Saturday, October 31, 2009

Powers of 2

The creative act knows no bounds. If one is really good with their specific discipline whether it be painting, music, architecture or brick laying, artistry comes forth from putting together seemingly dissimilar ideas to create something new and, in the case of tech, something useful. This certainly apples when ... "a group of researchers at Georgia Tech ...made dye-sensitized solar cells with a much higher effective surface area by wrapping the cells around optical fibers. These fiber solar cells are six times more efficient than a zinc oxide solar cell with the same surface area, and if they can be built using cheap polymer fibers, they shouldn't be significantly more expensive to make."

Cost, reliability and efficiency has been the bane of solar for years. If this research proves out, the implications for solar and the beneficial impact it can have on society and the world knows no bounds.

"Fiber-optic solar cells could also be used in ways that aren't possible currently. Zhong Lin Wang, professor of materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech, says fiber solar cells would take up less roof area than planar cells because long lengths of the fibers could be nestled into the walls of a house like electrical wiring."

Seen below is a schematic depicting the form factor for fiber solar cells. No doubt, this tech rocks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fantastic Voyage 2009

Remember Fantastic Voyage, the 1966 flick starring Raquel Welsh, David Pleasence & Stephen Boyd where...."a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into (a diplomat's) blood stream with a small crew. in order to save the guy from poison administered by an assassin. The graphics and special effects are amazingly good for the times and the story line works, not bad for a film done over 40 years ago.

We still can't shrink anything down like the sub and characters in FV but we can take our own fantastic voyage, courtesy of The Whole Brain Catalog, into the inner working's of a mouse brain without having to be shrunk down to a dust mote in order to do the deed. Very cool to say the least.


The Connect

The net is pervasive and available 24/7 to anyone equipped with a digital device able to connect but now, the game changes because software will set mobile devices free for the very first time ... Android is the first free, open source, and fully customizable mobile platform. Android offers a full stack: an operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. It also contains a rich set of APIs that allows third-party developers to develop great applications.

No wonder Microsoft is quietly going crazy trying to fight an enemy that plays by web rules.

18. All warfare is based on deception. - The Art of War

Addendum...It is also destined over the next few years to become a major player in all sorts of other smart devices, including digital washing machines. That has been the clear view of several top executives I’ve talked to recently who are making chips for all manner of electronics.

The most enthusiastic for Android was Sehat Sutardja, the chief executive of the Marvell Technology Group, which makes processor chips for phones as well as other gadgets, including a new $99 computer the size of a cellphone charger.

He argued the world needed a standard, free operating system for all the devices that increasingly have powerful computers inside.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Metaverse Writ Large

Back in 2007, Beyond Real Time posted a article titled Infinities Within Infinities showing how infinity resides in finite space as depicted by Cantor, Menger and Lorenz. Seems this notion also applies to reality if the research done by Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog holds true...

"Hawking, based at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleague Thomas Hertog of the European Laboratory for Particle Physics at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, are about to publish a paper claiming that the Universe had no unique beginning. Instead, they argue, it began in just about every way imaginable (and maybe some that aren't).

Out of this profusion of beginnings, the vast majority withered away without leaving any real imprint on the Universe we know today. Only a tiny fraction of them blended to make the current cosmos, Hawking and Hertog claim.

That, they insist, is the only possible conclusion if we are to take quantum physics seriously. "Quantum mechanics forbids a single history," says Hertog....

But Hawking and Hertog say that the countless 'alternative worlds' of string theory may actually have existed. We should picture the Universe in the first instants of the Big Bang as a superposition of all these possibilities, they say; like a projection of billions of movies played on top of one another.

