The Uncanny Valley - writ large
Sunday, January 27, 2013
3D printing's prime time but we already know that. From, god forbid, the printing of guns, to the prototyping of brake assemblies and human organs, the fabbing revolution of stereolith tech is alive and well but now, a patent removing the human part of the equation has been accepted, something to consider when looking at the relationship of tech to all things political, financial and governmental.
The Robotic Fabricator, as their patent is called, presents methods in which an all in one automated fabricator would make things and put them together too. The patent filing makes note of tools toward this end. The system would include a tool-head for manufacturing, and manipulators.
"In traditional 3D printing," said the iRobot filers, "designs must still be divided into parts for production, and a trained individual assembles the fabricated parts into the final product after printing."
The human involvement in traditional 3-D printing creates increased factory safety risks. As important, they argue that the automated system that they are recommending reduces the risk of failure of the end product.
"Connectors, fasteners, seams, and similar interfaces are frequently a source of failure in the end product. A fabrication device that reduces the number of connectors, fasteners, seams, and similar component interfaces increases the quality of the end product and reduces product failure."
Included in their patent discussion is how fabrication could be centered around a six-axis industrial robotic manipulator (primary manipulator) that handles the product from seed component to mature product. "The primary manipulator positions the product for manufacturing operations such as additive and subtractive manufacturing (3D printing, milling and drilling). A secondary manipulator handles component pick-and-place and secondary manufacturing operations such as wire placement and hardware testing."
Seen below is the TED video on the future of printing human organs.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
"A daughter is visiting her father and is helping in the kitchen.
She asks: "Tell me dad, how are you managing with the new I-Pad
we gave you for your birthday?"
This is in German but that's all you really need to know. You'll get the rest:
A dear friend sent me this gem. Without question, it shows just how wide a gulf there is between people who understand tech and those who don't. Enjoy. :)
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Outrage to the bailouts and the ability of the Obama administration to NOT put the WS banksters in jail has been a recurring theme in BRT. As readers of this blog already know, BRT has talked about this issue repeatedly along with some simple suggestions as to what should be done to rectify this shameful situation but nothing, as we all know, has been done.
BS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.
It gets better
Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." (Indeed, as "The Untouchables" put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, "many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers" have been).
Question, why is Jon Corzine not in jail?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Irony writ large prevails here with Tom Cruise, a major player in Scientology, staring in Eyes Wide Shut, a flawed but visually stunning flick by Stanley Kubrick to a NYTimes book review of the same name describing Lawrence Wright's nuanced book Going Clear - Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief detailing a "religion" based on the jumbled rantings of L. Ron Hubbard, who created the Church of Scientology in order to avoid paying taxes.
Oh dear, oh dear. So what are poor thetans to do, where are they to go, when they find themselves between lives? Left to Venus or right to Mars? For sure, they can’t stay here. “The planet Earth, formerly called Teegeeack, was part of a confederation of planets under the leadership of a despot ruler named Xenu,” said Hubbard, who was a best-selling science fiction writer before he became the prophet of a new religion. To suppress a rebellion, Xenu tricked the confederations into coming in for fake income tax investigations. Billions of thetans were taken to Teegeeack (you remember: Earth), “where they were dropped into volcanoes and then blown up with hydrogen bombs.” Suffice it to say I’m not hanging around Earth next time I’m between lives.
To get another viewpoint on religion, of which Scientology is but one of many, George Carlin's a good place to start. :)
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Gilbert & Bennett created the largest wire mill factory in the world back in the day. (WW II). Since then, G&B has gone the way America has gone, extinct in terms of all things relating to manufacture. Take a look, it used to be something useful, a concept all too rare in this "connected" age of the web.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
For 5 years, BRT has talked about solar in terms of why thin film flexible tech, easily manufactured and able to produce a lot of juice from sunlight, is required before solar can finally take off. Well, said tech has arrived so America, pucker up and dump fossil fuels now.
In a remarkable feat, scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have developed thin film solar cells on flexible polymer foils with a new record efficiency of 20.4 percent for converting sunlight into electricity. The cells are based on CIGS semiconducting material known for its potential to provide cost-effective solar electricity. The technology is currently awaiting scale-up for industrial applications.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Samsung inntroduced the flex phone @ CES. In this quick video, one sees the same kind of flexible display device as per the one seen in the SciFi flick Red Planet.
Very cool tech without question as this presages the true melding of phone to tablet without the poor ergonomics of the phablet.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I looked sideways but Joyce was not smiling. I thought of [French novelist Gustave] Flaubert. "You've been seeking the mot juste?" I said.
No," said Joyce. "I have the words already. What I am seeking is the perfect order of words in the sentence.”
The notion of having written 1000 posts in BRT astounds me. The fact you, my loyal readers, have read all of this stuff astounds me even more, something I treasure when trying to make sense out of the chaotic reality in which we all live from the perspective of science and technology and the impact they have on civilization. In commemorating this specific "masterpiece" :), I quote Joyce as the start point in writing this 1000th blurb as the quality of thought Joyce brings to the world through his writing is as timeless and powerful as that of Homer, the blind poet who started it all when writing the Iliad and Odyssey back in the day. :)
PS, 1001 will be forthcoming.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Science on a Sphere is, without a doubt, the best way to show how natural processes work at global scale, something readily seen in this excellent video by Alexander E. McDonald, the inventor of this most disruptive tech. Enjoy.
