30 July 2012

Religulous ~ Ridiculing Really Almighty Bullshit

Religulous by Maher and Charles ridicules religious bullshit...

Sight ~ Future World with Augmentation Contacts

Thanks to Miss Cellania for spotting Sight;-)
"In the world of a not-too-distant future, everyone wears augmented reality devices as contact lenses. Everyone is constantly wired, online, connected, dependent on technology. The short film Sight is the graduation project of Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem."

Moscow Timelapse ~ Stunning Russian Cityscape!

English Russia spots beautiful Moscow Timelapse!

29 July 2012

Orange Pants ~ Dutch Athletes at the Olympics;-)

Amy in .nl spots Olympic Fashion list by Chris Chase, who notes...
"You can't pull off orange pants. I can't pull off orange pants. Only Dutch athletes can pull off orange pants."

Internet Everywhere ~ NeilG et al on Future Web

World Science Festival panel on Internet Everywhere...
"Pioneers of the digital revolution examine the Internet’s brief but explosive history and reveal nascent projects that will shortly reinvent how we interact with technology -- and each other. From social upheaval and ever-shifting privacy standards to self-driving cars and networked groceries..."

28 July 2012

Sustainable Medellín ~ Streetfilms on Colombia!

Streetfilms documents the story of Medellín: Colombia’s Sustainable Transport Capital...
"...the city recognizes the importance of providing an integrated public transportation system as the backbone [so] Medellín is becoming famous for innovative sustainable transport. Recent efforts to modernize public transit, create better public spaces and improve safety are helping transform the city. These projects include the development of bus rapid transit (called MetroPlús) and the creation of a bike-share program -- new transportation elements that are integrated with existing metro and cable car systems."

Beyond 7 Billion ~ LATimes on Humanity's Boom

Thanks to Kottke for spotting LATimes special on Beyond 7 Billion...
"Los Angeles Times staff writer Kenneth R. Weiss and staff photographer Rick Loomis traveled across Africa and Asia to document the causes and consequences of rapid population growth. [...] the world's population has exploded over the last two centuries. The boom is not over: The biggest generation in history is just entering its childbearing years. The coming wave will reshape the planet, and the impact will be greatest in the poorest, most unstable countries."

26 July 2012

The Manhattan Project ~ Cameron Michaels NYC

See Cameron Michaels timelapse video The Manhattan Project...

Intersection NYC ~ Navid Baraty's Top Photos!

The DailyMail delivers some stellar skyscraping images from photographer Navid Baraty's Intersection NYC collection!

Marine Innovations ~ On Design, Efficiency, Safety

The Economist spotlights Scandinavia's role in novel shipbuilding technologies in A voyage of discovery...
"Norway is an important centre of marine innovation and several foreign companies have operations there, too. One such is the marine division of Rolls-Royce, a British firm, which is collaborating with Farstad, a shipping company based in Alesund, and STX OSV, a shipbuilder. The result of their efforts is Far Solitaire (pictured above), the first of a new class of vessels which bristle with novel technology that promises to make shipping safer, cleaner and cheaper."
gCaptain has also been particularly good at spotting interesting new marine innovations, including this series by Rob Almeida on How to Design a More Efficient Ship...
"Wärtsilä put together a presentation recently that evaluated a number of new technologies and design concepts aimed at cutting operating costs, while at the same time reducing ship emissions."
Just a few images give a taste of the techniques...

Tulip Nebula ~ NASA Photo of Day Spots Gas!

NASA's APOD spots the Tulip Nebula photo by BYU astronomers Michael Joner and David Laney working with Robert Gendler!

25 July 2012

Private Military Companies ~ Security Services++

One additional element about the civil conflict in Sierra Leone caught my attention, namely the disproportionately effective role of Executive Outcomes -- a Private Military Company or PMC -- in defending civilians and pushing back the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)... There's much more to be said about such modern mercenaries. Shadow Company is a compelling documentary on the sector...

22 July 2012

PopFab ~ MIT's Portable Fabrication Multi-Tool!

Nadya Peek & Ilan Moyer showcase PopFab!
"PopFab is a multi-tool for the 21st century. At its heart is a computer-controlled motion platform and a means of attaching various toolheads. These enable PopFab to make objects from a digital plan in a variety of ways: current capabilities include 3D printing (as you are about to see), milling, vinyl cutting, and drawing -- with more on the way. PopFab has traveled the world as a carry-on item of luggage to Saudi Arabia and Germany, and within the USA to Aspen in Colorado. We hope that this is only the beginning."

