30 September 2017

Flood Resiliency ~ Dutch Lessons for World Cities

Rising sea levels generally and ocean storm surges, river floodwaters, and intense rainfalls particularly inspire new kinds of thinking about water management, going beyond higher dikes and barriers towards more defense-in-depth, including flood-friendly construction, making room for the rivers, and building absorbent greener cities. Here are some good surveys of this movement...

29 September 2017

Get Out ~ Silveria on Racism, Sexism, Stupidism

USAF Lt Gen Jay Silveria speaks vigorously against racist slurs...
"If you can't treat someone with dignity & respect then get out"

18 September 2017

R.I.P. Paul E Gray ~ MIT President Emeritus...

Sad to hear MIT President Emeritus Paul Edward Gray has passed away at age 85. He was the Institute's iconic leader during my undergrad days, himself an alumnus and an exemplar of actual MIT Values. I got to know him much more through our Technology Breakfast entrepreneurship events, his work with MIT Planning Director Emeritus Bob Simha on Kendall Square residences for university affiliates, and his dozen-plus guest appearances in our Understanding MIT seminar.

29 August 2017

MIT Classes Fall 2017 ~ Transformative Ventures, Future Explorations, & Creative Action!

http://alum.mit.edu/www/jpbonsen  I'm excited to be co-teaching a handful of class offerings at MIT this Fall 2017! Please spread the word to those who you think might find any or all of these compelling! All motivated students are urged to attend the First Class session. Details below and at the class sites...
  • Development Ventures ~ Thu 10a-12n E14-633 ~ 15.375/EC.731/MAS.665 ~ http://developmentventures.org ~ Towards the entrepreneurial deployment of emerging market innovations solving problems faced by at least a Billion people worldwide in developing countries and underserved communities. First Class: Thu 9/7 
  • Revolutionary Ventures ~ Thu 2-4p E15-341 ~ 9.455/15.128/20.454/MAS.883 ~ http://revolutionaryventures.org ~ Exploring personal entrepreneurial strategies and envisioning and building transformative ideas and organizations to initiate and/or accelerate bold engineering revolutions. Email reven@media.mit.edu ASAP if interested. First Class: Thu 9/7 
  • Future Law (H1) ~ Tue 1-2:30p E14-633 ~ MAS.s71 ~ http://mitfuturelaw.org ~ New Media & AI disrupts Legal Services plus New Laws for Emerging Technologies, e.g. spectrum, space, autonomous driving, etc. First Class: Tue 9/12 (First Half Semester offering) 
  • Future Commerce (H2) ~ Tue 1-2:30p E14-633 ~ MAS.s72 ~ http://mitfuturecommerce.org ~ New Media including Mobiles, Crypto, AI, Blockchain meets Markets & Finance, Transactions & Security. First Class: Tue 10/31 (Second Half Semester offering) 
  • Understanding MIT ~ Tue 4-6p 9-450A ~ 11.s941 ~ http://understandingmit.org ~ Special seminar on the challenges of designing and building research universities and crafting conditions for a supportive, vibrant, and entrepreneurial learning community. First Class: Tue 9/12 
  • Independent Studies & UROPs ~ On Invention, Entrepreneurship, VCPE, etc 
For More Info, email Joost Bonsen ~ http://alum.mit.edu/www/jpbonsen

26 August 2017

Global Flows ~ Submarine Cable Networks

Just a little MapPorn of Global Flows of data via submarine cable networks... https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/6w6sf2/the_worlds_network_of_undersea_cables_8268_5177/ And the very first trans-Atlantic cable...
https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/6w87ed/map_of_the_first_transatlantic_telegraph_cable/

Channeled Scablands ~ Megaflood Paradigm Shift

Glenn Hodges writing in National Geographic spotlights a paradigm shift in Geology, the discovery by former school teacher Harley Bretz of the cataclysmic flooding which created the channeled scablands of Washington in northwest USA...
"Bretz’s research was thorough [when he first presented it in 1927], and his map of the channeled scablands was so accurate that it’s a virtual tracing of modern-day satellite images, creating the immediate impression of channeled floodwaters. But his audience [at a DC geologists conclave] -- none of whom had visited, much less studied, the scablands -- was having none of it. Bretz’s hypothesis was not just “wholly inadequate,” in the words of one critic, but “preposterous” and “incompetent."
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/channeled-scablands/
"For some of Bretz’s most stubborn critics, even eyewitness experience wasn’t enough. Bretz’s arch-adversary, Richard Foster Flint, a Yale geologist who remained a premier authority in the field until the 1970s, spent years studying the scablands and resisted Bretz’s theory until he was virtually the only one left who did. He finally acknowledged the scablands flooding (grudgingly, with a single sentence in a textbook in 1971), but as philosopher Thomas Kuhn observed, new scientific truths often win the day not so much because opponents change their minds, but because they die off."
Finally, here's a computer simulation of how it might have happened...

