31 May 2010

Memorial Wall ~ Never Forgetting The Fallen

One of many beautiful memorials to remember the fallen...

Census of the Seas ~ Documenting Marine Life

I was surfing around the MIT Center for Ocean Engineering site and was delighted to find their pointer to Colin Nickerson's piece in the Globe a few months ago about The Census Under the Sea, an epic decade-long $650M effort of 2,000 scientists from 80 countries to create the Census of Marine Life quantifying...
"...the abundance, diversity, and distribution of organisms that rove the oceans' sun-dappled surfaces, patrol the mysterious middle depths, or lurk at the pitch-black bottom. The census already has made discoveries that could help fight human disease, probed never-before-seen water worlds, and identified thousands of new creatures. "We've been especially surprised by the movements of some marine species, whether swirling in eddies the size of Ireland or commuting [5,000 miles] across ocean basins," said project senior scientist Ron O'Dor in an interview from Washington. Some animals are journeying to age-old spawning sites. Some may be responding to changes in ocean temperatures or currents. Others seem to be simply seizing the moment -- charging opportunistically into new waters as rival species decline. For example, jumbo Humboldt squid once largely confined to waters off Mexico have begun foraging up the California coast and on to the Gulf of Alaska. The aggressive cephalopods can reach lengths of 6 feet and weigh up to 100 pounds; they reputedly attack skin divers. "They are big, rapacious, and on the move," O'Dor said. [...] An advanced sonar system, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, enabled researchers to capture "snapshots" of hundreds of millions of fish coalescing into mighty mega-shoals moving as one entity. "If we can see what’s in the ocean, we may be more mindful of conserving it," said Nicholas Makris, the MIT ocean engineering professor who led development of the sensor system."
Fascinating stuff! And never more timely, since the importance of -- and challenges facing -- the oceans have never been greater.

30 May 2010

Kibera ~ Chappatte in the Slums of Nairobi...

Patrick Chappatte in the NYTimes opines graphically about being In the Slums of Nairobi, specifically Kibera, Kenya...

Boston HarborWalk ~ Clean, Alive, Accessible!

Nice day? Go for a Boston HarborWalk!

MIT Media Ventures 2010 ~ Plans, Strats, & Maps

Earlier this month my colleagues Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Frank Moss, and I hosted the finale sessions of our 2010 joint MIT Media Lab-Sloan School class on Media Ventures. This Media Lab Entrepreneurship & Digital Innovations Seminar was the first run of our Spring semester flagship course within the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program where we first surveyed a broad landscape of emerging media technologies, followed by live- and historic-cases of inter- and entrepreneurship-based on Media Lab ideas, culminating in a term project. The core goal was to gain increased understanding of how emergent media and digital innovations translate into commercial reality and transform society. We survey case examples of both successful and failed businesses and generally grapple with the difficulties of deploying and diffusing products and as a means of exploring a range of business models and opportunities enabled by emerging Media Lab innovations. This year we focused especially on personal health care, financial service innovations, mobile transactions, and social media generally. The term projects came in three flavors -- Venture Plans for new startup, Strategic Analyses of commercialization opportunities, and Innovation Roadmaps investigating long-term technology and market dynamics -- and included these...
  1. StoopSwap ~ Community Rental Network
  2. everauthor ~ Social Reading, Shared Comments
  3. Mi Clinica ~ Affordable Care Clinics (Mexico)
  4. FitFriends ~ Health Club Engagement Tools
  5. HotSpot ~ Parking Spot Market
  6. Imprezo ~ Presentation Coachware
  7. MyDateMistake ~ Dating Stories Site
  8. peerTransfer ~ International Money Movement
  9. PerfectSight ~ Mobile Eye Prescription App
  10. PickUp ~ Social Game for Dating
  11. Red Ink ~ Personal Analytics Tools
  12. WiseArrow ~ Not Creepy Dating Site
  13. Zocalo ~ Community Food Marketplace
  14. Comcast Response to Online Video
  15. Media for Creative Lifestyles
  16. Social Analytics at Lockheed Martin
  17. Cisco Prototype Testbeds
  18. Mobile Claims Assistance
  19. Keep It Real ~ Financial Purchase Advisor
  20. Future of Online TV
  21. Democratizing Telemedicine
  22. Education Platform 2015
  23. Sound Matters ~ Future of Digital Audio Technology
  24. Tecos ~ Tween Ecosystem
  25. Quantified Self ~ Evaluating All Measuring Tools
  26. Evolution of Radio on Demand
  27. Brazilian Mobile Industry
  28. Promise of Sleep ~ Monitoring & Education for Insomnia
  29. Sociometers for Recruiting & Training
  30. Future of Augmented Reality
  31. One World ~ A Journalism Roadmap
This group included some really great projects and we fully expect the best ideas -- and most motivated people -- to continue onward in the future, either as new startups or being absorbed by established organizations.

