27 February 2013

Resident Alien ~ Cool Surprising SF Comic Story!

Very cool graphic novel / comic Resident Alien by writer Peter Hogan and artist Steve Parkhouse!
"Surviving a crash landing that ruins his spaceship, a stranded alien hopes to quietly live out his life in the sleepy town of Patience, USA, masquerading as a semi-retired doctor. He has some alien powers of empathy and the ability to mask his odd appearance from most people -- but how long can he last undercover?"
Excellent twist away from the usual xeno-phobo-cidal crap!

25 February 2013

Glassholes ~ Google "Unintended Consequence"

LOL, Google's getting griefed by Ryan Lawler at TC for the unintended consequences of their always-on wearable gear -- the generation of Glassholes;-) See also Joy of Tech on the reality... P.S. And, as usual, Google are being assholes about the IP.

Warbots ~ MAVs and Other Skynet Terminators...

Charlie Brooker writes in the Guardian that I know in my bones that a robot is going to kill you -- the new micro-drones...
"Most of the flying robots carrying out those kill missions are eerie, windowless airborne hulks bristling with Hellfire missiles. Enormous winged battledicks. They're frightening, but visually silly somehow, which adds to the obscenity of it all. The smaller drones [are] potentially more deadly. Compared with the current models flying over Pakistan, they have fearsome advantages of stealth, agility -- and sheer number. Because there were swarms of the things. Some were the size of pigeons. In fact, they actively disguised themselves as pigeons: they landed on overhead phonelines and folded their wings around themselves so the folk down below wouldn't get too suspicious. Then they hovered around gathering surveillance information. At one point the video shows a company of multiple "bugbots", each the size of a Milky Way bar, spreading out to wirelessly compile a good overall view of an apparently hostile city. Then one of them sneaks past a guard, swoops down a corridor, flies through a doorway and shoots a bad guy in the head. [...] See? Precisely the sort of thing that'll definitely kill us all."
Here's the USAF's MAV warbot vision...

Rescuing Hug ~ Healing Power of Touch Revisit!

Nice CNN piece on the Rescuing Hug one premature baby gave her twin in the NICU in 1995 and those same young women today. This was a discovery moment in understanding the healing power of touch!

24 February 2013

Hospital of Hope ~ Africa Mercy Ship on 60 Min!

CBS 60 Minutes spotlights the Africa Mercy hospital ship in Togo!
"Around the world, countless millions suffer with diseases that could be easily cured if those patients could reach modern medical care. For a fortunate few, there is a lifeline called "Africa Mercy." She is the largest civilian hospital ship on the seas."

Deep Inside ~ When Big Data Does Adult...

Jon Millward has gone Deep Inside to do Big Data analysis of porn stars, adult films, and professional performances...
"For the first time, a massive data set of 10,000 porn stars has been extracted from the world’s largest database of adult films and performers [and analyzed] to discover the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years. [For the first time Millward has] scrutinized adult performers in a way no man, despite regular attempts to do so, had ever managed before, and find out once and for all which stereotypes about porn stars are true, which are bogus, and what these men and women have been doing."
Amazing work. Probably NSFW since, despite the clinical nature of the investigation, some of the terms are necessarily exxxtraordinary.

Orient Excess? ~ AJ on China's People & Power

AlJazeera's People & Power channel shares Orient Excess about China's contradictions...

23 February 2013

Room For The River ~ NL Protective Waterworks

Room For The River is Dutch initiative to avoid high-water flood calamities with layered defense and protective measures.

Fiery Looping Rain ~ NASA Spots Solar Flare!

Thanks to MissC for reminding us of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and this lovely Summer 2012 video of Fiery Looping Coronal Rain!

R.I.P. Alan Westin ~ Privacy & Freedom Pioneer

Sad to read that Alan F Westin has passed away. In NYTimes obit, Margalit Fox writes that Westin, Who Transformed Privacy Debate Before the Web Era, Dies at 83...
"...a legal scholar who nearly half a century ago defined the modern right to privacy in the incipient computer age -- a definition that anticipated the reach of Big Brother and helped circumscribe its limits -- died on Monday [...] Through his work -- notably his book “Privacy and Freedom,” published in 1967 and still a canonical text -- Mr. Westin was considered to have created, almost single-handedly, the modern field of privacy law. [...] During these years, long before the personal computer and longer still before the Internet, Mr. Westin set out to codify just this kind of privacy for the modern age. “He knew social history, and he could appreciate the directions that the technology was pushing the social contract,” [...] Individuals, Mr. Westin argued in “Privacy and Freedom,” have the right to determine how much of their personal information is disclosed and to whom, how it should be maintained and how disseminated. “This concept became the cornerstone of our modern right to privacy,” said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group in Washington. “Part of ‘Privacy and Freedom’ is the argument that privacy enables freedom.”
An heroic thinker, sometimes wrong (for example, about the vile so-called Patriot Act) but basically a defender of rightful liberties. R.I.P.

