Mar 31, 2012


Cyborg for 2045

At the recent Global Future 2045 International Congress held in Moscow, 31-year-old media mogul Dmitry Itskov told attendees how he plans to create exactly that kind of immortality, first by creating a robot controlled by the human brain, then by actually transplanting a human brain into a humanoid robot, and then by replacing the surgical transplant with a method for simply uploading a person’s consciousness into a surrogate ‘bot. He thinks he can get beyond the first phase--to transplanting a working brain into a robot--in just ten years, putting him on course to achieve his ultimate goal--human consciousness completely disembodied and placed within a holographic host--within 30 years time.

Pushing aside all the extremely difficult technological challenges for a moment, there are a couple of important to considerations tied up in Itskov’s vision. First, while the later phases of his project are so far out as to seem ridiculous, phase one is totally feasible (in fact it’s already being done). From there, the leap to phase two--human brainpower transplanted into a mechanical robot--is a quite a leap. But if we are willing to allow that it might be possible even within the next 30 years, then we have to consider a further possibility: that many people alive today--like the twenty-something author of this piece--could be confronted with this kind of technology in their lifetimes.

Mar 30, 2012

What Pleasures You?


"Without pleasure man would live
like a fool and soon die."

- Pierre de Beaumarchais

Mar 29, 2012

Hot Diving

Interesting article at Popular Science regarding nuclear power plant diving.  It is also kind of neat that Cook Nuclear Plant was a central part of the story.  A few not quite accurate statements regarding nuclear safety risk, but overall not a bad article.

Click Here for the Story

Mar 28, 2012


Life: photo of the day 

" This is life! It can harden and it can exalt! "
- Henrik Ibsen

Mar 27, 2012

Knowledge Transfer...


The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still in print. It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland as three volumes. The encyclopaedia grew in size, and by its fourth edition (1801–1809) it had expanded to a well known 20-volume set. Its rising stature helped recruit eminent contributors, and the 9th edition (1875–1889) and the 11th edition (1911) are landmark encyclopaedias for scholarship and literary style. Beginning with the 11th edition, the Britannica shortened and simplified articles to broaden its North American market. In 1933, the Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to adopt "continuous revision", in which the encyclopaedia is continually reprinted and every article updated on a schedule.

While at the time there were more extensive volumes, this was the first attempt to provide instruction in natural sciences during the Scottish Enlightenment.

Mar 26, 2012


Snow World was designed specifically with burn patients in mind-- its icy river and comical snowmen are the furthest thing imaginable from fire.
For troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deepest physical pain often comes much later — weeks, or even months, after the incident. That was the case for Sam Brown, whose story appears in this month's GQ magazine.

Two researchers at the University of Washington's Medical Center in Seattle were working with burn patients who, like Brown, weren't responding to pain medication. One of those researchers is David Patterson.

"It takes a certain amount of attention to process pain," Patterson says. "If you are able to put that attention elsewhere, there is less attention to process pain, and consequently, people will feel less pain."

"So we created a world that was the antithesis of fire," Hoffman says. "The opposite of fire, a cool place snowmen, pleasant images, just about everything to keep them from thinking about fire."

They called it SnowWorld.

Click the link below to go to NPR for the audio story.


Mar 24, 2012

Serial Hunting

The average number of applications submitted per job opening in the U.S. fell to 118 in the fourth quarter, from 187 during the same period in 2010, according to new research from the Corporate Executive Board.

However, among those applicants, just 35% met the basic experience, education, and skills requirements listed for the position.

The study, which polled more than 215 recruiters, mostly at large companies, found that "serial applicants" -- job seekers who apply online to several positions in a single blast -- are one reason why the job-screening process continues to be so time consuming. Recruiters take 9.5 hours, on average, to screen resumes and applications submitted for a single job opening, the study found.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Mar 23, 2012

Do You Believe?

"You can succeed if nobody else believes it, but you will never succeed if you don't believe in yourself."