29 May 2010

MIT Arab BPC Finale ~ Excellent New Ventures...

The MIT Arab Business Plan Competition run by the MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan Arab Region features nine teams chosen from thirty top semi-finalists from across the Arab region all seeking $65,000 in prizes and connections at the Finale gala event in Cairo, Egypt this Friday, 4 June 2010. Several very compelling ideas emerging in the realms of Energy, Engineering, Healthcare, Internet-Based Solutions, Software, and Telecoms. Also, I'm very pleased to see the generous Abdul Latif Jameel organization supporting this Competition (as it does the MIT Poverty Action Lab).

D-Lab Brazil ~ MIT Students Visit Rural & Urban

I have Brazil on the brain so naturally this ZigZag episode #15 about MIT D-Lab Brazil 2007 trip was a delight to see again!

Fab Revolution ~ NeilG on CNN re: Bits & Atoms!

Thanks to Lars Torres from MIT Global Challenge for spotting MIT Professor Neil Gershenfeld on CNN discussing Fab Labs and the DIY Bits & Atoms revolution...

28 May 2010

Playware ~ BeatBlocks & Other Robo-Ractives!

Great to have Professor Henrik Hautop Lund from DTU's Center for Playware speak today at the Media Lab about his work with interactive robotics for play, health, sport, and more. He gave lots of examples, including their modular tiles project which has spun out as newco Entertainment Robotics and their latest effort is Playware Soccer in sync with World Cup in South Africa... Another effort is their BeatBlocks robomusic deployed at the Danish Rock Museum and on tour here in Japan...

Hardcore Computer ~ Liquid Submersion Cooled!

Whoa, Teresa Esser pointed me to the Hardcore Computer family of liquid submersion cooled über-PCs! Check it...

What Motivates Us ~ Dan Pink's Surprising Truths

Thanks to Brad Feld and Boaz Fletcher for spotting this RSAnimate rendering of Dan Pinks talk on The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us...

26 May 2010

Sombit Mishra ~ FitFriends Health Club Analytics

Great to have newly graduating MIT Sloan alumnus Sombit Mishra on MaximizingProgress.tv today. Most recently the Co-Managing Director of MIT's $100K Entrepreneurship Competition -- and the singing star of the chart-topping Sexy Pitch promo video -- Sombit's now formally co-founding his newco FitFriends together with his MIT classmate David Nelson. FitFriends is all about collecting and analyzing health club member fitness data to allow those clubs to retain, up-sell, and cross-sell their members. The annual turnover of membership -- and the general ineffectiveness of traditional fitness mechanisms -- are stunning so this is a ripe opportunity. Prior to MIT Sloan, Sombit was an eCommerce Analyst doing web analytics for GlobalGiving and did his Masters in International Relations at London School of Economics and Bachelors in Economics and History at Northwestern University.

24 May 2010

Troublesome Leak ~ Solving Safari Park Mystery!

The DailyMail catches Troublesome, the mysterious elephantine "leak" in the whirlpool at Etali Safari Lodge in South Africa;-)

DIY Cartography ~ Making Your Own Maps...