20 August 2017

Eclipsed Dreams ~ Future Tourism That Wasn't...

The Atlantic spotlights What Would the Solar Eclipse Look Like From the Moon?
"In 1989, [artist Pat] Rawlings was working on illustrations for a collection of children’s science books by the science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Using acrylics, he painted a view of a solar eclipse as seen from the moon, and named it after the date when the next eclipse would cross over the continental United States: August 21, 2017. This week, Rawlings tweeted a photo of the painting, which is at the top of this story. “I actually thought 28 years in the future tourists might watch the eclipse from the Moon,” he wrote. “Sigh.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/solar-eclipse-from-the-moon/537339/ P.S. Here's the real thing from Mon 8/21/2017...
"Scientists at UW–Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) observed the eclipse through the eye of one of the world’s most advanced weather satellites, GOES-16. The eclipse images from the satellite were taken at a rate of one every five minutes. Stitched together, the images show the shadow of the moon tracking west to east across the continental United States."
Plus here's a previous eclipse seen in March 2016 over ASEAN + Pacific region via the Himawari-8 Spacecraft in Geostationary orbit!

19 August 2017

Dutch Greenscraper ~ Utrecht's Hawthorn Tower...

Inhabitat spotlights Dutch city Utrecht to have new greenbuilding complex near central train station...
"The Hawthorn Tower will, like its Milanese predecessor, be blanketed in greenery -- and it’s expected to absorb over 5.4 tons of carbon dioxide. The equivalent of one hectare of woods will be installed on the tower to create a real urban ecosystem with over 30 different vegetal species."
http://inhabitat.com/hollands-first-vertical-forest-to-rise-with-10000-air-purifying-plants/

06 August 2017

Hiroshima & Nagasaki ~ Atomic Armageddon...

The first use of the A-Bomb as weapon of mass destruction happened today, August 6th, 1945 over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Days later, second use over Nagasaki. Hundred thousand-plus civilians slaughtered, both directly and slowly, agonizingly by the wasting effect of burns and radiation. It was atomic-powered urban armageddon. Here's remarkable footage shot soon after both blasts...

05 August 2017

Reason & Riches ~ Beyond Religion's Dominance

http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9781107036819
Thanks to Christopher Kissane at the Guardian for reviewing Jared Rubin's Rulers, Religion and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East Did Not...
"By getting “religion out of politics”, Europe made space at the political “bargaining table” for economic interests, creating a virtuous cycle of “pro-growth” policy-making. Islamic rulers, by contrast, continued to rely on religious legitimation and economic interests were mostly excluded from politics, leading to governance that focused on the narrow interests of sultans, and the conservative religious and military elites who backed them."

01 August 2017

Power Barges ~ Flexible Floating Infrastructure

Thanks to gCaptain for spotting an improved Power Barge system...
"A new modular medium speed engine power barge design [...] This radiator-cooled modular power barge design permits the same hull to be utilized with a range of power outputs from 80 MW to 180 MW. [...] The new design is presently being modified for dual fuel and natural gas operations to suit combined operations with LNG […] and combined cycle systems for specific market opportunities."
Power barges are the fastest way to ramp up electricity (and cogen + water desal) infrastructure in coastal or navigable river areas. By floating in and being modular, they can be incrementally added to (with more barges) or floated out and moved to new or better location (and/or refurbished). See also my previous posts on this topic! http://gcaptain.com/power-barge-corporation-announces-new-medium-speed-engine-power-barge-design/

24 June 2017

Global Urban Footprint ~ Hi-Rez Auto-mapping...

TR spots Global Urban Footprint Revealed in Unprecedented Resolution...
"What’s needed is a way of mapping urban areas from space at high resolution and in a way that is unaffected by cloud cover and without the ambiguities that traditional imaging introduces. [Now revealed is] a global map of urbanization that meets all these requirements. The result is a data set of the entire planet at a resolution of 12 meters that maps the global urban footprint with unprecedented accuracy and resolution. [...] Esch and co have created a global database of built-up areas based on synthetic aperture radar images from an Earth-orbiting mission called TanDEM-X. This consists of a pair of spacecraft that have been orbiting Earth in close formation -- just a few hundred meters apart -- since 2007. These spacecraft take radar images of the ground from slightly different angles, allowing researchers to create a 3-D map of the planet. In total, Esch and co have processed 470,000 pairs of images to create their map of the entire planet."
https://geoservice.dlr.de/web/maps/eoc:guf:4326

17 June 2017

R.I.P. Ootje Oxenaar ~ Designed NL Banknotes...

