18 September 2017
passed away at age 85. He was the Institute's iconic leader during my undergrad days, himself an alumnus and an exemplar of actual MIT Values. I got to know him much more through our Technology Breakfast entrepreneurship events, his work with MIT Planning Director Emeritus Bob Simha on Kendall Square residences for university affiliates, and his dozen-plus guest appearances in our Understanding MIT seminar.
29 August 2017
I'm excited to be co-teaching a handful of class offerings at MIT this Fall 2017! Please spread the word to those who you think might find any or all of these compelling! All motivated students are urged to attend the First Class session. Details below and at the class sites...
- Development Ventures ~ Thu 10a-12n E14-633 ~ 15.375/EC.731/MAS.665 ~ http://developmentventures.org ~ Towards the entrepreneurial deployment of emerging market innovations solving problems faced by at least a Billion people worldwide in developing countries and underserved communities. First Class: Thu 9/7
- Revolutionary Ventures ~ Thu 2-4p E15-341 ~ 9.455/15.128/20.454/MAS.883 ~ http://revolutionaryventures.org ~ Exploring personal entrepreneurial strategies and envisioning and building transformative ideas and organizations to initiate and/or accelerate bold engineering revolutions. Email email@example.com ASAP if interested. First Class: Thu 9/7
- Future Law (H1) ~ Tue 1-2:30p E14-633 ~ MAS.s71 ~ http://mitfuturelaw.org ~ New Media & AI disrupts Legal Services plus New Laws for Emerging Technologies, e.g. spectrum, space, autonomous driving, etc. First Class: Tue 9/12 (First Half Semester offering)
- Future Commerce (H2) ~ Tue 1-2:30p E14-633 ~ MAS.s72 ~ http://mitfuturecommerce.org ~ New Media including Mobiles, Crypto, AI, Blockchain meets Markets & Finance, Transactions & Security. First Class: Tue 10/31 (Second Half Semester offering)
- Understanding MIT ~ Tue 4-6p 9-450A ~ 11.s941 ~ http://understandingmit.org ~ Special seminar on the challenges of designing and building research universities and crafting conditions for a supportive, vibrant, and entrepreneurial learning community. First Class: Tue 9/12
- Independent Studies & UROPs ~ On Invention, Entrepreneurship, VCPE, etc
26 August 2017
Glenn Hodges writing in National Geographic spotlights a paradigm shift in Geology, the discovery by former school teacher Harley Bretz of the cataclysmic flooding which created the channeled scablands of Washington in northwest USA...
"Bretz’s research was thorough [when he first presented it in 1927], and his map of the channeled scablands was so accurate that it’s a virtual tracing of modern-day satellite images, creating the immediate impression of channeled floodwaters. But his audience [at a DC geologists conclave] -- none of whom had visited, much less studied, the scablands -- was having none of it. Bretz’s hypothesis was not just “wholly inadequate,” in the words of one critic, but “preposterous” and “incompetent."
"For some of Bretz’s most stubborn critics, even eyewitness experience wasn’t enough. Bretz’s arch-adversary, Richard Foster Flint, a Yale geologist who remained a premier authority in the field until the 1970s, spent years studying the scablands and resisted Bretz’s theory until he was virtually the only one left who did. He finally acknowledged the scablands flooding (grudgingly, with a single sentence in a textbook in 1971), but as philosopher Thomas Kuhn observed, new scientific truths often win the day not so much because opponents change their minds, but because they die off."Finally, here's a computer simulation of how it might have happened...
20 August 2017
The Atlantic spotlights What Would the Solar Eclipse Look Like From the Moon?
"In 1989, [artist Pat] Rawlings was working on illustrations for a collection of children’s science books by the science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Using acrylics, he painted a view of a solar eclipse as seen from the moon, and named it after the date when the next eclipse would cross over the continental United States: August 21, 2017. This week, Rawlings tweeted a photo of the painting, which is at the top of this story. “I actually thought 28 years in the future tourists might watch the eclipse from the Moon,” he wrote. “Sigh.”P.S. Here's the real thing from Mon 8/21/2017...
"Scientists at UW–Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) observed the eclipse through the eye of one of the world’s most advanced weather satellites, GOES-16. The eclipse images from the satellite were taken at a rate of one every five minutes. Stitched together, the images show the shadow of the moon tracking west to east across the continental United States."Plus here's a previous eclipse seen in March 2016 over ASEAN + Pacific region via the Himawari-8 Spacecraft in Geostationary orbit!
19 August 2017
Inhabitat spotlights Dutch city Utrecht to have new greenbuilding complex near central train station...
"The Hawthorn Tower will, like its Milanese predecessor, be blanketed in greenery -- and it’s expected to absorb over 5.4 tons of carbon dioxide. The equivalent of one hectare of woods will be installed on the tower to create a real urban ecosystem with over 30 different vegetal species."
