Thursday, January 5, 2017

Friday Thinking 6 Jan. 2017

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9


Tim Burton’s The World of Stainboy: Watch the Complete Animated Series

Chinese workers aren’t the problem – the homeless, aimless idiocy of corporate accounting is. That is why the Citizens United decision of 2010 applying freedom of speech regulations to campaign spending is hilarious. Money isn’t speech, any more than noise is. The Supreme Court has conjured a living being, a new person, from the remains of the common law, creating a real world more frightening than its cinematic equivalent: say, Frankenstein, Blade Runner or, more recently, Transformers.

But the bottom line is this. Most jobs aren’t created by private, corporate investment, so raising taxes on corporate income won’t affect employment. You heard me right. Since the 1920s, economic growth has happened even though net private investment has atrophied. What does that mean? It means that profits are pointless except as a way of announcing to your stockholders (and hostile takeover specialists) that your company is a going concern, a thriving business. You don’t need profits to ‘reinvest’, to finance the expansion of your company’s workforce or output, as the recent history of Apple and most other corporations has amply demonstrated.

So investment decisions by CEOs have only a marginal effect on employment. Taxing the profits of corporations to finance a welfare state that permits us to love our neighbours and to be our brothers’ keeper is not an economic problem. It’s something else – it’s an intellectual issue, a moral conundrum.

When we place our faith in hard work, we’re wishing for the creation of character; but we’re also hoping, or expecting, that the labour market will allocate incomes fairly and rationally. And there’s the rub, they do go together. Character can be created on the job only when we can see that there’s an intelligible, justifiable relation between past effort, learned skills and present reward. When I see that your income is completely out of proportion to your production of real value, of durable goods the rest of us can use and appreciate (and by ‘durable’ I don’t mean just material things), I begin to doubt that character is a consequence of hard work.

When I see, for example, that you’re making millions by laundering drug-cartel money (HSBC), or pushing bad paper on mutual fund managers (AIG, Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, Citibank), or preying on low-income borrowers (Bank of America), or buying votes in Congress (all of the above) – just business as usual on Wall Street – while I’m barely making ends meet from the earnings of my full-time job, I realise that my participation in the labour market is irrational. I know that building my character through work is stupid because crime pays. I might as well become a gangster like you.

What if jobs are not the solution but the problem?

Speculative Design (SD) understands itself as progressive alternative perspective to mainstream Design culture (and as an alternative to other alternatives as well). It knows that “Design” is not some magic way of thinking (involving stick-up notes, sharpies and colored beanbags) that just makes things better by “building trust,” “understanding the customer” or “getting a seat at the table” or similar. Design is also the means by which pathological relationships to material culture are made more efficient and more delightful, and we are worse for it. Some may even conclude that the job of Design in the 21st century is to undo (much of) the Design of 20th. It may also be to re-claim and re-launch other frustrated Modern impulses that were dry-docked by century’s end, not only designing things —widgets, withdrawn objects, manifest subjectivities, formal forms, etc.— but also designing the relations between them: systems, supply-chains, encounters, obligations, accounting protocols, and so on.

As an alternative perspective, speculation is not ephemeral or disengaged. The prevalence of models for risk patterns, ideal options, and plotted-outcomes underscores that speculation itself is not a supplemental or marginal process. It is less “airy-fairy” than it is nuts and bolts: whether for commodities and equities futures, automated A/B testing, enterprise reinsurance or weather forecasting, the global economy functions by speculative models of the near or long-term future.

But if so does this disqualify the speculative from the figuring of fundamental alternatives? It does not. Instead of concluding that the future (and futurism per se) is lost it we should commandeer modeling infrastructures for better and more vibrant purposes. For this, speculative models are rotated from one purpose to another: less to predict what is most likely to happen (deriving value from advance simulation of given outcomes) than to search the space of actual possibility (even and especially beyond what any of us would conceive otherwise.) That is, predictive models are adaptive because they need to be descriptive, but for speculation, models are prescriptive because they need to become normative. Between them we track different uses for contingency, imminence, simulation, navigation, resistance, governmentality, universality, neutrality, etc. That is where Design becomes designation.

