Thursday, April 23, 2015

Friday Thinking, 24 April 2015

Hello all –Friday Thinking is curated in the spirit of sharing. Many thanks to those who enjoy this. J

The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that, from that time forward, it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology but also such icons of modern civilian society as the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and Global Positioning System receivers small enough to embed in myriad consumer devices.

DARPA explicitly reaches for transformational change instead of incremental advances. But it does not perform its engineering alchemy in isolation. It works within an innovation ecosystem that includes academic, corporate and governmental partners, with a constant focus on the Nation’s military Services, which work with DARPA to create new strategic opportunities and novel tactical options. For decades, this vibrant, interlocking ecosystem of diverse collaborators has proven to be a nurturing environment for the intense creativity that DARPA is designed to cultivate.

A single cross-cutting quality of modern life and technology infuses all of the above threats and opportunities, and is a core target and driver of DARPA’s work today: the phenomenon of increasing pace.

...the growing emphasis on pace is also manifest­ing on the very shortest and longest of time scales. At the micro- and nanosecond time scales at which our information and radio frequency (RF) systems operate, the rate at which information is being gath­ered increasingly exceeds capacities for manual analysis and response. And at the other end of the temporal spectrum—the decades it currently takes to design, develop and deploy new complex weap­ons systems—there is growing appreciation of the need to change the pace, with movement toward nimble, modular, functionally coordinated weapons platforms that can be more rapidly deployed and upgraded than current systems.

...the military’s current approach to harnessing complexity is outdated and inadequate and risks leaving the Nation vulnerable to adversaries developing more nimble means of adopting the latest technologies...
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – March 2015

“Man has been disciplined hitherto by his subjection to nature.  
Having emancipated himself from this subjection, he is showing something of the defects of slave-turned-master.  
A new moral outlook is called for in which submission to the powers of nature is replaced by respect for what is best in man.  
It is where this respect is lacking that scientific technique is dangerous.
So long as it is present, science, having delivered man from bondage to nature, can proceed to deliver him from bondage to the slavish part of himself.
The dangers exist, but they are not inevitable, and hope for the future is at least as rational as fear.”
Bertrand Russell - The Scientific Outlook - 1931

Here is something giving more support to the maxim of these time in the early 21st century - Re-Imagine Everything. But the most interesting and pressing issue about the future for the military or any other large organization - is the where is the DARPA program dedicated to finding the most effective ways to organize people in the 21st Century? It still seems like the aim is to find more technology to overlay onto industrial organizational architectures.

DARPA Outlines Vision for the Future
DARPA released its Breakthrough Technologies for National Security, a biennial report summarizing the Agency’s historical mission, current and evolving focus areas and recent transitions of DARPA-developed technologies to the military Services and other sectors, last month. The report’s release coincided with testimony by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar before the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, at a hearing entitled “Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Science and Technology Programs: Laying the Groundwork to Maintain Technological Superiority.” The full report is available for download online.
(a 41 page pdf).

The report identifies the phenomenon of increasing pace as a central challenge and opportunity—from the need for ever-faster radio-frequency and information-processing systems that work on the scale of nanoseconds, to the need to speed up the development time of major military systems, whose timescales today extend to decades.

“In these areas and others,” the report says, “DARPA will pursue the strategic imperative of pace in part by continuing to be a bold, risk-tolerant investor in high-impact technologies, so the Nation can be the first to develop and adopt the novel capabilities made possible by such work.”
DARPA is focusing its strategic investments in four main areas:
Rethink Complex Military Systems
Master the Information Explosion
Harness Biology as Technology
Expand the Technological Frontier

Breakthrough Technologies for National Security includes two sections highlighting examples of DARPA technologies that have transitioned to the military or other organizations in support of national interests. One section focuses on technology transitions from recent programs to the Services. A second section, entitled “Success Stories,” looks at the long-term impacts of certain DARPA programs over a period of decades—a reminder that the benefits of DARPA research often extend for many years after initial applications get operationalized, sometimes in unexpected ways.
Computer security experts from academia, industry and the larger security community have organized themselves into more than 30 teams to compete in DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge—a first-of-its-kind tournament designed to speed the development of automated security systems able to defend against cyberattacks as fast as they are launched. DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge final competition will be held in 2016 in conjunction with DEF CON, one of the larg­est computer security conferences in the world.

DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Computer security experts from academia, industry and the larger security community have organized themselves into more than 30 teams to compete in DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge—a first-of-its-kind tournament designed to speed the development of automated security systems able to defend against cyberattacks as fast as they are launched. DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge final competition will be held in 2016 in conjunction with DEF CON, one of the larg­est computer security conferences in the world.

And here we go - the door has been opened not just to domesticated DNA - but maybe Homo Sapien Sapien 2.0 - for good and ill.
Chinese scientists just admitted to tweaking the genes of human embryos for the first time in history
The genome-editing enzyme known as CAS9 at work on a strand of DNA.A group of Chinese scientists just reported that they modified the genome of human embryos, something that has never been done in the history of the world, according to a report in Nature News.

A recent biotech discovery — one that has been called the biggest biotech discovery of the century — showed how scientists might be able to modify a human genome when that genome was still just in an embryo.

This could change not only the genetic material of a person, but could also change the DNA they pass on, removing "bad" genetic codes (and potentially adding "good" ones) and taking an active hand in evolution.

Concerned scientists published an argument that no one should edit the human genome in this way until we better understood the consequences after a report uncovered rumors that Chinese scientists were already working on using this technology.

But this new paper, published April 18 in the journal Protein and Cell by a Chinese group led bygene-function researcher Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University, shows that work has already been done, and Nature News spoke to a Chinese source that said at least four different groups are "pursuing gene editing in human embryos."

Here is an article from the World Economic Forum - more about the digital environment.
How the internet of things will change your life
When I give talks about the internet of things (IoT), people often ask: “Is the internet of things a smart car, a smart city, a smartphone?”

The answer is it’s all of those things, and more. In its simplest term, the IoT is the application of sensors, IT and networking technologies to connect billions of devices around the world. These enable new, smart applications, analytics and business models that result in a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable way of living. Just like the internet connected billions of computing devices and created new applications and business models such as search engines, emails, e-commerce and social media, the internet of things will advance humanity in ways we can’t yet imagine.

Unfortunately, the hype surrounding the IoT has created an endless stream of “smart” conferences, gadgets and campaigns, which focus on the technology itself, and not on the massive, systemic changes it will bring. Also often missing from the conversation is the need for a new set of public policies that will help realize the IoT’s full potential.

Here another vision of the future - this one should be evident by 2020. A fundamentally new type of computer - based on the memristor. This is a longish article but well worth the read for anyone interested in the future of computing and even Moore’s Law.
Machine Dreams
To rescue its struggling business, Hewlett-Packard is making a long-shot bid to change the fundamentals of how computers work
...William Hewlett and David Packard led HP’s engineers to invent breakthrough products, like the 40-pound, typewriter-size programmable calculator launched in 1968.
In today’s era of smartphones and cloud computing, HP’s core products could also look antiquated before long. Revenue and profit have slid significantly in recent years, pitching the company into crisis. HP is sustained mostly by sales of servers, printers, and ink (its PCs and laptops contribute less than one-fifth of total profits). But businesses have less need for servers now that they can turn to cloud services run by companies like Amazon—which buy their hardware from cheaper suppliers than HP. Consumers and businesses rely much less on printers than they once did and don’t expect to pay much for them.

HP has shed over 40,000 jobs since 2012, and it will split into two smaller but similarly troubled companies later this year (an operation that will itself cost almost $2 billion)...
And yet, in the midst of this potentially existential crisis, HP Enterprise is working on a risky research project in hopes of driving a remarkable comeback. Nearly three-quarters of the people in HP’s research division are now dedicated to a single project: a powerful new kind of computer known as “the Machine.” It would fundamentally redesign the way computers function, making them simpler and more powerful. If it works, the project could dramatically upgrade everything from servers to smartphones—and save HP itself.

