Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crank


Yours truly loves crank, aka java, aka coffee, a substance, like tea and chocolate, the dark kind of course, is actually good for you unless one drinks 100 cups a day. :), so drink up, crank is a drug that satisfies, always. :)

Now when Pot is finally legalized…

Break-thru


BRT has talked about solar ad nauseum as yours truly believes that solar will eventually become the prime driver to sustainable energy production. The holdback to this tech has been efficiency, cost and form factor as expensive, large glass encased silicon solar cells with 12% efficiency, does not compute if solar is to replace the environmentally catastrophic fossil fuel tech that currently powers the world today.

Enter epitaxy,  a better way to do solar, courtesy a collaboration between Arizona State University and Georgia Tech using a new way to grow gallium nitride crystals (InGaN), the critical component that will change how solar gets power from the sun.




Imagination is more important than knowledge - Einstein

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lab-On-A-Chip... is coming


In a piece titled Healthcare - Days of Future Past , BRT talked about the upcoming tsnami that's coming to medicine when lab-on-a-chip technology, used in conjunction with IBM's Watson and the web, will force change upon medicine in ways today's dysfunctional environment cannot hold back simply because the efficiencies gained, by using this tech, in terms of proper and prompt diagnosis of patient conditions, with suggested procedures, will render obsolete the current way medicine is being conducted all over the world. Seems the LOAC part of the equation is coming, sooner, rather then later, thanks to revolutionary research done at the University of Rochester.





The Public Weal


The notion of public vs. private property in the US is sharply drawn. If an intruder enters one's property in the US, the first thing the owner asks is, "Can I help you?", in a subdued and sinister way, a notion alien to the max in Finland and Sweden.


I have a Swedish friend who educated me on this notion of private stewardship and why it's a good thing, something this nation should learn to abide by but won't as for the Public Good has gone the way of the dodo bird, a concept never to be embraced by the populace of this so called "exceptional" country. 

As for the sign, the Finish response is priceless.


Any questions?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Adaptation


Discovery shoots some amazing video of some pretty insane creatures including the Goblin Shark, a little known denizen of the deep, perfectly adapted to survive in a world of darkness and cold. Evolution to the max and then some.


The movie's petty cool as well. :)


The Physics of Money


Cassandra's Legacy is a gen. Ugo Bardi knows how the world works at a deep level and writes about this all encompassing subject in elegant and nuanced fashion, which is why BRT quotes him on a regular basis. 




Read his piece, you will learn a great deal about money, I know I have. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Can You Do?


BRT has posted some commentary regarding tech and education and what it means to be educated. The recent piece in Time adds fuel to the fire in their article titled Class of 2025. Needless to say, it's interesting to say the least.




Dumbing down students by improper integration of tech to education, teaching to the test and not demanding excellence in becoming good at something shows just how dazed and confused education is in America and why, in some respects, it's going to get worst because the acceleration of tech and how it relates to education is becoming ever more disruptive 24/7, food for thought as we move further into the 21st century.
  • In ten years, the iPad will cost about $10 and be about 5 to 10 times faster then the Cray super computer circa1983. Ditto the smart phone.
  • Immersive tech, like Google Glass, is just the start point for 24/7 immersion of humanity to the web, soon be be followed by transparent circuitry embedded in contact lenses, thus setting the stage for integrated Augment Reality environments that will render Glass a relic years before 2025. How does education compete with this?
  • IBM, doing heavy lifting into AI with Watson, is now developing systems controlled by the mind, something that will come to pass sooner rather then later.
  • The number of jobs will continue to shrink, with humans being replaced by robots on the manufacturing end and AI in the white collar sector. How can education deal with this?
  • The need to change priorities in the US is paramount. Defense spending is out of control and the nation is mired in debt, two unsustainable factors that adversely affect education in ways too numerous to calculate. A reset is needed because the US infrastructure is beginning to break.
  • The need to analyze exactly what is the tech footprint and how can it be properly integrated into the education space is key. Isolated examples of great success of tech linked to learning can be found throughout the nation but a systematic approach to do this nationwide is sorely lacking.
  • Harvard costs a cool $70K with no guarantee of a job because it's rapidly becoming "what can you do?" that matters, not the degree you have, the school you go to or who you know in the fiercely competitive marketplace of 2025. By 2025, $100+ k/year could become the norm. 
  • By 2025, higher education will be almost unrecognizable as the 8% inflation rate per year of US colleges is not sustainable nor is the entry fee required to getting a degree from any decent private school, which means, many schools around today will not be in 2025.
  • Kids born today, will not know what a computer is as the internet of things will be in full swing by 2025.
  • The impact of environmental degradation, global warming and energy shortages will loom large in 2025. Question, does education have the skills to train the young to enable them to make the changes needed by coming up with new and innovative ideas to enable humanity to cope with these enormous challenges? Does government have the capability to do the same? Can America deal with this because at this point in time, ignorance is bliss and happy motoring will live on forever.
  • In some ways, the guild system of the 17th century will become alt ed 2025 as knowhow in specific disciplines, driven by tech, will become popular in lieu of boutique colleges costing a $100K/year to attend.
  • Kids are starting to design their own curriculums in HS, a trend that will only accelerate as years go by.
  • As tech becomes finer grained, the diversification of education modalities will accelerate as one size fits all, as per today's ossified public education doctrine, will no longer apply.
  • Kids, in many instances, are smarter then teachers regarding tech and the web though this is beginning to change as young, web savvy teachers replace the technically challenged in schools all across America. 
  • Educationally challenged politicians cut state education budgets with abandon, conveniently forgetting what inevitably happens 20 years hence, when the populace in question, no longer has the prerequisite skills to thrive in a technologically driven society.
  • Learning by wrote has real value if the knowledge in question relates to the net. For instance, knowing the alphabet and multiplication tables relates as does arithmetic and the proper use of grammar (The Elements of Style anyone? :)) because what happens when the computer or smart phone runs out of power and arithmetic is needed to solve a real world problem like following a recipe or calculating how many square feet of rug is required to carpet a room. 
  • Learning to learn is something not often taught in today's schools, something drastically needed due to the double exponential acceleration of tech. Everything is connected and relational. To ignore this fact is true folly.
  • MOOCs are taking off while the sense of place regarding the college campus is starting to fray due to the enormous cost of US higher education. In Europe, free college is in the offing if students past a rigorous test proving they have the smarts to get in. In the US, it's becoming the money equation in terms of who gets in.
  • Onerous student loans are larger then the CC debt incurred by us rubes, thus making wage slaves of the indebted college students saddled with debt almost impossible to pay off. The question people are beginning to ask is, when do the indebted repudiate the debt. Interesting thought, eh?
  • Speaking of place, education is rapidly becoming digital and distributed, where students can gather together online with teachers without the need of occupying or maintaining an expensive space like a high end high school that may cost more then the education that takes place within it. In every way, the linked environment of the web and the tools that leverage it, will continue to grow, how education deals with it, only time will tell.
  • Ignorance is slow motion suicide because without education, the ability to discern, make wise decisions and to question the status quo is severely limited. In a tech driven society, ignorance is not bliss.
  • If education cannot make the changes needed to succeed, Idiocracy awaits, a dim future where Advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism have run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a uniformly unthinking society devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights. Sounds like today doesn't it?
  • Humanities are vital to education as they foster flexibility of thinking and the ability to make connections and create something wonderful from those connections. Creativity is the juxtaposition of two or more seemingly disconnected ideas, i.e. the joke, as the end result of the combination thereof is wholly unexpected. - Arthur Koestler- The Act of Creation
The only constant is change, everything else is irrelevant, something educators around the world are slowly beginning to realize. Learning how to learn is a really good idea as it's a process yours truly has been doing for quite a long time. :)