Benjamin H. Bratton - On Speculative Design

This is video is almost 1.5 hr - but it is a MUST VIEW for anyone interested in the future of geopolitics in the age of the digital environment. This is probably the best articulation of the full dimensions of the emerging digital environment I’ve yet read. He presents fundamentally new design principles that integrate the many layers of our now local-global (glocal) experience - and the challenges to ‘sovereignty’ within each of these layers of connectivity and experience.

"The Stack: Design and Geopolitics in the Age of Planetary-Scale Computing"

From NSA surveillance to Jihadist social media and the Sino-Google Wars, computation has become more than a type of machine, it is a global infrastructure that is changing not only how governments govern, but what government even is in the first place.

We need to take a step back and see a big picture that is different from what was predicted. A new kind of political geography is emerging before our eyes.

We should view smart grids, cloud computing, mobile software and smart cities, universal addressing systems, ubiquitous computing and robotics not as unrelated genres of computation but as forming a larger and coherent whole.

Together they constitute an accidental megastructure called The Stack.

This is not only a planetary-scale computing system, it is also a new architecture for how we divide up the world into sovereign spaces.
The Nation-State isn't going away but it is evolving into a Cloud platform, and perhaps vice versa. This poses extraordinary challenges for design and geopolitics. By seeing the whole we stand a better chance of designing a system we will want to inhabit.

In this talk, we'll map The Stack we have and sketch The Stack-to-come.

Probably everyone who has a scientific interest has heard of - this is a short description of it originator and how it is funded as an intellectual commons - this is a model governments should be interested in if they care about creating a knowledge commons that can accelerate innovation and science and technology progress.
"The arXiv is an information system, and it's the library's role to manage scholarly information systems," says Oya Rieger, arXiv program director for the library. "Although his role is changing, Paul is still a very important part of the work."
"The goal has always been to convert it to a long-term sustainable resource, epitomizing the expanded global role of libraries and universities in the online environment," Ginsparg adds.

Library-managed 'arXiv' spreads scientific advances rapidly and worldwide

Publishing in a scientific journal can be a slow process, so for decades scientists circulated "preprints" of their research papers to a few colleagues. As a young physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the early '90s, Paul Ginsparg, Ph.D. '81, realized that this gave him an unfair advantage.

"I was receiving preprints long before graduate students further down the food chain," Ginsparg recalls. "When we have success we like to think it was because we worked harder, not just because we happened to have access."

So he created a service where physicists could post their preprints as "e-prints" accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. The idea caught on, submissions multiplied, and subject matter expanded to include mathematics, astrophysics, computer science and, most recently, biology and statistics.

Another massive knowledge repository the larger we have in the world (other than the Internet) is Wikipedia. Cesar Hidalgo combines this with Big Data analysis to provide a new perspective of history in this 14 min TED Talk. Well worth the view for anyone interested in understanding some implications of recorded history.

How the medium shapes the message | Cesar Hidalgo | TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet

César A. Hidalgo is an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab. Hidalgo’s work focuses on improving the understanding of systems by using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution, and network science; his goal is to help improve understanding of the evolution of prosperity in order to help develop industrial policies that can help countries raise the living standards of their citizens. His areas of application include economic development, systems biology, and social systems. Hidalgo is also a graphic-art enthusiast and has published and exhibited artwork that uses data collected originally for scientific purposes.

This is an excellent visual on a number of domains - including the looming future of near real-time Big Data information emerging from the Internet-of-Sensors. Well worth the view.

Live CO2 emissions of the European electricity production

This shows in real-time where your electricity comes from and how much CO2 was emitted to produce it.
We take into account electricity imports and exports  between countries.

This is an interesting article - that harkens a more intense effort both scientific and technological in the near future - potential technologies should include domesticated bacteria (and DNA) to transform CO2 into a range of materials and agricultural approaches.

