Siftables: Cool Little Interactive Computers…..

•February 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Vodpod videos no longer available.

An MIT Grad student presents some really neat little computer “tiles” that sense each other and can be stacked and combined to tell stories, play music, and show pictures.


Cognitive Computing Project……

•February 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment has this article about a project to reverse engineer the cognitive functions of the human brain.

These Hackers have a sense of humor…..

•February 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Apparently, anything can be hacked:

zombies_ahead_610x479This is a road construction warning sign in the Boston area that was altered by someone with a little too much free time, and a working knowledge of the communication system of one of these signs.  Or, maybe they just went to for advice.

Geographic Information Systems…..

•February 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

For my team’s Technology Briefing, we proposed to cover the Applications of GIS with regard to Oil Exploration.  In light of that decision, I decided to look for information to education myself on the subject of GIS.  From the website:  “GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.  A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.  GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.  A GIS is most often associated with a map.  A map, however, is only one way you can work with geographic data in a GIS, and only one type of product generated by a GIS.  A GIS can provide a great deal more problem-solving capabilities than using a simple mapping program or adding data to an online mapping tool.”

GIS is a rapidly developing technology which combines mapping applications, computer modeling, and geographic data to greatly enhance our ability to understand the world in which we live.  It allows us to better map quanities, changes, densities, shifts, etc., in both populations and the geography of our world.

Satellite Image of Houston
Satellite Image of Houston

The capabilities of GIS are a far cry from the simple beginnings of computer cartography. At the simplest level, GIS can be thought of as a high-tech equivalent of a map. However, not only can paper maps be produced far quicker and more efficiently, the storage of data in an easily accessible digital format enables complex analysis and modeling not previously possible. The reach of GIS expands into all disciplines and has been used for such widely ranged problems as prioritizing sensitive species habitat to determining optimal real estate locations for new businesses.

The key word to this technology is Geography – this usually means that the data (or at least some proportion of the data) is spatial, in other words, data that is in some way referenced to locations on the earth. Coupled with this data is usually tabular data known as attribute data.  Attribute data generally defined as additional information about each of the features, which can then be tied to spatial data.  An example of this would be schools. The actual location of the schools is the spatial data.  Additional data such as the school name, level of education taught, school capacity would make up the attribute data.  It is the partnership of these two data types that enables GIS to be such an effective problem solving tool through spatial analysis.

For more information:,, OpenStreetMap, and of course Google Earth.

TED: Good Statistics Talk……

•February 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is a facinating presentation, and the software used makes it very easily understood.

Merciless robots will fight future wars…..

•February 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So, maybe the guys at TED aren’t so optimistic, after all…….

Single Atom Quantum Dots Bring Real Devices Closer…….

•February 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

From “atomicquantuFour atomic quantum dots are coupled to form a “cell” for containing electrons. The cell is filled with just two electrons. Control charges are placed along a diagonal to direct the two electrons to reside at just two of the four quantum dots comprising the cell. This new level of control of electrons points to new computation schemes that require extremely low power to operate. Such a device is expected to require about 1,000 times less power and will be about 1,000 times smaller than today’s transistors.”

This article explains the development of new computer technology that uses material 2-10 nanometers wide to store information.