30 July 2013

CapeFlyer ~ Increasingly Popular Mass Rail Line!

The Globe's Katie Johnston writes the Appeal of weekend train to Cape Cod is growing...
"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."

Secret Science? ~ WSJ OpEd on EPA Perfidy...

US Rep Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reveals in an WSJ OpEd The EPA's Game of Secret Science the unsavory and appalling fact that the bloatocracy refuses to reveal its research...
"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.

Aberdeen ~ UK Center for Subsea Engineering...

Fascinating to read NYTimes piece by Stanley Reed on Aberdeen, With a Foot on the Seafloor about a Scottish city that's blossomed into offshore industry boom town...
"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!

A Breathing Earth ~ Nelson's Seasons Anime...

io9 spots John Nelson's seasonal NASA Visible Earth satellite imagery anime A Breathing Earth...

Maiden Call ~ Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller @ Busan

gCaptain spots world's largest container ship Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller's 2nd Officer Yaroslav Karetnikov's timelapse video of their maiden port call to Busan, South Korea... Plus, check out timelapse build video!

28 July 2013

Remit US ~ Migrants Sending $120G Home...

In Globe piece Where the money goes, nice infographic...
"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..."

Religion Map ~ World's Dominant Irrationalities...

MapPorn spots worldmap of dominant religions... (Of course, it doesn't adequately spotlight Atheists who think religion is irrelevant. And from the comments, it's apparently rather inaccurate.)

27 July 2013

Violent Coast ~ BBC in Post-War Liberia & SL...

BBC's Ben Anderson in Liberia & Salone just after civil wars...

Murderous Mao ~ China's Evil Founder-Dictator...

So-called "Modern" China still worships their founder, the absolutely vile and evil mass-murder Mao Zedong. In addition to raping young virgins, this pedophilic verminous swine and his killer Communist Party regime have slaughtered at least 50 Million of his own Chinese people directly and millions more in Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, Taiwan, and other neighboring regions. And on this 60th Anniversary of the "end" of the Korean War, let's not forget that it was the illegitimate and vicious surprise Chinese assault against authorized UN forces which gave us the current "Lil Kim" idiot in-charge of North Korea. But most PRC Chinese citizen don't know this because their history has been whitewashed by the fearful, revisionist, and criminal Communist Party leadership -- Mao's minions -- still currently in control. Today's PRC is a corrupt evil dictatorship that doesn't deserve to be considered as a legitimate state -- indeed, their entire leadership starting from the top should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Hearken to the massive evidence...

24 July 2013

Hyper Earth ~ SpaceRip Spotlights Planetary Data

SpaceRip spotlights Hyper Earth!

African Land ~ WB on Governance Reform...

The World Bank has just released Securing Africa's land for shared prosperity: a program to scale up reforms and investments by Frank Byamugisha who writes...
"Despite its abundant agricultural land and natural resources, Sub-Saharan Africa
is still mostly poor and has been unable to translate its recent robust growth into rapid poverty reduction. These examples suggest that poor land governance -- the manner in which land rights are defined and administered -- may be the root of the problem. [...] For countries to boost governance, improved approaches and comprehensive policy reforms will need to be scaled up across the continent. This book suggests building a scaling-up program with 10 elements."

22 July 2013

Into the Storm ~ Final Days of Tallship Bounty

Mario Vittone at gCaptain shares his interactive timeline of Bounty’s last voyage before sinking at sea caught up in Superstorm Sandy...
"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."

Urban Informatics ~ BBC on Smarter Cities

BBC Click piece spotlights Why city transport is set to become 'smarter'...
"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

Timelapse Reconstruction ~ ProRail @ Enschede!

Dutch infrastructure organization ProRail shares timelapse construction video of rebuilding Enschede station... And here's simulated overflight of finished project... Finally, a somewhat confusing simulation of the reconstruction timeline... P.S. Here's latest as of 31 August 2013!

17 July 2013

Torre David ~ Skyscraper Squat in Caracas, VE

Thanks to my MIT colleague Caleb Harper for spotlighting Torre David, an abandoned and unfinished 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela which has been taken over by 2,500 locals (some 750+ families) who now call it home. While some might be dismayed by the seemingly anarchistic nature of extra-legal squatter invasions and often hazardous conditions of the building, I especially appreciate the emergent, bottom-up solutions and DIY creativity the residents exhibit, building everything from their own private spaces, to shared-use commons and stores, to essential infrastructure and security. In their NYTimes piece and related video Squatters on the Skyline, Simon Romero and Maria Eugenia Diaz write A 45-Story Walkup Beckons the Desperate...
"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.

