28 December 2014

Gapminder World 2013 ~ Life Expect vs GDP/cap

Gapminder shares latest global figures comparing...
"Life Expectancy & GDP per capita of 187 countries in year 2013. Each bubble is a country. Size is population. Color is region. [Produced Nov 2014. Click to download PDF]"
http://www.gapminder.org/GapminderMedia/wp-uploads/Click-here-to-download.pdf

26 December 2014

Tsunami 2004 ~ Recalling Boxing Day Disaster...

The Boxing Day 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean -- ten years ago today, December 26th -- was one of the biggest natural disasters in modern memory, killing over a quarter-million people without (much) warning within 4-6 hours in at least a dozen countries -- and triggering unprecedented humanitarian relief efforts. There are several retrospective documentaries of note, but here's a sampling... For those interested in quantifying the catastrophe, first note this NOAA simulation of the tsunami wavefront... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake_and_tsunami Second, look at this seismographic plot from around the world showing the Earth literally ringing from the rupture of the Sunda megathrust off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake_and_tsunami
We're learning ever more about quakes and tsunamis and NOAA's research and warning system is on the frontline... Nevertheless, the colossal power of plate tectonics is only one of the deadly natural perils mankind faces. Just one modest-sized asteroid hit, say like Eltanin or Chicxulub, would create quakes and tsunamis that make the Boxing Day disaster seem like ripples in a puddle. Simulate this for yourself via ImpactEarth! For civilizational survival, we need to figure out how to move humanity well beyond our cradle, ASAP.

Fishhead Nebula ~ NASA Spots Star Formations

NASA APOD spots the Fishhead Nebula! http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141224.html

22 December 2014

Urban Change ~ Half-Century Foto-Comparisons

Thanks to Robin Chase for spotting Shane Hampton's post at the Institute for Quality Communities, 60 Years of Urban Change: Midwest...
"60 years has made a big difference in the urban form of American cities. The most rapid change occurred during the mid-century urban renewal period that cleared large tracts of urban land for new highways, parking, and public facilities or housing projects. Fine-grained networks of streets and buildings on small lots were replaced with superblocks and megastructures. While the period did make way for impressive new projects in many cities, many of the scars are still unhealed. We put together these sliders to show how cities have changed over half a century. In this post, we look at Midwestern cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio."
http://iqc.ou.edu/2014/12/12/60yrsmidwest/ http://iqc.ou.edu/2014/12/12/60yrsmidwest/http://iqc.ou.edu/2014/12/12/60yrsmidwest/

Betabook ~ Portable Pocket or Handy Whiteboard!

Afrigadget shares A Tablet for Africa which is the Betabook, a portable pocket or hand-holdable whiteboard which one can just digitize with a smartphone and camera. It's Kickstarting...

Five Jetliners ~ Epic Airbus Formation Flying!

Wow, Sploid's Jesus Diaz and Andrew Gorenstein spot an epic Airbus stunt, the formation flying of five new A350-900 XWB passenger jets!

Liquid Rainbow ~ Colombia's Vibrant River!

The BBC's Karen Catchpole writes of central Colombia’s 100 Km long Caño Cristales river -- the Liquid Rainbow. Check out photos by Eric Mohl of the river's natural shades of red, blue, yellow, orange and green due to the many hues of the Macarenia Clavigera plant! http://www.bbc.com/travel/slideshow/20140903-colombias-liquid-rainbowhttp://www.bbc.com/travel/slideshow/20140903-colombias-liquid-rainbowhttp://www.bbc.com/travel/slideshow/20140903-colombias-liquid-rainbow

Amsterdam Light Festival ~ Timelapse Photonicity!

Thanks to 24oranges for spotlighting the Amsterdam Light Festival 2014-15 and Jack Fisher's lovely timelapse!

20 December 2014

Vestas Skipper Nico ~ Learning From Shipwreak...

At end November 2014, skipper Chris "Nico" Nicholson's nine-man Volvo Ocean Race team Vestas Wind ran their 65 foot racing yacht aground at 19 knots onto the charted Cargados Carajos Shoals, a reef nearish to Mauritius (which is roughly 200 nautical miles away) in the Indian Ocean. Thanks to gCaptain for sharing the saga and spotting his insights as shared with Sailing Anarchy's Alan Block... Here's some of the crash and context video... Vestas navigator Wouter comments on errors. Finally, some formal comments from CEO Frostad at Volvo Race Control...

18 December 2014

Prosthetic Mods ~ Double Amputee Fully Armed!

Amputee Makes History with APL’s Modular Prosthetic Limb!
"A Colorado man made history at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) this summer when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two of the Laboratory’s Modular Prosthetic Limbs. Most importantly, Les Baugh, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs, performing a variety of tasks during a short training period."

Prelude Progress ~ Epic Ship Construction Porn!

gCaptain spotlights my favorite current gigaproject, the Shell Prelude! Here's earlier intro to Prelude FLNG.

Roboparty ~ ETHZ's Autonomous Xmas Lab 2014

MissC spots Robot Christmas Party from ETHZ!

07 December 2014

R.I.P. Ralph Baer ~ Father of TV Video Games

Kokatu and Gamasutra report the sad news that Ralph Baer, widely considered the father of video games, has passed away at age 92.
"A renowned inventor, and holder of over 150 patents, Baer's most famous work was designing the machine that would become the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's very first home video games console. Every console and handheld that's come since, well, you can trace it all back to the Odyssey."

Rolltop ~ Computing Sceptre Concept Video...

This Rolltop concept video from 2010 is still compelling...

