Friday, 27 July 2012

When pigs fly . . .

The first recorded flying pig took place at Leysdown in Kent on November 4th, 1909. The Chap behind it was none other than J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, later the First Lord Brabazon of Tara, in his personal French-built Voisin aero plane. The pig was placed into a wicker basket, which was in turn strapped to a wing strut of the aero plane. A hand-lettered sign attached to the basket read: ‘I am the first pig to fly.’ Once again ingenuity and engineering outpace tradition and skepticism ;o)

Friday, 29 June 2012

—And He Built a Crooked House

I particularly enjoyed this small gardenhouse designed by architect Manuel Villa (an compelling choice of name for his profession). The dark wood exterior and natural wood interior gives a particularly cozy feel - and while I was going to say that it is disappointing that it's not a true platonic solid the interior is far more spacious and usable than it would be if it stuck to its true form - particularly  glazed facade that opens onto a teak deck.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A generalized Von Neumann universal constructor?

Following on Rapidly from my post on 3D printing I noticed the RepRap which claims "RepRap is humanity's first general-purpose self-replicating manufacturing machine."

Of course this isn't really a Von Neumann universal constructor as a human would be directing the cutting processes and then assembling the parts with non-autonomous "self-replication" but in a limited environment these are still pretty interesting.

One of the most significant technological advances of the last 10 years.

3D printers, rather than social networks, blogs or gaming apps seem to me to be one of the most significant technological advances of the last 10 years. The computer and communication revolution of the last fifty years or so has allowed us to manipulate abstract information within plastic and metal boxes but for most users it has not affected what they can create in the material world. 3D printers like the IModela 3D Modeling Machine change all of that.

The products site says that it

 "Easily and accurately create and embellish a wide range of projects by producing 3D shapes, reliefs, textures and patterns from modeling wax, foam, balsa wood and plastic materials. With a milling area of 3.39 inches wide by 2.17 inches in length and 1.02 inches in height, iModela is the perfect tool for small-scale creative projects. iModela Creator design software is included." 

 Its going to be of limited use until the CAD/CAM software is better and you can flash materials over to something more durable, but I think these types of devices have great potential for leading a whole new wave of creativity "outside the box".
See the manufacturers site

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Earth at night seen from the ISS. Includes amazing Aurora Borealis shots.

Earth Time lapse sequences of photographs taken by the crew of expeditions 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, 2011 at an altitude of around 350 km.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Three cheers for AB (Anand Babu) and Gluster

Went to a great talk by Anand Babu (known as AB) at the TiE Silicon Valley on Tuesday. AB co-founded Gluster and as well as that seeming like a very neat way to solve some of the strategic big data issues that I can see for AdTotum on the horizon and to make my life much easier with some 'massively big data' AI projects that I've had up my sleeve for a while, AB brought up some great ideas on how to robustly structure new super-high performance technologies. His example of how the compression in Gluster is coded fit in exactly with what I've been trying to achieve with the AdTotum API and indeed all the code that I think has any extended lifetime. Of course this might mean that I should be thinking of moving from Ubuntu to Red Hat.

Very good insights into solving problems by design and about how so called experts - who gain their expertise by experience rather than by deep understanding, often have insurmountable barrier to what they can do due to being locked in to existing wisdom.

I'm not sure, AB, about the wisdom of writing a messenger-bot to interact with wife to save you the effort while you are coding. Anyone you are going to actually want to interact with will reverse engineer that pretty quickly and either decide that you are a dull chap or find that your interactions reduce to your code talking to hers in an escalating show of AIML code. Well that's what I'm guessing - depends how smart your bot is relative to your wife I suppose.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

'Logos' - a new on-line newspaper

I'm trying the Twitter newspaper creator to create a new on line paper Logos named after the greek work Logos (Greek: λόγος logos) meaning "the word" or "the reason,"-and later a technical term in philosophy coined by Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC) for the principle that underlies of order and knowledge.

The Paper Logos is currently curated to find the latest findings on Health, Environment, Science and Technology - but aimed at key fundamentals and with a far reaching twist - so there won't be much on the latest iPhone - but quite a lot on developments in nuclear fusion, telomere structure. Less about Al Gore or Brian Cox and more about Younger Dryas and the Orion–Cygnus Arm. I think either you get why this is or you think very carefully about it and you'll see just why. In any case please leave any feedback with me here on what you think and how it might be improved.

Sunday, 1 January 2012