Archive | September 2012

John Hockenberry: We are all designers

Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue — and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

The Power To Act: A new angle on our toughest problems

In the next video from RSA we are invited to look with new angle on our problems.

More information is found on the on the event page:

From caring for an ageing population and tackling unemployment, to preventing climate change and promoting social mobility, it seems we have lost faith in our collective ability to tackle important social challenges. We have become disillusioned by the absence of substantial progress on these and so many other issues, and polls shows our faith in politicians is at a record low. Where do we go from here?

RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor argues that there is a fundamental imbalance in the major forces of power which drive progress in the modern world. Until we understand and start to address this power deficit, we will only tinker around the margins of issues which impact deeply on our lives and which belie the values we hold.

Connected, but alone?

Here is an interesting talk from TED trying to answer the question whether technology connects us .

More information about the speaker of this video – Sherry Turkle, is found at her speaker page :

Since her pathbreaking The Second Self: Computers and The Human Spirit in 1984 psychologist and sociologist Sherry Turkle has been studying how technology changes not only what we do but who we are. In 1995’s Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, Turkle explored how the Internet provided new possibilities for exploring identity.

More information about this video :

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

“What technology makes easy is not always what nurtures the human spirit.”
Sherry Turkle

Why Creativity is the New Economy

In the next video from RSA, Dr Richard Florida will show us the link between creativity and economy.

From it’s wikipedia page we find out more about the author of this video:

Richard Florida (born 1957 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American urban studies theorist. Florida’s focus is on social and economic theory. He is currently a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

More information about this video is found on the on the event page:

Dr Richard Florida, one of the world’s leading experts on economic competitiveness, demographic trends and cultural and technological innovation shows how developing the full human and creative capabilities of each individual, combined with institutional supports such as commercial innovation and new industry, will put us back on the path to economic and social prosperity.

Henry Markram builds a brain in a supercomputer

Can we build a realistic computer model of the human brain ?

This is the question that Henry Markram is trying to answer.

In the microscopic, yet-uncharted circuitry of the cortex, Henry Markram is perhaps the most ambitious — and our most promising — frontiersman. Backed by the extraordinary power of the IBM Blue Gene supercomputing architecture, which can perform hundreds of trillions of calculations per second, he’s using complex models to precisely simulate the neocortical column (and its tens of millions of neural connections) in 3D.

Though the aim of Blue Brain research is mainly biomedical, it has been edging up on some deep, contentious philosophical questions about the mind — “Can a robot think?” and “Can consciousness be reduced to mechanical components?” — the consequence of which Markram is well aware: Asked by Seed Magazine what a simulation of a full brain might do, he answered, “Everything. I mean everything” — with a grin.

Now, with a successful proof-of-concept for simulation in hand (the project’s first phase was completed in 2007), Markram is looking toward a future where brains might be modeled even down to the molecular and genetic level. Computing power marching rightward and up along the graph of Moore’s Law, Markram is sure to be at the forefront as answers to the mysteries of cognition emerge.

Further reading in GitHub

TED Blog

The open-source programming world has a lot to teach democracy, says Clay Shirky.

In this fascinating talk from TEDGlobal 2012, Shirky harkens back to the early days of the printing press. At the time, a group of “natural philosophers” (who would later adopt the term “scientists”) called the Invisible College realized that the press could offer a new way to share and debate their work. However, because printing books would be far too slow for this purpose, they came up with a new invention — the scientific journal.

So what does this mean for us today?

Shirky explains, “If I had to pick a group that I think is our Invisible College — our generation’s collection of people trying to take new tools and press them into the service of, not more arguments, but better arguments — I’d pick the open-source programmers.”

Shirky explains a fact that any programmer…

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Is Facebook Changing Our Identity?

How is Facebook changing us ?

The next video from PBS Idea Channel dives into this.

Good old Facebook. With 955,000,000 worldwide users, it seems like just about everyone makes use of the social media giant to connect with friends, share photos, and update everyone they’ve ever met since grade school about their dinner plans. But what you may not realize is that Facebook’s new timeline layout is enhancing the ability to construct our self-identity by super-charging our memory. Philosophers have been arguing about the link between identity and memory since John Locke first proposed the idea in the 17th Century, but human memory has always been deeply flawed and limited. Now with Facebook’s incredibly easy interface and ability to remember anything and everyone we want, people have a whole new way to understand their past and thus understand themselves!

WD Red NAS Hard Drives

Here is a video about Western Digital’s Ultimate Solution for RAID Storage – WD RED NAS Hard Drives from NCIX Tech Tips.

Some of its features are :

  • No other drive is designed specifically for home and small office NAS systems.
  • Exclusive WD technology, NASware™, makes WD Red thrive in the demanding small-NAS environment.
  • Energy efficient and money-saving

Some features of WD’s exclusive NASware technology are :

  • Streaming support – NASware provides built-in compatibility with the ATA Streaming Feature Set which is important for AV storage applications such as Windows Media Center.
  • SMART Command Transport (SCT) support – NASware allows monitoring and measuring of drive performance via the SMART command set. SMART can return data like thermal profiles, drive access statistics and more. NASware also delivers temperature accuracy within 1°C.
  • Power management support – Enables optimized power usage within the NAS system.
  • BIC Performance – Optimized seek to provide BIC performance while reducing the power and acoustics.
  • Intelligent error recovery

How to Face the Digital Future Without Fear

Here is an interesting video from RSA about our digital future.
In the event page from RSA we find out more about this video :

It is impossible to separate the digital world from the one that we now live in. The internet affects every aspect of our lives – our society, our culture, our economy and our politics – and we all need to know how it works, what it can do, and what it will do in the future.

Editor-at-Large for ‘Wired’ magazine, David Cameron’s ambassador to Tech City and guru of the digital age
Ben Hammersley
visits the RSA to demystify the internet, decode cyberspace, and guide us through the innovations of the incredible revolution we are all living through.