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I am going to read Suicide of a Free People by Os Guiness. Thanks for the link on the porch. Really whetted my appetite. Apparently though the interview was in 2012. I thought from the Daily Caller and Fox that it was very recent. We probably already "talked" about Giunness' views somewhere here in the past but he bares repeating. biggrin.png

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I am going to read Suicide of a Free People by Os Guiness. Thanks for the link on the porch. Really whetted my appetite. Apparently though the interview was in 2012. I thought from the Daily Caller and Fox that it was very recent. We probably already "talked" about Giunness' views somewhere here in the past but he bares repeating. biggrin.png



The Big Ideas are never out of date.

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Jan. 1 1975 The Day The World Changed




The Altair 8800 of Ed Roberts


In contrast with the first microprocessor based personal computer—Micral, the MITS Altair 8800 was extremely successful market product. The designer—Ed Roberts intended to sell only a few hundred to hobbyists, but he was surprised when he sold thousands in the first month.


The microcomputer was sold by mail order through advertisements in Popular Electronics, Radio-Electronics and other hobbyist magazines. Both kits and fully assembled machines were available. Today the Altair 8800 is widely recognized as the first spark, that led to the microcomputer revolution of the next few years, because the computer bus designed for the Altair was to become a de facto standard in the form of the S-100 bus, and the first programming language for the machine was Micro-Soft's founding product—Altair BASIC.


In 1969 an engineer, working at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico—Henry Edward Roberts (born 1942), together with 3 other colleagues decided to use his electronics background to produce small kits for model rocket hobbyists. Therefore they founded Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in Roberts' garage in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and started selling radio transmitters and instruments for model rockets. Rocket kits didn't achieve a market success, this later on MITS switched to calculator kits, which appeared to be more successful venture.


The microcomputer industry really took off when Intel introduced the 8080 CPU in April of 1974. The 8080 processor was capable of addressing up to 64Kb of RAM and was powerful enough to build a real computer. Following the line of several improved models of calculator kits and test equipment, Roberts decided to design an Intel 8080 based computer, and in the first prototype was ready in October 1974. At the same time he was contacted by one of the editors of the magazine Popular Electronics, who knew MITS was working on an Intel 8080 based computer project and thought Roberts could provide the project for the always popular January issue. Thus the Altair 8800 (the name Altair was suggested by the editors, not by Roberts) was born (see the lower image).




Sorry I missed this a few days ago. As a 13/14 year old, that magazine, and the one below, were like Playboy mags to other boys for me.



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As a 13/14 year old, that magazine, and the one below, were like Playboy mags to other boys for me.



OH GOD Do I Feel Old! Thank you soooo much. I'm gonna have 3 fingers of Geritol...straight up.

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MakerBot Invents a Way to 3D Print With Limestone, Metal, and Wood
January 7, 2015 at 11:27:00 AM by John Wenz


The world of 3D printing is getting some new materials to work with, creating the potential to print some really innovative objects.

At CES, MakerBot just announced a new move to allow customers to print with metal, wood, and limestone. To be sure, these will be composite materials, with the metals and other printed materials alloyed with the plastic. But it means that users will be able to create functional tools through 3D printing, moving the technique beyond gorgeous sculptures, toys, and trinkets.

The materials are made possible by new extruders, which means they’ll be able to be used on some older models and not just new machines. The new composites should be available later this year.

Prepare for a world of 3D printed hammers, circuits, and other household objects. And more: Just yesterday, we heard about a new plan to print electronics.

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A Glimpse of Health Care Yet To Come

Feb 02, 2015


Technology is poised to transform how we receive health care in the same way airplanes changed how we travel and smartphones how we communicate. Here’s Vivek Wadhwa in the WSJ with one look at just how radical the change could be:




Some of Wadhwa’s piece is speculative—especially its ending, which shades into transhumanism—but many of the developments the piece points out are already real technologies, or could be very soon. Some of it may not even seem that radical. In the world where Fitbit is already popular, contact lens that can analyze tears are less remarkable that they would have been even ten years ago. But the implications are enormous, especially as the price of this technology comes down over time. The widespread use of cheap devices that can tell you when you will get sick and how to treat yourself without ever seeing a doctor will lead to a very different health care environment than the one we have now.


