Saturday, October 29, 2011
MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld talks about his Fab Lab -- a low-cost lab that lets people build things they need using digital and analog tools. It's a simple idea with powerful results.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Riley Crane, a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Media Lab, found out about the DARPA Red Balloon Challenge four days before it started (find ten balloons placed in ten different locations around the country). Four days, eight hours, and 52 minutes later his team had won the competition. Watch him talk about how they did it and the challenges they encountered in the process.
How does cancer know it's cancer? At Jay Bradner's lab, they found a molecule that might hold the answer, JQ1 -- and instead of patenting JQ1, they published their findings and mailed samples to 40 other labs to work on. An inspiring look at the open-source future of medical research.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Kevin Slavin argues that we're living in a world designed for -- and increasingly controlled by -- algorithms. In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can't understand, with implications we can't control.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Surgeon and engineer Todd Kuiken is building a prosthetic arm that connects with the human nervous system -- improving motion, control and even feeling. Onstage, patient Amanda Kitts helps demonstrate this next-gen robotic arm.
In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.
Friday, October 21, 2011
CNET News reports: "I took a tour of Covanta Energy's waste-to-energy site here yesterday to delve a little deeper into that question. I learned that modern plants like this one are far less polluting than they used to be and that "reduce, reuse, recycle" is clearly the preferred route. For what's left over after recyling, though, waste-to-energy plants can fill a role as an alternative to landfills, assuming air quality standards remain in force." (read the rest of the article)
Monday, October 17, 2011
Here is something you don't see too often.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
From dust to dust, this time lapse covers over 5 weeks including the preparation of the event, from before the trash fence erection and after basically everyone except for DPW trickles out. Other than a few occasional pauses, the main event goest by at a rate of 3 hours every second. Burning Man 2011 Home
For those that don't know about Burning Man, I think this video provides a good brief introduction to what you can expect. Please note this video may not be suitable for young people.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Gizmodo reports: "Despite the fact that every single facet of NASA's moonwalks were government-controlled expeditions, astronauts were not exempt from the annoying processes involved with foreign travel. Case in point, this customs form, signed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins." (Read the rest of the article)
IMHO: Please file this under, are you kidding...
IMHO: Please file this under, are you kidding...
Sunday, October 09, 2011
The feeling of security and the reality of security don't always match, says computer-security expert Bruce Schneier. At TEDxPSU, he explains why we spend billions addressing news story risks, like the "security theater" now playing at your local airport, while neglecting more probable risks -- and how we can break this pattern.
In summary: Feeling "Secure" is only a perception. If you want to know more watch the video.
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with new inventions, such as the "crackberry," for example. Kevin Kelly declares this conflict as inherent to all technology. But he also argues that technology is not anti-nature, but rather the "seventh kingdom" of life; it now shares with life certain biases, urges, needs and tendencies. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles.
The 2008 economic crisis taught us that irrationality is an influential player in financial markets. But it is often the case that irrationality also makes it way into our daily lives and decision-making -- in slightly different and vastly more subtle ways. In this enthralling follow-up to his New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely shows how irrationality is an inherent part of the way we function and think, and how it affects our behavior in all areas of our lives, from our romantic relationships to our experiences in the workplace to our temptations to cheat.
Media commentator Peter Williams argues that gaming can actually help kids learn and engage in their environment more deeply. Williams explains how games as varied as Donkey Kong and Fallout may have shaped his son's education and interests for the better.
Gabe Zichermann, chair of the Gamification Summit, says that today's most successful social games are those built on the social principles of classic games like bridge and mahjong.
International economist Dambisa Moyo examines the notion that the United States should deal with its rapidly escalating debt by simply refusing to pay it off. Although Moyo regards default as an option of last resort, she notes that it wouldn't be one without precedent: "The idea that big countries never default... is something that is not true."
Less than 10% of plastic trash is recycled -- compared to almost 90% of metals -- because of the massively complicated problem of finding and sorting the different kinds. Frustrated by this waste, Mike Biddle has developed a cheap and incredibly energy efficient plant that can, and does, recycle any kind of plastic.
Panelists at the Churchill Club's annual Top Ten Tech Trends event debate whether or not social networks are beggining to develop an "uncool factor" among early adopters. Futurist Paul Saffo predicts a shift towards "meaningful social networks" and a growing trend towards being disconnected. "The cool thing will be to not be on LinkedIn and to not be on Facebook," says Saffo.
Social networks like Twitter boast ever-climbing rates of use, but how many account holders are actually participating? A panel of Australian media experts discusses the 90-9-1 principle of social media, which has it that 90 percent of users on any social media platform are lurking, 9 percent are moderate contributors, and 1 percent are super users.
"Monotony collapses time. Novelty unfolds it," reads Joshua Foer from his book, Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, explaining that creating more worthwhile memories can lengthen our perception of time.
In summary, if you create new "exciting" memories more often the your life will seem longer. For example, go try something new or visit a new place (locally or far away). Although, the more mundane your life the shorter it will be perceived by yourself.
Charles Ferguson, director of "Inside Job," proposes a strategy to reform the compensation structure of top players in the financial services industry. He explains that rather than capping the salaries of top executives, he would regulate the compensation of any person capable of taking major risks.
Future Crimes founder Marc Goodman discusses the inherent danger of malleable data in the digital age. In an era where man and machine coexist, Goodman warns it's not wise to always trust the information displayed on the screen of your digital device.
Theoretical astrophysicist Suketu Bhavsar examines the probability that many versions of you exist in a universe that expands infinitely.
Monday, October 03, 2011
In this accessible talk from TEDxBoston, Richard Resnick shows how cheap and fast genome sequencing is about to turn health care (and insurance, and politics) upside down.
This is a great talk...
Some kids learn by listening; others learn by doing. Geoff Mulgan gives a short introduction to the Studio School, a new kind of school in the UK where small teams of kids learn by working on projects that are, as Mulgan puts it, "for real."