27 December 2015
16 December 2015
gCaptain spots Shell's latest construction porn -- a progress video on the Prelude FLNG and related facilities!
"The 600,000 tonnes Prelude FLNG facility, the largest offshore facility ever constructed, is nearing completion at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. Once completed, the floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility will be moored off Western Australia for a period of 20 to 25 years where it will be used to chill natural gas produced at the Prelude field to –162°C (-260°F), shrinking its volume by 600 times so it can be exported to customers in Asia. Once operational, the Prelude FLNG facility will produce at least 5.3 million tonnes (mtpa) per annum of liquids: 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate (equivalent to 35,000 bbl/d) and 0.4 mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)."
12 December 2015
23 November 2015
The Guardian spotlights Cities in numbers: how patterns of urban growth change the world...
"Beneath the crude statistic that the world is heading towards 70% urbanisation by 2050 lie regional differences in demographic, economic and environmental change. LSE Cities’ Urban Age programme takes a deeper look at the data"
22 November 2015
If only time travel...
"The Doctor and Amy take Vincent Van Gogh -- who struggled to sell a single painting in his own lifetime -- to a Paris art Gallery in the year 2010. Emotional scenes from Doctor Who Series 5 Episode 10, Vincent and the Doctor."And here is good geo-biography of van G...
07 November 2015
05 November 2015
Cool new documentary CODEGIRL...
"From rural Moldova to urban Brazil to suburban Massachusetts, CODEGIRL follows teams who dream of holding their own in the world’s fastest-growing industry. The winning team [in the Technovation Challenge] gets $10K to complete and release their app, but every girl discovers something valuable along the way."
31 October 2015
26 October 2015
In his Scuttlefish piece How to Farm Fish Without Killing the Planet, author Owen James Burke spotlights fish farming...
"Aquaculture has been the world’s fastest-growing food sector for several decades, and some argue it is the only feasible answer to the predicament of trying to feed a growing global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050."Burke spotlights this Motherboard video about Steve Page of Ocean Farm Technologies and their free-range offshore fishpen enclosure method...
Interesting to see ML alum David Tames and colleague Audrey Kali Kickstarting their documentary film Farm and Red Moon...
"A passionate vegan, while exploring the personal quandaries surrounding harvesting of animals for food, becomes a conflicted omnivore."
24 October 2015
17 October 2015
In WGBH News Edgar Herwick spotlights How Edwin Land Built Polaroid Into The Ultimate Mass. Consumer Technology Powerhouse, and he notes...
"There’s this fascinating, kind of haunting video from 1970 that you can watch on YouTube, in which Edwin Land -- chemist, inventor, inspiration to Steve Jobs, and co-founder of Polaroid Corp. -- walks through a half-built factory in Norwood where he planned to change the world."
Cedar Anderson and his Dad Stuart have invented the beekeeper's dream hive -- the Flow -- which splits the honeycombs apart in a way harmless to the bees but releasing the honey easily! Didn't happen overnight, though, and here's Cedar telling their story... And here you get close-up view of what's going on when the beekeeper turnkeys the Flow...
15 October 2015
Very cool to see Media Lab alumna Julie Legault launch Indiegogo campaign for her Amino desktop DIY bioengineering kits bringing synthetic biology techniques to laypeople! This is part of the burgeoning "Grower" movement that's adding to the already thriving "Coder" and "Maker" movements...
"Amino is our first product, a counter-top sized biolab that enables anyone to grow living cells to create new and interesting things - like fragrances, flavours, materials, medicine, and more."
12 October 2015
Check out trailer for Poverty Inc documentary expose...
"The film examines the rise of the multibillion industry of charity and aid through the lens of developing world entrepreneurs and working parents, who can often be displaced in their roles as the rightful protagonists of their own story of development. The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry -- the business of doing good has never been better. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change. The film has earned over 40 film festival honors and has been selected to the "Best of Fests" category in the upcoming IDFA Amsterdam -- the biggest documentary festival in the world."
07 October 2015
The delightful and talented tag-team of CW&T (plus baby P) are now Kickstarting their Pen Type-B, an heirloon-grade artifact manufactured in Vermont, USA by a multi-generation family-run machine shop. Clever-lovely...