12 August 2017
06 August 2017
The first use of the A-Bomb as weapon of mass destruction happened today, August 6th, 1945 over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Days later, second use over Nagasaki. Hundred thousand-plus civilians slaughtered, both directly and slowly, agonizingly by the wasting effect of burns and radiation. It was atomic-powered urban armageddon. Here's remarkable footage shot soon after both blasts...
05 August 2017
reviewing Jared Rubin's Rulers, Religion and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East Did Not...
"By getting “religion out of politics”, Europe made space at the political “bargaining table” for economic interests, creating a virtuous cycle of “pro-growth” policy-making. Islamic rulers, by contrast, continued to rely on religious legitimation and economic interests were mostly excluded from politics, leading to governance that focused on the narrow interests of sultans, and the conservative religious and military elites who backed them."
01 August 2017
Thanks to gCaptain for spotting an improved Power Barge system...
"A new modular medium speed engine power barge design [...] This radiator-cooled modular power barge design permits the same hull to be utilized with a range of power outputs from 80 MW to 180 MW. [...] The new design is presently being modified for dual fuel and natural gas operations to suit combined operations with LNG […] and combined cycle systems for specific market opportunities."Power barges are the fastest way to ramp up electricity (and cogen + water desal) infrastructure in coastal or navigable river areas. By floating in and being modular, they can be incrementally added to (with more barges) or floated out and moved to new or better location (and/or refurbished). See also my previous posts on this topic!
31 July 2017
30 July 2017
24 June 2017
TR spots Global Urban Footprint Revealed in Unprecedented Resolution...
"What’s needed is a way of mapping urban areas from space at high resolution and in a way that is unaffected by cloud cover and without the ambiguities that traditional imaging introduces. [Now revealed is] a global map of urbanization that meets all these requirements. The result is a data set of the entire planet at a resolution of 12 meters that maps the global urban footprint with unprecedented accuracy and resolution. [...] Esch and co have created a global database of built-up areas based on synthetic aperture radar images from an Earth-orbiting mission called TanDEM-X. This consists of a pair of spacecraft that have been orbiting Earth in close formation -- just a few hundred meters apart -- since 2007. These spacecraft take radar images of the ground from slightly different angles, allowing researchers to create a 3-D map of the planet. In total, Esch and co have processed 470,000 pairs of images to create their map of the entire planet."
17 June 2017
Sad to hear that Ootje Oxenaar, the graphic designer of beautiful Dutch money and RISD instructor, has passed away at 87. I particularly liked his Sunflower design for the 50 Guilder note, which was NL orange plus harkened to Van Gogh and was a complete contrast to monolithic American currency at the time... 24Oranges spotted this self retrospective video by Oxenaar...
15 June 2017
Thanks to Daniel Mitchell from International Liberty for spotlighting a great chart by Professor Max Roser of Oxford using Gapminder data showing the distribution of income globally at key point in recent history...
"There are three takeaways from this data. The first conclusion [...] is that the world is getting richer. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. That’s wonderful news. The second conclusion, as seen by the red section of the chart, is that a modest bit of reform in India and China has paid big dividends (and, given the success of Indian-Americans and Chinese-Americans, I imagine those nations could become much richer with additional market-friendly reform). But I want to focus today on a third conclusion, which is that pro-growth policies are the best way to help the poor, not redistribution driven by a fixation on inequality."
10 June 2017
Thanks to a WEForum post for spotting infographics created for Times Higher Education by Ben Hennig, an associate professor at the University of Iceland, which spotlight the relationship between wealth and world-class universities...
"What are the essential ingredients needed to make a world-class university? [...] The answer always involves a discussion of the importance of institutional autonomy and academic freedom, and a recognition of the crucial fact that without great people, there can be no great university. But one element is undeniably more important than any other: cold, hard cash. [...] You can’t create the appropriate research facilities, or provide the appropriate teaching environment, without money -- but most importantly, you can’t attract and retain the required talent in a highly competitive global recruitment market without the resources to pay attractive salaries."
29 May 2017
22 May 2017
Bill Warner spotlights how Before the Internet, There Was the Middlesex Canal...
"When you take a look at the history of the Middlesex Canal, built from 1794 to 1802, you’ll find a surprising similarity between the issues facing technology investors today, with those over 200 years ago. [...] The technology of moving goods at great scale and at low cost started with the Middlesex Canal. Then the railroads took over. Now containerization [...] Like all technology change, those in control of the current technology fight hard to hold on [...] But the march of technology is relentless when new approaches cut costs and increase speed."Be especially sure as you read Bill's story to check out his MapJunction tool to visualize the historic pathway overlaid over contemporary photo-map!
09 May 2017
Richard Sandomir in the NYTimes shares the sad news that inspirational illustrator Peter Spier has passed away at 89 from congestive heart failure. My very earliest favorite book -- i.e. when I was a toddler and my parents read to me -- was about Hendrika the Cow Who Fell in the Canal but as a teen I really spent endless hours on Of Dikes and Windmills. Amazing stuff about Dutch history, epic civil engineering, and the power of nature!