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  • Cool Retrotech

    Posted by David Foster on April 19th, 2015 (All posts by )

    Here’s a video and a short writeup about Weizac,  the first electronic computer built in Israel.  Einstein was initially dubious about the project, wondering how a tiny country like Israel could possibly keep such a powerful machine busy.

    The article mentions that the co-leader of the project was Jerry Estrin.  His daughter, Judy Estrin, is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who among other things co-founded Bridge Communications and has served as CTO of Cisco.  Her 2008 book,  Closing the Innovation Gap, is on my reading list.


    8 Responses to “Cool Retrotech”

    1. Mike K Says:

      “Einstein was initially dubious about the project, wondering how a tiny country like Israel could possibly keep such a powerful machine busy.”

      I see a lot about anti-Semitism these days but nobody seems to mention (That I see) how much this is stimulated by the fact that Jews have an IQ distribution with a long tail to the right.

      I have read Paul Johnson’s “History of the Jews” and he seems to think that they lived by their wits for so long that natural selection worked. I just don’t know if that is it but there is sure a lot of resentment of success which seems to me to be largely the result of innate intelligence. Others have referred to commercial skills, often in derogatory ways. I don’t think that’s it. Personally, I think the Mormons have it all over Jews in commercial skills, but I am kidding, mostly.

      It does not seem to occur to Obama, who I believe has a very ordinary level of intelligence, that Israel is a positive ally with much to contribute. Muslims, I’m sorry to say, seem to have a long left tail on the IQ curve although maybe the religion causes atrophy of some unused parts of the brain.

    2. Mike K Says:

      An interesting comment in the reviews of Estrin’s book.

      The book can give a reader the view that Estrin believes that we should suborned society’s needs to the scientific community, their interests and pursuits as they are more important and above the rest of society. They should play by different rules, be less accountable for their actions and the resources allocated to them in the belief that they will do the right thing.

      Everything seems to be colored for me by Fred Siegel’s book that I just finished. He writes a lot about the “top and bottom” coalition assembled by the Democrats. Billionaires think they should be able to determine everyone else’s future by virtue of their business success. Mike Bloomberg comes to mind.

      I read Simon Ramo’s book some time ago.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Mike…”Billionaires think they should be able to determine everyone else’s future by virtue of their business success. Mike Bloomberg comes to mind.”

      Probably true to a considerable extent of people who are successful in *any* field…there are a lot of academics who are far from billionaires, but believe their professorship in whatever gives them exceptional insight into how the world should be run.

      OTOH, sometimes it is people who are *not* successful who are particularly strident in the assertion of their beliefs.

    4. Mike K Says:

      “believe their professorship in whatever gives them exceptional insight ”

      Oh, very true but the billionaires have more power and are funding much of this nonsense. Tom Steyer, for example.

      There is a great quote in Siegel’s book. He is writing about a group called, Democracy Alliance which is a leftist organization that was run for a while by Steven Gluckstern a radical hedge fund guy. He was succeeded by Judy Wade a former McKinsey partner.

      She quipped to a roomful of Alliance partners, “You know what they say about the difference between a terrorist and a billionaire ?” You can negotiate with a terrorist.” The joke was not well received and she, too, was deposed.

      He also refers to Moynihan and the “Manhattan liberals” who trashed him after his paper on the “black family.”

      The academy is gone and has been for many years. Many people still think the GOP is the party of the rich. That changed slowly but Obama has made huge inroads with rent seeking rich people since 2008.

    5. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Here’s some cool retrotech: Vintage Corvettes – Jay Leno’s Garage

    6. Mike K Says:

      The 1953 Corvette was neat and my college roommate had one. He accidentally ran into the garage wall one time and it was a real chore to do body work on those fiberglass cars.

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I used to work in area called Hunt Valley, a large industrial park – developed in the 1960’s by McCormick Shilling, believe it or not – which was located in a fairly wealthy area. Lot’s of folks in and around that area raising horses on large tracts of expensive acreage in the green foothills of the Appalachian Piedmont. Gorgeous landscape. A bit like Loudoun County Virginia if you’ve been there. I used to see one of the early 50’s Corvette convertibles, fully restored with a white body and red interior, cruising the roads up there. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it every time I saw it. I think the late 50’s to early 60’s ‘vettes are spectacularly beautiful cars.

      Beautiful Hunt Valley:

    8. Grurray Says:

      That ’63 Stingray was one of the best Corvette incarnations. That back end was such a beautiful and radical departure and a clear demarcation between the past and the future. The whole world was changing and the Corvette reflected it.