“People are going to be able to solve problems they can’t solve today,” says Martin Fink, HP’s chief technology officer and the instigator of the project. The Machine would give companies the power to tackle data sets many times larger and more complex than those they can handle today, he says, and perform existing analyses perhaps hundreds of times faster. That could lead to leaps forward in all kinds of areas where analyzing information is important, such as genomic medicine, where faster gene-sequencing machines are producing a glut of new data. The Machine will require far less electricity than existing computers, says Fink, making it possible to slash the large energy bills run up by the warehouses of computers behind Internet services. HP’s new model for computing is also intended to apply to smaller gadgets, letting laptops and phones last much longer on a single charge.

Speaking about the vision for the future - are current Geo-Politics ready for the present? What does the energy politics of our world look like in a decade - and has any nation seriously incorporated new energy scenarios in their foresight?
Some will ask: why do this when the oil price is so low? Others may answer: because it may go up! But the wisdom suggests: it doesn’t matter whether it goes up, down, or sideways, PV prices can ONLY go down - Why? Because as cheap as PV is today, the costs and performance of what’s in the PV pipeline bear no resemblance whatsoever to current costs and performance.
Just wait until cheaper batteries start to kick in to the equation - rhw Timeline for this ‘battery contingent’ to start making its presence felt in the PV marketplace? - 6 months, maximum. The days of an oil-lubricated economy are numbered.
The interesting question to begin to grapple with is: “What’s the world look like when everyone has all the free energy they need?
China Adds Solar Power the Size of France in First Quarter
China’s solar installations in the first quarter were almost equal to France’s entire supply of power from the sun.
China connected 5.04 gigawatts of solar capacity to grids in the three months ended March 31, the National Energy Administration said in a statement on Monday. The Asian nation now has a total 33 gigawatts of solar-power supply.

“Construction of most additions in the first quarter began last year after securing local approvals,” said Nick Duan, a Beijing-based analyst from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In China, developers must start construction within a year after approvals are given and validated.

China is seeking to approve and install as much as 17.8 gigawatts of solar power this year, or nearly 2 1/2 times the capacity added by the U.S. in 2014. The push is part of the Asian nation’s plans to cap carbon emissions in the next decade and a half.

Utility-scale photovoltaic power plants accounted for 4.38 gigawatts of the new capacity in the first quarter, with distributed projects comprising the remainder, the NEA said. Distributed generation refers to electricity produced at or near where it’s used. In the case of solar, distributed projects typically include rooftops or ground-mounted panels near facilities such as sporting arenas or municipal buildings.
And a related article
Solar power will soon be as cheap as coal
Inside a sprawling single-story office building in Bedford, Massachusetts, in a secret room known as the Growth Hall, the future of solar power is cooking at more than 2,500 °F. Behind closed doors and downturned blinds, custom-built ovens with ambitious names like “Fearless” and “Intrepid” are helping to perfect a new technique of making silicon wafers, the workhorse of today’s solar panels. If all goes well, the new method could cut the cost of solar power by more than 20% in the next few years.

“This humble wafer will allow solar to be as cheap as coal and will drastically change the way we consume energy,” says Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies, the company behind the new method of wafer fabrication.

Secret rooms or not, these are exciting times in the world of renewable energy. Thanks to technological advances and a ramp-up in production over the decade, grid parity—the point at which sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind cost the same as electricity derived from burning fossil fuels—is quickly approaching. In some cases it has already been achieved, and additional innovations waiting in the wings hold huge promise for driving costs even lower, ushering in an entirely new era for renewables.

