pbahra writes: At first glance, there isn’t much that links a Web-based start-up with a rocket-powered car designed not merely to break the land speed record, but to smash it, by traveling at 1,000 miles per hour. Not many start-ups burn £300,000 a month, not many in turn get £25,000 a month in public donations. Not many—in fact none—are pushing the boundaries of engineering in the way that Bloodhound SSC, which aims to hit Mach 1.4 in a South African desert in 2014, is doing. But according to Richard Noble, the ebullient man behind the dream, the 1,000-mph car maybe the ultimate open-source project and has a management structure that start-ups would do well to emulate. How open is Bloodhound? “As open as we can possibly make it,” said Mr. Noble. “We are going to make absolutely everything available. There are no patents.”
pbahra writes: "It seems that the markets are as much in love with “Big Data”—the ability to acquire, process and sort vast quantities of data in real time—as with the technology industry. The first Big Data initial public offering hit the market last week to roaring approval. Splunk Inc., which helps businesses organize and make sense of all the information they gather, soared 109% on its first day of trading. Big Data, big price. However, according to a report published last year by McKinsey, there is a problem. “A significant constraint on realizing value from Big Data will be a shortage of talent, particularly of people with deep expertise in statistics and machine learning, and the managers and analysts who know how to operate companies by using insights from Big Data,” the report said. “We project a need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts in the United States who can ask the right questions and consume the results of the analysis of Big Data effectively.” What the industry needs is a new type of person: the data scientist."
pbahra writes: "A computer the size of of a pack of cards, yet powerful enough to run full-scale applications, and even provide high-definition, Blu-ray quality output is being designed by researchers in Cambridge. It will cost just $25. Called Raspberry Pi, think of it as Lego for the digital generation. According to Robert Mullins, co-founder and lecturer at Cambridge University’s Computer Science department, the computer is aimed mainly at school children to help them enjoy computers and have fun programming. “We wanted something that had a kit, or toy, feel to it,” he said. “We wanted to make it cheap enough so that even if you only have pocket money you should be able to buy one.”"
pbahra writes: "Twitter could almost have been created as a tool for scientific analysis. It churns out vast quantities of data in a format that looks perfect for computational crunching. But do tweets reflect what is really going on in the world? The BBC reports on how “engineers” from Texas Rice University monitored tweets during American football games. Professor Lin Zhong said that this tracking revealed what was happening in the game sometimes faster than broadcast media, often registering big events within 20 seconds. This Twitter-following technique, he said, could be applied to anything from monitoring reactions during televised political debates to revealing the location and duration of power cuts. However, other scientists were warning of the potential dangers of focusing too much research on social media and big data analysis techniques."
pbahra writes: "In 1965, Intel founder Gordon E. Moore predicted computer processing power, measured in terms of the number of transistors which could be placed on a chip, would double roughly every 18 months. But, particularly with the growth in the number of portable computing devices, “Moore’s law” has become increasingly irrelevant. What matters now is power consumption, whether it is cutting the cost of giant data centers or making sure the battery in your laptop, cellphone or tablet lasts all day. Surprisingly, perhaps, the Technology Review published by MIT reports that researchers have found that energy efficiency also doubles roughly every 18 months, an effect it dubs “Koomey’s law” after the leader of the project, Jonathan Koomey, consulting professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University."