We have not yet begun to see what these products, once they become widely marketed and used, will do to health care. But all signs point to a better, cheaper, more efficient system, and few seem to have processed how revolutionary it could be. Amid debates about health care policy, it’s useful to step back occasionally and see this big picture of imminent technological disruption in the field. The ways technology can and will upend how we get health care needs to be part of the frame within which all health care policy discussions occur—not an afterthought to wonkish attempts to fiddle with the current system.

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Mixing two types of nanoparticle triggers structure change

February 5th, 2015


Last month we reported research aimed at improving targeted drug delivery to specific types of cells by endowing nanorobots with the ability to compute. A recent report indicates it might be possible to achieve a subset of those goals—improving drug delivery by only having drug release happen inside cells that satisfy two target conditions—simply by mixing nanoparticles composed of polymers with opposite steric configurations. A hat tip to Phys.org for reprinting this news release from the University of Warwick in the UK, written by Tom Frew “New ‘triggered-release’ mechanism could improve drug delivery“:



Morphological changes 62 hours after mixing homochiral cylinders of opposite configuration. Scale bars = 500 nm. (Credit: adapted from Liang Sun et al./Nature Communications)


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Scanadu: The medical Tricorder from Star Trek is here

Jacopo Prisco,

Thu February 12, 2015


(CNN)In 2013, an Illinois man convinced several investors to fund a revolutionary medical device, to the tune of over $25 million.

He called it the "McCoy Home Health Tablet", and promised it would instantly deliver patient data to doctors.

In other words, he was pitching the legendary Tricorder from Star Trek, even naming it after Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the blue-clad, very irritable medical officer from the 1960s show.


It was a scam. The device didn't exist, and the man was caught and convicted for his crimes. But as a testimony to how quickly reality catches up with fantasy nowadays, less than two years later the Tricorder does exist. And it works.

It's called "Scanadu Scout" -- after Xanadu, an ancient city of great splendor and scientific progress, made famous by English poet S. T. Coleridge -- and the greatest thing about it is that it's not a design concept, nor a million-dollar prototype, but an actual product. After a successful crowdfunding round via Indiegogo, the Scanadu has began shipping to backers at the end of January.


It is a tiny, round and rigorously white device -- even though a black version is in the plans -- and it works by placing it on one's forehead.

Through its sensor, and in a matter of seconds, the Scanadu measures heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level and provides a complete ECG reading.



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Patient, Print Thyself

Feb. 19 2015


Do-it-yourself 3-D printing is good for more than a hobby: it can also allow ordinary Americans to get medical supplies and devices at low prices. The New York Times reports on the increasing popularity of 3-D printed prosthetic limbs for children. With one in every 1,000 children born with missing fingers (post-birth accidents only augment those numbers), there’s a big demand for prosthetics, but traditional ways of getting one are expensive:




This story is only a taste of what 3-D printing and other technologies could do to make health care cheaper and more efficient. 3-D printing will disrupt existing supply medical supply changes, cutting down on the power of big medical institutions and their middlemen to jack up prices. Procedures or medical products that once cost thousands of dollars will cost less than a hundred. In the grand scheme of U.S. health care spending, of course, a price reduction like that may not seem like a lot. But for a middle class family with a tight budget and a high-deductible plan or other kinds of cost-sharing requirements, it could make a really important difference.


When you pair that kind of cheap technology with, for example, systems that monitor costly chronic conditions more efficiently, we are talking about noticeably lower costs for quite a number of people.

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The Battle Between Encryption and Mass Surveillance with Former FBI Agent David Gomez

March 22, 2015


I emailed retired FBI agent David Gomez from my new ProtonMail account to propose a podcast about encryption and its effect on mass surveillance from a homeland security and law enforcement perspective. You’re reading this because he immediately accepted.


Encrypted communication has been available to consumers for decades but new tools are arriving that are actually making it an accessible and realistic option for the majority of users. Easy to use strong encryption is, in many ways, a wonderful thing. It means that good people in bad places might have more freedom to communicate. It means that people can trust that a point to point communication is just that. But it also means that a lot of people with bad intentions will find it easier to go dark, to plot, and to recruit – often across international borders. How are governments going to cope with this especially when they’ve enjoyed great success with the current collection models that allow them to intercept electronic communications on a massive scale?


Even if you support strong encryption and disagree with government interception of electronic communications you must acknowledge the impact that cutting them out of the loop could have on our security. That tradeoff is the topic we struggle with in this episode.



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Lab on the cusp of developing 'super' batteries


A senior scientist with the taxpayer-funded Argonne national lab says the nation is on the cusp of developing a "super battery" that could fundamentally change the way the world uses energy.


