David Kirkpatrick

June 16, 2010

“The Singularity is Near” wins honors at Breckenridge Film Festival

Via KurzweilAI.net — Just the facts, ma’am.

The Singularity is Near wins awards at Breckenridge Film Festival
KurzweilAI.net, June 16, 2010

The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future received the Best Special Effects award and Second Place Audience Award at the 30th Annual Breckenridge Film Festival in Breckenridge, Colorado on June 13, according to Adele Sommer, festival programming director.

The feature-length documentary film, by filmmakers Anthony Waller, Ray Kurzweil, Ehren Koepf and Toshi Hoo, with Executive Producer Martine Rothblatt (Terasem Motion InfoCulture), explores the provocative arguments from Kurzweil’s New York Times bestselling book, The Singularity is Near.

He predicts that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, humanity is fast approaching an era in which our intelligence will become trillions of times more powerful and increasingly merged with computers. This will be the dawning of a new civilization, enabling us to transcend our biological limitations. In Kurzweil’s post-biological world, boundaries blur between humanand machine, real and virtual. Human aging and illness are reversed, world hunger and poverty are solved, and we cure death. He maintains an optimistic view of thefuture while acknowledging profound new dangers.

The New York premiere screening of the film is scheduled for June 24, 2010 at the TimeLife building in New York City, presented by the World Technology Network (WTN) in association with TIME magazine.

June 14, 2010

Electronics recommendation — Proscan LCD HDTV

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:33 pm

If you’re in the market for an LCD HDTV don’t overlook Proscan’s models. Proscan doesn’t have the brand recognition of a lot of LCDs out there, but they are a great value for the price point. My household has been using a Proscan LCD as the primary television since last fall and the TV has been great. No problems, great picture, more than adequate sound when I don’t feel like firing the entire home theater system up, and being an LCD it’s not an insane electricity hog.

For more information and specs here’s a 32-inch model for $420.00 , a 40-inch model for $450.00 and a 55-inch model for $1070.00 at Amazon.

For price and performance in an LCD HDTV, make Proscan part of the comparison process.

YouTube as fine art

¡Viva la digial!

From the link:

When YouTube began, it was likened by some as a scattered web version of a funniest home videos television show.

But in a sign the art world is taking YouTube and amateur video seriously, the prestigious Guggenheim museums and YouTube launched a competition on Monday to search for the most creative online videos and expand on ideas of what video can be.

The project, called “YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video”, will showcase 20 videos selected from the web community to be presented at the Guggenheim in New York on October 21 and simultaneously projected at museum centers in Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice.

“Creative online video is one of the most compelling and innovative opportunities for personal expression today,” said Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation director Richard Armstrong. “‘YouTube Play’ demonstrates this is within the reach of anyone who uses a computer and has access to the Internet.”

And newspapers wonder why they are a dying breed

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:31 am

Via KurzweilAI.net — You couldn’t make this stuff up, “That social media thing? It’s a passing fad …”

NYT Bans The Word Tweet “Outside Of Ornithological Contexts”
The Awl, June 10, 2010

Phil Corbett, standards editor at the Times, has sent a memo asking writers to abstain from “tweet” as a noun or a verb, referring to messages on Twitter.
Read Original Article>>

The World Cup on the web

Filed under: Media, Sports, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:20 am

Here’s a CIO.com guide to four online World Cup fixes.

From the link:

1. Live Streaming

ESPN3.com is streaming 54 World Cup matches for free. Head to their website and click “Watch Now” for the current match, where you can also view up-to-date stats.

Univision will also be streaming matches online for free (but this site is in Spanish). To watch, click “Ver partido en vivo” from the orange box in the top right corner.

June 13, 2010

DVD recommendation — “Koyaanisqatsi”

Filed under: Arts, Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:57 pm

I watched Godfrey Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi” last night for the first time in years, and for the first time in the home theater. If you’re not familiar with the film, hit the link in the first sentence for the Wikipedia page. One thing that can be said about this work of art is there are only three reactions: you love it, you hate it, it absolutely confounds you. There really isn’t any squishy middle ground there.

Watching “Koyaanisqatsi” again reminded of the subtle narrative that exists in the film, along with the occasional bits of comedy. Quite a feat for a movie consisting solely of images and music. Of course those images are beautiful and moving, and the score is by Philip Glass. It’s truly a film that has to be seen rather than written about.

