Breakthrough of the Year

From Slashdot: “Last year, evolution was the breakthrough of the year; We found it full of new developments in understanding how new species originate. But we did get a complaint or two that perhaps we were just paying extra attention to the lively political/religious debate that was taking place over the issue, particularly in the United States. Perish the thought! Our readers can relax this year: Religion and politics are off the table, and n-dimensional geometry is on instead. This year’s Breakthrough salutes the work of a lone, publicity-shy Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman, who was at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences until 2005. The work is very technical but has received unusual public attention because Perelman appears to have proven the Poincar Conjecture, a problem in topology whose solution will earn a $1 million prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute.”

3-D Map of the Globe

SPIEGEL ONLINE writes: “Google and Microsoft are racing to provide computer users with a virtual world tour. Who will be the first to offer its readers a 3-D map of the globe?”

Gates and Google founders Sergej Brin and Larry Page know perfectly well that their digital maps represent the key to a future market potentially worth billions. The 3D Web, as Internet experts call it, could be a platform for new forms of advertising, social networking and online trading. Google Earth and Virtual Earth are like “a seed being sown,” according to Internet analyst Greg Sterling, who adds that he has “no idea” today what exactly will grow from that seed.

Amazon’s Best of 2006 List

Here. Among them:

# Books: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
# Music: Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks
# DVD: Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition)
# Software: World of Warcraft
# Electronics: Apple iPods (various)