David Kirkpatrick

June 30, 2010

Interest rates are going to stay low

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:56 pm

In other words, move along everyone — there’s nothing to see here

From the link:

Jitters that financial strains may derail the U.S. economic recovery mean the Federal Reserve will be in no rush to end its ultra-low interest rates, comments by officials of the U.S. central bank suggested on Wednesday.

One senior Fed official went as far as acknowledging that falling inflation could spur the central bank to further ease financial conditions, and another policy maker would not rule out additional measures to stimulate growth.

When asked whether lower inflation would prompt the Fed to try to push borrowing costs even lower, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart told a Rotary Club audience: “It’s appropriate to think about what we would do under a deflationary scenario. At this point, no specific planning in my view is occurring but discussion in all likelihood will be on the agenda.”

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Sully’s “Quote For The Day II” post today

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:16 pm

At the Daily Dish Andrew Sullivan posts a quote for the day, and often many quotes for the day.

I sincerely hope this one is either a joke or satire from the linked source. If not, the United States might really be going down the tubes after all.

From the link:

“When my son Hunter asked me why it was okay for Bristol Palin to have a baby before she was married, I told him that God has special rules for special people.  God knew that Bristol could become very rich from having a baby, so He granted her a pregnancy.  Since she is the daughter of Sarah Palin, and the name Bristol Palin can be rearranged to spell “Orbit Plans” she is pretty much an angel, at least by the official bible definition.  And that pretty much makes her son like a Jesus, technically speaking.  This is just more proof that the blessed Palin family has wonderful and holy plans for true Americans.  After explaining this to my son, he told me that he wanted to be sex-educated at a public school so that he could have a Jesus baby too.  I smacked him in the mouth and told him that sex education is only for liberals and atheists. As good Christians, we should be ashamed of sexuality and our bodies, unless you are chosen by God, like Bristol Palin,” – tinfoiler.

June 28, 2010

The World Cup — tradition v. technology

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:44 pm

I’m not sure there’s any decent answer here, but the traditions of soccer simply don’t jibe with the realities of modern technology. Pesky stuff like televisions 40 inches and up in most homes, broadcasts to those large TVs in high definition and enough cameras placed around the pitch to capture every moment. Moments like clear goals that are disallowed. Moments like getting to see a diver fall down in writhing agony with no person or object within 15 feet of them. This worked when most everyone, including the one official on the pitch, was following the ball. Modern broadcasts put cameras on all sorts of action away from the ball and major officiating mistakes make the sport look, well, a bit stupid.

And don’t even get me started on hypocrisy of defending the traditions of the sport when actively promoting the tournament as being broadcast in 3D. As a ruling body FIFA has to either put up with ridiculous diving and a plethora of bad calls, or embrace modern technology and what it can do to make the game better. Because those two options are mutually exclusive.

So to get back to my original conjecture, I’m not sure there is a decent answer to tradition versus technology in soccer, but I am pretty sure this is not a workable solution.

From the link:

FIFA will censor World Cup match action being shown on giant screens inside the stadium after replays of Argentina’s disputed first goal against Mexico fueled arguments on the pitch.

June 26, 2010

Ghana-2, USA-1

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:11 pm

The extra thirty minutes exemplified the best and worst of international soccer. The Ghanan goal was a thing of beauty, the subsequent outrageous stalling and diving — and even worse officiating — are the final taste many new potential American fans of the sport are going to take away from an otherwise very good World Cup for the American side. And even though I’d preferred to see USA go on, I think it’s a good thing an African country continues in the first Cup held on the continent.

(And I’m probably more pleased than I ought to be that both France and Italy are already getting home cooking.)

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=world+cup+ghana&iid=9227271″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9227271/united-states-altidore/united-states-altidore.jpg?size=500&imageId=9227271″ width=”500″ height=”580″ /]

June 18, 2010

Line the nest, this recovery is gonna be slow

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:39 pm

Real slow.

From the link:

A gauge of future economic activity rose 0.4% in May, signaling slow growth for the U.S. economy in the summer and fall.

The private Conference Board’s leading economic index is designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months.

Economists had expected a reading of 0.5% in May.

