Sunday, January 27, 2013

open source equipment?

You should read the comments as well. I think economies of scale at some point make DIY a waste of time.  But perhaps what these guys have produced so far are simple enough to make them still worth while.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tiny apartments the new trend

"New Yorkers are famous for their teeny apartments, but a new trend in dwelling seeks to transform those tiny spaces into big assets. They're called "micro apartments," and they make a few hundred square feet feel like over a thousand.
Fold-away beds, moveable walls, and coffee tables that expand to seat 10 for dinner are just a few of the clever touches that transform these shoe boxes into veritable mini-mansions."

Our cabin in the Black Hills ghost town is about 400 square feet, plus an outhouse.  For one person I could imagine it's ok, but not for two.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Technology destroying jobs? It's happened throughout history

"To workers being pushed out of jobs by today's technology, history has a message: You're not the first.
From textile machines to the horseless carriage to email, technology has upended industries and wiped out jobs for centuries. It also has created millions of jobs, though usually not for the people who lost them.
'People suffer — their livelihoods, their skills and training are worth less,' says Joel Mokyr, a historian of technological change at Northwestern University. 'But that is the price we pay for progress.'"

off-the-grid homes around the world

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A better strategy for teaching?

"This report is a synthesis of ongoing research, design, and implementation of an approach to education called “connected learning.” It advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement.
This model is based on evidence that the most resilient, adaptive, and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support to overcome adversity and provide recognition.
This report investigates how we can use new media to foster the growth and sustenance of environments that support connected learning in a broad-based and equitable way. This report also offers a design and reform agenda, grounded in a rich understanding of child development and learning, to promote and test connected learning theories."

I like where this is going...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Health in U.S. WORSE than other developed countries

"The findings were stark. Deaths before age 50 accounted for about two-thirds of the difference in life expectancy between males in the United States and their counterparts in 16 other developed countries, and about one-third of the difference for females. The countries in the analysis included Canada, Japan, Australia, France, Germany and Spain.
The 378-page study by a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council is the first to systematically compare death rates and health measures for people of all ages, including American youths. It went further than other studies in documenting the full range of causes of death, from diseases to accidents to violence. It was based on a broad review of mortality and health studies and statistics.
The panel called the pattern of higher rates of disease and shorter lives' the U.S. health disadvantage' and said it was responsible for dragging the country to the bottom in terms of life expectancy over the past 30 years. American men ranked last in life expectancy among the 17 countries in the study, and American women ranked second to last."

Gee, I wonder what's different about other countries and us when it comes to health care?   Universal coverage, perhaps?

Friday, January 4, 2013

the end of keys?

"NFC interface and door locks only operate within a narrow bandwidth and have limited computing power. Consequently, scientists at the SIT have equipped ShareKey with particularly resource-efficient communication protocols. Further, electronic keys are reliably protected on the smartphone from malware and unauthorized access.

This is achieved by leveraging advanced technologies which keep sensitive data on the smartphone separate from other data and apps lik Fraunhofer’s BizzTrust.

Communication between the mobile phone and a central server is protected by established security protocols.

'And even if this communication is hacked into, it’s impossible for unauthorized people to gain access to the digital key. This is because opening the door requires information contained both in the encrypted token sent to the user and in the app installed on their smartphone,' Dmitrienko said."

I don't see any downside except if your smart phone battery goes dead.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013