2011年2月22日 星期二


石門等水庫的老化危險 必須面對

Danger Pent Up Behind Aging Dams

Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times

NOT INACTIVE Engineers now know that the Lake Isabella Dam lies on an active fault line. Below, a survey monument used to measure ground movement.

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. — Frank Brassell, owner of Nelda’s Diner in this town wedged between the slopes of the southern Sierra Nevada, knows his fate should Lake Isabella Dam, a mile up the road, suddenly fail when the lake is full.
Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times

Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times

TOO CLOSE? Frank Brassell, owns Nelda’s Diner in Lake Isabella, Calif. Nelda’s is named for Mr. Brassell’s mother and is located a mile from the dam.

“I work here,” Mr. Brassell said, looking around the brightly lighted diner. “And I live right over there,” he added, pointing across the town’s main street.

“The water would all come down here and it would try to take a right turn and go under the freeway, and it wouldn’t all go,” he said.

“So I’m dead.”

Lake Isabella Dam is just one acute example of a widespread problem: Of the nation’s 85,000 dams, more than 4,400 are considered susceptible to failure, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. But repairing all those dams would cost billions of dollars, and it is far from clear who would provide all the money in a recessionary era.

The stakes are particularly high not just for Mr. Brassell and the other 4,000 residents of Lake Isabella, but for the 340,000 people who live in Bakersfield, 40 miles down the Kern River Canyon on the edge of California’s vast agricultural heartland. The Army Corps of Engineers, which built and operates the 57-year-old dam, learned several years ago that it had three serious problems: it was in danger of eroding internally; water could flow over its top in the most extreme flood season; and a fault underneath it was not inactive after all but could produce a strong earthquake. In a worst case, a catastrophic failure could send as much as 180 billion gallons of water — along with mud, boulders, trees and other debris, including, presumably, the ruins of Nelda’s Diner — churning down the canyon and into Bakersfield. The floodwaters would turn the downtown and residential neighborhoods into a lake up to 30 feet deep and spread to industrial and agricultural areas.

The potential is for a 21st-century version of the Johnstown Flood, a calamitous dam failure that killed more than 2,200 people in western Pennsylvania in 1889. But corps and local government officials say that the odds of such a disaster are extremely small, and that they have taken interim steps to reduce the risk, like preparing evacuation plans and limiting how much water can be stored behind the dam to less than two-thirds of the maximum.

Still, they acknowledge that the impact of a dam failure would be enormous. “It’s not just the loss of life, potentially,” said David C. Serafini, lead technical expert for the corps on the project. “It’s the economic damages and the environmental damage, too.”

Corps engineers are preparing to propose fixes later this year. But at best, repairs would not begin until 2014 and could cost $500 million or more, money that would have to be approved by Congress.

Nationwide, the potential repair costs are staggering. A 2009 report by the state dam safety officials’ group put the cost of fixing the most critical dams — where failure could cause loss of life — at $16 billion over 12 years, with the total cost of rehabilitating all dams at $51 billion. But those figures do not include Lake Isabella and other dams among the approximately 3,000 that are owned by the federal government. The corps, for example, says that more than 300 of the roughly 700 dams it is responsible for need safety-related repairs, and estimates the total fix-up bill at about $20 billion.

The corps has already spent about $24 million just to determine the scope of the problems at Lake Isabella, and with the New Orleans levee failures during Hurricane Katrina a lingering memory, Congress has appropriated money for other federal dam repair projects as well.

But about two-thirds of all dams are private, and financially struggling state and local governments own most of the remainder. It is difficult to predict how needed repairs to these dams will be financed; legislation to provide federal money to help has languished in Congress. What’s more, the number of high-risk dams keeps rising as structures age, downstream development increases and more accurate information is obtained about watersheds and earthquake hazards.

Among the corps’s dams, Lake Isabella is one of 12 that are ranked in the highest category, as a dam with serious problems and serious failure consequences, given the large downstream population. “The classification is it’s an unsafe dam,” said Eric C. Halpin, the corps’s special assistant for dam and levee safety. But Mr. Halpin noted that 319 of the corps’s dams were considered “actionable from a safety standpoint.”

Lake Isabella would be one of the more expensive projects, but then again, its problems are legion. It is actually two earthen dams, a main one that is 185 feet high and an auxiliary one that sits on higher ground and is 100 feet high. With a rock ridge between them, they stretch for about a mile across the Kern River Valley.

For six decades the dams have controlled flooding on the Kern, helping Bakersfield to grow and thrive. And the lake that formed behind the dam has become the main driver of the economy of Lake Isabella and other towns, bringing fishers, boaters and whitewater rafters to the area.

But there have always been people in the area who felt the dams were flawed.

David Laughing Horse Robinson, an artist and teacher who lives in the lakeside town of Kernville, said his grandfather, who worked on the dam, and others used to talk about it. “Constantly,” he said. “How it was the stupidest thing they ever did. It’s doomed.”

Water seeps through the Lake Isabella dams, as it does through most earthen dams, which account for a vast majority of dams in the United States. But the seepage at Lake Isabella was especially severe — it is what prompted the corps to perform a full-scale study of the dam.

Water seeping through a dam can erode it from the inside out, to the point where the dam may fail. Engineers have learned to build structures into dams like drains and filters, to stop erosion and allow infiltrating water to drain safely away. But the Lake Isabella dams were constructed before such features became commonplace.

“It was built with the best available knowledge and technology at the time,” said Veronica V. Petrovsky, who is managing the project for the corps.

That knowledge, or lack of it, extended to the understanding of the large and complex watershed, which includes the slopes of Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. To determine how big the spillway needs to be, it is critical to know how much water might be impounded behind the dam each year.

Calculations show that in an extreme year with a “probable maximum flood,” the spillway would be far too small. “We could not release the water fast enough,” Ms. Petrovsky said. “It would overtop.” An overtopped dam can fail quickly as the water erodes the downstream side.

Concerns about seepage, in particular, prompted the corps to restrict the lake level, because less water creates less hydrostatic pressure that would force water through the dam. Earlier this winter, the lake was so low that water did not even lap up against the auxiliary dam. But the corps has been monitoring the heavy rains and snowfall that California has experienced this winter and says that in the spring and summer it may be necessary to divert water through the spillway to maintain the safer lake level. Overtopping, however, presents only a “small concern,” the corps said.

With both seepage and overtopping there would be plenty of warning that the dam was in jeopardy, allowing Lake Isabella and Bakersfield residents to evacuate. An earthquake would be a more immediate disaster, although Bakersfield would still have about seven hours before a wall of water made its way down the canyon, according to the corps.

The auxiliary dam was built, knowingly, on the Kern Canyon fault, one of many in the region. At the time the corps brought in seismologists and geologists who concluded that the fault was not active.

Only recently have scientists been able to accurately detect and measure ancient earthquakes, a field known as paleoseismology. Mr. Serafini and others determined that there have been three significant earthquakes on the fault in the past 10,000 years. “We have got a fairly active fault on our hands,” Mr. Serafini said. The last quake occurred about 3,400 years ago, he added.

It’s possible to construct a safe earthen dam on an active earthquake fault, by using the proper materials to minimize settlement or slumping when shaken, and including drains and filters to help stop the inevitable cracks from growing through erosion. Not only do the Lake Isabella dams lack those features, but the auxiliary dam was built on sediments that could turn into a virtual liquid in a quake, leading to even greater damage.

While Mr. Serafini and his team are still working on proposals, the likeliest solutions include blasting a much bigger spillway out of bedrock adjacent to the main dam and using the excavated rock to build a buttress — essentially an entirely new dam — downstream from the auxiliary dam. The old dam could still move in an earthquake, Mr. Serafini said, but the buttress would have the necessary drains and filters to prevent failure.

While the proposals are being fleshed out, the corps team has been holding meetings in the area to let people know what the possibilities are.

“We don’t hear much from the people of Bakersfield,” Ms. Petrovsky said. “It’s one of those ‘out of sight, out of mind’ things. You forget there’s a dam up here holding back a lot of water.”

Not so in Lake Isabella, however, where the dam, and its potential for failure, are harder to ignore.

“I think we’ve all put some thought into it,” said Mr. Brassell, the diner owner. “But anytime you have a diverse group of people there are going to be those who are panicked at some level, and those who are calm. Faith in God, you know. He’s going to do what he wants.”