30 November 2014

Decommissioning ~ Retiring GasOil Rigs Correctly

Ingenia's Brian Nixon spotlights Decommissioning North Sea giants...
"A growing number of oil and gas assets have either reached, or are approaching, the end of their economic lifespans, and, in accordance with current regulations, will have to be decommissioned and removed. This presents challenges for the owners and operators of these assets, but offers major business opportunities for engineering consultants, contractors and service specialists. [...] At the moment, there are three accepted strategies for the removal of these larger production facilities, namely piece small, reverse installation and single lift. [...] Until recently, decommissioning has not been considered within the overall lifecycle of an offshore asset. As a result, maintenance regimes have often overlooked key items of plant and equipment that would be needed during the abandonment stages, leading to significant and arguably unnecessary costs. There are welcome signs that this attitude may be changing, with some companies now introducing decommissioning as part of their graduate development programmes. However, further effort is required before decommissioning is fully considered throughout the lifecycle."
And to give you a sense of the scale of what it takes to remove such rigs, here's a NatGeo docu on assembling one of the very biggest! And Discovery docu on North Sea Mega Rigs!

28 November 2014

Ship MRO ~ Repair & Overhaul of the Big Boats!

Mike Schuler at gCaptain spotlights Damen Shiprepair's MRO work on the MSC Magnifica! And here at Blohm+Voss Elbe yard, the Braemar was cut in two and extended by 10m!

27 November 2014

Root Capital ~ Growing Agri-Impact Finance...

Check out Root Capital, a financing and connections-making social venture which helps small and growing rural agri-businesses thrive long-term, socially, economically, and sustainably. See especially their Timeline and here's founder Willy Foote sharing how it all started... And a summary of their approach... And a Skoll World Forum Uncommon Heroes mini-docu on Root...

26 November 2014

Inspiring Amputees ~ MSF Action in Jordan...

MSF works in Jordan on seriously injured Syrian refugees. Here's a snippet of their work... Now the key additional thing is to ensure affordable quality prostheses are, in fact, accessible to those Syrian amputees, otherwise this was not inspiration but cruelty.

Detroit People Mover ~ Downtown Light Railway...

Business Insider spots the -- alas empty -- Detroit People Mover...

17 November 2014

The Pacific Age? ~ Economist Special Report...

The Economist surveys The Pacific Age including the dramatic re-emergence of Asian economies and related trade with the Americas...
"The refrain, “The Mediterranean is the ocean of the past, the Atlantic is the ocean of the present and the Pacific is the ocean of the future,” first heard more than 100 years ago, is still repeated today. Yet exactly half a century after Japan “rejoined the world” (in the phrase of Ian Buruma, a writer) by hosting the Olympics in 1964, the Pacific Age has now clearly arrived. Japan’s economic power may have peaked 25 years ago, but it produced a trans-Pacific competition that now has America and China vying with each other for the title of the world’s largest economy (at purchasing-power parity). All three Pacific nations trade vigorously with one another."
http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21631795-under-american-leadership-pacific-has-become-engine-room-world-trade

16 November 2014

Cycling Without Age ~ Kassow's Rides @ TEDx

Copenhagenize's Mikael shares the TEDx talk by Ole Kassow who created the Cycling Without Age movement...

Carrot Clarinet ~ Pollak's DIY Musical Instrument!

DIY Carrot Clarinet demo'd by Linsey Pollak at TEDxSydney!

Learning From Sandy ~ Can NYC Really Prepare?

Superstorm Sandy -- two years ago, this past two weeks or so -- exceeded expectations and caught much of NYC and our American eastern seaboard surroundings short. Surge flooding, power loss, transit disruption, property damage, and more. Watch the docus to get a sense of scale and ferocity... The NYC Comptroller has upped estimates of property at-risk and the NYC leadership are on the ball pushing for change. DotEarthling Andrew Revkin spotlights NYC's softer relationship with the sea and especially NYTimes colleague Alan Feuer's Building for the Next Big Storm ~ After Hurricane Sandy, New York Rebuilds for the Future...
"In the next four decades, scholars say, sea levels are expected to rise by as much as 30 inches, and if the worst projections come to pass, about 800,000 city residents could find themselves living with the threat of being swamped. According to an insurance report commissioned by the city, if New York suffers another storm like Sandy in the early 2050s, when ocean levels and the population are likely to be higher, it could cause $90 billion in damage -- almost five times the cost of the initial storm."
Some radical new thinking is needed about coastal flood resilience, defence-in-depth, room for the water, more savvy infrastructure, and more... http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/two-years-after-sandys-surge-new-york-city-shifts-toward-a-softer-relationship-with-the-sea/ Especially watch this series of speakers highlighting plans for Recovery and Resiliency at NYC's Hospitals (NYU Langone, Bellevue, etc)... P.S. Here's some historical nuggets, including my commentary on 27 Oct 2012 Superstorm Sandy ~ Tracking Emergent Weather, 28 Oct NYC Evac Map ~ Warning Zones for Sandy, looking at big picture on 29 Oct Imaging Sandy ~ NASA/NOAA Timelapse, the disaster retrospective Into the Storm ~ Final Days of Tallship Bounty, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announcing PlaNYC, early thoughts on resiliency, the power of drills in the hospital evacuations, and specific inventions, like the Tunnel Plug!

13 November 2014

Keating's Story ~ Curiosity Caught the Cancer!

MIT Media Lab colleague Steven Keating shares at a Koch Institute talk how his curiosity caught his cancer -- and now enables him to share unprecedented -- and often hilarious -- insight into how he and team dealt with it... P.S. Check out story at CancerCommons, Super Patient: Steven Keating Fights Brain Cancer with Data!