I picked up my DVD back in 2002 when “Koyaanisqatsi” went back into print, you can find the DVD at Amazon here.

June 12, 2010

The Singularity in the NYT

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:25 pm

Mainstreaming futurism. Well, sort of …

From the link:

Yet it also smacked of a future that the Singularity University founders hold dear and often discuss with a techno-utopian bravado: the arrival of the Singularity — a time, possibly just a couple decades from now, when a superior intelligence will dominate and life will take on an altered form that we can’t predict or comprehend in our current, limited state.

At that point, the Singularity holds, human beings and machines will so effortlessly and elegantly merge that poor health, the ravages of old age and even death itself will all be things of the past.

June 9, 2010

H+ Summit streamed live this weekend

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:32 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Very cool news. Not sure if I’m going to be able to participate, but having the option to do so is good to know.

H+ Summit @ Harvard this weekend to be streamed live, free
KurzweilAI.net, June 9, 2010

The H+ Summit at Harvard this coming weekend will be streamed live, starting June 12 at 9 AM, according to David Orban, Chairman of Humanity+.

“Anybody can connect free, and ask questions using the #hplussummit hashtag. Moderators will monitor the Twitter firehose and choose the best questions for speakers during Q&A sessions,” he said.

It will stream at 24 fps in H.264 MPEG-4 for iPhone and iPad compatibility (as well as browsers) — with unlimited capacity, Orban said. Tip: download the high-res presentation files in advance (some are already up).

If you miss some of it, all of the more than 50 speakers are being recorded at 1080p 60fps HD video, to be released online under a Creative Commons Attribution license, starting in the weeks following the conference.

The H+ Summit is a two day event that explores how humanity will be radically changed by technology in the near futureVisionary speakers will explore the potential of technology to modify your body, mindlife, and world.

June 2, 2010

Wednesday video — just amazing

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:56 pm

This clip is titled, “World’s Luckiest Bike Rider !!!” I have to say, I agree. Talk about being at both the wrong, and the exactly right, place simultaneously.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

June 1, 2010

Over half of Facebook users may quit?

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:16 pm

I find this poll very dubious to say the least. I’m guessing there’s a serious methodology issue in the surveyed population. A very tech savvy crowd would have a much higher awareness of Facebook privacy issues, and would also be much more likely to have a strong, and or negative, opinion of the privacy issue than the average casual social networker.

From the link:

More than half of Facebook users are considering dumping the popular social networking site because of privacy concerns, according to the results a new Sophos poll .

Abingdon, U.K.-based Sophos said 16% of poll respondents said have already stopped using Facebook because of privacy issues. The results of the online poll of some 1,600 Facebook users, released this week, found that 30% are “highly likely” to quit Facebook due to privacy concerns, and another 30% said it was “possible” they would leave the site for the same reason.

Meanwhile, 12% of respondents said that won’t leave he site and 12% said it’s “not likely” that they’ll quit Facebook

May 31, 2010

Singularity Summit 2010

Via KurzweilAI.net – just the news …

Singularity Summit 2010 returns to San Francisco, explores intelligence augmentation
KurzweilAI.net, May 31, 2010

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) plans to announce its Singularity Summit 2010 conference tomorrow, scheduled for August 14-15 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

“This year, the conference shifts to a focus on neuroscience, bioscience, cognitive enhancement, and other explorations of what Vernor Vinge called ‘intelligence amplification‘ (IA) — the other route to the Singularity,” said Michael Vassar, president of SIAI.

Irene Pepperberg, author of “Alex & Me,” who has pushed the frontier of animal intelligence with her research on African Gray Parrots, will explore the ethical and practical implications of non-human intelligence enhancement and of the creation of new intelligent life less powerful than ourselves. Futurist-inventor Ray Kurzweil will discuss reverse-engineering the brain and his forthcoming book, How the Mind Works and How to Build One. Allan Synder, Director, Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney, will explore the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the enhancement of narrow cognitive abilities. Joe Tsien will talk about the smarter rats and mice that he created by tuning the molecular substrate of the brain‘s learningmechanism. Steve Mann, “the world’s first cyborg,” will demonstrate his latest geek-chic inventions: wearablecomputers now used by almost 100,000 people.