A digital globe can illuminate the human planet: wars, colonization, the formation of diaspora, modern trade flows or air traffic. It can also help teach math, play games, show movies or serve as a blank canvas for one’s inner, spherical artist. Michael Starobin, 44, a multimedia professional and the producer of seven spherical films, says this brave new world is limited by only one rule: “Respect the roundness.”
Sunday, January 06, 2013
This more then apt cartoon from Healtchcare-Now says it all regarding the sorry state of HC in this nation. To add insult to injury, check out the NY Times blurb Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits to see how big insurance is screwing the American public big time in terms of raising rates while continuing to rake in record profits.
In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.
In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.
Anger does not begin to describe the feelings I have about HC in this country, something that should change but won't thanks to the status quo and the hold it has over politics, finance and healthcare. As a refresher, click Getting Hosed to get more info on just how inept our HC system truly is. End of rant.
Friday, January 04, 2013
Starting out as a young graphic designer many years ago, I created art specific to letterpress, the printing process invented by Gutenberg over 500 years ago whereby ink is directly applied to paper via movable lead slugs, thus giving a dimensionality to a printed piece totally absent from the mass media publications we see every day generated by the ubiquitous offset printing process. This lovely video of the printing of the now viral Holstee Manifesto poster, shows those who are too young to know, just how tactile and, in indirect fashion, jus how elegant this technology truly is. Enjoy.
Getting your money's worth regarding healthcare in this country is simply not possible as the US not only has, by far, the most expensive healthcare system in the world but also ranks 37th in the world in terms of HC quality, something most disquieting don't you think?
It gets better.
The question to ask is, does Congress have this problem?
BRT tends not to rant but when it comes to Fracking, the rant's definitely in play. PA is beginning to see the Faustian bargain writ large with tech that literally rapes the earth in order to extract natural gas while adversely affecting the water supply, food production and the environment in the process.
In Germany, 50% of the nation's power is supplied by solar while in this country, it's 2%. The question to ask is, why is it so low?
Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation's midday electricity needs.
A report finds that solar power's contribution could grow to 10% of the nation's power needs by 2025. The report, prepared by research and publishing firm Clean Edge and the nonprofit Co-op America, projects nearly 2% of the nation's electricity coming from concentrating solar power systems, while solar photovoltaic systems will provide more than 8% of the nation's electricity. Those figures correlate to nearly 50,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems and more than 6,600 megawatts of concentrating solar power.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
It's nice to see a post in the NY Times regarding infinities, something BRT talked about in an article titled Infinities Within Infinities whereby the notion of an infinite number of infinities residing in the multiverse is equally possible in finite space as subdividing 2, 2 1/2 and 3 space to ever finer dimensions can be accomplished in elegant fashion using the genius of Cantor, Mandelbrot and Menger, among significant others, to make it happen.
In reality, Pi really is the most accessible way to view infinity as no real math is required save that knowing Pi = the ratio of a circle's circumference C to its diameter D, and is approximately equal to 3.14159 etc., etc., etc. until the end of time. :)
Yes, infinities, plural. The popular notion of infinity may be of a monolithic totality, the ultimate, unbounded big tent that goes on forever and subsumes everything in its path — time, the cosmos, your complete collection of old Playbills. Yet in the ever-evolving view of scientists, philosophers and other scholars, there really is no single, implacable entity called infinity.
Instead, there are infinities, multiplicities of the limit-free that come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes, purposes and charms. Some are tailored for mathematics, some for cosmology, others for theology; some are of such recent vintage their fontanels still feel soft. There are flat infinities, hunchback infinities, bubbling infinities, hyperboloid infinities. There are infinitely large sets of one kind of number, and even bigger, infinitely large sets of another kind of number.
There are the infinities of the everyday, as exemplified by the figure of pi, with its endless post-decimal tail of nonrepeating digits, and how about if we just round it off to 3.14159 and then serve pie on March 14 at 1:59 p.m.? Another stalwart of infinity shows up in the mathematics that gave us modernity: calculus.
In closing, Wikipedia says it best...More than just irrational, π is a transcendental number – a number that is not the root of any nonzero polynomial having rational coefficients. The transcendence of π implies that it is impossible to solve the ancient challenge of squaring the circle with a compass and straight-edge.
Needless to say, we won't talk about Zero, a most dangerous notion the ancient Geeks avoided at all costs. Just ask Zeno to see why. :)
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
It is just the beginning as the Internet of Everything, a term coined by Cisco, is apt as innumerable devices, embued with intelligence via software and silicon and connected to the web 24/7, will change everything in terms of how tech works with man, a notion both exhilarating and frightening at the same time when factoring in the inevitable cost/benefit ratios such power like this brings to the table.
We are rapidly heading into a new era that will not be measured by the number of users, devices, or connections. What is changing the world, profoundly, is the value those connections make possible. When we connected the first 500 million devices to the internet, it seemed to reshape our lives. But now we are on the cusp of a transformation that connects everything to the internet. Highways, buildings, farms, satellites, solar panels, cars, milk cartons, cows…everything.
Getting it right is key as dystopia surely awaits if we lack the ability to control the genie once it's out of the bottle, something Prometheus found out when giving man fire.
In any event, HAPPY NEW YEAR from BRT. :)
When talking about good documentation, pictures like this come to mind, an exploded diagram, complete with well written text, explaining how, in this case, the Kindle Papaerwhite works, is both attractive to look at and easy to understand. It's too bad this kind of excellence in terms of showing how sophisticated tech functions is not commonplace but then again, attention to detail combined with knowledge about a given subject properly expressed is not commonplace either. Kudos to the NYTimes for putting out this gem for us rubes to check out.