Test Information Space

Journal of Tech, Testing and Trends

Posts Tagged ‘space’

Ventral Casting

Posted by cadsmith on February 6, 2011

Apps for Development seeks evaluations. Sysadmins called to improve testability. Coverity leads market in automated software testing. Topicmarks does document summarization. Wrangler simplifies form-based data cleanup. Linked open data adds value. EMC released Greenplum visual language for big data. Canvas learning management system announced.

White house publishes innovation strategy. Startup America supports entrepreneurship. National Power Grid has security issues. FBI search engine developed. Local Motors announces transport design battle. National Security Space Strategy published. Russians resume plans for spaceplane. China announces 2020 science goals. Clean nuclear power is a priority in China. Japanese elderly not quick to accept bot care companions. RoboEarth networks bots globally. Surgeons communicate with nurse bots using gesture recognition. David Hanson’s bot heads advance.

Video discusses implants for humans and brains for bots. Heart cells are made from skin. Accelerometer is made of paper. Nestle tests products in huge stomach. Neer tracks group member locations. Ericsson texts money transfers. AT&T expands mobile banking. Walgreens fill prescriptions by cell cam. IntoNow promotes social TV. Digital museums are browsable in Google Art Project. There were thirty-three recent links.

Book Review:

Verification and Validation in Systems Engineering
This book looks at how architecture frameworks use SysML and UML 2.0. Techniques are classified as informal, static, dynamic or formal. These use inspection, testing, simulation, reference model equivalence checking and theorem proving. It proposes a unified approach to evaluate designs, including comparative metrics and procedures There is a case study of an ATM. Semantics, probabilistic behavior and performance analysis of activity diagrams are considered using the PRISM model. There are thirteen chapters.

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New Year’s Greetings

Posted by cadsmith on December 26, 2010

Mechanical Turk provides pool of internet beta testers. Mass High Tech has feed on startups. Google converts wave to shared spaces. Electronic authentication built into banknotes. Smart grid gets smarter. Hydrogen and oxygen produced using solar energy. Bruce Sterling discusses Wikileaks. Surveillance on police. New Year’s security trends. Software requests made by sysadmins. EditPad has online text editor. Delicious does semantic analysis. Groupon trains journalists. Local gifts shown on eBay. Wall St. computers trade on news. Numenta AI apps discussed. Pen provides biofeedback. Developer makes prosthetic tentacle. Gostai Jazz telebot. Eclipse Phase has posthuman game. New ScienceFiction.com site. New Zealand put UFO data online. The Last of the Humans 2010 second edition technothriller about the rise and fall of machine-controlled civilization on Earth was revised and expanded to eight chapters on Amazon and Scribd. Twenty-three links added. (Photo: Boeing X-45 )

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Crowdseason

Posted by cadsmith on December 12, 2010

091216

MakerBot has a 3D printer. Holograms are used for animation. Samsung offers 3D memory modules. Archaeology model shows an underground village. ChromeDeck is a browser app for Twitter. InteraXon mentally commands computers. New tool for scientific visualization. Drone navigates flight using terrain. Video of robotic strawberry picker. There is a contest for Cosmological Lensing analysis. Crowdsortium catalogs best practices. List of good data blogs. Google adds an eBookstore. OpenLeaks is new clearinghouse for curated secrets. There is a call for US technology investment by China. Shift has beta fashion site. Bacteria are used for computer circuits. Plants exhibit swarm intelligence. Collisions are expected between spacecraft and junk. Twenty-one recent links added.

Book reviews:

Integrating Usability Engineering for Designing the Web Experience: Methodologies and Principles, Spiliotopoulos and others, 2010
This book includes website usability cases, practices and theory. Quality factors are accessibility and user interfaces. Methods use development steps, questionnaires, scenarios, inspections and testing. Examples are shown for 3D apps, ecommerce, learning management systems, and marketing. Utilities are discussed such as literacy tools, screen-readers for blindness, and captions for deafness. It lists some of the regulatory guidelines. There are three parts for eighteen sections.

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Ghost Parking

Posted by cadsmith on October 24, 2010

 

Time to put those campfire stories to good use. If you’ve ever wondered what it all may lead to, see Cast Shadow.