Other speakers will include magician-skeptic and MacArthur Genius Award winner James Randi; Gregory Stock (Redesigning Humans), Director of the Program on MedicineTechnology, and Society at UCLA’s School of Public Health; Terry Sejnowski, Professor and Laboratory Head, Salk Institute Computational NeurobiologyLaboratory, who believes we are just ten years away from being able to upload ourselves; Ellen Heber-Katz, Professor, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program at The Wistar Institute, who is investigating the molecular basis of wound regeneration in mutant mice, which can regenerate limbs, hearts, and spinal cords; Anita Goel, MD, physicist, and CEO of nanotechnology company Nanobiosym; and David Hanson, Founder & CEO, HansonRobotics, who is creating the world’s most realistichumanoid robots.

Registration is $385 until June 7.

Full disclosure: KurzweilAI.net is a media partner inSingularity Summit 2010.

May 28, 2010

SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project at Rapid 2010

Here’s SculptCAD founder and president, Nancy Hairston, describing the project and the artwork at last week’s Rapid 2010 expo:

And here’s images of the artists’ work at the show’s gallery.

May 27, 2010

Deepwater Horizon clearinghouse

If you’re looking for information on what is an absolute Gulf of Mexico ecological disaster from BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore oil well, hit this link for very thorough coverage from a news source with something of a dog in this fight — the Houston Chronicle.

May 25, 2010

Even more on social media and privacy

And this one isn’t just limited to Facebook.

Social networking sites may be sharing a lot more of your identifying data with their advertisers than you realize.

From the link:

A report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that a number of social networking sites (including Facebook, MySpace, and Digg) may be sharing users’ personal information with advertisers. Since the Journal started looking into this possible breach of privacy, both Facebook and MySpace have moved to make changes.

The practice is actually a somewhat defensible one–and most of the companies involved did try to defend it–in which the advertisers receive information on the last page viewed before the user clicked on their ad. This is common practice all over the web, and, in most cases, is no issue–advertisers receive information on the last page viewed, which cannot be traced back to the user. In the case of social networking sites, the information on the last page viewed often reveals user names or profile ID numbers that could potentially be used to look up the individuals.

Depending on what those individuals have made public, advertisers can then see anything from hometowns to real names.

The Journal interviewed some of the advertisers who received the data (including Google’s (GOOG) DoubleClick and Yahoo’s (YHOO) Right Media), who said they were unaware of the data and had not used it.

For some reason I find that last claim from DoubleClick and Right Media a bit hard to believe.

Third party Facebook privacy fix

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:57 pm

If you use Facebook, running this tool is a pretty good idea. It’ll at least let you find out exactly what parts of your profile are exposed where and to whom. With the steady diet of privacy setting changes that require opting-out instead of opting-in, you might be surprised where your Facebook information stands in the public/private online sphere.

From the link:

About a week ago, as frustration with Facebook and its privacy settings reached its pinnacle, Matt Pizzimenti, a software engineer and cofounder of Olark.com, launched ReclaimPrivacy.org, a site that scans your Facebook settings and warns you of what information you’re exposing to the public.

“I felt that [Facebook's] navigation was too complicated to explain to my less-technical friends and family, so I built this tool to help them quickly see their privacy settings and change them,” Pizzimenti says.

May 20, 2010

Ray Kurzweil at H+ Summit

Via KurzweilAI.net — Sounds like an interesting talk.

Kurzweil to discuss the brain at H+ Summit
KurzweilAI.net, May 20, 2010

Ray Kurzweil will keynote the H+ Summit, to be held June 12-13 at Harvard University, with a talk on “The Democratization of Disruptive Change.”

The talk will focus on understanding the brain: Where are we on the roadmap to this goal? What are the effective routes to progress — detailed modeling, theoretical effort, improvement of imaging and computational technologies? What predictions can we make? What are the consequences of materialization of such predictions – – social, ethical?

“According to my models, we are only two decades from fully modeling and simulating the human brain,” said Kurzweil. “By the time we finish this reverse-engineering project, we will have computers that are thousands of times more powerful than the human brain. These computers will be further amplified by being networked into a vast worldwide cloud of computing. The algorithms of intelligence will begin to self-iterate towards ever smarter algorithms.