Nice short on Digital Cartography from DynamicMediaInstitute.org featuring GrassrootsMapping.org among others... And here video of recent grassroots maps of BP's eco-disaster... And here's the timelapse video from MIT Project Icarus, students who got near-space shots for $150... And here's a handy DIY mapping sheet by Jeffrey Warren... And a bit by Jeffrey about Cartagen...

Gross Incompetence ~ BP = Broken Promises?

I'm disgusted with how stunningly broken and ill-prepared BP -- the self-described "Beyond Petroleum" company -- has been in responding to their latest man-made eco-disaster. Why the reckless choices in sealing the well? Why the unrealistic evac preps? Why the ill-preparedness for emergency? Why the delay in calling the alarm? Why were there not multiple containment vessels pre-positioned? Where are the tested clean-up techniques which work at-scale? Why the infighting and backstabbing? Why the secrecy and stupidity about flow-rate, independent analysis, information access? Where are the deployable underwater petro-Hoovers? The Big Picture spots the resulting gross incompetence... Totally inadequate clean-up measures... And a sampling of the collaterally damaged...

LittleDog ~ Cool Robot Learning Locomotion!

Thanks to UniqueDaily for spotting this real-time video of the Boston Dynamics LittleDog robot learning locomotion at the Computational Learning and Motor Control Lab at USC...

23 May 2010

Moon Mimas ~ Close Up From Cassini @ Saturn

The Big Picture spots Saturn's 'hood...

Verdant Cities ~ Images of Urban Greenery

Some fantasy, others fact, all interesting! Click on these images to go to the source sites...

Cirque Mechanics ~ Monetizing Performance Arts

The BBC's Philip Hampsheir reports that Cirque offshoot faces tough crowd in Dubai. This is a fascinating example of building a modern experience economy service offering. Plus it's beautiful!

Sick Culture ~ Something's Morally Wrong Here...

The BBC writes that UN camp for Gaza children torched...
"Masked gunmen have attacked a UN summer camp being set up for children in the Gaza Strip. [They] burned tents and destroyed other equipment after tying up a guard. They also left a letter threatening the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), John Ging [who] said the agency "would not be intimidated by such attacks". He pledged the summer camp would take place as planned. Mr Ging said there was "no doubt in my mind that it is vandalism linked to a certain degree of extremism. It is an attack on the happiness of children."
There is something seriously morally diseased about people who do such things and the culture from which they spawn.

22 May 2010

Sérgio ~ Slaughtered Trying to Save the World

Thanks to Vijaya Ramachandran and Lauren Young from the Center for Global Development for pointing out that HBO is showing Sérgio -- a biopic based on Samantha Power’s Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World about a Brazilian diplomat-extraordinaire who was slaughtered along with 21 UN compatriots by terrorist swine in Baghdad...

Scratch Day ~ Worldwide Creativity Conclave!

It's Scratch Day here at the MIT Media Lab and simultaneously in some 40 countries worldwide! Scratch allows everyone to create interactive media -- music, games, art, shared stories, photos and more! A new project is uploaded every minute! See here Lifelong Kindergarteners intro Scratch Day last year 2009...

Old Penn Station ~ NYC's Magnificent Rail Palace

Thinking about glorious urban infrastructure brought to mind old Penn Station, New York City's now-lost railway palace... Destroyed in what NYTimes called "a monumental act of vandalism"... And check out artist-author William Low's story... And here's some ideas about reconstruction plans... Here's director Stephen Kellam's poignant short Forever Yours...

Technicolor Dreamgloves ~ Fast Handwaving I/O

Cool to see MIT PhD student Robert Wang's multi-colored spandex gloves spotlit as an up-and-coming gesture control technology... Richard Mitchell in Joystiq called them The Amazing Technicolor Dreamgloves!

21 May 2010

Write The Future ~ Long Ad or Very Short Film?!

