16 September 2014

R.I.P. Kay Stratton ~ MIT's Gracious First Lady

https://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/catherine-kay-stratton-obituary-0916The lovely and kind Catherine “Kay” Stratton, wife of MIT’s 11th President and a wonderfully gracious first lady, has alas passed away at age 100. I met her during my grad studies when she shared how she and her husband connected both newly arrived and senior faculty and linked interesting people with one another through regular dinner gatherings at the President's house. Mrs Stratton stayed very active well beyond her formal duties. Indeed, as MIT's News Office reports...
"In 1988, Stratton created the “Aging Successfully” lecture series at MIT to explore health topics of concern especially -- but not exclusively -- to an aging population. MIT created a Lecture on Critical Issues series in her honor in 1994, which has included such varied topics as Internet security, population growth, control of nuclear weapons, and microfinance."
She remains an inspiration for those of us seeking to make MIT a welcoming and gloriously creative place.

Slum Urbanism ~ UCT's Edgar Pieterse on Africa

Thanks to Emeka Okafor at Africa Unchained for spotting UCT Professor Edgar Pieterse, head of the African Centre for Cities, exploring the reality of Slum Urbanism and future of Africa's cities...

R.I.P. Narendra Patni ~ Father of IT Outsourcing

I'm very sad to discover today that MIT Sloan alumnus Narendra Patni passed away this past June.  Together with his wife Poonam and brothers, Narendra founded Patni Computer Systems, the first of the Indian IT outsourcing firms and an inspiration to many including Narayana Murthy who worked for Patni before leaving with his software team to start Infosys. The Globe's Robert Weisman first wrote in 2004 of the Patni's offshoring revolution starting in a Central Square apartment in 1972 and beginnings of operations in Pune, India in 1973. Overall, it's a epic saga and his passing is a real loss for us all.

14 September 2014

Who Is John Galt? ~ Atlas Shrugged, Part 3!

Atlas Shrugged, Part 3, Who is John Galt? showing now! Trailer... See more videos, etc, in their gallery. It's an epic story -- i.e. productive people finally going on strike, stopping the motor of the world -- but one which infuriates nearly everyone on the spectrum of stupidity, from tax'n'spend left-wingnuts to faith freak right-wingnuts, basically parasites and statists of all stripes. Plus, it's an ambitious project to put to film, even in three parts, especially on a lean budget with the antagonism of Hollywood, DC, and related establishments. So, here's a salute to John Aglialoro and his fellow producers and colleagues who got this trilogy done!

Amsterdam in Motion ~ Jack Fisher's Hyperlapse!

Kuriositas spots Amsterdam in Motion, Jack Fisher's hyperlapse!

12 September 2014

Math In Your Feet ~ Learning #'s by Dancing!

Thanks to MIT friend Birago Jones for spotting Math in your Feet...
"An integration of two separate but highly complementary paths of inquiry. Percussive dance is a sophisticated, precise, and physical expression of time and space using foot-based dance patterns. Mathematics has been called the ‘science of patterns’ initially developed to understand, describe, and manipulate the physical world. Math in Your Feet leads students through the problem solving process of creating their own dance patterns. Along the way, they increase their understanding of mathematical topics."

11 September 2014

Mission Continues ~ Avenge 9/11, Cauterize Evil

http://www.crownandcaliber.com/blog/remembering-911/Evil religious swine slaughtered thousands on 9/11 including my classmate David Berray. Alas, in the interim years, we have yet to fully extirpate irrationally-faithful and incorrigibly-violent ideological-cancer carriers from civilized humanity. Whether it's the messianic wingnuts occupying the land of Canaan, or the desertine usurpers of the Hejaz, or the pestilential-pretender neo-caliphate in today's fertile crescent, or other mad maniacs ruling west asia and beyond, humanity is still infested with verminous cretins believing in fundamentally bad ideas and executing mystical mandates for supposed higher powers. We must do our best to avenge the assassinated and sterilize the faithful stupidity that continues to plague civilized peoples.

09 September 2014

The Top ~ Urban Luxury Lifestyle Constructions...

New Midtown ~ NYC's Penn Station, MSG++

H3 reimagines NYC's Midtown by moving Madison Square Garden, rebuilding Penn Station, and enabling up-densing of the neighborhood!