“This is how we will address the grand challenges of humanity, such as maintaining a healthy environment, providing for the resources for a growing population including energy, food, and water, overcoming disease, vastly extending human longevity, and overcomingpoverty. It is only by extending our intelligence with our intelligent technology that we can handle the scale of complexity to address these challenges.”

Kurzweil will also discuss his upcoming book, How the MindWorks and How to Build One, and examine some of the most common criticisms of the exponential growth of information technology.

The H+ Summit is a two day event that explores how humanity will be radically changed by technology in the near futureVisionary speakers will explore the potential of technology to modify your body, mindlife, and world.

SculptCAD Rapid Artist — Shane Pennington

This post is the sixth in an ongoing series highlighting the artists behind the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project. (Hit this link for all posts related to the project.)

Shane is a contemporary artist in Dallas, Texas.  He has exhibited his work internationally in Sydney, Australia at the Paddington Contemporary Gallery and domestically at Gallery Works in Aspen, Colorado, HCG Gallery in Dallas, and his own SP Studio in Dallas, Texas.

How did you get involved with the RAPID Artists project?

I met Nancy Hairston at one of my art exhibits.  She liked my work and asked me to participate in the SculptCAD RAPID Artists Project.

Is this your first experience with 3D/digital sculpting technology and tools?

Yes.

How have these technologies changed the way you approach your process?

The technology has expanded my creative process because it has given me immediate access to materials and design in a virtual world.   Such an expansive library of options has expanded my thought process as well.  Many of the functions in the software allow you to create structures and shapes that would not be easy to create on a standard project.

Are these digital tools having an effect on the work you are creating? Are the tools aiding/adding to/hindering the process?

I have had a positive experience using the digital tools.  I did not know what to expect but as I became more familiar with the software, I was also becoming more cognizant of what tools and options I had at my fingertips.  The possibilities seem limitless.

What are your thoughts on the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project?

I think it was an amazing project and experience.  I plan on using this technology more in my work now and in the future.

Looking beyond the project, what do you have coming up in the near future art-wise? Do you have any shows or projects planned?

I have site specific installations scheduled in Toronto, Montana, and Sydney.  I also have two upcoming shows in June and July in Dallas.

How can people interested in your work get in touch with you?

Website: www.shanepennington.com

email: bluesky00@airmail.net

phone: 214 564 6980

Do you have any final thoughts on the Rapid Artists Project?

Way to go!! Thanks to all that were involved and made this possible.  Special thanks to the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Louisville and Forecast 3D for the printing of the SLA resin sculpture pieces. And a big thank you to Nancy Hairston and Kevin Atkins at SculptCAD for all their support within the project! … it has opened up an entire new creative realm and medium for turning ideas into art.

Here’s the digital model of Shane’s SculptCAD Rapid Artist piece:

"Darwin's Theory" by Shane Pennington, digital model

Specifications on “Darwin’s Theory” and a statement on the piece from Shane:

Darwin’s Theory,  H 40 in x W 36 in x L 30 in, 2010, Artist: Shane Pennington
I am creating a tree and roots out of SLA White Resin to comment about the environment and the scarcity of natural rescues.  The top of the piece will be stylized cartoonish in nature and the roots will be a combination of real tree roots and synthetic roots.  Trees are the metaphor of this idea in this piece and the possibility of our need to synthetically recreate them in the future.

Head below the fold for more of Shane’s work. (more…)

May 19, 2010

OK Go and Earl Greyhound

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:18 pm

Caught OK Go and Earl Greyhound last night at the Granada Theater in Dallas (sorry, but I completely missed the opening third act) and the show was great. OK Go had some recent issues with their previous label — EMI — and the current state of the recording industry, and are (at least for) now one of those DIY bands out there working without major label support and have formed their own label, Paracadute Recordings. And, at least for now the move has done nothing to lower the quality, bells or whistles of the tour. Bells — literally. They performed one song solely on handbells. Made generous use of a confetti cannon as well, plus played a great set.

Here’s a video shot at the show:

The very pleasant surprise from the show was discovering Earl Greyhound, a three-piece that puts the “power” in power trio. Imagine combining psychedelic/acid rock a la Pink Floyd before Syd Barrett was institutionalized and grunge reminiscent of Soundgarden. Great stage presence and impressively heavy.

