Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Neil Gershenfeld

Ultimately, rather than relying on a printer to place droplets of material, the logic for assembling an object will be built into the materials themselves. This is exactly how our bodies are made; a molecular machine called the ribosome translates instructions from genes into the series of steps required to assemble all of the proteins in our bodies out of the twenty amino acids. The discovery of building with logic is actually a few billion years old; it’s fundamental to the emergence of life. Current research is now seeking to do the same with functional materials, creating a fundamentally digital fabrication process based on programming the assembly of microscopic building blocks. This mechanism will be embodied in personal fabricators fed by such structured materials. Much as a machine today might need supplies of air, water, and electricity, a digital personal fabricator will use as raw feedstocks streams of conductors, semiconductors, and insulators.
Unlike machines of today, though, but just like a child’s building blocks, personal fabricators will also be able to disassemble something and sort its constituents, because the assembled objects are constructed from a fixed set of parts. The inverse of digital fabrication is digital recycling. An object built with digital materials can contain enough information to describe its construction, and hence its deconstruction, so that an assembler can run in reverse to take it apart and reuse its raw materials. We’re now on the threshold of a digital revolution in fabrication. The earlier revolutions in digitizing communications and computation allowed equipment made from unreliable components to reliably send messages and perform computations; the digitization of fabrication will allow perfect macroscopic objects to be made out of imperfect microscopic components, by correcting errors in the assembly of their constituents.
Return now to the mainframe analogy. The essential step between mainframes and PCs was minicomputers, and a similar sequence is happening along the way to personal fabrication. It’s possible to approximate the end point of that evolution today with a few thousand dollars of equipment on a desktop, because engineering in space and time has become cheap.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


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Robert L. Glass

  1. The most important factor in software work is the quality of the programmers.
  2. The best programmers are up to 28 times better than the worst programmers.
  3. Adding people to a late project makes it later.
  4. The working environment has a profound impact on productivity and quality.
  5. Hype (about tools and techniques) is the plague on the house of software.
  6. New tools/techniques cause an initial loss of productivity/quality.
  7. Software developers talk a lot about tools, but seldom use them.
  8. One of the two most common causes of runaway projects is poor estimation.
  9. Software estimation usually occurs at the wrong time.
  10. Software estimation is usually done by the wrong people.
  11. Software estimates are rarely corrected as the project proceeds.
  12. It is not surprising that software estimates are bad. But we live by them anyway.
  13. There is a disconnect between software management and their programmers.
  14. The answer to a feasibility study is almost always "yes".
  15. Reuse-in-the-small is a well-solved problem.
  16. Reuse-in-the-large remains a mostly unsolved problem.
  17. Reuse-in-the-large works best for families of related systems.
  18. Reusable components are three times as hard to build, and should be tried out in three settings.
  19. Modification of reused code is particularly error-prone.
  20. Design pattern reuse is one solution to the problems of code reuse.
  21. 25 percent increase in problem complexity is a 100 percent increase in solution complexity.
  22. 80 percent of software work is intellectual. A fair amount of it is creative. Little of it is clerical.
  23. One of the two most common causes of runaway projects is unstable requirements.
  24. Requirements errors are the most expensive to fix during production.
  25. Missing requirements are the hardest requirements errors to correct.
  26. Explicit requirements "explode" as implicit (design) requirements for a solution evolve.
  27. There is seldom one best design solution to a software problem.
  28. Design is a complex, iterative process. Initial design solutions are usually wrong, and not optimal.
  29. Designer "primitives" (solutions they can readily code) rarely match programmer "primitives".
  30. COBOL is a very bad language, but all the others (for business applications) are so much worse.
  31. Error-removal is the most time-consuming phase of the life cycle.
  32. Software is usually tested at best at the 55-60 percent (branch) coverage level.
  33. 100 percent coverage is still far from enough.
  34. Test tools are essential, but many are rarely used.
  35. Test automation rarely is. Most testing activities cannot be automated.
  36. Programmer-created, built-in, debug code is an important supplement to testing tools.
  37. Rigorous inspections can remove up to 90 percent of errors before the first test case is run.
  38. But rigorous inspections should not replace testing.
  39. Post-delivery reviews (some call them "retrospectives" ) are important, and seldom performed.
  40. Reviews are both technical and sociological, and both factors must be accommodated.
  41. Maintenance (most important phase) consumes 40-80 percent of software costs.
  42. Enhancements represent roughly 60 percent of maintenance costs.
  43. Maintenance is a solution, not a problem.
  44. Understanding the existing product is the most difficult task of maintenance.
  45. Better methods lead to MORE maintenance, not less.
  46. Quality IS: a collection of attributes.
  47. Quality is NOT: user satisfaction, meeting requirements, achieving cost/schedule, or reliability.
  48. There are errors that most programmers tend to make.
  49. Errors tend to cluster.
  50. There is no single best approach to software error removal.
  51. Residual errors will always persist. The goal should be to minimize or eliminate severe errors.
  52. Efficiency stems more from good design than good coding.
  53. High-order-language code can be about 90 percent as efficient as comparable assembler code.
  54. There are tradeoffs between size and time optimization.
  55. Many researchers advocate rather than investigate.
  1. You can't manage what you can't measure.
  2. You can manage quality into a software product.
  3. Programming can and should be egoless.
  4. Tools and techniques: one size fits all.
  5. Software needs more methodologies.
  6. To estimate cost and schedule, first estimate lines of code.
  7. Random test input is a good way to optimize testing.
  8. "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow".
  9. The way to make product replacement decisions is to look at past cost data.
  10. You teach people how to program by showing them how to write programs.


