31 July 2013
30 July 2013
"Since service began on Memorial Day weekend, the [CapeFlyer] train has transported nearly 9,000 passengers -- almost 900 of them last weekend -- between Boston and Hyannis. The increasingly popular venture has collected enough fares to cover the approximately $165,000 annual cost of operating the train, and the service may be extended until Columbus Day. [...] Train service between Boston and the Cape has been attempted several times over the years, but this iteration has a better chance of success [...] Bike racks in the first car of the train have hit capacity more than once, forcing the train crew to find other places to stow them. “It has opened up a crowd of people that wouldn’t normally come here because they don’t want to drive,” Wurfbain said. “Without taking that trip with the car, it’s so much more pleasant.” [...] Restored rail lines make the ride faster and smoother, he said, while high gas prices and the desire to avoid traffic jams like the 25-mile backup over the 4th of July weekend are prompting more people to leave their cars at home."
"As the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with some of the most costly regulations in history, there needs to be greater transparency about the claimed benefits from these actions. Unfortunately, President Obama and the EPA have been unwilling to reveal to the American people the data they use to justify their multibillion-dollar regulatory agenda. [...] the agency is moving forward with strict new limits on ozone that by its own estimates will cost taxpayers $90 billion per year, which would make the regulation the most costly in history. [...] the EPA has obstructed the committee's request at every step. To date, the committee has sent six letters to the EPA and other top administration officials seeking the data's release. [...] Simple transparency is not the only reason this information should be released. The costs of these rules will be borne by American families. They deserve to know what they are paying for. [...] The federal government has no business justifying regulations with secret information. This principle has been supported by two of the president's own science and technology advisers [...] The EPA should reveal the research it uses and let the American people decide whether the agency's costly regulations are justified."More evidence of complete and total corruption permeating government. Fire them all, I say.
"Since the early 1970s, when oil was discovered in the British North Sea, Aberdeen has evolved from a fishing town, to an oil boom town, to the world’s center of innovation and execution for the technology that makes the modern offshore energy industry possible. “Scotland has been the home of subsea engineering,” Mr. Blake, a Scot, said in a conference room in Chevron’s European headquarters on a hilltop overlooking this city and its many dark granite buildings. “The expertise generated by the North Sea continually influences undersea work across the globe.” That expertise, with a resurgence of investment in natural gas and oil fields in and near the North Sea, means that Aberdeen, with 468,000 people in the city and surrounding area, has been able to nearly escape the economic doldrums that have plagued most of Britain and Europe. Aside from central London, Aberdeen is the wealthiest place in Britain..."See also sister-city Stavanger in Norway!
29 July 2013
28 July 2013
"The World Bank estimates that in 2011, immigrants living in America were responsible for $120 billion in remittances flowing to their home countries. The size of the circles below reflect the amount of remittances in billions..."
27 July 2013
24 July 2013
"Despite its abundant agricultural land and natural resources, Sub-Saharan Africa
22 July 2013
"Bounty should have never left New London. No one disagrees. But she did. What happened next -- at least what the surviving crew say happened next -- should be studied. There are lessons in the last voyage of Bounty for all of us. [This timeline] was created using the testimony of the surviving crew along with all other publicly available information on the sinking. It covers (primarily) the time Bounty left New London on October 25th until she sank on the morning of October 29th. Seeing it this way -- hour by hour as the trip unfolded -- provides a look into human nature and decision-making that we don’t get if we stay focused only on the mistake of making the trip at all. It shows how people -- even your people – might react in a crisis. It looks head-on into the normalizing of hazards and acceptance of risk with no gain. Watching the events unfold on Saturday, you can sense the crew’s tunnel vision and denial. And trying to figure out why it took so long to call for help may even infuriate some of you. It did me. Still, this is a wreck you want to look at."
"From apps and websites which tell us when the next bus, train or plane will arrive to those which help find a free parking space, the amount of transport data generated in cities is ever-growing. There’s a big problem with this information deluge, though. Often this information is not shared between systems, which means a city might not flow as freely as it could. For a city to get smarter, all this data needs to be drawn together. Click’s Spencer Kelly reports from Dublin, Ireland, which is taking part in a trial to gather all this information and help make travelling and transport "smarter".
21 July 2013
20 July 2013
17 July 2013
"The office tower, one of Latin America’s tallest skyscrapers, was meant to be an emblem of Venezuela’s entrepreneurial mettle. But that era is gone. Now, with more than 2,500 squatters making it their home, the building symbolizes something else entirely in this city’s center. The squatters live in the uncompleted high-rise, which lacks several basic amenities like an elevator. [...] Once one of Latin America’s most developed cities, Caracas now grapples with an acute housing shortage. [...] Private construction of housing here has virtually ground to a halt because of fears of government expropriation. The government, hobbled by inefficiency, has built little housing of its own for the poor. [But] strivers abound in the skyscraper. They chafe at being called “invaders,” the term here for squatters, preferring the less contentious word “neighbor.” A beauty salon operates on one floor. On another, an unlicensed dentist applies the brightly colored braces that are the rage in Caracas street fashion. Almost every floor has a small bodega. [...] “There’s opportunity in this tower."Also check out Torre David documentary trailer... Caleb's asking the fascinating question "What if we built such towers intentionally with adequate but affordable infrastructure and amenities?" Addendum: AmusingPlanet's Kaushik revisits Torre David.
