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John Fisher
Attended Swarthmore College
Lives in California
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John Fisher

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Half-million PI2's sold in two weeks. 1) thats 50X what I would have guessed, 2) there are a lot of hackers/makers/developers out there, 3) tiny companies can make and sell millions of products.
Summary:Within two weeks, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has shifted 500,000 of its new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B boards, helping make it the fasted selling British computer.
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interesting. no video of mid-air gesturing?
 
You've got to watch the movie art the end to appreciate all the uses for this $2 Microchip that adds gesture recognition to any device, eliminating the need for touchscreen, knobs and every other control surface, even mechanical buttons.
With the wave of a hand, Microchip's GestIC controls anything -- tablet to light bulb. Microchip claims its GestIC turns any device into a 3D mid-air gesture recognizer.
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Here in California we have a plan and bond funding for a slow, expensive, not green train to nowhere. Maybe that plan is so foolish and full of Central Valley pork, that this dreamy but sensible plan will take root. I hope so.
Way back in the summer of 2013, SpaceX's Elon Musk proposed a new transportation system that was equal parts awesome and insane: The Hyperloop. Unfortunately, that was the extent of Musk's involvement: He gave us his plans in the form of a 57-page white paper, and then told the world to go ahead and build it. Now, a group of 100-odd engineers have banded together to try and actually create a Hyperloop -- and they seem to be making pretty solid pr...
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oooh, can California be run by the Norwegians? Probably not so much fun as it sounds....
Most secessionist movements want independence. But a small group in Sardinia, the beautiful island off Italy’s coast has another idea for secession. Angered by a system they say has squandered economic potential and disenfranchised the ordinary citizen, they have had […]
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Is IoT like cell phone adoption - rapid in 3rd world and China due to infrastructure problems, or is it a toy for the 1rst world? Is such a big piece of China in the 1rst world now, that its going to adopt things more like the developed West? The argument seems weak in this article, but the idea is still persuasive.
The U.S. led the world in the PC revolution. Europe was where cell phones took off. So where will the wellspring of innovation and customer adoption take place for the Internet of Things?
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Cool tech, look for the animation and video.
 
Wind power has the potential to power the world 100 times over, yet only 5% of the world’s power comes from wind. Makani hopes to accelerate the shift to clean, renewable energy by developing energy kites, a new type of wind turbine. By building just the tip of a wind turbine blade (which makes most of the energy), we think it’s possible for Makani’s energy kite to generate 50% more energy while eliminating 90% of the materials used. And this could happen at half the cost of conventional wind turbines. Replacing tons of steel and concrete with smart software and advanced materials could dramatically change the calculus of wind power.

We’ve made a lot of progress since joining Google[x] last year—improving how we launch and land, how to fly in variable wind conditions, how to generate power more efficiently, and many other aspects of the system. Our new energy kite will reach higher, fly longer and generate 20 times more energy than earlier versions. We're moving from our proof of concept phase to a stage where we want to test ourselves against the "real world" challenges we'll face if we want to bring electricity to people.

So we’re hoping to start a pilot project next year on the island of Hawaii to test long-duration flights of our new energy kite for the first time, and to learn as much as much as possible—e.g. how much power we generate at different wind speeds and how to maintain the kite over long periods of time. 

Makani has a long history with Hawaii—our name is inspired by Hawaiian winds and we tested an early prototype of our kite there in 2008—and we’ve found a great site there with ideal wind conditions. We’re still in the early stages, but we hope that if the pilot project is successful, we’ll be a step closer to making clean energy more accessible.
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John Fisher

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Something new every day... the Pink Screen of Death. Running ( dying, really) on a PPC Mac Mini running an old Debian, hardware possibly 10 years old. We use these as legacy build machines.
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I don't know who to send this to, so sharing. An interesting useful idea, and I liked the pages of school groups using related tech to map local geography.
 
 OpenDroneMap, which previously would just create point clouds from drone images, now also produces:
* Meshes!
* Textured meshes!
* Georeferenced textured meshes
* Georeferenced orthophotos! 
What I want to do OpenDroneMap (http://opendronemap.github.io/odm/) is a tool to postprocess sma...
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Passive cooling using specific frequencies of IR:
Hard to retrofit, but interesting.
By reflecting sunlight and transmitting heat through the Earth's atmosphere, Stanford's passive radiator system can cool without any electricity
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Not my field, so this was all new to me. The test idea- play video games with AI - seems trivially obvious, but completely new to me, and elegant. Having a repeatable AI success may be commonplace today, but it was news to me.
 
