3-D printed robotic ants – the Future?

Ant 

Our future workforce: Hand-sized 3D-printed robotic ants
[Via Raw Story]

3D-printed robotic ants: The future workforce? Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – @BednarChuck Drawing inspiration from the cooperative behavior displayed by ants at work, a German firm has developed 3D-printed versions of the highly organized insects that can collaborate on tasks. With their new line …

[More]

The video it pretty amazing. They are still kind of large – about each size of a hand. But some awesome stuff can be done with lots of independent actors all printed out.

Biodegradable plastic that prevents bacterial growth

B&W Cradled Egg 

Recipe for antibacterial plastic: Plastic plus egg whites 
[Via | UGA Today]

 Athens, Ga. – Bioplastics made from protein sources such as albumin and whey have shown significant antibacterial properties, findings that could eventually lead to their use in plastics used in medical applications such as wound healing dressings, sutures, catheter tubes and drug delivery, according to a recent study by the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The bioplastic materials could also be used for food packaging.

[More]

A pretty nice piece of work. Not sure why albumin would have antibacterial properties. The egg white of chickens does contain lysozyme, a potent agent against certain bacteria. 

And this research is a little surprising, as albumins have been shown to reduce the anti-bacterial properties of many antibiotics.

Let’s see just how this plays out.

Getting into College is about to get disrupted.

ACET in Ateneo de Davao University High School 2012 

What We’re Missing In Measuring Who’s Ready For College
[Via FiveThirtyEightFiveThirtyEight | Features]

Who’s ready for college? At first blush, not a lot of us. By most measures, far less than half of those taking college entrance exams could tread water at our nation’s colleges and universities.

That’s not too surprising. College enrollment rates are higher than completion rates, suggesting that while the draw of a post-secondary degree is strong and growing, something goes awry once a student kicks off her college career.

At the same time, the pressure is on to send even more students to college, with President Obama challenging the nation to reclaim the title of being the country with the highest percentage of adults who have a post-secondary degree by 2020. The Lumina Foundation, an influential nonprofit that supports efforts to increase the number of college graduates in the U.S., is committed to raising the portion of the U.S. workforce that has a post-secondary degree to 60 percent by 2025. Today that figure hovers at 42 percent for those age 25 and over, according U.S. Census data released this year.

A more educated workforce would be a great boon to the economy: Scholars say more employees would earn higher wages, which leads to more taxes being collected and fewer Americans grappling with the challenges of poverty, among other benefits.

[More]

The process of getting into college is being disrupted. It is no longer simply  following a well-defined process (ie take a test, write an essay, get good grades). The world is changing too rapidly for the assembly line approaches that worked well for most of the last century.

So what will work? A couple of things I read indicate the possibilities.

Change the entire learning process. Finland has one of the best education systems in the world. Yet it is completely revamping some of its curriculum. It recognizes that the analytical, siloed approaches used before – where an hour of math is followed by an hour of chemistry is followed by an hour of English, all cut off from any connection to the real world – cannot cut it in an increasingly complex world.

So they are going to examine what they call “phenomena”, topics that require synthesis of a lot of information.

Now this is only being done with students who already know the basics. It is for high school level students. But its high collaborative approach, coupled with the need to looking at a complex system rather than its parts, could be a great start.

But how do you measure success here? We know what a good test score is based on a specific subject. How do we tell what is happening here?

Perhaps with this novel way to get around taking a test to prove you are college-worthy: ace a college level class.

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, allow students to take college level courses from anywhere. They require similar rigor and siscipline as actually attending the class. 

They allow students to determine whether they are ready for that level of education, without huge expenses. Admission might actually be based on being able to do well in college level classes, rather than have a well-connected or rich parent

Here, we see that a 15 year old boy in Mongolia did so well in a class that he was admitted to MIT. Instead of spending a lot of money recruiting people without knowing if they could get the work done, what if colleges used their online classes to help admission?

We shall see.

This is how replicators may really work

WATCH: New 3D printer births fully-formed objects out of molten plastic – 
[Via ScienceAlert]

You know that scene in Terminator 2 when the new Terminator T-1000 model rises creepily out of a pool of metallic liquid? Well, now a new, super-fast 3D printer kinda does the same thing, but with any type of object you design. 

The new technology is known as Continuous Liquid Interface Production, or CLIP, and you can see it in action in the video above, sped up to seven times its normal speed. But despite that, you can still see how incredibly fast the 3D printer is – in fact, the researchers behind the device claim it’s 25 to 100 times faster than anything else on the market. This is because, instead of buliding up an object using layer upon layer of material, CLIP actually grows an object from just one pool of molten resin.

Developed by researchers at a new company called Carbon3D, the printer was announced on Monday at the TED2015 conference, coinciding with a paper published in Science. And we don’t even really want to call it a 3D printer because it’s really, really different to anything we’ve seen before.

[More]

The videos are mesmerizing. hope this really takes off.

Some NASA data Ted Cruz does not want us to see

nasa heat map via NASA

NASA: Earth Tops Hottest 12 Months On Record Again, Thanks To Warm February
[Via ThinkProgress]

NASAGISS_Feb_2015

There had never been as hot a 12-month period in NASA’s database as February 2014–January 2015. But that turned out to be a very short-lived record.