The Search Is on for Pulling Carbon from the Air

Scientists are investigating a range of technologies they hope can capture lots of carbon without a lot of cost
Nations worldwide have agreed to limit carbon dioxide emissions in hopes of preventing global warming from surpassing 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. But countries will not manage to meet their goals at the rate they’re going. To limit warming, nations will also likely need to physically remove carbon from the atmosphere. And to do that, they will have to deploy “negative emissions technology”—techniques that scrub CO2 out of the air.

Can these techniques, such as covering farmland with crushed silica, work? Researchers acknowledge that they have yet to invent a truly cost-effective, scalable and sustainable technology that can remove the needed amount of carbon dioxide, but they maintain that the world should continue to look into the options. “Negative emissions technologies are coming into play because the math [on climate change] is so intense and unforgiving,” Katharine Mach, a senior research scientist at Stanford University. Last week at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, researchers presented several intriguing negative emissions strategies, as well as the drawbacks.

Is caution a safer approach to an uncertain future position or does it present an increasingly risky approach to inevitable surprise inherent in uncertainty? This is probably an unanswerable paradox - but what seems a good bet is increasing our knowledge from which we can expand the repertoire of our response-abilities. This is a longish article but well worth the time to read.
Until crispr came along, biologists lacked the tools to force specific genetic changes across an entire population. But the system, which is essentially a molecular scalpel, makes it possible to alter or delete any sequence in a genome of billions of nucleotides. By placing it in an organism’s DNA, scientists can insure that the new gene will copy itself in every successive generation. A mutation that blocked the parasite responsible for malaria, for instance, could be engineered into a mosquito and passed down every time the mosquito reproduced. Each future generation would have more offspring with the trait until, at some point, the entire species would have it.
“The only way to conduct an experiment that could wipe an entire species from the Earth is with complete transparency,” he told me. “For both moral and practical reasons, gene drive is most likely to succeed if all the research is done openly. And if we can do it for gene drive we can do it for the rest of science.”


Through DNA editing, researchers hope to alter the genetic destiny of species and eliminate diseases.
More than a quarter of Nantucket’s residents have been infected with Lyme, which has become one of the most rapidly spreading diseases in the United States. The illness is often accompanied by a red bull’s-eye rash, along with fever and chills. When the disease is caught early enough, it can be cured in most cases with a single course of antibiotics. For many people, though, pain and neurological symptoms can persist for years. In communities throughout the Northeast, the fear of ticks has changed the nature of summer itself—few parents these days would permit a child to run barefoot through the grass or wander blithely into the woods.

“What if we could wave our hands and make this problem go away?” Esvelt asked the two dozen officials and members of the public who had assembled at the island’s police station for his presentation. He explained that white-footed mice are the principal reservoir of Lyme disease, which they pass, through ticks, to humans. “This is an ecological problem,” Esvelt said. “And we want to enact an ecological solution so that we break the transmission cycle that keeps ticks in the environment infected with these pathogens.”

There is currently no approved Lyme vaccine for humans, but there is one for dogs, which also works on mice. Esvelt and his team would begin by vaccinating their mice and sequencing the DNA of the most protective antibodies. They would then implant the genes required to make those antibodies into the cells of mouse eggs. Those mice would be born immune to Lyme. Ultimately, if enough of them are released to mate with wild mice, the entire population would become resistant. Just as critically, the antibodies in the mice would kill the Lyme bacterium in any ticks that bite them. Without infected ticks, there would be no infected people. “Take out the mice,” Esvelt told me, “and the entire transmission cycle collapses.”

This is another signal in the emerging use of domesticated DNA.

Trial to Test Stem Cells for Treating Heart Failure

30 December 2016. A clinical trial testing a treatment for heart failure using a patient’s own bone marrow stem cells is recruiting participants at the first two study sites. The late-stage trial is conducted by medical device maker BioCardia Inc., beginning at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and University of Florida at Gainesville.

The trial is testing BioCardia’s CardiAmp cell therapy for heart failure. CardiAmp treatments are administered in a same-day procedure that the company says takes 60 to 90 minutes. The process takes a sample of the patient’s bone marrow from the iliac crest in the hip, where stem cells and heart progenitor cells are extracted and reprogrammed at bed side into dosage quantities. The reprogrammed stem cells are then delivered to the heart through the company’s Helix catheter system. The process is preceded by a diagnostic test to confirm the patient’s bone marrow will support CardiAmp treatments.