Here is another longish piece by Deloitte.
The Future of Manufacturing
The changing economics of production and distribution, along with shifts in consumer demand and the emergence of “smart” products, are pushing manufacturers to explore radically new ways of creating and capturing value.
Manufacturing is no longer simply about making physical products. Changes in consumer demand, the nature of products, the economics of production, and the economics of the supply chain have led to a fundamental shift in the way companies do business. Customers demand personalization and customization as the line between consumer and creator continues to blur. Added sensors and connectivity turn “dumb” products into “smart” ones, while products increasingly become platforms—and even move into the realm of services.

As technology continues to advance exponentially, barriers to entry, commercialization, and learning are eroding. New market entrants with access to new tools can operate at much smaller scale, enabling them to create offerings once the sole province of major incumbents. While large-scale production will always dominate some segments of the value chain, innovative manufacturing models—distributed small-scale local manufacturing, loosely coupled manufacturing ecosystems, and agile manufacturing—are arising to take advantage of these new opportunities.

Meanwhile, the boundary separating product makers from product sellers is increasingly permeable. Manufacturers are feeling the pressure—and gaining the ability—to increase both speed to market and customer engagement. And numerous factors are leading manufacturers to build to order rather than building to stock. In this environment, intermediaries that create value by holding inventory are becoming less and less necessary.

Together, these shifts have made it more difficult to create value in traditional ways. At the same time, as products become less objects of value in their own right and more the means for accessing information and experiences, creating and capturing value has moved from delivering physical objects to enabling that access.

Speaking about a changing geopolitical world - here’s something from the World Economic Forum.
It’s good to share: The triple economic win
BMW has announced that its pay-as-you-go car club, DriveNow, will launch in London, following on from Berlin, Vienna and San Francisco. DriveNow works by giving users access to a fleet of BMWs and Minis for a registration fee. Whereas alternatives, such as the well-established Zipcar, require vehicles to be picked up and dropped off in the same location, DriveNow has the advantage of allowing cars to be parked in a range of local areas.

Consumers renting things isn’t new. Most domestic accommodation across the EU is rented and, to a lesser extent, so are vehicles, capital goods, luxury items such as watches and even clothing. But renting is set for a growth spurt, fuelled by online platforms which enable efficient matching, monetising and management.

Environment, producers and consumers
Known as “the sharing economy”, this kind of collaborative consumption is also gaining political backing for the way that sharing goods encourages re-use and sustainability. Dutch MEP Judith Merkies’ paper, The lease society: the end of ownership, advocates the benefits of sharing resources to cut down on waste for the benefit of consumers and the environment. It has passed EU committees, so we can expect a push on “sharing” from EU regulators too.

The sharing economy is important for producers as well as consumers and has the potential to change consumption for the benefit of all. Take the example of cars. Manufacturers can no longer rely on growth through private sales as cars are built better and last longer, and car ownership has dwindled along with an increasingly urban global population. So, manufacturers need a new business model for growth….

As good as the sharing economy sounds - there’s a dark side - this is a Must Read article.
We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership
IT’S OFFICIAL: JOHN Deere and General Motors want to eviscerate the notion of ownership. Sure, we pay for their vehicles. But we don’t own them. Not according to their corporate lawyers, anyway.

In a particularly spectacular display of corporate delusion, John Deere—the world’s largest agricultural machinery maker —told the Copyright Office that farmers don’t own their tractors. Because computer code snakes through the DNA of modern tractors, farmers receive “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”
It’s John Deere’s tractor, folks. You’re just driving it.

Several manufacturers recently submitted similar comments to the Copyright Office under an inquiry into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DMCA is a vast 1998 copyright law that (among other things) governs the blurry line between software and hardware. The Copyright Office, after reading the comments and holding a hearing, will decide in July which high-tech devices we can modify, hack, and repair—and decide whether John Deere’s twisted vision of ownership will become a reality.

This is a great Must view 50 min video on design - he uses some great examples a disastrous and perhaps unethical design in Facebook. But more - I think designers should be held to account for bad design and the unleashing of tremendous frustration, irritation that bad design causes.
How Designers Destroyed the World (Mike Monteiro)
Designers have a responsibility, not only to themselves and to their clients, but also to the wider world. We are designers because we love to create, but creation without responsibility breeds destruction. Every day, designers all over the world work on projects without giving any thought or consideration to the impact that work has on the world around them. This needs to change. In this bluntly honest talk, Mike will invite you to consider your responsibilities as a designer and embrace your role as gatekeeper. You’ll learn how to increase your influence and be moved to use your powers for good.