Book reviews:

Design Informed: Driving Innovation with Evidence-Based Design, Brandt and others, 2010

This book is about architectural research methods which seek evidence to answer specific questions about cause-effect. In a series of a couple of dozen case studies and interviews, it characterizes the six quality attributes of hypothesis, epistemology, metrics, strength of evidence, external validation and transparency. It discusses the 2005 Latrobe hypothesis which has three parts for collaboration between architect and clients, use of both empiricism and induction, and metrics. A process of prototyping and testing is used to make buildings. Software is used for analysis and prediction. Computer models are used to find and demonstrate solutions. Compelling measurements from the realworld support the conclusions. The computer is then used to include these types of measurements in architectural designs. Actual designs are made which use the newer solution approaches. There are seven chapters.

The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution, Timothy Taylor, 2010

The author questions how humans became intelligent and whether tools and therefore technology predated humans. He proposes a set of three levels, system 3, flint tool or artificial tech arising after system 1 inanimate natural pebble, and system 2 natural biological mollusk. His style mixes data and personal anecdotes from in the field. He updates the arguments of initially proposed by Darwin regarding trial and error with newer findings and inductive reasoning to demonstrate that technology enabled human biological evolution. The human brain is three to four times larger in size than a primate’s, but smaller than it was 150k years ago. The chart spans ten million years and shows an average increase and several dips. Much of the content has been externalized by technology so the modern head may be more efficient in the social context. This is similar to body mass and coordination which used to be required to get food. Civilizations may succumb to environmental disasters since some tend to worsen due to social practice. Competition between humans was a significant selector and technological advantage allowed symbolic development. Skeuomorphs mimic previous designs using new materials. Anti-science creationism may be an artifact of human models that led to questions of causality for the artists. Infant slings were an initial tool used upon walking upright and which also encouraged brain size. Groups have their own techno-culture and their tools may seem alien to others. This included cooking bowls which led to different diets and centralized preparation like the later fast foods. The first chipped stone tool found preceded homo sapiens by almost 200,000 years. Chimps, who probably were derived from the same ape as humans about seven million years ago, also use these types, as did Tasmanian aborigines isolated from the mainland. Otzi the ice man, from 5000 years ago on the high Alps, had more complex ones like from an early assembly line.

Telling Stories: A Short Path to Writing Better Software Requirements, Ben Rinzler, 2009

The thesis is that there is an analogy between writing requirements and a story. The book is concise and readable and formalizes a requirements method. The instructions show how to illustrate dataflow and UML. There are outlines and a document template. The outline formats differentiate an Agile version from more robust. Scenarios are used to show the success and exception results of each application process. The latter word is used in several contexts such as for the requirements themselves, for the system, and for the software elements. It assumes that the review considers feasibility.

This title is a happy medium as an anecdote, however the full length treatment is full of caveats. A story is a narrative, where the requirements are more of an agreement. There are a lot of differences. The audience of designers, for example, will have an expectation that there is enough detail for them to do specifications. System analysts and testers will seek to itemize features and constraints so that they can be tracked throughout the development and validation processes. Perhaps the story explains the why’s, the requirements the what’s, and the designs do the how’s. It does list usability testing and brings up availability, for example.

In summary, marketing presentations might lean more heavily on the story side, and software on objectives. Other approaches along these lines have included object-oriented parsing of text to objects. Scenarios and scenes are also used in test descriptions, e.g. use cases. Analogies are used in technical documentation. Complementary approaches might also include user actions as problem-solving or decision trees.

Recent links (about thirty-six):

video

Diminished Reality: Impressive Video Manipulation In Real-Time (Video)
YouTube – O’Reilly Webcast: The Myths of Innovation – Remixed and Remastered
YouTube – Heribert Watzke: The brain in your gut

ai Intellitar

browser First Alpha Of Opera 11 Released, Developers Can Now Build Extensions

climate

Blotting Out Sun May Soon Be Banned : Discovery News
Flower Power: Genetic Modification Could Amply Boost Plants’ Carbon-Capture and Bioenergy Capacity: Scientific American

computer Researchers one step closer to ‘bootless’ computer – Computerworld

digital-libraries Technology Review: Blogs: Mims’s Bits: Why There Can Never Be A Competitor to Google Books

disaster

Layer 8: IBM says software helps predict natural disasters | Network World
Building a Giant Lab to Test Disasters – WSJ.com

ebooks eBook price comparisons for iBooks, Kindle and Nook – Leatherbound

holography This Rocking Lead Singer is a 3D Hologram (video) | Singularity Hub

journalism WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Chased by Turmoil – NYTimes.com