Thanks to Ajay Kulkarni for spotting this epic-short Write the Future... Addendum: The powers that be have killed the video, sorry.

3D Scapes ~ Editing and Rendering Reality!

At the MIT Smart Customization seminar today I saw the very interesting first public demo of LOFT by NedSense allowing people to rapidly edit photos of their interior spaces. This pleasantly reminded me of some great work by MIT alum Mok Oh and colleagues at what's now EveryScape! Check out their demovids... Perhaps my favorite, MIT's Infinite Corridor... And EveryScape's launch promo...

19 May 2010

Adrián García ~ Costa Rican Ventures on MP.tv

Delightful to have graduating MIT Sloan MBA and Costa Rican entrepreneur-organizer Adrián García join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! Adrián's studies have centered on finance and entrepreneurship but his greatest influence was probably as Co-President of the MIT Latin Business Club where he and colleagues co-organized the XIII Latin American Conference. (FYI, full disclosure -- I had the great pleasure of walking the VIP conference speakers around on a personalized MIT Innovation Tour of campus and moderating a panel at the Conference.) Adrián was also semi-finalist with business partners of Junar.com in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition!

Boston's Next Boomzone ~ Marine Industrial Park

I was visiting MIT alums Reshma Shetty, Tom Knight, Jason Kelly, and colleagues at Ginkgo Bioworks earlier today and was not only pleased to see their growing synthetic biology business and lab operations, but also to really get to know the Boston Marine Industrial Park where they're located... This area just beyond the historic warehouses of the Fort Point Channel / Boston Wharf district used to be the US's South Boston Naval Annex. Today it's incredibly well connected to transport and civic infrastructure -- and I'm excited about this area as Boston's next boomzone.

18 May 2010

Get Skinny, My Friends ~ Cory Kidd with Autom!-)

The Most Interesting Man in the World! Which is he?-)

Conor Walsh Defends ~ Shows Steedle & Robopy

Great to see Conor Walsh successfully defend his PhD thesis in Mechanical Engineering this morning at MIT! As I've written about before, Conor's especially interested in surgical innovations, including minimally invasive solutions. In addition to his earlier, MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition-winning work on Robopsy imaging-guided tele-surgery tools, he showed his more recent work on Steedle steerable-needles...

16 May 2010

DIY Biodiesel ~ Homebrew Fuel Processing!

Thanks to Engineering for Change for spotting Wendy Tremayne explaining how to make home made biodiesel with no special equipment in less than five minutes (plus few days settling time), using 3-4 gallons of waste veggie oil plus half-gallon of methanol plus some lye. By-product is glycerin. She says it's "$10 worth of fuel costing about $2 and some time"...

TEDxCambridge ~ How We Eat! Sun 5/16...

TEDxCambridge is livestreaming now 16 May 2010... Well, that's now over, but here's the Goose Whisperer video about organic foie gras... At the after-party, I had some of David Gracer's grubs -- little worms, cooked just so -- they taste like peanuts!

Cities of Tomorrow ~ PopSci on Historic Visions

Popular Science's Denise Ngo assembles this Archive Gallery: The Cities of Tomorrow...
"Domed glass cities, schools within skyscrapers, rocket-ship neighborhoods and more as we cruise through the complete PopSci archive in search of the perfect urban life"
My favorite is this 1925 City of Wonder by Harvey Wiley Corbett...

11 May 2010

MIT $100K Finale ~ Wed 5/12 7pm+ @ Kresge

Be sure to come this Wednesday night 12 May 2010 to MIT's Kresge Auditorium for the Finale of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition! Keynote speech by Reebok founder Paul Fireman and pitches by Finalists including...
  • Aukera Therapeutics ~ ALS Treatments
  • Privo ~ Insulin Chewing Gum
  • SolSource ~ 3-in-1 Solar Cookers
  • Lark Technologies ~ Sleep Monitoring
  • KarDo ~ Automating IT Assistance
  • C-Crete ~ Environment-Friendly Cement