27 September 2015
26 September 2015
19 September 2015
Our MIT alumna Dr Heather Beem and team ran a big handful of workshops this past Summer 2015 for over 300 science teachers in Ghana, introducing them to the Practical Education Network (PEN) method of providing inexpensive, DIY physical experimental examples of the concepts taught in the standard core primary and secondary school curriculum!
03 September 2015
Together with MIT Media Lab colleagues Dan (NovySan) Novy and Joe Paradiso, I'm helping run the next incarnation of the SF-inspired prototyping class Sci Fab this Fall 2015 every Tuesday night 7-9p! We want people to build functional prototypes provoked or inspired by classic and modern science fiction texts and films! Just like Verne inspired Sikorsky's choppers, Wells inspired Goddard's rockets, and Star Trek inspired smartphones and tricorders, we want to see what's next!
Together with Brian Forde from MIT’s new Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) and Media Lab colleagues Alex (Sandy) Pentland and David Shrier, we explore new financial innovations via our Future Commerce offering this Fall 2015 every Tuesday afternoon 1-2:30p starting September 15th. Participants learn how to build new businesses and translate ideas to impact, in collaboration with experienced fintech executives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders.
My DUSP Campus Planning colleague Bob Simha and I are hosting our Understanding MIT seminar this Fall 2015 every Tuesday afternoon 4-6pm starting September 15th 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 (and at least one rep from our host-city Cambridge) 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.
My MIT Media Lab colleagues Ed Boyden, Joe Jacobson, Adam Marblestone, Desiree Dudley and I are co-hosting an upgraded and basically new incarnation of our Neurotech Ventures class -- now called Revolutionary Ventures -- this Fall 2015 at the Media Lab starting Thursday afternoon September 10th from 2-4pm.
My MIT colleague Alex (Sandy) Pentland and I are offering our Development Ventures action lab class this Fall 2015 at the Media Lab starting Thursday September 10th from 10a-12noon, with special focus on frugal, DIY, and ultraffordable technologies as well as exponential innovations including mobiles, big data, and analytics. This will be our 15th year!
30 August 2015
cancer has taken Dr Oliver Sacks at age 82. Like so many others, I was inspired by his curiosity and engagement with patients -- and his capacity to tell their stories and the story of the human condition. What came as a later surprise was his willingness to discuss his own demons, including a severe shyness, face blindness, and "staggering bouts of pharmacological experimentation" in his youth.
25 August 2015
The Telegraph's Alan Tovey writes of renewed interest old idea...
"US defence group Lockheed Martin has developed a “hybrid” airship which does not need mooring towers or runways, enabling companies to operate more easily in remote areas. [...] The hybrids are “heavier than air” machines, meaning the helium they carry is not enough to lift the craft’s entire weight when loaded. The gas provides 80pc of the lift required, with the remainder being generated as the airship -- which is shaped like an aerofoil -- is driven forward by its propellers. The engines rotate so their thrust can be directed to give extra lift, meaning the hybrid airship can also take off vertically when not fully loaded."This is fantastic for both the reasons Lockheed spells out in their video -- i.e. military, mining, construction, etc -- but also as an alternative form of ferry for crossing rivers, bays, and lakes, plus can provide new ways of moving people in cities! Here's how "hybrid" fits in...
23 August 2015
16 August 2015
09 August 2015
I'm looking forward to seeing the full documentary A Doctor's Sword telling Dr Aidan MacCarthy's WWII saga from Dunkirk to Nagasaki, a story full of disaster, compassion, resilience, and amazing luck. Here's the trailer...
05 August 2015
03 August 2015
01 August 2015
The Guardian shares interactive database -- The Counted -- of everyone killed by police in the US in 2015 (and counting). I've personally witnessed grotesque police brutality and -- like the rest of the 'Net -- have seen the seemingly endless number of videos of bullies with badges brutalizing citizenry. And we're not talking about gangsters or terrorists, but everyday people. Here we can see the ridiculous scale of the wanton moral (and legal) corruption and inhumanity run amok. Who protects us from our so-called protectors?
In her Bloomberg piece Goldman in Ventureland, Katrina Brooker writes of newly emergent players in later stage financings in so-called unicorns and more...