mathematics Dr Dobbs – Linear Equation Breakthrough

mobile

Glasses With HUDs Just Became A Little More Affordable | Techi.com
What is Mobile Virtualization and Why is it Important? – ReadWriteCloud
picplz for iPhone & Android – See what’s happening now
Mitek Systems

music Google India Blog: Introducing Google Music Search (India) at Labs

payments Citibank First to Test Revolutionary Credit Card System, Card 2.0

physics Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: Mass Can Be ‘Created’ Inside Graphene, Say Physicists

privacy Every email and website to be stored – Telegraph

robotics

BattleBricks: MakerLegoBot: The Lego Mindstorms NXT 3D Lego Printer
Buzzll.com: Singing Humanoids
IEEE Spectrum: Japanese Snake Robot Goes Where Humans Can’t

science

First All-Digital Science Textbook Will Be Free | Wired Science | Wired.com
publicscience.ca – Science that Protects You
E. O. Wilson, Harrison Ford Ask You to Give a Damn About Biodiversity

security Coder for CIA: Drone Targeting Software “Far From Ready”

smartgrid

IEEE 1901TM BROADBAND POWER LINE STANDARD FOR 500 Mbps COMMUNICATIONS APPROVED – IEEE Smart Grid
NIST Lays Out Spec to Turn Power Grid to Network Grid | ITworld

space

Record-breaking galaxy found at the edge of the Universe | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
NASA Ames’ Worden reveals DARPA-funded “Hundred Year Starship” program | KurzweilAI

spacecraft International Docking Standard

telescope Technology Review: Blogs: Mims’s Bits: How To Handle The World’s Largest Digital Images

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Cell Complex

Posted by cadsmith on October 18, 2010

Usability test sites are listed below. Visualization has Circos tool. Machine learning can automatically read the web and derive laws from data. Biotech do-it-yourself has reached the garage stage. Japan has machines that win at chess, economize both heat and smartgrid, sing like humans, and crawl like snakes. Surveillance has video analytics and privacy concerns. Movies have character makeover. Security has memory hardware ID, Bugat trojan, cyber cold war and first strike alert. Space tourism is less than a couple of years away. Water shortages are prevented by intelligence, startups and solar power. Ebooks have self-publishing, search, blog converter, and writing nook.

Book reviews:

Undercover User Experience Design, Cennydd Bowles and James Box, 2010

This is a comprehensive do-it-yourself description about many facets of the topic. The undercover manifesto values bottom-up change, delivery, timeliness, sociability, and action. There are details about critiques, deliverables, design process and problems, research, usability testing, and UX design. UX adoption begins in web design, and proceeds to check-up, integration, ownership, allies, education, persuasion, trust, stories, skills, and ROI. The content of the book has dynamic highlights, notes appear in side-boxes. It has tips for Agile as well as waterfall design. There are recommendations for using the process with various types of customers including developers, visual designers, content specialists, product owners, marketers, SEO specialists and senior managers. It talks about metrics, A/B testing, common design review pitfalls. Types of test include rapid iterative testing and evaluation, and remote. Tools range from sketching wireframes and storyboards, to apps, to dedicated sites. Research methods include feedback, surveys, and third-parties. Author sites http://www.cennydd.co.uk and twitter.com/boxman.
Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, Andrew J. Bacevich, 2010

The title simultaneously refers to the beltway, namesake, possible result, and the name of the national security consensus since WWII which is no longer as effective. The sacred trinity now holds that the US needs global presence, power projections and interventionism. The inability to distinguish institutional well-being from that of the nation has led to the present conditions. This affected historical figures such as Allen Dulles, Curtis LeMay and Maxwell Taylor. The author takes issue with the way things have turned out for the US. The arguments are nonpartisan. The return to counterinsurgency demonstrates an abandonment of victory as an objective. The US could revert to the tradition of military for defense and Just War. Americans would see soldiers stationed in the country as citizen-protectors. This frees up resources to restore the economy.

