2008年7月31日 星期四

Genetically modified tobacco could help to locate landmines

Inside Europe | 02.08.2008 | 07:05

Genetically modified tobacco could help to locate landmines

Tobacco might be a much maligned plant for our health but it potentially could help to save lives.

A Danish bio-technology firm has genetically modified a tobacco plant to make its leaves change colour - from green to red - when it detects nitrogen dioxide. A compound known to leach into the soil from landmines.

In many parts of the world anti-personnel landmines remain a deadly legacy of conflict that kill thousands of people every year. Clearing mines is a costly, labour intensive and dangerous process.

Sniffer dogs, armoured vehicles and robots can be used to detect and clear mines but much of the work by demining teams must be done manually. Sowing mine infested land with the genetically modified tobacco could help to locate landmines quickly from a distance.

Steen Thaarup is the CEO of Aresa in Copenhagen and says the firm is about to commence field trials in Serbia next week.

Interview: Guy Degen /Steen Thaarup

Data Masking’

IBM's Data Masking Technology Protects Customer Data in Call Centers
TMCnet - USA
By Shireen Dee IBM (News - Alert) recently developed its latest advanced Data Masking Technology at its Research Laboratory in India. ...

‘‘‘Data Masking’’’ of structured data is the process of obscuring (masking obscurity) specific data within a database table or cell to ensure that data security is maintained and sensitive customer information is not leaked outside of the authorized environment. Data masking is typically done in non-production environments so that copies being made to support test and development processes are not exposing sensitive information. Masking algorithms are used on non-master tables so referential integrity is maintained.
Data masking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2008年7月30日 星期三

Columbia 大學 科技史一瞥

Columbia 大學 科技史一瞥

人多以母校貴。胡適先生在195368日的日記錄 World Telegram的新聞:Columbia Started the Atomic Age 「其中記1938年底至19391……」(胡適日記全集 - Google Books Result9 31--他說當時科學家雲集該大學實為 independent convergence一例)

當然胡適博士忘掉當時那傲報紙已改名 如下說明

In 1950, the World-Telegram acquired the remains of another afternoon paper, the New York Sun, to become the New York World-Telegram and Sun. The writer A.J. Liebling described the "and Sun" portion of the combined publication's masthead as resembling the tail feathers of a canary on the chin of a cat.

2008/7/31早上在BBC看到連載的 The Long Goodbye 談失智之問題

主要是Columbia大學為主導的找其基因之專案 TAUB
The Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain is the
... The institute brings together Columbia university researchers and ...





1953510胡適日記全集 - Google Books Result


The Nature of Glass Remains Anything but Clear

The Nature of Glass Remains Anything but Clear

Mark Interrante

ENIGMA Molten glass being worked into an ornament. Understanding glass could lead to better products and offer headway in other scientific problems.

Published: July 29, 2008

It is well known that panes of stained glass in old European churches are thicker at the bottom because glass is a slow-moving liquid that flows downward over centuries.

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COMPLEX Glass in sheet and molten forms. Glass transition differs from usual phase transition.

Well known, but wrong. Medieval stained glass makers were simply unable to make perfectly flat panes, and the windows were just as unevenly thick when new.

The tale contains a grain of truth about glass resembling a liquid, however. The arrangement of atoms and molecules in glass is indistinguishable from that of a liquid. But how can a liquid be as strikingly hard as glass?

“They’re the thickest and gooiest of liquids and the most disordered and structureless of rigid solids,” said Peter Harrowell, a professor of chemistry at the University of Sydney in Australia, speaking of glasses, which can be formed from different raw materials. “They sit right at this really profound sort of puzzle.”

Philip W. Anderson, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at Princeton, wrote in 1995: “The deepest and most interesting unsolved problem in solid state theory is probably the theory of the nature of glass and the glass transition.”

He added, “This could be the next breakthrough in the coming decade.”

Thirteen years later, scientists still disagree, with some vehemence, about the nature of glass.

Peter G. Wolynes, a professor of chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, thinks he essentially solved the glass problem two decades ago based on ideas of what glass would look like if cooled infinitely slowly. “I think we have a very good constructive theory of that these days,” Dr. Wolynes said. “Many people tell me this is very contentious. I disagree violently with them.”