福島第一原発事故をめぐっては、政府、国会、民間の事故調査委員会の報告に加え、「第一容疑者」が事件を捜査してみせるという奇怪な東電の事故調報告も含めて4つもの調査報告が公表された。だが、事故原因の核心はほとんど解明されていない。「予想を超える大津波が来て、全電源を失い、炉心の核燃料を冷却できず、炉心は融解落下し、原子炉は次々水素爆発を起こした」というのは、過酷事故を招いた当事者たちが責任逃れのために都合よくつくりあげた「筋書き」でしかない。4基の同時多発事故は、それぞれ独立に起きたのか、連鎖なのか。東電の初期対応は適切で、間違いや手抜かり、ミスはなかったのか。事故を拡大させた原因はどこにあるのか。メディア受けのするエピソード集めではなく、事故の推移、シークエンスを客観的に解き明かし、事の本質を公にするのが「事故調」の仕事のはずが、民間事故調にしても、東電の協力が得られなかったとして、「福島第一の11日間」ではなく「官邸の11日間」を取り上げるほかなかった。他の事故調に比べて格段に強い権限を持ち、当時の閣僚への公開聴取がメディアの注目を集めた国会事故調にしても、半ば「政治ショー」と化し、肝心なところでは要員退避計画の存在を否定する東電の「筋書き」にまんまと乗せられてしまった。事故調の中で事故解明のまっとうな意欲が最も感じられたのは政府事故調だが、「第一容疑者」である東電が、あらゆる記録データと物的証拠を、事故発生以来一貫して一手に管理し続けている状況では、解明にはおのずと限界が生じた。4つの事故調報告は、それぞれどこが違うのか? 違いはどこから生じたのか? それぞれの事故調査報告書のポイントを整理し、設立事情にまで遡って、その主張と問題点を読み比べる。


This year, ...
The Commerce Department will investigate the feasibility of a bicycle share program. The Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency will redraw planting zone maps. The Department of Defense will scale down its fleet of gas-guzzling Humvees.

These are all examples of steps federal agencies will take in 2013 in an effort to deal with the risks of future climate change. The Obama administration released its first climate change adaptation plans, as part of the annual sustainability reports.

Bob Grumman

Jane Hirshfield

in the world
is usual today.
This is
the first morning.
Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.
Even though
these pine trees
keep their original color,
everything green
is different in spring.
Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I’d have no regret.
I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.


Years ago, I fell in love with Izumi Shikibu’s poetry. I am not the kind of guy who falls in love with poets. Most poetry, to me, is like modern art. I’m glad it exists, but I don’t need it in my house.
Shikibu was different from the first five lines I read. I fell for her, completely. She was fast and sexy, delicate and direct at the same time. …and she wrote over a thousand years ago. I still have my first copy of The Ink Dark Moon, from more than 20 years ago, which came before all those others I gave as gifts to anyone I thought would read it.
Even so, I haven’t read her stuff in a long while. I don’t think about obscure Japanese court poetry all that much.
Then, up she pops, completely unexpectedly, in an RSS feed, and she knocks the breath from my chest all over again.
Even if I now saw you
Only once,
I would long for you
Through worlds,

      - Izumi Shikibu (c.974)

和泉式部 (Izumi Shikibu)

at this last moment
of my life
ardently what I wish
is to see you
to see you once more
in this world
love has no color
yet how deeply
my body
is stained by yours

Monday, February 11, 2013

Issey Miyake

Tom Mueller

Eucharia Uche, Silvia Neid, Pia Sundhage, Hope Powell, Norio Sasaki, Ryuji Sonoda