The DeepMind system for playing Atari video games works by trying to maximize not only the immediate reward, but also the cumulative reward of future actions. But how does it do that? The article says, "This can be achieved by estimating the expected value of the next screen image using its current neural network." Not sure how exactly that would work, but it seems to be the key to making a neural network that works as a reinforcement learning system at the same time and is able to win at video games.
The reported results show that the system was able to master several games and play some of them better than a human player. This result can be seen as a step towards artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is really fascinating. Let us see in more detail how this was achieved. The Task ...
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Cute, but could be important.
 
Buddhist Singing Bowl Resonates with Light

Tibetan, or Buddhist singing bowls are a unique type of bell that, according to Wiki, are called standing bells.  These are bells that stand on one end and are vibrated by rubbing or striking the rim with a wrapped mallet.  They usually vibrate at the fundamental frequency of the bell with one or two overtones.  

Singing bowls (also known as Tibetan Singing Bowls, rin gongs, Himalayan bowls or suzu gongs) are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting, and the rim of singing bowls vibrates to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic).

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Singing_bowl&oldid=625328564

A young scientist from Australia was inspired by the singing bells to use their design in a new type of solar cell and wrote his PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge on that subject.  He has now done research on using this photonic resonance to increase the efficiency of solar panels. 

While the unique shape of Buddhist singing bowls is vital to the creation of their signature sound, a researcher from Australia National University (ANU) has used their design as the inspiration for a new breed of solar cells. In completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Dr Niraj Lal found that just as the bowls cause sound to resonate, miniaturized versions can be made to interact with light in much the same way, inspiring solar cells better able to capture sunlight.  ⓐ

Previous research has established that light behaves differently when working at the nanoscale. Downsizing his bowl-inspired cells to this level, Lal, now working at ANU, was able to demonstrate a device with the ability to capture significantly more light and convert it to electricity.  ⓐ

"Current standard solar panels lose a large amount of light-energy as it hits the surface, making the panels’ generation of electricity inefficient," says Niraj. "But if the cells are singing bowl-shaped, then the light bounces around inside the cell for longer."  ⓐ

This process is called plasmonic resonance and I first discussed this on my post about the Lycurgus cup.  That cup had the property of plasmatic resonance and looked green in reflection and red in transmission of light. 
The Lycurgus Cup, The Rest Of The Story  posted to Materials Science on G+ August 27, 2013
https://plus.google.com/117751903650439005786/posts/CPRuEMQqu68

"Current standard solar panels lose a large amount of light-energy as it hits the surface, making the panels’ generation of electricity inefficient," says Niraj. "But if the cells are singing bowl-shaped, then the light bounces around inside the cell for longer."  ⓐ

Niraj calls this process "plasmonic resonance"" and says his nanobowls perform at four times the efficiency of flat solar cells in the lab, which when made from single materials such as silicon have an efficiency of 25 percent.  ⓐ

Improvements have been made on flat, single structure solar cells by way of tandem devices that stack a number of cells on top of each other. With the cells made from different materials, each with their own light absorption properties, the device is able to catch a wider range of the solar spectrum, enhancing its overall efficiency.  ⓐ

Niraj and his team are now exploring ways that the nanobowl design can be incorporated into these tandem structures. "If we can make a solar cell that ‘sees’ more colors and keeps the right light in the right layers, then we could increase efficiency even further," he says   ⓐ

In research which will be published in the November issue ofIEEE Journal of Photonics, Niraj and his collegues have shown that by layering two different types of solar panels on top of each other in tandem, the efficiency of flat rooftop solar panels can achieve 30 per cent—currently, laboratory silicon solar panels convert only 25 per cent of light into electricity, while commercial varieties convert closer to 20 per cent.
http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/solarbowl


What makes this really interesting is that we have full access to the PhD thesis of Niraj Narsey Lal at the University of Cambridge.   If you are interested you can't get a more detailed explanation of this unique method of increasing solar panel efficiency that his thesis.  






ⓐ  Gizmag
Buddhist singing bowls could inspire highly efficient solar cells
http://www.gizmag.com/buddhist-singing-bowl-solar-cell/33794/

ⓑ  _Enhancing solar cells with plasmonic nanovoids_
https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/243864

Image: Figure 1.2 in the PhD Thesis of Dr Niraj Lal University of Cambridge 
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    2012
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