Posts Tagged ‘science

16
Jun
09

Repurposing at Foulab

Here is a short mini-doc about Foulab in Montreal. Makes me think of NYC Resistor and Free Geek.

28
Feb
09

tangible visual sound manipulation tools

There are more and more inspiring new tools for music creation and sound manipulation being made and they are getting more affordable. Gone are the days of organs that take up whole rooms, and synths have come along way since 1876. Electronic music really took off in the ’80s as company like Yamaha made affordable compact gear, but that was still based on a keyboard.

Now we are entering the age when music can be created and tweeked live visually.  I was blown away years ago when I first saw the AudioPad  by James Pattern

Here is a video of another similar design called the Reactable.

Wavetables have come along since Wolfgang Palm.

Yamaha also has a fun new toy called the Tenori-On. Sort of a visual sequencer. Which sells for about $1000 USD. 

These won’t be showing up on craigslist anytime soon, so better start saving your empties.

18
Jan
09

2008 Mad Scientist Future Technology Seminar

wired

Last August, the U.S. Army held a three-day conference in Portsmouth, Virginia, to look at new developments in military science and hardware. The confab was called the “2008 Mad Scientist Future Technology Seminar.” Really. It was.

 

Presentations covered the following areas:

       Seminar Overview (Bushnell, NASA-Langley)

       Robotics (Jones, iRobot Corporation)

       Human Life Extension (Coles, Gerontology Research Group)

       Quantum Technology (Dowling, Louisiana State University)

       Molecular Manufacturing (Jacobstein, Teknowledge)

       Machine Intelligence (Yudkowsky, Singularity Institute)

       Global Sensor Grid (Orcutt, University of California – San Diego)

       Synthetic Biology (Weiss, Princeton University,

       Virtual Reality (Peterson, The Strategy Augmentation Group)

       Beyond Silicon Computing (Mazumder, National Science Foundation)

       Nano Materials (Sulcoski, National Ground Intelligence Center)

       Alternative Energy (Bushnell, NASA Langley Research Center)

       Brain/Neurologics (Braunreiter, SAIC)

       Emerging Individual Empowerment (Petersen, The Arlington Group)

       Superempowered Individuals (Smart, Acceleration Studies Foundation)

 The Mad Scientist group sees more than just a world of danger in the 2030s. “Most likely results include an increased life span, a solution to the energy crisis, ready availability of food and fresh water to all, a global distribution of technology, education, economics, and — therefore — wealth.  This will reduce the tension between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ while the capabilities of robotics and access to virtual reality to both care for and entertain will create the perception of well-being almost universally around the globe.  Advancements are limited only by imagination and resources.”

Download the doc for a read. The list of participants are a strange bunch complete with Christian Right mad scientists. Hmmm, what are they working on….

12
Jan
09

NASA warns of large radiation storm 2011?

the register

 

A study funded by NASA has flagged up yet another terrible hazard for those no longer able to get excited about nuclear war, global pandemics, terrorism, climate change, economic meltdown and asteroid strike. Top space brainboxes say that even if the human race survives all those, there is a serious risk of civilisation being brought crashing to its knees by a sudden high-intensity solar radiation storm.

solar_storm

In essence, the report, which can be downloaded in pdf here (free registration required) says that sooner or later there will be a solar storm much more powerful than any seen so far in the age of high technology. Such events have occurred in the past, but as the human race then had very basic electrical power grids (or none at all) and made no use of satellites, it didn’t matter.

The next space radiation biggy, however, will hit a human civilisation which is becoming more and more dependent on satellites for essential communication and navigation tasks, and whose electrical grids are much more widespread and heavily stressed. The impact of a bad geomagnetic spike would be somewhat as though an unbelievably powerful electromagnetic pulse bomb – of the sort favoured by movie villains but not yet available – had gone off:

While a severe storm is a low-frequency-of-occurrence event, it has the potential for long-duration catastrophic impacts to the power grid and its users. Impacts would be felt on interdependent infrastructures, with, for example, potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in about 12-24 hours; and immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply, and so on …Open access on the transmission system has fostered the transport of large amounts of energy across the power system in order to maximize the economic benefit of delivering the lowest-cost energy to areas of demand. The magnitude of power transfers has grown, and the risk is that the increased level of transfers, coupled with multiple equipment failures, could worsen the impacts of a storm event …

In summary, present U.S. grid operational procedures … are unlikely to be adequate for historically large disturbance events.

The impact on satellites would be even more severe, as spacecraft have less shielding from the Earth’s atmosphere – and in some cases from the magnetosphere. In particular, the present Global Positioning System (GPS) sat constellation, used by almost every navigation system in the world, is regarded as highly vulnerable to a solar event – though new satellites are to go up shortly equipped with a backup signal which will allow errors to be bowled out.

In general, however, the assembled brainboxes considered that a solar event was a much greater threat to essential space infrastructure than any evil foreign power – for instance – could possibly be. The US military has previously warned of the risk of a “space Pearl Harbour” – a devastating surprise attack against America’s space presence, which could leave the world’s sole superpower blinded and crippled. According to the National Academy, though, the USA should forget about a space Pearl Harbour and worry instead about “a space Katrina, a storm that we should have been prepared for but were not”.

I guess we should be working on our force fields.

27
Nov
08

future capitalist dreams

 

02
Nov
08

Magnetic Portals Connect Sun and Earth

10.30.2008 NASA

“It’s called a flux transfer event or ‘FTE,'” says space physicist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “Ten years ago I was pretty sure they didn’t exist, but now the evidence is incontrovertible.”

Researchers have long known that the Earth and sun must be connected. Earth’s magnetosphere (the magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet) is filled with particles from the sun that arrive via the solar wind and penetrate the planet’s magnetic defenses. They enter by following magnetic field lines that can be traced from terra firma all the way back to the sun’s atmosphere.

“We used to think the connection was permanent and that solar wind could trickle into the near-Earth environment anytime the wind was active,” says Sibeck. “We were wrong. The connections are not steady at all. They are often brief, bursty and very dynamic.”

There are many unanswered questions: Why do the portals form every 8 minutes? How do magnetic fields inside the cylinder twist and coil? 

27
Oct
08

nanosolar meltdown

video of a piece of steel being melted by the Sun.

-from James May’s “Big Ideas” recent BBC show.

At the focal point, solar furnaces can achieve temperatures of 5,430 ºF (3,000 ºC). The idea is not new—coming from ancient Greece—but their potential is starting to become more relevant now as we try to cut dependency on fossil fuels.

solar power is a relatively untapped energy which is abundant. with recent developments in the  manufacturing of the collectors, like nanosolar, perhaps there is hope we can figure out cheap/open solar systems.

 steel starts at 1:08 in




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