Sad to hear that Ootje Oxenaar, the graphic designer of beautiful Dutch money and RISD instructor, has passed away at 87. I particularly liked his Sunflower design for the 50 Guilder note, which was NL orange plus harkened to Van Gogh and was a complete contrast to monolithic American currency at the time... 24Oranges spotted this self retrospective video by Oxenaar...

15 June 2017

Global Incomes ~ Distribution Change over Time...

Thanks to Daniel Mitchell from International Liberty for spotlighting a great chart by Professor Max Roser of Oxford using Gapminder data showing the distribution of income globally at key point in recent history...
"There are three takeaways from this data. The first conclusion [...] is that the world is getting richer. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. That’s wonderful news. The second conclusion, as seen by the red section of the chart, is that a modest bit of reform in India and China has paid big dividends (and, given the success of Indian-Americans and Chinese-Americans, I imagine those nations could become much richer with additional market-friendly reform). But I want to focus today on a third conclusion, which is that pro-growth policies are the best way to help the poor, not redistribution driven by a fixation on inequality."
https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/long-run-global-growth-and-lessons-about-inequality-and-poverty-reduction/

10 June 2017

Wealth & World-Class ~ Universities & Growth...

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/these-two-maps-will-change-how-you-think-about-the-worlds-best-universities?utm_content=buffer0162c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer Thanks to a WEForum post for spotting infographics created for Times Higher Education by Ben Hennig, an associate professor at the University of Iceland, which spotlight the relationship between wealth and world-class universities...
"What are the essential ingredients needed to make a world-class university? [...] The answer always involves a discussion of the importance of institutional autonomy and academic freedom, and a recognition of the crucial fact that without great people, there can be no great university. But one element is undeniably more important than any other: cold, hard cash. [...] You can’t create the appropriate research facilities, or provide the appropriate teaching environment, without money -- but most importantly, you can’t attract and retain the required talent in a highly competitive global recruitment market without the resources to pay attractive salaries."
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/these-two-maps-will-change-how-you-think-about-the-worlds-best-universities?utm_content=buffer0162c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

22 May 2017

Canals ~ Early Disruptive & -ted Infrastructure!

Bill Warner spotlights how Before the Internet, There Was the Middlesex Canal...
"When you take a look at the history of the Middlesex Canal, built from 1794 to 1802, you’ll find a surprising similarity between the issues facing technology investors today, with those over 200 years ago. [...] The technology of moving goods at great scale and at low cost started with the Middlesex Canal. Then the railroads took over. Now containerization [...] Like all technology change, those in control of the current technology fight hard to hold on [...] But the march of technology is relentless when new approaches cut costs and increase speed."
https://medium.com/@billwarner/before-the-internet-there-was-the-middlesex-canal-cb853cc80891 Be especially sure as you read Bill's story to check out his MapJunction tool to visualize the historic pathway overlaid over contemporary photo-map!

09 May 2017

R.I.P. Peter Spier ~ Epic Dutch Inspiring Illustrator

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/05/books/peter-spier-dead-childrens-book-author.html?_r=0Richard Sandomir in the NYTimes shares the sad news that inspirational illustrator Peter Spier has passed away at 89 from congestive heart failure. My very earliest favorite book -- i.e. when I was a toddler and my parents read to me -- was about Hendrika the Cow Who Fell in the Canal but as a teen I really spent endless hours on Of Dikes and Windmills. Amazing stuff about Dutch history, epic civil engineering, and the power of nature!
https://www.amazon.com/Dikes-Windmills-Peter-Spier/dp/0385083874

25 April 2017

Making of Metropolis ~ Silent-Era Urban SF Epic!

The Making of Metropolis -- and its painstaking restoration story! Incredible special effects! Changing our futurevision!

15 April 2017

R.I.P. Eugene Lang ~ Financed "Dream" Tuition!

James Hagerty in the WSJ writes of Eugene Lang's passing at 98 and his spontaneous philanthropic promise at a Harlem elementary school graduation to underwrite college tuition for all who finished high school. This begat the "I Have A Dream" Foundation which to-date has supported thousands of collegiates. R.I.P.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/eugene-lang-found-giving-money-wasnt-enough-1492178400?mod=e2fb

04 March 2017

R.I.P. Paul Kangas ~ "The Best of Good Buys!"

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/business/paul-kangas-dead.html?_r=0
Alas, Paul Kangas, the Walter Cronkite of business broadcasting has passed away. He started the broadcasting of business info. Indeed, others, like CNBC, “all started mimicking us.” “But as my wife, who is an artist, says,” he added, “the original is always the best.” I personally loved his panache and his epic and memorable signature signoff...
“Wishing all of you the best of good buys”

25 February 2017

Global Pie ~ $74T Economy in One Chart...