A fish story

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:52 pm

Very fishy behavior from that font of fail that is Bank of America

From the link:

Dr. Alan Schroit was shocked when he arrived at his Galveston, Texas, vacation house only to find a seizure notice from Bank of America plastered on his padlocked front door.And that wasn’t the only nasty surprise.

Schroit summoned the police to get into his own home. When he did, he was met with the “overpowering putrid smell” of 75 pounds of rotten fish, according to court documents.

He had recently gone fishing and was storing his copious catch for a family gathering. But the bank’s foreclosure agent had shut off the home’s power.

The kicker: Schroit doesn’t have a mortgage with Bank of America, or with any bank for that matter. He owns the house free and clear!

Bank of America has been accused of several wrongful lockouts in recent months, many of which have resulted in lawsuits against the company.

“We sincerely apologize to the homeowners affected for the confusion and stress these errors have caused,” said Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens. “We are working aggressively to improve our process through formal training, enhanced checklists and improved communication.”

Schroit has since reached an undisclosed settlement with the bank according to his attorney. Court documents show that Schroit wanted compensation that would be “adequate to deter BOA’s arrogance.”

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=bank+of+america&iid=8533012″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8533012/customer-uses-bank-america/customer-uses-bank-america.jpg?size=500&imageId=8533012″ width=”500″ height=”289″ /]

Want to read more BoA fail from the same link? Here’s a bird tale to join the above fish story.

Louisiana’s coastline may have a savior …

… in the mighty Mississip.

The release:

Gulf oil spill: Mississippi River hydrology may help reduce oil onshore

Scientists tracking wetland characteristics find potential good news

IMAGE: Mississippi River hydrology may hold a possible answer for protecting fragile Gulf wetlands.

Click here for more information.

The Gulf of Mexico: what role will the Mississippi River play in oil washing ashore and into delta wetlands?

One of the spill’s greatest environmental threats is to Louisiana’s wetlands, scientists believe.

But there may be good news ahead.

Scientists affiliated with the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center headquartered at the University of Minnesota, are using long-term field plots in Louisiana’s Wax Lake Delta to measure the baseline conditions of, and track the effects of the oil spill on, coastal Louisiana wetlands.

Robert Twilley and Guerry Holm of Louisiana State University (LSU) are investigating the degree to which two delta wetland characteristics may help mitigate oil contamination.

Fresh water head, as it’s called, the slope of the water’s surface from a river delta to the sea, and residence time of river-mouth wetlands, the time it takes water to move through a wetland at a river’s mouth, are important to understanding how delta wetlands will respond to the oil spill, say the researchers.

IMAGE: Scientists Robert Twilley and Guerry Holm are studying wetlands in Louisiana’s Wax Lake Delta.

Click here for more information.

“Since the Mississippi River is currently at a relatively high stage, we expect the river’s high volume of freshwater to act as a hydrologic barrier, keeping oil from moving into the Wax Lake Delta from the sea,” says Twilley.

Twilley and Holm are performing baseline and damage assessments on the plants and soils of, and comparing oil degradation processes in, freshwater and saltwater Louisiana wetlands.

“The Mississippi River’s ‘plumbing’ provides a potential benefit to reducing the movement of oil onshore from shelf waters,” says Twilley.

The Mississippi’s flow has been altered for flood control to protect people and infrastructure in this working delta.

River diversion structures–concrete gates built within the levees of the river–may be operated, however, to allow water to flow to specific coastal basins and floodways, says Twilley, “as a way to provide controlled floods.”

IMAGE: Warm/cool colors show current high/low elevations, respectively, in the Wax Lake Delta.

Click here for more information.

The operational features of this system “downriver to the control structure near Venice, Louisiana,” he says, “may provide a second line of defense against oil washing in.”

But any strategy using Mississippi River hydrology must be one of clear options and tradeoffs, says H. Richard Lane, program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funds NCED.

“As the river stage falls and protection diminishes,” says Lane, “it becomes a question of how best to distribute this freshwater resource to defend the coast from the movement of oil onshore.”

The answer, Twilley says, lies in the delicate balance of river, coastal and Gulf of Mexico processes “that must work in concert to benefit the incredible ‘ecosystem services’ this region provides to the nation.”