Here is another fantastic Must View 50 min video
James Paul Gee Keynote - Language, Learning, Experience and Video Games.
There’s no such thing as human memory ‘as we understand it’
Human memory storage is directly geared towards us being able to deal with the future effectively, rather than recalling the past accurately.
Accurate recollection of the past is in fact a linguistically dependent requirement, whereas the biological functionality memory, with its experiential dynamic was developed independently of and before any linguistic communication.
EXCEPT in the case of ‘physiologically sequential imperatives’ such as the waggle dance of bees which is responsible for accurately communicating ‘site directions’.
there needs to be some kind of reconciliation between the shortcomings of experiential memory in terms of accurate recall and the extent to which these do not apply to the waggle dance!
You have a surprisingly rich memory even if you consistently fail to recall experiences reliably.
We are interacting with our memories in a way which is systematically geared towards reconstruction, not recall.
We reconstruct our experiences on the fly (at the moment of inception of an experience, and at the point when subsequent experiences subliminally interact with  it and when we have an occasion of consciously recalling it)
despite this, we are unable to conceptualise the nature of experience in terms of an indivisible continuum, we are instead physically compelled to recall experiences as discrete episodes with clearly associated and distinct memories (Hume’s ‘force and liveliness’ model: we distinguish the real from the imaginary by the comparative levels of force and liveliness).

Here a bit a new disruption. The graph is worth the view.
Netflix is now bigger than CBS
Netflix shares are soaring after another outstanding quarter. And as of right now, that’s pushed the market value of the disruptive streaming TV company above CBS Corp, which, by most measures, operates the highest rating broadcast TV network in the US.

CBS’s rivals in broadcast TV are all housed within bigger media conglomerates (although the company also owns cable channel Showtime and various other publishing, radio, and internet assets).  For example, NBC is owned by Comcast, the gigantic cable company; ABC is part of the Disney empire and Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch’s film, TV, and cable colossus.

Netflix remains far smaller than all of them.
Still, the fact that Netflix’s market value has risen above CBS’s is significant, because it is becoming increasingly clear that the streaming TV company’s ambitions go far beyond its feted rival, HBO. As BTIG’s Rich Greenfield pointed out yesterday (registration required), Netflix wants to replace linear TV:

This is a great 32 min video - he presents a must see demonstration of how an ebook with two screens can beat a paper book. A must view.
Ken Perlin on “Interdisciplinary Media Technology Research” (Media Systems)
Ken Perlin, offering a vision of how computational media can become integrated throughout the curriculum, as something both written and read. Unlike most of our talks, this video focuses on the screen, where Perlin goes through a series of high-speed, interconnected demonstrations. He begins with a discussion of enabling believable interactive characters — arguing that a key is characters who can carry out intelligent performances of their roles, based on the kinds of high-level direction that can be provided by an AI system or by audience interaction (e.g., with a game controller). He shows two prototypes of characters like this, able to give engaging, coherent, grounded performances in real time. These simple characters arose from research deeply combining procedural computer graphics with the arts, particularly animation and puppetry (Perlin regularly collaborates with puppeteers).

He next shows a split-screen interface that allows both reading of a particular section of a book and a view of the entire manuscript. Using Pride and Prejudice as an example, Perlin shows how simple buttons can be used to let students ask “distant reading” questions of the sort popularized by digital humanities, such as looking at the patterns of mention (and collocation) for key terms such as the names of major characters and locations. He shows how the code can easily be exposed and modified for creating new buttons, and how doing this in a live, shared document could enable new kinds of classroom conversation. Such capabilities are the foundation of his approach.

