I will always associate Ray Kurzweil with Speech Recognition due to the fact that his Autograph appeared on my paychecks when I spent a short time with Lernout&Hauspie (L&H)in the late '90s leading up to the dot-bomb explosion.
L&H was a publicly traded company whose software patents were instrumental in the voice-to-text speech patterns developments. Although these two gents were from Belgium (I believe), this company, L&H, had been based in Massachusetts at the time, yet subsequently ran into financial troubles like so many other tech cos of the day. I'd have liked to have saved my paycheck just because of Ray Kurzweil's signature on it, yet the small compensation was best put to use in the bank.
The fact that Mr. Kurzweil helped bring this software to the consumer markets, and made it more widely known, and competed with Dragon's Naturally Speaking as well as later IBM's Via Voice, was certainly helpful in making it known to all that this was a for-real product that had proven potential, and whose demand, and development to its expertise today, would definitely pay off. He was still a risk-taker then, and that's still a good thing today.
Perhaps Mr Kurzweil just doesn't think in a vertically-oriented way ? (See for example the book "A Perfect Mess- the Hidden Benefits of Disorder").
I believe it's fairly well established now that some folks spread stuff out horizontally, and some stack it vertically in a manner that suits their way of thinking/mental indexing. This, of course, drives absolutely crazy those people obsessed with lining things up in an orderly way and creating clean-desk policies... :-)
I don't know why Ray Kurzweil is often associate with Speech Recognition, since he has very little to do with it. Yes, it's true he started a company in the 1980s developing a speech recognition product, like many others did at that time. However, most likely, he did not use the leading technology (statistical methods), which was already well known a that time (thanks to think-tank places such as IBM research and AT&T Bell Laboratories), and it was rapidly forgotten. Sure, he wrote interesting books, but in my opinion he did not contributed to the technology, like many other (less famous) scientists did in the 60+ years of the history of computers and speech, as I describe in "The Voice in the Machine" http://www.amazon.com/The-Voice-Machine-Computers-Understand/dp/0262016850/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339455670&sr=8-1-spell. Associating Ray Kurzweil to the speech recognition technology is a little bit like associating Al Gore to the invention of Internet... I can't comment on the horizontally placed books.
I did it for two reasons; 1. Ran out of shelf area and realized I should think of it as volume, rather than area. 2. Some instrument companies like SRS think their manuals need to be letter size paper in ring binders that are taller than the distance between my shelves. No idea why Kurzweil did it. Because he can? Thank goodness for the Internet and PDFs.
I usually do the same, specially for which have hardcovers which are bigger than the book's pages. The reasons?
- If you put the books standing, with the pass of time, the pages will bind (specially for heavy books), putting an unnecessary stress on the area where they are adhered together and to the book covers.
- With the pass of time, dust gathers over the top part of the book, making it look very nasty and ugly.
These two situations you can avoid if you just stack your books laying.
OK, this does not require serious forensics folks other than to still-frame the Kurzweil image and look.
It doesn't look like Mr. Kurzweil's shelves are adjustable. (He probably can afford something better than Ikea.) Most carpenter dudes are going to place those shelves on 12" centers. 1" inch dimensional lumber is 3/4" thick leaving 11-1/4" for bound printed material. Could be that dimensional lumber wasn't used and the shelves are 1" or 5/8" with a 1"x 2" stiffener along the front. I've lived in a house with bookcases that were on 12" centers and I can assure you it was a PITA with 50-80% of my material laying flat just like Mr. Kurzweil's.