29 January 2015

Solar Claw ~ A Twisted Eruptive Prominence!

NASA APOD spots a rare Solar Claw, a twisted eruptive prominence!http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150125.html

Rescue Men ~ African American Coast Guardians

Owen James Burke at The Scuttlefish honors The Little Known Story of North Carolina’s African American Rescue Crew...
"After the Civil War, maritime traffic increased along the eastern seaboard of the United States as industrialization proliferated, and as a result, so did the number of casualties at sea. In an effort to curb the loss of life, the United States Lifesaving Service was formed in 1871. [After a] failed rescue in 1879 [...] Richard Etheridge, a former slave and Civil War Buffalo Soldier, was appointed and effectively became the first African American keeper of a lifesaving station [and] the station became the first (and perhaps only) all-African-American lifesaving station. [And one with a stellar record]"
Here's trailer for the Rescue Men – The Pea Island Life Savers...

World Cup 2014 ~ The Dutch Soccer Story...

I'm really irrationally nationalistic about only one thing -- Soccer. And then only every four years. So here's retrospective on the best team to never win the World Cup, yet again;-)
"The Dutch hold the record for playing the most World Cup finals without ever winning the tournament. They finished second in the 1974, 1978 and 2010 World Cups, losing to West Germany, Argentina and Spain respectively."
This past Cup in Brazil 2014 was no exception, despite the promising start crushing those arrogant conquistador bastard Spaniards...

Inevitable Future Bots ~ Humans Need Not Apply...

CGPGrey opines about our inevitable botified future...

28 January 2015

Winter Cycling ~ Wagenbuur on NL Seasons...

Mark Wagenbuur at BicycleDutch writes about how cyclists in the Netherlands deal with snowy, wet winter weather... He also spotlights the general state of infrastructure -- especially maintenance and safety conditions -- and compares summer vs winter cycling on the same pathway...

Live Aid ~ Against All Odds Documentary...

Documenting 1985's Live Aid, which happened Against All Odds...

26 January 2015

Story of R32 ~ Vlasenko's Robot Short SF Film...

MissC spots Story of R32 by Vladimir Vlasenko...

Children of Auschwitz ~ Liberation Revisit...

The DailyMail spots the Children of Auschwitz -- Jews pictured at the concentration camp upon liberation, revisiting for 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Red Army. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2926645/Survivors-visit-Auschwitz-day-ahead-70th-anniversary.htmlIncredibly sad that this happened. And that it still happens today in North Korea, Iraq, Cuba, China, and Gaza, among others.

Snowzilla ~ Clearance Technologies Over Time!

The Globe spotlights the history of snow clearance technology over time, including my favorite -- Snowzilla!
"A powerful but homely creature, Snowzilla sounds like 10,000 hair dryers running at once and resembles a cross between an aardvark and a tollbooth. It sits on railroad wheels, weighs 26,000 pounds, and measures 8 by 12 by 27 feet -- though most of that length is taken up by its elongated snout. Its thirst for fuel is so great -- it guzzles 900 gallons in a single run -- that a tanker truck must follow it from station to station."
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2015/01/24/snowtron-and-snowzilla-how-boston-removed-snow-from-its-streets-throughout-history/v8455vpxuBjJ8KmRFDPguK/story.html?p1=well_BlizzardWatch_main_hp And here's it is in full blow!

20 January 2015

Millionaire's Matchstick ~ NYC's Pricey Sky Vistas!

Stephen Farrell of the NYTimes writes of A View That Costs $81 Million from the top of the so-called Millionaire's Matchstick...
"New York’s tallest residential building, 432 Park Avenue, reached its full height on Friday, 1,396 feet. It opens next year and the penthouse views, in all directions, are spectacular."

19 January 2015

Seeking Freedom 1963 ~ American Contradictions

Today on MLK Day, perhaps reflect on this sliver of the history of Freedom in America from just over a half-century ago, when Dr King was in Birmingham, Alabama... Thanks to MissC for spotting this PBS clip. Police dogs, firehoses, bullying, oppression, the heavy hand of the State -- unbelievable -- except that it's still happening now in China, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and in other oppressed parts of our Planet.
P.S. And here's the I Have A Dream speech... Thanks to Brad Feld for posting it.

18 January 2015

Right-to-Die ~ PBS on Euthanasia in Belgium...