Next Perlin demonstrates the same kinds of connections between code and media views for three-dimensional objects. The first version of an object can be created with a gesture — a mouse gesture, or an embodied gesture detected by a Kinect-style sensor — and this object can then be viewed both as an object and as code, with bridges back and forth. These bridges include code changes making live updates to the visual representation of objects, with widgets showing up on the visual representation of the object one is editing in code, and with changes made using these widgets producing live updates in the code. This extends not only to objects but to animation, with the ability to change shapes and blending operations while animations are happening, giving the impression that the model is being updated every animation cycle. This not only invites experimentation and refinement using both code and visual modes, but builds deeper understanding of the connection between the two. It makes code a powerful path for media creation — enabling iteration, scaffolding, and incremental movement to deeper engagements with the code level.

Not only are robotics displacing people from a very wide range of jobs but artificial intelligence will have an equally dramatic impact.
How Artificial Intelligence Will Eliminate The Need For The Vast Majority Of Life Insurance Agents
All the professions are going to be reconfigured by artificial intelligence. The result will be fewer professionals and many of their roles “downgraded.”
Advances in artificial intelligence, also known as cognitive computing, are starting to cause a seismic shift in the professions. The eventual result is the eradication of many positions and the changing – usually lesser – roles for the “survivors” of this transformation.

All the professions such as investment advisors and accountants will be impacted. Life insurance agents will also be severely affected. While this paradigm shift is going to take years and is dependent on technological innovation, coupled with the speed of complementary social change, it is an eventuality.

The ability to source and construct life insurance portfolios, facilitate underwriting, and monitor policies can all be accomplished by the robo-life agent. Such an approach would often prove to be both substantially more efficient, a way to provide superior solutions, and considerably less expensive. It is these critical reasons, the vast majority of life insurance agent of today will, in time, become a relic of a previous generation.

Well about all those jobs lost to robots and artificial intelligence? How many are really worth saving? Should we really start thinking about what human’s are really good at? Maybe it’s time to think about productivity dividends funding a new form of society?
David Graeber: ‘So many people spend their working lives doing jobs they think are unnecessary’
The anarchist author, coiner of the phrase ‘We are the 99%’, talks to Stuart Jeffries about ‘bullshit jobs’, our rule-bound lives and the importance of play
A few years ago David Graeber’s mother had a series of strokes. Social workers advised him that, in order to pay for the home care she needed, he should apply for Medicaid, the US government health insurance programme for people on low incomes. So he did, only to be sucked into a vortex of form filling and humiliation familiar to anyone who’s ever been embroiled in bureaucratic procedures.

At one point, the application was held up because someone at the Department of Motor Vehicles had put down his given name as “Daid”; at another, because someone at Verizon had spelled his surname “Grueber”. Graeber made matters worse by printing his name on the line clearly marked “signature” on one of the forms. Steeped in Kafka, Catch-22 and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Graeber was alive to all the hellish ironies of the situation but that didn’t make it any easier to bear. “We spend so much of our time filling in forms,” he says. “The average American waits six months of her life waiting for the lights to change. If so, how many years of our life do we spend doing paperwork?”

The matter became academic, because Graeber’s mother died before she got Medicaid. But the form-filling ordeal stayed with him. “Having spent much of my life leading a fairly bohemian existence, comparatively insulated from this sort of thing, I found myself asking: is this what ordinary life, for most people, is really like?” writes the 53-year-old professor of anthropology in his new book The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. “Running around feeling like an idiot all day? Being somehow put in a position where one actually does end up acting like an idiot?”

“I like to think I’m actually a smart person. Most people seem to agree with that,” Graeber says, in a restaurant near his London School of Economics office. “OK, I was emotionally distraught, but I was doing things that were really dumb. How did I not notice that the signature was on the wrong line? There’s something about being in that bureaucratic situation that encourages you to behave foolishly.”