This is just awesome - a must view-read - the 2min video explains the whole concept - we are definitely in a phase transition.

Experimental SkinGun heals burns using stem cells

An experimental technology offers new hope to patients who have suffered a severe burn.
The product, from New York biotech firm RenovaCare, is rooted in cutting-edge stem cell research. The CellMist System harvests a patient's stem cells from a small area of unwounded skin (usually one square inch) and suspends them in a water-based solution. The SkinGun sprays the solution onto the wound, where new skin begins to grow at the cellular level.

"We don't modify the cells," said Thomas Bold, an engineer and president and CEO of RenovaCare. "We don't do anything with the cells. We just isolate them from the surrounding tissue, put them in a syringe within a water-based solution, and we spray them.

"What we're doing is all natural," he added.
The survival of cells shooting out of the SkinGun is instrumental, since cells "injured" in the process of spraying might not grow properly. According to Bold, 97% of the cells in the syringe remain viable, and so the chances of healing the wound are great.

Diagnosis is also developing interesting new approaches as we domesticate the nano world.

Nanoarray sniffs out and distinguishes multiple diseases

Before modern medical lab techniques became available, doctors diagnosed some diseases by smelling a patient’s breath. Scientists have been working for years to develop analytical instruments that can mimic this sniff-and-diagnose ability. Now, researchers report in the journal ACS Nano that they have identified a unique “breathprint” for each disease. Using this information, they have designed a device that screens breath samples to classify and diagnose several types of diseases.

Exhaled breath contains nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen, as well as a small amount of more than 100 other volatile chemical components. The relative amounts of these substances vary depending on the state of a person’s health. As far back as around 400 B.C., Hippocrates told his students to “smell your patients’ breath” to search for clues of diseases such as diabetes (which creates a sweet smell). In more recent times, several teams of scientists have developed experimental breath analyzers, but most of these instruments focus on a single type of disease, such as cancer. In their own work, Hossam Haick and a team of collaborators in 14 clinical departments worldwide wanted to create a breathalyzer that could distinguish among multiple diseases.

The researchers developed an array of nanoscale sensors to detect the individual components in thousands of breath samples from patients who were either healthy or had one of 17 different diseases, such as kidney cancer or Parkinson’s disease. By analyzing the results with artificial intelligence techniques, the team could use the array to classify and diagnose the conditions. The team used mass spectrometry to identify the breath components associated with the diseases. They found that each disease produces a unique volatile chemical breathprint, based on differing amounts of 13 components. They also showed that the presence of one disease would not prevent the detection of others – a prerequisite for developing a practical device to screen and diagnose various diseases in a noninvasive, inexpensive and portable manner.

This could be a very significant advance in our capacity to domesticate DNA.
“Just as CRISPR technology was developed from the natural anti-viral defense systems in bacteria, we can also take advantage of the anti-CRISPR proteins that viruses have sculpted to get around those bacterial defenses,” Rauch said.

Editing System Discovered

Anti-CRISPR Protein is First Shown to Inactivate the Cas9 Variant Used in Labs Worldwide
UC San Francisco researchers have discovered a way to switch off the widely used CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system using newly identified anti-CRISPR proteins that are produced by bacterial viruses. The technique has the potential to improve the safety and accuracy of CRISPR applications both in the clinic and for basic research.

The new study, published in Cell on Dec. 29, 2016, was led by Benjamin Rauch, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of Joseph Bondy-Denomy, PhD, who is a UCSF Sandler Faculty Fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

CRISPR-Cas9 evolved in bacteria as an immune system to protect against viral infections, but in the past decade it has excited both researchers and the general public as a general-use gene editing system, enabling scientists to quickly and efficiently modify genetic information and tweak gene activity in virtually any organism.

Many hope CRISPR will speed efforts to directly treat genetic disorders, among many other applications, but for the most part the technology has not yet proven quite precise enough, making occasional unintended edits along with the intended ones. Researchers and bioethicists also worry that the technology’s very power and ease of use raise the possibility that it could potentially cause harm, either intentionally or by accident.