12 November 2014

I Belong ~ UNHCR End Statelessness Campaign

http://africanarguments.org/2014/11/12/how-will-the-unhcrs-statelessness-campaign-affect-africa-by-bronwen-manby/Bronwen Manby at African Arguments asks How will the UNHCR’s statelessness campaign affect Africa?
"On 4th November the UN launched a global campaign to end statelessness within ten years. I confidently predict that the result of this campaign will be to ‘increase’ statelessness by many millions of people. This is not because I think that the campaign is misconceived -- far from it -- but because the statistics on the numbers of stateless persons are currently so inadequate that one of the main impacts of greater attention to the issue will be that currently uncounted populations will come into focus. This is a good thing."
Read the rest, it's important.

11 November 2014

Anthem Vet Memorial ~ Sunspot at 11:11 on 11/11

Behold Mike Spinelli's beautiful photo of Anthem Veterans Memorial!
"At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States."
http://twistedsifter.com/2014/11/anthem-arizona-veterans-memorial/ Let's never forget those who had to fight or stood ready to.

Complexity Economics ~ Evolve, Iterate, Change

10 November 2014

Making Nature Useless ~ Beyond Peak Farmland

Ronald Bailey at Reason asks Can We Save Nature by Making It Economically Useless?
“Decoupling” human economy from ecology could render large areas of pastures, croplands, and managed forests too remote for exploitation. [...] "The way we will save nature is by rendering it economically worthless," declared Ted Nordhaus. Nordhaus, chairman of the Breakthrough Institute, was speaking at "Making Nature Useless," a seminar sponsored by the D.C.-based think tank Resources for the Future. With that one sentence, he summed up the entire session’s theme. [...] "Why are we using just half of the planet's ice-free land surface?" he asked the audience. Cropland only occupies about 12 percent; pasture, 24 percent; managed forests, 9 percent; cities, 3 percent. About 12 percent of the world's ice-free land, he noted, has been formally set aside for conservation and preservation. What makes that 12 percent different? His answer is that, for the most part, it is too high, too dry, too steep, and too remote. We have saved what we have saved, he suggested, largely because it is not worth anything economically. Most of the lands that are not legally protected but remain unexploited share the same economically off-putting characteristics. [...] humanity is on the cusp of "peak farmland." If current land-use trends continue, an enormous amount of crop and pasture land will be abandoned and returned to nature. [...] Urbanization contributes to the process of decoupling economy and ecology, since fewer hungry people engaged in low productivity subsistence farming mean more land for nature. [...] Analysts with old-fashioned Malthusian mindsets are again decrying the imminent approach of "peak everything" followed by a collapse of civilization. The data presented at Wednesday's seminar points toward a much happier version of "peak everything," as humanity increasingly withdraws from the natural world during the rest of this century."
http://reason.com/archives/2014/11/10/making-nature-useless

Cultural Complexity ~ MIT's César Hidalgo @ Eyeo

César Hidalgo at Eyeo 2014 on International & Intertemporal Differences in Social and Economic Complexity...

Future Superyachts ~ CNN Spots Designs...

CNN spots Fantastical Superyachts including... http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/10/tech/gallery/fantastical-superyachts-of-the-future/index.htmlhttp://www.cnn.com/2014/11/10/tech/gallery/fantastical-superyachts-of-the-future/index.htmlhttp://www.cnn.com/2014/11/10/tech/gallery/fantastical-superyachts-of-the-future/index.html

03 November 2014

Protected Intersections ~ Key for Urban Bicycling

Pascal van den Noort at VeloMondial spots Nick Falbo's Protected Intersections video... Nick does a good job synthesizing lessons-learned from Dutch designs including those noted by two of my favorite cycle blogs, Mark Wagenbuur's BicycleDutch and David Hembrow's View From the Cycle Path.

02 November 2014

Prelude ~ NYTimes on Biggest Ship in the World

The NYTimes spotlights Shell's Prelude with photosynth imagery by Stephen Mallon and Jon Huang...
"Owing to shifts in oil prices and a change in the climate of energy arbitrage, a vast amount of usable natural gas -- an estimated three trillion cubic feet of it -- is now profitable and waiting to be tapped within an area called Browse Basin, under the Indian Ocean, roughly 125 miles northwest of Australia. That’s where Prelude will soon be towed, then fixed."

Howgrow.org ~ Stories of Food From Field to Fork

Thanks to Kuriositas for spotting How Does it Grow, an ongoing series sharing stories of our food grows and goes from field to fork! First full episode, Mushrooms, which I don't like, but it's cool to see how they're grown! Next, Garlic! Finally (for now), Cauliflower!

Strip the City ~ Urban Tech Underneath & Inside!

Cool Discovery show Strip the City! Here's Dubai... San Francisco... New York... Sydney... London...

Aircraft MRO ~ Aviation Engineering & Upkeep...

Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services are key to keeping airplanes flying...

Flight Catering ~ Industrial-Scale Kitcheneering!

Airline food "How It's Made"... Swiss Gate Gourmet... Emirates Catering... LSG Sky Chef Trolley cam... LSG Sky Chefs general... The so-called "Dirty Truth" about airline food...

Dubai World Central ~ Emergent Aerotropolis!

Check out promo video for Dubai World Central, a ginormous master-planned and emergent aerotropolis and translogistics center!

Fast Crossing ~ Coast-to-Coast Cost-Effectively!

NatGeo's Dan Stone and Spencer Millsap followed truckers Tim and Karen Rife shepherding a load of strawberries across the USA in...
"...three days, from California to Washington, D.C., to understand what it takes to deliver food grown thousands of miles away."
http://onward.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/30/the-fastest-route-across-america/

The Great Invisible ~ Disaster & Addiction to Oil

Thanks to the Scuttlefish for spotting trailer for The Great Invisible...
"Margaret Brown’s searing documentary [...] Rather than simply hurling oily muck at the perpetrators of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, this film promises a far more in-depth view of one of the worst environmental catastrophes in global history, its lingering effects, and the economic and human consequences of a global addiction to oil."