13 July 2013

Urban Roar ~ NYTimes on the Noisy City...

Cara Buckley writes in the NYTimes Behind City’s Painful Din, Culprits High and Low...
"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

R.I.P. Amar Bose ~ Epic MIT Acoustic Engineer...

Very sad to hear that MIT Professor Emeritus and BOSE Founder Amar Bose has passed away at 83. As Glenn Rifkin writes in NYTimes obit...
"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...

09 July 2013

Abundance ~ Diamandis on Breakthrough Inno's

A couple of Peter Diamandis talks on Abundance...

Fab Labs ~ NeilG on Making & Makerspaces!

Mawuna Remarque Koutonin at SiliconAfrica reminds me of this 2006 TED talk by MIT colleague Neil Gershenfeld on Fab Labs...

Cluster Crafting ~ TR on Tech Hot Spot Secrets...

TR's Antonio Regalado writes In Innovation Quest, Regions Seek Critical Mass asking "What’s the secret to becoming the next technology hot spot?"
"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."

07 July 2013

Death Map ~ Humane Borders, Better Future?

The Guardian's Edward Helmore writes that 'Death map' of deserts aims to save lives of desperate Mexican migrants...
"...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.

Innovation Trail ~ Kirsner Maps Boston Greats

The Globe's Scott Kirsner suggests a great idea, an Innovation Trail as alternative to the historical Freedom Trail...
"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...
Also, it's worth looking at the Cambridge Innovation Map.

Secret History of Silicon Valley ~ Blank++

Plus check out logos in SV tour video...

06 July 2013

Megacities ~ Future of Giant Conurbations...

Hong Kong Accelerate ~ Timelapse Beauty!

I particularly appreciate Hong Kong Accelerate... And here are more HK timelapses!

Urban Plans ~ Ideas Shaping Great Cities...

Burnham's Chicago... Cerdà's Barcelona... Haussmann's Paris...

Parking ~ Pricing & Planning Car Storage...

Prof Donald Shoup on Parking Rationality...

Snakes ~ Remarkable Structure & Motorskills!

Spotlight: Snakes! First, Lauren at io9 sees baby Cobra feasting! Adult Cobra vs Mongoose... Next, the Secrets of Slithering... Robosnake! Slithertron evolves! Vi Hart's Snakes + Graphs;-) Finally, Samuel L Jackson in Snakes on a Plane...

04 July 2013

Restore the Fourth ~ July 4th Anti-NSA Protests

What better way for Americans to celebrate Independence from an oppressive and intrusive regime than by protesting un-Constitutional oppressive and intrusive NSA spying and other grotesque violations of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. CNet's Dara Kerr writes that Reddit, Mozilla, EFF and more join July 4th anti-NSA protests...
"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."

Man vs Machine ~ Harken the End of Work?

PBS Newshour's Paul Solman explores Man vs Machine...

R.I.P. Doug Engelbart ~ Intelligence Augmentor...

Sad to hear Douglas Engelbart has passed away at 88. As John Markoff writes in his NYTimes obit, Engelbart "had an epiphany in 1950 that would change the world." Co-inventor of the computer mouse, Engelbart envisioned future of radical intelligence augmentation via online information, linked references, text editing, video conferencing, multi-media, and more. His December 1968 epic "Mother of all Demos" showed a working system with all of those envisioned elements... That's immortal even if Doug isn't.

03 July 2013

EU Explained ~ CGPGrey Decomplicates Europe

MissC spots CGPGrey explaining the EU...

Gettysburg ~ Bloody Epic Union Victory @ 150...

150 years ago today the Union forces won the Battle of Gettysburg, which Lincoln later immortalized in his commemorative Address...
"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.

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."

Check out interactomap (tnx MissC for spotting)... And here's map of the larger campaign...

01 July 2013

Innovation Generation ~ Sengeh Enables Makers!

MIT Media Lab's David Sengeh gives Keynote Address at the 2013 UN High-level Segment of the Economic and Social Council on the Innovation Generation, enabling African youth makers!