- William J.H. Boetcker

Mar 22, 2012

Angry Birds Space

I do not play, but I know it is hugely popular.  Space version debuts today.

Mar 21, 2012

Make Poverty History

The number of people in the world living in absolute poverty has fallen by more than half since the 1950s. At the current rate of decline it will reach zero by around 2035.

Groceries today cost 13 times less than 150 years ago in inflation-adjusted dollars.

In short, the standard of living has improved: 95% of Americans now living below the poverty line have not only electricity and running water but also Internet access, a refrigerator and a television.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Mar 20, 2012

Kickstarter: LowLine (NYC Underground Park)

I am a Kickstarter backer, have contributed to two projects so far, and this one makes three.  How cool, an underground park in NYC.  Love It!

Mar 19, 2012

Happiness & Morality

"He is in a sure state of happiness who has a sure prospect that in all parts of his existence he shall have all things he desires."

"All men of reflection, from the age of Socrates, have sufficiently proved that the truest, most constant, and lively pleasure, the happiest enjoyment of life, consists in kind affections to our fellow creatures."

- Frances Hutcheson

I am reading a book called "How the Scots Invented the Modern World", and this section really struck me.  This is how I try and live my life...

Mar 17, 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day :o)

Introverts Guide to Networking

I know that I am an introvert, but after I graduated college, quickly learned that I could not be that way at work.  I developed a work persona that is more outgoing.  I also learned that I had to keep my smart-ass bottled up.  It has worked pretty well for me, but I still am not one to go to mixers and business events to socialize.  I stumbled upon the below article details related to introverts and networking.
Here's what worked for the author of “The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership”:
I learned to appreciate my introversion rather than repudiate it.
I have met so many introverts in business who talk about introversion as if it's a malady that one must get over in order to be successful. This is wrong. Introversion is simply a preference for the inner world of ideas because this is where we get our energy. By understanding and accepting this preference, introverts can optimize time spent with their ideas to refine them and recharge. This allows them to be as powerful and persuasive as possible when networking situations arise.
I recognized that one-on-one conversations would be my lifeline during networking. Generally speaking, business events — and particularly networking events that require engaging with groups — are demanding for introverts. An antidote to this, I learned, is to seek out conversations with one individual at a time. When I approach events this way I have more productive conversations and form better business relationships — and I'm less drained by the experience.
I stopped being afraid to be the one to reach out.
My inner introvert used to think that making the effort to introduce myself was risky. I worried that my target would not be interested in talking with me or that I would make them uncomfortable. I learned over time that when I extended my hand with a smile and an introduction my effort would be reciprocated, even when I approached executives above my rank.
I learned to prioritize time to re-energize.
While it can be tempting to go from a networking lunch right back to work, or from a networking cocktail event right to a dinner, if you're an introvert and you do that you won't be able to bring your best self to your next commitment. Take the time to recharge, whether by walking from the lunch back to work, or by finding 30 minutes alone between cocktails and dinner.
Introverts who avoid networking are making a critical career mistake. Being an adroit networker is non-negotiable — and not as hard as it might seem.
If you're an introvert, what networking strategies have you found that work?


Mar 16, 2012

Science Scene - Global Warming?

NASA has created a new animation showing regional temperature changes on a map of the Earth from 1880-2011. On the map, blues represent temperatures lower than baseline averages, while reds indicate temperatures higher than the average. As the 131 years pass, the map turns from bluish-white to increasingly yellow and red. Caused by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, agricultural practices, and other human impacts, climate change has currently raised temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the Industrial Revolution average.


Mar 15, 2012

What Motivates You?

Buy at

"The secret of discipline is motivation. when a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself."

- Sir Alexander Paterson

Mar 14, 2012

Serious Solar

Semprius (Durham, NC), a startup company manufacturing tiny concentrated solar cells that forgo any cooling systems has achieved a truly amazing leap in solar cell efficiency. The company was able to hit 33.9 percent efficiency with their solar panel, the first time a commercially-viable solar technology has passed the one-third mark.