Others, like Juan P. Garrahan, professor of physics at the University of Nottingham in England, and David Chandler, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, have taken a different approach and are as certain that they are on the right track.

“It surprises most people that we still don’t understand this,” said David R. Reichman, a professor of chemistry at Columbia, who takes yet another approach to the glass problem. “We don’t understand why glass should be a solid and how it forms.”

Dr. Reichman said of Dr. Wolynes’s theory, “I think a lot of the elements in it are correct,” but he said it was not a complete picture. Theorists are drawn to the problem, Dr. Reichman said, “because we think it’s not solved yet — except for Peter maybe.”

Scientists are slowly accumulating more clues. A few years ago, experiments and computer simulations revealed something unexpected: as molten glass cools, the molecules do not slow down uniformly. Some areas jam rigid first while in other regions the molecules continue to skitter around in a liquid-like fashion. More strangely, the fast-moving regions look no different from the slow-moving ones.

Meanwhile, computer simulations have become sophisticated and large enough to provide additional insights, and yet more theories have been proffered to explain glasses.

David A. Weitz, a physics professor at Harvard, joked, “There are more theories of the glass transition than there are theorists who propose them.” Dr. Weitz performs experiments using tiny particles suspended in liquids to mimic the behavior of glass, and he ducks out of the theoretical battles. “It just can get so controversial and so many loud arguments, and I don’t want to get involved with that myself.”

For scientists, glass is not just the glass of windows and jars, made of silica, sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Rather, a glass is any solid in which the molecules are jumbled randomly. Many plastics like polycarbonate are glasses, as are many ceramics.

Understanding glass would not just solve a longstanding fundamental (and arguably Nobel-worthy) problem and perhaps lead to better glasses. That knowledge might benefit drug makers, for instance. Certain drugs, if they could be made in a stable glass structure instead of a crystalline form, would dissolve more quickly, allowing them to be taken orally instead of being injected. The tools and techniques applied to glass might also provide headway on other problems, in material science, biology and other fields, that look at general properties that arise out of many disordered interactions.

“A glass is an example, probably the simplest example, of the truly complex,” Dr. Harrowell, the University of Sydney professor, said. In liquids, molecules jiggle around along random, jumbled paths. When cooled, a liquid either freezes, as water does into ice, or it does not freeze and forms a glass instead.

In freezing to a conventional solid, a liquid undergoes a so-called phase transition; the molecules line up next to and on top of one another in a simple, neat crystal pattern. When a liquid solidifies into a glass, this organized stacking is nowhere to be found. Instead, the molecules just move slower and slower and slower, until they are effectively not moving at all, trapped in a strange state between liquid and solid.

The glass transition differs from a usual phase transition in several other key ways. Energy is released, what is called latent heat, when water molecules line up into ice. There is no latent heat in the formation of glass.

The glass transition does not occur at a single, well-defined temperature; the slower the cooling, the lower the transition temperature. Even the definition of glass is arbitrary — basically a rate of flow so slow that it is too boring and time-consuming to watch. The final structure of the glass also depends on how slowly it has been cooled.

By contrast, water, cooled quickly or cooled slowly, consistently crystallizes to the same ice structure at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

To develop his theory, Dr. Wolynes zeroed in on an observation made decades ago, that the viscosity of a glass was related to the amount of entropy, a measure of disorder, in the glass. Further, if a glass could be formed by cooling at an infinitely slow rate, the entropy would vanish at a temperature well above absolute zero, violating the third law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy vanishes at absolute zero.

Dr. Wolynes and his collaborators came up with a mathematical model to describe this hypothetical, impossible glass, calling it an “ideal glass.” Based on this ideal glass, they said the properties of real glasses could be deduced, although exact calculations were too hard to perform. That was in the 1980s. “I thought in 1990 the problem was solved,” Dr. Wolynes said, and he moved on to other work.

Not everyone found the theory satisfying. Dr. Wolynes and his collaborators so insisted they were right that “you had the impression they were trying to sell you an old car,” said Jean-Philippe Bouchaud of the Atomic Energy Commission in France. “I think Peter is not the best advocate of his own ideas. He tends to oversell his own theory.”