The newly discovered anti-CRISPR proteins — which are the first to work against the type of CRISPR-Cas9 system most commonly used by laboratories and the burgeoning gene editing industry — could help resolve both problems, Bondy-Denomy says, enabling more precise control in CRISPR applications but also providing a fail-safe to quickly block any potentially harmful uses of the technology.

When stuff is domesticated - it can become a form of mass-manufacture.
"Manufacturing facilities like this are vital to moving this sector forward helping to speed the translation of crucial gene and cell therapies to reach patients with currently unmet medical needs,"

Stanford manufactures gene-engineered cells to cure the incurable

To the list of cool new things made in Silicon Valley, add this: Life, improved.
Inside "clean rooms" of Stanford University's fledgling Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine, lab techs tend machines that churn out gene-engineered cells, which can attack cancer, fix blood disease, patch a heart, alter the immune system, build skin grafts and create a realm of yet-to-be discovered therapies.

The 25,000-square-foot facility, which opened last September, puts Stanford at the forefront of one of medicine's most important and promising trends: regenerative medicine, which aims to refurbish diseased or damaged tissue using the body's own healthy cells.
The lab's pipeline of potential therapies include:
-regenerating corneal cells in the eye;
-repairing mutations in a single gene of red blood cells to fight diseases such as sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia;
-genetically engineering immune system T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells;
-disabling immune cells that reject transplanted bone marrow;
-triggering cardiac cells to replace damaged tissue in the heart.

Now this is a must view for anyone interested in the awe of our little spaceship.

Hi-Def Video of Earth From Space Is So Beautiful You'll Want to Punch Yourself in the Face

Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams captured ultra high definition video of our pale blue dot from the vantage point of the International Space Station. It’s easily the most uplifting thing you’re going to see all day.

In this newly released video, Williams talks about what it’s like to gaze upon the Earth when in space, and why it’s important to share this unique perspective with others.

It’s been said many times that a person’s perspective on life, the universe, and everything changes after seeing our planet floating in space. Watching this video, it’s easy to understand why.

Too often we contrast nature versus technology - but technology is a type of knowledge - of know-how and nature if filled with all forms of life exhibiting novel know-how.
“Many other accomplishments of these small-brained creatures rival those of humans or even surpass them, such as farming fungi species or using ‘dead reckoning’, a sophisticated navigation to find their way back to the nest,” says Banschbach. “The size of brain needed for specific cognitive tasks is not clear.”

Ants craft tiny sponges to dip into honey and carry it home

Ants may be smarter than we give them credit for. Tool use is seen as something brainy primates and birds do, but even the humble ant can choose the right tool for the job.

István Maák at the University of Szeged in Hungary and his team offered two species of funnel ants liquids containing water and honey along with a range of tools that might help them carry this food to their nests.

The ants experimented with the tools and chose those that were easiest to handle and could soak up plenty of liquid, such as bits of sponge or paper, despite them not being found in the insects’ natural environment.

This suggests that ants can take into account the properties of both the tool and the liquid they are transporting. It also indicates they can learn to use new tools – even without big brains.

AI and Robots continue their advance - in this article we see the concept of an automated ‘assembly line’ extended across a much larger landscape.
“In the last couple of years we can just do so much more in terms of the sophistication of automation,” says Herman Herman, director of the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. The center helped Caterpillar develop its autonomous haul truck. Mining company Fortescue Metals Group is putting them to work in its own iron ore mines. Herman says the technology can be deployed sooner for mining than other applications, such as transportation on public roads. “It’s easier to deploy because these environments are already highly regulated,” he says.
The company’s driverless trucks have proven to be roughly 15 percent cheaper to run than vehicles with humans behind the wheel, says Atkinson—a significant saving since haulage is by far a mine’s largest operational cost. “We’re going to continue as aggressively as possible down this path,” he says.

