RSSCategory: Technology

Look what was filmed with a green screen

February 24, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

Eye-opening 4-minute video from Stargate Studios.

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1992: The future of computers per Bill Gates

January 30, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

Back in 1992, Microsoft was still a new company, and Tom Brokaw sat down with 35 year old Bill Gates, who discussed the future, including the advent of “electronic mail.” Follow up interview here.

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Human powered helicopter

November 13, 2012 | By | Reply More

I didn’t know know that human powered helicoptering was possible at all until I saw this video. This high-tech machine is 100 feet across, and weighs only 80 pounds. Really impressive stuff, even though the team hasn’t quite won the Sikorsky Prize:

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Need to buy a typewriter?

August 10, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

Tonight I was at OfficeMax, buying some back to school supplies with my daughters. I was surprised to see that there is still a typewriter section at the store. There are actually two models to choose from.

This is going to sound like an “old man” story, but when I started practicing law 30 years ago, the firm of 45 lawyers had no computers. Every secretary worked 0n an electric typewriter. Even in 1990, when I brought my own computer to my law firm, people were wondering why an attorney would have a computer. Now I work at a firm with 14 attorneys, and every attorney has a computer–there is one typewriter (for forms and labels). It makes you wonder, at this rate of change, whether anyone has the ability to predict how the world will look in ten more years.

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Terrifying landing on Mars scheduled for Monday morning

August 4, 2012 | By | Reply More

The seven minutes of terror will begin very early Monday morning. According to Boston Herald:

Touchdown was set for 10:31 p.m. PDT. NASA warned that spotty communication during landing could delay confirmation for several hours or even days.

Here’s more on this daunting technological feat:

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Photography at one trillion frames per second

August 3, 2012 | By | Reply More

Ramesh Raskar’s team at MIT has taken extraordinary images at the rate of one trillion frames per second. Not only are his images stunning, but this technology has some real life applications.

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Landing the Curiosity Rover on Mars

June 26, 2012 | By | Reply More
Landing the Curiosity Rover on Mars

Here’s the plan for landing the Curiosity Rover in Mars this August. If they can pull this off, it will be one of the most amazing technological displays ever. The scientists believe they can get the job done, and I’m rooting for them.

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The flight computer used on the Apollo missions

June 3, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More
The flight computer used on the Apollo missions

Here is a succinct but informative article on the flight computer used on the Apollo missions. ¬† ¬†Amazingly, it “had approximately 64Kbyte of memory and operated at 0.043MHz.”

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Amory Lovins offers his recipe for Reinventing Fire

May 3, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More
Amory Lovins offers his recipe for Reinventing Fire

Our energy system is inefficient, disconnected, aging, dirty and insecure. In this TED talk, Lovins argues that we can become frugal with our energy, eliminating our addiction to oil and coal by 2050, in addition to using 1/3 less natural gas. This talk is based on ideas presented by his book, Reinventing Fire, and his website.

This could cost $5 trillion less than business as usual, assuming external costs of business as usual is zero (which he wryly terms a “conservative” estimate). His approach requires no new inventions, no act of Congress and no subsidies, and it will increase the U.S. economy to 158% of the present.

Our addiction to oil costs us $2B per day in direct costs and $4B in indirect costs, such as the U.S. military. This amounts to 1/6 of GDP. Lovins opened his talk by noting that 80% of the energy we use every year comes from burning four cubic miles of primordial swamp goo.

How can we reduce the use of oil? Make cars “oil free.” Cars use 3/5 of this amount. 2/3 of the energy caused to move a car is attributed to its weight, but over the past 25 years, our cars have become “obese.” We have the ability to make lighter and “more slippery” autos, which makes electricity an excellent way to move cars. Lovins asserts that we have the technologies to make the cars much lighter. America could lead this revolution, though Germany is currently in the lead. If this technology were prevalent, it would be the equivalent of finding 1 1/2 Saudi Arabias worth of oil.

He proposes that we save electricity and make it differently. Most electricity now is wasted. Buildings now use 3/4 of our electricity. That offers a tremendous opportunity for savings through “integrative design.” (min 14). One way of doing this is via “2010 retrofit.” Industry still has $1/2 trillion of saving to reap. Pumps can be made much more efficient by using larger straighter pipes instead of narrower winding pipes. (Min 16). Needing less electricity means we can make it more easily. China is leading the way currently. Solar panels are an excellent way to make the shift. Wind and solar constitute half of the new capacity of electricity. (19).

How can we replace coal-fired electricity? Natural gas is one option. A grid using wind and solar can be a substantial part of the grid, much like it is in Europe. (21) The U.S. grid is old, over-centralized and vulnerable, and it will need to be replaced by 2050.

In 34 states, utilities are rewarded for selling us more electricity. Where they are rewarded for cutting our bills, investments are shifting to renewables. (22).

Lovins’ approach to “reinventing fire” asserts that our energy future is a matter of choice, not fate. He recognizes that these facts and numbers seem incredible, but they are true. A bonus would be an 86% reduction in greenhouse gases, in addition to a much more secure energy supply. He describes his approach as a “once-in-a-civilization business opportunity.”

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