"The idea is to create a super battery that is economic and competitive" with fossil fuels, Jeffrey Chamberlain, the lab's executive director for energy storage, told a packed auditorium at a forum hosted by the Washington-based Atlantic Council.


Such a device would replace the gasoline used in conventional cars and trucks, while also being able to compete with natural gas and coal in generating electricity, he said.


Argonne is one of the nation's premier research and development centers operated by the Department of Energy. The lab has been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge battery technology in support of the president's electric vehicle and renewable electricity goals.


Chamberlain said Argonne wants to "democratize" energy through the use of more advanced batteries, in much the same way social media has democratized how information is now consumed.Scissors-32x32.png





Next Generation Battery Technology

April 6, 2015

Steve LeVine and Jeffrey Chamberlain talked about the development of next generartion lithium-ion battery technology.

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How is the doctor-patient relationship changing? Its going electronic.

Suzanne Allard Levingston

April 27 2015


Thanks to technology, Gary Sullivan enjoys a new kind of relationship with his doctor. If he wakes up with a routine health question, the 73-year-old retired engineer simply taps out a secure message into his doctors electronic health records system. His Kaiser Permanente physician will answer later that day, sparing Sullivan a visit to the clinic near his Littleton, Colo., home and giving his doctor time to see those with more urgent needs.


Once you took medical questions directly to your doctor, who advised, tested and treated you. Today, not only are we turning to the Internet for everyday medical information, were also generating our own health data: using a smartphone, for example, to investigate a childs ear pain or monitor blood pressure. Were learning from our peers online how to cope and find new treatments. Our doctors can keep our records electronically, accessible to us through a patient portal. Some of us can make video visits with doctors, who can offer diagnoses and treatment plans via computer or smartphone.


[Theres lots of health-care technology out there. How do you choose?]


With all these advances, a traditional paternalism in medicine is changing, too.


Theres no question that technology is shifting the doctor-patient relationship, said pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, executive director of digital health at Seattle Childrens Hospital.



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Morale: Fat Pipes Bring Joy To The Fleet

May 3, 2015:


Navies and commercial ship owners are both discovering that Internet access at sea is not only good for morale but also for safe and efficient operation of their ships. Thats because the Internet has become a key tool for rapidly transferring useful data like engine and other equipment performance as well as quickly delivering detailed weather maps and other navigation alerts. A decade ago crew members were keen to have Internet because it meant email and telephone contact with family and friends back home. But now crew demand even more Internet based services which require still more Internet access.


While communications costs are currently only .3 percent of operating expenses on commercial ships, it has been found that adding more Internet access pays for itself in more efficient (and less costly) ship operation. This includes lower crew costs because you keep people you want longer and lower recruitment costs. But having a constant Internet link between many ship systems and the manufacturers ashore helps make these systems more reliable and that results in fewer breakdowns and costly delays (especially for commercial ships) while repairs are made.


Navies have seen this Internet demand coming as well. Back in 2010 the U.S. Navy purchased over half a billion dollars worth of satellite communications capacity (or "bandwidth") from Intelsat, the owner of the words' largest fleet of communications satellites (at the time 51 of them, and still evolving). That gave the navy five years of access to over $100 million a year in bandwidth per year. The ships of the fleet were then equipped with more powerful satellite communications equipment, to take advantage of the increased bandwidth. The additional 1.3 meter (4.3 feet) and 2.7 meter (8.9 foot) satellite dishes provided real-time video (from UAVs, aircraft or satellites) capability for major ships, as well as the ability to quickly transfer large data files with anyone on the planet.

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Breakthrough Ideas at Google X

Newt Gingrich

May 13 2015


To receive Newt’s weekly newsletters, click here.


Two weeks ago I wrote about the surreal experience of riding in the back seat of a car that drove itself through the public streets of Mountain View, California.


The self-driving car was a project of Google X, the tech giant’s experimental arm that works only on “moonshots”–a reference to President Kennedy’s commitment in 1961 to the goal of landing men on the moon by the end of the decade. Google X aims for similarly big goals, and self-driving cars are only the most famous of its efforts.


We had the chance to spend a fascinating hour with Astro Teller, who runs Google X (and whose grandfather, Edwin Teller, was a key figure in the Manhattan Project and whom I knew later in his life).


Astro explained that Google X looks for projects with three key characteristics.


First, they have to solve major problems facing the world. Google X doesn’t tackle trivial issues.