Supercomplications ~ Today We Call Them Apps

Lovely review in the WSJ, The Watch Men, by John Steele Gordon of Stacy Perman's new book A Grand Complication...
"In the watch trade, anything beyond the marking of the hour, minute and second, is called a "complication." So my $80 Swatch has two complications, indicating both the day of the week and that of the month. A pocket watch sold by the firm of Patek Philippe in 1933 has 24 complications, including an alarm, several sets of chimes (one of which plays the same melody as London's Big Ben), the appearance of the night sky over New York City at any given moment, moon phases, even sidereal time. No wonder it is known as the "supercomplication." Today, of course, any iPhone has far more complications (we call them apps). [...] The spine of Ms. Perman's story is a sort of informal game of horological one-upmanship between two very rich Americans, James Ward Packard and Henry Graves Jr. They never met, but their silent competition to own the world's most complex watch pushed the design of these mechanical devices nearly as far as it could go and produced some of the most stunning mechanisms ever constructed."
Glorious stuff!

17 February 2013

Strip-Search Society ~ 24x7 Surveillance Age...

National, State, Local and Private Security "concerns" are being used to rationalize creating the virtual-equivalent of a strip-search society where individuals are under constant biometric, infometric, and sociometric surveillance, our hard-won Constitutional rights to protection from arbitrary invasion, search, and seizure are forfeit, and we have no privacy and thus no real liberty. This is Orwellian Big Brother bullshit and is despicable. Who will lead the resistance?

16 February 2013

Speculative Futures ~ How SF Inspires Engineers

I'm fascinated by what inspires people to greatness. Among the most powerful sources for engineers are the various forms of Science Fiction -- especially books, movies, TV shows, games, and comics.

Andromeda ~ NASA APOD Shares Galactic View

NASA APOD shares Herschel's Andromeda Galaxy...

Clear Vision ~ Kenyan Eye Clinic is African Dream

The BBC's African Dream series spotlights A Kenyan eye clinic with a long vision about Hurlingham Eye Care Services founded in 2007 by three female doctors...
"In the last six years the firm, which opened with just a few patients, has become East Africa's leading eye clinic and offers a wide range of services, from eye tests to laser surgery. "Right from the onset our dream was to work in a centre that can be able to provide all types of eye care as a one-stop shop," one of the founders, Dr Kahaki Kimani, told the BBC's series African Dream. "We also wanted to be a centre of excellence and so, when we saw a lot of our people travelling [for treatment] long distances outside the country -- to Europe, to South Africa, to India -- we felt that probably it was the right time to bring some of these services closer home."

11 February 2013

Silicon Valley ~ Epic PBS American Experience!

PBS American Experience spotlights Silicon Valley! Note, btw, how Silly Valley was really born as MIT-west with Francis Amasa Walker MIT President co-designing Palo Alto's Stanford University, Fred Terman MIT SB'24 creating Stanford Industrial Park, Bill Hewlett MIT SM'36 co-founding HP with first product based on his MIT Masters audio oscillator, William Shockley MIT PhD'36 co-inventor of transistors and co-founder of Shockley Semi, Bob Noyce MIT PhD'53 co-inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of both Fairchild Semi and Intel, Tom Perkins MIT SB'53 co-founder of Kleiner Perkins VC firm, Bob Metcalfe MIT SB'69 co-inventor of Ethernet and co-founder of 3Com, and dozens of other key MIT alumni figures playing early roles!

