2009 in Ideas
The New York Times annual Year in Ideas section is out today. That’s always worth checking out. As their intro says:
… we have hunted eclectically, though not without discrimination, for noteworthy notions of 2009
Some of them you’ve probably noticed, like the one about adding noise makers to the new quiet hybrid and electric cars. I think this is a terrible idea, unless it’s something like this one which lets you choose between sounds like a V8, a V12, or the Enterprise from StarTrek.
I also liked the application of the Google page rank to determining the sensitivity of ecosystems to species extinction. Which reminds me that you should check out Cleve’s great explanation of the page rank algorithm.
Some other ideas I enjoyed from the NYT section include:
- The study that cows with names produce more milk than cows which don’t have names.
- The glow-in-the-dark beagle.
- Studying what type of music monkeys like best.
- Predicting divorces from yearbook pictures.
- A technique for guessing people’s social security numbers.
- The new Jane Austen mash-ups (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
So what do you think are the most notable ideas of 2009?