PBS NewsHour's Megan Thompson reports on The right to die in Belgium which...
"Has the world’s most liberal law on physician-assisted suicide, which is not just for the terminally ill. Patients with psychiatric conditions -- and now, even children -- can request euthanasia. Surveys in Belgium show overwhelming public support, and many doctors say it gives patients with constant and unbearable suffering a practical and humane way to die peacefully. But even in a country with a far-reaching acceptance, controversy still exists."

15 January 2015

Expansion Microscopy ~ Physical Magnification!

MIT Professor Ed Boyden and colleagues Fei Chen and Paul Tillberg publish their work on Expansion Microscopy in Science!
"By synthesizing a swellable polymer network within a specimen, it can be physically expanded, resulting in physical magnification. By covalently anchoring specific labels located within the specimen directly to the polymer network, labels spaced closer than the optical diffraction limit can be isotropically separated and optically resolved, a process we call expansion microscopy"
Brief video explanation & demo by the co-authors... And here's flythrough of mouse hippocampus...

17 Equations ~ World Changing Mathematics!

Andy Kiersz at BusinessInsider spots The 17 Equations That Changed The Course Of History by science author Ian Stewart and math tutor Larry Phillips... http://www.businessinsider.com/17-equations-that-changed-the-world-2014-3

14 January 2015

Paramedical Tattoos ~ Skin Scar Concealment!

Upworthy's Franchesca Ramsey spotlights the work of Basma Hameed, a paramedical tattoo artist, with her client-patients...
"For serious burn victims, the only thing worse than the injury itself are the scars left behind. But this incredible medical tattoo technology is giving renewed hope to burn victims. [...] Instead of tattooing vibrant, colorful designs, she uses special pigments that match the skin in order to conceal scars. [Patients] can see a dramatic decrease in their scar visibility and discoloration after a few treatments."

13 January 2015

Sprout ~ HP's 3D Interactive proto-Smartbulb...

Check out HP's new Sprout, their 3D interactive PC/workstation that's a first-stab (albeit third-rate) at a commercial smartbulb... USAToday's Edward Baig reviews Sprout... This reminds me of the Calliope Never-ending Drawing Machine at MIT Media Lab... And also the MIT Media Lab LuminAR project... Of course, all of these are pre-dated by John Underkoffler's 1999 PhD on The I/O bulb and the luminous room!

Soap Bubble Nebula ~ NASA Spots Cygnus!

NASA APOD spots Soap Bubble Nebula in Cygnus constellation!http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150113.html

More Parallels ~ Memetic vs Genetic Pandemics

In 2008, I published an earlier version of this post spotting curious parallels between the geographic spread of non-rational ideas and biological parasitism -- or phrased differently -- between memetic and genetic pandemics.  Beyond these two examples from European history -- the expansion of Christianity and the spread of the Great Plague (a.k.a. the Black Death) -- as shown in these two maps...   Here we have two more examples, first the spread of Islam... https://moodle.l-spioneers.org/mod/book/view.php?id=12586&chapterid=18 And the spread of Buddhism... http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/politics-society/47112-indian-empires-influence-map-3.html Yes, these happen on different timescales, have diverse points of origin, and varied mechanisms for transmission + replication + mutation. Nevertheless both poisonous ideas and viral poisons are parallel phenomena for humanity to apply scientific methods on, to ever more thoroughly understand, and to ultimately prevail over.

Tout est Pardonné ~ Mo on Charlie Hebdo...

First post-atrocity Charlie Hebdo cover by Luz... http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/01/12/hayat-boumeddiene-amedy-couilbaly-paris-terror-attacks/21621219/

12 January 2015

Resilience Dividend ~ Boston's Prep, Readiness...

The Guardian excerpts Judith Rodin's The Resilience Dividend: Managing Disruption, Avoiding Disaster and Growing Stronger in an Unpredictable World...
"The city of Boston proved it had developed an exceptional state of readiness for a citywide disruption when, on the afternoon of 15 April, 2013 -- Marathon Monday, as it’s known there -- two improvised explosive devices detonated on Boylston Street. Although the attack was unanticipated and unpredictable, Boston had been getting ready for just such an event for more than a decade -- through network building and streamlining communications to improve awareness, undertaking situational drills and exercises to fine-­tune integration, and finding and adapting best practices from colleagues worldwide to bring in a broad range of ideas and solutions. [...] Being prepared is not a matter of luck [...] It was a matter of carefully and methodically building the char­acteristics of resilience that enable an effective response to crisis. Resilience is not only about responding to shock and stress. It is also about learning and continuing to adapt and grow because of the ex­perience. This process of “revitalisation” can further increase your readiness for sub­sequent disruptions, find opportunities that emerge from what you have learned, affect positive changes, and build even greater resilience (“the resilience dividend”)."
http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jan/12/boston-marathon-bombing-how-city-coped-deadly-terror-attack

11 January 2015

10 January 2015

Religion is Bullshit ~ Carlin, Gervais, Maher, et al

Comedians on how and why Religion is Bullshit...

