Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from BRT

Friday, December 23, 2011

Where Video is Going

Disruptive, disruptive to the max to Hollywood without question.
Click here for Part 1.

Layer by Layer

BRT has talked about 3D stereo lithography numerous times as this tech, will, in time, change how man makes things, especially when the technique employs sophisticated methodologies similar to what GE is using to build jet engines.

To do it, a laser traces out the shape of the injector's cross-section on a bed of cobalt-chrome powder, fusing the powder into solid form to build up the injector one ultrathin layer at a time. This promises to be less expensive than traditional manufacturing methods, and it should lead to a lighter part—which is to say a better one. The first parts will go into jet engines, says Prabhjot Singh, who runs a lab at GE that focuses on improving and applying this and similar 3-D printing processes. But, he adds, "there's not a day we don't hear from one of the other divisions at GE interested in using this technology."

These innovations are at the forefront of a radical change in manufacturing technology that is especially appealing in advanced applications like aerospace and cars. The 3-D printing techniques won't just make it more efficient to produce existing parts. They will also make it possible to produce things that weren't even conceivable before—like parts with complex, scooped-out shapes that minimize weight without sacrificing strength. Unlike machining processes, which can leave up to 90 percent of the material on the floor, 3-D printing leaves virtually no waste—a huge consideration with expensive metals such as titanium. The technology could also reduce the need to store parts in inventory, because it's just as easy to print another part—or an improved version of it—10 years after the first one was made. An automobile manufacturer receiving reports of a failure in a seat belt mechanism could have a reconfigured version on its way to dealers within days.

With a bit of luck, society can survive in this age of peak oil but only if transparency is forced upon governance, corporate and finance before it's too late.

Nature Finds a Way

Seems our bodies produces graphite, the precursor to Graphene, as needs warrant.

Earlier research by team members Alfons Fischer at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Markus Wimmer at Rush University Medical Center discovered that a lubricating layer forms on metallic joints as a result of friction. Once formed, the layer reduces friction as well as wear and corrosion. This layer is called a tribological layer and is where the sliding takes place, much like how an ice skate slides not on the ice but on a thin layer of water.

But, until now, researchers did not know what the layer was. (It forms on the surfaces of both the ball and the socket.) It had been assumed that the layer was made of proteins or something similar in the body that got into the joint and adhered to the implant's surfaces.

The interdisciplinary team studied seven implants that were retrieved from patients for a variety of reasons. The researchers used a number of analytical tools, including electron and optical microscopies, to study the tribological layer that formed on the metal parts. (An electron microscope uses electrons instead of light to image materials.)

The electron-energy loss spectra, a method of examining how the atoms are bonded, showed a well-known fingerprint of graphitic carbon. This, together with other evidence, led the researchers to conclude that the layer actually consists primarily of graphitic carbon, a well-established solid lubricant, not the proteins of natural joints.

Nature finds a way.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble - Macbeth

For 30,000 years, the permafrost has remained quiescent, holding onto carbon dioxide and methane, it's O2 starved cousin, at bay, keeping runaway global warming from happening until we came along to upset the apple cart. 

A recent estimate suggests that the perennially frozen ground known as permafrost, which underlies nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere.

Temperatures are warming across much of that region, primarily, scientists believe, because of the rapid human release of greenhouse gases. Permafrost is warming, too. Some has already thawed, and other signs are emerging that the frozen carbon may be becoming unstable.

but that's not all.

When organic material comes out of the deep freeze, it is consumed by bacteria. If the material is well-aerated, bacteria that breathe oxygen will perform the breakdown, and the carbon will enter the air as carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas. But in areas where oxygen is limited, like the bottom of a lake or wetland, a group of bacteria called methanogens will break down the organic material, and the carbon will emerge as methane.

Scientists are worried about both gases. They believe that most of the carbon will emerge as carbon dioxide, with only a few percent of it being converted to methane. But because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, the 41 experts in the recent survey predicted that it would trap about as much heat as the carbon dioxide would.

In indirect fashion, the slow motion push of global warming will bring tragedy to those who cannot deal with it just as the fatal attraction to power brings tragedy to Macbeth, a supremely gifted man unable to escape the clutches of unbridled ambition.

1 WITCH.  Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd. 
       2 WITCH.  Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd. 
       3 WITCH.  Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time! 
       1 WITCH.  Round about the caldron go; 
    In the poison'd entrails throw.— 
    Toad, that under cold stone, 
    Days and nights has thirty-one; 
    Swelter'd venom sleeping got, 
    Boil thou first i' the charmed pot! 
       ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble; 
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble. 
       2 WITCH.  Fillet of a fenny snake, 
    In the caldron boil and bake; 
    Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 
    Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, 
    Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,— 
    For a charm of powerful trouble, 
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 
       ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble; 
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Transformation 2 Step

About 2 1/2 years ago, BRT did a post titled Economics 101 or Show Me the Money, a blurb dedicated to showing how many boxcars would 15 billion dollars take up and how much would it weigh as said money was lost by various governmental players during the misadventure known as Iraq. 