It all adds up

This might sound odd, but it is precisely the view adopted by quantum theory. "

Through the Looking Glass:
The Queen: It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward. - Lewis Carroll

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Zap, God & Crumb

"Keep on Truckin", the famous quote from R. Crumb resonates when reading about Zap Comix and his latest masterwork, Genesis. a legitimate graphic depiction of the bible with no satiric slant, something which makes the argument about religion being a man-made construct even more compelling than ever as the Old Testament now has drawings accurately keyed to text depicting such niceties as rape, incest, masturbation, murder, infidelity, lust, prostitution, etc., etc., etc., ah, you know, the same old thing man has been doing since coming out of trees while looking for god. No doubt I am going to get it ($13.00 is a steal) as Crumb's work is incredibly interesting to look at and the text is too funky to ignore. :)

In Zap, sex, drugs and rock and roll was the name of the game as Crumb and cohorts Gilbert Shelton, Clay Wilson and Robert Williams (along with significant others) came out with gems like Mr. Natural, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers & Wonder Wart-Hog, characters, needless to say, who were outrageously salacious, stoned and funny as hell. No doubt, Zap rocked big time.

Scroll down to see a few covers and click on any to see why the courts and Zap were on intimate terms. :)

And...just to make sure you haven't forgotten about god,
here's Chapter 1 for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A "Simple" Matter of Power

Steam locomotives are really cool. Everything about this tech is large, useful and, in an odd way, romantic as it harkens back to a simpler age where wood or coal would act as agent to boil water to drive a massive system at speed. In looking at this, I realized how power impacts the acceleration of tech in profound ways.

For example, smart phones are growing like fungus with new capabilities being added on at a furious pace as seen by the upcoming Droid phone coming from Motorola and a prime reason for this, along with the connectivity of the web and the transparency of data, centers on the low power requirements of said device(s).

When power requirements become large, the double exponential advancement of tech breaks down, not because of data transparency needed to design something in a computer but rather building something able to do the job in the real world reliably and at costs acceptable to the consumer.

To whit, consider batteries powering the electric car. Because the power requirements are intense, developing this tech is really hard because not only must said battery be small and light enough to go into a car but also it has to be cheap, reliable and have enough juice for at least 300-500 miles while possessing fast recharging times and environmentally friendly recycling capability. No doubt viable tech will eventually come (IBM?) but when it comes and at what cost is a matter of great concern for the companies developing this hardware. The same issue of power applies to solar as well because low power requirements are relatively easy to solve but not the kind of power needed to run a city or a server farm driven by the likes of Google or Microsoft.

"Microsoft has been the most open - it recently broke ground on a 1.4-million-square-foot campus in Quincy, Wash., close to hydroelectric power. Company officials acknowledge that centers in the South and Europe will come afterward."

"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. " - Archimedes

The "law of unintended consequences"...states that any purposeful action will produce some unanticipated or unintended consequences.

Addendum: Here's a blurb about Zinc-Air batteries. Tech looks good, could replace Lithium-Ion but the power equation still applies..."The zinc-air battery for hearing aids will be available next year. The battery for electric vehicles is still some years away from mass marketing."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Go Ahead, You Can't Hurt Anything...


On October 7, The Magic of Books post described this writer's passion for books and why they are going the way of the dodo and passenger pigeon at a cost we are now just beginning to comprehend. As follow up, Google has just announced Google Editions, a way for people to buy and download any book able to be read by any digital device other then Kindle, (Amazon, are you reading this?) an e-book reader only able to download content from Amazon.

"Google Inc. is launching a new online service that will let readers buy electronic versions of books and read them on such gadgets as cell phones, laptops and possibly e-book devices.

The company said Google Editions marks its first effort to earn revenue from its ambitious Google Books scanning project, which attempts to make millions of printed books available online. Although the scanning program has faced complaints from authors and publishers over copyright, Google Editions will cover only books submitted and approved by the copyright holders when it launches next year.

The books bought through Google Editions will be accessible on any device that has a Web browser, including smart phones, netbooks and personal computers and laptops, putting Google in competition with Inc. and its Kindle e-book reader.

The reason why this will, IMHO, succeed is the fact that...

