- The Apex Book of World SF 4 (Amazon) — if SF invents the future by shaping and directing our imagination, and if you believe that non-American cultures will ascend over time, then it behooves you to sample this collection of SF from beyond the usual. (via Cory Doctorow)
- Diversity Scholarships Available — to Digital Consensus 2015, a conference on digital currency. Apply or tell someone who is eligible.
- Making Huge Projects Work (Amy Hoy) — the description of her workflow for modest and monster projects was useful to me, and may be to you as well. I think the real question is “where do we get an Alex of our own?” [Note: swearing]
- Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass (PDF) — yes, a 3D printer that emits glass. Check out the videos on IFL Science.
"materials science" entries
Liza Kindred on the evolving role of data in fashion and the growing relationship between tech and fashion companies.
In this podcast episode, I talk with Liza Kindred, founder of Third Wave Fashion and author of the new free report “Fashioning Data: How fashion industry leaders innovate with data and what you can learn from what they know.” Kindred addresses the evolving role data and analytics are playing in the fashion industry, and the emerging connections between technology and fashion companies. “One of the things that fashion is doing better than maybe any other industry,” Kindred says, “is facilitating conversations with users.”
Gathering and analyzing user data creates opportunities for the fashion and tech industries alike. One example of this is the trend toward customization. Read more…
DNS Benchmarking, Intro to Macroeconomics, Materials-Sensing Cameras, and 3D Printing Lab Messed Around
- Namebench (Google Code) — hunts down the fastest DNS servers for your computer to use. (via Nelson Minar)
- Primer on Macroeconomics (Jig) — reading suggestions for introductions to macroeconomics suitable to understand the financial crisis and proposed solutions. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Smarter Cameras Plumb Composition — A new type of smarter camera can take a picture but also assess the chemical composition of the objects being imaged. This enables automated inspection systems to discern details that would be missed by conventional cameras. Interesting how cameras are getting smarter: Kinect as other significant case in point. (via Slashdot)
- Not So Open — 3D printing lab at the University of Washington had to stop helping outsiders because of a crazy new IP policy from the university administration. These folks were doing amazing work, developing and sharing recipes for new materials to print with (iced tea, rice flour, and more) (via BoingBoing)
Fair Use Economy, Deconstituted Appliances, 3D Vision, Redis for Fun and Profit
- Fair Use in the US Economy (PDF) — prepared by IT lobby in the US, it’s the counterpart to Big ©’s fictitious billions of dollars of losses due to file sharing. Take each with a grain of salt, but this is interesting because it talks about the industries and businesses that the fair use laws make possible.
- Disassembled Household Appliances — neat photos of the pieces in common equipment like waffle irons, sandwich makers, can openers, etc. (via evilmadscientist)
- GelSight — gel block on a sheet of glass, lit from below with lights and then scanned with cameras, lets you easily capture 3D qualities of the objects pressed into it. Very cool demo–you can see finger prints, pulse, and even make out designs on a $100 bill.
- Redis Tutorial (Simon Willison) — Redis is a very fast collection of useful behaviours wrapped around a distributed key-value store. You get locks, IDs, counters, sets, lists, queues, replication, and more.
Smart Materials, Google OCR API, Teaching Webinar, HistEx
- Smart Materials in Architecture — Using thermal bimetals can allow architects to experiment with shape-changing buildings, Ritter said. Thermal bimetals include a combination of materials with different expansion coefficients that can cause a change in. Under changing temperatures this can lead one side of a compound to bend more than the other side, potentially creating an entirely different shape, he said. A little impractical at the moment, but think of it as hackers experimenting with what’s possible, iterating to find the fit between materials possibility and customer need. (via Liminal Existence)
- Google OCR API — The server will attempt to extract the text from the images; creating a new Google Doc for each image. Experimental at this stage, and early users report periodic crashes. Still, it’s a useful service. I wonder whether they’re seeing how people correct the scan text and using that to train the OCR algorithms. (via Waxy)
- My O’Reilly Podcast: Dan Meyer — I’m not pimping this because it’s O’Reilly (O’R do heaps of stuff I don’t mention) but because it’s the astonishingly brilliant Dan Meyer. For everything it does well, the US model of math education conditions students to anticipate narrowly defined problems with narrowly prescribed solutions. This puts them in no place to anticipate the ambiguous, broadly defined, problems they’ll need to solve after graduation, as citizens. This webcast will define two contributing factors to this intellectual impatience and then suggest a solution.