Here’s an interesting idea - the creation of a new microstate.
Newly Declared European Microstate Liberland Plans to Create Its Own Digital Currency
A group of Czech citizens has declared a new state, the Free Republic of Liberland, in a tiny 6-square-kilometer territory along the Danube River between Croatia and the Republic of Serbia. The Liberland territory is not claimed by either of these two states, which according to the group permits it to declare a new “microstate” in compliance with international law.

After the Yugoslav Wars, some borderland territories have been disputed, but this area has remained unclaimed. Liberland was created entirely in accordance with international law because it is based on the no man’s land which was claimed neither by Serbia or Croatia in the process of demarcation, InSerbia News reports.

On April 13, 2015 a Preparatory Committee declared the new state on the spot and raised a flag to claim the land. Vít Jedlička, who was elected by the committee as president of the republic, is preparing a constitution as well as diplomatic notes, to be sent to the two neighboring states and to the United Nations, and later to other countries, to inform them about the establishment of the new state of Liberland.

This is a very interesting idea - the potential development of a computational commons by/of/for citizens. Although the model in the article is a for profit private enterprise - one could imagine lower property taxes for hosting computational resources as part of the digital environment - and even to farm crypto-currency. The potential rise of a new institution in the 21st Century.
Dutch Homes Get Free Heating If They Agree To Host A Computer Server
Startups in France and Germany are also pursuing the smart idea, which saves money for all involved.
There's a new way for homeowners to save money on their heating bills: by turning their living rooms into data centers.

Startups in Holland, France, and Germany are reimagining the conventional data center model, placing servers inside people's homes instead of out-the-way data farms. In the process, they hope to heat homes from excess computer heat, while lowering costs for their clients.

"It's greener, more socially responsible because you're helping a household make ends meet, and you save money," says Boaz Leupe, CEO of a Dutch company called Nerdalize.
Nerdalize recently announced a trial with Eneco, Holland's second biggest utility, whereby five homes will install server units disguised as radiators. In return, owners are reimbursed for the electricity the servers use and get to enjoy the excess heat from the computers—which is considerable.

The speed of technology innovation - is hitting the arthritis of military procurement. As long term development of platforms hit obsolescence at prototype stages.
The X-47B's first aerial refueling test will also be its last
The Navy's X-47B combat UAV demonstrator successfully paired with an an Omega Air KC-707 airtanker earlier this week. This marks the first time in aviation history for a UAV to demonstrate aerial refueling capabilities. Unfortunately, these tests also likely mark the end of the X-47B program. Despite only completing 20 percent of its potential flight hours, both of the Navy's X-47Bs are destined for museums. Still, the technologies that they've demonstrated -- including those historic autonomous carrier landings in 2013 -- will make their way into future unmanned combat aerial vehicles as part of the Navy's Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.

Here’s something that may point to the next wave of demographic experience - as Baby Boomers retire and join the emerging cadre of amateurs - engaging in amateurment because traditional work is now automated, algorithmized, and robot-seized.
More Older Adults Are Becoming Inventors
Whether as volunteers or for profit, older inventors like Mr. Nepper are riding a rising tide of American innovation. They are teaming up, joining inventors clubs and getting their products into the marketplace. And older inventors bring valuable skills to their work, many experts say, like worldly wisdom and problem-solving abilities that can give them an advantage over younger inventors.

“There’s a boom in inventions by people over 50,” said John Calvert, executive director of the United Inventors Association. Over 60 percent of the association’s members are older, he added, so they also have more time for inventing.

Besides clubs, more innovation-friendly spaces are also popping up to help. Maker spaces, where people build things or even brainstorm for ideas, welcome older inventors. And start-ups like Quirky, which helps inventors commercialize their work, has developed over 400 products, including ones by older inventors.

“Today’s 50-plus crowd is more educated, active and mobile,” said Louis J. Foreman, chief executive of Edison Nation, which helps independent inventors get their ideas licensed and into the marketplace. “They’re coming up with solutions” to problems “that face people every day.” One example, he said, is a doctor who came up with a knee brace for overuse injuries, which was later licensed.

An innovation-hungry marketplace is driving the need for more inventors — especially as baby boomers hunt for products that can help them as they age.