Here’s a video for Earl Greyhound’s “S.O.S.”:

Be sure to check these guys out.

Head below the fold to see OK Go playing “What to do” on handbells. (more…)

May 13, 2010

Simon & Schuster, Fortune epic fail

I feel for that other David Kirkpatrick. He’s caught in the circular fire of a dying publishing industry. The thrashings of that particular dinosaur aren’t as public or violent as those of the music and entertainment industries, but they certainly aren’t any less dumb.

Read this entire piece for a taste of the soon-to-be-history file.

From the second link:

I carefully wrote the post, taking time to properly format the text from the excerpts (which is a real pain), linking to both the Kindle and hardcover pre-sale versions of the book in the first paragraph, and linking to Fortune twice in the second paragraph. I added a bolded statement“In the meantime, Fortune has access to two excerpts from the book, and this stuff is solid gold.”

In my world, that’s known as a big wet kiss. And at first both Fortune and Kirkpatrick were pleased. 22 minutes after the post was live, Kirkpatrick emailed to thank me. 48 minutes after the post was live, Fortune emailed to say:

Hi Michael, thank you so much for doing such a great post this morning.

But of course no good deed goes unpunished.

Just six minutes after emailing to tell me how great the post was, Fortune emailed again telling me that in fact they had only wanted me to post exerpts of the excerpts, not the whole excerpts:

Michael, I don’t know where there was a miscommunication, but I didn’t offer you to post the entire excerpt, just the first look and to pluck pieces from it. I need you to please take down the entire excerpts and just post pieces of it as we discussed. I gave you the excerpts to select from, but did not offer for you to post our content, I’m sorry if that was unclear. This is now an issue of copy write infringement and I really need your help in taking down the full excerpts and just posting pieces of it. Please contact me as soon as you can to let me know that this is happening.

Uh oh. “copy write infringement.” Sounds serious.

That was just before 6 am on May 6. I had been asleep for two hours. Fortune then called me three times between 6 am and 7:30 am. I woke up each time and thought “Who’s the jerk calling me in the middle of the night?” and went back to sleep without checking.

Another email at 6:03 am:

Michael, I really need your help on this. Again, I need the post to be fixed and you’re welcome to post a few hundred words from each of the excerpts, but I didn’t offer for you to post the entire excerpt. I gave those to you only to choose something to post. I’m sorry if that was a miscommunication, but I wouldn’t give you permission to post all of our content. Please take down the post and edit it to reflect only some quotes. Please let me know as soon as possible who I might reach to make that happen. I really need your help.

A fourth (or maybe fifth) call at 9:46 am finally got me up (after almost 6 hours of sleep, my average). This time it was Dan Roth, the managing editor of Fortune.com.

I returned the call and things got…heated. Roth said it was unreasonable for me to post the entire excerpts, despite the fact that they asked me to, and that it should have been obvious that we could only post excerpts of excerpts. He told me I needed to edit the posts. I declined on the grounds that I was pissed off I was being called so many times and that it would be a ridiculous amount of new work to pick out the right excerpts of excerpts.

He called me unethical. He then called me unprofessional. He demanded that I remove the post entirely. I declined. We hung up.

May 12, 2010

3D printing and movie props

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:26 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — I do a lot of blogging about 3D printing and other rapid technologies (rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, 3D modeling and visualization, et.al.) and this is one cool use for 3D printing.

Iron Man 2’s Secret Sauce: 3-D Printing
Fast Company, May 7, 2010

Maybe the most cutting-edge facet of Iron Man 2’s production was the real-life fabrication of the suits: using 3-D printers, the film’s production company, Legacy Effects, was able to have artists draw an art concept, input into a CAD program, and then physically make that concept in just four hours.

Read Original Article>>

This video accompanied the original KurzweilAI post:

May 11, 2010

The Facebook Effect

No, I’m not the David Kirkpatrick who authored the upcoming book on Facebook — The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World — but if you enjoy social networking, social media, the Facebook experience in general or just interesting tales from the world of business, hit the link and pre-order a copy.