Second, the solutions have to address these problems with an approach no one else has tried before. Astro thinks it’s unlikely they’ll improve on existing ideas enough to achieve revolutionary results. So they go for radical breakthroughs rather than incremental improvements.


And finally, the problems have to be solvable with a technical or scientific approach, because that’s what Google does. This excludes a great number of the world’s problems, but focuses Google X’s projects where they might have the greatest effect.



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Brain implant allows paralysed man to sip a beer at his own pace
Helen Thomson
21 May 2015

A brain implant that can decode what someone wants to do has allowed a man paralysed from the neck down to control a robotic arm with unprecedented fluidity – and enjoy a beer at his own pace.

Erik Sorto was left unable to move any of his limbs after an accident severed his spinal cord 12 years ago.

People with similar injuries have previously controlled prosthetic limbs using implants placed in their motor cortex – an area of the brain responsible for the mechanics of movement. This is far from ideal because it results in delayed, jerky motions as the person thinks about all the individual aspects of the movement. When reaching for a drink, for example, they would have to think about moving their arm forward, then left, then opening their hand, then closing their hand around the cup and so on.






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Columbia Partners with Tech Start-Up to Boost Online Enrollment
David Ticzon
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Major growth for Columbia online.

Inside Higher Ed reports.

Ed-tech start-up Ranku pitches increased online enrollments sans marketing dollars
Columbia University’s engineering school is experiencing a surge of interest in its online programs after partnering with a start-up that promises to find universities the online students they should be enrolling in the first place.

The Columbia Video Network, the online education arm of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, is this month on the way to recording “triple-digit” percentage growth in the number of people requesting information about its online certificate and degree programs. The CVN is crediting Ranku, a Seattle-based ed-tech start-up, for that growth.

As more universities begin to offer certificates and degrees online, many believe that their marketing efforts will set them apart from the competition. It is also one of the main reasons why many universities enter into revenue sharing agreements with online program management companies, or enablers, who can handle not only marketing but a slew of other services, from curriculum development to student support.


Read the original article:

Ed-tech start-up Ranku pitches increased online enrollments sans marketing dollars (Inside Higher Ed | News)

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A Cancer Breakthrough

Jun 01, 2015


Researchers have made what looks like a once in a generation breakthrough in fighting cancer, advancing a technique that could become one of the pillars of oncology, next to surgery and chemotherapy. The technique enables the immune system, which ordinarily treats malignant cancer cells as if they were healthy, normal cells, to identify and attack tumors.


One of the first drugs developed to exploit this approach, ipilimumab, was approved four years ago and has shown successful results in about 19 percent of cases. But when administered alongside a new drug, nivolumab, the rate of remission shoots up to 58 percent. The Times of London:




Discoveries like these point to a bright future for medicine. The 21st-century is shaping up to be the century of biology, much like the 19th was the century of chemistry, and the 20th the century of physics. The fusion of information technology and biology is where the breakthroughs are happening. The inner workings of cells are at heart an intricate system for information processing and transmission; science is advancing quite rapidly in both fields. Medical treatments are just one of the many potential applications of this new technology.



More Here The Guardian

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Internet of Things Politics won’t know what hit it

The Internet of Things is poised to change democracy itself.

Phil Howard


In the evolving conversation about the “Internet of Things” — the growth of networked everyday objects and the data they generate — analysts tend to focus on business opportunity, or the security risks, or the potential for making our cities smarter.


But larger than all of those possibilities, and of key public importance, is the impact of the Internet of Things on politics.


This might sound unlikely at first, and it won’t be felt right away. But it’s important to realize that when we look at the Internet of Things, we’re seeing a technology, or rather a technological system, that will not just pose challenges for governments, but change them completely. In all of history, there has never been anything like the constant and intimate feedback loop that the Internet of Things is creating between citizens and whoever is on the other end of their data.


In researching my new book on the IOT, I spent a lot of time with the computer scientists and entrepreneurs who are designing new device networks. But I looked at their projects as a social scientist, considering them in the long history of how technology and infrastructure affects human politics — a history that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.


The conclusion I couldn't escape is that the Internet of Things will be the most powerful political tool we've ever created. For democracies, the Internet of Things will transform how we as voters affect government — and how government touches (and tracks) our lives. Authoritarian governments will have their own uses for it, some of which are already appearing. And for everyone, both citizens and leaders, it's important to realize where it could head long before we get there.



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