Thursday, May 31, 2007

RepRap "Wealth without money..."

Roll your own. Not only that, replicate the machine to roll your own. Welcome to the world of RepRap, the open source 3D printer that promises to change everything about manufacturing.

- free as in Open Source
Hardware - $400 off the shelf components, a figure far lower than any 3D printer currently on the market.

Blurbs that caught my eye:

"The promise of advanced fabrication technology that can copy itself is a truly remarkable concept with far reaching implications."
- James Dyson, 17 April 2007.

"[RepRap] has been called the invention that will bring down global capitalism, start a second industrial revolution and save the environment..."
- James Randerson on the front page of The Guardian on November 25, 2006.

Any questions?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Little Things

Little things, you know, the things that stop complex things dead in their tracks seem to proliferate like ants around a picnic when one needs to get something done. Rush hour, the bane of commuting, can be stopped by the following "little things" (partial list of course): stalled car/car with flat tire/car out of gas etc., etc, etc.; debris; fender bender and last but not least, rubbernecking. In programming, one character put in the wrong place can cause a program to lock up or a network to crash as seen by the Blackberry fiasco when millions of BB addicts were frozen out when RIM "upgraded" their system with a minor patch, something akin to the occasional patch Microsoft sends out that does the same thing to millions of Windows users all over the world. (This has gotten a lot better, thank God.)

When little things are combined with randomness, interesting things happen. For example, Helen Hopper locating the moth that crashed one of the first computers in the world happened when one unfortunate insect landed on the wrong place at the wrong time and got fried. Penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming, was found when Fleming "noticed a halo of inhibition of bacterial growth around a contaminant blue-green mold on a Staphylococcus plate culture."

Newton's Apple started a revolution in science when Newton saw how gravity could extend beyond the earth to control the paths of planets and stars and...

Einstein "discovered" relativity while riding on a trolley car tying to imagine what it would be like to ride on a beam of light.

"And so it goes..." Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, May 25, 2007


Well, I found another terrific artist. His name is Jim Bumgardner and he's creating quite a stir on Flickr with good reason. Evocative and mysterious, his work shows, IMHO, how Linked Data might look as envisioned by Neuromancer,

William Gibson's first book dealing with tech, violence and the ubiquitous flow of data in a wired society.

To learn more about information connectivity, check out Paul Miller's Linked Data - The Rise of the Semantic Web? to see how it applies to Open Knowledge and the need to protect it for users and creators of content alike as civilization moves toward a world of infinitely malleable data.

From this perspective, one soon realizes that RSS (Really Simple Syndication) may presage the move toward the semantic web as it is the ultimate viral data linker, a construct that will become far more powerful when OPML (Open Processor Markup Language) the powerful yet limited hierarchical language of RSS is replaced by OWL (Web Ontology Language) the language that is not only "intended to be used when the information contained in documents needs to be processed by applications, as opposed to situations where the content only needs to be presented to humans." but also is becoming the primary language of the Semantic Web as it can link easily to bots, the digital entities that will replace us as surfers on the net mining for meaning 24/7 on an as needs basis.

The question to ask now is "When do they search on their own."
"No one knows, do one." Fats Waller

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Arrow - From the world of Murry C.

"How does the small arrow on your computer monitor work when we move the mouse?

Haven't you ever wondered how it works?

Now, through the miracle of high technology, we can see how it is done.

With the aid of a screen magnifying lens, the mechanism becomes apparent.

Follow this link and find out the truth." - Murry C.

Monday, May 21, 2007


The disconnect between science and reality in America has never been greater as seen by:

1. The Republican presidential debates &
2. The lack of understanding of genetics and belief in Creationism

To wit:

Three out of the 10 Republican candidates don't believe in evolution &...
The US lags the world in understanding either genetics or evolution. In looking at Live Science's chart, it's no wonder the US is losing it's leading role in science and tech. In Physics, the hub is now Cern, Switzerland while in Stem Cell research, the center has moved to England and Europe. Chemistry's still number one but space exploration is moving out of the coutnry. The number of computer science and hard science grads on a per capita basis is slowing while China's is accelerating. Hello!!!! Is anyone home???

As for separation of Church and State and the impact it's having on public policy, former President, Jimmy Carter, a devout Baptist, said it best in stating: “The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion. Those things in my opinion are quite disturbing,” Carter said. “As a traditional Baptist, I’ve always believed in separation of church and state and honored that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one.”

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again" - Alexander Pope

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Visualization Writ Large

Visualization as an idea engine is what comes to mind when using this awesome tool. The next step is to connect to the apps that can generate the imagery seen in this Visual Literacy offering. After seeing this, one realizes the emergent power of the net and tech is for real.

Friday, May 18, 2007

MEMS - Size Matters II

Back in the 1940's ENIAC, a huge vacuum tubed beast, ruled the computing roost in dealing with the mathematical intricacies of the H Bomb. Said system weighed 30 tons, needed rebooting every 1-2 days and consumed 150 KW of electricity. Needless to say, it was unique and never duplicated. In 1955, it was decommissioned.On December 23, 1947 the acceleration of digital tech began in earnest when John Bardeen invented the transistor. In the 1970's, VLSI raised the ante by miniaturizing and combining thousands to millions of transistors into a chip, thus enabling the Intels of the world to change how society does business.
Today, Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) are transforming tech yet again by endowing systems with capabilities that are only beginning to be understood in terms of how they will impact society. Stop to consider the following:(A partial list to be sure)

1. Biotech - The quest for immortality
2. Robotics - I Robot and the implications it has for mankind
3. Water Desalinization - Something needed NOW.
4. Renewable Energy - The Long Emergency/hopefully NOT.
5. The Environment - Global Warming/hopefully not too late.
6. Food Production - Frankenfoods anyone?
7. Quantum Computing - Beyond computation
8. Hacking Matter - The new alchemy
9. Military - Murder by numbers/The first Star Trek had that covered.
10. Politics - Ramifications of tech beyond the kin of most politicians
11. Democracy - Privacy is gone, the end game today - THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE /David Brin
12. The Singularity - Can we handle the change that's coming?

"There is something out there, What is it I'm not exactly clear." Buffalo Springfield

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Communication or lack thereof

Imagine an interview with a politician where the reporter asks the usual questions about the vote coming up on a controversial piece of legislation. Immediately the great invisible rears its ugly head where only the bare bones description of the event can be given and little else. There is no way to describe the process of politics. It’s impossible. It’s identical to a painting where the though that goes into making the piece remains forever hidden from view. Only the finished work remains, all knowing and frustratingly secretive like that of a cat. You can see the cat but never understand her reality. Just think when we encounter alien civilizations. Think of the great invisible then.
“But Joe, I know they’re strange with their three legs and one large eye but I think I can understand them somehow. They do have translators and they can make themselves understandable.”
“Understandable to us in one way but when you hear them talk to each other, it’s whistles and hums. Not only that, the name for their species is utterly unpronounceable to us so how can you say you think you understand them? The only thing I know is that they seem to be able to breath our atmosphere and that’s it. As far as anything else, it’s a crap shoot.”
“I agree with all that you say but I still say I feel I know them at some unconscious level.”
“The only thing I see that’s common between us is digital - 0’s & 1’s. Remember, that’s how they made contact with us. Beyond that one thing, there’s precious little else. The only thing I pray for is that they are good “people” because if they’re not, given our state of technology, we haven’t a chance.”
“I know. All I hope is that they never give us a book to translate. You know, like the one that says To Serve Man.”
“You would have to say that didn’t you.”
“I just did.”

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The acceleration of tech applies to medicine big time as seen by groundbreaking advances happening every week from cancer research to stem cell experimentation as seen from postings from sites like New Scientist and Newswise. In the past two days, consider the following:

1. Prion Infecitivity
2. Longevity Gene
3. Exercise Pill
4. Mini Cells
5. Stem Cells

In looking at these blurbs, one can surmise that achieving immortality is no longer a fantasy. The question is, are we ready for it. "and the beat goes on" - Lou Reed

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Fabric of Reality

Back in 1997, David Deutsch, a brilliant British physicist, wrote a book that changed my view of reality by explaining the following concepts in clear prose and illustrative diagrams.

Quantum physics and its many-universes interpretation
The theory of evolution (Darwin/Dawkins)
The theory of computation (quantum computation)
The theory of knowledge (Karl Popper), explanation and understanding

The first pages describing light and how it interacts with other universes shows how the quantum world works, the section covering computing and how it relates to the other three topics opens the door to realizing that the multiverse is real and that quantum computing is nature's way of operating, something one would never realize prior to reading a book such as this. Prior to 2007, the notion of practical quantum computing becoming real was considered to be a thought experiment, something weird and wonderful and beyond the capabilities of tech but that is changing at rates that even amazes Deutch, who is considered to be the father of the QC.

Some of the events making the QC possible.
1. Stopping Light
2. Quantum Wells
3. Adiabatic Quantum Computing
4. Controllable Qubits
5. Seth Lloyd

Time to entering the Age Beyond Computation: Five/Ten years. Impact of same: Unknown.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Goin' Green

Goin' Green or learning how photosynthesis actually works has been a largely thankless task prior to the invention of femtosecond lasers,esoteric devices able to peer into the most elusive acts of nature by generating pulses shorter than a " timescale of a millionth of a millionth of a second."

With this tech, researchers at the Biodesign Institute at ASU learned that "the (photosynthetic) reaction center proteins (they convert incoming photons to electrons) work for electrons in a way similar to how a slow moving elevator with no doors would work for people. The electrons are able to get off at the spot that they need to because the protein motion adjusts the energetics until it is just right. Even if the elevator starts a little too high or low (initial "photonic" energies are not optimal), the people (electrons) can still get off on the right floor." By adjusting the energy levels in this manner, the plant is able to use this electronic energy to produce food in elegant fashion.

Because this process works so well (98%+) and is packaged so efficiently, it's no wonder that duplicating this process in organic solar collector design would not only transform how the world uses energy but also how new products would be developed as compact, on-board photosynthetic energy collectors integrated with solid state energy storage hardware would drive devices in ways impossible to imagine when compared with the bulky, environmentally hostile and inefficient power supplies of today.

When combined with FAB, everything will hopes, for the better.
"God must be a boogyman." Joni Mitchell