01 November 2014

Effective Lessons ~ J-PAL on Edu Investments...

From last year's Science special issue on Grand Challenges in Science Education here's MIT J-PAL Executive Director Rachel Glennerster speaking about her teams piece on The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World summarizing lessons from randomized control trials (RCTs) of programs that aim to improve the learning outcomes of school-age children...

Globular Perspective ~ Alt View of South America!

MapPorn spots South America in globular perspective, published as a foldout supplement from the December 1937 issue of Fortune magazine!  Be sure to click through to the full-size, hi-res map!http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/2kysem/south_america_in_globular_perspective_published/

On The Frontlines ~ NYC Property Flood Risk...

Thanks to Henry Melcher at ANblog for spotting new New York City Comptroller’s office policy brief On The Frontlines summarizing updated estimates of expected cost of property at risk from the next big Hurricane Sandy-class storm.  Bottom line:  ~US$130 Billion, over double previous estimates mostly due to expanded boundaries of expected damage, as visualized on maps... http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/Policy_Brief_1014.pdf

30 October 2014

MegaBots ~ Giant Robot Live Combat Kickin!

Yes! Check out MegaBots! This live-action giant exoskeleton combat arena game is Kickstarting NOW!
"The mad scientists at MegaBots have been zealously working on the prototypes and final design of 15-foot-tall, 15,000-pound, walking humanoid combat robots with giant, modular pneumatic cannons for arms. A driver-and-gunner team pilot each MegaBot in a battle against other MegaBots, vehicles, and a variety of other defenses and obstacles in live-action combat -- the likes of which the world has only dreamed of through video games and movies."

28 October 2014

Makr Shakr ~ Quantum's Bionic Bartenders!-)

gCaptain spots Quantum of the Seas latest additional feature, the Makr Shakr bionic bartenders!

Ebola Ward ~ BBC on Treatment Facilities...

BBC shows How Ebola is being treated on the ground...
"The treatment centre is designed to separate confirmed Ebola patients from probable or likely cases. Upon entry, patients are examined by medical staff in full protective gear. Following the initial diagnosis, they are then split into low or high probability wards until the laboratory results come in, which could take anything from a few hours to days, depending on the facility. There is little that medical workers can do for their patients, as there is no cure for Ebola. All they can help with is to care for the patients and treat symptoms like dehydration, as well as wash and comfort them. According to MSF, good care increases the chances of survival from a disease that has a 50% fatality rate and whose symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding, sometimes from the eyes and mouth. However, overcrowded facilities and a shortage of staff on the ground have made this difficult so far."
The treatment centre is designed to separate confirmed Ebola patients from probable or likely cases.  Upon entry, patients are examined by medical staff in full protective gear.  Following the initial diagnosis, they are then split into low or high probability wards until the laboratory results come in, which could take anything from a few hours to days, depending on the facility.  There is little that medical workers can do for their patients, as there is no cure for Ebola. All they can help with is to care for the patients and treat symptoms like dehydration, as well as wash and comfort them.  According to MSF, good care increases the chances of survival from a disease that has a 50% fatality rate and whose symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding, sometimes from the eyes and mouth. However, overcrowded facilities and a shortage of staff on the ground have made this difficult so far. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29537156

27 October 2014

New Startup Math ~ Analyzing Kauffman Survey...

MIT Changing Cities participant Barry Beagen spots the New Startup Math by Inc's Kris Frieswick and Kristin Lenz building upon Kauffman Foundation's Firm Survey and analysis by Carmen Cotei and Susan Coleman of the University of Hartford and Joseph Farhat of Central Connecticut State University... http://www.inc.com/magazine/201410/kris-frieswick-kristin-lenz/kauffman-foundation-firm-survey-what-drives-success.html

26 October 2014

McLaren F1 ~ Owner's Manual as Work-of-Art!

BBC's Matthew Phenix spotlights the Owner's manual as work of art...
"In this five-minute film, McLaren’s Design Operations Manager, Mark Roberts, discusses his first job with the company: illustrating the owner’s handbook for the F1 road car back in 1992. As he did with the car itself, McLaren chief Gordon Murray oversaw every aspect of the handbook’s creation. No surprise, the book was a clothbound work of art, every bit as meticulously crafted as the car it described. The illustration style -- pencil drawings with colour washes that highlight relevant areas -- is one that, with a modest smirk, Roberts calls “almost Leonardo-like.”

13 October 2014

Endless City ~ SURE's London Greenscraper...

Julian Robinson in the DailyMail spots SURE's Endless City...
"A giant skyscraper as tall as The Shard in London, built with its own complete ecosystem featuring offices, shops and 'huge' parks. London is the proposed city for the mixed-use tower, which would include interlinking ramps connecting different sections of the structure to create a 'vertical city' housing thousands. [...] different areas of the building would be linked by a series of bridges and walkways helping to 'increase exchanges, communications and interactions. It would include a raft of public spaces, entertainment zones and shopping areas to create a 'vertical city'. Residents would be able to walk up a series of interlinked ramps through vibrant streets, plazas, technological spaces and 'huge' parks in a 'complex and rich system like a real city'."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2735522/City-sky-Ambitious-tower-block-house-thousands-people-schools-offices-shops-parks.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2735522/City-sky-Ambitious-tower-block-house-thousands-people-schools-offices-shops-parks.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2735522/City-sky-Ambitious-tower-block-house-thousands-people-schools-offices-shops-parks.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2735522/City-sky-Ambitious-tower-block-house-thousands-people-schools-offices-shops-parks.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2735522/City-sky-Ambitious-tower-block-house-thousands-people-schools-offices-shops-parks.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2735522/City-sky-Ambitious-tower-block-house-thousands-people-schools-offices-shops-parks.html