"Wall Street used to wait for startups to go public before investing in them. These days, however, entrepreneurs don’t need the public markets like they used to; private capital is plentiful. Uber has raised some $6 billion in equity and debt, and it hasn’t announced any plans to go public. “By the time you IPO as a company with a $60 billion market cap, you are really in the stratosphere,” [...] “The opportunity to invest has passed; the explosive growth is often behind them.” This market moves fast: When Airbnb raised money in April 2014, the company was valued at $10 billion; a year later, that valuation had more than doubled to $25 billion, when it raised another $1.5 billion. Included in the latest round were East Coast investors, most of whom would never have invested at such an early stage in the last tech boom..."
27 July 2015
25 July 2015
23 July 2015
22 July 2015
20 July 2015
19 July 2015
Globaia shares via the Telegraph composite images of Earth showing impact and role of humans, here illustrating how Africa is the most underdeveloped -- and thus most promising -- Continent...
18 July 2015
13 July 2015
Kathryn Schulz writes in The New Yorker of The Really Big One...
"An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when. [...] At approximately nine o’ clock at night on January 26, 1700, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck the Pacific Northwest, causing sudden land subsidence, drowning coastal forests, and, out in the ocean, lifting up a wave half the length of a continent. It took roughly fifteen minutes for the Eastern half of that wave to strike the Northwest coast. It took ten hours for the other half to cross the ocean. [...] We now know that the Pacific Northwest has experienced forty-one subduction-zone earthquakes in the past ten thousand years. If you divide ten thousand by forty-one, you get two hundred and forty-three, which is Cascadia’s recurrence interval: the average amount of time that elapses between earthquakes. That timespan is dangerous both because it is too long -- long enough for us to unwittingly build an entire civilization on top of our continent’s worst fault line -- and because it is not long enough. Counting from the earthquake of 1700, we are now three hundred and fifteen years into a two-hundred-and-forty-three-year cycle."Here's a simulation of what happened back in 1700... And here's a geologist's discussion... Finally, documentary shock & awe imagery... NYTimes' DotEarthling Andrew Revkin weighs in too, with nice infographic showing past 8.0 and 9.0 events over 10K years...
11 July 2015
Our MIT Media Lab colleague Hasier Larrea shares his teams work on Architectural Robotics -- furniture with superpowers! -- at TEDxCambridge...
10 July 2015
07 July 2015
04 July 2015
Lovely MissC piece on the Candy Bomber, Lt. Gail Halvorsen...
"At the runway's edge, Halvorsen spotted a few dozen boys and girls. [...] Halvorsen promised to drop candy to them on a future flight. [...] Not surprisingly, dropping candy from a military airplane was against regulation, but Halvorsen was resolute. [...] Instead of a court martial, Halvorsen received congratulations. The operation's commander, Gen William Turner, realized the psychological value of Halvorsen's efforts and lent his full support: Operation "Little Vittles" was official! As Halvorsen and a few dozen other pilots made daily candy drops, letters poured in. Elated children thanked Der Schokoladenflieger (The Chocolate Pilot) and Onkel Wackelflügel (Uncle Wiggly Wings) for the gifts. [...] All told, Operation Little Vittles rained down 23 tons of candy from 250,000 parachutes. And though it took nearly a year, the Soviets eventually called off the blockade for one simple reason: It wasn't working."
Read the US Declaration of Independence! The Spirit of ‘76 a review of Barry Alan Shain's The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context.
The best US holiday (except possibly Thanksgiving) celebrates political independence from imperialist overlords by blowing things up! Liberty, Prosperity, and Fireworks! Here's what's inside... Thanks to WorldScienceFestival!
03 July 2015
Cool to read about the PopUp Factory at Solid Conference 2015 and get a taste of mass customization meets groupwear...
02 July 2015
01 July 2015
Sad to hear Sir Nicholas Winton has passed in his sleep at 106 years. He's one of the few who acted -- both at-scale and by-all-means-necessary -- to save children, mostly Jewish, caught up in Nazi craziness in the early phases of WWII. And he did so quietly -- and quasi-legally -- but totally morally. Unsung, he, with the help of his own mother, and colleagues Beatrice Wellington, Doreen Warriner, Trevor Chadwick and others in Prague, managed to organize the rescue of several trainloads totaling 669 children destined for Nazi concentration camps. A last train was stopped by the next escalation in fighting -- most (if not all) those ~200+ children died. No one knew any of this until pretty recently. Beyond his WWII efforts, he also cared about the elderly and infirm, setting up homes to support those in need. And most recently, his story has been shared widely. All together, Winton was a truly extraordinary and epic hero!
