21 September 2016

SproutsIO ~ Smart Microgarden Kickstarting!

Fantastic to see friend and MIT Media Lab alumna Jenny Broutin and team Kickstarting their SproutsIO smart microgarden!
"A sigh performance system that makes growing Personal Produce™ a pleasure. Grow indoors, year-round, soil-free. [...] SproutsIO was designed to help change our relationship to food by connecting people to the source of their produce and allowing them to experience the joy of growing their own. [...] Start growing in under 5 minutes. Plug in your SproutsIO, and download and launch the SproutsIOGrow mobile app to connect your SproutsIO to WiFi. Place the sIO seed refill in the basin, the camera will recognize the plants you are growing and confirm recommended settings. Just add water and now you are growing."
Excellent advance from when Jenny first brought personalized modern food/ag to the Lab back in 2011! Check out the Kickin' video and rich extra materials on the site...

03 September 2016

Fall 2016 @ MIT ~ Ventures, Places, Futures!

I'm co-teaching a very cool folio of MIT class offerings this Fall 2016 and hope you'll either consider joining us or spreading the word about particularly relevant offerings to great students and colleagues who you think might appreciate them! These cluster into three big categories: Transformational Ventures, Creative Places, and Emergent Futures. Details below & online...  
  • 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 9/8  
  • 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 reven@media.mit.edu ASAP if interested. First class: Thu 9/8  
  • Future Commerce (H1) ~ Tue 1-2:30p E14-633 ~ MAS.s71/15.s73 ~ http://mitfuturecommerce.org ~ New Media meets Markets & Finance. First class: Tue 9/13 (Half Semester offering)  
  • Future Health (H2) ~ Tue 1-2:30p E14-633 ~ MAS.s72/15.s74 ~ http://mitfuturehealth.org ~ New Media meets Medicine & Wellness. First class: Tue 11/1 (Second Half of semester)  
  • 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 9/13  
  • Model Cities ~ Wed 2-5p E15-359 ~ MAS.552/4.557 ~ http://mitmodelcities.org ~ Simulating & Visualizing Entrepreneurial, Innovative, & Creative Urban Hotspots. First class: Wed 9/7  
  • SciFab 2050 ~ Tue 7-9p E15-359 ~ MAS.s60 ~ http://scifab2050.org/ ~ An informal seminar using Science Fiction, extrapolation, simulation, and imagination to envision what our world might be like in 2050. Email jpbonsen@alum.mit.edu if interested. First session: Tue 9/13

Star Trek + XPrize ~ Roddenberry's Worldview!

Thanks to my MIT Sloan colleague Anjali Sastry for spotting Gene Roddenberry's Worldview on the XPrize Foundation site!

25 August 2016

Earth's Surface Water ~ Deltares Change Analysis

The BBC's Rebecca Morelle spotlights Surface water shifting around the Earth as discovered by the Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands...
"They found that 115,000 sq km (44,000 sq miles) of land is now covered in water and 173,000 sq km (67,000 sq miles) of water has now become land. The largest increase in water has been on the Tibetan Plateau, while the Aral Sea has been the biggest conversion of water to land. The team said many coastal areas have also changed significantly. [...] The researchers said Dubai's coast had been significantly extended, with the creation of new islands to house luxury resorts."
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37187100 http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37187100

15 August 2016

Slow Dance ~ An Art Frame That Warps Time!

Jeff Lieberman is at it again, this time Kickstarting Slow Dance...
"A picture frame that makes real objects appear to move in slow motion. By taking advantage of the limits of human visual perception, this optical illusion sculpture appears to be doing the impossible -- right before your eyes. Slow Dance combines technology, science, and art, in order to remind us of the natural mystery, beauty, and wonder that surround us every day."

08 August 2016

Pioneering Spirit ~ Heavylift Ship Sea Trials!

Thanks to gCaptain for spotting the Pioneering Spirit single-lift installation/decommissioning and pipelay vessel departing Rotterdam for sea trials!

31 July 2016

Muzzled Mouthes ~ Free Speech Under Siege...

The Economist spotlights The muzzle grows tighter on the scourge of anti-liberty cultural, religious, and legal muzzling of free speech. Vile governments, religious wingnuts of all flavors, authoritarian or conservative movements -- all evil and spreading... http://www.economist.com/news/international/21699906-freedom-speech-retreat-muzzle-grows-tighter

23 July 2016

Volcanic Climate Change ~ Sulfate Evidence...

OpenMind shares 1816, the Year Without a Summer when...
"It snowed and froze in parts of Europe and North America. Crops were ruined, triggering the worst famine of the nineteenth century [and] became known as “the year without a summer,” a climatic anomaly that affected the northern hemisphere"
We now know this is at least partly due to the massive Tambora volcanic eruption.
"Evidence of the long range of the emissions from Tambora has been found in the high sulphur content in samples of polar ice from the time, says paleoclimatologist Robert Mulvaney of the British Antarctic Survey [...] “Very large eruptions (such as Tambora) can lift material very high in the atmosphere, and into the stratosphere,” explains Mulvaney. “Once in the stratosphere, the sulfur dioxide can oxidise into sulphuric acid, which is taken up by tiny water droplets to form a haze in the stratosphere that can reflect incident sunlight back away from the Earth, causing less light to penetrate through the atmosphere, and the Earth to cool.” This sulphuric acid circulating in the stratosphere is then detected in ice cores. In this way, scientists can estimate the volume of emissions from an eruption."
Here's the evidence showing it's happened at huge scale at least a couple times per century, so inquiring minds want to know "when's next"? https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/1816-the-year-without-a-summer/

History of Coups ~ Visualizations of Attempts...

WaPo's Adam Taylor shares dataset about political coups since the 1950s compiled by political scientists Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne. By "coup" they mean illegal and overt attempts by the military or other elites within the state apparatus to unseat the sitting executive...
"Why did they have the first one? Coups also generally occur in disproportionately poor countries that suffer from other forms of political instability (such as protests and/or civil war). In recent years, there seems to be an increasing proportion of coups in new democracies, especially those that seem to already be backsliding toward authoritarianism. Ultimately, the legitimacy of the government is a crucial indicator."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/22/map-the-world-of-coups-since-1950/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/22/map-the-world-of-coups-since-1950/

04 July 2016

Independence Day ~ US Declaration of Secession

Thanks to FEE's David D'Amato for reminding us that July 4th...
"Independence Day, presents an opportunity to reflect upon the principles immortalized in the Declaration -- principles that, if taken seriously, hold the seeds of sweeping political transformation. The declaration is not only radically libertarian, but radically decentralist."