Thursday, April 28, 2011

MIT's artificial leaf is ten times more efficient than the real thing

Wired UK reports: "Speaking at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in California, MIT professor Daniel Nocera claims to have created an artificial leaf, made from stable and inexpensive materials, which mimics nature's photosynthesis process.

The device is an advanced solar cell, no bigger than a typical playing card, which is left floating in a pool of water. Then, much like a natural leaf, it uses sunlight to split the water into its two core components, oxygen and hydrogen, which are stored in a fuel cell to be used when producing electricity."

Hackers Target Mobile Devices reports: "Attacks targeting mobile devices are on the rise, and the overall threat environment grew yet more hostile in 2010, says Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 16. “Cell phones are coming into your work environment, and the user may own them, but they’re going to wind up with work data on them,” says Kevin Haley, director at Symantec Security Response. “Businesses really need to think about that because not only will these phone be lost, not only will these folks that work for you leave and go to other companies… the bad guys are going to be attacking these phones and trying to steal from them as well.” What steps can businesses take to mitigate these risks?"

SPARSH - Touch to Copy, Touch to Paste

SPARSH lets you conceptually transfer media from one digital device to your body and pass it to the other digital device by simple touch gestures.

Our digital world -- laptop, TV, smart phone, e-book reader and all are now relying upon the cloud, the cloud of information. SPARSH explores a novel interaction method to seamlessly transfer something between these devices in a real fun way using the underlying cloud. Here it goes. Touch whatever you want to copy. Now it is saved conceptually in you. Next, touch the device you want to paste/pass the saved content.

Reverse Engineered Alien Technology?

Normally I would never post a video like this, but I like it because it challenges you think about the subject and technology.

About the video: "Reverse Engineer an Alien Spacecraft discovering the amazing science behind Invisibility (Metamaterials), Anti-Gravity (Torsion Field Physics), Nano-photo-optical quantum computers(Quasicrystals), and more."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Railgun Update from General Atomics

Don't be a Billy (Funny Security Awareness Video)

Deb Roy: The birth of a word

About the video: MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

Harvey Fineberg: Are we ready for neo-evolution?

Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg shows us three paths forward for the ever-evolving human species: to stop evolving completely, to evolve naturally -- or to control the next steps of human evolution, using genetic modification, to make ourselves smarter, faster, better. Neo-evolution is within our grasp. What will we do with it?

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Mountain

Excerpt from the video description: "The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide. I have to say this was one of the most exhausting trips I have done. There was a lot of hiking at high altitudes and probably less than 10 hours of sleep in total for the whole week. Having been here 10-11 times before I had a long list of must-see locations I wanted to capture for this movie, but I am still not 100% used to carrying around so much gear required for time-lapse movies."

Dunbar's Number

Molly explains why you won't ever have more than 150 friends. Leave us a comment below telling us how you decide to cut your friends down.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

David Christian: Big history

Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

Open-sourcing the blueprints of civilization: Marcin Jakubowski

Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that’s only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).

Susan Lim: Transplant cells, not organs

Pioneering surgeon Susan Lim performed the first liver transplant in Asia. But a moral concern with transplants (where do donor livers come from ...) led her to look further, and to ask: Could we be transplanting cells, not whole organs? At the INK Conference, she talks through her new research, discovering healing cells in some surprising places.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

L2 Innovation Workshop: Generating a Disruptive Idea

The rate of change and innovation in digital is staggering. Brands that take an iterative approach to innovation are quickly falling behind and risk destroying significant shareholder value. Exemplar brands are building systems, processes, and cultures that support experimentation and innovation in digital as part of the way in which they conduct business.

Chores Get Gamified: Players Compete to Clean the Toilet

Game designer and author Jane McGonigal recounts how the computer game Chore Wars pitted her and her husband against one another to see who could perform more household chores. "We wound up doing some funny things, like hiding the toilet brush so the other person couldn't do it," she says.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Star Trek's Biggest Fan? Nichelle Nichols Remembers MLK, Jr.

Actress Nichelle Nichols, who played the role of Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek series, recalls a surprise visit from her biggest fan: Martin Luther King, Jr. Nichols describes how Dr. King approached her as she was considering leaving the show and convinced her to change her mind.

Chinese Magical Hard-Drive

Jitbit reports about a Chinese magical hard-drive, here is an excerpt from the article: "He works at a hard-drive repair center in a Russian town right next to the Chinese border. A couple of days ago a customer has brought a broken 500Gb USB-drive that he had bought in a Chinese store across the river, for an insanely low price. But the drive was not working: if you, say, save a movie onto the drive, playing the saved movie back resulted in replaying just the last 5 minutes of the film."

(read the rest of the story and see picture here)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Facebook Open Compute Project Offers Keys to Prineville Data Center Kingdom reports: "Facebook's Prineville, Ore., data center is almost finished, and to celebrate the ambitious project the social network decided to do something special April 7. As part of the Open Compute Project, Facebook is publishing specs and mechanical designs used to construct the motherboards, power supply, server chassis, and server and battery cabinets for its data center. That's unprecedented enough for a company of Facebook's growing scale, but the social network is also open sourcing specs for its data center's electrical and mechanical construction."

When you work with servers all day, you tend to geek out on this stuff... ;-)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Absolutely the Best Top Gear Episodes

Space Shuttle car
The folks at Top Gear have completely outdone themselves, building their own Space Shuttle out of a Reliant Robin, roughly the British equivalent of a Pinto or a Gremlin (minus a wheel).

Polar Special
Can you travel to the North Pole in a car, or actually a Toyota Hilux pickup truck?

Peel P50
There are a lot of great Top Gear episodes, but this is definitely one of the better of them. Jeremy Clarkson drives Peel P50 literally in and around the BBC Television Center.

Runner up:
Supercar Fuel Challenge
Top Gears Jeremy Clarkson tests out 5 modern Supercars to see how far they well go on a gallon of fuel.

Gmail Motion Turned into Reality (using Kinect)

Google's April fool's gag "Gmail Motion", is turned into reality using a Microsoft Kinect and some special software. Watch the video above to see the technology in action. If you want to know more about the Gmail Motion gag watch the video below.

This project uses OpenNI coupled with FAAST and was made by Evan Suma and the folks at Mark Bolas' MxR Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.

Download FAAST for free and try it at
Learn more about USC ICT at

GEICO's Rental Car Quiz -

You're probably wondering why I would post a link to GEICO's Rental Car Quiz. Personally I thought this had a lot of good information about renting cars. I know most of this stuff, but I have to admit I did learn a few interesting facts from this quiz.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Top Gear: BBC: Atom (the full clip in high quality!) - Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson challenges the Atom to prove more fun than a motorbike - with astounding and face melting results!

Quote of the Day...

Any sufficiently advances bureaucracy is indistinguishable from molasses. - Unknown

Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak: The Food of the Future

Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak present "Organically Grown and Genetically Engineered: The Food of the Future" as part of The Long Now Foundation's Seminars About Long-term Thinking. They explore how genetic engineering can work with organic growing practices to produce food in a more sustainable way than either of them could alone.