Previous links (from about fifty-four):

test

Turn Visitors into Customers with Performable.
Easy User Experience research – whatusersdo.com
Webnographer Home
Remote Usability testing, online customer experience research, usability testing software. Userzoom
User Experience | Website Usability Testing and Evaluation
Usability Testing
Treejack :: Optimise your site structure using tree testing.
OpenHallway
Navflow
Remote & Online Usability Testing Tool | Loop11
IntuitionHQ, make website usability testing part of every website project
FiveSecondTest
CommandShift3 – It’s like Hot or Not for web design
Chalkmark :: First impression testing.

astronomy Planet hunters no longer blinded by the light | International Space Fellowship

automotive CarWoo!

climate Old Weather – Our Weather’s Past, the Climate’s Future

community Get Satisfaction | Customer Community Software – Love your Customers.

economics Coming Soon: World Government and Global Currency – Beyond Money

education Next Gen Learning Challenges

invention Dean of Invention : Planet Green – On TV

maps The Web 2.0 Summit Points of Control Map

social Multitude

social-networks MYCUBE

technology Garnter’s Newest Hype Cycle: Discuss

transportation Everyone’s Private Driver / UberCab

windows Windows Live Mesh 2011

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Point to Pole

Posted by cadsmith on October 10, 2010

The Pole

Political artifacts are sweeping much of the attention. Next generation designs consider networks, environment, globalization, and personalization. Architecture seems to be maintaining eyes and ears and administering disapproving dread on behalf of a someone or something in the central keep. Votes are predicted and ballots are built according to the pulse from purchases, product use and promotional responses for goodness’ sake. Some take the quest to the furthest outposts which then become the new melting pots. Others meld to media and march the machines in their stead. Statistics are a snapshot of what needs to be shaped next and there is a cloud of colors around the computation.

Recent links (about twenty-seven):

Book Reviews:

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future, Laurence C. Smith, 2010
The author is a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences. There are three parts for ten chapters. Each chapter provides trend data and describes what 2050 will be like. The forces are demographics, resource demand, globalization, climate change. These all include technology. Ground rules included no silver bullets or world war III or hidden genies, and the models are okay. There is a trend toward urbanization. Resource depletion is analyzed. Carbon-free energy sources include hydropower, wind and concentrated solar thermal power. Water is in contention between farmers and cities. Computer models indicate rising air temperatures in the north. Trade can increase around the north pole without need for major contention. There is a third wave of immigration to the northern rim and the arctic seabed. Ancestral traditions merge with modern business practices. Models of abrupt climate change indicate probability that northern fresh water will not be affected and it may redirect water to the south. The new north may be like the American West at the start of the nineteenth century.

video

YouTube – Hans Rosling: The good news of the decade?
YouTube – Digital Art@Google: James Tunick and Jack Toolin
YouTube – Barbara Block: Tagging tuna in the deep ocean
Tim Jackson’s economic reality check | Video on TED.com

application Ovi app wizard beta

censorship The .ly domain space to be considered unsafe | :Ben Metcalfe Blog

computation Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: The Post-Singularity Future Of Astronomy

disaster A flood of toxic sludge – The Big Picture – Boston.com

ebooks Worldreader.org – Books for All

games

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
IBM INNOV8: CityOne

government Tech CEOs tell US gov’t how to cut $1 trillion from deficit

ideas Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From | Magazine

linkedin LinkedIn and PwC Launch Breakthrough Career Mapping Tool for College Students | LinkedIn – Public Relations

medical Berkeley Bionics

review ‘The Social Network’: A Review Of Aaron Sorkin’s Film About Facebook And Mark Zuckerberg | The New Republic

robotics

Boy of 15 fitted with robotic heart – Computer Chips & Hardware Technology | Geek.com
IEEE Spectrum: Humanoid Robots Rise. Now, Can They Walk?
IEEE Spectrum: Omniwheels Gaining Popularity in Robotics

security Collective Defense: Applying Public Health Models to the Internet (PDF)

space

Update: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Makes First Glide Flight | Autopia | Wired.com
The Space Game

statistics Truthy

tags FollowYours

tv Quick Tour – Google TV

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Act of Reason

Posted by cadsmith on October 3, 2010

derakshan

The internet is broadening as its component types become more speciated. It carries more virtual goods and prototypes by DIY makers. Cell phones handle mobile payment. Journalism trends are visualized. Social media is used to tell stories. Ebooks have new readers for Kindle and Blio. Data drives discovery. Original manuscripts are viewable. Fiction publishing includes anthologies of scifi. There is a backlash to blacklisting.

