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(25)

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

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CEP COMMENT:  Also see <http://www.ted.com/talks/angela_belcher_using_nature_to_grow_batteries.html>, Edison’s electric cars <http://www.theblaze.com/advertorial/the-amazing-collection-in-thomas-edison%e2%80%99s-garage/>

Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy
<http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_sadoway_the_missing_link_to_renewable_energy.html>
15:15
ABSTRACT

“What’s the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun’s not out and the wind’s not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: “We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap.”

“Donald Sadoway is working on a battery miracle — an inexpensive, incredibly efficient, three-layered battery using “liquid metal.”

BIO

Donald Sadoway: Materials engineer <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Sadoway>
“Donald Sadoway is working on a battery miracle — an inexpensive, incredibly efficient, three-layered battery using “liquid metal.”
<http://lmbcorporation.com/files/flyerFinal.pdf>

“Why you should listen to him: The problem at the heart of many sustainable-energy systems: How to store power so it can be delivered to the grid all the time, day and night, even when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining? At MIT <http://sadoway.mit.edu/>, Donald Sadoway has been working on a grid-size battery system that stores energy using a three-layer liquid-metal core. With help from fans like Bill Gates, Sadoway and two of his students have spun off the Liquid Metals Battery Corporation (LMBC) <http://lmbcorporation.com/> to bring the battery to market.

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CEP COMMENT:  See also <http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/military/the-world-according-to-darpa> and <http://www.darpa.mil/Opportunities/Solicitations/DARPA_Solicitations.aspx>

Regina Dugan: From mach-20 glider to humming bird drone
<http://www.ted.com/talks/regina_dugan_from_mach_20_glider_to_humming_bird_drone.html>
25:02
ABSTRACT

“”What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects — a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet — that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail. (Followed by a Q&A with TED’s Chris Anderson)

“Regina Dugan directs the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the DoD innovation engine responsible for creating and preventing strategic surprise.”

BIO

Regina Dugan: Director of DARPA <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_E._Dugan>
“Regina Dugan directs the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the DoD innovation engine responsible for creating and preventing strategic surprise.

“Why you should listen to her: With a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Caltech and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech, Dr. Dugan is a business woman, inventor, and technology developer who rolls up her sleeves and goes directly to a problem whether it’s in the lab or in Afghanistan.  She’s been called a “technogeek” with a knack for inspiring creative thinking, an artist-engineer.  Many credit Dugan as a scientific coach, mentor, cheerleader and taskmaster.  As a 2010 New York Times article explained, there are four stages to an encounter with Regina Dugan – “being a little scared, really scared, frustrated and then enlightened.”  Vision alone is insufficient for Dugan. Rather, vision must be paired with the power of execution in order to make impossible things possible.
“Our singular mission is the prevention and creation of strategic surprise.” — Regina Dugan

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CEP COMMENT:  

T. Boone Pickens: Let’s transform energy — with natural gas
<http://www.ted.com/talks/t_boone_pickens_let_s_transform_energy_with_natural_gas.html>
19:43
ABSTRACT

“The US consumes 25% of the world’s oil — but as energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens points out onstage, the country has no energy policy to prepare for the inevitable. Is alternative energy our bridge to an oil-free future? After losing $150 million investing in wind energy, Pickens suggests it isn’t, not yet. What might get us there? Natural gas. After the talk, watch for a lively Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.

“A legendary oil and gas entrepreneur, T. Boone Pickens is now on a mission to enhance U.S. energy policies to lessen the nation’s dependence on OPEC oil.

BIO

T. Boone Pickens: Entrepreneur and energy theorist <http://www.boonepickens.com/> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._Boone_Pickens>
“A legendary oil and gas entrepreneur, T. Boone Pickens is now on a mission to enhance U.S. energy policies to lessen the nation’s dependence on OPEC oil.

“Why you should listen to him: T. Boone Pickens views America’s dependence on OPEC oil as the greatest threat to the country’s national security and economic well-being. In developing The Pickens Plan for America’s energy future, he’s advocating for domestic alternatives and even greater new technologies. Pickens grew from humble beginnings in Depression-era Holdenville, Oklahoma, to be one of the nation’s most successful oil and gas entrepreneurs, and has been uncannily accurate in predicting oil and gas prices (CNBC coined him the “Oracle of Oil”) — and he’s established a very successful energy-oriented investment fund. Pickens is also an innovative, committed philanthropist who has donated nearly $1 billion to charity.

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OTHER NEWS:  Life After ‘Death by Powerpoint’ 9:29  <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wmSHbDkHJ8&feature=player_embedded#!>
‘smart sand’ that can assume any shape <http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/smart-robotic-sand-0402.html>
Mission to the edge of Space – Red Bull Stratos 2012 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB1PTOp1aKk>
GM, WellStar Develop LEGO® based Visual Management Tool <http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Mar/0326_lego>

FUTURE CANDIDATES  /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

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CEP COMMENT:  

21st Century Energy Challenges
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6v8tUaZ7Us&feature=player_embedded>
or <http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Topics/Energy/ARPA-E>
49:44
ABSTRACT

“Bill Gates joins Energy Secretary Steven Chu to discuss how America can meet and prosper from 21st century global energy challenges. Moderated by John Podesta. Recorded at the ARPA-E 2012 summit.

“ARPA-E <http://arpa-e.energy.gov/> is a new government agency that’s fast-tracking development of new clean energy technologies. Although Bill believes the federal government should invest even more in energy innovation, he thinks ARPA-E is off to a good start.”

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CEP COMMENT:  

Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle
<http://vimeo.com/36579366>
54:20
ABSTRACT

“This talk was given at CUSEC 2012 (<http://2012.cusec.net>).

“Bret Victor invents tools that enable people to understand and create. He has designed experimental UI concepts at Apple, interactive data graphics for Al Gore, and musical instruments at Alesis.
 
“For more on Bret, see <http://worrydream.com>.

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CEP COMMENT:  Also see: Software-Defined Radio For $11 <http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/rtl-sdr>

HF and Software Defined Radio: HDSDR + USRP + GNU Radio + RFMap,
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuRcaxpbYCw>
17:46
ABSTRACT

This is a tour through using SDR to receive HF: http://wiki.spench.net/wiki/RF
http://spench.net @spenchdotnet http://twitter.com/spenchdotnet

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CEP COMMENT:  

Kirk Sorensen: Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel
<http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/kirk_sorensen_thorium_an_alternative_nuclear_fuel.html>
10:03
ABSTRACT

“At TEDxYYC Kirk Sorensen shows us the liquid fuel thorium reactor — a way to produce energy that is safer, cleaner and more efficient than current nuclear power.

“Kirk Sorensen stumbled across thorium while doing research on how to power a lunar community. Thorium is a cleaner, safer, and more abundant nuclear fuel — one that Kirk believes will revolutionize how we produce our energy.

BIO

Kirk Sorensen: Engineer, Nuclear Technologist <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flibe_Energy>
“Kirk Sorensen stumbled across thorium while doing research on how to power a lunar community. Thorium is a cleaner, safer, and more abundant nuclear fuel — one that Kirk believes will revolutionize how we produce our energy.

“Why you should listen to him: Kirk Sorensen began his work with thorium while working as an aerospace engineer at NASA. In 2010, he left NASA to work as the chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering. In 2011, he founded Flibe, a company focused on developing modular thorium reactors.

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Written by Chuck Petras

December 2, 2012 at 09:52

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