reflections on the technium

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Alan Kay

Brown Bag at the Movies – Selected technical topics(19)

with 12 comments


For this installment of Brown Bag at the Movies we will be viewing (abstract below):

11-15-2011 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-


Justin Hall-Tipping: Freeing energy from the grid

“What would happen if we could generate power from our windowpanes? In this moving talk, entrepreneur Justin Hall-Tipping shows the materials that could make that possible, and how questioning our notion of ‘normal’ can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs.”


Justin Hall-Tipping: Science entrepreneur <>

“Justin Hall-Tipping works on nano-energy startups — mastering the electron to create power.

“Why you should listen to him: Some of our most serious planetary worries revolve around energy and power — controlling it, paying for it, and the consequences of burning it. Justin Hall-Tipping had an epiphany about energy after seeing footage of a chunk of ice the size of his home state (Connecticut) falling off Antarctica into the ocean, and decided to focus on science to find new forms of energy. A longtime investor, he formed Nanoholdings to work closely with universities and labs who are studying new forms of nano-scale energy in the four sectors of the energy economy: generation, transmission, storage and conservation.

“Nanotech as a field is still very young (the National Science Foundation says it’s “at a level of development similar to that of computer technology in the 1950s”) and nano-energy in particular holds tremendous promise.

He says: “For the first time in human history, we actually have the ability to pick up an atom and place it the way we want. Some very powerful things can happen when you can do that.”


Ian Ritchie: The day I turned down Tim Berners-Lee

“Imagine it’s late 1990, and you’ve just met a nice young man named Tim Berners-Lee, who starts telling you about his proposed system called the World Wide Web. Ian Ritchie was there. And … he didn’t buy it. A short story about information, connectivity and learning from mistakes.”


Ian Ritchie: Software entrepreneur <>

“Why you should listen to him: Ian Ritchie is chair of iomart plc. and several other computer and learning businesses, including Computer Application Services Ltd., the Interactive Design Institute and Caspian Learning Ltd. He is co-chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Council, a board member of the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the chair of Our Dynamic Earth, the Edinburgh Science Centre.

“Ritchie founded and managed Office Workstations Limited (OWL) in Edinburgh in 1984 and its subsidiary OWL International Inc. in Seattle from 1985. OWL became the first and largest supplier of Hypertext/Hypermedia authoring tools (a forerunner to the World Wide Web) for personal computers based on its Guide product. OWL’s customers used its systems to implement large interactive multimedia documentation systems in industry sectors such as automobile, defence, publishing, finance, and education. OWL was sold to Matsushita Electrical Industrial (Panasonic) of Japan in December 1989. He is the author of New Media Publishing: Opportunities from the digital revolution (1996).

“He was awarded a CBE in the 2003 New Years Honours list for services to enterprise and education; he is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and a Fellow and a past-President of the British Computer Society (1998-99).”

CEP COMMENT: Way cool!!!! Also see “Programming Cells, With CellOS” <> <>

Angela Belcher: Using nature to grow batteries

“Inspired by an abalone shell, Angela Belcher programs viruses to make elegant nanoscale structures that humans can use. Selecting for high-performing genes through directed evolution, she’s produced viruses that can construct powerful new batteries, clean hydrogen fuels and record-breaking solar cells. At TEDxCaltech, she shows us how it’s done.”


Angela Belcher: Biological engineer <> <>

“Angela Belcher looks to nature for inspiration on how to engineer viruses to create extraordinary new materials.

“Why you should listen to her: With a bachelors in Creative Studies and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry, Angela Belcher has made a career out of finding surprising and innovative solutions to energy problems.

“As head of the Biomolecular Materials Group at MIT, Belcher brings together the fields of materials chemistry, electrical engineering and molecular biology to engineer viruses that can create batteries and clean energy sources. A MacArthur Fellow, she also founded Cambrios Technologies, a Cambridge-based startup focused on applying her work with natural biological systems to the manufacture and assembly of electronic, magnetic and other commercially important materials. TIME magazine named her a climate-change hero in 2007.
Watch an animation of Angela Belcher’s life story >> <>


Kiva’s Mick Mountz: How Robots Think

How Robots Think: Why Artificial Intelligence Is Nothing Like the Human Mind

Mick Mountz, Founder & CEO, Kiva Systems <; in conversation with Jason Tanz


Mick Mountz <>
“Mick Mountz is founder and CEO of Kiva Systems. Mountz founded Kiva Systems in 2003, after experiencing the inadequacy of existing material-handling technologies for ecommerce at the grocery delivery startup Webvan. Kiva’s integrated order-fulfillment solution employs hundreds of mobile robots and distributed intelligence to enable faster, more flexible ecommerce distribution centers for companies like The Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue,, Staples, Walgreens, and Crate and Barrel. Under Mountz’s leadership, Kiva was ranked sixth on the 2009 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in the US.

“Before joining Webvan, Mountz spent three years as a product manager at Apple Computer, where he helped move new technologies like FireWire, DVD, Fast Ethernet, and 3D graphics acceleration into the standard desktop platform.

“He began his career as a mechanical and manufacturing engineer at Motorola. In 2008, Mountz received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the New England region. He holds twelve U.S. technology patents.


Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar

“On any given day we’re lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and “hotspots” used by those trained to recognize deception — and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving.


Pamela Meyer: Lie detector <> <>
Pamela Meyer thinks we’re facing a pandemic of deception, but she’s arming people with tools that can help take back the truth.

Why you should listen to her: Social media expert Pamela Meyer can tell when you’re lying. If it’s not your words that give you away, it’s your posture, eyes, breathing rate, fidgets, and a host of other indicators. Worse, we are all lied to up to 200 times a day, she says, from the white lies that allow society to function smoothly to the devastating duplicities that bring down corporations and break up families.

Working with a team of researchers over several years, Meyer, who is CEO of social networking company Simpatico Networks, collected and reviewed most of the research on deception that has been published, from such fields as law-enforcement, military, psychology and espionage. She then became an expert herself, receiving advanced training in deception detection, including multiple courses of advanced training in interrogation, microexpression analysis, statement analysis, behavior and body language interpretation, and emotion recognition. Her research is synthetized in her bestselling book Liespotting.

BOOK: Liespotting


OTHER NEWS: Here’s an update on Google’s self driving car <>.
And “Shanghai Government Proposes 100 Community Hackerspaces” <>.


Written by Chuck Petras

December 24, 2011 at 10:55

12 Responses

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