Around that time, the first hints of the dichotomy of fast-moving and slow-moving regions in a solidifying glass were seen in experiments, and computer simulations predicted that this pattern, called dynamical heterogeneity, should exist.

Dr. Weitz of Harvard had been working for a couple of decades with colloids, or suspensions of plastic spheres in liquids, and he thought he could use them to study the glass transition. As the liquid is squeezed out, the colloid particles undergo the same change as a cooling glass. With the colloids, Dr. Weitz could photograph the movements of each particle in a colloidal glass and show that some chunks of particles moved quickly while most hardly moved.

“You can see them,” Dr. Weitz said. “You can see them so clearly.”

The new findings did not faze Dr. Wolynes. Around 2000, he returned to the glass problem, convinced that with techniques he had used in solving protein folding problems, he could fill in some of the computational gaps in his glass theory. Among the calculations, he found that dynamical heterogeneity was a natural consequence of the theory.

Dr. Bouchaud and a colleague, Giulio Biroli, revisited Dr. Wolynes’s theory, translating it into terms they could more easily understand and coming up with predictions that could be compared with experiments. “For a long time, I didn’t really believe in the whole story, but with time I became more and more convinced there is something very deep in the theory,” Dr. Bouchaud said. “I think these people had fantastic intuition about how the whole problem should be attacked.”

For Dr. Garrahan, the University of Nottingham scientist, and Dr. Chandler, the Berkeley scientist, the contrast between fast- and slow-moving regions was so striking compared with the other changes near the transition, they focused on these dynamics. They said that the fundamental process in the glass transition was a phase transition in the trajectories, from flowing to jammed, rather than a change in structure seen in most phase transitions. “You don’t see anything interesting in the structure of these glass formers, unless you look at space and time,” Dr. Garrahan said.

They ignore the more subtle effects related to the impossible-to-reach ideal glass state. “If I can never get there, these are metaphysical temperatures,” Dr. Chandler said.

Dr. Chandler and Dr. Garrahan have devised and solved mathematical models, but, like Dr. Wolynes, they have not yet convinced everyone of how the model is related to real glasses. The theory does not try to explain the presumed connection between entropy and viscosity, and some scientists said they found it hard to believe that the connection was just coincidence and unrelated to the glass transition.

Dr. Harrowell said that in the proposed theories so far, the theorists have had to guess about elementary atomic properties of glass not yet observed, and he wondered whether one theory could cover all glasses, since glasses are defined not by a common characteristic they possess, but rather a common characteristic they lack: order. And there could be many reasons that order is thwarted. “If I showed you a room without an elephant in the room, the question ‘why is there not an elephant in the room?’ is not a well-posed question,” Dr. Harrowell said.

New experiments and computer simulations may offer better explanations about glass. Simulations by Dr. Harrowell and his co-workers have been able to predict, based on the pattern of vibration frequencies, which areas were likely to be jammed and which were likely to continue moving. The softer places, which vibrate at lower frequencies, moved more freely.

Mark D. Ediger, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has found a way to make thin films of glass with the more stable structure of a glass that has been “aged” for at least 10,000 years. He hopes the films will help test Dr. Wolynes’s theory and point to what really happens as glass approaches its ideal state, since no one expects the third law of thermodynamics to fall away.

Dr. Weitz of Harvard continues to squeeze colloids, except now the particles are made of compressible gels, enabling the colloidal glasses to exhibit a wider range of glassy behavior.

“When we can say what structure is present in glasses, that will be a real bit of progress,” Dr. Harrowell said. “And hopefully something that will have broader implications than just the glass field.”

2008年7月29日 星期二

白騎士2號亮相 與The Jetpack

太空旅行載具 白騎士2號亮相
停在洛杉磯莫哈維航太站的白騎士2號。 (路透)






該 公司說,白騎士2號母船是4引擎噴射機,也是全球最大的碳複合材質飛機,機翼長43米,在白騎士2號飛達其最高的飛行限度1萬5240米後,太空船2號將 脫離母船,靠著混合火箭衝高到離地球100公里之上。從白騎士2號起飛到太空船2號無重力降落,全程大約2小時30分鐘。







個人飛行器 可望明年上市











The Jetpack: From Comics to a Liftoff in the Yard

Andy Manis for The New York Times

John Schwartz of The New York Times tested a jetpack with its inventor, Glenn Martin, left, and Ray Thomsen guiding him. The device was unveiled Tuesday at an air show in Wisconsin.