There is some confusion because I do blog fairly often on social media/web 2.0 and occasionally blog about Facebook specifically, and I’ve been a professional freelance writer for many years. The David Kirkpatrick who wrote “The Facebook Effect” has most recently been a senior editor at Fortune magazine, and to add just a little more murk into the mix there’s yet another David Kirkpatrick who’s a reporter for the New York Times. Most recently that David Kirkpatrick served as the Washington DC correspondent and I understand he is to transfer to the Cairo bureau sometime soon.

So there you go. Do continue to enjoy this blog, pick up a copy of “The Facebook Effect” by one of the other David Kirkpatrick’s out there and keep on reading yet another in the NYT.

May 6, 2010

SculptCAD Rapid Artist — Mark Grote

This post is the fifth in an ongoing series highlighting the artists behind the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project. (Hit this link for all posts related to the project.)

Mark has been teaching at Loyola University for over thirty years as a full professor and he is a graduate of Washington University St. Louis. Mark has exhibited both nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including Fulbright, Pollock Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Artist and Scholars at the American Academy of Rome.

How did you get involved with the RAPID Artists project?
Nancy Hairston is one of my past students.
Is this your first experience with 3D/digital sculpting technology and tools?
Yes
How have these technologies changed the way you approach your process?
It has opened up many possibilities for producing works or parts of work in mass.
Are these digital tools having an effect on the work you are creating? Are the tools aiding/adding to/hindering the process?
I believe they will have a very positive effect on my future work.
What are your thoughts on the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project?
It has been a very well organized project and has offered all the artist a lots of information, feed back from other artist. Opened up new possibilities of how one thinks about and how one can make work. I hope they do another one next year and I can participate. Now that I know more I want to use that information.
Looking beyond the project, what do you have coming up in the near future art-wise? Do you have any shows or projects planned?
Project pending at Kohler artist in residence program.
How can people interested in your work get in touch with you?
Here is Mark’s Rapid Artist concept and statement:
Statement The war on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda has now been going on for over nine years. The attackers used box cutters to takeover the four planes. Today we have only one thing we can look at to see our successes. And that is many of the Afghan people have been able to vote. However even that has much to be desired. Scan my finger and construct 234 fingers out of rubber. Dip each in blue ink and attach the box knife.
Head below the fold for more images of Mark’s work. (more…)

May 5, 2010

There’s a whole lot of digital information out there

Via KurzweilAI.net — Wow.

Digital information will grow to 1.2 zettabytes this year: IDC study
KurzweilAI.net, May 5, 2010

Last year, the Digital Universe (the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world) grew by 62% to nearly 800,000 petabytes (a petabyte is a million gigabytes, or a quintillion bytes), and this year, the Digital Universe will grow almost as fast to 1.2 million petabytes, or 1.2 zettabytes, according to IDC’s annual report, “The Digital Universe Decade – Are You Ready?” May 2010, which monitors the amount of digital information created and replicated in a year.

“Between now and 2020, the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world will grow to an almost inconceivable 35 trillion gigabytes, as all major forms of media — voice, TV, radio, print — complete the journey from analog to digital…. This explosive growth means that by 2020, our Digital Universe will be 44 times as big as it was in 2009.”

By 2020, more than a third of all the information in the Digital Universe will either live in or pass through the centrally hosted, managed, or stored in public or private repositories that today we call “cloud services.”

IDC estimates that in 2009, if people had wanted to store every gigabyte of digital content created, they would have had a shortfall of around 35%. This gap is expected to grow to more than 60% (that is, more than 60% of the petabytes created could not be stored) over the next several years.

“The greatest challenges are related not to how to store the information we want to keep, but rather to reducing the cost to store all of this content” (75% of which is a copy), “reducing the risk (and even greater cost) of losing all of this content, and extracting all of the value out of the content that we save.”

May 4, 2010

Tuesday video fun — Craig Ferguson, “There’s a monster coming”

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:03 am

I happened to catch this when it aired on April 5 and immediately DVRed it for posterity. This is one late-night clip everyone should see at least once.

May 3, 2010

Recovering lost art through technology

Undoing 16th century vandalism in the name of religion.

The release:

Reveal-all-scanner for works of art

Research News May 2010

Painted-over murals were thought to be irretrievably lost because conventional methods are seldom suitable to rendering the hidden works visible without causing damage. Research scientists now aim to reveal the secrets of these paintings non-destructively using terahertz beams.