2011年2月16日 星期三

World Wide Mind’

Books on Science

Imagining a World of Total Connectedness, and Its Consequences

Imagine, Michael Chorost proposes, that four police officers on a drug raid are connected mentally in a way that allows them to sense what their colleagues are seeing and feeling. Tony Vittorio, the captain, is in the center room of the three-room drug den.

William P. O'Donnell/The New York Times


He can sense that his partner Wilson, in the room on his left, is not feeling danger or arousal and thus has encountered no one. But suddenly Vittorio feels a distant thump on his chest. Sarsen, in the room on the right, has been hit with something, possibly a bullet fired from a gun with a silencer.

Vittorio glimpses a flickering image of a metallic barrel pointed at Sarsen, who is projecting overwhelming shock and alarm. By deducing how far Sarsen might have gone into the room and where the gunman is likely to be standing, Vittorio fires shots into the wall that will, at the very least, distract the gunman and allow Sarsen to shoot back. Sarsen is saved; the gunman is dead.

That scene, from his new book, “World Wide Mind,” is an example of what Mr. Chorost sees as “the coming integration of humanity, machines, and the Internet.” The prediction is conceptually feasible, he tells us, something that technology does not yet permit but that breaks no known physical laws.

Mr. Chorost also wrote “Rebuilt,” about his experience with deafness and his decision to get a cochlear implant in 2001. In that eloquent and thoughtful book, he refers to himself as a cyborg: He has a computer in his skull, which, along with a second implant three years ago, artificially restores his hearing. In “World Wide Mind,” he writes, “My two implants make me irreversibly computational, a living example of the integration of humans and computers.”

He takes off from his own implanted computer to imagine a world where people are connected by them. The implanted computer would work something like his BlackBerry, he explains, in that it would let people “be effortlessly aware of what their friends and colleagues are doing.” It would let each person know what the others “are seeing and feeling, thus enabling much richer forms of communication.”

Cool. Maybe. But beginning with privacy issues, the hazards are almost countless.

In discussing one of them, he cites the work of Dr. John Ratey, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard who believes people can be physically addicted to e-mail. “Each e-mail you open gives you a little hit of dopamine,” Mr. Chorost writes, “which you associate with satiety. But it’s just a little hit. The effect wears off quickly, leaving you wanting another hit.”

Dr. Ratey, he says, calls this “acquired attention deficit disorder.” Think about how this addiction to the quick informational hit would be compounded many times over by those implanted BlackBerrys shooting off constant information. “The effort would be so low, the rewards so intermittent, and the payoff so good, that a savage compulsion would result.”

Recognizing these dangers, and his own isolation, Mr. Chorost set out to make human contact. About to turn 40, in 2005, he had never been in love. Obsessed with the fact that he is short and deaf, by his own description, he undermined relationships. He enrolled in a workshop that a friend told him was about “love, sexuality and intimacy.”

The workshop was such a success that he attended six more and then became an assistant. Passages describing workshop experiences alternate with erudite passages about technology. Sometimes it’s hard to see the connection. Often it’s cringe-inducing.

Halfway into the weekend, clothes come off and participants are urged to hug someone: “I peered around, looking for likely candidates. I met the eyes of a chubby woman about my height, clothed only from the waist down. She smiled warmly and held out her arms.”

A fascinating discussion of optogenetics research is followed by the story of how Mr. Chorost met the woman who is now his wife, Victoria, on a dating Web site. I’m happy for him — Victoria sounds like a wonderful person. But as in “Rebuilt,” he’s shared too much intimacy, too many confessions.

Avert your eyes and get back to technology. Mr. Chorost’s curiosity is contagious. Even if you don’t quite follow the explanation and graphics about how the brain generates speech (discussing the work of computational neuroscientists at Harvard), you may be glad you tried. Edited out of the final book (I read an early galley proof) is the author’s assurance that if you just get through a few technical paragraphs, you’ll understand “how specific memories and perception can be manipulated.”

I didn’t. But I enjoyed the effort. And I liked the author’s belief in my ability to follow what he was saying.

Michael Chorost is not only a clear and concise science writer, but also a visionary. The coming integration of humans and machines may be a bit further off than he thinks, but he convinced me that we will get there someday.

