A site of endless curiosity

Archive for November 2009

The Neural Micro-circuitry of the Brain & Exceeding the Limits of Human Biological Intelligence

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Suppose you could determine the basic structure of the human brains neocortex.  Suppose you could understand the basic elements and  connections that make up that structure.  Suppose you could write equations that simulated those entities and connections.

Now suppose you you had the backing of IBM (Big Blue) and 10,000+ machines to run a simulation of the human brain.  What would you find out?

Watch this 15 minute TED presentation with Prof. Henry Markram of the Neural Microcircuity Laboratory and wonder at the trajectory of brain research.  Such research into the micro circuitry of the human brain may lead to the ultimate understanding of human perception (construction) of Reality, the origin of human consciousness, and perhaps signal an impending future when the capability of computers to simulate human intelligence in silicon may exceed the capability of human biological intelligence.

The blue brain project –

Related –

The Singularity is an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.

Written by frrl

November 28, 2009 at 1:18 am

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Blast from the Past – Heathkit catalogs and Learn-as-you-build Radio Education Course

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Heathkit – Learn electronics as you build – Basic Radio Course (1960)

Heathkit – 1978 Catalog

Heathkit – 1951 Catalog

Written by frrl

November 27, 2009 at 1:20 am

WiTricity – Wireless Electricity

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Finally, 100 years after Tesla…

Early visions of wireless power actually were thought of by Nikola Tesla basically about 100 years ago. The thought that you wouldn’t want to transfer electric power wirelessly, no one ever thought of that. They thought, “Who would use it if you didn’t?” And so, in fact, he actually set about doing a variety of things. Built the Tesla coil. This tower was built on Long Island back at the beginning of the 1900s. And the idea was, it was supposed to be able to transfer power anywhere on earth. We’ll never know if this stuff worked. Actually I think the Federal Bureau of Investigation took it down for security purposes, sometime in the early 1900s.

What happened back a few years ago was a group of theoretical physicists at MIT actually came up with this concept of transferring power over distance…

Read about WiTricity and see it demonstrated…

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November 26, 2009 at 1:22 am

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Vintage and Antique Radio Resources

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Remembering the past.  Drake, Collins, Heathkit, and more.
Here are resources to get you linked up with the history of Amateur and Broadcast radio.

Drake, Collins, and Heathkit Radios
Vintage radio refurbishing and restoration (pictures)

Drake Virtua Museum

Antique Radio Parts

Boat Anchor Manual Archive

Nostalgia Air – Online Antique and Vintage Radio References

Written by frrl

November 25, 2009 at 1:23 am

The “Illustrated Man” – implantable LED Tatoos

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The world is full of unprecedented opportunity.  For those who think that companies can not continue to grow year after year don’t realize that human desires are infinite and unquenchable.  This drives infinite product innovation.

So, what’s new at the University of Pennsylvania and Phillips?

New LED tattoos from the University of Pennsylvania could make the Illustrated Man real (minus the creepy stories, of course). Researchers there are developing silicon-and-silk implantable devices which sit under the skin like a tattoo. Already implanted into mice, these tattoos could carry LEDs, turning your skin into a screen.

The silk substrate onto which the chips are mounted eventually dissolves away inside the body, leaving just the electronics behind. The silicon chips are around the length of a small grain of rice — about 1 millimeter, and just 250 nanometers thick. The sheet of silk will keep them in place, molding to the shape of the skin when saline solution is added.

The following video may be too much for “sensitive viewers”

We, of course, are considering the geekier side of this tech. GPS, with a map readout on the back of the wrist would certainly be useful, as would chips that cover your eyeballs and can darken down when the sun is shining too bright.

And a full-body display will eventually be used for advertising. Combine this with bioluminescent ink, for example, and you could turn yourself into a small, walking version of Times Square. At least, unlike a real tattoo, you can switch this one off.

Here is the story from Wired Magazine

In fact, if you start to imagine the possible uses, they seems almost endless. Just like the stories that play across the body of the Illustrated Man.