NASA reported this weekend that last month was the second-hottest February on record, which now makes March 2014–February 2015 the hottest 12 months on record. This is using a 12-month moving average, so we can “see the march of temperature change over time,” rather than just once every calendar year.

[More]

Thr top illustration shows the temperature above or below the average, from around the globe, based on NASA satellite data.

It is in the 90s today in LA. We will see more of this as long as politicians refuse to even acknowledge the existence of climate change and the causes for it.

And this is why Ted Cruz wants NASA to stop working on climate change. It keeps coming up with data that shows just how bad things are. He seems to feel if there is no data, then things won’t be so bad.

He obviously has read 1984. Ignorance is Strength. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery.

California may not have any water after next year, due to the continuing drought. Water for farms, water for food and water for people. Gone.

But then NASA is behind that data also. 

The inability of well educated politicians (Cruz is a Harvard Law graduate) to acknowledge science, while fully embracing fantasy, will be the doom of America.

Cruz is a smart man doing harmful things. Ignorance gives him tremendous political power. 

But it hurts us all. Not knowing, not understanding, refusing to examine. Those are the traits that lead to collapse, not growth,

Humanity may never recover. We could fix this, with less economic impact than doing nothing. 

But ideologues may well doom millions to starvation and death, while still destroying jobs and the economy.

It is a race, between the willful idiocy of leaders like Ted Cruz that will bring humanity down, and the willful idealism of leaders like Elon Musk that will raise humanity up.

Most days I feel the latter will win but today, I am worried about the increasing irrationality of the willfully ignorant.

Former GM CEO does his Steve Ballmer impersonation

 musk

Apple would be crazy to make cars, former GM chief says 
[Via - CNET]

Talk of Apple entering the car market is serious enough that former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has felt the need to offer his two cents: Don’t do it!

Akerson, who left GM in 2014, told Bloomberg in an interview published Wednesday that if he were an Apple shareholder hearing news of the company considering building an electric car, he “wouldn’t be very happy.”

“I would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing” business, he told Bloomberg.

[More]

The former CEO of the worst car maker in the US doing his best Steve Ballmer impersonation. Here is what Ballmer said about the iPhone in 2007:

There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.

 That sure went well. The iPhone is not only increasing market share but also making most of the smartphone profits. Having your stuff in 60% of anything but making no money will never overcome 10% of the market with all the profits.

Because of Apple’s money, it can leverage all sorts of things to give itself a competitive edge. Few other makers can meet Apple’s prices and make a profit because Apple acts so much like a monopsonist by tying up long term contracts for parts that no one else can meet and even loaning the foundries money to upgrade themselves, as long as Apple gets first dibs.

The profit margin for Tesla is 25%. GM’s is 12%. Apple would love ot get Tesla’s and probably could.

In fact if Apple is going to make cars (something I really am skeptical of) it will follow Tesla not GM.

But if Apple ever does make a car, it will not be anything like what GM makes, just as the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac were not like anything that was being made before they entered the market.

Speculation is fun. I’m not even sure it will be private cars. Maybe combining auto-guided cars with flight.

Or perhaps coupling an electric car with Musk’s Hyperloop. The Hyperloop itself looks to be moving forward. Maybe you drive in your electric Apple car and get special pricing and perks (like a rest room).


 

Climate change denialists bring up argument debunked two years ago

The Piracy Imperative 

Temperature data is not “the biggest scientific scandal ever”
[Via Ars Technica]

Over the weekend, another editor pointed me to this piece in The Telegraph in which columnist Christopher Booker calls scientists’ handling of the temperature data “the biggest science scandal ever.” The same piece also appeared in a discussion today and was sent in via the reader-feedback form. So, it seemed worth looking into.

Doing so caused a bit of a flashback—to January 2013, specifically. That was the last time that the previous year had been declared the warmest on record, an event that apparently prompts some people to question whether we can trust the temperature records at all.

The culprit that time was Fox News, but the issue was the same: the raw data from temperature measurements around the world aren’t just dumped into global temperature reconstructions as-is. Instead, they’re processed first. To the more conspiracy minded, you can replace “processed” with “fraudulently manipulated to make it look warmer.”

[More]

This is one problem with denialists – they use zombie arguments that have been shown to be wrong, again and again.

This is what eventually provokes feelings of anger and frustrations. “We have answered this already. Many times before.Why will you not change your arguments?”

This creationists bring up ‘transition fossils” even though this has been seen. Or “actually see evolution happen” even though this has been seen. Or “the chances of an airplane being built from random parts in a hurricane”. Ad infinitum.

Here it is “how can it be snowing if the world is warming”. Or “It’s a conspiracy.” Or “scientists are lying.”

Hey, denialists, asked two years ago and answered. Try something new. 

It won’t happen because what defines  denialists is denying. It is fascinating I guess, to watch people again and again fall  into the same irrational argument, totally couched in pseudo-rationaities.

But it is not helpful at all.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 504 other followers

%d bloggers like this: