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From: axial3/12/2012 7:46:43 AM
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Competing Visions of a Computer-Controlled Future

Computers dominate how we live, work and think. For some, the technology is a boon and promises even better things to come. But others warn that there could be bizarre consequences and that humans may be on the losing end of progress.

'In his book "The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future," American computer scientist Martin Ford paints a grim picture. He argues that the power of computers is growing so quickly that they will be capable of operating with absolutely no human involvement at some point in the future. Ford believes that 75-percent unemployment is a possibility before the end of the century. "Economic progress ultimately signifies the ability to produce things at a lower financial cost and with less labor than in the past," says Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. As a result, he says, increasing effectiveness goes hand in hand with rising unemployment, and the unemployed merely become "human waste."

Likewise, in their book "Race Against the Machine," Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, both scholars at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argue that, for the first time in its history, technological progress is creating more jobs for computers than for people.

[...]

Winners and Losers

A British government study on the future of computerized trading concludes that the financial markets are on the verge of radical change and predicts that the number of traders will drastically decline over the next decade. "The simple fact is that we humans are made from hardware that is just too bandwidth-limited, and too slow, to compete with coming waves of computer technology," the study says. As long ago as 1965, Gordon Moore, who would later go on to cofound Intel, predicted that the performance and component density of processors would rapidly develop. Over the last four decades, the number of transistors in a processor has doubled about once every 18 to 24 months, resulting in rapid changes in processing speed. The maximum computing speed of the first microchip was 740 kilohertz compared with the standard speed of about 3 gigahertz today, representing a more than 4,000-fold increase.

While this leads to the creation of new jobs in the digital economy, jobs in traditional industries are being cut. Granted, up to 6 million new IT jobs are expected between 2010 and 2014. But Foxconn, a Taiwan-based manufacturer to which IT companies outsource much of their production, plans to purchase a million robots over the next three years to replace some of its more than million employees.

It's a paradox. On the one hand, digitization increases growth and prosperity. On the other, write MIT scholars Brynjolfsson and McAfee, "There is no economic law that says that everyone, or even most people, automatically benefit from technological progress." '

More: spiegel.de

Jim

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From: axial3/12/2012 9:59:16 AM
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Balanced view, critical thinking: The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness - An Interview with Judith Curry

' OP. There has been quite a bit of talk recently on geo-engineering with entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson pushing for a “plan B” which utilizes geo-engineering to manipulate the environment in order to cool the atmosphere.

Geo-engineering could be much cheaper than reducing emissions, and also much quicker to produce results and scientists are lobbying governments and international organizations for funds to experiment with various approaches, such as fertilizing the oceans or spraying reflective particles and chemicals into the upper atmosphere in order to reflect sunlight and heat back into space. What are your thoughts on geo-engineering? Is it a realistic solution to solving climate change or is it a possible red herring?

JC:With regards to geo-engineering, there are two major concerns. The first is whether the technologies will actually work, in terms of having the anticipated impact on the climate. The second is the possibility of unintended consequences of the geoengineering.

[...]

OP. Would renewable energy technologies have received the massive amounts of funding we have seen over the last few years without global warming concerns?

JC:I think there are other issues that are driving the interest and funding in renewables, including clean air and energy security issues and economics, but I agree that global warming concerns have probably provided a big boost.'

More: oilprice.com

See also: judithcurry.com

Jim

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From: axial3/12/2012 4:21:15 PM
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Digital Realty: Data Center Demand Is Smokin’ Hot

'Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR, news, filings) released the results of its survey of North American demand for data centers, revealing just how broad-based and unidirectional the sector’s expansion is right now. Ninety two percent said they will definitely or probably expand this year, while just four percent said they have no such plans. That’s up from last year, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s not going to go up next year — you can’t get more than 92% of respondents to consistently agree they like free money.'

telecomramblings.com

Jim

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From: axial3/12/2012 11:57:56 PM
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Ninety years ago this month a young Russian scientist and inventor, Leon Theremin, was summoned to the Kremlin to meet Lenin. It was the start of an incredible journey that laid the foundations for modern electronic music.

Leon Theremin: The man and the music machine

'In the US, the Theremin had been revived by Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Its eerie sound was used in films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound and sci-fi classics, such as The Day the Earth Stood Still. A young Robert Moog, who went on to become a synthesizer pioneer, began making and selling Theremins. He later wrote that it was a "vital cornerstone of our contemporary music technology". In the 1960s its sound made its way into popular music, most notably in the Beach Boys' song Good Vibrations.

