Neil Armstrong addressing the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:
We will have no American access to, and return from, low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future.
For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable.
A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain.
- Highlight the following text: “Like a Boss”.
- Right click on highlighted text, select Speech -> Start Speaking.
The first episode is a primer on CNC machines (Computer Numerical Control) and features Norm and Will building a new MakerBot Thing-O-Matic.
Speaking of MakerBot, earlier this week they announced they’re taking 10 million in investment from a number of angel investors including Jeff Bezos and Matt Mullenweg. It seems the MakerBot is here to stay.
Now I just need to buy one.
I was on my Segway and I was thinking about all the innovation and imagination it took to create that. So I called a friend Ron Conway, like, ‘Yo, do you know who invented this?’ He was like, ‘A good friend of mine, Dean Kamen.’ I was like, ‘You know this guy? Can you introduce me to him?’ So he introduced me to him via email, and that’s when he told me about U.S. FIRST. He was like, ‘I’ve got this program that I’ve been doing for 20 years, teaching kids science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and we have robotics competitions every year.’ I aid, ‘How come I’ve never heard of that?’ He was like, ‘That’s the problem.’ So I said, ‘Well, if you have a robotics competition every year, we’re performing at the Super Bowl, maybe we could perform, make a halftime show at your robotics competition.’
So will.i.am went to ABC, pitched the show, and bought the airtime himself to show a robotics competition in prime time in hopes of inspiring kids to learn.
I can’t wait to see the show.
“Bloomberg Risk Takers” profiles Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who helped create PayPal, built America’s first viable fully electric car company, started the nation’s biggest solar energy supplier, and may make commercial space travel a reality in our lifetime. And he’s only 40.
Top Gear is fraudulently disparaging electric cars in a manner directly opposed to the BBC’s editorial guidelines. The show is currently currently being sued by Tesla for claiming their Roadster has a 55 mile range rather than the advertised 211. Then they tested the Nissan Leaf.
Last Sunday, an episode of Top Gear showed Jeremy Clarkson and James May setting off for Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, 60 miles away. The car unexpectedly ran out of charge when they got to Lincoln, and had to be pushed. They concluded that “electric cars are not the future”.
But it wasn’t unexpected: Nissan has a monitoring device in the car which transmits information on the state of the battery. This shows that, while the company delivered the car to Top Gear fully charged, the programme-makers ran the battery down before Clarkson and May set off, until only 40% of the charge was left. Moreover, they must have known this, as the electronic display tells the driver how many miles’ worth of electricity they have, and the sat-nav tells them if they don’t have enough charge to reach their destination. In this case it told them – before they set out on their 60-mile journey – that they had 30 miles’ worth of electricity. But, as Ben Webster of the Times reported earlier this week, “at no point were viewers told that the battery had been more than half empty at the start of the trip.”
I don’t get Top Gear. I’ve watched it a few times and find Jeremy Clarkson to be an absolutely unbearable blowhard. He’s like the UK’s version of Jay Leno. They’re both sad old dinosaurs that should be put out to pasture. If you’re not familiar with Jeremy Clarkson’s work, his review of the original Prius is an excellent starting point.
It’s disappointing to see the BBC allow this type of disinformation to be spread so widely.
Alex Blumberg for This American Life:
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.
What a depressing story.
I’ve been following Nathan Myhrvold for the last few years since his TED talk. It’s sad to discover all the really cool things he’s been working on are funded by patent trolling. I cannot understand how a guy who considers himself an inventor can sleep at night ruing the lives of other hard working creators.
Software patents are bullshit, end of discussion.
Vicon has released an updated version of their Revue memory capturing camera based on Microsoft’s SenseCam technology. The MP3 model has a 3 megapixel camera, 8GB of storage, 24 hour battery life, and a much lower price tag (the previous model was close to 1k).
The SenseCam was developed by Microsoft Cambridge and popularized by Gordon Bell in his 2009 book Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything.
I want to buy one of these so badly. But before I do I’m going to try to make my own with an old SD1000 and the Canon Hack Development Kit.
I first heard about the Clock of the Long Now in 1996 while reading Brian Eno’s diary from 1995 “A Year With Swollen Appendices”. In it he quoted Danny Hillis’s initial idea for the clock written in 1993:
When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 2000. Now, thirty years later, they still talk about what will happen by the year 2000. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. w I think it’s time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of the Millennium. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium.
Brian Eno (a member of the Board of Directors and designer of the clock’s melody) adds:
Such a clock, if sufficiently impressive and well engineered, would embody deep time for people. It should be charismatic to visit, interesting to think about, and famous enough to become iconic in the public discourse. Ideally, it would do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment. Such icons reframe the way people think.
Shortly after it was published in 2000 I read Stewart Brands book “Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World’s Slowest Computer”, then there was a very long period where it seemed the project has stalled.
11 years later the clock is officially under construction. Jeff Bezos recently got involved and donated 42 million dollars as well as a West Texas mountain in which to house the clock. The mountain is on the same property as his spaceport, BlueOrigin. He also launched a website with photos and a listserve to reserve visitation timeslots “when it is complete (many years into the future)”.
Last month Kevin Kelly (Long Now Foundation Board Member) posted “The Clock in the Mountain”, a summary of where the project is now. Only a week later Wired published “How to Make a Clock Run for 10,000 Years” which focuses on the individuals making this crazy idea a reality.
I love the idea of thinking on a 10,000 year timeframe. I cannot wait until the day when I buy a plane ticket to Texas to see it for myself.
Markus Kayser, a snappily dressed graduate design student at the Royal College of Art, built a 3D printer that produces objects using only sand and sun. He shot this video outside Siwa, Egypt in May of 2011.
PV cells convert sunlight into electricity to power the computer, build platform, and other moving parts while a Fresnel lens converts sunlight into an extremely high temperature beam that melts the silica in the sand. The imprecise nature of the material and technique creates objects that have a beautifully handmade appearance, much different than the standard 3D printed look.
It’s an ingenious project and a gorgeous video. I look forward to seeing more of his work.
Fun interview. Ray Kurzweil is a good sport.
This week, GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons caused a stir by posting a video of himself killing an elephant in Zimbabwe. Previously, Parsons had upset feminists with his ultra-sexist advertising. It seems like perhaps Parsons and his company aren’t necessarily the type of people with whom we’d like to do business, which is why GOOD has decided to pull all of its sites from GoDaddy.com. If you’d like to join us and let Parsons know you don’t give money to colonialist misogynists, follow these 10 simple steps.
I’ve moved all my personal domains to Namecheap and will be moving my company’s domains and SSL certificate within the next few weeks.
Bob Parsons can go to Hell.
Interviews have been scarce, so it was very interesting to see how reliant his music is on hardware. If you’re familiar with him there’s bunch of stuff you would expect to see, a Nord, Space Echo, and bank of MoogerFoogers. But I have to wonder what he’s doing with that fish finder on his desk.
Check out the other photos here, here, here, and a larger version of the cover. If you’ve never heard Vladislav Delay check out the first track from ‘The Four Quarters’ . Download it for free here.