America and Iraq: Un-disentanglement

June 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Great article from The Economist talking about the various options that America has to combat the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

It is much easier and less risky for America to aid the Iraqi government as part of an anti-ISIS coalition with Turkey and Iran than to do so in the guise of Iraq’s leading patron or ISIS’s archenemy. And a limited programme of military aid might be enough to ward off Republican attacks that the administration is doing nothing about ISIS; critics will be hard pressed to explain to a war-weary public why America should be doing even more to reinsert itself into Sunni-Shiite bloodshed in Iraq. This, in fact, appears to be the policy the Obama administration has selected.

Whatever policy emerges on dealing with ISIS, it’s clear that America’s long-term strategy for the Middle East has to be oriented towards letting local powers settle the geopolitical balance themselves. Iran, Turkey, and other regional players will have to take the lead in backing the Iraqi government and combating ISIS, because America lacks the expertise, the political will, and ultimately the capacity to do that job.

I couldn’t agree more with the The Economists analysis of our long-term strategy.

Leave a comment

MIT robot augments you with two extra arms

June 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Some folks over at MIT are working robotic limbs that augment, rather than replace, your existing arms. While these are crude prototypes it’s easy to imagine this tech being used in building and manufacturing. Combine it with a Siri type language interpreter and things start to get pretty serious.

“LimBot, hold this board and hand me the drill.”

“LimBot, lift me up to the next floor.”

Add some feet and this could be better than an exoskeleton.

Leave a comment

12 Basic Principles of Animation

May 23rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The illusion of life does a lovely job of laying out 12 guiding principles developed by some of the original animators at Disney in the 1930′s.

The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.

There is something about this that reminds me of Apple. These guys took the time to find the subtle details that add an emotional connection to animated material. I watched the video without knowing it was related to disney but seeing the little box obey these rules I was immediately reminded of old school Disney animation. None of the rules are required to make animation, but without them you end up with the Android equivalent; flat, emotionless and ultimately unsatisfying.

Leave a comment

Memories of Steve

May 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Don Melton recalls some of his memories of Steve.

I have no plans to watch that new movie about Steve Jobs. As I have no plans to read Walter Isaacson’s biography of him.

It’s not because I think those efforts are somehow not worthy of his memory. It’s just that I have my own recollections of the man. And I’m very jealous in guarding them. I don’t want those few and fleeting memories fractured and confused by other people’s interpretations.

Consider that a fair warning, because I’d like to recount a few of my own stories about Steve here. Not only for you, but for myself. Because maybe in the process I can remember him better.

Leave a comment

A record-breaking brown dwarf: as cold as ice and just 6 lightyears away

April 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Located in our astronomical backyard this brown dwarf star is about the size of Jupiter and is estimated to have a surface temperature between -48 to -13C. It’s the coldest brown dwarf yet discovered and will almost certainly be the subject of some very interesting research in the coming years.

While this is not the first brown dwarf we have found this close to our solar system it does make me wonder how long it will until we pay a visit to one of these foreign bodies. Perhaps even within my lifetime?

Leave a comment

SpaceX Rocket Launch Looks Stunning From Drone’s-Eye View

April 24th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Make sure you turn on HD before watching this incredible video of the SpaceX F9R rocket performing a vertical take off and landing.

Leave a comment

Digital waves are not stair steps

April 16th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

I’ve always understood that a digital representation of an analog wave form looks like this:

Stair step wave formBecause you know, ones and zeros and all that. Well it turns out that the stair step wave form is simply an incorrect representation of a sample. We should actually be using a lollipop graph because there are no values between the points.
Lollipop
Most importantly if you convert that sample back to analog you get the original smooth wave form. I learned this and so much more in a nerdtastic video all about analog to digital conversion the noise it generates and how to use dithering to reduce it. I probably only understood half of what he said and did not expect to finish the full video but I got enough to keep me engaged through the end. You should at least watch the first 8 minutes.

Leave a comment

New Sensor Paves the Way for Night Vision Contact Lenses

April 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

While we are years away from a shippable product this graphene based night vision sensor is a huge advancement.

Night vision, presently, is a rather clunky technology … To see in the dark, a person dons a set of binocular-shaped goggles strapped to the head. The devices also produce a lot of heat, so they need to be cooled, adding to the overall volume of mechanics required.

Now, researchers from the University of Michigan are close to packing night vision’s clumsiness into technology that fits on your fingertip. They built a super-thin infrared light sensor using graphene — a material that’s a single carbon atom in thickness — that could be stacked on contact lenses or integrated into smart phone cameras for handy night vision.

Should this technology make it all the way to market I suspect night vision will come standard on all devices that have a camera. It may even be included in everything from sunglasses to the peephole on your front door.

Leave a comment

The founding fathers would approve this remix

March 13th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

- Henry David Thoreau

Rootstrikers TED Talk remix from Jordan Harrison on Vimeo.

Leave a comment

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A tediously accurate map of the solar system

March 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

A fun way to put our solar system in perspective. While many such things focus how tiny our planet is compared to other bodies in the universe this page focuses more on the space between heavenly bodies. Be sure to read the blurbs between planets for an added sense of scale and a little humor.

Warning, not for the faint of horizontal scrolling.

Leave a comment
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.