28 June 2015
Check out Fairy Lights, a technique for projecting plasma voxels!
"We present a method of rendering aerial and volumetric graphics using femtosecond lasers. A high-intensity laser excites a physical matter to emit light at an arbitrary 3D position. Popular applications can then be explored especially since plasma induced by a femtosecond laser is safer than that generated by a nanosecond laser. There are two methods of rendering graphics with a femtosecond laser in air: Producing holograms using spatial light modulation technology, and scanning of a laser beam by a galvano mirror. The holograms and workspace of the system proposed here occupy a volume of up to 1 cm^3; however, this size is scalable depending on the optical devices and their setup. [...] Although we focus on laser-induced plasma in air, the discussion presented here is also applicable to other rendering principles such as fluorescence and microbubble in solid/liquid materials."
26 June 2015
22 June 2015
Many thanks to New America Foundation's Ted Widmer, Boston Globe Ideas columnist and BU Presidential assistant, for reminding us all about Justin Morrill, the man behind America’s higher education -- including MIT, UCBerkeley, and a hundred more...
"Morrill is hardly a household name today, but his legacy is immense, felt in every single state. That’s because of a single bill he proposed, the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862. In the midst of some of the worst fighting of the Civil War, Congress passed a visionary piece of legislation that created more than 100 universities and reshaped the way Americans thought about higher education. [...] The result was nothing less than the creation of a new educational order for the United States. Older institutions did not lose their preeminence, of course. But new kinds of universities came into existence, with a broad reach and a public purpose. Both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were born of the Morrill Act, a fact of no small relevance to the state’s future economic development. [...] Many of the most eminent African-American colleges, including Hampton and Tuskegee, also owe their origins to Morrill’s bill. Native American schools would also be added. In other ways, the Land-Grant Act became better over time. Many of the land-grant schools were early advocates of co-education and advanced the cause of educating women. Morrill added new legislation to fine-tune the program and secure additional funding. [...] Morrill’s is a legacy that is simply too large to calculate and expands every spring as millions of future Americans [and untold International students too] graduate from public universities."Wow! Epic and extraordinary. Truly heroic in the best sense! Check out Uni map...
21 June 2015
15 June 2015
BBC on the anniversary fest for the Magna Carta at...
"Runnymede in Surrey, close to the River Thames, where King John of England sealed the original document in 1215. The Queen also attended the ceremony. The charter first protected the rights and freedoms of society and established that the king was subject to the law."Clive Coleman, BBC legal correspondent answers Why is Magna Carta so important?
"At its heart is the idea that the law is not simply the whim of the king, or the government. It is the great egalitarian legacy of Magna Carta, that all are equal under the law, and all can be held to account. It is that idea that gave birth to so many of our rights and freedoms, to parliamentary democracy, fair trial, and a series of controls on the abuse of arbitrary power."
30 May 2015
David Goldenberg at FiveThirtyEight writes Why The Oldest Person In The World Keeps Dying...
"The cutoff for mortality has remained relatively firm. Robert Young, a guy with a remarkable name considering he’s the senior claims researcher for the Gerontology Research Group and the senior gerontology consultant for Guinness World Records, refers to this phenomenon as the “rectangularization of the mortality curve.” People are getting older on average, but the oldest are still dying around the same age as ever. Thus, when one of them does take over as the oldest, she doesn’t have much time left. The average age of the oldest-ever people has increased over the past 40 years from around 112 to around 114."Plus lovely ageless infographic... Of course, that plot doesn't show "rectangularization" -- for this we need the actual Mortality Curve which is discernibly rectifying...
27 May 2015
26 May 2015
NPR's Elizabeth Blair spotlights photographer David Jay's Unknown Soldier series of images of severely injured warriors...
"Jay believes these wounds belong to all of us: "You can imagine how many times each of these men and women have heard a parent tell their child, 'Don't look. Don't stare at him. That's rude.' I take these pictures so that we can look; we can see what we're not supposed to see. And we need to see them because we created them." Jay believes seeing is one step closer to understanding."
25 May 2015
Americans gave their lives to defeat the Nazis. The Dutch have never forgotten...