Louisiana wetlands “play a vital role in protecting New Orleans from hurricane damage, providing habitat for wildlife, supporting economically important fisheries, and maintaining water quality,” says Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, director of NCED.

“We must look at all options for protecting them for the future.”

In addition to his NCED and LSU affiliations, Twilley is the recipient of an NSF rapid response oil spill grant.

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Beautiful space image — a star is born

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:54 am

Literally. This is an image of the birth of a star

From the link:

Astronomers have glimpsed what could be the youngest known star at the very moment it is being born. Not yet fully developed into a true star, the object is in the earliest stages of star formation and has just begun pulling in matter from a surrounding envelope of gas and dust, according to a new study that appears in the current issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

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June 17, 2010

Quantum dot research may lead to dramatic solar efficiency increase

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:47 pm

This seems like a week full of a lot of good solar efficiency news. As I’ve written many, many times (hit the solar link in the sidebar), solar power needs continued breakthroughs in two areas to become market-viable — costs must continue to come down and efficiency needs to continue to increase. This news out of UT Austin points toward potential very dramatic efficiency increases.

From the link:

Conventional solar cell efficiency could be increased from the current limit of 30 percent to more than 60 percent, suggests new research on semiconductor nanocrystals, or quantum dots, led by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu at The University of Texas at Austin.

Zhu and his colleagues report their results in this week’s Science.

The scientists have discovered a method to capture the higher energy sunlight that is lost as heat in conventional .

The maximum efficiency of the silicon solar cell in use today is about 31 percent. That’s because much of the energy from sunlight hitting a solar cell is too high to be turned into usable electricity. That energy, in the form of so-called “hot ,” is lost as heat.

If the higher energy sunlight, or more specifically the hot electrons, could be captured, solar-to-electric power conversion efficiency could be increased theoretically to as high as 66 percent.

If you prefer the raw feed, here’s the release the linked story is based on.

Fed clamping down on financial sector

As I’ve written many, many times, I’m no fan of government regulation, but increased oversight is probably necessary in the financial world right now. You can’t blame the sector’s companies for seeking as much profit as possible, but the United States’ — and the world’s for that matter –economy simply can’t handle bad actors that are deemed “too big to fail.

Too big to fail should mean too big to have autonomy. Any financial institution that wants to get out from under the thumb of the Fed ought to have the opportunity to break down into separate, more streamlined units that could fail if the market so determines without taking everyone else out with them.

From the link:

The Federal Reserve is working to beef up oversight of financial companies to better protect the nation from another financial crisis in the future, chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday.

June 16, 2010

Sanyo tops solar efficiency

Filed under: Business, Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:54 pm

Impressive, over 20 percent energy conversion efficiency.

From the link:

The new N230 solar cell module is claimed to have an  of 20.7 percent, which makes it the most efficient solar module produced so far. The unprecedented efficiency was achieved by increasing the number of solar cell tabs from two to three and making each tab thinner. They also applied AG coated glass to the cells, and this reduces the amount of scattering and reflection of light. The increase in energy conversion efficiency could make the solar modules useful in areas with less than ideal amounts of sunshine.

Want to shake up your investment ideas?

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:56 pm

Check out this article on six, well different, approaches to investment.

From the link, number one:

You should hold more in stocks when you’re young, and less when you’re old. That’s the conventional wisdom. After all, stocks tend to do well in the long run but are volatile in the short term. But when you’re in your twenties or thirties and have the longest to run, you might have only a few thousand bucks in the market. By the time you’re in your fifties and sixties, you’ll have the most money but will want to risk less of it.

In their book “Lifecycle Investing,” Yale economists Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff propose an audacious solution: Increase your stock position with borrowed money when you’re young. You can do that with a margin loan from a broker. Or, as Ayres and Nalebuff prefer, with LEAPS, which are options to buy an index like the S&P 500 in the future at a low price. (You win if stocks beat that price plus your cost.) Either way, your top allocation to stocks should be 200% of assets, meaning every $1 of your own money is effectively matched by another $1 borrowed.

Massive space storm coming in 2013 according to NASA

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:46 pm

Via Kurzweil.net — This news a little daunting. NASA isn’t typically known for hyperbolic statements. OF course if we’re wiped out by “Planet X” in 2012 it’s a moot point anyway.