Consumers can buy directly from Google or from any number of online booksellers and other retail partners using the Google Editions platform. Google will actually host the e-books and make them searchable.

"We expect the majority will go to retail partners not to Google," Turvey said at the 61st Frankfurt Book Fair. "We are a wholesaler, a book distributor."

Google will try to keep transactions simple, Turvey said, possibly by using its existing Google Checkout platform. Google will collect 55 percent of the revenue and turn a "vast majority" of that to the retailers. The rest will go to the book's publisher, who will set prices.

If the books are being sold directly to consumers by Google, it will take 37 percent and give publishers 63 percent.

Turvey expects the program will start with 400,000 to 600,000 books in the first half of 2010.

Books bought through Google Editions will be stored on the device and readable without a live Internet connection.

This new way of distributing content will also work, with modification, for newspapers as seen in a BRT article titled A New Model? Of course Google is on this one deal as well because content is king and getting it out in ways machines can easily access is the name of the game in today's world of transparent and instant connectivity.

Instant gratification isn't fast enough. - Anonymous

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coup d'etat?

As usual, Bill Moyers comes through in telling America where the real power in this country resides.

"BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.

I sat in a theater packed with passionate moviegoers, every one of them seemingly aghast at the Wall Street skullduggery exposed by Michael Moore in his latest film. It's called 'Capitalism: A Love Story.' Here's an excerpt:

MICHAEL MOORE: We're here to get the money back for the American People. Do you think it's too harsh to call what has happened here a coup d'état? A financial coup d'état?

MARCY KAPTUR: That's, no. Because I think that's what's happened. Um, a financial coup d'état?


MARCY KAPTUR: I could agree with that. I could agree with that. Because the people here really aren't in charge. Wall Street is in charge."

Absolutely spot on but this has been the case ever since the Federal Reserve was instituted by Woodrow Wilson back in 1913 but you already knew that, right? To get more information on the Federal Reserve, type in The Fed in BRT Search and stand back. The information returned will show how the Constitution was violated when the control of our money was placed in the hands of a private cartel protected by government by a president easily lead by Colonel House and others who enabled the big banks to take away our right to manage our money.

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Friday, October 09, 2009

Too Big to Fail/Not

Gaming the Market comes through again. Check out this little gem about liquidity and what it means about the economy. Chilling to say the least but then again, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic was believed to be unsinkable but wasn't.

We are on the cusp of another critical seizure in capital flow. An event that might sink the ship. If one of the major banks, or someone like Greece (who is on the verge of bankruptcy), becomes insolvent we’ll see a domino effect of collapses. There was a digital run on the banks last September which nearly froze the credit system. Liquidity is so tight now another run has even greater probability of breaking the system. There is more and more debt chasing fewer and fewer real dollars. Current policy makers believe there is no ceiling to short-term debt creation, baring a collapse. Their formulas tell them the Fed can print money indefinitely, because the Fed is ultimately capitalized. Others are convinced we will learn what the ceiling is before this decade is out.

The Titanic sinking took 2h:40m. The well informed passengers didn’t know for over an hour. Half the critical period was spent in denial. Our financial ship is crippled, but still making power. We all know it has been fundamentally damaged. What we don’t know is the crew jumped ship with the best life boats. Meanwhile we’re up on deck listening to the music play. This is beyond criminal. And most of the unfortunates are stuck down in steerage with no way out. History shows the ship was doomed to sink no matter what was done. If not that year, then another. The lesson learned was how to save the people. Maybe this info will help you save someone."

"It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Financial Follies 2.0

Just read an insightful post from Newsweek regarding the ongoing financial disaster and why William Black, a guy who tells it like it is, thinks Obama's economic team can't cut it in trying to turn this country around before it's too late.

