Web Design – The First 100 Years

July 22nd, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

Maciej Ceglowski on the current state of the web

The other part of our exponential hangover is how we build our businesses. The cult of growth denies the idea that you can build anything useful or helpful unless you’re prepared to bring it to so-called “Internet scale”. There’s no point in opening a lemonade stand unless you’re prepared to take on PepsiCo.

I always thought that things should go the other way. Once you remove the barriers of distance, there’s room for all sorts of crazy niche products to find a little market online. People can eke out a living that would not be possible in the physical world. Venture capital has its place, as a useful way to fund long-shot projects, but not everything fits in that mold.

I really want to build something that doesn’t require broad addoption to be successful.

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Water-Droplet Computer

June 8th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

It’s not about manipulating data faster, it’s about manipulating matter for the first time. I’m super curious about what kind of applications this could be used for.



(via devour.com)

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Autonomous cars will destroy millions of jobs and reshape the US economy by 2025

May 20th, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

Zack Kanter at Quarts on the impending
Autonomous cars revolution:

Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced. They will cause unprecedented job loss and a fundamental restructuring of our economy, solve large portions of our environmental problems, prevent tens of thousands of deaths per year, save millions of hours with increased productivity, and create entire new industries that we cannot even imagine from our current vantage point.

I’m not sure we will make it by 2025, there are some large hurdles to overcome, but I pretty much agree with everything else in this article. Say goodbye to car ownership, speeding tickets and parking lots.

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Stanford researchers take two different takes on a new battery, one with more lithium, one with less.

May 18th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

There are some interesting, if possibly competing, teams working on new battery designs at Standford.

One team, lead by Hongjie Dai is working on an aluminum-ion battery with some interesting benefits. Typical alkaline batteries are terrible for the environment and lithium-ion batteries not only have a bad habit of catching on fire but they are also slow to recharge and only last about 1,000 cycles. The aluminum variety should be able to charge in minutes while also lasting more than 7,500 cycles. The main hurdle, and it’s a big one, is that it currently doesn’t put out enough juice to power something fancy like an iPhone. (source: iflscience.com)

Aluminum-ion battery

Meanwhile, on the other side of Campus Yi Cui is going after the ion side of the lithium-ion battery.

Today, we say we have lithium batteries, but that is only partly true. What we have are lithium ion batteries. The lithium is in the electrolyte, but not in the anode. An anode of pure lithium would be a huge boost to battery efficiency.

There are a number of problems with using lithium as an anode, not the least of which is that when lithium comes into contact with air it bursts into flames. To prevent this researchers are covering the lithium in a protective layer of interconnected carbon domes a bare 20 nanometers thick. They are still working on the coulombic efficiency of the battery but so far the results are quite promising.

(source: news.standord.edu)

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The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades

May 18th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

The Vortex Bladeless is an interesting idea for a new wind turbine.

The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades | WIRED

Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of architects and engineers, who actively try to design their way around these whirlpools of wind. And for good reason: With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures, which, in some cases, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, can cause their eventual collapse.

Vortex Bladless Wind Turbine

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Flipboard’s work on upscaling images

May 8th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

If you have ever rolled your eyes when a TV show or movie enhances a blurry image to bring out more details then you will certainly want to take a look at image scaling using deep convolutional neural networks that the engineers at Flipboard are working on.

The math is pretty dense but the article also has a great primer on the use of neural networks to create algorithms that learn how to reduce their own error rate.

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Ride in Mercedes’s F 015 Driverless Car

March 23rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

One ride in a car like this and people will stop saying “but I like driving” when confronted with driverless cars.

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Continious Liquid 3D Printing

March 17th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Not only is this new printing technology anywhere from 25 to 100 times faster than current 3D Printing methods but the process manages to be simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. Like something H.R. Giger would dream up.

(Via Devour.com)

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Explore the world’s largest cave by both land and drone

March 13th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Amazing footage overall but the drone footage is particularly amazing. Ten years ago it would have been simply impossible to get footage like this as there is no way you could fly a helicopter into this cave even if it is the world’s biggest. It’s a shame that drones are synonymous with CIA assassinations and efficient delivery of materialism as they can be used to create some amazing art as well.


(Source and Title via devour.com)

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Box from Bot & Dolly

March 2nd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

This incredible art installation was created using a couple of industrial robots, high quality projectors and very clever 3D modeling. What is perhaps more interesting is what they did not use however. There is no green screen and no special effects were added after it was filmed; it was captured entirely in camera. The creators would prefer that people see it in person but in the interest of allowing a greater number of people to experience their art they created this short film.

From the video description:

Box explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera.

If you were as intrigued by this as me then you should certainly check out the behind-the-scenes video where they show off some of the technology they used.

The modeling software, Maya, even allowed them to control the movement of the robots that control the canvases. Like tool paths in a CNC milling machine but instead of milling aluminum they are creating art.

(via Alexis Madrigal’s excellent Real Future newsletter)

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