Published: July 29, 2008

OSHKOSH, Wis. — To rise off the ground wearing a jetpack is to feel the force of dreams. Very, very noisy dreams.

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On Tuesday, an inventor from New Zealand unveiled what he calls “the world’s first practical jetpack” at the EAA AirVenture, the gigantic annual air show here. The inventor, Glenn Martin, 48, who has spent 27 years developing the devices, said he hoped to begin selling them next year for $100,000 apiece.

“There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve,” said Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. He called it “about the coolest desire left to mankind.”

For Mr. Martin, the jetpack is the culmination of a dream that began as a 5-year-old in Dunedin, New Zealand. For those who still remember childhood dreams of flying and comic-book visions of the 21st century, the jetpack suggests the possible fulfillment of the yearning for those long-promised gifts of technology.

Buck Rogers and James Bond used jetpacks, and since the 1960s, several real jetpack designs have been built from metal, plastic and propellant. None has flown more than a minute. Mr. Martin’s machines can run for 30 minutes.

At first sight, parked in the back of the U-Haul van Mr. Martin used to cart it to the air show, it did not look like the classic jetpacks of science fiction. It stands about five feet tall and its rotors are encased in two large ducts that look a bit like cupcakes. It rests on three legs. Mr. Martin has somehow made the future look both sleek and nerdy.

“If someone says, ‘I’m not going to buy a jetpack until it’s the size of my high school backpack and has a turbine engine in it,’ that’s fine,” he said. “ But they’re not going to be flying a jetpack in their lifetime.”

It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. “If you’re very pedantic,” Mr. Martin acknowledged, a gasoline-powered piston engine runs the large rotors. Jet Skis, he pointed out, are not jets, and the atmospheric jet stream is not created by engines. “This thing flies on a jet of air,” he said. Or, more simply, it flies.

On a couple of test runs in the yard of a home here belonging to a friend of Mr. Martin, the jetpack jumped off the ground as if impatient to get moving, scattering a cloud of dirt and grass clippings.

With the startling power of its twin rotors and its 200-horsepower engine behind my shoulder blades screaming like an army of leaf blowers, it felt almost as if I were doing the lifting myself, with muscles I did not know I had. It felt like living in the future — and, even better, the future we imagined back when it was something to be hoped for rather than feared.

Pressing the left-hand stick forward caused the device to pitch forward slightly, and the jetpack began advancing, a few feet above the lawn. Mr. Martin and a colleague steadied it by grasping hand rails and trotting alongside, like parents teaching a child to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

Then, coming around a curve, Mr. Martin jogged to the right to avoid some equipment on the ground, bringing the jetpack too close to an overhanging tree. The limb was sucked into the rotors with a brief but sickening sound, like a blender trying to make a margarita with twigs. Luckily, he had spare parts and access to a workshop to replace a chipped rotor.

Mr. Martin started trying to make his jetpack dreams come true in college. While he was studying biochemistry, he was also working on painstaking calculations of thrust in the library and researching the Wright brothers’ methodical approach to technology development. He later had jobs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, but much of the money went to the work going on in his garage. He built a network of enthusiasts who helped him develop his ideas.

In June 1997, seven weeks after the birth of his second child, Mr. Martin figured his prototype was now powerful enough to lift its first flier, so long as that person weighed less than 130 pounds. So he turned to his wife. “I said, ‘Hey, Vanessa, what are you doing tonight?’ ”

Mrs. Martin agreed to be her husband’s levitating guinea pig. Mr. Martin yoked the unit to a pole in the garage so it would lift her without moving around, put a kind of brake at the top of the pole in case the engine was stronger than he thought, and strapped her in.

She admits now that, deep down, she was not sure she would take off. At the same time, she was “very scared” of the device she calls “the beast.”

The engine fired up, sounding angry, she said, and the air started blasting around her. “There’s a moment when it will just bite,” she said, and seem to grab the air and go. “That was it,” she said. “I was totally addicted.”

She said she felt, in a way, that she had conquered it — “the taming of it, that’s so exciting.” It was, she said, “probably the best experience of my life.”