"The administration's officials have all been failures as regulators. [Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission] Mary Shapiro's big thing was self-regulation. That worked real well: the self-regulation of the investment banks. Ben Bernanke [Chairman of the Federal Reserve] I'm also very critical of, but I do give him credit for being willing to drop a lot of his anti-regulatory ideology in the face of the crisis. He literally wrote the book on the Great Depression, but he was not going to go down in history as the person who caused the second Great Depression. Some of the things Bernanke did were very bad, but he is in sharp contrast to Geithner who has been wrong about everything in his career. When Geithner was once answering a question in response to Ron Paul, he said, 'I've never been a regulator.' He was then the President of the New York Federal Reserve, and he purports that he was never a regulator? That is a demonstration of what is wrong with the Federal Reserve banks if the head of the unit doesn't think he's a regulator. He's a disaster."

To see why William Black's a player, click here to catch the interview he had with Bill Moyers, it's a classic.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Magic of Books

Even though I am fairly technical in nature, I have a passion for books as they are anonymous, tactile and intensely personal, qualities one can never assign to a computer or smart phone. I know, as many others do, that this entity, as physical object, is about to depart this earth just as the Dodo and Passenger Pigeon did as books cost too much to produce and distribute in this age of the internet where content can be delivered instantly to anyone equipped with a digital device connected to the web. I morn their passing but recognize this transition of paper and ink to bits and photons as inevitable (provided there's power) as we are a species wedded to speed and efficiency when it comes to communications and information, something that, in many ways, comes at a cost we are now only starting to comprehend.

"Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America." - James Joyce


Many times, BRT has talked up OLEDs as the future of displays as the advantages of this tech starts with low power requirements, brighter picture, flexible substrate (no glass, thank god) and awesome looks. Seems this tech is finally getting ready for prime time as seen by this Sony pix from Physorg.

It's not here yet but it soon will be. If I were Kindle, I would be afraid, very afraid of what this disruptive technology portends.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Water Wars

The fight over water has just begun...

"The U.S. water shortage isn’t confined to the Great Plains or the West, either. At least thirty-six states across the country expect water shortages of some kind by 2013, and that’s not even factoring in drought or changing climate conditions, according to a 2003 report from the U.S. General Accounting Office. Forty-six states are expected to be under drought conditions by 2013. If you think that it’s not in your neighborhood, look more closely:...

Water shortage is a national problem we no longer can ignore. It’s global in scope, too. Here are some numbers:

--More than 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to minimal amounts of clean water, according to United Nations data.

--In Latin America alone, approximately 76 million people lack safe water, according to the World Bank.

--Every year 1.8 million children die as a result of diarrhea and other diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, according to the United Nations report mentioned above.

--By 2035, as many as 3 billion people may live in areas with severe water shortages, especially if they live in Africa, the Middle East, or South Asia, as the World Bank predicts they will. The issue for Americans isn’t simply a result of population growth or water demand, drought, development, or pollution. It’s all of that and more."

Click on Water Wars to learn just how serious a problem it has become.

The Anatomy of a Burger & Then Some

Just read an an alarming article from the NY Times...

"Meat companies and grocers have been barred from selling ground beef tainted by the virulent strain of E. coli known as O157:H7 since 1994, after an outbreak at Jack in the Box restaurants left four children dead. Yet tens of thousands of people are still sickened annually by this pathogen, federal health officials estimate, with hamburger being the biggest culprit. Ground beef has been blamed for 16 outbreaks in the last three years alone, including the one that left Ms. Smith paralyzed from the waist down. This summer, contamination led to the recall of beef from nearly 3,000 grocers in 41 states."

When this lack of care in controlling contamination of meat supply is combined with the adulteration of the food production process itself (Food Inc. anyone?), the end result is Franken beef of the highest order.

"The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria."

Sounds like the same old thing doesn't it; you know, bad food, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, the unabated surveillance policy, bank bailouts, the heathcare debacle, etc., etc., etc. or...Change We Can Make Believe In.

Any questions?

Addendum: Obama's won the Nobel Peace Prize. For what I do not know. Maybe Iraq & Iran are phantoms of the mind along the lines of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. One never knows, do one?

Ode to the Uninformed :)