Recent links (about twenty-six):

video

YouTube – SingTel Cloud computing in Augmented Reality

YouTube – Sebastian Seung: I am my connectome

answers Quora

climate NASA – Climate@Home: Creating a Virtual Supercomputer to Model Climate

game Brain Odyssey

maps Polymaps

quality Mass offers “Seal of Commonwealth Quality” – Boston Business Journal

security Technology Review: Blogs: Mims’s Bits: The Hot New Thing in Biometric Security is… Ears

space

NASA – IBEX Finds Surprising Changes at Solar Boundary

A Habitable Exoplanet – for Real This Time | Wired Science | Wired.com

telepresence IEEE Spectrum: A DIY Telepresence Robot

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Time Leaves Turns

Posted by cadsmith on September 27, 2010

foliage

There are signs of life swimming against the tidal forces. One may wonder how to test determinism itself, outside of philosophical scenarios. IT permeates most, if not all, domains. The fact that the volume of data exceeds comprehension invites advanced methods. Some of these preserve values. The inherent ideology affects conclusions. It is not clear how to prevent this. It is also a challenge to characterize it, but there seems to be a growing awareness of its significance going forward. In order to prevent narrow-minded short-sightedness, there are proposed diversities which mimic nature, however these can be bypassed through clever systemic exploitation of knowledge gaps or compartmentalization. This also occurs in analysis and operations. The security that defends also biases. Historically, things which are not protected tend to be plundered. Software is considered a work-around for bureaucracy, science a progression toward truth. Setting them at logger heads may have spectacular effects, as hardware can attest. If this is necessary, then a perceptive observer of the resultant chaos may discover an approach that surpasses the past. The next trick is to show the math.

Recent links (twenty-one):

Book Reviews:

JFK and the Unspeakable, James Douglass, 2008

This narrative covers the background to the fateful day. The thesis is that the protagonist, following the missile crisis, threw himself in the way of a nuclear bullet headed for the country. His predecessor had warned of a mil-industrial complex. The antagonist is a then Cold War organization, portrayed as acting like a separate state after he decapitated it, who saw withdrawal from the proxy war in Vietnam as a defeat. The title uses a phrase from theologian Thomas Merton. There are six chapters and an appendix speech. The author reportedly intended it as the start of a series which would also include MLK, MX and RFK.
zero history, William Gibson, 2010

The book describes a quest for military fashion. It is a character-driven continuation from the previous two novels which includes recent economic context. They have distinct manners and voices and are each chasing their own cultural trends. The title is about a character who has no credit record and the news assumes a death spiral. There is a lot of depth. Cool is yet unadvertised. Expert at their tradecraft, the players tend to go rogue. The setting is described in detail, London is like an “intricate antique toy … bought at auction”. Brand images from realworld things are compared like apps made from root code or true worth. It includes authentic samples of elite terminology. Locative art became augmented reality. Tracking is ubiquitous. The big ant figurine symbol shows up in luggage. There are eighty-seven chapters. Point-of-view changes among the major characters other than Big End. The audiobook lends it a voiceover quality.

video

YouTube – Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from
Reconstructing Minds from Software Mindfiles « K21st – Essential 21st Century Knowledge

AI

CyBeRev Home

LifeNaut –

blog Windows Live Outsources Blogging, Migrating 30 Million Users To WordPress.com

calendar Welcome to CalendarGod

climate NASA – NASA Study Shows Desert Dust Cuts Colorado River Flow

energy Using Clean Technology to Remedy Energy Poverty: Scientific American

geospatial CIA used ‘illegal, inaccurate code to target kill drones’ • The Register

government BetaCities

profile ResumeSponge

quantum Kiwi scientists make atomic ‘breakthrough’ | Stuff.co.nz

robotics Flying Robot Swarm Takes Off | Wired Science | Wired.com

security Virus Targets Industrial OS, Reaches Iran’s Nuclear Plant

space First Habitable Exoplanet Could Be Discovered by May | Wired Science | Wired.com

test Performance Testing | Performance Testing Resources

voice VoiceBase

wireless Super-tough wireless sensors ‘to be dropped into volcanoes’ • The Register

women Sharp Skirts Smart Networking for Women Entrepreneurs

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Hidden Com Part

Posted by cadsmith on September 11, 2010

100910atlas

Internet media lets stamps go live, opensource code connect cities, anesthesia cross continents, search be multilingual and faculty tune syllabus stats. Tech tests Turing, engineers climate, buys self-powered parts, and ends the big bang, while art and scifi plug the void. Videojug promotes beta.