Bullet Train @ 50 ~ Japan's Stunning Speed Lead

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/japan/11096405/Japan-50-years-of-the-bullet-train.htmlJoanna Symons from the Telegraph spotlights 50 Years of the Bullet Train in Japan!
"Fifty years ago this October [...] Japan’s first Shinkansen, or bullet train, slid out of Tokyo station and gathered speeds of up to 130mph en route for Osaka, heralding a new age of high-speed rail. The Japanese were well ahead of the game. It was 13 years before Italy followed suit, then France with the TGV. But although high-speed trains now glide across hills and plains from Spain to China, Japan’s futuristic-looking bullet train retains an aura that our grime-caked intercity expresses can never capture. [...] Unlike Concorde, the trains have an almost unblemished safety record. Despite Japan’s vulnerability to typhoons and earthquakes, not one of the 10 billion passengers who have used the service since its launch has died as a result of a derailment or collision. [...] Thank you to the bullet train pioneers. They may have been motivated by a need to link Japan’s cities, just as the champions of HS2 are now. But they should be given an award for tourism: these great train routes provide the best possible way to explore this extraordinary country."

Fowl Factories? ~ Yes, Amazing Food Production!

It's fantastic to see the efficiency and scale of chicken-related agribusiness, from hatching to slaughtering, egg sorting through consumption. First, an overview of industrial farming in the German context, including the perspective of both producer and protestor... Hatching Chicks... Processing Eggs... The amazing "Long Egg" process!-) Slaughtering Chickens... Processing Chickens... Serving it up at KFC... Next, check out this piece from Westgate Integrity in Kenya showing how that market is beginning the process of modernizing towards the global state-of-the-art in chicken care and egg production... Finally, be aware that there's a counter-movement to all this efficiency-orientation. Generously speaking, the "free-ranger" assert greater quality of overall product and spin the benefits of so-called "organic" production. And it's certainly believable that factors such as stress and feed indeed make a difference to ultimate meat-taste, so there's room for improvement in the factory approach. On the other end of the spectrum, however, we have criminal "animal liberators" run amok as revealed in this Australian 60 Minutes piece...

12 October 2014

Sea Change ~ Oceans Affecting King Crabs...

Craig Welch of the Seattle Times writes of the Sea Change in the lucrative King Crab industry...
"New research earlier this year shows that Bristol Bay red king crab -- the supersized monster that has come to symbolize the fortunes of Alaska’s crab fleet -- could fall victim to the changing chemistry of the oceans. [...] There’s no evidence that souring seas have yet altered wild populations -- the most corrosive seas now occur at times when red king crab aren’t as susceptible. But Alaska’s crab industry has followed the science closely."

Capitalist Cure ~ De Soto on Unlikely Heroes...

Peruvian economist and founder of ILD Hernando de Soto writes in the WSJournal about The Capitalist Cure for Terrorism...
"Military might alone won’t defeat Islamic State and its ilk. The U.S. needs to promote economic empowerment. [...] Today we hear the same economic and cultural pessimism about the Arab world that we did about Peru in the 1980s. But we know better. Just as Shining Path was beaten in Peru, so can terrorists be defeated by reforms that create an unstoppable constituency for rising living standards in the Middle East and North Africa. To make this agenda a reality, the only requirements are a little imagination, a hefty dose of capital (injected from the bottom up) and government leadership to build, streamline and fortify the laws and structures that let capitalism flourish. As anyone who’s walked the streets of Lima, Tunis and Cairo knows, capital isn’t the problem -- it is the solution. [...] The people of the “Arab street” want to find a place in the modern capitalist economy. But hundreds of millions of them have been unable to do so because of legal constraints to which both local leaders and Western elites are often blind. They have ended up as economic refugees in their own countries. To survive, they have cobbled together hundreds of discrete, anarchic arrangements, often called the “informal economy.” Unfortunately, that sector is viewed with contempt by many Arabs and by Western development experts, who prefer well-intended charity projects [...] All too often, the way that Westerners think about the world’s poor closes their eyes to reality on the ground. In the Middle East and North Africa, it turns out, legions of aspiring entrepreneurs are doing everything they can, against long odds, to claw their way into the middle class. And that is true across all of the world’s regions, peoples and faiths. Economic aspirations trump the overhyped “cultural gaps” so often invoked to rationalize inaction."

30 September 2014

How Doctors Die ~ Desiring Quality Over Quantity

Dr Ken Murray, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC, writes at Zocalo Public Square about How Doctors Die...
"Doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently. Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. [...] Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call “futile care” being performed on people. [Instead, doctors want] a life of quality, not just quantity. Don’t most of us? If there is a state of the art of end-of-life care, it is this: death with dignity."
Listen also to Dr Diana Hsieh's Philosophy In Action radio show interview with UChicago Medical School geriatrician Dr William Dale speaking about End-Of-Life Medical Choices.

The Great Dictator ~ Chaplin One-Ups Idiots...

Given how Mao's minions are oppressing HK and a billion Chinese, and Stalin's intellectual heir Putin is screwing Russians and Ukranians (and Georgians and others), and Hitler's religulous clones continue contesting the land of Canaan, here's The Great Dictator's final speech -- Charlie Chaplin's oratory alternative!

29 September 2014

Markhor ~ Craftsourcing Men's Quality Shoes!

Markhor craftsourced quality men's shoes from Pakistan is Kickstarting now! I had the pleasure of meeting one of the team, Asim Janjua, earlier today. He met the founders Waqas Ali and crew through their Acumen Fellowship connection in Pakistan and they're now dialing things up with this crowdfunding effort. I'm particularly keen on the idea of building a Asian quality-craftsourced brand and this is a great step towards that dream!