Mining 24 Hours a Day with Robots

Mining companies are rolling out autonomous trucks, drills, and trains, which will boost efficiency but also reduce the need for human employees.
Each of these trucks is the size of a small two-story house. None has a driver or anyone else on board.

Mining company Rio Tinto has 73 of these titans hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia’s Mars-red northwest corner. At this one, known as West Angelas, the vehicles work alongside robotic rock drilling rigs. The company is also upgrading the locomotives that haul ore hundreds of miles to port—the upgrades will allow the trains to drive themselves, and be loaded and unloaded automatically.

Rio Tinto intends its automated operations in Australia to preview a more efficient future for all of its mines—one that will also reduce the need for human miners. The rising capabilities and falling costs of robotics technology are allowing mining and oil companies to reimagine the dirty, dangerous business of getting resources out of the ground.

This article provides lots of pictures of the current advance in 3D printing with concrete - getting ever closer to a construction site near you.

Meet the CyBe RC 3Dp, a concrete 3D printer that moves around on caterpillar tracks

CyBe Construction, a construction technology company from the Netherlands, has unveiled the CyBe RC 3Dp, a mobile concrete 3D printer that moves on caterpillar tracks. According to CyBe, the 3D printer’s tank-like transport system makes it easy to use for on-site additive manufacturing.

Concrete 3D printing in the construction industry is a growing area of additive manufacturing, with digital concrete deposition systems now enabling the construction of 3D printed buildings and other large structures. Excitingly, this new generation of additive construction machinery can be found all over the world, with China, the Middle East, and Europe just some of the regions in which 3D printed buildings are becoming a hot talking point.

Concrete 3D printing is, of course, still in its infancy, and this lack of development has shown up a few weaknesses in the present technology. For example, due to the viscosity of the materials involved, concrete 3D printers are generally less accurate than plastic or metal deposition systems. They are also, on the whole, a lot slower than other 3D printing systems, and can also be prohibitively expensive because of the technology and materials required.

This may be a more significant milestone in terms of 3D printed concrete.

3D Printed Concrete Pedestrian Bridge Built in Madrid

3D printing is great for creating small things, like handheld figurines, but it’s also helping to develop and create really large objects as well, such as cars, and even houses built out of concrete. Concrete may not be the first material that comes to mind when you think about 3D printing, but it’s becoming widespread; it’s even being considered to 3D print an entire village! Yesterday in Spain, there was an inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony for what is being called the first concrete large-scale 3D printed bridge in the world.

Other 3D printed bridges exist in the world; last year, we heard about a massive 3D printed steel bridge that was being worked on in Amsterdam. But as far as we can tell, this is the first bridge to be 3D printed using concrete. It is also being touted as possibly the first civil engineering work done in 3D printing of a real scale concrete structure that is open to the public. In a statement, city representatives claim that the opening of the bridge is a 3D printing milestone for the construction sector at an international level. I’m not positive if this is true or not, but I think we can all agree this is a pretty big engineering feat nonetheless.

This is a 2 min video demonstrating a new breakthrough in robotics. Most of the text is in the video - the aesthetic design is worth the view.

A New Processor Lets These Robots Plan 10,000 Times Faster Than Before

This processor lets robots decide where to move in real time.

China is a world leader in an increasing number of domains - one of which is building infrastructure all over the world. China understands that investing in infrastructure is the necessary path to future prosperity. This particular project makes the West look foolishly myopic.

China Turns to $503 Billion Rail Expansion to Boost Growth

China plans to spend 3.5 trillion yuan ($503 billion) to expand its railway system by 2020 as it turns to investments in infrastructure to bolster growth and improve connectivity across the country.

The high-speed rail network will span more than 30,000 kilometers (18,650 miles) under the proposal, according to details released at a State Council Information Office briefing in Beijing Thursday. The distance, about 6.5 times the length of a road trip between New York and Los Angeles, will cover 80 percent of major cities in China.

