31 March 2012

PM 1000-URM ~ Plasser & Theurer's Track MRO!

Wow, the PM 1000-URM is a truly ginormous track maintenance and repair machine from Austrian firm Plasser & Theurer! Here it's in use on the NS lines by Dutch MRO ProRail!

Climbing K2 ~ NatGeo on The Hardest Way Up!

Stellar composite infographic on climbing K2 the hardest way from the latest National Geographic in an article by Chip Brown about the ultimate summit by climbers Maxut Zhumayev, Vassiliy Pivtsov, Dariusz Załuski, and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner! See here photo by Załuski of the rest at the top -- plus check out the epic K2 shadow!

Freeway Cap Parks ~ Hollywood Central Over 101

The ANBlog spots freeway cap parks, specifically the proposed Hollywood Central capping Highway 101, creating a...
"...44-acre street level urban park [which] allows us to rethink and reimagine our physical environment [...] Park features would include “an amphitheater, walking trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, water features, recreational facilities and much more."

Design For Hack ~ Make on MIT's MEDIKits...

Nice post in Make by my Little Devices colleague Jose Gomez-Marquez on “Design For Hack” in Medicine...
"...at MIT, we’re developing MEDIKits (Medical Education Design and Invention Kits), construction sets designed to encourage invention among doctors and nurses in the field. Our MEDIKits currently come in five flavors: Drug Delivery, Lateral-Flow Diagnostics, Lab-on-Chip, Vital Signs, and Agricultural Prosthetics. The kits started as boxes of parts assembled to familiarize MIT students with medical devices, and evolved to include linear components that you can assemble like Lego bricks into a final device. Through the process, we developed a modular design language to help users see the underlying logic to connecting the parts, and added physical stops to keep some components within safe ranges of operation."

30 March 2012

Toys MD ~ MIT's Jose Gomez-Marquez on CNN...

CNN's What's Next profiles my MIT colleague Jose Gomez-Marquez!
"Everyone in the world deserves proper medical devices, even if they can’t afford them. And that’s where toys come in. “When you look at a toy today, you’re actually looking at an engineered part,” says Gomez-Marquez. “They are mechanical bits and pieces. Sometimes there’s even chemistry that you can harvest from a toy.” Walk into Jose Gomez-Marquez’s Little Devices Lab at MIT and you’ll see toys and medical devices -- everywhere. “When you're using toys, it demystifies the process of medical technology,” says Gomez-Marquez. [He] wants to empower, as he puts it, the “MacGyver doctor and the hacker nurse” in small villages in developing countries with little resources. So he’s teaching them not only how to find the right toys to “hack,” or repurpose for medical devices, but he’s giving them the basic building blocks with MEDIKits."

Tricorder X-Prize Rules ~ Draft Guidelines Up...

Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize’s Competition Guidelines are up...
"The winner(s) [...] will be the best-performing solutions in their abilities to diagnose a set of 15 distinct conditions in a pool of people within three days, while providing a strong consumer experience. In addition, the winning solutions must:
  1. Meet minimum scores for both diagnosis and consumer experience
  2. Continuously monitor five vital signs over the course of the consumer testing period and log this data to the cloud
  3. Have a maximum mass of no more 5 than pounds"
Not easy;-)

Death Spiral ~ Mace on How A Platform Dies...

Michael Mace on his Mobile Opportunity blog wrote about the Death Spiral, how a computing platform dies, anticipating a few years ago what has befallen RIM today...
"The early symptoms of decline in a computing platform were very subtle, and easy for a business executive to rationalize away. By the time the symptoms became obvious, it was usually too late to do anything about them. The symptoms to watch closely are small declines in two metrics: the rate of growth of sales, and gross profit per unit sold (gross margins)"
Read more and see it summed in a graphic...

Basis Amsterdam ~ Gezellig Dutch BYOFood Bar!