I See Something ~ Hettiarachchi's Champ Speech

Business Insider's Richard Feloni spotlights (and deconstructs) Sri Lankan human resources consultant Dananjaya Hettiarachchi's World Championship Toastmasters speech...

28 September 2014

Top Urban Themes ~ CityLab on New Science...

The Atlantic CityLab posts Michael Mehaffy's 5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities' ~ In the most innovative incubators of urban research, the lessons of Jane Jacobs are more vital than ever...
"Researchers at cutting-edge hubs of urban theory like the University College London and the Santa Fe Institute have been homing in on some key properties of urban systems -- and contradicting much of today's orthodoxy. [...] In one sense, these lessons are not so new. Legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs was famous for her prescient insights about the emerging sciences of “organized complexity” and what they offered for a more effective approach to urban planning -- insights she published all the way back in 1961. [...] Jacobs was also famous for excoriating the backward-looking “pseudo-science” of that era's planning and architecture, which she said seemed “almost neurotic in its determination to imitate empiric failure and ignore empiric success.” She urged city-makers to understand the real “kind of problem a city is” -- not a conventional problem of top-down mechanical or visual order, but a complex problem of interacting factors that are “interrelated into an organic whole.” She urged planners and architects to show greater respect for the intrinsic order of cities, and to apply the best insights of the new sciences, coupled with the most pragmatic methods. [...] The new findings confirm and extend Jacobs' original insights. Here are five of the most significant:
  1. Cities generate economic growth through networks of proximity, casual encounters and “economic spillovers."
  2. Cities generate a remarkably large “green dividend."
  3. Cities perform best economically and environmentally when they feature pervasive human-scale connectivity.
  4. Cities perform best when they adapt to human psychological dynamics and patterns of activity.
  5. Cities perform best when they offer some control of spatial structure to residents.
These examples illustrate that cities are complex, adaptive systems with their own characteristic dynamics, and -- if they are going to perform well from a human point of view -- they need to be dealt with as such. In that light we must re-assess our current systems of planning, building and managing cities -- the laws, codes, standards, models, incentives, and disincentives that effectively make up the “operating system” for urban growth. To make better cities, we need to shift to an evidence-based approach, able to draw on the best lessons of science and history about the making of good cities, from a human point of view. But this is far from conventional urban practice, which too often features an art-dominated approach to architecture that values novel visual imagery over enduring human city-making."
Here CityLab spots Physicists Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt of the Santa Fe Institute describing What Is A City?

Faraday ~ Working-Class Scientist-Inventor!

One of my favorite Barron's columns is The Long View by historian and author John Steele Gordon. This week he spotlights Michael Faraday: Working-Class Hero...
"Faraday would be the first great man of science to have a working-class background. Because the family had little money, Faraday received only the most rudimentary formal education. Indeed, he never mastered mathematics beyond simple algebra, an astonishing fact for someone who would become one of the world's greatest physicists. But if he had little formal education, he was a voracious autodidact. [The Danish scientist] Ørsted discovered that an electric current running through a wire induces a magnetic field around the wire. This was the first indication that electricity and magnetism, long thought to be completely different forces, must have a connection. [To explore this, Faraday] hung a copper wire, able to rotate freely, from a metal support. The wire reached into a vessel below containing a magnet in a pool of mercury. When he attached a battery to the support, the copper wire began to rotate around the magnet, following the lines of the magnetic field (a term Faraday coined) in the mercury. Faraday had converted electrical energy into mechanical, work-doing energy. In other words, he had invented an electric motor [...] One of the attributes of great scientists is a knack for asking the right question. And Faraday wondered, since an electric current could induce a magnetic field, whether a magnetic field could induce an electric current. [...] in 1829, Faraday found the answer to his question. He wrapped two copper coils on opposite sides of an iron ring. He found that when he attached a battery to one coil, there was a momentary electric current generated in the other coil. And when he disconnected the battery, there was a second momentary current. He soon found that it was changes in the magnetic field that induced the current. By simply keeping the magnetic field in continuous motion, he was able to generate a steady current. Faraday had invented the generator, a device that turns mechanical energy into electrical energy -- the opposite of the electric motor. It was the means of providing a bottomless supply of electric power, and the modern world could be born."
Truly one of the heroes of progress and civilization! See more in this Great Moments in Science and Technology video...