Design 101 or Why Adding People to a Late Project Makes It Later


Being a web developer who can honestly say the sites yours truly builds for clients work well, is not that hard to do if these prerequisites are adhered to before doing anything of significance:  (Mythical Man Month rules. :))
  1. Ask questions before doing anything is key because the client knows more about their business then you'll ever know.
  2. Understand what is REALLY required before doing anything of significance (plan, plan, plan).
  3. Possess the prerequisite tech skills needed to get the job done.
  4. Make sure an adequate budget is in place in order to get the job done.
  5. Determine the right size number of people needed to get the job done.
  6. Set in place a realistic time frame to get the job done.
  7. Doing due diligence in creating a valid web workflow that truly reflects how the client does business is the single most important thing a web developer does for any given client. (See No. 1)
  8. Institute a modular design set that scales and deals effectively with the vagaries of the real world and that leverages the client workflow through ease of navigation and fast page displays. 
  9. Test the pilot extensively to make sure it works prior to introducing the site to the public This is why modular design sets rules.
  10. Last but not least, as Fred Brooks says in his masterwork Mythical Man Month  ...
  11. Adding more people to a late project makes it later.
The many links connected to BRT shows off why this little lesson in web development rings true but not, sad to say, Healthcare.gov the $400 million dollar project that will get better but at what cost? while healthcare itself (doctors, patients, insurance et al), the real monster residing in the back room, is a different situation altogether. 


WASHINGTON — In March, Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace, told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site’s debut. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience,” he told them.

Two weeks after the rollout, few would say his hopes were realized.

For the past 12 days, a system costing more than $400 million and billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance has thwarted the efforts of millions to simply log in. The growing national outcry has deeply embarrassed the White House, which has refused to say how many people have enrolled through the federal exchange.

Even some supporters of the Affordable Care Act worry that the flaws in the system, if not quickly fixed, could threaten the fiscal health of the insurance initiative, which depends on throngs of customers to spread the risk and keep prices low.

“These are not glitches,” said an insurance executive who has participated in many conference calls on the federal exchange. Like many people interviewed for this article, the executive spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying he did not wish to alienate the federal officials with whom he works. “The extent of the problems is pretty enormous. At the end of our calls, people say, ‘It’s awful, just awful.' ”

Any question as to why single payer is, in the long run, the only real solution to the fubar known as heathcare?



Addendum: Seems BRT was spot on regarding the slow motion disaster known as healthcare.gov


Click bit.ly/1czOovO to see a list of the main "contributors" to the site, complete with lobbying monies.

To this writer, the notion the site is too big to succeed is bogus. The reason why this environment is suffering is because the little guidance set seen at the top of this post was not followed, something Fred Brooks honestly talked about when he did a successor to the IBM 360, the raison d'ete of the book, which failed because the principles espoused in his book were not adhered to. As Fred so famously said, THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET. 

Addicted to Debt


The US is addicted to debt as can be seen by Planet Money's terrific graphic showing the breakdown of same. Needless to say, it's a big deal, particularly if the US punts on raising the debt ceiling, something Eisenhower never had to do as president. When looking at this, the question to ask is, could Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google et al survive carrying a load like this? I think not. Something needs to be done to rectify this shameful situation and soon because time is running out because nothing is infinite, save the multiverse, a reality too big for us chickens  to ever fully understand.

Seen below is the Planet Money, NRP app for iPad and iPhone. (no doubt Android will have this as well) filled with very cool articles about the economy including the header info-graphic seen above. Enjoy. 




Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Metadata


Metadata is but a fancy term for fields able to be stored in a database or spreadsheet that points to or directly manages text, images, sound, video or integrated document types like PDF. It's data pointing to data or, an indirect treasure trove of information powerful predictive analytic systems, like that of the NSA's are able to use while spying on us 24/7 with ever increasing detail due to Moore's law stating that compute power (no. of transistors) doubles every two years while the price of same drops 50%. 

To learn more about why this stuff matters, click on the Guardian's Metadata image to run their terrific interactive guide as the different kinds of metadata us rubes produce and use is truly astounding.


On a Grand Scale - Butterflies & Buffalo


The world's largest camera taking exquisite pictures of America and it's people by Dennis Manarchy... it doesn't get any better then this. Click on the image to learn why film, done at grand scale, rules. Needless to say, yours truly wants to see Manarchy's work first hand as the site itself will blow you away in terms of just how powerful and wonderful these pictures truly are. Seen below is Manarchy's epic camera that produces art that touches the soul.