Semprius's solar cells use gallium arsenide, rather than silicon, which is able to absorb sunlight and dissipate heat far better. The solar panel that scored this major efficiency record is made up of hundreds of these tiny cells that are about the width of a pen-drawn line. Lenses atop the cells concentrate sunlight 1,000 times.

To capture a better chunk of the solar spectrum, Semprius uses three layers of gallium arsenide, each one tweaked to convert a different part of the spectrum into electricity. Silicon solar cells, by contrast, only absorb a narrow band of sunlight and have efficiency rates that typically fall somewhere in the sub-15 percent area. The record for silicon cell efficiency is 22.9 percent and the previous record for commercial-level solar technology was 32 percent.

Possibly the greatest thing about the Semprius solar panel is that it's not some far distant future technology. It's been designed to be commercially produced and a factory opens this summer to start manufacturing the cells.

Mar 13, 2012

What Do You Value?

"Every true man, sir, who is a little above
the level of the beasts and plants, lives so as to give
a meaning and a value to his own life."

- Luigi Pirandello

Mar 12, 2012

Everybody Has One...

The source of information has two attributes:

It's subjective (opinion) - it is an opinion that may be based on a collection of observations over some period of time, but can't be traced to a credible set of verified processes to produced those observations.

It's verifiable - there is statistically sound evidence that this piece of information is validated or validatable in a named domain and context in that domain, and can be observed in the absence of the speaker. 

There are two intended audiences:

It is for Personal consumption - meaning this is an opinion shared between individuals (or small groups) in private or restricted group. Some place like a cocktail party, standing in line at the bank, or chatting with stangers at the tennis court, or in the lunch room of the office.

It is for Public consumption - meaning this information has been vetted to have some sort of credibility that makes it interesting to strangers. For verified information you need to provide references, a bibliography, the underlying data, the analysis processes of this data that resulted in this information.

So when you are thinking of sharing information, or trying to evaluate the information you are receiving, keep the following in mind:

fact is something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.
          Look for clues such as: 
" 56% of...., or "The patient experienced..."

An opinion is what someone thinks about that subject.
          Look for clues such as: "I believe...", "It's obvious...", or "They should..."

Mar 10, 2012


This is what my blog reading and entries feel like lately.

I appologize for my scarcity of visiting and commenting on your blogs.  A week ago I took on a new role at work (no extra $, but expecting a grade change).  Technically it is a promotion, even if not in HR space yet, but definitely in responsibility.

Since then, it has been back to 9-10 hour days at work, and then at least another hour or two at home.  I am sure that as my learning increases and the fire hose I am drinking from gets smaller, I will have more interwebs time available.

In the interim, know that I am lurking and smirking :o)

Mar 9, 2012

Mighty Desires

"One must not lose desires. They are mighty stimulants to creativeness, to love and to long life."

- Alexander A. Bogomoletz

Mar 8, 2012

Powered by Food Waste

A pilot project in Germany is collecting food waste from wholesale fruit and vegetable markets and cafeterias to ferment and make methane, which will then be used to power vehicles that have been converted to run on natural gas.

The pilot plant has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology and is located next to Stuttgart's wholesale produce market for easy access to food waste. The plant will make methane from the waste by using microorganisms to break down the food in a two-stage digestion process over a few days.

Because the food waste being fermented on any given day can be more or less acidic depending on what was tossed out, the pH levels have to be constantly monitored in order for the microorganisms to best do their thing. The waste is held in several tanks that feature a management system that monitors many parameters, including pH level. The software then calculates how many liters of which waste should be mixed together to feed to the microorganisms.

The plant produces about two-thirds methane and one-third carbon dioxide from the process, but nothing goes unused:  the filtrate water which contains nitrogen and phosphorous, and the carbon dioxide produced from the fermentation are both used to cultivate algae for another project, while the sludge left behind from the fermentation is sent to other institutes that are capable of making methane from it.