Moto 360 ~ WSJ Reviews Wearable Wallclock

WSJ's Joanna Stern reviews the Moto 360 wearable wallclock...
"The round display isn't perfect. The bottom of the circle is frustratingly chopped off. Motorola explains that it's where the engineers had to put the display driver and ambient light sensor. All I know is every time I looked at it I was reminded of making construction-paper squircles in kindergarten. And the problem for women like me, with thin wrists, is that the watch may sound small -- 1.8 inches in diameter and just a half-inch thick -- but it almost looks like I grabbed a clock off the wall and strapped it to my arm."

01 September 2014

Understanding MIT ~ Crafting Our Creative Place

My DUSP Campus Planning colleague Bob Simha and I are hosting our Understanding MIT seminar again this Fall 2014 every Tuesday afternoon 4-6pm starting next week September 9th to survey research universities and how they work, with the Institute as our live-case study. Each week, we invite a different senior academic, administrative, or trustee leader of MIT to share with us what they do to help the Institute stay vital in the short, medium, and long term -- and ask what we can do to be pro-active in improving MIT as well. This is part of my larger action-research agenda on understanding creative places and innovation ecosystems and is sister-class to our MIT Cities Initiative design workshop on Changing Cities.

Neurotechnology Ventures ~ Minds, Money, MIT

My MIT Media Lab colleague Ed Boyden and I are again co-hosting our Neurotechnology Ventures class this Fall 2014 at the Media Lab starting this Thursday afternoon September 4th from 2-4pm. This course is all about envisioning, planning, and building ventures -- both entrepreneurial startups and intrapreneurial product-lines or business units -- to bring neuroengineering innovations to the world. Compelling venture themes include Neuroimaging, Neuromarketing, Neurology/Psychiatry Screening & Diagnosis, Mood & Behavioral Influencing, Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery, Neuropharmacology, Brain Stimulation, Prosthetics, Sensory and Motor Augmentation, Regenerative Neuromedicine, Learning, Memory & Cognitive Influencing, and more.

Development Ventures ~ Solving Global Problems

My MIT colleague Alex (Sandy) Pentland and I are again hosting our Development Ventures action lab class this Fall 2014 at the Media Lab starting this Thursday September 4th from 10a-12noon, with special focus on frugal, DIY, and ultraffordable technologies as well as exponential innovations including mobiles, big data, and analytics. As always, we look forward to the latest new venture concepts our students propose -- in domains ranging from Health & Wellness, Energy & Sustainability, Education & Creativity, Commerce & Financial Services, Civic Engagement and beyond -- and we try to help the most motivated teams and promising ideas actually start and thrive!

Changing Cities ~ Prototype New Urban Systems

http://changingcities.orgI'm leading a module this Fall 2014 in the Changing Cities course taught by my MIT Media Lab colleagues Kent Larson and Ryan Chin, starting Wednesday, 3 September at 2pm, as part of our MIT Cities Initiative. We seek to move beyond so-called “Smart City” solutions that have focused on optimization rather than vital re-invention. This course will focus on how to design and prototype new urban systems to address the challenges of mobility, food, living & working, planning, and more through five “How to” modules:
  1. How to prototype autonomous, shared, electric mobility systems 
  2. How to prototype hyper-efficient, transformable spaces (robotic architecture) 
  3. How to prototype controlled environment urban food systems 
  4. How to realize computational urbanism using augmented tangible models 
  5. How to quantify innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative vitality in cities
Together with colleagues Daan Archer, Jennifer Saura, and Dan Harple, we're keen on #5 -- Our overarching goal is to seek better indices (or rankings or scores) and analyses of vitality in the city by tapping into novel datasets and new analytic approaches. Ultimately we aspire to compare and contrast not only cities and neighborhoods, as they exist today, but simulate how they might become as new urban systems and solutions are deployed.

