31 May 2013
29 May 2013
The MIT Department of Materials Science & Engineering (DMSE) has two primo facilities on our first-floor Infinite Corridor -- the NanoLab and the Undergrad Materials Teaching Facility -- both dedicated to Research & Education at MIT. But as important -- and perhaps moreso -- is our Infinite basement-level MIT Glass Lab, a space dedicated purely for creative joy, something entirely Extracurricular...
27 May 2013
Professor Geoffrey West delivers Distinguished Lecture at BU's Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future on Growth, Innovation, and the Accelerating Pace of Life from Cells to Cities: Are They Sustainable?...
25 May 2013
Hearing about the flooding in San Antonio over the last couple days reminded me of their lovely man-made River Walk...
"The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río) is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city's urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right. Today, the River Walk is an enormously successful special-case pedestrian street, one level down from the automobile street."
24 May 2013
CNN Blueprint's Arion McNicoll and Stefanie Blendis spotlight new materials+design venture Bare Conductive in their piece Liquid lights and musical posters: Welcome to the world of electric paint...
"Imagine if you could paint a working light switch directly onto your wall, without any need for sockets, cables or wiring. A group of students from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London has made that possible by creating electrically conductive paint. The paint acts as a form of liquid wiring. Unlike conventional wires, it can be applied to almost any surface, including paper, plastic, metal and even fabric. [...] Its inventors, RCA graduates Isabel Lizardi, Matt Johnson, Bibi Nelson and Becky Pilditch, call their creation "Bare Paint." While they don't claim to be the first group to have invented a conductive ink, they are pioneering new ways it can be used."
22 May 2013
19 May 2013
14 May 2013
The UN FAO wants humanity to eat bugs according to latest report Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security...
"Insects as food and feed emerge as an especially relevant issue in the twenty-first century due to the rising cost of animal protein, food and feed insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth and increasing demand for protein among the middle classes. Thus, alternative solutions to conventional livestock and feed sources urgently need to be found. The consumption of insects, or entomophagy, therefore contributes positively to the environment and to health and livelihoods. [...] It is estimated that insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people. More than 1 900 species have reportedly been used as food. [...] Insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fibre and mineral content. [But] the polarity of views surrounding the practice of entomophagy necessarily requires tailormade communication approaches for each of the various stakeholders. In the tropics, where entomophagy is well established, media communication strategies should promote edible insects as valuable sources of nutrition to counter the growing westernization of diets. Western societies require tailored media communication strategies and educational programmes that address the disgust factor."The BBC investigates Can Eating Insects Save the World?
11 May 2013
ABC reports that At 'Breastaurants,' Business Is Booming. Hooters, Mugs 'N Jugs, Bone Daddy's House of Smoke, Twin Peaks, Burger Girl, Brick House Tavern + Tap, the Honey Shack, and the Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill are all exemplars of this robust restaurant segment where eats, drinks, and scenic views are on the menus...
One of CGPGrey's great explanatory videos disentangles The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England! Punchline picture... P.S. See also History of the Union Jack!
P.P.S. See also The (Secret) City of London!
P.P.S. See also The (Secret) City of London!
10 May 2013
Africa Progress Panel releases 2013 report Equity in Extractives...
"Africa can better manage its vast natural resource wealth to improve the lives of the region’s people by setting out bold national agendas for strengthening transparency and accountability. However, international tax avoidance and evasion, corruption, and weak governance represent major challenges. [There's] a shared agenda for change:
- African governments must improve their governance and strengthen national capacity to manage extractive industries as part of a broader economic and developmental strategy
- African governments should put transparency and accountability at the heart of natural resource policies, secure a fair share of natural resource revenue for their citizens, and spread the benefits of this revenue via equitable public spending;
- The international community should build on the US Dodd-Frank Act and comparable EU legislation to develop a global standard for transparency and disclosure, develop a credible and effective multilateral response to tax evasion and avoidance, and tackle money laundering and anonymous shell companies;
- International business should follow best practices on transparency, help build national capacity, procure more products and services locally, and raise standards in all areas of corporate accountability and responsibility;
- Civil society should build capacity and continue to hold governments and companies to account.
09 May 2013
07 May 2013
Nice WIRED UK piece by MIT Media Lab's Ethan Zuckerman noting how Africa's hackers are today's world-class tech innovators...
"On much of the African content, telecoms infrastructure is world class, whereas transport, power and other infrastructures lag far behind. For creative techies across the continent, this infrastructure disparity is an opportunity for innovation. [There's a] ...lively community of techies harnessing Kenyan telecoms to plug holes in the country's less developed infrastructure. Say you're the sort of Kenyan programmer who spends hours working on your laptop at home. Your arch-nemesis is the frequent power cuts that knock your internet router and wireless hub offline. You're the target market for the BRCK, a device being prototyped at the iHub that features a battery backup for a wireless router that talks to the GSM data network to provide net access. When the power goes off, BRCK turns on. [...] For countries such as Kenya to emerge as economic powerhouses, they need better infrastructure: roads, ports, smart grids and power plants. Infrastructure is expensive, and takes a long time to build. In the meantime, hackers are building "grassroots infrastructure", using the mobile-phone system to build solutions that are ready for market. [...] There's a vast, powerful infrastructure that can be repurposed and hacked. Some of the most creative people on the continent are solving problems by using technologies in ways their creators had never expected."Read Ethan's whole piece and Kickstart the BRCK!
06 May 2013
DailyMail spots that Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson has successfully fired The Liberator, the first entirely 3DPrinted gun (except for firing pin and bullet). Statist liberals are appalled and pandering politicians are already seeking to ban it. But the plans are online and the genie is now way out of the bottle... P.S. In a grotesque violation of freedom of speech and other essential elements of the US Constitution, Cody has been forced by the Feds to take down the designs.
05 May 2013
04 May 2013
Lamar Anderson writes in Atlantic/Architizer that LA Wants to Turn Its Concrete 'River' Into a Real River...
"Though the waterway hasn’t really been a natural habitat since the 1930s (when the city lined the riverbed with concrete to control flooding), new bike paths, public art, and kayak tours now draw Angelenos to the water’s edge. [...] The Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan, completed in 2007 by the landscape design firm Mia Lehrer + Associates, calls for the removal of most of the concrete and natural habitat restoration around the river."
03 May 2013
MIT Media Lab Professor Hugh Herr writes in the WSJournal about Bionics and the Boston Bombing Victims and introduces No Barriers Boston initiative to provide the injured with sport-ready prosthetics...
"Dance teacher Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who suffered a below-the-knee amputation as a result of the Boston bombings, vows to dance again and to run in next year’s Boston Marathon. [...] I believe Adrianne will succeed. She has the will, which is essential. [Beyond this...] technology will be paramount to Adrianne’s participation in the Marathon next year. It will also shape the rest of her life. [...] To help those injured in the Boston bombings, my research group at the MIT Media Lab is collaborating with a nonprofit, No Barriers, which is establishing a No Barriers Boston Fund. The fund will provide individuals with prosthetic limbs specifically designed for athletic activities [...] Adrianne will successfully run in next year’s Boston Marathon. And that she will dance. When she runs the marathon next year, I will join her, along with other athletes using artificial limbs and wheelchairs. We will participate as a beautifully defiant statement to the world that we the people will not be intimidated, brought down, diminished, conquered or stopped by acts of violence."Yes, indeed.