- Inflation Conversion Factors for Dollars 1774 to Estimated 2019 — in PDF and Excel format. I’ve wanted such a table in the past for answering those inevitable “… in today’s dollars?” historical business questions. (via Schuyler on Delicious)
- Bioweathermap — crowdsourcing the gathering of environmental samples for DNA sequencing to study the changing distribution of microbial life. Another George Church project. (via timoreilly at Twitter)
- We Are All African Now — a great article about our genetic history and the computational genomics that makes it possible. (via Tim Bray)
- Standing Out In The Crowd — OSCON keynote by Kirrily Robert on women in open source. Excellent.
- Energy Harvesting Powers Printed LED — an interesting combination of two emerging technologies. Like an RFID, the circuit has a current induced by the presence of a changing RF field. The EL display and the RFID circuit are printed in organic compounds, whereas the power control is built with traditional circuit fabrication techniques. (via Freaklabs)
Spies, Community, International Success, and DNA Origami
- Supermap — The CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, is paying an undisclosed sum to California-based Geosemble Technologies to develop an intelligence version of the “geospatial data integration and layering technology” that the company developed for use by urban planners, real estate investors and market analysts. The technology combines overhead imagery, maps and heavy-duty data mining to create a map-based intelligence capability reminiscent of the Pentagon’s former Total Information Awareness program. When the project is done – and In-Q-Tel won’t say how soon that might be – CIA agents will be able to merge aerial images and electronic maps on a computer screen. Then they will be able to click on the building or other item of interest and all manner of information will pop up: who the tenants are, phone numbers, company records, links to company and organization Web sites, news reports related to the tenants or incidents at the address, property records, tax data and more. I love that Cheap Suit Susan, your local real estate agent, had the technology before the CIA. It’s like learning that Lionel Hutz has a missile defense system to stop his house being TPed.
- 7 Harsh Truths About Running Communities — As the leader of your community, your personality sets the tone. As a result if the community behaves in ways you do not want, then you only have yourself to blame. I have seen many bloggers write about the negative comments they get on their posts. In most cases this is due to the tone they themselves strike in their writing. Although there are exceptions I believe that users will respond in the same voice you yourself set. If you are irreverent, then so will your users be. If you are rude, expect rude responses. “Social software” is an anachronism-software that doesn’t let users interact has become antisocial software. Every web creator needs to know what successful communities have in common. (via Julie Starr)
- Lingopal is Big in Japan (Lance Wiggs) — Turns out we are biggest in Japan. We have done no marketing there – it is all organic growth as our google ad writing and PR ability is not so good in Japanese. More anecdata for my belief that, while chance favours the prepared mind (as Louis Pasteur said), we routinely use post-hoc rationalisation to explain why it was inevitable that this or that lucky SOB hit it big.
- DNA Origami Seeds: Bottom-Up Methods for Molecular Self-Assembly (US News) — Winfree’s coworker at Caltech, Paul W. K. Rothemund, pioneered the seed-DNA technology that allows tiny “DNA origami” structures to self-assemble into nearly arbitrary shapes (such as a smiley face and a map of the Western Hemisphere). The researchers designed several different versions of a DNA origami rectangle, 95 by 75 nanometers, which served as the seeds for the growth of different types of ribbon-like DNA crystals. The seeds were combined in a test tube with other bits of DNA, called “tiles,” heated, and then cooled slowly. At the lower temperature, the tiles start to stick to each other and to the origami. In this way, the DNA ribbons self-assemble, but only into forms such as ribbons with particular widths and ribbons with stripe patterns prescribed by the original seed.