The pilot project has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and has partnerships with energy company Energie Baden-Württemberg, which is processing the biogas, and with Daimler, which is supplying natural gas-converted vehicles to run on the fuel.

Mar 7, 2012

Why Good People Leave

Risk factors for organizational sustainability: “If we are unable to retain our existing senior management and key personnel and hire new highly skilled personnel, we may not be able to execute our business plan.

You have most likely heard the refrain: “Our people drive the business” or “Our most important assets go down the elevator at night” or some variation of those. The problem is that most organizations stop at this superficial level. They don’t actually develop sophisticated programs to actually address the problem of keeping their best people and finding more to further accelerate their growth.

Why do most people not have a clue how to hire, retain and motivate great people?

1. It’s HR’s problem. It’s not. It’s the leaders’ problem. At most companies, HR is chronically under-staffed and having difficulty keeping up with the more nuts-and-bolts aspects of their jobs (i.e., getting payroll out the door, doing basic hiring/promotion, and generally keeping the business moving ahead).

2. Throwing more money at the problem doesn’t solve it. Many people believe more compensation will solve the “talent problem.” However, this rarely happens — or it’s only a quick-fix for problems that will recur. Money is a factor. But it’s usually not in the top 3 reasons for a really talented person to join an organization, especially as they mature in their careers. They want a great boss, great people, and an amazing opportunity to change the world.

3. What gets you promoted, doesn’t make you a great leader or manager of people. When you start out in your career, how do you get promoted? You get stuff done. Whether you’re an accountant, a lawyer, or a tech exec, you do a lot of work and you do it well. What gets you promoted when you’re a manager of people? Getting a lot of people underneath you get stuff done. That’s a totally different skill set, learned on the fly and not via a MBA, and most people don’t have a clue.

4. Performance reviews and goal-setting doesn’t happen. If you’re doing a poor job of sitting down with your people and not at least setting goals with them and giving them feedback on how they’re doing, they’re going to look for other opportunities where they get that feedback.

5. There’s never any discussion around career path with your people. Goal-setting is one thing. Taking a half an hour and asking your people where they want to go in their careers in the next 5 years is another thing. 90% of people I’ve talked to have no clue where they want to be in 5 years. Most will say they just want to be promoted to the next rung in the ladder. If you actually help them think through where exactly they want to go, they’ll appreciate it and it builds loyalty.

6. Bosses get sucked into promoting based on performance and not potential. We like to predict who will be a great future sports star or future executive. Getting real complex tasks done is a better predictor of future performance than just some subjective assessment of their potential.

7. Allowing “bozos” to infiltrate a team. Great talent loves other talent. What talent hates is when “yes men” and brown-nosers – with no talent or at least much less talent – are made their peers or (worse) their bosses.

8. Losing touch with the product or market you’re selling into.

9. The leaders get arrogant. They expectto keep dialing it in and being successful. Life doesn’t work that way. Eventually, all monopolies end. Arrogance tends to put off team members who have to suffer through it, especially when you combine it with losing touch with your core market.

10. Paying people unfairly. Pay good people fairly for what they do. And don’t reward the bozos.

Growth can mask a lot of problems. However, you shouldn’t neglect the issue of talent selection, retention, and motivation in your organization for too long. You only have to go through the experience of trying to replace a “star” once to know what I mean.


Mar 6, 2012

Ageless Love...