10 February 2013

Grand Central @ 100 ~ Stunning Station Inspires

This February marks 100 years since inauguration of Grand Central railway station in Manhattan, NYC. The BBC just published British historian David Cannadine's homage A Point of View: Grand Central, the world's loveliest station...
"...an extraordinary amalgam of technological sophistication and architectural wonder. [...] It was -- and still is -- located at the very epicentre of midtown Manhattan on 42nd Street and Park Avenue [...] At the time of its construction, Grand Central was acclaimed as an engineering marvel. In the subterranean depths of Manhattan, a huge space was carved out, where trains could be boarded from platforms at two different levels, which were approached by gently sloping ramps rather than inconvenient stairs [...] Above ground there arose a spectacular beaux arts creation, all marble and chandeliers and sculpture and glass, the centrepiece of which was a huge and lofty passenger concourse, which drew the eyes of awe-struck passengers heavenwards, where they could marvel at a vast, barrelled ceiling, painted blue and decorated with the signs of the zodiac."
Read the rest. Cannadine also comments on the first boom and then bust of railways, including the destructive consequences on stations like rival-sister Penn Station. And here Sam Roberts excerpts from his book Grand Central in NYTimes 100 Years of Grandeur...
"When Grand Central was finally finished, the only thing lacking was adjectives. The Times produced a special section of the newspaper and hailed the terminal as “a monument, a civic center, or, if one will, a city.” “Without exception,” the newspaper said, “it is not only the greatest station in the United States, but the greatest station, of any type, in the world.” A full century later, the journalist and novelist Tom Wolfewould write: “Every big city had a railroad station with grand -- to the point of glorious -- classical architecture -- dazzled and intimidated, the great architects of Greece and Rome would have averted their eyes -- featuring every sort of dome, soaring ceiling, king-size column, royal cornice, lordly echo -- thanks to the immense volume of the spaces -- and the miles of marble, marble, marble -- but the grandest, most glorious of all, by far, was Grand Central Station.”

Earth Temp Dynamics ~ Seasonal Heatmap...

Mapporn spots Planet Earth seasonal heatmap...

No Limits ~ Gene Roddenberry's Epic Star Trek

A salute to Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek!

03 February 2013

MIT Imaging & Fab Ventures ~ Wed Spring 2013

Ramesh Raskar and I are teaming up with Doug Hart and Joe Jacobson to run newly expanded and enhanced MIT Imaging & Fabrication Ventures seminar this Spring 2013! This is an Action Lab class designed to help students conceive of and launch great startups.
We study the landscape of imaging developments, plan and prototype new ventures & products, and brainstorm towards a startup, business unit, non-profit or citizen sector organization. To bring imaging research to the real world, the students will be encouraged to build teams and craft a business plan. We'll be exploring venture opportunities in some of the fastest changing technology domains including all things Imaging -- e.g. cameras, displays, visual computing, analytics and apps -- and Fabrication -- including robotics and automation, rapid prototyping, smart customization, 3DPrinting, DIYkits, peripherals and accessories to mobiles and tablets, fast venturing, crowdfinancing, issues of local and global sourcing and more. Please spread the word to those you think might be interested. First class is this Wed morning February 6th, 2013 in Media Lab E14-633.

MIT Media Ventures ~ Thurs 10a-12n Spr 2013

Our MIT Media Ventures ~ Media Lab Entrepreneurship & Digital Innovations Action Lab seminar surveys a broad landscape of emerging media technologies interwoven with live- and historic-cases of inter- and entrepreneurship-based on new media ideas, culminating in a term project. The core goal is 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 and related innovations. This year we will be especially emphasizing personal health care, financial service innovations, mobile transactions, and social media generally with special focus on social networks, quantified self and society, and "Big Data" analytics. First class this Thursday morning February 7th, 2013 in Media Lab E14-633.

02 February 2013

Robotic Deepsea Mining ~ Underwater Gold Rush

NatGeo spotlights robotic deepsea mining which...
"...faces a host of challenges before it can claim the precious minerals, from the need for new mining technology and serious capital to the concerns of conservationists, fishers, and coastal residents. The roadblocks are coming into view in the coastal waters of Papua New Guinea, where the seafloor contains copper, zinc, and gold deposits worth hundreds of millions of dollars and where one company, Nautilus Minerals, hopes to launch the world's first deep-sea mining operation."

Time Lapse Lotte ~ Dutch Girl from 0 to 12 years!

01 February 2013

Major Fitness ~ Bodyweight Exercise Strongman!

UD spots Major Fitness exercise badass!

Raspberry Pi ~ Tiny Computer, Million Tinkerers

NYTimes John Biggs writes A Tiny Computer Attracts a Million Tinkerers...
"The story of the Raspberry Pi begins in 2006 when Eben Upton and other faculty members at the University of Cambridge in Britain found that their incoming computer science students were ill-prepared for a high-tech education. While many students in the previous decade were experienced electronics hobbyists by the time they got to college, these freshmen were little more than skilled Web designers. Easy-to-use, modern PCs hide most of the nuts and bolts behind a pleasing interface. Mr. Upton posited that parents did not want their children to destroy their expensive computers by experimenting with their insides. But a cheaper machine would be fair game for messing around. The Raspberry Pi -- about 3 inches by 2 inches and less than an inch high -- was intended to replace the expensive computers."
It's become a hot-selling DIY hit kit!