What follows are the Mims’s Bits stories from 2011 that received the most comments, attention, retweets, etc. Popularity is no measure of quality, but maybe it’s a window on the zeitgeist. And frankly, the best part about the pieces that follow are the discussions that followed in the comments.
Could Abraham Lincoln have become president of the United States in a world in which poor children lack access to physical books?
What problem, what opportunity in any way resembles the earliest era of the PC? There’s only one: energy.
When I first wrote about Occupy Wall Street, it was just a gleam in the eye of the culture jammers at AdBusters. Who could have predicted what would follow?
It’s easy to imagine that our whiz-bang gadgets have made us more productive than ever. But what if that’s simply not the case?
On the Web, you can’t die so much as join the ranks of the undead.
Our existing information technology infrastructure is surprisingly robust, at least for now. But what’s left if something really big happens?
People who put incoming e-mails in folders are no better at finding them than those who simply use search.
Humans have enormous capacity for spatial memory. Why don’t our user interfaces take advantage of that?
We’ve failed to transition to new technologies, and we’ve exhausted available Internet addresses.
If you’re old enough to remember a time before the Internet, be prepared to reconsider your state’s prohibition on the right to die.
If tablets are PCs and phones have the same specs as tablets, how is Apple not the leading PC manufacturer in the world?
The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere
The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.
Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal
The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it
Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.
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