Jeff Desjardins at Visual Capitalist shares The $74 Trillion Global Economy in One Chart...
"The full circle, known as a Voronoi Diagram, represents the entirety of the $74 trillion global economy in nominal terms. Meanwhile, each country’s segment is sized accordingly to their percentage of global GDP output. Continents are also grouped together and sorted by color."
http://www.visualcapitalist.com/74-trillion-global-economy-one-chart/ P.S. The actual graphing was done by HowMuch.net

20 February 2017

R.I.P. Hans Rosling ~ Edutainer Extraordinaire

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38900572 Pancreatic cancer has laid low Hans Rosling, the Gapminder co-founder and my favorite public health statistician and data edutainer extraordinaire.  He has many remarkable TED talks and other videos online, but I personally favor his appearance at TEDIndia speaking on Asia's Rise where he compares global growth over 200 years and predicts exactly when India and China converge with the rich!

07 February 2017

MIT Media Ventures ~ Thurs 10a-12n Spring '17

UPDATE: Due to MIT's snow closing, our kickoff class was Thursday morning 10a-12n February 16th, 2017 in Media Lab E14-633.

Our MIT Media Ventures ~ Media Lab Entrepreneurship & Digital Innovations class surveys a broad landscape of emerging media technologies interwoven with live- and historic-cases of intre- and entrepreneurship-based on new media ideas, culminating in a term project. The core goal of this Action Lab offering is for students to gain increased understanding of how emergent media and digital innovations translate into commercial reality and transform society.
http://stellar.mit.edu/S/course/15/sp17/15.376/
We survey case examples of both successful and failed businesses and generally grapple with the difficulties of deploying and diffusing products and as a means of exploring a range of business models and opportunities enabled by emerging Media Lab and related innovations. This year we will be especially emphasizing urban innovations, personal data rights, health, civic engagement, financial service innovations, mobile transactions, and social media generally with special focus on social networks, quantified self and society, AI, robotics, automation, and data analytics. Join us at first class Thursday morning 10a-12n February 9th, 2017 in Media Lab E14-633.

CityScope Kendall ~ Model Innovation District

http://stellar.mit.edu/S/course/MAS/sp17/MAS.552/
I'm co-teaching CityScope Kendall Square class this Spring 2017 together with MIT Media Lab colleague Kent Larson and team, starting Wednesday, 8 February at 2pm, as part of our MIT Cities Initiative. Kendall Square is considered by many to be an ideal innovation district -- but it is dysfunctional as a community due to an extreme lack of amenities, housing, cultural venues, and after-work activity. MIT’s selection as the developer for the 14-acre Volpe Center creates one last opportunity to transform the district into a vibrant and creative center for entrepreneurship. Students will explore an evidence-based, data-driven process that makes use of the CityScope augmented reality platform to design, iterate, and reimagine Kendall Square. Join us at first class Wed afternoon 2pm February 8th, 2017 in Media Lab E15-359.

24 January 2017

MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures ~ IAP 2017

On Tuesday night, 24 January 2017, Joe Hadzima and I kick off the latest incarnation -- the 28th year (!!) -- of our MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures course over the MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP 2017). Joe starts with the essence of business planning as a process of iterative imagination and special guest speaker Bob Jones shares how to present venture essentials. My primary topic is Team & Organizational issues, our special guest speakers (mostly MIT alums, all entrepreneurs) cover the essentials everyone ought to know about new venturing, including how to identify customers, pitch a concept, raise money, model financials, deal with legalities, negotiate with people, and holistically integrate this all together.

Sessions are evenings over the next two weeks Tue, Wed, and Thurs nights 1/24-2/2 from 6-9p in 10-250 -- i.e. in our prime MIT lecture hall under the iconic Great Dome. Folks can choose whether to attend all sessions, plus doing the (useful) written homework assignment, and registering For Credit (3 Units, Pass/Fail for 15.S21 online via Websis) or to come for any (or all) nights and simply participate as a Listener. All MIT affiliates and colleagues -- including students, faculty, staff, post-docs, alums, spouses, relatives, and friends -- are welcome on a space-available basis with priority for registered full-time undergrad and grad students. We also continue to welcome students from our sister schools in Boston-metro (e.g. Wellesley, Harvard, BU, Tufts, etc) as well as Members of the MIT Enterprise Forum network. Those interested, please simply join us at 6pm in our MIT 10-250 classroom.

03 January 2017

Bird Migration ~ Seasonal Flight in Americas!

Audubon spotlights a full season of bird migrations visualized!
"A new animation from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology tracks 118 species along their journeys across the Americas."