Thanks to the finale (regretable decision) episode of RNW's In From Holland for sharing the story of Basis Amsterdam, the bring-your-own-food (plus vibe and ideas) bar...
"A bring-your-own-food bar has opened in Amsterdam in response to the crisis in the Dutch capital's nightlife. In the past two years, 10% of Amsterdam's bars and cafés have had to close their doors. In the Basis Bar, customers buy drinks but bring their own food. The café provides microwaves, plates and cutlery."
Fantastic! It's just like MIT's Muddy Charles Pub -- they sell the affordable drinks, you bring your own food and ideas!

African Dream ~ BBC Spotlights Entrepreneurs!

Great series on the BBC called African Dream spotlighting several entrepreneurs building businesses in transportation, farming, fashion, recycling, food service, and more!
"African Dream is broadcast on the BBC Network Africa programme every Monday morning. Every week, one successful business man or woman will explain how they started off and what others could learn from them."

28 March 2012

Promise and Progress ~ Monitor MIM on Africa...

Interesting to read Monitor's Inclusive Markets group report Promise and Progress: Market-Based Solutions to Poverty in Africa by Michael Kubzansky, Ansulie Cooper and Victoria Barbary which...
"...extends and deepens research into Market-based solutions (MBSs), culminating a 16-month Monitor study of MBSs in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This investigation is particularly important because the poverty challenge in SSA is enormous. Half a billion people in the subcontinent struggle to survive on less than $2 a day, and despite the volume of aid and philanthropy and the scale of development efforts, the number continues to rise. Despite the obstacles, MBSs are proliferating in Africa. The Monitor team identified 439 initiatives in nine SSA countries, active in 14 sectors and aiming at the $2-a-day segment. [...] Promise and Progress affirms the conclusion of Monitor’s research in India that, for MBSs to succeed, they must operate with business models suited to the extreme conditions of low-income markets."
Much more in the report!

Tehran Tower ~ Intriguing Iranian Greenscraper

Iranian architects Mahdi Kamboozia, Alireza Esfandiari, Nima Dehghani, Mohammad Ashkbar Sefat received Honorable Mention in the eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition for their Tehran Tower... Thanks to Urban Greenery and Apple Arts for spotting this cool design!

27 March 2012

Beautiful Transplant ~ Most Extensive Facial Yet...

Breathtaking progress in the world of medical transplantation and reconstructive surgery! The DailyMail shows the case of...
"Richard Lee Norris, 37, who suffered horrendous injuries in a gun accident in 1997, is recovering well and already brushing his teeth and shaving after last week's surgery, according to doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center in United States. Pictured (left) is Mr Norris before his accident, (center) shortly after his accident and (right) as he now looks following his face transplant."
Kudos to lead Dr Eduardo Rodriguez and the whole surgical team! See also my earlier write-up on Connie Culp and Isabelle Dinoire plus also the Spaniard "Oscar". Also, here's AlJazeera coverage of the press conference and more backstory...

26 March 2012

Vendor Power! ~ NYC Street Entrepreneur Rights!

Wow, thanks to my MIT DUSP IDG colleague Professor Annette Kim's Sidewalk Laboratory for spotlighting Vendor Power! This essential and effective street guide by artist+designer+planner Candy Chang makes city regulations available to the incredible everyday urban entrepreneurs who especially need the knowledge!
"Vendor Power! translates the most commonly violated rules into accessible diagrams. It also illustrates vendors’ rights and includes text in English, Bengali, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. The guide also serves as an educational/advocacy tool and includes a poster full of fun facts on the history and challenges of NYC street vending, personal vendor stories, and policy reform recommendations"

Wrecking Crew Orchestra ~ Tron x Zoetrope;-)

Kuriositas spots amazing Wrecking Crew Orchestra!

Mezzanine ~ Oblong Gesturizes Collab Rooms!