27 September 2014

A Bridge Too Far ~ WWII's Market-Garden @ 70

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2771728/Seventy-years-Arnhem-never-forgotten-debt-thousands-British-Polish-soldiers-gave-lives-ill-fated-Allied-plan-deliver-final-blow-Hitler.htmlSeventy years ago this past week was one of the boldest and yet most disastrous battles of WWII in Europe when the Allies attempted to bypass German defenses by punching through the Netherlands in Operation Market Garden. Alas it was to become infamously known as A Bridge Too Far when bad weather, logistical hurdles, and under-anticipated Nazi resistance prevented capture of Arnhem, the last essential crossing. My own Dad and his family was caught in the cross-fire, which meant they lost almost everything, but at the same time this was understood by us Dutch as a tangible step towards ultimate liberation. That's why Robert Hardman's piece in the DailyMail is right: Seventy years on, Arnhem has never forgotten its debt to the thousands of British and Polish soldiers who gave their lives in ill-fated Allied plan to deliver final blow to Hitler...
"When it comes to commemorating those who made the ultimate sacrifice, there is nowhere quite like Arnhem. This historic Dutch town has never forgotten its debt to the 10,000 British and Polish soldiers who came from the sky in one of the great heroic failures of the Second World War. In September 1944, 70 years ago, with Paris liberated the Allies hatched a new plan -- codenamed Operation Market Garden -- to thrust north through Holland and on into Germany to deliver the final blow. Airborne troops would land by parachute and glider to capture a series of Dutch bridges and then cling on until a vast armoured column could arrive by road and reinforce them. The last bridge straddled the Rhine at Arnhem. But, in the end, the cavalry couldn’t get there in time. Through a combination of poor planning and bad luck -- the Germans had just parked a crack SS unit in the area -- the lightly-armed Allied troops ended up surrounded by overwhelming enemy forces. Of the 10,000 men who landed at Arnhem, just under 2,400 would make it out again after a vicious nine-day battle. The rest were killed or taken prisoner. [...] All the veterans were bowled over by the way they were received when they returned after the war. ‘It was a defeat and the Dutch lost everything yet they could not have done more for us,’ Colonel John Waddy, 94, the senior surviving veteran of Arnhem, told me at his Somerset home. ‘But then it was a unique battle because we were fighting alongside them in their own houses. And afterwards, they helped hundreds of us escape.’ [...] The true legacy of Arnhem is [...] a new organisation called the Arnhem Fellowship. Run on a shoestring by Dutch and British volunteers, it seeks to ensure that this precious bond of friendship continues after the last of the veterans have gone. [...] There is a magic about Arnhem. Perhaps it explains why, all these years later, so many veterans have made one last wish. ‘They often ask if they can have their ashes buried here, next to their comrades,’ says Gerrit Pijpers, a retired Dutch air force officer who has helped to organise ceremonies here for years. ‘They were only here for nine days, but they feel that this is home.’ It certainly is."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2771728/Seventy-years-Arnhem-never-forgotten-debt-thousands-British-Polish-soldiers-gave-lives-ill-fated-Allied-plan-deliver-final-blow-Hitler.html

Habitat ’67 ~ Safdie Reinvents Apartment Building

Moshe Safdie at TED speaks about reinventing the apartment building and his iconic, modular, livable Habitat '67...

22 September 2014

Earth at Equinox ~ Russian Elektro-L Timelapse!

NASA APOD spots Earth at Equinox...

Startup Ecosystem ~ Five Fostering Ingredients...

Brad Feld spotlights UP Global's new white paper Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem...
"This white paper underscores the five critical ingredients that support flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystems: talent, density, culture, capital, and regulatory environment."

21 September 2014

Survivor Tree ~ Resilience, Survival, Rebirth...

The Survivor Tree thrives beyond near-death and destruction...
"A callery pear tree became known as the "Survivor Tree" after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. In October 2001, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth."
Kuriositas spots The 9/11 Survivor Tree’s Story Voiced by Whoopi Goldberg: A True Metaphor for the Human Spirit...
"This beautiful animation, with the tree given voice by Whoopi Goldberg, forms the centerpiece of a campaign to encourage people to visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum outside of which the tree stands proud and tall, welcoming visitors. Survivor Tree was animated by Elastic, through the BBDO Agency. As a metaphor for the human spirit and testament to the healing power of caring, it takes some beating."

20 September 2014

Breastpump Hackathon ~ MomTech @ Media Lab!

http://breastpump.media.mit.edu/
Today's Day 1 of Breastpump Hackathon here at the MIT Media Lab has explored a wide range of prospective new, better, and alternative approaches to improved connections between babies and busy moms!
"The health benefits of breastfeeding (both to mother and baby!) are numerous and include the reductions of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, female cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis. Despite the overwhelming data and worldwide endorsement of breastfeeding for at least two years, many women do not breastfeed at all or wean after several months. In particular, low-income, working women are rarely able to take extended maternity leave, to afford the cost of a pump, or to pump breastmilk at their workplace. In emerging economies around the world, women who go back to work wean their babies rather than using a breast pump."
There's lots of room for improvement and creative re-imagination of the current and prospective enabling technologies! Here's just a few of the key people -- Media Lab students, alums, and and friends, including many Moms and Dads -- who are making this goodness happen... http://breastpump.media.mit.edu/

Inside Our Skin ~ Lupita Nyong’o on True Beauty

The Kid Should See This spotlights Lupita Nyong’o with Elmo on Sesame Street talking about their lovely skins... Joseph Lamour on Upworthy shares another moment with Lupita Nyong’o where she spoke again about skin at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon hosted by Essence... And, for good measure, here's Lupita's role model Alek Wek on Tyra's show... It's truly stunning how much superficial aesthetics play a role in peoples lives planet-wide. One of the most shocking illustrations of this for me -- beyond the experiences of Lupita, Alek, and Tyra's lovely guest Nya -- remains the Black Dolls & "Girls Like Me" stories.

Moments of Science 2014 ~ Our IgNobel Acts!

Harvard Chemistry lecture demogod Daniel Rosenberg of In Demo Veritas fame and I performed our latest Moments of Science at the 2014 IgNobel Prize Ceremony yesterday! First, Alginate Gelatenous Snakes at 19:32... http://www.improbable.com/ig/2014/#webcast And then Comparing Apple and Oranges at 01:11:40... http://www.improbable.com/ig/2014/#webcast P.S. Here's one of my favorite of our Moments, Big Bang Trash Can!

16 September 2014

R.I.P. Kay Stratton ~ MIT's Gracious First Lady

https://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/catherine-kay-stratton-obituary-0916The lovely and kind Catherine “Kay” Stratton, wife of MIT’s 11th President and a wonderfully gracious first lady, has alas passed away at age 100. I met her during my grad studies when she shared how she and her husband connected both newly arrived and senior faculty and linked interesting people with one another through regular dinner gatherings at the President's house. Mrs Stratton stayed very active well beyond her formal duties. Indeed, as MIT's News Office reports...
"In 1988, Stratton created the “Aging Successfully” lecture series at MIT to explore health topics of concern especially -- but not exclusively -- to an aging population. MIT created a Lecture on Critical Issues series in her honor in 1994, which has included such varied topics as Internet security, population growth, control of nuclear weapons, and microfinance."
She remains an inspiration for those of us seeking to make MIT a welcoming and gloriously creative place.