Recent links (about twenty-nine):

ai Is the Turing Test Still Relevant? A Plan for Developing the Cognitive Decathlon to Test Intelligent Embodied Behavior, Mueller (PDF)

art

YouTube – Ben Cameron: The true power of the performing arts

YouTube – Alwar Balasubramaniam: Art of substance and absence

augmented-reality Royal Mail Launches First Intelligent Stamps | eWEEK Europe UK

bookmark Trailmeme and the Web of Intent

books The Evolutionary Void, Peter F. Hamilton, 2010

climate Climate scientists suggest geoengineering approach with engineered nanoparticles

cognitive You Are What You Touch: How Tool Use Changes the Brain’s Representations of the Body: Scientific American

database CouchOne – Your Data. Anywhere.

economics

The Optimistic Thought Experiment | Hoover Institution

Guest Post: Could Tiny Somaliland Become the First Cashless Society?

education Khan Academy

environment Early Warning Signs Could Show When Extinction Is Coming | Wired Science | Wired.com

forum Qvaq – Easy Discussions for Everyone

government Announcing Civic Commons – Code for America

media As It Moves Away From The Wikis, Wetpaint Launches TV News And Entertainment Site

medical Medical Daily: World’s first transcontinental anesthesia

mobile Dr Dobbs – Autonomous User Interfaces for Mobile Apps

ocr ABBYY OCR SDK for integrating intelligent and accurate OCR, ICR, OMR, barcode recognition and PDF conversion technologies

power Self powered parts will be electronic mainstay by 2020 – Pacemakers to power themselves | TechEye

quantum Quantum computing – separating hope from hype

robotics

Observations: Open-source personal robotics seeks a community to make it affordable

robots ready to take over your home on [technabob]

science Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: Non-Expanding Cosmology Attempts To Oust Big Bang Theory

space SpaceWeather.com

test

Performance Testing

7 Excellent Website To Test And Compare Website Speed | Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers

Dr Dobbs – Unit Testing Tools ‘Suite’ Up

translation Linguee – The web as a dictionary – German/English

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Impervious

Posted by cadsmith on August 30, 2010

tokyo

Sustainability issues grow as large urban centers add a million people, or or up to about 5%, per year. Social responses to acts of nature need to be tempered in order to prevent environmental disasters. Demand increases for tech solutions. Automation extends to robotics and space.

Recent links (about 23):

ai “The Age of Assistants”: The View From Inside SRI

augmented-reality “What Mountain is That?” New App Takes AR Outside the City Limits

disaster

Database | EM-DAT

International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)

Death to Humans! Visions of the Apocalypse in Movies and Literature: Scientific American

email HOW TO: Undo “Send” in Gmail

emotion EmoRate

events Online Event Registration – Sell Tickets Online with Eventbrite

robotics IEEE Spectrum: Cyborg Fly Pilots Robot Through Obstacle Course

security David Ignatius – Pentagon’s cybersecurity plans have a Cold War chill

smartgrid IEEE Spectrum: $25 Billion European Smart Grid Market by 2020

space BBC News – Alien hunters ‘should look for artificial intelligence’

ui Make: Online : Multitouch robot swarm controller

urban

World’s Fastest-Growing Megalopolis Hides in Fog | Raw File

Reinventing the City to Combat Climate Change

visualization David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization | Video on TED.com

Book reviews:

Urban Risk Reduction: An Asian Perspective, Shaw et al, 2009

Urbanization is outpacing general population growth in Asia. Case studies are described for localities and types of environmental disaster. Urban issues range from household, community, city, region, to nation. Lifestyles create hazards which induce, or worsen natural, events. The culture can be built on safety and resilience. Action planning may require assistance of specialized agencies. Pilot cities demonstrate projects such as local resource organization, citizen empowerment, and smaller units and chain of command. Lessons are learned from disaster recovery. A management information system was useful in at least one case. The decision-making pyramid includes global, national, city, building, and individual. Environmental issues include air and water pollution, waste and sewage, noise, land use, drainage and transport congestion, slums, flood and other common issues such as disease, fire, or crime. Strategies are sensitive to survival, peace, innovation from tradition, and sustainability. The disaster management cycle has its own information and communication issues in each phase, non, before, during and after. Risk reduction involves knowledge, perception, deepening, preparedness and dissemination. Surveys measure public awareness. Frameworks are provided by Millennium Development Goal, Hyogo Framework for Action, and UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. There are eighteen chapters, two parts, twenty-four authors.