2011年2月14日 星期一

Netbooks Lose Status as Tablets Like the iPad Rise

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

Netbook computers for sale in Mountain View, Calif. Competition and the vagaries of consumer taste have clipped the appeal of netbooks.

Remember the Last Big Thing in computing? You’ll be forgiven for having forgotten it was the netbook — a small notebook computer with a slender price tag, about $300.

Harry Cabluck/Associated Press

Chris Murray, a math teacher, helps Trinh Ha, of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, as she works with a netbook in Texas. Netbooks are still popular for schoolchildren.

Today, tablets are all the rage, including the iPad from Apple and a host of new entries starting to come from rivals like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Research In Motion and Samsung. But less than two years ago, in 2009, netbooks were seen as the earth-shaking force in the industry, potentially changing the economics of the business and undermining the technology leaders, Intel and Microsoft.

Things didn’t work out that way. Netbook sales were meteoric in 2009, jumping eightfold in the United States, to 7.5 million devices, and tripling worldwide to 34 million. Yet the torrid growth stalled last year.

The extent of the changed fortunes for the product became truly evident recently, when year-end sales tallies were calculated. In the holiday season, for example, retail sales of netbook computers in America fell 38 percent from a year earlier, according to the market research firm NPD.

The netbook story, according to industry executives and analysts, offers real-world lessons in technology innovation, business strategy and marketing.

To some degree, the new thing — the iPad — supplanted the not-so-new thing — netbooks. Still, analysts say, the tablet effect is only part of the answer. Sales of netbooks, they note, were slowing even before the iPad went on sale in April. And the products themselves are hardly substitutes for each other; one is all no-frills efficiency, the other more an appealing luxury, priced at $500 and up.

Instead, it is more likely that makers of netbooks oversold a product that underperformed. In the United States, analysts say, early adopters of new technology helped propel the netbook surge, attracted by the new entrant’s feather-light weight and low cost. But early adopter buyers, analysts say, tend to be picky consumers. The netbooks they bought were underpowered PCs that performed sluggishly and could not handle many popular software applications.

“The seduction was ultraportable, inexpensive computing, but consumers found there were too many tradeoffs,” said A. M. Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. “Ultimately, it just fell short.”

The vision of a very low cost, portable personal computer has been around for decades. But the impetus that prodded the development of today’s netbook computers came, as it does so often, from outside the established industry. In this case, it was a nonprofit, One Laptop Per Child, which in 2005 declared its intention to make $100 computers for children in poor countries, without using technology from the industry’s dominant chip and software suppliers, Intel and Microsoft. It was a stretch goal, and still is, with the rugged laptops for children costing about $200. But it was an appealing idea that attracted corporate support and a team of scientists, and spurred the industry to rethink its designs and pricing.

Intel and Microsoft first resisted the idea of such very inexpensive computing, for the obvious reason that it would potentially put a dent in their profits. But eventually, they embraced the concept, tailored for a broader commercial market. Intel deftly coined the term “netbook,” as a new category of “companion PCs” segregated from its more profitable notebook PC business.

Both Intel and Microsoft created lower-cost offerings — Intel’s stripped-down Atom processor, introduced in 2008, and Microsoft’s expanded menu of software versions at varying prices.

One result was a sharp drop in the price of notebook computers, also known as laptop computers. In 2005, notebooks on average cost roughly $1,000. Today, the average price is about $465 (that excludes Apple’s higher-priced notebooks, which account for about 5 percent of the market worldwide).

“We had an impact across the broader industry by helping drive prices way down,” said Mary Lou Jepsen, former chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child. “We showed that innovation can come up from the bottom.”

For the most part, analysts say, netbooks enlarged the computer market rather than eating into sales of conventional notebooks. And the industry leaders, Intel and Microsoft, succeeded in adapting to the netbook challenge, assimilating it and containing it, preserving their lucrative profits.

The PC powers, said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at IDC, were “deathly afraid of the cannibalization of the regular notebook market, but it really didn’t happen.”

While sales are slowing, the netbook business is far from dead. The market research firm IDC predicts that worldwide sales will fall in 2011 by about 7 percent, but that would still be 32.9 million netbooks. They account for roughly 10 percent of the total PC market.