Nasa warns solar flares from ‘huge space storm’ will cause devastation
Telegraph, June 14, 2010

In a new warning, NASA said a super storm in 2013 would hit like “a bolt of lightning” and could cause catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services, and national security unless precautions are taken.

According to Dr. Richard Fisher, director of NASA‘s Heliophysics division, it could damage everything from the power grid, GPS navigation systems, major satellites, emergency services systems, hospital equipment, banking systems, and air traffic control devices, to everyday items such as home computers, and iPods.

Also see: How to survive a solar storm
Read Original Article>>

No job? Don’t bother with the application

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:40 pm

This is a despicable practice, but totally legal and will within the rights of any company trying to fill a job. As the linked article mentions, automatically excluding the currently unemployed from consideration in this economic climate is more than shortsighted — it’s just stupid.

From the link:

The last thing someone who is unemployed needs to be told is that they shouldn’t even apply for the limited number of job openings that are available. But some companies and recruiters are doing just that.

Employment experts say they believe companies are increasingly interested only in applicants who already have a job.

“I think it is more prevalent than it used to be,” said Rich Thompson, vice president of learning and performance for Adecco Group North America, the world’s largest staffing firm. “I don’t have hard numbers, but three out of the last four conversations I’ve had about openings, this requirement was brought up.”

Some job postings include restrictions such as “unemployed candidates will not be considered” or “must be currently employed.” Those explicit limitations have occasionally been removed from listings when an employer or recruiter is questioned by the media though.

Some tax relief looming for small business

The tax relief package has comfortably passed the House and hopefully will finally make life a bit easier for startups and other small businesses.

From the link:

The bill, which would eliminate capital gains taxes on investments in small businesses, passed on a vote of 247-170.

It is a companion bill to legislation backed by President Barack Obama that the House is to consider on Wednesday. That bill would create a $30 billion fund to encourage community banks to lend to small businesses.

“Small businesses need capital to create jobs and lead our economic recovery and these bills contain important tax cuts and lending opportunities that will help give small business owners the resources and flexibility they need to help their businesses grow,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin.

The bill gives small businesses a bigger tax break on start up costs and creates a program to help small businesses struggling to repay loans.

“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.

Hard disk storage and nanotechnology

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:50 am

Hard disks made of a nanosphere magnetic recording medium may offer simply stunning amounts of storage space.

From the link:

A new magnetic recording medium made up of tiny nanospheres has been devised by European researchers. The technology may lead to hard disks able to store more than a thousand billion bits of information in a square inch.

With consumer PCs now being sold with hard disks of a  or more – enough to record more than two years of music –  seems to be expanding without limit. But the limits are there and industry insiders know that they are approaching fast.

Also:

A spacing of 25 nanometres between spheres is equivalent to a storage density of one terabit (1000 gigabits) per square inch. Using the same approach with smaller spheres researchers should be able to attain densities up to six times higher.

One step closer to quantum computing

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:40 am

Alternative computing is always an fascinating topic, and the sheer processing power potential for quantum computers makes that field particularly interesting.

From the link:

Quantum computers can solve in a matter of moments problems that would take ordinary computers years to work out. But thus far, these computers exist only as state-of-the-art experimental setups in a few physics laboratories.

Now, Elena Kuznetsova, a post-doctoral researcher in UConn’s Department of Physics, has proposed a new type of quantum computer that could bring the technology one step closer to becoming a reality.

“The main excitement about quantum computers,” says Kuznetsova, “ comes from their potential ability to solve certain problems exponentially faster compared to classical computers, such as factoring a large number into its primes, which would allow us to break cryptographic codes. These problems cannot be solved using a  in the foreseeable future.”

June 15, 2010

Deepwater Horizon spill estimate jumps up again

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:35 pm

Jumps up by a whole lot. This is truly a disaster of epic proportions, and it’s clear BP has been both hiding and outright lying about the truth on what’s happening to the Gulf of Mexico from day one. The company deserves to be bankrupted over this spill.