The plan will see high-speed rail lines across the country expand by more than half over a five-year period, a boon to Chinese suppliers of rolling stock such as CRRC Corp. and rail construction companies including China Railway Construction Corp. and China Railway Group Ltd. Earlier this year, China turned to a private company for first time to operate an inter-city rail service on the mainland, part of President Xi Jinping’s push to modernize the nation’s transport network amid slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

China will also add 3,000 kilometers to its urban rail transit system under the plan released Thursday.
At the end of 2015, China had 121,000 kilometers of railway lines, including 19,000 kilometers of high-speed tracks, according to a transportation white paper issued Thursday. The U.S. had 228,218 kilometers of rail lines as of 2014, according to latest available data from the World Bank.

This is another way to re-imagine mass transit - especially if we begin thinking about self-driving cars and other vehicles. The algorithmic coordinated economy looms on the horizon - will it be here by 2020? 2025?

MIT study says 3,000 ride-sharing cars could replace every cab in New York City

All 13,000 taxis in New York City could be replaced by a fleet of 3,000 ride-sharing cars if used exclusively for carpooling, according to research published today by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Instead of hailing taxis, passengers that use ride-sharing services for carpooling may lead to reduced traffic congestion, pollution, and fuel use.

The CSAIL researchers used public data from NYC taxi rides published by the University of Illinois to develop the algorithm. They calculated that 3,000 four-person vehicles traveling to similar destinations could meet 98 percent of taxi demand in the city with an average wait time of 2.7 minutes. Perhaps the most important part of the system is a dynamic repositioning of vehicles based on real-time demand, which makes the system 20 percent faster.

As both Uber and Lyft work to expand their carpooling businesses, the CSAIL team also looked at the potential for extreme carpooling. By examining other vehicle sizes, the team found that 2,000 10-person vehicles could meet 95 percent of demand, or the system could use a variety of vehicle types and re-assign them based on incoming requests — perhaps by sending multi-passenger vans to a big sports event or concert rather than a larger fleet of smaller cars.

Although this article is a few months old - the project is still being implemented - if one billionaire can do this for India - why can’t our government provide this as fundamental infrastructure?
"Anything and everything that can go digital is going digital -- at an exponential rate," Ambani told investors last week at his company's annual general meeting. "Life is going digital."

India's richest man offers free 4G to one billion people

India's richest man is rolling out a $20 billion mobile network that could bring lightning-fast Internet to hundreds of millions of people.
Indian consumers are already celebrating the arrival of Mukesh Ambani's new Reliance Jio service, seizing on the billionaire's promise to deliver rock bottom prices and download speeds that will enable streaming video.

The 4G network, which reaches more than 80% of the country, officially went live Monday with a set of generous introductory offers. Indians will be able to use Jio for free until the end of 2016, and pay as little as 149 rupees ($2.25) a month for data after that.

Only one fifth of adults in India have access to the Internet. Few public Wi-Fi spots exist, and fast broadband connections require infrastructure that is rarely found in poorer urban areas, much less rural ones.

But that is changing fast. If the Jio network succeeds, Ambani will be able to capitalize on a seismic shift that could see hundreds of millions of Indians come online in the coming years -- in most cases via a smartphone.

For Fun - I guess.
I’m sure everyone has seen the Nightmare Before Christmas (by Tim Burton) as least once. This is a definitely creepy-weird, Lovecraftian sort of series of six videos - each is 3 to 5 min long.

Tim Burton’s The World of Stainboy: Watch the Complete Animated Series

In 2000, Burton extended Stain Boy’s adventures (and compressed his name into one word) with The World of Stainboy, a series of short animations commissioned for the Internet by “For some stories you have to wait for the right medium,” Burton said at the time. “I think (the Internet’s) the perfect forum to tell a sad little story like this one. Stainboy is a character that doesn’t do much. He’s just perfect for four-minute animations.”

Burton created a series of sketches, watercolors and pastel-accented gray-on-gray washes and brought them, along with a script and storyboards, to Flinch Studio for translation into Macromedia Flash animation. Twenty-six episodes were planned, but only six were completed. “Stainboy was an experiment in developing revenue streams for the Web,” writes Alison McMahan in The Films of Tim Burton: Animating Live Action in Contemporary Hollywood, “but it did not succeed, at least not financially.”

No comments:

Post a Comment