Glinsky says Theremin knew little of what had happened to his most famous invention in the US until shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union when he was able to go abroad again. The author met Theremin on his trip to the US in 1991. "He was honoured not only in New York, but he was brought out to Stanford University. I'm sure deep inside he was very grateful to be recognised by people who knew the worth of what he'd [d]one."

bbc.co.uk

Jim

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From: axial3/13/2012 12:27:21 AM
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Startup Aims to Cut the Cost of Solar Cells in Half

A new process uses a high-energy ion accelerator to make thin silicon solar cells.

'The conventional way to make the crystalline silicon wafers—which account for the bulk of solar cells—involves cutting blocks or cylinders of silicon into 200-micrometer-thick wafers, a process that turns about half of the silicon into waste. The industry uses 200-micrometer wafers because wafers much thinner than that are brittle and tend to break on the manufacturing line. But in theory, they could be as thin as 20 to 30 micrometers and still be just as efficient, or more efficient, at converting sunlight into electricity.

Flexible power: Twin Creeks’s 20-micrometer-thick metal-coated silicon wafers are flexible and strong.

Accelerating solar power: Twin Creeks’s Hyperion 3 is an ion accelerator that bombards plates of silicon with hydrogen ions to produce very thin solar wafers for solar cells. The silicon plates are arranged around the outside of the spoke structure, which spins as the wafers are hit with ions. (Twin Creeks)


Twin Creeks's process makes 20-micrometer-thick wafers largely without waste. It involves applying a thin layer of metal that makes them durable enough to survive conventional solar-cell processing equipment. Sivaram says that by greatly reducing the use of wire saws and related equipment and making thinner wafers, Twin Creeks reduces the amount of silicon needed by 90 percent and also greatly reduces capital costs. He says the technology can be added to existing production lines. The company's primary plan is to sell manufacturing equipment, rather than produce solar cells. "I expect that by this time next year, we'll have a half a dozen to a dozen of these tools in the field," he says.'

technologyreview.com

Jim

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From: axial3/13/2012 12:35:22 AM
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Where Will T-Mobile Bring LTE First?

' T-Mobile USA is working hard this year to prep for Long Term Evolution (LTE). While it hasn't outlined its deployment plan, a look at its assets and its past provides some clues as to where it may go first. As part of its breakup fee from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile received a large packet of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in 128 cellular markets, including 12 of the top 20 markets. Those 12 were Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle. (See T-Mobile Gets Spectrum in AT&T Breakup.)

Looking at these markets provides the most logical starting point, with a special nod to Dallas, given how entrenched T-Mobile's competitors and vendors are there.'

lightreading.com;

Jim

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From: axial3/13/2012 6:43:25 AM
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Level 3 protests Verizon, AT&T "lock-up" data connection deals

' This plea sheds light on the extent of Level 3's complex involvement in Internet services. Every Level 3 watcher knows that the company signed on to do video data transmission for Netflix, then wound up in a huge fight with Comcast, accusing the cable of giant of jacking up access charges to its subscribers. Comcast insists that the fight is really just a peering/transit disagreement, in which two huge data carriers disagree about the general terms for network interconnection. The issue is by no means resolved. Level 3 has agreed to Comcast's terms "under protest," the company's latest Security and Exchange Commission statement says. "Our dispute with Comcast has not yet been resolved" and, "at present, we cannot predict the outcome of these IP interconnection disputes." '

arstechnica.com

Jim

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To: axial who wrote (40614)3/13/2012 11:15:14 AM
From: Peter Ecclesine
   of 44291
 
mopping up the orbital waves


http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=06059486

Not a very interesting, new or practical technology.

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From: ftth3/14/2012 12:06:35 AM
1 Recommendation   of 44291
 
3D printer prints sand grain-size cathedral at record speed

A racecar printed at the Vienna University of Technology that's about 1/1000 the width of a human hair.



full article:
msnbc.msn.com

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From: axial3/14/2012 6:21:11 AM
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After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses

'In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age — and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools. The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.

“It’s a rite of passage in this new era,” Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a company based in Chicago, said in an interview. “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.'

mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com

Jim

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