From the link:

A government panel raised its estimate of the flow rate from BP’s out-of-control well yet again on Tuesday, declaring that as much as 60,000 barrels a day could be flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. That is roughly 2.5 million gallons a day, and it means an amount equal to the Exxon Valdez spill could be gushing from the well about every four days.

The new estimate, that the flow rate ranges from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day, is a sharp increase from one issued only last week, of 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day. It continues a pattern in which every new estimate of the flow rate has been sharply higher than the one before. The current range is far above the figure of 5,000 barrels a day that the government clung to for weeks after the spill started after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

The latest estimate is based on new information, including high-resolution video made after BP cut an underwater pipe called a riser on June 3 to install a new device to contain the oil. It is also based on pressure readings taken by a device that was inserted this week into the equipment at the sea floor. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, was personally involved in using those pressure readings to help make the latest estimate.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=deepwater+horizon+oil+spill&iid=9047365″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9047365/pelican-sits-covered-with/pelican-sits-covered-with.jpg?size=500&imageId=9047365″ width=”500″ height=”310″ /]

Organic nanoelectronics

As the title of this release puts it, “one step closer.”

The release:

Organic nanoelectronics a step closer

Researchers use metal crystal to organize organic materials, overcoming key stumbling block

This release is avaiable in French.

IMAGE: This image shows the polymers that were created at a resolution of 5 nanometers (the average strand of human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide).

Click here for more information.

Although they could revolutionize a wide range of high-tech products such as computer displays or solar cells, organic materials do not have the same ordered chemical composition as inorganic materials, preventing scientists from using them to their full potential. But an international team of researchers led by McGill’s Dr. Dmitrii Perepichka and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique’s Dr. Federico Rosei have published research that shows how to solve this decades-old conundrum. The team has effectively discovered a way to order the molecules in the PEDOT, the single most industrially important conducting polymer.

Although Dr. Perepichka is quick to point out that the research is not directly applicable to products currently in the market, he gives the example of a possible use for the findings in computer chips. “It’s a well known principle that the number of transistors in a computer chip doubles every two years,” he said, “but we are now reaching the physical limit. By using molecular materials instead of silicon semiconductor, we could one day build transistors that are ten times smaller than what currently exists.” The chips would in fact be only one molecule thick.

The technique sounds deceptively simple. The team used an inorganic material – a crystal of copper – as a template. When molecules are dropped onto the crystal, the crystal provokes a chemical reaction and creates a conducting polymer. By using a scanning probe microscope that enabled them to see surfaces with atomic resolution, the researchers discovered that the polymers had imitated the order of the crystal surface. The team is currently only able to produce the reaction in one dimension, i.e. to make a string or line of molecules. The next step will be to add a second dimension in order to make continuous sheets (“organic graphite”) or electronic circuits.

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Perepichka is affiliated with McGill University’s department of chemistry and Rosei is affiliated with Institut national de la recherche scientifique – Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Center, a member of the Université du Québec network. Their research was published online by theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development of the USA, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la nature et les technologies, and the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation of Quebec.

The thick or thin solar question …

… has been solved by nanotech based on coaxial cable.

From the link:

“Many groups around the world are working on nanowire-type solar cells, most using crystalline semiconductors,” said co-author Michael Naughton, a professor of physics at Boston College. “This nanocoax cell architecture, on the other hand, does not require crystalline materials, and therefore offers promise for lower-cost solar power with ultrathin absorbers. With continued optimization, efficiencies beyond anything achieved in conventional planar architectures may be possible, while using smaller quantities of less costly material.”

Optically, the so-called nanocoax stands thick enough to capture light, yet its architecture makes it thin enough to allow a more efficient extraction of current, the researchers report in PSS’s Rapid Research Letters. This makes the nanocoax, invented at Boston College in 2005 and patented last year, a new platform for low cost, high efficiency solar power.

Boston College researchers report developing a “nanocoax” technology that can support a highly efficient thin film solar cell. This image shows a cross section of an array of nanocoax structures, which prove to be thick enough to absorb a sufficient amount of light, yet thin enough to extract current with increased efficiency, the researchers report in the journal Physica Status Solidi. Credit: Boston College

Facebook to IPO in 2012?

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:55 pm

Maybe so.

