New Technology in a Down Economy

Even in a tough economy, people are still turning to technology and science to better the world and drive business value.

While the economy continues to beat down on us like a 10,000-pound hammer, I am still a "glass half full" kind of guy, truly amazed by the technology innovations being announced on a daily basis. What further propels my optimism is this recent finding reported in a Computing Research Association study: The number of computer science majors enrolled in the U.S. increased for the first time in SIX years! Let's hear a round of cheers that total enrollment in computer science classes is up 6.2 percent. Maybe it's early to say tech is cool again with college students, but here are a few recent press clippings that I saved. Tell me this isn't cool stuff!

  • March 19, 2009 (Computerworld): The Internet Archive organization plans to announce the opening of a new data center to house two petabytes of information for its Wayback Machine, the digital time capsule that stores archived versions of webpages dating back to 1996. The Wayback Machine archives 85 billion webpages for more than a dozen years, which amounts to about 150 times the content of the Library of Congress. Only five years ago, the Wayback Machine contained about 30 billion webpages. It is expected to continue to grow by 100TB of data per month. Click here to read full story.
  • March 17, 2009 (Ars Technica): The City of Chicago is turning to cameras in traffic lights, not just to catch speeders but also to catch the uninsured. Camera provider InsureNet claims to have developed "a simple yet complete answer that delivers totally accurate, instant insurance status verification." The Chicago Sun-Times quotes InsureNet president Jonathan Miller on what the city might expect to earn with the system in 2009. "We think at least $200 million. And the upward projections are far higher." Click here to read full story.
  • March 16, 2009 (CNN): Scientists in the U.S. are developing a laser gun that could kill millions of mosquitoes in minutes. The laser fires at mosquitoes once it detects the audio frequency created by the beating of its wings, burning them on the spot. Developed by some of the astrophysicists involved in what was known as the Star Wars antimissile programs during the Cold War, the project is meant to prevent the spread of malaria. Click here to read full story.

Whether it's Wayback Machines, insurance-tracking traffic lights or mosquito-whacking lasers, the uplifting thought here is that even in a tough economy, people are still turning to technology and science to better the world and drive business value. That's cool enough for me any day.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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