Slum Urbanism ~ UCT's Edgar Pieterse on Africa

Thanks to Emeka Okafor at Africa Unchained for spotting UCT Professor Edgar Pieterse, head of the African Centre for Cities, exploring the reality of Slum Urbanism and future of Africa's cities...

R.I.P. Narendra Patni ~ Father of IT Outsourcing

http://www.zdnet.com/outsourcing-pioneer-and-it-icon-narendra-patni-passes-away-7000030431/
I'm very sad to discover today that MIT Sloan alumnus Narendra Patni passed away this past June.  Together with his wife Poonam and brothers, Narendra founded Patni Computer Systems, the first of the Indian IT outsourcing firms and an inspiration to many including Narayana Murthy who worked for Patni before leaving with his software team to start Infosys. The Globe's Robert Weisman first wrote in 2004 of the Patni's offshoring revolution starting in a Central Square apartment in 1972 and beginnings of operations in Pune, India in 1973. Overall, it's a epic saga and his passing is a real loss for us all.

14 September 2014

Who Is John Galt? ~ Atlas Shrugged, Part 3!

Atlas Shrugged, Part 3, Who is John Galt? showing now! Trailer... See more videos, etc, in their gallery. It's an epic story -- i.e. productive people finally going on strike, stopping the motor of the world -- but one which infuriates nearly everyone on the spectrum of stupidity, from tax'n'spend left-wingnuts to faith freak right-wingnuts, basically parasites and statists of all stripes. Plus, it's an ambitious project to put to film, even in three parts, especially on a lean budget with the antagonism of Hollywood, DC, and related establishments. So, here's a salute to John Aglialoro and his fellow producers and colleagues who got this trilogy done!

Amsterdam in Motion ~ Jack Fisher's Hyperlapse!

Kuriositas spots Amsterdam in Motion, Jack Fisher's hyperlapse!

12 September 2014

Math In Your Feet ~ Learning #'s by Dancing!

Thanks to MIT friend Birago Jones for spotting Math in your Feet...
"An integration of two separate but highly complementary paths of inquiry. Percussive dance is a sophisticated, precise, and physical expression of time and space using foot-based dance patterns. Mathematics has been called the ‘science of patterns’ initially developed to understand, describe, and manipulate the physical world. Math in Your Feet leads students through the problem solving process of creating their own dance patterns. Along the way, they increase their understanding of mathematical topics."

11 September 2014

Mission Continues ~ Avenge 9/11, Cauterize Evil

http://www.crownandcaliber.com/blog/remembering-911/Evil religious swine slaughtered thousands on 9/11 including my classmate David Berray. Alas, in the interim years, we have yet to fully extirpate irrationally-faithful and incorrigibly-violent ideological-cancer carriers from civilized humanity. Whether it's the messianic wingnuts occupying the land of Canaan, or the desertine usurpers of the Hejaz, or the pestilential-pretender neo-caliphate in today's fertile crescent, or other mad maniacs ruling west asia and beyond, humanity is still infested with verminous cretins believing in fundamentally bad ideas and executing mystical mandates for supposed higher powers. We must do our best to avenge the assassinated and sterilize the faithful stupidity that continues to plague civilized peoples.

09 September 2014

The Top ~ Urban Luxury Lifestyle Constructions...

New Midtown ~ NYC's Penn Station, MSG++

H3 reimagines NYC's Midtown by moving Madison Square Garden, rebuilding Penn Station, and enabling up-densing of the neighborhood!

Moto 360 ~ WSJ Reviews Wearable Wallclock

WSJ's Joanna Stern reviews the Moto 360 wearable wallclock...
"The round display isn't perfect. The bottom of the circle is frustratingly chopped off. Motorola explains that it's where the engineers had to put the display driver and ambient light sensor. All I know is every time I looked at it I was reminded of making construction-paper squircles in kindergarten. And the problem for women like me, with thin wrists, is that the watch may sound small -- 1.8 inches in diameter and just a half-inch thick -- but it almost looks like I grabbed a clock off the wall and strapped it to my arm."

01 September 2014

Understanding MIT ~ Crafting Our Creative Place

My DUSP Campus Planning colleague Bob Simha and I are hosting our Understanding MIT seminar again this Fall 2014 every Tuesday afternoon 4-6pm starting next week September 9th to survey research universities and how they work, with the Institute as our live-case study. Each week, we invite a different senior academic, administrative, or trustee leader of MIT to share with us what they do to help the Institute stay vital in the short, medium, and long term -- and ask what we can do to be pro-active in improving MIT as well. This is part of my larger action-research agenda on understanding creative places and innovation ecosystems and is sister-class to our MIT Cities Initiative design workshop on Changing Cities.

Neurotechnology Ventures ~ Minds, Money, MIT

My MIT Media Lab colleague Ed Boyden and I are again co-hosting our Neurotechnology Ventures class this Fall 2014 at the Media Lab starting this Thursday afternoon September 4th from 2-4pm. This course is all about envisioning, planning, and building ventures -- both entrepreneurial startups and intrapreneurial product-lines or business units -- to bring neuroengineering innovations to the world. Compelling venture themes include Neuroimaging, Neuromarketing, Neurology/Psychiatry Screening & Diagnosis, Mood & Behavioral Influencing, Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery, Neuropharmacology, Brain Stimulation, Prosthetics, Sensory and Motor Augmentation, Regenerative Neuromedicine, Learning, Memory & Cognitive Influencing, and more.