Disaster Risk Management Systems Analysis: A Guide Book, Baas, 2008

This book has a toolset for the characterization and strengthening of DRM at the international, national, province/district/municipality, community and institution layers. A framework enumerates initiatives for each of the periods for disaster risk reduction, response, and recovery. Preparedness links both development, through mitigation and prevention, and humanitarian assistance, through relief and recovery. Another framework for sustainable livelihoods indicates which households are most vulnerable. There is a list of key questions for leaders. A form is shown to document the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats across levels. There are six modules, two annexes and many figures, relational maps, and checklists. It can be downloaded as a PDF from the web.

Ecological Engineering: Principles and Practices, Patrick C. Kangas, 2004

Humans stress natural ecosystems through simplification of species and metabolic shifts. Research in emergent ecosystems includes agriculture, urban, and coastal or estuarine. Since prediction is limited, engineering epistemology requires building improvement based on design and test. Future directions include ecological nanotech, terraforming, biosensors, ecosensors, universal pollution treatment, and aquaculture. Technoecosystems maintain a balance between living and hardware systems. Since the laboratory includes the environment, the hacker code of ethics applies to ecological engineering. Treatment reduces costs of pollution. Ecological economics adds measures of emergy or embodied energy, natural capital, sustainability, carrying capacity and many types of ecosystem services to improve life-support value. Sold waste management discusses landfills, composting, and industrial ecology. The energy value of the waste is the same as that used to make the product. Wetlands are used for wastewater treatment by spiraling. An identical decay equation for decomposition evolved in parallel, linking design intuitions for both biodegradation in ecology and wastewater engineering. Restoration ecology connects to succession and is explained for salt marshes, artificial reefs, and educational exhibits. Microcosmology includes living models and replication issues. Soil bioengineering is shown for urban imperviousness, stormwater management bioretention and agricultural erosion control. This realm includes beavers, coastal vegetation and self-building machines. Biodiversity is increased by exotic species. The food web describes feeding interactions. The series of multiple states in catastrophe theory is used to explain invasion. Control theory ranges from machine analogies to biotech. Circuit symbols are used for ecosystem models. H T Odum coined a lot of the names of new ecosystems. Principles include energy signature, self-organization and preadaptation. There are nine chapters

Building Safer Cities: The Future of Disaster Risk, edited by Kreimer et al, 2003

Actual and new types of disasters are discussed, e.g. due to rapid urbanization or climate change. Impact and preparedness affect several geographic scales of security, environmental and human, including economics. politics, and society. There are several major worldviews. The main concerns are globalization, environment, social vulnerability, and protecting infrastructure. The various methods of balancing costs of risks include privatization, government taxation and globalization. Africa often suffers export losses, which leads to tens of thousands of youth mortalities, when other countries have disasters. Hazard reduction involves robust design, flexible and adaptable systems, reversal of vulnerability trends, and societal preparedness. Coastal zone classifications include protect, retreat and accommodate. Resilience measures how much disturbance can be absorbed, and the capability for self-reorganization. Regional analysis, management and action are required for flooding. Study approaches include scenarios and consequences. The fact that life support networks, e.g. utilities, affect eachother as external technological causes has not been taken into account traditionally. Critical infrastructure includes telecom, power, energy, storage, transportation, water, financial, emergency services, and government. Buildings can be retrofit using new tech for earthquakes risk. These were papers for a conference of international financial institutions. There are four parts, twenty chapters, twenty-six authors. They may develop literacy for the terminology. Most chapters have conclusions or recommendations. The web had PDFs and Google books has full content.

Counting Heads, David Marusek, 2005

This novel is a scifi cyberpunk mystery. There are three parts, forty-five chapters, and an epilogue. Chapters are numbered, e.g. up to 1.3 or 2.29. Part 3 adds days of the week to the titles up to Friday 3.13. It begins in first person for part 1 which was originally a short story. The year is 2092. There are a pair of main characters. Tech includes nanotech, clones, robotic insects, friendly AIs, wearable valet processors. holopresence conferences, and high velocity surface travel. HomCom is the initial antagonist. There is a realistic world. The rest of the parts are told in third person after forty years have passed. The point of view changes among several main characters. The antagonist may be an AI. A glossary would be appropriate. The title refers to heads for which the body can be replaced. A sequel was published, Mind Over Ship.

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