FemaleCoach1 FemaleCoach2 FemaleCoach3 FemaleCoach4 malecoach3 malecoach2

Oscar Wilde

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Kenneth Roth

Collier’s primary conclusion: democracy, in the superficial, election-focused form that tends to prevail in these countries, has increased political violence instead of reducing it. Without rules, traditions, and checks and balances to protect minorities, distribute resources fairly and subject officials to the law, these governments lack the accountability and legitimacy to discourage rebellion. The quest for power becomes a life-and-death struggle in which the contestants are driven to extremes.
Collier’s data show that before an election, warring parties may channel their antagonisms into politics, but that violence tends to flare up once the voting is over. What’s more, when elections are won by threats, bribery, fraud and bloodshed, such so-called democracies tend to promote bad governance, since the policies needed to retain power are quite different from those needed to serve the common good.
Collier is better at responding to the objection that he is advocating interference in other nations’ internal affairs. Many of the governments of the bottom billion, made sensitive by their colonial heritages, reject any international pressure as an affront to their sovereignty. But as Collier points out, these governments typically do not really have national sovereignty, since they have yet to develop a national identity or national institutions. They have only presidential sovereignty — hardly the same thing, and hardly worth defending.
These days no self-respecting government wants to present itself on the world stage without the legitimacy of a democratic mantle. Elections are now de rigueur, even if many a despot rejects the idea of actually abiding by voter preferences. The result is an embrace of “democracy” by such authoritarian leaders as Vladimir Putin of Russia, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, Umaru Yar’Adua of Nigeria and Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. They all have used some combination of violence, fraud and repression to ensure that elections do not threaten their grasp on power.

Paul Collier

  • To date, democracy in the societies of the bottom billion has increased political violence instead of reducing it.
  • Democracy had the opposite effect in poor countries to that in rich countries.
  • A high-income society that featured democracy was found to be safer, while a low-income society that featured democracy was found to be more “dangerous”, in this instance meaning more “assassinations, riots, political strikes, and guerrilla activity”, as well as the possibility of a full-fledged civil war.
  • Let me be clear: we cannot rescue them. The societies of the bottom billion can only be rescued from within. In every society of the bottom billion there are people working for change, but usually they are defeated by the powerful internal forces stacked against them.
  • Suppose a country starts its independence with the three economic characteristics that globally make a country prone to civil war: low income, slow growth, and dependence upon primary commodity exports. It is playing Russian roulette. That is not just an idle metaphor: the risk that a country in the bottom billion falls into civil war in any five-year period is nearly one in six, the same risk facing a player of Russian roulette.
  • Persuading everyone to behave decently to each other because the society is so fragile is a worthy goal, but it may be more straightforward just to make the societies less fragile, which means developing their economies.

Luca Ferrini

A remarkable degree of concern has been expressed about levels of voter turnout in established democracies in recent decades.
We should not be alarmist and exaggerated in describing the general trend in declining turnout across established democracies. As has been noticed, historical and institutional factors partly influence voting behaviour, yet, political participation continues to evolve into new and more specific forms, and it is very unlikely that citizens will abandon their power to influence political outcomes. At the same time, the persistence of the phenomenon over time should not be underestimated, particularly if we consider that cultural and sociological behaviour tend to constantly change, only at a very slow rate. Though, declining turnout in the past forty years could be seen, pessimistically, as the beginning of a long-term deepening tendency.

Declining turnout in 19 old democracies. (OECD)


Pippa Norris

After World War II, post-industrial societies developed unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security, with rising standards of living fuelled by steady economic growth, despite occasional cyclical downturns. Governments in these societies expanded the role of the welfare state to provide greater social protection for the worst-off citizens; more recently, contracting out services to the non-profit and private sectors, under state regulation. In conditions of greater security, Inglehart theorizes, public concern about the material issues of unemployment, healthcare, and housing no longer takes top priority. Instead in postindustrial societies the public has given increasingly high priority to quality of life issues, individual autonomy and self-expression, the need for environmental protection. Dalton theorizes that this process has given rise to a new form of citizen politics, making greater demands for direct participation in the policy-making process through activities such as petitions, protests and demonstrations.
Most importantly, the traditional party-voter loyalties, and the social identities upon which these are founded, can be expected to erode in postindustrial societies, to be replaced by more contingent patterns of party support based upon particular leaders, issues and events.