Sometimes we need to put things in perspective - here’s a very recent new mapping of the universe - the pictures are worth the visuals and the 3 min video is lovely.
A Stunning New Map Reveals For The First Time Where Our Galaxy Fits Into The Universe
The Earth is the only world for us — for now at least. But our planet is dwarfed by the stars and galaxies that make up the universe.

Even our galaxy is a mere speck in a larger structure, which was just revealed for the first time by a group of scientists who created a map of more than 8,000 galaxies in an effort to understand where they fit in the universe.

The team placed the Milky Way on the outskirts of a massive, previously unknown galaxy supercluster scientists have named Laniakea, from the Hawaiian words for "immeasurable heaven."

The finding, reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature, stems from a new mapping technique that combines not only the distances between more than 8,000 nearby galaxies, but also their motion as the universe expands and galaxies are pulled through space by gravity.

Disruption to the the Food and Dairy industry - or where’s nature going?
Cow Milk Without the Cow Is Coming to Change Food Forever
Real Vegan Cheese is made from the same proteins found in cow's milk, but they came from genetically modified yeast.
COUNTER CULTURE LABS takes its name pretty literally. It is a bio lab, for sure, complete with pipettes, carboys, microscopes, and flasks. But it is decidedly counter to the traditional culture of laboratory science. The DIY tinkerers who hang out here—in the back of a sprawling space that used to house a heavy metal club in Oakland, California—are working beyond conventional notions of inquiry and research. Their goal is nothing less than to hack nature.

Consider one group of bio-hackers who meet in the lab each Monday night to work on a project that sounds like a contradiction in terms: They’re trying to make cow’s milk cheese without the cow. Using mail-order DNA, they’re tricking yeast cells into producing a substance that’s molecularly identical to milk. And if successful, they’ll turn this milk into cheese. Real cheese. But vegan cheese. Real vegan cheese.

That’s the name of the project: Real Vegan Cheese. These hackers want cheese that tastes like the real thing, but they don’t want it coming from an animal. Abandoning real cheese is one of the hardest sacrifices vegans must make, says one member of the group, Benjamin Rupert, a chemist by training and a vegan for the past decade. With Real Vegan Cheese, they won’t have to. “What we’re making is identical to the animal protein,” he says. “You’re not giving anything up, really.”

This last article points to an exemplar of a Strategic Vision - well worth the look for anyone interested in creating their own visions for the future.
The key pillars of their strategic plan are highlighted, namely - Vision, Core Values, Critical Goals, and Essential Tools.
A Strategic Vision for The Philadelphia Museum of Art,
The 137-year-old museum may have a commanding presence, but its bones are old. “We live in an old house, and at every turn we feel hindered, in terms of how the building works,” explained Rub.

“We need to vault ourselves into the conversation about how museums can be experienced digitally in a rich and rewarding way, one that complements a visit to the museum,” Rub added. “All roads will still lead to the home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”

For Fun
For anyone who forgets where games were in 1984, a video 27 min. One of the speakers talks about Excalibur a very large game of 66K that required ‘disk swapping’. The question asked in 1984 - Are computer games here to stay or are they just a fad?”.
The Computer Chronicles - Computer Games (1984)

And a clock that can get just a little bit better.
Record breaking clock invented which only loses a second in 15bn years
The ‘optical lattice’ device is now three times more accurate than previous incarnations
Physicists have said they have fine-tuned an atomic clock to the point where it won’t lose or gain a second in 15bn years – longer than the universe has existed.

The “optical lattice” clock, which uses strontium atoms, is now three times more accurate than a year ago when it set the previous world record, its developers reported in the journal Nature Communications.

The clock is also sensitive enough, the researchers said, to measure tiny changes in the passage of time at different altitudes – a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago and studied ever since.

“Our performance means that we can measure the gravitational shift when you raise the clock just two centimetres (0.78 inches) on the Earth’s surface,” said study co-author Jun Ye.

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