Over the years we have all watched compelling videos about climate change. Speaker after speaker has illustrated how the planet is changing and how humans are probably a driving factor in why that change is occurring. In all that time I have never seen anyone present a concrete, tangible and achievable solution to the ecological problems resulting from climate change until this man and this video. In this compelling TED Talk, Allan Savory gives us hope that there may indeed be a light at the end of the climate change tunnel. Watch and listen…
How to Green the Desert and Reverse Climate Change
When I was in high school I was a fan of MAD Magazine. One of my favorite issues was the one where they compared American and Russian spacecraft. The American one was a sleek, streamlined affair while its Russian counterpart looked like a home-repair plumbing job. Of course we all know how the space race turned out. The plumbers won. These days the game is robots, not spaceships. If the Japanese builds a robot it probably looks like a ‘Wall-E’ and it’s job is to clean your butt better than you can. If it’s Chinese it looks like a Sherman tank and it will sweep your floor. If it’s American…
Design is about solving problems. Here’s a good example. Around the world people still fetch water in buckets, carrying them long distances on their heads. This limits the amount they can carry and isn’t great on their spines. With a simple design like this even kids can move fifty gallons of eater and have fun doing it.
TriFilm Productions | YouTube | Apr 09
If you’re interested in helping make the Q-Drum available to more people, visit their website at http://www.qdrum.co.za/
A quadr0copter is a robotic device which looks like a miniature helicopter with four rotors. It is controlled by a computer which is linked to visual and other sensors giving the device virtual ‘real-time’ observation of its environment. The time from the observation to actuation of a suitable response is remarkable, as evidenced by this video of two quadrocopters tossing a vertically balanced pole to each other. They do it faultlessly, over and over. I would have a hard time doing it once. But then, I’m no robot…
Quadrocopter Pole Acrobatics
Flying Machine Arena
A Space Where Flying Robots Live and Learn
The Flying Machine Arena (FMA) is a portable space devoted to autonomous flight. Measuring up to 10 x 10 x 10 meters, it consists of a high-precision motion capture system, a wireless communication network, and custom software executing sophisticated algorithms for estimation and control.
The motion capture system can locate multiple objects in the space at rates exceeding 200 frames per second. While this may seem extremely fast, the objects in the space can move at speeds in excess of 10 m/s, resulting in displacements of over 5 cm between successive snapshots. This information is fused with other data and models of the system dynamics to predict the state of the objects into the future.
The system uses this knowledge to determine what commands the vehicles should execute next to achieve their desired behavior, such as performing high-speed flips, balancing objects, building structures, or engaging in a game of paddle-ball. Then, via wireless links, the system sends the commands to the vehicles, which execute them with the aid of on-board computers and sensors such as rate gyros and accelerometers.
Although various objects can fly in the FMA, the machine of choice is the quadrocopter due to its agility, its mechanical simplicity and robustness, and its ability to hover. Furthermore, the quadrocopter is a great platform for research in adaptation and learning: it has well understood, low order first-principle models near hover, but is difficult to characterize when performing high-speed maneuvers due to complex aerodynamic effects. We cope with the difficult to model effects with algorithms that use first-principle models to roughly determine what a vehicle should do to perform a given task, and then learn and adapt based on flight data.
When the first astronauts traveled into space their view was outward, toward the moon, the planets and beyond. Surprisingly, the view that may have the most impact is the one from space back to our planet—Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’. In this exquisite video five astronauts share their experience of the view of earth from space. If you need inspiration to care about climate change or saving the planet (or just want to see some incredible views of earth from space) you should watch this film…
________________________________________________________________________________ Planetary Collective is a group of filmmakers, visual media creatives and thinkers who work with cosmologists, ecologists and philosophers to explore some of the big questions facing our planet at this time.
