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Mims’s Bits’s Greatest Hits for 2011

Eleven stories that enraged and enlightened
December 30, 2011

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.

Will E-Books Destroy the Democratizing Effects of Reading?

Could Abraham Lincoln have become president of the United States in a world in which poor children lack access to physical books?

Why the Next Steve Jobs Will Be in Energy, Not Computers

What problem, what opportunity in any way resembles the earliest era of the PC? There’s only one: energy.

Is September 17 America’s Own Tahrir Square-Style ‘Facebook Revolution’?

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?

Why Isn’t America Innovating Like It Used To?

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?

The Internet Is Filling Up with Dead People and There’s Nothing We Can Do About It

On the Web, you can’t die so much as join the ranks of the undead.

After an Apocalypse, What’s Left of Digital Stores of Knowledge?

Our existing information technology infrastructure is surprisingly robust, at least for now. But what’s left if something really big happens?

Stop Organizing Your E-mail, Says Study

People who put incoming e-mails in folders are no better at finding them than those who simply use search.

Are Physical Interfaces Superior to Virtual Ones?

Humans have enormous capacity for spatial memory. Why don’t our user interfaces take advantage of that?

Why the Entire Internet Is about to Become ‘Slower and Flakier’

We’ve failed to transition to new technologies, and we’ve exhausted available Internet addresses.

Social Networking Is About to Get Way More Annoying

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.

Why Apple is Already the #1 PC Manufacturer

If tablets are PCs and phones have the same specs as tablets, how is Apple not the leading PC manufacturer in the world?

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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