Colin Hay

If we understood politics rather better, we would expect less of it. Consequently, we would be surprised and dismayed rather less often by its repeated failures to live up to our over-inflated and unrealistic expectations. We would, in turn, be better placed to set for ourselves political ambitions that we had some chance of achieving. This may well be true, but such a rational recalibration of our expectations might also lead us to lose our sense of political ambition, animation and engagement. Indeed, does that not describe the contemporary political condition rather well?
If politics is not all what it was once cracked up to be, then we should not lose sight of the fact that for many it has never lived up to its billing and has always been rather less than it was cracked up to be. Indeed, as we shall see, a crucial factor in the development of contemporary political disaffection has been the growing political influence of those for whom politics is, at best, a necessary evil.

Walter Pincus

When it comes to corruption in Afghanistan, the time may be now for the United States to look in the mirror and see what lessons can be learned from contracting out parts of that war.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the corruption wracking his government and its people has been at a level “not ever before seen in Afghanistan.”
In the 1980s, when the Soviets ran the country, the government was “not even 5 percent as corrupt,” Karzai said.
“The Soviets didn’t give contracts to the relatives, brothers and the kin of the influential and high ups,” he said. “The Americans did, and they continue to do, but we get blamed for it.”
It’s easy to disregard what Karzai told CBS. He has often blamed the United States and its allies for corrupting his country and certainly will again. And his complaint about U.S. contracts going to relatives of influential Afghans rings hollow when you go down the list that includes many members of his own family as well as cabinet ministers.
But the record shows Karzai has a point with which others agree.
“It is time that we as Americans — in government, in the media, and as analysts and academics — took a hard look at the causes of corruption in Afghanistan. The fact is that we are at least as much to blame for what has happened as the Afghans, and we have been grindingly slow to either admit our efforts or correct them.”
That was written in September 2010 by Anthony H. Cordesman, national security expert and a former Reagan Pentagon official, in a Center for Strategic and International Studies report, “How America Corrupted Afghanistan.”

UN News Center

The total cost of corruption in Afghanistan has significantly increased over the past three years to $3.9 billion, according to a United Nations survey released today, which says that in spite of fewer people paying bribes, the practice is still having detrimental effects due to its frequency.
In 2012, half of Afghan citizens paid a bribe while requesting a public service and nearly 30 per cent of them paid a bribe for a private sector service.
The bribes that Afghan citizens paid in 2012 equals double Afghanistan’s domestic revenue or one fourth of the Tokyo pledge.
Afghans know that corruption is eating at the fabric of their society. The solution is not only to be found within the Government but also within the wider community.



Nick Squires

In Roman mythology, the bough was a tree branch with golden leaves that enabled the Trojan hero Aeneas to travel through the underworld safely.
They discovered the remains while excavating religious sanctuary built in honour of the goddess Diana near an ancient volcanic lake in the Alban Hills, 20 miles south of Rome.
They believe the enclosure protected a huge Cypress or oak tree which was sacred to the Latins, a powerful tribe which ruled the region before the rise of the Roman Empire.
The tree was central to the myth of Aeneas, who was told by a spirit to pluck a branch bearing golden leaves to protect himself when he ventured into Hades to seek counsel from his dead father.
In a second, more historically credible legend, the Latins believed it symbolised the power of their priest-king.
Anyone who broke off a branch, even a fugitive slave, could then challenge the king in a fight to the death. If the king was killed in the battle, the challenger assumed his position as the tribe's leader.

The discovery was made near the town of Nemi by a team led by Filippo Coarelli, a recently retired professor of archaeology at Perugia University. After months of excavations in the volcanic soil, they unearthed the remains of a stone enclosure. Shards of pottery surrounding the site date it to the mid to late Bronze Age, between the 12th and 13th centuries BC.

Joseph Mallor William Turner

James George Frazer

If in the present work I have dwelt at some length on the worship of trees, it is not, I trust, because I exaggerate its importance in the history of religion, still less because I would deduce from it a whole system of mythology; it is simply because I could not ignore the subject in attempting to explain the significance of a priest who bore the title of King of the Wood, and one of whose titles to office was the plucking of a bough—the Golden Bough—from a tree in the sacred grove. But I am so far from regarding the reverence for trees as of supreme importance for the evolution of religion that I consider it to have been altogether subordinate to other factors, and in particular to the fear of the human dead, which, on the whole, I believe to have been probably the most powerful force in the making of primitive religion. I hope that after this explicit disclaimer I shall no longer be taxed with embracing a system of mythology which I look upon not merely as false but as preposterous and absurd.