Now, let's do the math for 29 trillion dollars, the amount the Fed gave to banks and
foreign entities beginning in 2008.
  1. $15 billion x 1.94 = $29 billion
  2. 4.295 box cars x 1.94 = 8.332 box cars filled with $100s = the aforementioned $29 billion
  3. 165 tons x 1.94 = 320 tons = Weight of the $29 billion
  4. To get the totals for $29 trillion, simply multiply 8.332 and 320 by 1000 or...
  5. 8.332 box cars x 1000 =  8,332, box cars filled with $100s = $29 trillion
  6. 320 tons x 1000 = 320,000 tons = Weight of the $29 trillion
Of course, this is just a mental exercise as the actual possibility of having 29 trillion dollars in hand is but a figment of one's imagination, and besides, it's far easier to transform dollars into bits, entities able to be manipulated, moved and created at a moment's notice courtesy of tech, fractional reserve banking and the magical ability to turn IOUs into assets in feeding the multitudes of '"destitute" bankers and foreign interests who, as we know all too well, are too big to fail, don't you think?

Adding Fuel to the Fire

"Here’s the hurricane: In reality, no less than $29.616 trillion is the total emergency assistance provided by the Fed to foreign and domestic entities during the Global Financial Crisis. Let’s repeat that: $29 trillion. This astounding number is over twice U.S. gross domestic product, the nominal value of all goods and services produced for the year 2010.  This is the total of the bailout as calculated by Nicola Matthews and myself as part of the Ford Foundation project, A Research And Policy Dialogue Project On Improving Governance Of The Government Safety Net In Financial Crisis.  We will be presenting the results of our analysis in a series of papers published by the Levy Economics Institute, the first of which, “29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bailout by Funding Facility and Recipient,” is already available here. "

2012 anyone? - Maybe the Mayans were right after all in terms of how violent 2012 could become thanks to the collusion of government with the Fed and the WS banks (along with significant others) in allowing the 1% to get away with the biggest financial theft in this country's history.

If we can finally be truthful with ourselves as a nation, then we must admit that our financial system is fundamentally based on lies, fraud, embezzlement, misinformation, perverse filters and incentives, shadow systems that mock transparency and regulation, class privilege and the systemic flouting of the rule of law.

This is the truth that hurts because it reveals the financial system as one stupendous exploitative fraud; but it also reveals the complicity and irrelevance of our judicial system and the complete capture of the legislative and Executive processes of governance.

There is a system of government in which rule of law is merely a propaganda screen, where financial and political Elites run the show and escape the consequences of their actions: it's called tyranny. The truth is that we live in a financial tyranny.

We can change this if we really want to but the changes we must make will be fought tooth and nail by the powers at be who intend to keep the status quo intact at all costs. One can only hope the change we desperately need can be done peacefully because if not, the US may not survive as a viable nation as we move further into a most uncertain future.

Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

[Neo's eyes suddenly wander towards a woman in a red dress.]

Morpheus: If you are not one of us, you are one of them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In Direct Contrast

In direct contrast to Immersive to the 9s, a piece showing just how creative and innovative people can be regarding art, science and technology comes a piece showing just how venal and shortsighted people can be when it comes to finance and the art of crony capitalism as practiced by the corrupt minions at the Fed.

Capitalism's primary characteristic is that capital is put at risk for a gain/loss. If risk is off-loaded onto the Fed's bottomless balance sheet and the taxpayer via government-funded bailouts and guarantees, then capital is not actually at risk. Thus what we have isn't capitalism, but cartel crony-capitalism, a phony version of the real thing which guarantees private banking profits and socializes banking losses.

The Fed was recently revealed as having arranged billions in private gain via secretly backstopping the banks with $7.7 trillion. This highlights Bernanke and his buds' second catastrophically wrong policy, that of systemic opacity.

The acme of open markets is transparency. Without transparency, markets are not free or open, they are manipulated-- both to hide those who are benefitting from the destruction of transparency (monopolies, cartels, fiefdoms, kleptocracies, oligarchies, etc.) and to manipulate the market as part of a permanent propaganda campaign to "manage perceptions:" the market's up, everything's dandy.

Bernanke and his faithful banking-sector lackeys have destroyed transparency at every turn, refusing an audit (an audit smacks of--sniff--democracy--how distasteful), masking the $7.7 trillion in backstopping, and hiding the toxicity of the Fed balance sheet, which is loaded with over $1 trillion in distressed mortgage securities that the Fed lovingly took off the bankrupt balance sheets of its craven masters, the banks.