To prove that anyone could learn to use a later prototype, Mr. Martin also enlisted his son Harrison, then 15, as a test pilot. Too young to drive, he learned to fly. The family’s need for secrecy until the project could be patented and properly announced meant that Harrison could not tell his friends about it.

“I can’t think of a better secret,” he said, but added that it was not a hard one to keep. “Basically, for my whole life I’ve had a jetpack in the garage,” said Harrison, now 16, with a shrug, “so it’s just one of those things you don’t talk about.”

With a working engine and video in hand, Mr. Martin was able to start raising enough money to quit his day job and devote himself to jetpack development full time. Before long he had venture capital financing and a PowerPoint presentation.

The current iteration of the product, the 11th, weighs about 250 pounds and provides 600 pounds of thrust. It includes safety features like a so-called ballistic parachute with a small explosive charge for rapid deployment in case of an emergency, like those used in some small airplanes.

The pedestal that forms the main support for the device has a shock absorber like a pogo stick to soften landings. The weight of the engines and body of the flier sits lower than the rotors to create a pendulum effect that discourages the contraption from tipping upside down and creating what might be called the lawn dart effect.

“People come up and go, ‘Is it safe?’ ” Mr. Martin said. “Safety is a relative thing. We think we have done a lot to make this by far the safest jetpack ever built.” But, he acknowledged, “It’s not a high bar.”

He added, “I’ve got to get my head around the fact that at some point, somebody is going to have a very bad experience.”

So far, he said, he and his team of developers have not taken the device higher than six feet. “We set that very deliberately,” he said, to ensure that they fully understand controlling the invention before taking it to more dangerous altitudes. “If you can fly it at 3 feet, you can fly it at 3,000,” he said.

Only 12 people have flown the jetpack, and no one has gained more than three hours of experience in the air. Mr. Martin plans to take it up to 500 feet within six months. This time, he said with a smile, he will be the first.

Mr. Martin said he had no idea how his invention might ultimately be used, but he is not a man of small hopes. He repeated the story of Benjamin Franklin, on first seeing a hot-air balloon, being asked, “What good is it?” He answered, “What good is a newborn baby?”

At the demonstration on Tuesday, a large crowd formed and watched as Harrison took the device a few feet off the ground, barely visible over the heads of the spectators.

"That's a little anticlimactic," said Bob Oliver, a retired airline pilot from Alamo, Calif. But Joseph Tevaarwerk, who helped develop the craft's engine, noted that the world's first airplane flight was only about 12 seconds long. And he added "would you have wanted to be there when the Wright brothers launched?"

2008年7月26日 星期六


DATE 2008/07/25 印刷用網頁

  豐田汽車第1電子開發部部長宮田博司在AT International首日發表了主題演講。演講的題目是“不斷進化的汽車電子”。宮田從現在汽車行業面臨的問題入手,通過穿插介紹豐田為此所採取的措施,講解了利用電子技術解決這些問題的方法。




  最後,宮田展示了汽車電子開發的方向。宮田指出,目前遇到的問題是隨著控制系統的複雜化,一處的更改可能影響到整個程式。為了解決這個問題,豐田正在 進行功能和軟體的層次化與結構化。希望在今後,使軟體開發方式轉變為能夠自動生成代碼的模型庫的開發。在演講的最後,宮田表示,汽車的終極形態是孫悟空的 “筋斗雲”,為了這一天的早日到來,汽車行業與電子行業必須攜手合作。

  按照預定,AT International第二天的主題演講為博世專務董事押澤秀和的“汽車電子開發:博世的舉措”,第三天的主題演講為尚美學園大學教授西和彥與Aquavit董事長田中榮的“什麼才是既‘性感’又‘瘋狂’的汽車”。(記者:今井 拓司)


《日經汽車技術》總編預測(一) “環保”和“安全”迫使汽車進化

《日經汽車技術》總編預測(二) “環保”和“安全”迫使汽車進化

《日經汽車技術》總編預測(三) 電子改變一切

HC "共用"翻譯甚怪

日經BP社主辦的汽車電子專業綜合展會“AT International 2008(ATI2008)”于2008年7月23日在幕張Messe國際會展中心開幕。展會會期為7月23日(週三)~25日(週五),為期3天。到場人數預計將達到3萬人次。