Invasion of America ~ Timelapse Map of US...

Kottke spots eHistory's timelapse map of the Invasion of America...
"Between 1776 and 1887, the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from America's indigenous people by treaty and executive order. Explore how in this interactive map of every Native American land cession during that period."
(Of course, this is rather deceptive, since the French, Spanish, Russians, newly-independent Mexicans, and others played key roles. And it's worth comparing this to the conquering ravages of the Aztecs, Incas, Persians, Arabs, Alexander, Imperial Russian, Victorians, etc, etc, including especially Genghis Khan and his Mongol Hordes.)

Before the Massacre ~ Visiting Charlie Hebdo...

NYTimes visits Charlie Hebdo well before the massacre...

09 January 2015

Hitchens on Islam ~ "God Is Not Great" ~ Ch 9...

Christopher Hitchens on Islam -- reading Chapter 9 of his God is Not Great ~ How Religion Poisons Everything...
"Hitchens asserts that there is no evidence for any of the "miraculous" claims about Muhammad, and that the Koran's origin was not supernatural. Hitchens contends that the religion was fabricated by Muhammad or his followers and that it was borrowed from other religious texts, and the hadith was taken from common maxims and sayings which developed throughout Arabia and Persia at the time. Hitchens also identifies similarities between Islam and Christianity, as well as identifying plagiarisms of the Jewish faith."
Hitchens further clarifies about Islam... And more generally, how ridiculous religion is... Protecting Danish cartoonists -- pointing out that we must judge religions by their extremes (and extremists)... Finally, Hitchens debates Islamite...

No Great Religions ~ All Stupid and Dangerous...

Friendly Atheist spots Bill Maher on Kimmel telling truth to power:
"There are No Great Religions. They are all stupid and dangerous. And we should insult them."
Later, Maher hosts Rushdie, et al, on Real Time and the scathing continues...

08 January 2015

Counting Roots ~ Quantifying Our Ancestry!

Thanks to Paul Hsieh from GeekPress for spotting answer to...
"How many unique ancestors do you have?"

EX_MACHINA ~ Robo-AI-psychothriller SF Film...

Check out trailer for SF robo-AI-psychothriller film EX_MACHINA...

CSCL Globe ~ Biggest (For Now) Containership!

Thanks to gCaptain for covering maiden UK visit of world's largest (for the next couple months) containership, the 400 meter long, 19,100 TEU-carrying MV CSCL Globe! First, Mike Schuler introduced the ship in November...
"Move over Triple-E’s, there’s a new big dog in town. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. in Ulsan, South Korea has just named the new title-holder for the world’s largest containership."
http://gcaptain.com/cscl-globe-introducing-the-new-worlds-largest-containership/ Second, covering UK arrival with video by Shipping TV as the vessel approaches the Port of Felixstowe... And most recently, container handling and bridge-tour with Shipping TV’s Chris Gosling... Plus, here's BBC's Richard Westcott sailing near and getting onboard! Here's first visit to Hamburg plus engine-room view!

07 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie ~ Keep Fighting Intolerant Evil...

Gunmen of unknown origin or affiliation shouting "Allāhu Akbar" -- meaning "God is great" in Arabic -- slaughtered a dozen people at and near offices of satire magazine publisher Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

This is absolutely unacceptable.

We must keep fighting for modern, civilized human rights -- freedoms such as life, liberty, and speech, including the right to mock and laugh at stupid religious ideas and spoof any so-called "prophet".  In solidarity, R.I.P. Charb, Cabu, and other victims... http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/07/europe/france-satire-magazine-gunfire/ P.S. See fellow cartoonist's drawn tributes, eg David Pope... https://twitter.com/davpope/status/552844593046097920/photo/1
P.P.S. Yes, it's now clear that our entire planet Earth is full of free-thinking and rational people who reject violent virulent swine... http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/07/world/social-media-jesuischarlie/index.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2900835/Crowds-gather-central-Paris-solidarity-murdered-Charlie-Hebdo-journalists-slogan-Je-Suis-Charlie.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2900835/Crowds-gather-central-Paris-solidarity-murdered-Charlie-Hebdo-journalists-slogan-Je-Suis-Charlie.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2900720/JeSuisCharlie-sweeps-Twitter-Internet-users-rush-solidarity-French-satirical-news-magazine-massacre.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2900720/JeSuisCharlie-sweeps-Twitter-Internet-users-rush-solidarity-French-satirical-news-magazine-massacre.htmlP.P.P.S. The perpetrators of this vicious and unforgivable crime are said to be: Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982. If you know or see them, beware of the allegations and report them to authorities. (Addendum: They're now dead.)
P.P.P.P.S. And all this I say knowing that Charlie Hebdo has represented uncompelling aspects of the political spectrum, from my point of view. But I absolutely respect their right to spew their spleen. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
P.P.P.P.P.S. This includes all of these "blasphemous" cartoons.

