hence the huge investments in pipelines and tankers and undersea exploration will be increasingly unrecoverable. Precisely how long it will take is impossible to predict, but the outcome seems clear.

This transition is already obvious in the coal markets. To understand, for example, why Peabody, the world’s largest private-sector coal-mining company, went from being on Fortune’s list of most admired companies in 2008 to bankrupt in 2016, consider its difficulties in expanding its market. India, until very recently, was expected to provide much of the growth for coal. As late as 2015, its coal use was expected to triple by 2030; the country was resisting global efforts like the Paris Accords to rein in its carbon emissions. But the price of renewable energy began to fall precipitously, and because India suffered from dire air pollution but has inexhaustible supplies of sunlight, its use of solar power started to increase dramatically.

“In 2017, the price in India of wind and solar power dropped 50 percent to $35–40 a megawatt hour,” said Tim Buckley, who analyzes Australasia/South Asia for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “Fifty percent in one year. And a zero inflation indexation for the next twenty-five years. Just amazing.” This price drop occurred not because India subsidizes renewable energy (it doesn’t), but because engineers did such a good job of making solar panels more efficient. The cost of power from a newly built coal plant using Indian coal is, by comparison, about $60 a megawatt hour. If you have to import the coal, the price of power is $70/megawatt hour. And solar’s $40/megawatt hour price is guaranteed not to rise over the thirty-year life of the contract the suppliers sign—their bids are based on building and then running a facility for the life of the contract. No wonder that over the first nine months of 2018, India installed forty times more capacity for renewable than for coal-fired power.

Much the same is happening around the world. President Trump has spared no effort to help the coal industry, but more coal-fired power plants shut down during the first two years of his presidency than during President Obama’s entire first term. American coal consumption fell 4 percent in 2018. In 2017 Kentucky’s coal-mining museum installed solar panels on its roof in order to save $10,000 a year on electric costs.

And it’s not just coal that’s on the way out. Natural gas was supposed to be the planet’s next big fuel source, since it produces less carbon than coal (although its production releases great clouds of methane, another potent greenhouse gas). While fracking has produced high volumes of natural gas—especially in the US, where it was pioneered—wells tend to dry out quickly, and despite enormous investment, the International Energy Agency estimates that between 2010 and 2014 the shale industry operated with negative cash flows of more than $200 billion.


Auto Industry Disruption Is Here With Shakeup Starting in Geneva

[Note:  This item comes from friend Jock Gill.  DLH]

Auto Industry Disruption Is Here With Shakeup Starting in Geneva
By Elisabeth Behrmann, Oliver Sachgau, and Christoph Rauwald
Mar 7 2019

Anyone paying attention knows change is looming for global automakers grappling with new technologies, stricter emissions standards and apps that have turned car buyers into renters or just riders.

While the shift sweeping the industry has so far been abstract, the veil started to come off this week at the Geneva car show. Discussions among executives was dominated by collaboration and consolidation rather than new models. In the markets, the fallout is claiming a growing cast of victims.

Profit warnings, missed targets and falling stock prices at parts suppliers like Schaeffler AG and ElringKlinger AG — mainstays of the industry — show the depth of the rumbling underfoot. Paired with the news that luxury segment archrivals BMW AG and Daimler AG are teaming up on autonomous driving, and Volkswagen AG is allowing a startup to share the electric-car technology it wants to make a global standard, the industry’s new contours are taking shape.

“We are entering a period where chaos is going to make competition extremely selective,” PSA Group Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares said in Geneva. “This perhaps changes the way our companies are operating and it could also raise opportunities for deals eventually.”

Peugeot, Fiat

At Geneva, traditionally a showcase for cars with flair and that extra bit of luxury, it was business as usual in some parts. Volkswagen AG’s Bugatti brand unveiled the most expensive car ever and Alfa Romeo showed off a sport utility vehicle concept. But the posh offerings were quickly overshadowed by talk of wholesale industrial restructuring.

fter Bloomberg News reported on Monday that PSA, which owns Peugeot, Citroen and Opel, is seeking a merger or collaboration to add scale, Mike Manley — CEO of one potential target high on the list, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NA — gave a surprisingly transparent response.

“If there’s an opportunity for partnership, for an alliance, for a merger that could make us stronger, I will clearly look into it,” Manley told reporters.

Tavares too endorsed the idea, confirming that he’s open to deals, “this one or another one.” Besides Fiat, Tavares has also discussed with advisers on General Motors Co. and Tata Motor Ltd.’s troubled Jaguar Land Rover, people familiar with the matter have said.

Low industry valuations show investors want more changes with spending at a record, profits falling and new competitors vying to jump onto the autos bandwagon. Consolidation, while no silver bullet, would help eliminate the duplicate outlays on everything from expensive software ventures to battery technology.


Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.

[Note:  This item comes from friend David Rosenthal. This article is from 2017.  DLH]

Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.
Jan 18 2017
By Gregor Aisch, Larry Buchanan, Amanda Cox and Kevin Quealy

Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records.

At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.

38 colleges had more students from the top 1 percent than the bottom 60 percent

Add your favorite colleges to the tables in this article:

Roughly one in four of the richest students attend an elite college – universities that typically cluster toward the top of annual rankings (you can find more on our definition of “elite” at the bottom).

In contrast, less than one-half of 1 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college; less than half attend any college at all.

Where today’s 25-year-olds went to college, grouped by their parents’ income

About four in 10 students from the top 0.1 percent attend an Ivy League or elite university, roughly equivalent to the share of students from poor families who attend any two- or four-year college.

Colleges often promote their role in helping poorer students rise in life, and their commitments to affordability. But some elite colleges have focused more on being affordable to low-income families than on expanding access. “Free tuition only helps if you can get in,” said Danny Yagan, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the authors of the study.

The study – by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner and Mr. Yagan – provides the most comprehensive look at how well or how poorly colleges have built an economically diverse student body. The researchers tracked about 30 million students born between 1980 and 1991, linking anonymized tax returns to attendance records from nearly every college in the country.

We’re offering detailed information on each of more than 2,000 American colleges on separate pages. See how your college compares – by clicking any college name like Harvard, U.C.L.A., Penn State, Texas A&M or Northern Virginia Community College – or search for schools that interest you.

At elite colleges, the share of students from the bottom 40 percent has remained mostly flat for a decade. Access to top colleges has not changed much, at least when measured in quintiles. (The poor have gotten poorer over that time, and the very rich have gotten richer.)