  ATI為首次舉辦。ATI論壇于7月23日10時在國際會議中心召開,日經BP社代表董事社長平田保雄代表主辦方登臺介紹了展會舉辦的背景,表示“在 汽車產業迎來重大轉折之際,希望ATI能夠成為技術人員共用問題,並對3年、5年後的努力方向進行探索的平臺”。之後,以豐田汽車第1電子開發部部長宮田 博司發表主題演講的“不斷進化的汽車電子”論壇為首,3天的會期內將舉辦11場分會、50余場演講的ATI論壇正式拉開帷幕。

  5號、6號展廳也同樣于10時開場。在180家企業及團體參展的展會現場,可以看到支援汽車發展的最新軟體和車載裝置。在會場內的“主會廳” 中,每天下午都會舉辦以《日經汽車技術》、《日經電子》各編輯部為中心策劃的談話秀和演講。並且,在同一會場內的“研究會”會場中,24家公司將就與汽車 電子相關的最新產品及技術動向發表演講。

  此外,大會還準備了“電動汽車試駕會”、“網際網路ITS車載儀展覽館”、“JHFC氫燃料電池驗證項目”、“電動汽車及環保汽車展區”等多種活動。(記者:木村 知史)


2008年7月23日 星期三


DATE 2008/07/24 印刷用網頁



  目前,汽車用車輪軸承正在向組件化發展,因此,第3代輪轂軸承的需求不斷擴大。然而以小型車為中心,第1代角接觸球軸承的需求依然強勁。該公司認為,由於小型車的需求有望擴大,因此第1代角接觸球軸承仍有用武之地。(記者:濱田 基彥)


to develop carbon fibre cars

Japan firms to develop carbon fibre cars - Nikkei

Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:37am BST
[-] Text [+]

TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co. (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research), Honda Motor Co. (7267.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Toray Industries (3402.T: Quote, Profile, Research) will join hands to develop a new carbon fibre material for auto bodies, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

The companies, along with textile firms Mitsubishi Rayon (3404.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Toyobo (3101.T: Quote, Profile, Research), aim to be able to mass produce the material by mid-2010s and to make vehicles 40 percent lighter than steel-use cars, the newspaper said.

The Japanese government is also helping the project in the hopes of staying ahead of the global race to develop eco-friendly vehicles. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to provide 2 billion yen ($18.5 million) for the project over five years, it said.

One of the issues is the high price of carbon fibre, but it is expected that the cost gap between carbon fibre and steel will narrow over time as steel prices continue to rise, it said.

The use of carbon fibre will also likely improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent, the paper said.

Plastic parts maker Takagi Seiko Corp (4242.Q: Quote, Profile, Research) and researchers from the University of Tokyo are also participating in the project, it said. ($1=107.93 Yen) (Reporting by Sachi Izumi, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

2008年7月21日 星期一


DATE 2008/07/22
  【日經BP社報導】 北京時間8月8日晚8時8分。在這個中國吉利數字“8”一字排開的時刻,北京奧運會將拉開帷幕。對於體育迷來說,四年一次的激動人心的日子又將來臨。

  與電子技術的世界相同,體育的世界也時常會迎來技術革新的浪潮,甚至會改變以往的常識和規則。英國Speedo公司最近推出的專業泳衣“LZR RACER”就是一個典型。筆者一直認為:“不使用工具的游泳才是選手之間純粹的實力較量”,但是看到身著LZR RACER的頂尖選手一口氣把個人最好成績縮短近1秒的時候,筆者改變了想法。在北京奧運會上,恐怕會出現令參賽者不悅的說法:“那位選手就是因為沒有穿 Speedo泳裝才輸的”。


  網球隨著競技人口的增加,能夠以更小的力擊出更強勁的球,也就是輕巧且反作用力大的球拍需求擴大。因此,從上世紀80年代開始,球拍的主流材 料從過去的木材和輕金屬變成了樹脂。之後,隨著樹脂材料和強化纖維的改進,更是實現了“三年一大變”的快速進步。最近還出現了使用有“地球上最輕固體”美 譽的高科技材料“氣凝膠(Aerogel)”(重量是空氣的3倍)的球拍。