MIT Media Lab alumnus from Tangible Media group John Underkoffler (of Minority Report gestural interface fame) shares his Oblong company's latest goods -- Mezzanine 1.0 -- a collaborative workspace stitching together multi-user experiences across all relevant computers and screens. This promises far more engaging, intuitive, and effective discussions, ideation, and decision-making...

Lick Observatory Moonrise ~ Baldridge's APOD!

Lovely Lick Observatory Moonrise is NASA's APOD courtesy photographer Rick Baldridge!

25 March 2012

Frugal Innovation ~ Emerging Market Leadership

The Economist's Schumpeter reviews two new books on frugal innovation...
"Reverse Innovation by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, and Jugaad Innovation by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja [...] show that frugal innovation is flourishing across the emerging world. [...] Entrepreneurs everywhere are seizing on the idea of radical cost-cutting. [...] Globalisation is forcing Western firms to provide more value for money. [...] standing still is not an option. Whether or not Western firms sell frugal products in the West, Asian firms will. [...] Some Western companies are turning to emerging markets first to develop their products."
Exactly why we run our D-Lab Development Ventures class at MIT.

R.I.P. Jean Giraud ~ Great Comics Artist Moebius

Sad to hear earlier this month French comic book creator-artist Jean Giraud succumbed to cancer. Known also by pen-names Moebius and Gir, he's most famous for co-creating Wild West story Blueberry, co-creating Heavy Metal magazine, and his huge influence on graphic novels and science fiction films. Life survey here Moebius Redux... Here he is drawing Blueberry... And, of course, his works...

Perpetual Ocean ~ Visualizing Global Currents!

Thanks to Neatorama for spotting Perpetual Ocean...
"This visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through December 2007. [It] produced using NASA/JPL's computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2."

Platform Wars ~ History of Emergent Standards

The Economist spotlights earlier Asymco post and data by Horace Dediu and Jeremy Reimer about the history of personal computer adoption as Platform Wars...
"...many different systems fight it out -- until one or two standards emerge. [...] this was the case with the personal computer and is now happening in the market for smartphones and other mobile devices. It is still too early to call the winner(s)..."

Sodabottle SIP ~ Sub-Irrigated Planter Gardening!

Green Roof Growers shows how to make a Sodabottle SIP -- Sub-Irrigated Planters -- which lets kids of all ages become urban agriculturalists! Thanks to Inside Urban Green for spotting this!

Animals Without Borders ~ New KAZA Peacepark!

The Economist's Babbage writes of Animals without borders...
"A rare bit of good news for wildlife in Africa, last week saw the launch of the world's biggest conservation area stretching across five southern African countries -- Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kavango/Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) has been in the works since 2003; a memorandum of understanding was inked in 2006, followed by a fully fledged treaty to establish the park in August 2011. The area under conservation has expanded during the process, from under 300,000 to 440,000 square kilometres, nearly the size of Sweden. [...] The hope is that a co-ordinated approach will be more effective..."

Just For Laughs ~ Can't Get Enough Humor!-)

Endlessly funny;-)