15 July 2013
14 July 2013
13 July 2013
"Silence has become a luxury in New York that only a scant few can truly afford, and cultural, technological and economic changes in recent years have added to the din everyone else must endure, creating not just one culprit, but many. [...] Noise has become harder than ever to escape, though New York City, now in its second century of noise abatement efforts, has managed to quiet some offenders of the past, like boom boxes and car alarms. Interviews with residents in affected areas, officials, soundproofing professionals and audio experts not only confirm the creep in round-the-clock outside noise, but suggest that its potential ill effects can rival those caused by deliberately manipulated, high-decibel assaults inside stores, clubs and restaurants. [...] The constant buzz of New York City is, to some, part of its allure, a life sign of a relentlessly restless, vibrant, ever in-motion city that stands in contrast to the sleepy silence of the suburbs, or to cities with hollowed-out urban cores. [...] Beyond harming hearing, chronic exposure to noise increases the risk of cardiovascular disease..."Indeed, among the innovations we need are quiet construction techniques, whispering helicopters, and more!
12 July 2013
"Dr. Bose focused relentlessly on acoustic engineering innovation. His speakers, though expensive, earned a reputation for bringing concert-hall-quality audio into the home. And by refusing to offer stock to the public, Dr. Bose was able to pursue risky long-term research, such as noise-canceling headphones and an innovative suspension system for cars, without the pressures of quarterly earnings announcements. [...] Dr. Bose made a lasting impression in the classroom as well as in his company. His popular course on acoustics was as much about life as about electronics, said Alan V. Oppenheim, an M.I.T. engineering professor and a longtime colleague. “He talked not only about acoustics but about philosophy, personal behavior, what is important in life. He was somebody with extraordinary standards,” Professor Oppenheim said."So true. I had the good fortune of inviting Dr Bose to address the thousand newly incoming MIT grad students during my first year. I asked him to summarize in his remarks his lessons-learned on "How to make the most of your time at MIT and beyond." He delivered a seemingly extemporaneous stellar lecture on just that, drawing forth a dozen top lessons from his own time as MIT grad student and professor-teacher and company founder and more. Epic. R.I.P. See here Dr Bose in 1996 speaking to his acoustics students last class...
11 July 2013
09 July 2013
"Kendall has become what economists call a cluster, a concentration of interconnected companies that both compete and collaborate. [...] net job growth comes from startup companies, especially the kind that explode from a few employees to several thousand. In technology, those winners have a way of producing more winners. The process reaches critical mass in the web of intertwined companies, resources, advantages, ideas, talent, opportunity, and serendipity that defines a technology cluster. It’s clear that what’s essential is proximity to human talent and new ideas. [...] The big questions in this month’s MIT Technology Review Business Report are why technology clusters arise and what the ingredients are to create one."
08 July 2013
07 July 2013
"...over the past decade, more than 2,000 corpses, often desiccated, with the bones scattered by animals, have been recovered [...] Humane Borders is one of several groups working to reduce the number of migrant deaths. Yet even as the numbers of Mexican -- and increasingly Central American -- migrants attempting the hazardous crossing appears to have declined, the number who die trying remains troublingly consistent.The crossing to America is simply becoming more dangerous. [...] a new project known officially as The Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Immigrants -- Younglas call it the "death map" -- may begin to reduce the deaths and help families of the missing recover the bones of their members."P.S. Weaponized Drones for the Border Patrol will not help.
"I’m proposing a different kind of walk though Boston and Cambridge: an Innovation Trail that focuses on the past, present, and future of innovation here. We’ll always have Paul Revere’s place and Old Ironsides, but what about the incubator where Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell tinkered or the world’s only “Walk of Fame” for entrepreneurs? The Innovation Trail picks up just a few years after the Freedom Trail leaves off: The newest spot on the old trail is the Bunker Hill Monument, built in 1842. The oldest stop on this new trail is the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital, where surgical anesthesia was first demonstrated successfully in 1846."While Scott offers more detail in his blogpost, in my opinion he overlooks a few especially key places, including...
- Arthur D Little's Research Palace, the first of Boston's innovation consultancies (Bain, BCG, Monitor came later),
- Dick Morse's National Research, the birthplace of Minute Maid frozen OJ (named to honor the Minute Men of Boston),
- Main Street as the original telecom alley where Bell made the first long-distance phone call to Watson who was sitting in an historic landmark building first home to Davenport's railroad car manufactory, later home of Land's instant photo firm, Polaroid, and today shared biotech space, LabCentral,
- Technology Square, the first successful University-linked brownfield economic redevelopment park,
- the Barta building where Jay W Forrester's team built Whirlwind precursor to Sage and birthplace of DEC and MITRE,
- Charles Stark Draper's Instrumentation Labs where inertial navigation was perfected and Moon landing made feasible,
- And several more!
06 July 2013
05 July 2013
04 July 2013
"Rallying around the Fourth of July holiday, several Web sites have come together to take part in a nationwide protest over the National Security Agency's surveillance program. Organized by the nonprofit Fight for the Future, thousands of sites -- including some heavy-hitters like Mozilla, Reddit, WordPress.org, and 4chan -- will be staging online protests. Rather than going black, like many sites did during the 2012 protests of Congress' Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA, these sites will prominently display a Fourth Amendment banner. The banner will quote the text of the amendment, which says, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."
03 July 2013
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Check out interactomap (tnx MissC for spotting)... And here's map of the larger campaign...
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."