In other words, the Fed has massively rewarded the reckless and rescued the incompetent from the consequences of their actions. If that isn't the perfection of wrongheadedness, what is?

Transparency is key for without it, all things related to finance fail, a concept so eloquently voiced in the Charles Hugh Smith piece seen above and in  Transparency, Daniel Roth's nuanced argument articulating why less regulation is needed, not more, when transparency, combined with xbrl, is factored into the equation. In this writer's opinion, transparency should be a given in all aspects of governance, science and business as well because without it, things have a way of blowing up, as seen by the devastating impact the criminal activities of the Fed and Wall Street banks have had on the world at large.

Immersive to the 9s

About three years ago, BRT posted a blurb about wall size screens, paper thin with gorgeous color and high resolution. Of course the post talked about OLEDs and not quantum dots as Qdots were still a mostly imagined tech with unlimited upside but was considered to be  extremely hard to manufacture, until now. With this in mind, it seems BRT was wrong about the tach (but not the displays) as quantum dots will be the flexible, paper thin darling of flat screens of every size imaginable and not OLEDs if Nanoco & significant others have anything to say about it.

The quantum dots will be in use for ultra thin, light flat screen TVs by the end of next year, and, in another three years, will be used in flexible screens rolled up like paper or used as wall coverings.

The company, Nanoco Group, is reportedly working with Asian electronics companies to bring this technology to market.

The tech envisioned looks like this.

To get in-depth info about this elegant approach to innovative displays, click on the image below.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Necessity as the Mother of Invention

Necessity is the mother of invention. When desperate, innovation often issues forth as seen in the Wired article Fecal Transplants: They Work, the Regulations Don’t

to whit.

For months, physicians kept trying different drug regimens, while Thompson’s hair fell out and her muscles wasted. By summer, she was down 40 pounds and close to desperate. Scouring the internet for alternatives, she found a description of a treatment that didn’t use drugs. It was a fecal transplant, which is just what it sounds like: inserting strained, diluted feces harvested from someone with a healthy gut into the sick person’s large intestine, in hopes of replacing the devastated colony of bacteria living there with a fresh, robust one.

In two hours, she started feeling better. In three years, her C. diff has never recurred.

but, as per the the status quo,

Fecal transplants remain a niche therapy, practiced only by gastroenterologists who work for broad-minded institutions and who have overcome the ick factor. To become widely accepted, recommended by professional societies and reimbursed by insurers, the transplants will need to be rigorously studied in a randomized clinical trial, in which people taking a treatment are assessed alongside people who are not.

From the perspective of yours truly, it's follow the money as dung cannot be monetized, something big pharma realizes when seen in Merck's marketing of  Proscar vs Saw Palmetto in treating an enlarged prostate as Proscar costs three times as much and has more side effects then Saw Palmetto. Because we have a for profit medical system, solutions that are cheap, like fecal transplants, are often marginalized but there's hope, with a touch of irony.

So, to be clear, what we have is a treatment that is minimally invasive, reliable, cheap, and with a long clinical history: The earliest documented use in humans goes back to 1958, and it has a longer and still current use in veterinary medicine, especially in racehorses. Also, it works, in more than 9 out of 10 patients. Kelly told me: “There is no drug, for anything” with a cure rate routinely that high.

Being a horse has it's advantages, don't you think?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Learning Curve

The Matrix, a 1999 masterpiece, covers much ground regarding AI, simulated reality and the brutal displacement of man as the dominant species on planet earth, a fact artfully concealed by a computer generated dream world so real as to be accepted as the one true reality as long as you don't take the red pill.

But this blurb, as per BRT custom, is not about simulated reality and malevolent AI but rather about instant learning, the ability for people to master complex skills instantly (like Neo) by downloading content into the mind ready to be used as needs warrant. At the time of the flick, this notion was conjecture at best but it won't be for long if researchers are right about being able to modify thought patters to enable one to learn new disciplines beyond the limits of real time...

Disruptive to the max if you ask me.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Being an Aspie

I'm coming out of the closet. I have Aspergers, a mild form of Autism, a condition that makes communication with others a difficulty because of how our brains are wired.  For years, it was considered a handicap with no upside, something that made life miserable growing up until research showed me how to communicate more effectively with others. Interestingly enough, the attitude toward Aspergers is changing as many creatives and innovators of the world including Einstein, Newton and Edison were believed to have had Aspergers, a fact which makes yours truly feel more sanguine about  possessing this particular condition.

Click here to see some of the notable who are aspies. Players to the max if you ask me. :)

Had to include Glen Gould playing the Goldberg. Without a doubt, IMHO, Gould was the greatest interpreter of Bach's keyboard compositions. Enjoy.