29 May 2012
The private space launch and services era is finally properly upon us with the successful launch of the SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule! Brilliant lovely!
28 May 2012
The latest Economist maps Batista's Brazil...
"Since 2004 he has set up and listed five companies: MPX (energy generation); MMX (mining); LLX (logistics); OGX (oil and gas) and OSX (shipbuilding). A sixth, one of his few non-Brazilian assets, a Colombian coal mine, will be spun off from MPX on May 25th. Together with four unlisted companies in entertainment, precious metals, information technology and property, these make up the EBX empire. (All those Xs are supposed to represent wealth multiplying.) Few have yet made profits. Some were listed before they were much more than an idea. But selling potential has made Mr Batista Brazil’s richest man and the world’s seventh-richest, with a fortune estimated at $30 billion. That’s more than Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Mr Batista says he will not be satisfied until he has taken the top spot from Carlos Slim, a Mexican telecoms tycoon."
Nice Scientific American infographic by Jen Christiansen based on data from Twente researchers Arjen Hoekstra and Mesfin Mekonen on Embodied Water...
"A vast amount of water is used to produce the food and products that nations consume. Large population is the greatest factor, but inefficient agriculture or dependence on water-intensive cuisine can exacerbate demand; meat consumption accounts for 30 percent of the U.S. water footprint. Certain countries, such as India and the U.S., also export significant quantities of water in the form of food and products, despite their own robust consumption. Populous nations that have little land or little water are huge net importers."
27 May 2012
26 May 2012
Most excellent to see MIT Media Lab-related DIY programming venture Modk.it's Modit Micro on Kickstarter! Join me in backing them!
"Modkit Micro is a graphical programming environment for microcontrollers. Microcontrollers allow programmers and engineers to add behaviors to everyday objects and electronic gadgets. We created Modkit Micro to bring the world of microcontroller programming to the masses. Modkit Micro helps almost anyone to make almost anything smarter through a simple, yet powerful visual programming interface. Modkit Micro is based on years of research at the MIT Media Lab including the popular Scratch project, so it will look familiar to the over 1 million kids and novice programmers who have already been introduced to Scratch."
25 May 2012
23 May 2012
Brilliant MIT Media Lab doctoral students Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have launched MaKey MaKey on Kickstarter! It's...
"...an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It's a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between!"
22 May 2012
21 May 2012
In his latest piece on Why Facebook is Killing Silicon Valley, Steve Blank shows this simplified infographic on Waves of Innovation (which is drawn from his great must-see Secret History talk!-)
19 May 2012
Rebuilding Utrecht Centraal train station in NL! It's in Dutch, but is visually pretty self-explanatory! And as extra bonus, here's more about Dutch rail infrastructure firm ProRail's contemporary upgrades and new developments...
17 May 2012
Yes, here we see true MIT leaders together! New MIT President-Elect Rafael Reif who hails from Venezuela, Latin America, and our greatest living MIT President-Emeritus Paul Gray -- both faculty leaders of my own alma-mater department at MIT -- EECS;-)
16 May 2012
15 May 2012
Check out Annette von Kapri's Dance Dance bodysuit made for her Sensor Systems for Interactive Environments class. She has...
"...created a body suit which can sense your movement and play music based on that. Fabric bend sensors are attached to the joints. As soon as a joint is bend this triggers a sound to play."
These Ukranian babes are truly righteous beauties! They protest against political stupidity and unwise conformity and gross corruption. Yes, indeed, the lovely and courageous FEMEN women are my heroines! Of course, to be clear, I think prostitution per-se as chosen profession ought to be quite legitimate and as a career should have the same freedoms as all others. But I completely understand and agree with the FEMEN rejection of the all-too-frequent forced servitude and the despicable abuses inherent in contemporary sextrade. Thanks to IEET for spotting!
14 May 2012
Peter wants his penis back writes Eric Beauchemin on RNW...
"A row has broken out in a village in the southern Dutch province of Brabant between an artist and the police over a 3-metre high wooden penis. The artist made the sculpture and attached a sign to it with the name of a policeman. He was protesting against the policeman for searching his daughter for drugs. The officer regarded the huge penis as insulting and late last week the police confiscated it. The artist, Peter de Koning, is furious. He says the action violates his right to freedom of expression. He is demanding that the police give him back his penis."