  為了解決這一問題,網球運動導入了新制度——“挑戰系統”。在不久前的“2008溫布爾登網球公開賽”等一些巡迴賽上,就得到了採用。該制度 簡單地說就是選手在不滿裁判判罰提出異議時,將由機械進行裁決。由於可能在全場觀眾面前傷害裁判在賽場上的絕對權威,這項制度極為大膽,並且引發了爭議。 當然,選手不能無制限地提出異議,1盤比賽的挑戰許可權定為3次。

  挑戰系統使用的是英國Hawk-Eye Innovations開發的圖像處理技術。簡單地說,就是利用網球場周圍設置的5台高速攝影機追蹤球路,通過三角測量原理確定球心軌跡。然後以CG合成影像的方式再現球路。該公司表示,測量誤差為3.6mm左右。

  具有劃時代意義的是向觀眾傳達系統判定結果的過程實現了娛樂化。例如,一位選手“挑戰”落在己方半場“界內”的判決。在提出要求後,球場內設 置的大螢幕將以CG影像的形式再現球路,給出“界內”或“出界”的結果。在等待判決的時間內,觀眾可以通過觀看影像享受這份刺激。


  在北京奧運會上,各項運動會出現怎樣的技術革新呢?筆者將在關注的同時欣賞比賽。(記者:內田 泰)


2008年7月17日 星期四


17日搭一輛台灣Ford新車 談些這一行的車觀....

DATE 2008/07/18




  我在參與現在的開發工作時,時常為最近的技術進展所震撼。通過借助IT,此前以馬力、油耗、設計為重的汽車正在發生巨大的變化。例如導航儀系統和 VICS(道路交通資訊通信系統)的普及,以及汽車可以通過接收即時道路資訊繞行堵車路段等。也就是說,通過基礎設施和衛星,此前獨立存在的汽車擁有了與 社會相連的方法。如果繼續發展這項技術,有可能為汽車帶來新的魅力。




  確認電子產品運行狀況的工作變得越來越多已經成為一個問題。例如,電子產品容易受到電磁波干擾,使用得越多,需要確認是否存在問題的工作也就 會相應增加。特別是最近幾年,本田汽車的出口國有所增加,汽車開發需要考慮到當地的使用方式以及電波狀態。因此,量產準備所需的工作量遠遠大於以往。

  另一方面,作為目前軟體開發的課題,JASPAR(Japan Automotive SoftwarePlatform and Architecture)正在推動各廠商間的軟體開發平臺的共用化及標準化。如果得以實現,軟體開發必將會向高效率和低成本化發展。但實際上不會那麼簡 單就能實現,為此,我們希望積極參與有關的探討活動。






《日經汽車技術》總編預測(一) “環保”和“安全”迫使汽車進化

《日經汽車技術》總編預測(二) “環保”和“安全”迫使汽車進化

the universe 始終

Spotlight 的東西或許對 Paul的引言就不知道對錯

Daily Highlights Thursday, July 17, 2008


Oldest Seen Galaxies
Oldest Seen Galaxies
Scientific research shows that the universe has been expanding at an accelerating rate; this is said to be due to the dark energy that makes up some 70 percent of the total energy density of today's universe. This discovery further bears out the big bang theory, which had been first proposed by astrophysicist and cosmologist Georges Lemaître in 1927. LeMaître, who was born on this date in 1894, stated that the universe began some 20 billion years ago with the violent explosion of a small mass of matter at extremely high density and temperature.


"A universe that came from nothing in the big bang will disappear into nothing at the big crunch. Its glorious few zillion years of existence not even a memory."Paul Davies

2008年7月13日 星期日


DATE 2008/07/14 印刷用網頁

圖1 網上隨處可見的中國桔子手機Hiphone
圖2 中國桔子手機Hiphone
  最近朋友想換手機,看上了蘋果的iPhone,在網上查閱價格後感到太貴(價格在4000元左右)不能接受,他同時在網上也看到了另外一款外觀和性能 都和iPhone極其相像的手機,名叫“中國桔子”Hiphone,淘寶網上的價格僅為980元。這讓我們在感到驚訝的同時,更是感覺到中國“山寨手機” 的厲害。