West African Mining ~ Big Corporate Action...

Spotlight on international mining and resource extraction in West Africa, starting with this FT piece on Sierra Leone's new chapter... And a survey piece on SL's mining sector... Corporate promo video by London Mining in Marampa, Sierra Leone... Also one by Koidu Holdings, Sierra Leone. ArcelorMittal in Liberia Mines Again: From Dream to Reality... And more from AM in Liberia... Al Jazeera on Chinese reviving Bong Mine, Liberia...

Operation Palliser ~ Enlightened Intervention...

I'm very interested in the current boom times in Sierra Leone, with dramatic growth rates and the problems of prosperity and entanglements over ownership and sharing the wealth. How different from just over a decade ago when SL was in the throes of civil war. Until, that is, Operation Palliser, which began as an evacuation by UK troops but escalated into the protection of the capital, Freetown, and fight against the RUF rebellion. The story deserves further review because it is a successful example of Enlightened Intervention by outside powers in ending strife and restoring a people to a more peaceful pathway forward. The BBC tells of The brigadier who saved Sierra Leone, the story of the British deployment and their leader...
"The force commander, a little-known brigadier called David Richards, had other ideas. He saw a chance, took a risk, and changed the fate of the country. [...] "I could see," he told me, "that with a little robustness, we could make a difference." [...] Richards promised the president that Britain would supply arms and ammunition to the government forces. [...] Richards was committing Britain to taking sides in Sierra Leone's civil war. However, there was one important difficulty. The general's political bosses in London had sent him to carry out a quick evacuation and then leave. "So," I asked him 10 years on, "you were promising the president all this before you had the political authority from London to do so?" "Er, yes," he said, "I'm afraid I was, yes."
Wow! See more from the BBC about this remarkable story... And here's a Master's thesis by Patrick Evoe on Operation Palliser: The British Military Intervention into Sierra Leone, A Case of a Successful Use of Western Military Interdiction in a Sub-Sahara African Civil War.

Landsat @ 40 ~ Timelapse Earthwatch Imagery...

Phil Vinter at the DailyMail spotlights The changing face of Earth: Dramatic high-resolution satellite images show how the world has been transformed over the last four decades...
"...all taken by a fleet of Earth-observing satellites that form part of the Landsat program, which celebrates its 40th anniversary tomorrow. Jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the initiative has been consistently gathering data about our planet since 23 July, 1972. [...] This makes it the world's longest-running satellite program for global land observations. Its archive of images forms an impartial, comprehensive, and easily accessed register of human and natural changes to the Earth."

20 July 2012

Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C ~ Massive Motive Power

Continuing the theme of big vehicles is today's spotlight on the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C...
"...the largest reciprocating engine in the world, designed for large container ships, running on heavy fuel oil. It stands at 13.5 metres (44 ft) high, is 27.3 m (90 ft) long, and weighs over 2300 tonnes in its largest 14-cylinder version -- producing 80080 kW."
Finnish motive power champion Wärtsilä builds these!
gCaptain spots a few images of this Emma Maersk engine...
And gives some sense of inner workings...
Plus another perspective on just how big it is!
History Channel gets close up view...

18 July 2012

Service Drones ~ Robots & UAVs Beyond War...

Interesting story of French firefighters using UAVs to scout flames... Orbit in Belgium over accident scene... Powerline inspection systems... Even ship at sea inspections (thanks gCaptain!)...

Lightning Slo-Mo ~ 7,207 Frames per Second;-)

Thanks to The Kid Should See This for spotting lightning slo-mo! ZT Research captures...
"A downward lightning negative ground flash captured at 7,207 images per second. A negative stepped leader emerges from the cloud and connects with the ground forming a return stroke."

17 July 2012

Cycle Superhighway ~ DK's Green Light for Bikes

NYTimes video on updated cycling infrastructure in Denmark...

Public Lands, Private Profits ~ Green Hysteria?

NYTimes Green blogger Joanna Foster spots mini-documentary Public Lands, Private Profits...
"The films focus on three treasured places in the public trust that are threatened by private mining and drilling proposals, including areas around the Grand Canyon that are still open to uranium mining, a proposal to expand coal mining near Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and the introduction of natural gas drilling around Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. [What is] appropriate use of the 700 million acres of public lands that belong to all Americans."
See trailer...