From the link:

To be sure, Facebook has focused on increasing its membership, and it has been wildly successful on that score: the number of Facebook accounts is now nearing 500 million. So the sheer size of the Facebook audience is attractive to advertisers and app makers; and as a bonus, Facebook provides data tools to advertisers that help them make meaningful impressions on members of that audience.

But the company is deeply indebted to its venture capital backers, who, while already seeing dividends from Facebook’s current business, are looking forward to a big payday (investment plus return) at some visible point in the future. For now, Facebook’s investors are giving Zuckerberg and company plenty of time. People familiar with the situation say that you won’t see a Facebook IPO this year or next year, but you probably will see one in 2012.

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.”

The vuvuzela lives on

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:34 pm

At least for now.

From the link:

The loud trumpets called vuvuzelas will continue to be allowed for the time being at the World Cup, despite complaints from some international broadcasters, players and fans, the tournament’s organizing committee said Monday.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=vuvuzela&iid=9103600″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9103600/sports-news-june-2010/sports-news-june-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9103600″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

Amazing space image — the sun

Hot from the inbox:

X-Ray image of the sun

Hit this link for a much, much larger version (too big for this blog).

The release:

GOES-15 Solar X-Ray Imager Makes a Miraculous First Light

GREENBELT, Md., June 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Solar X-Ray Imager instrument aboard the GOES-15 satellite has just provided its first light image of the sun, but it required a lot of experts to make it happen.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

Scientists and engineers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been working to bring the Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI) instrument to full functionality since the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-15, formerly known as the GOES-P satellite, achieved orbit.

GOES-15 launched on March 4, 2010 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. On April 6, 2010, GOES-15 captured its first visible image of Earth and on April 26, GOES-15 took its first full-disk infrared image.

“Since the early checkout of GOES 15 (P) and the anomalous turn on of the Solar X-Ray Imager, the team has been aggressively pursuing all avenues to recover the instrument,” said Andre’ Dress, GOES N-P Deputy Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Frankly, we were down to our last straw when all the teams’ hard work and efforts finally paid off.  We now believe we have a full recovery of the instrument’s functionality!  It’s an incredible story and a true testament of our NASA/contractor teams’ expertise, hard work and determination.”

On June 3, the GOES 15 Solar X-Ray Imager finally came on-line. Scientists and engineers had subjected SXI to a series of long duration turn on tests in the hopes of clearing the short. About 16 hours into the testing, the instrument voltages returned to normal values and SXI now appears to be functioning properly.

“We were facing a tough problem when we first attempted to bring SXI on-line,” said

George Koerner, SXI program manager at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC) Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, Calif., where the Solar X-ray Imager was designed and built. “But because of our ability to bring together subject matter experts from both government and industry, to move forward step by step, and to work as a team patiently and persistently, together we achieved mission success. This is an enormously satisfying outcome.”

Since its recovery, several test solar images have also been subsequently taken successfully. The GOES team continue to assess the health of the instrument. This new round of testing will assess SXI’s total functionality. That functionality means the team will capture images of the sun with the camera to assess whether the camera is properly processing image data.

“I don’t think most people realize how important these space weather instruments are in our everyday life,” Dress said. “This data is used by the U.S. Department of Defense, NOAA, NASA, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in protecting our space assets, land-based assets and directing flight paths for the FAA.”

GOES-15 will join three other NOAA operational GOES spacecraft that help the agency’s forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. NASA’s testing of the spacecraft and its instruments will continue through the entire post-launch test period expected to end in late August 2010. This will be followed by a series of NOAA Science Tests. The GOES series of U.S. satellites are developed by a joint NASA-NOAA-Industry partnership, launched by NASA (with industry partners), and operated by NOAA.

For the first GOES SXI image, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GOES-P/news/xray_imager.html

For more information about the GOES-P mission and program on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/goes-p

Photo:  PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
Source: NASA

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

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.

Japan deploys first solar sail in space

A long-time space travel concept becomes reality.

From the link:

Japan’s IKAROS has rolled out its solar sail, the first ever deployed in space. JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, achieved the feat by rotating the craft rapidly and spinning the sail out by centrifugal force. IKAROS is the world’s first solar-powered spacecraft.

Hit the link up there for more illustrations.

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