That was the time, in the prehistory of about 1995, when our ideas of “search” still carried the sense of the word’s Latin roots – a search was a kind of “arduous quest” that invariably involved “wandering” and “seeking” and “traversing”. Not any longer. For those who are growing up to search in this millennium, it implies nothing more taxing than typing two words into a box – or, increasingly, mumbling them into a phone – and waiting less than an instant for a comprehensive answer, generally involving texts and images and films and books and maps. Search’s sense of questing purpose has already gone the way of other pre-Google concepts, such as “getting lost”.
Why is Facebook such a repeatedly bad actor in its relationship to its users, constantly testing and probing for ways to quietly or secretly breach the privacy constraints that most of its users expect and demand, strategems to invade their carefully maintained social networks? Because it has to. That’s Facebook’s version of the Red Queen’s race, its bargain with investment capital. Facebook will keep coming back and back again with various schemes and interface trickery because if it stops, it will be the LiveJournal or BBS of 2020, a trivia answer and nostalgic memory.
Asteroids aren’t just for dodging anymore. Less than a year after a company called Planetary Resources announced plans to survey, then mine, asteroids, a second company has set out its plans to turn orbiting piles of cosmic rubble into rocket fuel, solar panels, and trusses for spacecraft hundreds to thousands of miles above Earth. Suddenly asteroid mining has the potential of becoming a competitive field.