16 July 2012

Santa Cruz Boardwalk ~ Epic CA Amusements!

Thinking back to my youth, I remember the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as a favorite spot. And it's still going as one of the last great seaside resorts!  A bit of the background and history...
"The Boardwalk extends along the coast of the Monterey Bay, from just east of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf to the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. [...] The Boardwalk was founded by Santa Cruz businessman Fred Swanton (1862–1940), who aimed to create a resort on the West Coast similar to Coney Island or Atlantic City, New Jersey [...] The West Coast once hosted many more beach parks, including the Pike in Long Beach, California, Neptune Beach in Alameda and Playland at San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Those all have long since closed, but the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk survives as a reminder of a bygone era."

Urban World ~ McKinsey on Emerging Cities...

The McKinsey Global Institute just released their new report Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class by co-authors Richard Dobbs, Jaana Remes, James Manyika, Charles Roxburgh, Sven Smit and Fabian Schaer...
"Through a combination of consumption and investment in physical capital, growing cities could inject up to $30 trillion a year into the world economy by 2025. Understanding
cities and their shifting demographics is critical to reaching urban consumers and to preparing for the challenges that will arise [...] The 600 cities making the largest contribution to a higher global GDP -- the City 600 -- will generate nearly 65 percent of world economic growth by 2025. However, the most dramatic story within the City 600 involves just over 440 cities in emerging economies; by 2025, the Emerging 440 will account for close to half of overall growth. One billion people will enter the global consuming class by 2025. [...] To capture the opportunities that arise from urbanization, businesses will need extensive market intelligence. [...] Companies that understand and respond to shifting urban marketplaces are likely to experience tremendous benefits. Yet a new McKinsey survey finds that less than 20 percent of executives are making location decisions at the city level."
Read the full report!

Natural Beauty ~ DailyMail Delivers the Photons

The DailyMail delivers some natural beauty!

15 July 2012

NL Railways MRO ~ Equipment and Processes...

While looking into what key infrastructure is needed in top innovation hubs and vital cities, I came across some compelling examples of Dutch railway maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). First, Strukton with their Gemma catenary renewal train... And more broadly, a survey of Strukton services... Next, ProRail deals with the challenges of extreme summer weather... ...and extreme winter weather... And here's ProRail's mondo Plesser rail replacer! Finally, here's ProRail's summary activities from 2011...

Kliptown Youth Program ~ CNN's Change Heroes

CNN's Kathleen Toner spotlights Thulani Madondo and his KYP colleagues Helping 'Kliptown' kids take control of their future. The story begins with Kliptown resident Brian Munyai...
"Munyai found basic necessities like food and clothing difficult to come by. But although his circumstances didn't make it easy, he was determined to get an education. "I spent a lot of time without a school uniform," he said, recalling the embarrassment he felt being different from classmates from middle-class neighborhoods. "Going to school with a hungry stomach... it was very tough." Munyai worked hard, however, and in high school, he heard about the Kliptown Youth Program. The after-school program, commonly known as KYP, provided him with intensive tutoring that helped him pass his senior exams and find funding to attend the University of Johannesburg. He recently earned a national diploma in banking. "This program actually changed my future," Munyai said. "(Without it), right now, I would not be standing here and saying that I went to university."

11 July 2012

Cycling Girl ~ Copenhagen Cycle Chic Spotlight!

The amazing Copenhagen Cycle Chic spots the iconic Cycling Girl!

It Only Takes Ten ~ Educate Lanka's Campaign!

Our MIT Development Ventures alum Manjula Dissanayake (Tufts Fletcher '12) writes about his philanthropic venture Educate Lanka and their It Only Takes Ten initiative...
"...a six-month long fundraising campaign to raise a minimum of $10,000. Volunteer 10 minutes of your day, give $10 out of your pocket, or just tell 10 more people about us!"

Mining Deep Seabeds ~ Gold Rush in the Abyss

NYTimes Science section spotlights A Gold Rush in the Abyss...
"A new understanding of marine geology has led to the discovery of hundreds of these unexpected ore bodies, known as massive sulfides because of their sulfurous nature. These finds are fueling a gold rush as nations, companies and entrepreneurs race to stake claims to the sulfide-rich areas, which dot the volcanic springs of the frigid seabed. The prospectors -- motivated by dwindling resources on land as well as record prices for gold and other metals -- are busy hauling up samples and assessing deposits valued at trillions of dollars. [...] Skeptics once likened mining the deep to looking for riches on the moon. No more. Progress in marine geology, predictions of metal shortages in the decades ahead and improving access to the abyss are combining to make it real. Environmentalists have expressed growing alarm..."