And for those not familiar with The Illustrated Man –

Related – Bio-luminescence –

Written by frrl

November 21, 2009 at 1:24 am

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Radio Hams – “Heroes of the air; serving humanity”

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November 17, 2009 at 1:25 am

Your Guide to “television” de-coupled from dedicated appliances and appointment viewing

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Finally, here is is a “TV Guide” for television that is not television.  Well, television that does not require a specific  receiving “appliance” or “appointment viewing”. Uh, video, you know, “moving images” not on a television.    Exactly what is going on here?  Content decoupled from traditional reception appliances and appointment viewing – what will they think of next?

Here is your video “TV Guide” in the age of disruptive technology.

Written by frrl

November 15, 2009 at 1:26 am

Burning Man

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2010 Art Theme: Metropolis

Tumult and change, churning cycles of invention and destruction – these forces generate the pulse of urban life. Great cities are organic, spontaneous, heterogeneous, and untidy hubs of social interaction. In 2010, we will inspect the daily course of city life and the future prospect of civilization…

Check out these Burning Man videos and other links

Written by frrl

November 14, 2009 at 1:27 am

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MIT Media Lab – The stackable CityCar

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In 2003, Prof. William J. Mitchell organized a research team to explore new ideas for vehicles in the future. The goal was to re-think the car as a design object and redefine the relationship between people, cars and cities.

Prof. Mitchell gathered a multidisciplinary team of people to participate in a workshop, with backgrounds as diverse as urbanism, architecture, industrial design, mechanical and electronic engineers, as well as software programmers. The workshop offered a blue sky to study any kind of ideas related to the future of transportation, far from the constraints of the automotive industry. Over several semesters, the group produced a large number of concepts -not all displayed here- which ranged from performance vehicles to communication devices and mechanical components.

The workshop is hosted by the Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab, where General Motors is a sponsor. Representatives of GM participate actively in the workshop as guest critics.

Read more and see…

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November 10, 2009 at 1:28 am

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The Dismantling of America

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The Dismantling of America by Thomas Sowell
Parts I and II

Got nothing interesting to talk about?
Then try these –

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November 7, 2009 at 1:29 am

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Social Capital – The Strength of Internet Ties

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With the development of the internet…we are in the middle of the most transforming technological event since the capture of fire. I used to think that it was just the biggest thing since Gutenberg, but now I think you have to go back farther (p. 36)…. I want to be able to completely interact with the consciousness that’s trying to communicate with mine. Rapidly… [w]e are now creating a space in which the people of the planet can have that kind of communication relationship…

As individuals we have two sources of personal competitive advantage: human capital and social capital.  Human capital which includes talent, intellect, charisma, and formal authority is necessary for success but often beyond our diresct control.

Social capital, on the other hand, derives from our relationships.  Social capital is a powerful source of knowledge, ideas, opportunities, support, reputation, and visability that is equally if not more influential than human capital.

Read how the internet enables social capital in a way that was never possibe before in hisory.

The Strength of Internet Ties – PEW Internet & American Life Project

Social Isolation and New Technology – How the internet and mobile phones impact Americans’ social networks

Written by frrl

November 5, 2009 at 1:30 am

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A survey of 2,500 Human Resources and Training Executives… Or, getting HR to hit mark on talent management

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BOSTON, May 6, 2006 — Coaching a performance problem, communicating performance standards and other tactical initiatives are the most common components of leadership development programs, according to a study by Novations Group, a global consulting organization based in Boston.

What is the analysis of the survey data?  And, most importantly, what is so unusual about the result?

First, the survey question and the results from 2,500 HR respondents.

Which of the following management situations or initiatives are addressed by your organization’s leadership development program (please select all that apply)?

Coaching a performance problem 71.9%
Communicating performance standards 69.1%
Coaching a development opportunity 68.7%
Conducting a performance appraisal 66.8%
Handling conflict situations 65.9%
Communicating vision and strategy 59.4%
Selecting the right employee 58.1%
Diversity & Inclusion 55.3%
Gaining commitment to goals 49.3%
Managing priorities 48.8%
Change management 45.2%
Acting on feedback 44.7%
Teaching a skill & delegating responsibility 39.6%
Influencing internal resources 34.6%
Managing a virtual team 27.6%

And why is this a curious result?

This is interesting empirical data.  The survey asked about leadership development programs – not management development programs.  Why is a leadership development program focused on management activities and  responsibilities?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

November 4, 2009 at 4:45 am

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