24 March 2012

Megachange ~ Economist on The World in 2050

The Economist has just published Megachange: The World in 2050. First, their own internal correspondents and editors discuss such prognostication, asserting It's not all gloom and doom. Next, the BBC's Nick Higham meets the Economist's Executive Editor, Daniel Franklin. Then, here's Franklin's own words...
"In 2050 there will be 9.3 billion people alive -- compared with 7 billion today -- and the number will still be rising. The population aged over sixty-five will have more than doubled, to more than 16 per cent; China's GDP will be 80 per cent more than America's; and the number of cars on India's roads will have increased by 3,880 per cent. And, in 2050 it should be clear whether we are alone in the universe."
Finally, the Guardian's review by Will Self is a scathing knock-down:
"A free-market, Panglossian set of prophecies fails to impress [...] workaday familiarity with the imperfections of futurology that makes [editor] Franklin so keen to distance himself from any great likelihood of being right. [...] instead of a steely-eyed look ahead, Megachange offers us a straightforward survey of the world as it is today, together with a lot of future hedging. Thus the text is bedizened with these qualifiers: "it may well be", "probably", "possibly" and indeed "likely" appear so often that the casual reader might well be lulled into thinking these Economist stalwarts are genuinely sceptical about their claims -- but don't be fooled. Franklin sets out their stall thus: "there is every chance that the world in 2050 will be richer, healthier, more connected, more sustainable, more productive, more innovative, better educated, with less inequality between rich and poor and between men and women, and with more opportunity for billions of people." [...] if you want to know what the world might actually be like in 2050 you'd do better to browse in the science fiction and fantasy section of your local online retailer, which is where Megachange properly belongs."
Ouch. Now I definitely look forward to reading it;-) FYI, CNBC is publishing excerpts in a special report in cooperation with the Economist.

Green Habitats ~ New Dose of Design Delights!

It's high time for another dose of Inhabitat designs!

Seeking New Laws ~ Feynman on Good Guesses!

Delighter from Richard Feynman's lectures on The Character of Physical Law -- here Seeking New Laws... Thanks to io9 for spotting!

In Effect Dead ~ Muamba Revived After 78 min!

CNN reports how Congolese-English footballer Fabrice Muamba was "in effect dead" for 78 minutes after he collapsed from cardiac arrest on the pitch this past week...
"[Bolton's club Dr. Jonathan] Tobin said he and the other paramedics who rushed onto the field treated Muamba for a total of 48 minutes on the pitch and en route to London's Chest Hospital, but it took a further 30 minutes to restart the midfielder's heart. [...] "In effect he was dead in that time," Dr. Tobin said. "Fabrice was in a type of cardiac arrest where the heart is showing lots of electrical activity but no muscular activity. "It's something that often responds to drugs and shocks. Now heaven knows why, but Fabrice had, in total, 15 shocks. He had a further 12 shocks in the ambulance." [...] The desperate effort to save Muamba was assisted by an off-duty cardiologist, who was in the stadium watching the game as a fan and was allowed onto the pitch. Dr. Andrew Deaner suggested Muamba be transferred to the London Chest Hospital, where he works, and administered vital drugs to the player in the ambulance. He says the fact Muamba is responding appropriately to questions and is able to make jokes within five days of suffering such major heart trauma is nothing short of astonishing. [...] "If you're going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here," he said. Deaner also revealed he had been in to see Muamba a few hours after he woke up. "I whispered into his ear 'What's your name?'," he explained. When Muamba said his name Deaner continued: "I said 'I understand you're a very good footballer'. And he said 'I try.'"
Amazing! P.S. See here BBC interviewing Dr Tobin and also Dr Deaner who is...
"...consultant Cardiologist at London Chest Hospital, who was at the game as a fan, and ran on to the pitch to lend his expertise."

Why Nations Fail ~ Inclusive vs Extractive Politics

MIT News spotlights economics professor Daron Acemoglu and his Harvard colleague James Robinson and their new book Why Nations Fail...
"Why do some nations, such as the United States, become wealthy and powerful, while others remain stuck in poverty? [...] Politics makes the difference. Countries that have what they call “inclusive” political governments -- those extending political and property rights as broadly as possible, while enforcing laws and providing some public infrastructure -- experience the greatest growth over the long run. By contrast, Acemoglu and Robinson assert, countries with “extractive” political systems -- in which power is wielded by a small elite -- either fail to grow broadly or wither away after short bursts of economic expansion. [...] To test this reading of history, Acemoglu and Robinson use a variety of “natural experiments” (some developed in collaboration with MIT economist Simon Johnson) to examine how, other things being equal, contrasting political institutions alter the economic trajectories of countries."
Here in Acemoglu's own words...

Central Park ~ Infomapping NYC's Green Heart!

Map Porn spotlights New York City's Central Park!