Link: download picture

Many church paintings are hidden from sight because they were painted over centuries ago. In the 16th century, for instance, Reformation iconoclasts sought to obscure the religious murals, while in later times the iconoclast images often were painted over once again. Several layers of paintings from various epochs can now be found superimposed on top of each other. If mechanical methods are used to uncover these pictures there is always a risk that the original work will be damaged. What’s more, the more recent layers and pictures on top of the original, which are also worthy of preservation, would be destroyed. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden are now working on a non-destructive method for rendering these works visible, which involves the use of terahertz (THz) radiation. In the TERAART project funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) they are cooperating with Dresden University of Technology, the FIDA Institute for Historic Preservation in Potsdam and the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts.

»We use THz radiation because it can penetrate the plaster and lime wash even if the layer is relatively thick. Unlike UV radiation for example, THz radiation does not damage the work of art. Infrared beams cannot be considered because they do not penetrate deep enough. Microwaves offer no alternative either, because they do not achieve the necessary width and depth resolution,« explains Dr. Michael Panzner, scientist at the IWS. A mobile system that can be used anywhere was developed to conduct the examinations. It consists of a scanner with two measuring heads which travels contactlessly over the wall. One measuring head transmits the radiation, the other picks up the reflected beams. The researchers were supported by the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM, which built the adapted THz component.

»To produce the THz radiation we use a femtosecond laser incorporating the design principle of a fiber laser. The THz time domain spectroscopy technique applied by us utilizes the short electromagnetic pulses with a duration of just one to two picoseconds produced by the femtosecond laser. Each layer and each pigment reflects these pulses differently so that both a picture contrast as well as depth information can be obtained,« says Panzner. »The measured results provide information for example about the thickness of the layers, what pigments were used and how the colors are arranged. A specially developed software system puts the measured results together to form a picture displaying the structure of the concealed paintings.«

On a test wall, on which paintings in various types of paint were painted over with distemper, the scientists have already succeeded in revealing the structures of the concealed pictures. The next step will be to conduct a practical test in a church. The experts are also confident of being able to use THz radiation to detect the presence of carcinogenic biocides on and in works of art made of wood or textiles. »Preservationists will be very interested in our reveal-all-scanner for works of art, « affirms Panzner.

Speeding up data communications …

through nano-photonics.

The release:

An Optical Traffic Cop for Rapid Communication
Monday, May 3, 2010

TAU develops fiber optics technology to replace semi-conductors

It looks like a piece of gel that slips into the sole of your sneaker, but it’s a new nano-based technology that can make computers and the Internet hundreds of times faster — a communications technology “enabler” that may be in use only five or ten years in the future, currently being created by Dr. Koby Scheuer of Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Scheuer has developed a new plastic-based technology for the nano-photonics market, which manufactures optical devices and components. Reported in the journal Optics Express, his plastic-based “filter” is made from nanometer-sized grooves embedded into the plastic. When used in fiber optics cable switches, this new device will make our communication devices smaller, more flexible and more powerful, he says.

“Once Americans have a fiber optics cable coming into every home, all communication will go through it — telephone, cable TV, the Internet. But to avoid bottlenecks of information, we need to separate the information coming through into different channels. Our polymeric devices can do that in the optical domain — at a speed, quality and cost that the semi-conductor industry can’t even imagine,” Dr. Scheuer says.

Filtering the noise from the information

Every optical device used in today’s communication tools has a filter. Whether it’s the drive reader in your MacBook or the cable that brings cheap long-distance phone calls to your phone, each system uses filters to clean up the signal and interpret the different messages. In the next decade, fiber optic cables that now run from city to city will feed directly into every individual home. When that technology comes to light, the new plastic-based switches could revolutionize the way we communicate.

“Right now, we could transmit all of the written text of the world though a single fiber in a fiber optics cable in just a few seconds,” says Dr. Scheuer. “But in order to handle these massive amounts of communication data, we need filters to make sense of the incoming information. Ours uses a plastic-based switch, replacing hard-to-fabricate and expensive semi-conductors.”