R.I.P. Edward Brooke ~ Black GOP Mass Senator

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/01/04/edward-brooke-first-african-american-elected-senate-since-reconstruction-dies/oRou5Pz1NyxIiX1ExZ9w6K/story.htmlVery sad to hear that the groundbreaking Edward Brooke has passed away at age 95. He was not only the first African American popularly elected to the US Senate but did so as a Republican and a self-described "creative moderate" in Massachusetts. Read his Open Christmas Letter to the Racially Divided City of Boston from 1974.

Rescuing Roi ~ Orphan Masai Mara Elephant Calf

NatGeo's Paul Steyn shares story of rescuing Roi...
"One day last October, a mother elephant and her ten month old calf were seen playing together on the plains of the Masai Mara National Reserve when a passing tourist photographed the tranquil scene. Twenty-four hours later, on October 22, the young calf was spotted again -- this time standing over her mother's poisoned carcass, seemingly reluctant to leave her side. [...] Deprived of sustenance, the young elephant would soon weaken in the heat of the day, fall behind the herd, and likely die on the plains. [...] After carefully maneuvering [...] they isolated [and] wrapped the traumatized baby in warm blankets and hoisted her into the bed of the four-by-four and rushed her to the Mara airstrip. [...] Ensuring that the orphans feel like part of a herd -- a family -- is extremely important, along with constant touch and attention from the keepers who feed and nurse them on their road to recovery. [Roi] was immediately comfortable and content among the older orphans, who gave her the attention and love she needed. [She] will live among the Nairobi herd until the age of three, when she'll be moved to one of the [rehab] centers in the Tsavo national parks. There, she'll be weaned off milk and reintroduced to wild elephants in the area. It can take as long as ten years for an orphan to choose to leave her adopted family and rejoin a wild herd."

05 January 2015

Panic Broadcast ~ 1938's War of Worlds on Radio!

PBS American Experience recollects the 1938 Orson Wells radio broadcast adaptation of H G Welles' War of the Worlds! Here's the original 'cast!

Ultrahaptics ~ Focused Sound Touch Feedback!

BBC Click's Stephen Beckett spots Ultrahaptics...
"Researchers in Bristol have created a device that makes invisible objects in mid-air that you can touch and feel. The Ultrahaptics system works by focusing ultrasound waves emitted from a collection of tiny speakers."

02 January 2015

Soweto Gold ~ Brewing SA Economic Prosperity!

PBS Newshour's special correspondent Martin Seemungal spotlights South African entrepreneur Ndumiso Madlala, micro-brewer of Soweto Gold... South African columnist Barney Mthombothi comments...
"We are coming to realize that political freedom on its own is meaningless without economic freedom. Now, if you have people actually doing things for themselves, that is actually very good, actually because they also create jobs, rather than actually expecting things to fall in their lap simply because they are actually free. And I think people need to understand that freedom actually is the freedom to really do things on your own."

Boxtrolls Extras ~ Timelapse StopMo End Credits

Kottke spots Boxtrolls end credits showing how stop motion works...

01 January 2015

Afripedia ~ African Arts & Cultural Creatives

http://www.afripedia.com/Thanks to Africa Unchained's Emeka Okafor for spotlighting Afripedia. Check out their first handful of trailers...

Educational Games ~ SimCityEdu by GlassLab

BBC Future asks Can games create an education fit for the future? and teach systems thinking and more...
"Video games usually get in the way of homework. GlassLab, however, is a collaboration between educators and technologists. Uniting commercial game studios and educational groups the aim is to embrace gaming technology to transform the learning process and make it more relevant to the demands of the 21st Century."

Ove Arup ~ 20th Century Philosopher Engineer

Excited to see trailer from Taghi Amirani and imminent arrival of new bio-pic on entrepreneurial engineer Ove Arup!