LEGO Machines ~ Models, Devices, Mechanisms

Seen several interesting LEGO-based machines lately! First Candy Machine via UniqueDaily... 3D Milling Machine... Tic Tac Toe player... Volvo EC290C Tracked Excavator... Rolls-Royce engine via Inhabitat...

10 July 2012

Voice of the People ~ Hong Kong vs Politburo...

The Economist shares the voice of the people versus Politburo from one of the two relatively free places in Mao's China...
"Colonial-era social freedoms still apply in Hong Kong, and pro-democracy groups in the territory have staged protests on July 1st ever since the first anniversary of the reversion to Chinese sovereignty 15 years ago. [...] Hong Kong officials were at pains to prevent Mr Hu from encountering any disaffected citizens, whose complaints range from Hong Kong’s growing wealth gap to the mistreatment of dissidents in mainland China to [...] the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. [...] Mainland Chinese media imposed a virtual news blackout on the demonstration."

Ecoducts ~ Nice Bridge Overpasses for Wildlife...

I've written before about Critter Crossings, the Habitat Highway, Freeway Cap Parks, Urban Parks, and even the Elephant Underpass, so it's really excellent to see this World Geography post on Unusual Bridges For Animals -- Wildlife Overpasses with excellent photos...
"The bridges are for the animals; the animals walk over the road, and the vehicles go through the structure. Most of the structures are between 10m and 60m wide. They typically have soil, litter, and vegetation on top to provide suitable habitat for a range of different species and species groups"

04 July 2012

Liberty ~ Root Ideals of American Independence!

Take a mo to read the full US Declaration of Independence, think about how far this country has strayed away from TJ's epic ideals -- and what you are going do about it -- and cast your eyes upon the best symbols of American greatness -- the Statue of Liberty and fireworks!
Happy Birthday USA!

03 July 2012

Vision Quest ~ Al Jaz on India's Aravind Eyecare

Al Jazeera's 101 East spotlights Vision Quest, a documentary on India's Aravind Eye Care System...
"Founded in 1976, surgeons working for Aravind are among the most productive in the world, with fewer complications than British doctors. But what is truly astonishing about Aravind is that nearly half of the 300,000 procedures it conducts every year are free. Aravind treats everyone from presidents to paupers, regardless of what they can pay."

Orsos Island ~ Floating Luxury Yacht+House...

CNN's Stina Backer reports on $6 million man-made floating island...
"The oval-shaped "Orsos Island" has been designed to combine the mobility of a yacht with the comfort of a house. It offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and 1,000 square meters -- nearly four tennis courts -- worth of luxury living space. [...] The island is the passion project of Hungarian-born entrepreneur Gabor Orsos, a former hotelier who wanted to combine the best features of luxury hotels with the flexibility that a superyacht provides. Measuring 37 meters long, the island can be anchored anywhere in the world its owner fancies."

Darling Goes Adult ~ MIT Research on Porn+Tech

Our MIT Media Lab colleague Kate Darling (visiting from ETHZ) studies intellectual property and economics, including especially intangibles and what are sometimes called "soft assets". Since no media sector exposes more in this regard than adult, Kate has become deeply engaged in the porn industry, observing its dynamics up-close. She shares some penetrating insights in this recent interview with Jon Tribb of LadieZ Night, Kate Darling on Tech in the Adult Industry...
"The adult industry is notoriously innovative, and it’s going through the same technological disruption as other entertainment industries in the Internet age. [...] When I looked for research on the subject, I couldn’t find very much, so I decided to do it myself. [...] Adult entertainment has always been in tremendous demand. Also, many new media formats have increased privacy and convenience, which is something that consumers value highly. Another reason may be that the adult industry has never really had the option of fighting technological change. [...] As with previous technological disruptions, the companies that figure out ways to use this new architecture to their advantage rather than spend all of their resources trying to stop it are more likely to win in the end. [...] once the current dust settles, I think we will be left with some highly professional, smart, competitive players, and I think that they have a good shot at surviving, and even thriving."
Finally, Darling answers the obligatory question about sexbots...
"I’m fascinated with all of the directions that social robotics is taking and truly hope we manage to develop sophisticated sex robots"
Be sure to read the full, uncut interview;-)