Assocuated Press

The attack in Potiskum, a town in Yobe State, comes after gunmen killed at least nine women who were administering polio vaccines in Kano, the major city in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north.
The assailants killed doctors inside their home. The doctors had no security guards at their residence and typically traveled around the city without a police escort.
Initially, doctors at the hospital who worked with the three men identified them as being from South Korea, while the police said they were from China. But the three men were from North Korea and had lived in the state since 2005 as part of a medical program between Yobe State and the North Korean government. More than a dozen other North Korean doctors work in the state under the program, which also includes engineers. He said all the North Koreans would receive immediate protection from the security forces.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, though suspicion fell on the Islamist sect Boko Haram. Members of the sect, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege,” have been attacking government buildings and security forces over the past year and a half.
In 2012 alone, the group was blamed for killing at least 792 people.

Press TV

Saudi activists staged a rally to renew a call for the release of people held in prison without charges.
At least five people were reportedly arrested during the demonstration, which came amid tight security despite the monarchy’s strict ban on gatherings.
A similar protest was held by mainly the female relatives of the Saudi detainees in the city of Buraidah, north of Riyadh.
Many of the prisoners in Saudi jails are held without charges or trial for up to 15 years.
Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province.
The demonstrations turned into protests against the Al Saud regime after November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Larry Greenemeier

The U.S. wants back into the manufacturing game, but the industry has had to weigh this desire to create new jobs and stimulate the economy against the reality of competing against lower operating costs elsewhere in the world. Whereas traditional assembly-line work may never return stateside in a big way, manufacturers and government agencies have begun placing bets on additive manufacturing technologies—including 3-D printing—that they believe could represent the industry’s future.
Additive manufacturing processes create 3-D objects based on a computer file by sequentially depositing thin layers of liquid or powdered metals, polymers or other materials on a substrate. Three-dimensional printing is either synonymous with or a subcategory of additive manufacturing, depending on whom you ask. There are significant differences between the two, however. There are 3-D printers now available for as little as $500, but they produce relatively low-quality objects, suitable as toys, jewelry and other novelties. Industrial additive machines, in contrast, cost at least $30,000—and the laser-based units that make high-quality metal products can cost as much as $1 million.
Of course, additive processes and materials are not nearly mature enough to sustain an entire industry. Layer-by-layer printing of items is simply not possible today at the speed and scale required to replace casting, molding, machining and other traditional manufacturing methods.
The greatest successes in additive manufacturing are taking place in the biomedical industry, particularly in the making of implants that take advantage of the technology’s design flexibility to match a patient’s particular needs, such as a customized hip implant.

Sophie Pitman

10 things that I will never understand about the USA
  1. Their love of convenient food
  2. Adverts adverts, everywhere.
  3. How can public transport be so bad?
  4. Where do they get real news from?
  5. How can they be so positive, all the time?
  6. I need to tip how much?!
  7. Their need for convenience
  8. Their unfailing interest in my accent
  9. Their accents
  10. Size

Your Engagement 101

10 Iconic Ways to Propose in New York
  1. Grand Central
  2. Empire State Building
  3. Staten Island Ferry
  4. Brooklyn Bridge
  5. Top of the Tower Restaurant
  6. Central Park
  7. The Cloisters
  8. New York Public Library
  9. The High Line
  10. The River Café

Glasgow Caledonian University

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) worked in partnership with colleagues at Maastricht University and Danish biomechanical firm AnyBody Technology to develop the pioneering human foot simulation.
The Glasgow/Maastricht Foot Model uses computer technology to model the many bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons which make up the human foot.
It will lead to the manufacture of better made and more efficient orthotic devices which should cut recovery times and reduce symptoms for the roughly 200 million Europeans who suffer from disabling foot and ankle conditions.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee, USA, is working with additive manufacturing (AM) equipment manufacturers and end users to revolutionize the way products are designed and built. ORNL research and development in this crucial field are enabling a wealth of opportunities for product customization, improved performance, multifunctionality, and lower overall manufacturing costs. Not only does additive manufacturing remove the traditional limits on part geometry, but highly complex components can also be fabricated faster while consuming less material and using less energy. Additive manufacturing also eliminates the need for expensive part tooling and detailed drawing packages, causing a paradigm shift for the design-to-manufacture process.

ORNL Additive Manufacturing Brochure


The Objet1000 is Objet’s wide format 3D printer for rapidly creating large industrial size models and 1:1 scale prototypes. Featuring an ultra-large build tray size of 1000 x 800 x 500mm, it enables designers, engineers and manufacturers to quickly and precisely prototype any 3D CAD design, no matter how complex or detailed.

Objet1000 Brochure