13 May 2012
11 May 2012
09 May 2012
08 May 2012
Thanks to Emeka Okafor for spotting this Tony Wagner presentation at the Penny Conference via Forbes on Creating Innovation-Driven Economies... FYI, Tony's joining us for a Conversation at Media Lab this Friday evening 5:30p+ in E14 3rd floor atrium.
I want to revisit the big idea of Accelerated Convergence -- figuring out how historically, and how going forward, countries begin to grow rapidly and catch-up with the most prosperous. Check out these data traces from Gapminder which show first Australia, then Canada, then Monaco, then Sweden, then Japan, then South Korea, and now China all shifting from prior GDP/capita trajectory into accelerated convergence mode and then (except for China, yet) converging in GDP/capita with United States...
The Girls Go Wild in Amsterdam's Red Light district in this promo made for Stop the Traffik -- an international coalition fighting human trafficking. RNW shares the backstory with Belgian agency DuvalGuillaume. Prostitution isn't inherently immoral but tricking or forcing or otherwise entrapping unwilling participants in it is thoroughly despicable.
F.U.C.K. is simply brilliant! The Free Universal Construction Kit -- adapters for interoperability twixt top construction toys...
"F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab are pleased to present the Free Universal Construction Kit: a matrix of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten* popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems -- enabling radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids. As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet -- or unmeetable -- by corporate interests."
07 May 2012
Last Thursday's HackKendall conclave at the Venture Cafe was about dialing up the greater Kendall neighborhood. Among those presenting ideas were the firms Hacin + Assiciates and Sasaki and Associates which also produced this thought-piece on building the Innovation City in Boston-metro and beyond...
06 May 2012
Very nice little Streetfilm about San Francisco: Reclaiming Streets With Innovative Solutions...
"...the recent livable streets achievements in San Francisco [are] "tactical urbanism" -- using low-cost materials like paint and bollards to reclaim street space. [...] Perhaps the city's most exciting new development has been the parklet program, which converts parking spaces into public space complete with tables, chairs, art, and greenery. [...] San Francisco has also seen an impressive 71 percent increase in bicycling in the past five years. [Finally] The city has also taken the lead on innovative parking management with the SFPark program, which uses new technology to help manage public parking in several pilot neighborhoods. It aims to make it easier to find a parking spot by adjusting prices according to demand, helping to reduce pollution, traffic, and frustrations for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists."
Mark Wagenbuur at BicycleDutch compares UK bicycling infrastructure to that in the Netherlands. Very eye-opening. He's too polite to say it directly, but the bottom-line is that the British urban planners and traffic engineers are grotesquely incompetent -- roughly as horrible as their American equivalents. Witness Mark's videos...
In light of supermoon, it's high time we look more closely at our satellite's cataclysmic past;-) Ian Sample of the Guardian summarized latest NASA research a few years ago...
"Some regions of the moon are so pocked with craters they have reached what planetary scientists call "saturation equilibrium", where each additional crater wipes out an older one, so the number of craters remains the same. [...] A team led by James Head at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, used an instrument called a laser altimeter on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to map craters on the moon. The instrument bounces laser pulses off the lunar surface every 25 metres as it hurtles overhead. By measuring how long each laser pulse takes to bounce back to the spacecraft, scientists can map the surface contours of the moon to a vertical accuracy of 10cm."
05 May 2012
Thanks to the DailyMail for spotlighting Alex MacLean's new book Up on The Roof: New York's Hidden Skyline Spaces...
"Over the years MacLean has flown his plane over large areas of the United States, documenting the landscape from beautiful agricultural patterns to geometric city grids. In the book's introduction architecture critic Robert Campbell writes: 'Rooftops will be the lungs of the denser city of the future. 'As the world urbanizes, the rooftops will connect us with nature, with wind and sun and rain and snow, with the natural processes of growth and decay.'"
Stephanie Siek of CNN writes New prosthetic limbs 'celebrate' bodies, personalities instead of hiding lost limbs. Smart wears are...
"...the forefront of a movement that redefines what a replacement limb can be -- not a replacement for something lost, but a supplement, an enhancement."
Very compelling to see the work of the MIT Little Devices group, and in particular their action matrix, a portfolio which...
"...maps onto 4 different global disease burden domains using a growing toolkit of technologies and approaches"