Thursday, January 30, 2014

Clever but is it cost effective?

Makani Power, now owned by Google, have developed a novel way to make electricity from wind. They use turbines mounted in a flying wing, tethered to the ground.

The turbines act as propellers in reverse, so it can fly up to and back from an altitude of 400m where the wind is stronger and steadier. The turbines generate electricity which is transmitted down the tether cable.

The system is clever, automated, and complicated. They have not yet scaled up to a commercial size.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rebooting humans

All our toys sometimes need a reboot, but the most complicated device we own is ourselves.  And we need a reboot at times, but have to resort to drugs and alcohol. Rebooting is a just a reset, not full scale brainwashing.

What happens if the reboot fails? Problematically the brain that is rebooting needs to be in charge of the reboot. One should at least copy the brain image to a second secure location.

Is sleeping a sort of reboot? See reverse flow neural signals when asleep .

It would be a great tool in benign hands, but a very dangerous ability in the hands of evil people.

Far too many questions and totally impractical at this time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Freddie Lives

TUTS - We Will Rock You

And they did.  The stage play had an original theme, an Orwellian future where minds were controlled on iPlanet by Globalsoft, and how rebels rediscovered Rock and Roll. It sorta worked.

The story was a vehicle for the 24 Queen songs. The band, most of the time hidden high above the stage, was excellent, and the final songs and performances were to die for.

Mini Library Survives Deep Freeze

The winter of 2013/2014 is colder the average, and reached -9C, with a little freezing rain.

The mini library had, for a brief time, mini icicles.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Seaboard keyboards

Seaboard makes really cool keyboards that allows a player to create more diverse and expansive sound. Two short examples: and

It plays discreet and continuous sound. It can be played like a piano, but also played in between the keys, organically.

The concept has been around a long time, but until now the processing speed has been too slow to make a working keyboard.

Not for gifted players who are gardeners with broken fingers nails.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Neanderthal problem, those problematic European cousins

30,000 years ago, during the last ice age, humans and Neanderthals lived together in Europe and interbred. Two percent of our genes come from the Neanderthal. So far so good.

Mexicans, as a nation, are very overweight, and Mexican researchers have discovered a gene SLC16A11, which regulates how fat is stored, and it is linked to type 2 diabetes. They found half of the 8000 Mexicans studied carried this variant. The variant can be traced back to our Neanderthal cousins, and is present in 50% of Native Americans, 10% of East Asians, but nearly absent in Europeans and Africans.

It has been suggested the gene was present in the East Asia at the time humans crossed the Bering Straight around 13,500 BCE into the Americas, and prevalent in the small number of people that made the crossing. The gene may have had conferred an advantage in the extreme climate, but not in the modern world.

Kinetic Energy

And engineer with a sense of humor.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Caring Consistency

A zygote is a fertilized cell, which 5 days later is called a blastocyst of 200 to 300 cells. Some people want to define Personhood at the zygote stage.

These same people probably have no problem swatting a fly, and a fly has 100,000 neuron cells in its brain!

Things are more known, and more complex, than most people imagine. Life is a continuum of 3,500 million years and counting.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ukraine needs to move away from Mordor and towards the light

The people of Ukraine seem to understand the difference between Europe and western capitalism, and the attempted restoration of the Soviet empire under Putin.

Old State House, Boston

The Old State House in Boston was built by the British in 1713. It was the seat of English colonial government, until the American Revolution in 1776.

The declaration of independence was read from one of the balconies of the building, and the wooden lion and unicorn, symbols of royalty, were removed and destroyed by burning.

It became the seat of the Massachusetts State Government, and later Boston city hall, and then commercial.  In 1881 the land had become so valuable, it was scheduled to be demolished.  The Bostonian Society was formed to preserve the building. The following year replicas of the lion and unicorn were restored to the building. In 1904 two subway entrances were created on the ground floor, the subway station is underneath the building.

In 1770 it was the site of the Boston Massacre, when English troops killed 5 people. 200 years later, in 1976, the UK Queen visited and returned safely home.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baker Family Playhouse

James Addison Baker III was the 61st US secretary of State 1989-1992, and this was his playhouse when he was younger.  The structure was built in 1893 at 1104 San Jacinto Street, and after being moved multiple times and is now sited in the Sam Houston Park.  The house at 1104 San Jacinto Street, see below, is no more.

In a city that is rebuilds itself frequently, this little building has survived.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Omni Parker Hotel, Boston

The Omni Parker Hotel in Boston is an historical landmark, and a source for training radicals.

Ho Chi Minh worked here as a baker between 1911-1913, he was 21-23.  He later returned to Vietnam, then under control of Vichy France and Japan, and in 1945, became president of the newly declared Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Malcolm X lived in Boston between the ages of 14-21, and worked here as a Busboy in the 1940's.  He went on to be a leader in the Nation of Islam and was assassinated by the Nation of Islam when he was only 39, a year after going to the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Charles Dickens was born too early, these people would have been great source material.  Dickens stayed at the Parker Hotel and in New York, during the winter of 1867-68.