"The U.S. military needed a place to bury its fallen. The Americans ultimately picked a fruit orchard just outside Margraten. [...] Right from the start, Margraten embraced the Americans. The town’s mayor invited the company’s commanders to sleep in his home, while the enlisted men slept in the schools -- welcome protection against rain and buzz bombs. Later, villagers hosted U.S. troops when the men were given rest-and-recuperation breaks from trying to breach the German frontier defenses, known as the Siegfried Line. "After four dark years of occupation, suddenly [the Dutch] people were free from the Nazis, and they could go back to their normal lives and enjoy all the freedoms they were used to,” explained Frenk Lahaye, an associate at the cemetery. “They knew they had to thank the American allies for that. [...] To the Dutch, the Americans were liberators.”Liberation is the essence and enduring ethos of the US of A and why we Dutch, both locals and expats, remember those who paid for our freedoms with their lives today on Memorial Day since 1945...
23 May 2015
22 May 2015
12 May 2015
MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition LAUNCH Finale! This marks a quarter century of MIT student-led entrepreneurial venturing Tickets are going fast and I expect Kresge to be fully packed, so I highly recommend signing up via the mechanism below! Plus check out the 8 Finalist mini-descriptions. Excellent tag-team keynote w/ Langer & Fuller plus multi-year winner Z Holly as MC! This is going to be great!
11 May 2015
04 May 2015
CyPhy's LVL 1 is Kickstarting now!
"It brings a new perspective that makes drone flying accessible to everyone. Thanks to technological advances like our Level-Up Technology, Swipe-to-Fly capabilities, Real-Time sharing to social media, Geo-Fencing and more, you no longer need to learn how to fly."
30 April 2015
MIT Material Science grad student Eric Arndt describes and shows how explosive pulse-jet Bombardier Beetle defensive "farts" result from internal organ reaction chamber transmorphing!
29 April 2015
The DM spots the AVERT Project building swarmbots for robomatically shifting cars around omnidirectionally, allowing much denser space-packing of vehicles in existing parking garages... Nevermind all the mumbo-jumbo about "emergency response" vehicle movement. The big use is storage efficiency!
27 April 2015
Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Daily Show debating merits of superheroes with Jon Stewart...
"We only enter the future on the intellectual capital brought to this world by the geekosphere!"
26 April 2015
24 April 2015
21 April 2015
The Economist's Dailychart shows the changing shape of the US technology sector...
"Founded in 1911 as a manufacturer of punch-card machines, more than a century later IBM remains one of the largest technology companies in the world. But the days of Big Blue’s dominance are long past. It was recently surpassed in market value by Facebook, a company barely a decade old..."
20 April 2015
19 April 2015
NextBigFuture reports that startup Ninebot with smartphone giant Xiaomi backing buys Segway for alternative transportation unification. They're already shipping the One... (Of course, anyone paying attention would have seen this coming for the last six years or more)
I'm particularly interested in long-term, humanity-scale global dynamics. Remembering Jay Forrester's World Dynamics and economic modeling. Nice example here by NASA's Goddard Global Modeling and Assimilation Office...
Reason's Jim Epstein shares how The Destruction of Penn Station Led to the Landmarks Preservation Movement and re-evaluates it...
"The underground Penn Station that replaced the old structure is a planning nightmare that's outright disliked by the general public, but that’s an argument for replacing it with something new, not saving the flawed structure that preceded it. New York became the world’s preeminent city by letting its developers sometimes violently tear down old buildings. Progress isn't free, and neither is preservation."
11 April 2015
06 April 2015
30 March 2015
28 March 2015
One of the latest beneficiaries of the Mercy Ships floating hospital organization (and one of my favorite examples of flexible & fast floating solutions) is Sambany, a 55yo burdened by an 8kg facial tumor. Not only is his treatment story epic, but so too is the essential life-affirming mission of MS... See more on the MS channel.
26 March 2015
23 March 2015
MissC spots the Big Cat Scan -- a Toshiba Aquilon CX CT-scanner -- at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research... Let's hope the anaesthesia doesn't wear off prematurely;-)
22 March 2015
Strongman Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore has passed away at age 91. Leader of the modern city-state, Lee's achievements are perhaps best summed up by his autobiographical book title From Third World to First and the facts from this Economist infographic...