Terra Incognita ~ Larsen's Epic Adventure Painting

Artist Bryan Larsen was commissioned to paint Terra Incognita, an epic adventure weaving youthful imagination and historic figures into a Martian future! Quent Cordair, purveyor of fine artworks, has kept everyone appraised of the painting in progress...
"The painting features famous inventors and discoverers such as Alan Turing, Rosalind Franklin, Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus and John Harrison. [And, of course, the] two little astronauts!"
Click through to see the full imagery (and also buy limited edition print) and read Larsen's progress reports! http://cordair.com/wordpress/inprogress?utm_source=Copy+of+Quent+Cordair+Fine+Art++-+Post+Earthquake&utm_campaign=Cordair&utm_medium=email

31 August 2014

Innovation Village ~ Kirsner Spots Ames Biz Park

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/08/30/somerville-new-hub-innovation-emerging-from-shuttered-factory/eSjH3odx0ysqX0ssae4zpJ/story.htmlThe Globe's Scott Kirsner spotlights the revitalized Somerville, MA Ames Business Park and its many creative tenants in his Innovation Economy column this Sunday...
"The obituary of the Ames Safety Envelope Company was written in February 2010. [...] Most of the equipment was sold at auction, and the factory went dark. [...] The descendants of Ames’ founder considered selling the property, but weren’t sure they could find a buyer. And they fretted over filling the 290,000-square-foot complex with tenants. “I thought it was an almost impossible task,” says Arthur Fitzgerald, grandson of the company’s founder, John W. Fitzgerald. Skip ahead four years: The final chunk of space in the Ames complex was leased this month. And what is now known as the Ames Business Park is not only fully occupied, it also has become the entrepreneurial epicenter of Somerville, home to a brewery, dozens of start-ups, [etc.] It’s a more diverse blend of people and ideas than you’d find in Kendall Square -- in part because rent is cheaper -- and it’s more densely-packed than Boston’s Innovation District. [...] Now, the question for Somerville is how to encourage similar “innovation villages” to spring up. What happened at the Ames complex was a rare confluence of empty industrial space, entities eager to fill it, and a light touch when it came to planning and marketing. [...] Ames, says [Somerville] Mayor Curtatone, “has really had an impact on our thinking as policy-makers about how to preserve such spaces, to allow for more startups and ideas to flourish in Somerville, and to grow that new economy in our city.” Magic can be hard to replicate -- but it’s worth trying."

30 August 2014

Limitless ~ Nootropic Enhancement SF Thriller

Thanks to entrepreneur friend Amir Hasson for pointing out Limitless science fiction movie exploring the prospect of nootropic smart pills...
"Aspiring author Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is suffering from chronic writer's block, but his life changes instantly when an old friend introduces him to NZT, a revolutionary new pharmaceutical that allows him to tap his full potential. With every synapse crackling, Eddie can recall everything he has ever read, seen or heard, learn any language in a day, comprehend complex equations and beguile anyone he meets -- as long as he keeps taking the untested drug."
Of course, things get complicated. See trailer...

More NL Junctions ~ Showing Before + After...

Mark Wagenbuur at BicycleDutch does a very nice before + after view of a busy intersection in Utrecht which has just been reconstructed and modernized. This is arguably the latest in Dutch cycling infrastructure and this video builds on his earlier illustrations of Dutch Junction and Safe Intersection design...
"There is a whole range of solutions for safer intersections, but for an urban area like this one -- with relatively narrow streets and a lot of traffic -- this design -- with protected cycleways all around the intersection -- is really best."

R.I.P. Hal Finney ~ Cryptocoder Extropian...

WIRED's Andy Greenberg writes Bitcoin’s Earliest Adopter Is Cryonically Freezing His Body to See the Future...
"Hal Finney, the renowned cryptographer, coder, and bitcoin pioneer, died Thursday morning at the age of 58 after five years battling ALS. He will be remembered for a remarkable career that included working as the number-two developer on the groundbreaking encryption software PGP in the early 1990s, creating one of the first “remailers” that presaged the anonymity software Tor, and -- more than a decade later -- becoming one of the first programmers to work on bitcoin’s open source code; in 2009, he received the very first bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto. Now Finney has become an early adopter of a far more science fictional technology: human cryopreservation, the process of freezing human bodies so that they can be revived decades or even centuries later." [...] Fran Finney says that her husband had no illusions about the certainty of his resurrection. But until his final moments, he put his faith in the progress of technology. “He never said to me, ‘I will come back.’ But he told me, ‘I hope to be back.’"
Photographer Max Gerber captured Hal and Fran last year... http://www.wired.com/2014/08/hal-finney/