pbahra writes: "Shamus Husheer’s opening line as a speaker is guaranteed to get him a laugh: "My name is Shamus Husheer and my job is to get the women of Britain pregnant." Behind the laughs, though, Mr. Husheer has developed a technology that is helping thousands of women get pregnant without recourse to drugs or invasive techniques for a fraction of the cost of IVF. In the U.K. a cycle of IVF costs on average some £4,500 ($7,200). New Zealand born Mr. Husheer, who started his company, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, straight after being awarded a PhD from the chemistry department at Cambridge University says the fertility monitor, called DuoFertility, is as effective as conventional IVF. “We published a peer-reviewed paper that showed that six months use of the monitor has the same success rate as a round of IVF.” They are confident that unpublished research which uses additional data will show that a year of use is better than IVF. So confident is Mr. Husheer, that the company offers a money-back guarantee. If a woman is not pregnant after 12 month’s use, and has complied with the instructions, then the company will refund the £495. DuoFertility comprises a small sensor, slightly larger in diameter than a €1 coin, which a woman wears under her arm, affixed with medical tape. The sensor, which can take up to 20,000 readings a day, has to be worn all night and preferably during the day as well. It is designed to fit into the natural pocket under the arm. And in a great example of how data capture is transforming businesses, the monitoring data has proved to be a valued resource for sleep researchers. The monitor contains a three-axis accelerometer which it uses to determine when the woman is asleep"
pbahra writes: "Airbus have shed light on what the aircraft of the future will look like and how that could change passengers’ experiences when they fly in 2050 with a flashy computer generated video. Of course, it’s a plane they hope one day to build. So, what does the future hold in the eyes of one of the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturers and would any airline actually buy into an idea where space is provided on an aircraft to play virtual golf? From the video it appears that the cabin crew which greet you and guide you towards the correct aisle have disappeared. Instead, they are replaced by hand-print scanners that check you in and then show images of where your seats are. Airbus believes the futuristic web-like roof, providing panoramic views, will be strong enough to withhold the pressures associated with flight. But have Aibus forgotten one really important feature? None of the video images seem to show where the cockpit may be situated. Perhaps there’s no need for them in Airbus’ eyes, but we think it might be quite important."
pbahra writes: "For geeks it has to be the ultimate DIY project. A build-it-yourself, entirely open-source 3D printer. And here is the clever thing about it, not only is it an open source project, but it is self-replicating; you can use your 3D printer to print yourself another 3D printer. Called RepRap, it has more than an air of Heath Robinson about it, with its open circuit boards, gears and worm drives. But it is a fully functioning 3D printer, which you can build yourself, for less than £500."
pbahra writes: "A report by the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering on the vulnerability of the GPS system has caused something of stir with apocalyptic visions of a cyber-hell. “Cyber terrorists could cripple banks, send ships floundering on to rocks and bring death to the roads at the click of a mouse,” wrote one British newspaper. The report’s author, Dr. Martyn Thomas, dismissed such reporting as hype. He said aim of the report, “Global Navigation Space Systems: reliance and vulnerabilities” was to highlight the “dangerous over-reliance” on satellite navigation and timing signals, which are vulnerable to disruption, either from natural events such as solar storms, or jamming. While most people think of GPS as a navigation system such as your in-car navigation, it is also used in data networks, sea and air transport, railways and emergency services. It is also a global, synchronized, highly-accurate clock which is used in systems like high frequency trading. Dr. Thomas described the threat to the national infrastructure by over reliance on GPS as “dangerous, although not very dangerous. However we are on a path that might lead us there if we do not take steps.”"
pbahra writes: "Formula 1 is seen as the apogee of engineering excellence and automotive power. So it says something that in Bloodhound SSC—the car that, if all goes well, in 2013 will shatter the current land speed record—the Cosworth Formula 1 engine is just the fuel pump. “We are creating the ultimate car; we’re going where no-one has gone before,” said Richard Noble, the project director. The car, which Mr. Noble says takes £10,000 a day just to keep it ticking over, will be powered by not one, but two other engines. The smaller one, the EJ200, is normally found in the British Royal Air Force’s Typhoon jet. Its job is to get the 13.4 meter long car up to 350 mph. That’s when the big one kicks in. The big one is the 18-inch diameter, 12-foot-long Falcon rocket, the largest of its kind ever made in the U.K.. Its job is to catapult the car through the sound barrier to its maximum speed of 1,050 mph. That is, literally, faster than a speeding bullet."
pbahra writes: "One complaint made of the modern stock market is that it is concerned too much on the short term. A second is a long time in cash-equities trading. Four or five years ago, trading firms started to talk of trading speeds in terms of milliseconds. But in recent weeks trading geeks have started to talk about picoseconds in what is a truly mind-boggling concept: a picosecond is one trillionth of a second. Put another way, a picosecond is to one second what one second is to 31,700 years."
pbahra writes: Ford is taking a big step in the creation of fully digital dashboards in their auto-mobiles with the introduction of a second generation of its digital system — Sync. It aims to redesign the entire user interface of the dashboard with color-coded touch screens, better voice recognition and five-way control pads on the steering wheel. This new system redefines the way you control in-car entertainment and climate settings; permits personalization of things like instrument-cluster gauges; and even lets you set up a Wi-Fi network in the car.