When Steve Jobs died many people wondered who and where the next ‘Steve Jobs’ was. We may have one here. He even looks and sounds like him…
My 3 Cents 0n Cancer
Jack Andraka | TEDxSanJose | 13 Feb 13
Following the death of a close friend from pancreatic cancer, Jack Andraka, a freshman in high school, set out to find a way to detect this killer earlier and cheaper than the accepted methods of the medical establishment. The result was a new dipstick type diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer using a novel paper sensor, similar to that of the diabetic test strip. This strip tests for the level of mesothelin, a pancreatic cancer biomarker, to determine whether or not a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. The test is over 90 percent accurate in detecting the presence of mesothelin. According to Andraka, it is also 168 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive (costing around three cents), over 400 times more sensitive than the current diagnostic tests and only takes five minutes to run. He says the test is also effective for detecting ovarian and lung cancer, due to the same mesothelin biomarker they have in common.
________________________________________________________________________________ Jack Andraka’s research, conducted at John Hopkins University could change the face of cancer and promote early detection. He has been selected as the Intel 2012 ISEF winner and has won awards at multiple national and international math competitions. Jack is on the national junior whitewater kayaking team and enjoys playing with his dog and folding origami.
National Geographic photographer, James Balog, has spent years recording the changing conditions of polar ice due to global warming. During a recent discussion on NPR’s Science Friday, Balog mentioned that virtually every scientist on earth who has studied this issue concludes that this planet is warming at a rate unprecedented in history. Earth has warmed more and more dramatically than any time in the past 1,000,000 years. The entire scientific community agrees that one of the major factors driving this trend is human activity. Industrialization, transportation, energy production, etc. This is not just nature doing its thing. Nature has never done this before.
Balog has produced a movie called ‘Chasing Ice’ documenting his observations of the effects of this process on arctic ice fields and glaciers, including this clip of the breakup of a feature in Greenland larger than Manhattan Island. The movie will be released this spring…
James Balog | YouTube | 14 Dec 13
________________________________________________________________________________ James Balog is an American photographer whose work revolves around the relationship between humans and nature. Since the early 1980s Balog has re-defined environmental photography, whether his subject is endangered animals, North America’s old-growth forests, or polar ice. His work aims to combine insights from art and science to produce innovative, dynamic and sometimes shocking interpretations of our changing world.
I love to watch videos of how the world is supposed to look today from, in this case, 46 years ago. Good old Walter tells us all about the marvels of life in the 21st century. It’s a world of technological wonder. He doesn’t say anything about budgets, sequestration, drone warfare, torture, assault weapons, murdered school kids, gay boy scouts, North Korean nukes, extraordinary rendition, global warming, stray asteroids or homeland insecurity. They didn’t have those things back then. Just Russian subs armed with hydrogen bombs. Guess you can call that progress…
Walter Cronkite in the Home Office of the Twenty-First Century
Inspiration Alert! Watch this and see if you don’t get inspired. Ballard has been exploring the oceans that surround this planet all his life. To hear him talk is like listening to Christopher Columbus talk about finding an unknown island with palm trees. Like Neal Armstrong talking about his first step on moon dust. Pretty exciting stuff…
Exploring the Oceans
Robert Ballard | TED.com | Jan 13
________________________________________________________________________________ Among the most accomplished and well known of the world’s deep-sea explorers, Robert Ballard is best known for his historic discoveries of hydrothermal vents, the sunken R.M.S. Titanic, the German battleship Bismarck, and numerous other contemporary and ancient shipwrecks around the world. During his long career he has conducted more than 120 deep-sea expeditions using the latest in exploration technology, and he is a pioneer in the early use of deep-diving submarines.
Ballard is president of the Institute for Exploration, scientist emeritus from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Director of the newly created Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. His new ship of exploration, the E/V Nautilus operated by his Ocean Exploration Trust spends four to five months at sea each year and will be exploring the Black Sea, Aegean, Mediterranean, and Atlantic Ocean in 2011, beaming back his exploration around the clock on Nautilus Live.