  但這個局面卻被台灣的一家晶片商聯發科所打破,他們開發出的手機晶片技術把過去需要幾十人、耗費一年多的時間才能完成的手機主板、軟體全部集 成到一起,研製出了廉價的MTK手機晶片。聯發科這一產品讓高科技的手機生產行業失去了核心技術,而這個技術的產生更在一瞬間降低了手機行業的入門難度。 自此開始,中國手機相關企業猶如雨後春筍般遍地開花,新名詞“山寨手機”就此流傳開來。

  這些山寨手機實際上是現在各種中小企業生產的雜牌手機的統稱,他們被冠以各種各樣陌生的名字,甚至還與知名品牌手機極其相像。山寨手機誕生以 後,很快便以其便宜的價格、時尚的造型、齊備的功能受到了中國消費者的青睞,迅速佔領的中國的手機市場,尤其是面向中低端消費者的鄉鎮手機市場。


  在很多電子商務網站,我們都可以看到“山寨手機”的身影,為何這麼暢銷呢?據業內人士Ken介紹:“山寨手機成本優勢非常明顯,例如:一個充 電器的採購價不足3元,而其他很多配件(除了專用的主板外),也是十分好買的,螢幕十幾元到一百多的都有,隨便挑選。”另外,很多山寨手機廠商都採用聯發 科的MTK方案,過去需要幾個月甚至幾年的時間完成的工作,現在只要一會兒便可以輕鬆搞定,還可以自由添加很多功能,像JAVA、攝影鏡頭等都可以隨便載 入,如此一來,“山寨手機”的更新速度非常迅速,甚至超過了正規品牌的手機。

  還有許多小的手機廠商,待別人研發出新手機之後,只需照抄即可,連研發的費用都免了。核心晶片技術是台灣的,而中國國內的山寨手機廠只要做主 板、功能、外觀的設計以及後期的組裝等就可以了,再加上很少或根本就沒有的後期宣傳費用及偷稅漏稅,一些實驗及測試環節也是能省則省,如此這般,山寨手機 的成本怎會不低呢?




  手機行業門檻的降低、大量生產商湧入和山寨手機的氾濫,造成手機生產企業良莠不齊。山寨手機的低價格更是以犧牲品質、售後及服務為代價的。也是這種價 格優勢讓山寨手機在市場上大行其道,造成了對國產以及世界品牌手機的衝擊。過去,中國國產手機主要是依靠價格優勢搶佔市場,而山寨手機價格更低,國產品牌 手機可能會被山寨手機擠得沒有生存餘地。如國產手機品牌——夏新、波導、聯想等,因為市場佔有率的減少,產品大量積壓,迫使其不得不變賣資本、出售業務 等。波導出售手機合資公司,收縮戰線,創維在前幾天宣佈以2元的價格甩賣手機業務80%的股權,夏新連續兩年巨虧9億元,在5月份被實施退市風險警示,聯 想也從上市公司中剝離了手機業務。這些昔日知名的中國國產手機品牌都面臨著進退兩難的境地。


  據不完全統計,2007年中國山寨手機產量至少有1.5億部,差不多與市場手機總銷量相當。面對山寨手機的氾濫,有必要採取措施規範混亂的秩 序,現在有關部門已經開始重拳整治山寨手機。而山寨手機的存在也迫使品牌企業儘快看到自己生產管理方面的不足,加速資源整合,以更低的價格和更好的服務來 滿足消費者的需要。


2008年7月12日 星期六


0712/2008中華電信行通協理石木標表示,3G基地台建設不易、成本 高,為了改善3G的通話、數據品質,日本正在開始測試使用超微小型 基地台(Femto Cell),它與家中的ADSL或光纖相連,提供用戶良好的3G訊號 。中華電信預定8-9月開始測試,在年底前推出。

Wikipedia article "Femtocell".

Quality of service

When utilising an Ethernet or ADSL home backhaul connection, an Access Point Base Station must either share the backhaul bandwidth with other services, such as Internet, games machines, set-top boxes and triple-play equipment in general, or alternatively directly replace these functions within an integrated unit. In shared-bandwidth approaches, which are the majority of designs currently being developed, the effect on QoS does not appear to have been discussed.