"Age does not protect you from love
but love to some extent protects you from age."
- Jeanne Moreau

Mar 5, 2012

Social Media and your non-profit

Association leaders have been aware for some time that the days of the printed newsletter are rapidly coming to a close. What must be developed in place of what has been traditionally thought of as “communications” includes a full-scale immersion in the rapid, disruptive evolution in digital, user-generated content.
Association leaders who are still debating the merits of blogging or wondering if they should engage in social media will find their ability to function in the video-driven new media landscape severely compromised. As the publishers and “keepers of the keys” to vast amounts of information about industries and professions, association leaders have a responsibility to actively engage in exploration and experimentation with all new forms of media lest they find themselves increasingly irrelevant in the publications landscape.
I know that my Project Management Institute local chapter struggles with this concept.  We have tried newsletters - but that takes a dedicated volunteer and input for articles to fill the pages.  Facebook and Twitter need constant attention and data or the information gets lost in the stream.  We are still trying to figure out how to reach out to the next generation so we can remain viable and relevant in this new technological age.  Any Thoughts?

Mar 3, 2012

Science Scene - Space Elevator

Space elevators have been our shared dream for years, but like other promising technologies of the future, they’re just concepts on a distant horizon. Now a Japanese construction firm that specializes in the very tall could make them a reality.

Obayashi Corp., which is almost done building the giant structure above, the Tokyo Sky Tree, wants to build a space elevator that would reach 22,370 miles (36,000 km) above the Earth — that’s above the altitude where geosynchronous satellites orbit. It would take a week to ride up the elevator, traveling on some type of vessel tethered to carbon nanotube cables.

In Obayashi’s plan, a carbon nanotube cable would stretch one-quarter of the way from the Earth to the moon, about 60,000 miles (96,000 km) and attach to some type of spaceborne counterweight. The other end of the tether would be anchored at an Earth-based spaceport.

The elevator car could carry up to 30 people and would travel at 125 MPH for a week. Tourists could stay at the waystation at 22,370 miles up, and scientists and researchers could go all the way to the end of the tether. There are unfortunately no leads on cost, where to build it or who would finance the project, however.

Maybe a pipe dream, but greatness is often born of a dream...

Mar 2, 2012


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

- Leonardo da Vinci

Mar 1, 2012

What Makes You Boil?

Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in central Oregon this summer to demonstrate technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise. 

They hope the water comes back to the surface fast enough and hot enough to create cheap, clean electricity that isn't dependent on sunny skies or stiff breezes — without shaking the earth and rattling the nerves of nearby residents. 

The federal government, Google and other investors are interested enough to bet $43 million on the Oregon project.  They are helping AltaRock Energy of Seattle and Davenport Newberry Holdings of Stamford, Conn., demonstrate whether the next level in geothermal power development can work on the flanks of Newberry Volcano, about 20 miles south of Bend, Ore. 

The heat in the earth's crust has been used to generate power for more than a century. Engineers gather hot water or steam that bubbles near the surface and use it to spin turbines that create electricity. Most of those close-to-the surface areas have been exploited. The new frontier is places with hot rocks, but no cracks in the rocks or water to deliver the steam. 

To tap that heat — and grow geothermal energy from a tiny niche into an important source of green energy — engineers are working on a new technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems. Wells are drilled deep into the rock and water is pumped in, creating tiny fractures in the rock, a process known as hydroshearing. Cold water is pumped down production wells into the reservoir, and the steam is drawn out. 

Hydroshearing is similar to the process known as hydraulic fracturing, used to free natural gas from shale formations. But fracking uses chemical-laden fluids, and creates huge fractures. Pumping fracking wastewater deep underground for disposal is suspected of leading to recent earthquakes in Arkansas and Ohio. Fears persist that cracking rock deep underground through hydroshearing can also lead to damaging quakes. 

EGS has other problems. It is hard to create a reservoir big enough to run a commercial power plant. AltaRock hopes to demonstrate a new technology for creating bigger reservoirs that is based on the plastic polymers used to make biodegradable cups. It worked in existing geothermal fields. The Newberry project will show if it works in a brand new EGS field, and in a different kind of geology, volcanic rock.

EGS is attractive because it vastly expands the potential for geothermal power, which, unlike wind and solar, produces power around the clock in any weather.  Natural geothermal resources account for about 0.3% of U.S. electricity production, but a 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology report projected EGS could bump that to 10% within 50 years, at prices competitive with fossil fuels.