Semi-conductors, grown on crystals in sterile labs and processed in special ovens, take days and sometimes months to manufacture. They are delicate and inflexible as well, Dr. Scheuer explains. “Our plastic polymer switches come in an easy-to-work-with liquid solution. Using a method called ‘stamping,’ almost any laboratory can make optical devices out of the silicon rubber mold we’ve developed.”

The silicon rubber mold is scored with nano-sized grooves, invisible to the eye and each less than a millionth of a meter in width. A plastic solution can be poured over the mold to replicate the optical switch in minutes. When in place in a fiber-optic network, the grooves on the switch modulate light coming in through the cables, and the data is filtered and encoded into usable information.

One word of advice: “Plastics”

His biggest hurdle, says Dr. Scheuer, is in convincing the communications industry that polymers are stable materials.

“There is a lot of prejudice in this industry against plastics. But this approach could take us to a new level of communication,” the researcher says. He also notes that the process is not much different from the way that mass numbers of DVDs are produced in a factory — except Dr. Scheuer works on a nano, not a “giant” micro, scale.

His device can also be used in the gyros of planes, ships and rockets; inserted into cell phones; and made a part of flexible virtual reality gloves so doctors could “operate” on computer networks over large distances.

4.12 degrees of separation

That’s the average path between users of Twitter. Pretty amazing.

From the link:

The ideas behind Stanley Milgram’s original “six degrees of separation” experiment, which suggested that any two people on earth could be connected by at most six hops from one acquaintance to the next, have been widely applied to online social networks.

On the MSN messenger network of 180 million users, for example, the median degree of separtaion is 6. On Twitter, Kwak et al. hypothesized that because only 22.1% of links are reciprocal (that is, I follow you, and you follow me as well) the number of degrees separating users would be longer. In fact, the average path length on Twitter is 4.12.

What’s more, because 94% of the users on Twitter are fewer than five degrees of separation from one another, it’s likely that the distance between any random Joe or Jane and say, Bill Gates, is even shorter on Twitter than in real life.

May 2, 2010

Beautiful space image — the sun

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:34 am

Wow.

SDO First Light composite image from March 30, 2010.

A full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by SDO on March 30, 2010. False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,540 F); blues and greens are hotter (greater than 1 million Kelvin, or 1,799,540 F). Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO AIA Team

As usual, hit the link up there for a larger version of the image and more information.

Update 5/3/10: I haven’t read the Bad Astronomer (see blogroll) in while and happened to yesterday only to find a post with this image and more explanation, plus another very cool image from the SDO.)

A library on a chip …

through nanotech.

The release:

Nanodots Breakthrough May Lead To ‘A Library On One Chip’

A researcher at North Carolina State University has developed a computer chip that can store an unprecedented amount of data – enough to hold an entire library’s worth of information on a single chip. The new chip stems from a breakthrough in the use of nanodots, or nanoscale magnets, and represents a significant advance in computer-memory technology.

“We have created magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allowing us to store over one billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch,” says Dr. Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and author of the research.

The breakthrough is that these nanodots are made of single, defect-free crystals, creating magnetic sensors that are integrated directly into a silicon electronic chip. These nanodots, which can be made uniformly as small as six nanometers in diameter, are all precisely oriented in the same way – allowing programmers to reliably read and write data to the chips.

The chips themselves can be manufactured cost-effectively, but the next step is to develop magnetic packaging that will enable users to take advantage of the chips – using something, such as laser technology, that can effectively interact with the nanodots.

The research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, was presented as an invited talk April 7 at the 2011 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco.

NC State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering is part of the university’s College of Engineering.

May 1, 2010

DVD recommendation — The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie

If you enjoyed the Comedy Central series at all (and if you have no idea what it is, hit the previous link for the Wikipedia page) you owe it to yourself to check out this straight-to-DVD animated film. The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! isn’t rated, but it might have a hard time even mustering NC-17 status. It offends in almost every way possible — animated pornography, strong racial humor, stronger religious humor and that’s just scratching the surface. It even includes two 3D scenes, one a girl-on-girl-on-girl in a Bedrock bar (don’t ask, just watch the movie.)

So, if you are easily offended (or a minor) avoid the Drawn Together movie, but if you are a fan of the now-cancelled series, or just like the bleeding edge of edgy humor this DVD is worth picking up.

The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!

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