But the engine of growth for netbooks, the technology enthusiasts, analysts say, disappeared. Ryan Champlin, vice president for operations at Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth, considered buying a netbook and tried out a few owned by colleagues. But Mr. Champlin, who has a conventional notebook and a smartphone, decided against the purchase, seeing it as an underpowered PC.

Six months ago, though, he did buy an iPad because, he says, it provides a different computing experience. “I turn on my iPad and my e-mail is just there, no waiting for a PC to boot up,” said Mr. Champlin, who uses the tablet for e-mail, Web browsing, watching movies and playing the popular game Angry Birds.

Netbooks continue to enjoy brisk sales in cost-conscious markets, including China and Latin America, and in sales to schools, which want an affordable way to equip students with computers.

Companies are pursuing new netbook technology and software support, and industry executives say those advances could reinvigorate the category. The AppUp online store from Intel, which offers software downloads for programs that run on Intel chips, last month added a netbook version of Angry Birds. Intel keeps improving its Atom chips for netbooks. The Fusion chip sets from Advanced Micro Devices, introduced in January, promise to bring sophisticated graphics-processing to the netbook market.

Indeed, A.M.D. executives say the time has come to bury the name “netbook.” “The marketing no longer needs to suggest ‘buyer beware,’ ” said John Taylor, director of product marketing at A.M.D.

In the future, Mr. Taylor says, most PC sales will be machines costing $200 to $500, notebooks of varied sizes and designs, that deliver impressive performance, low energy consumption and 10 hours or more of battery life.

Does that mean $1,000 notebooks become extinct? Not at all, Mr. Taylor replied. But the more costly machines, he said, will have to move to new horizons of computing. Artificial intelligence features like computers that understand speech, gestures and facial expressions, he said, may become part of everyday computing. You talk to your computer, or direct it with hand gestures, while making coffee in the morning, for example.

“You finally transform the user interface, among other things,” Mr. Taylor said.

2011年2月10日 星期四

EDITORIAL: Substituting rare earths--The Asahi Shimbun,

EDITORIAL: Substituting rare earths


The "magical" elements of rare earths, which can make magnets stronger or produce light, are indispensable in high-tech products, such as motors for hybrid cars and electronic parts, for which Japan is famous.

Unfortunately, the amount is limited. And major producer China has started to restrict exports, leading to a sharp rise in prices. This is a serious problem for Japan, which is poor in natural resources.

What if such "magic" can be realized with iron, the most common element on Earth? This may not be a far-fetched dream.

Under an "element strategy," Japanese scientists are thoroughly studying chemical elements to draw new functions and replace rare elements with more common ones. With the support of government offices, including the ministry of science and technology and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, researchers will host a symposium on their strategy in March.

We want them to advance their research. Of course, it will not be easy, but there must be other researchers eager to take on this difficult challenge.

Restrictions on resources are not limited to rare elements. For example, resources are limited for phosphoric acid and calcium, two of the three elements essential to plants. The other essential element, nitrogen in the air, can be turned into fertilizer in factories.

The limits are particularly true for phosphoric acid because China is starting to impose restrictions on exports of phosphate rocks from which it is produced.

Resources are also limited for rare metals, such as indium, which is indispensable for liquid crystal displays, and it is also difficult to find substitutes of more common elements, such as copper. The situation has led to increasing thefts.

Technology concerning such materials is a specialty of Japan and Japanese industries. For example, Masato Sagawa of what was then Sumitomo Special Metals Co. was the first to develop a powerful magnet using neodymium, a rare metal, during the 1980s.

Professor Hideo Hosono of the Tokyo Institute of Technology is attracting international attention for developing a superconductive substance using iron.

But Japan cannot afford to be complacent. Last year, China surpassed Japan in terms of the number of important research papers in the area of substances and materials.

The element strategy project was proposed by Eiichi Nakamura, a University of Tokyo professor, in 2004 to take advantage of Japan's strengths.

Technology to make fertilizer from nitrogen in the atmosphere was proposed at the end of the 19th century by a British chemist, who warned that people would starve if they ran out of nitrogen fertilizers.

"I want young researchers with motivation to take the challenge," Hosono said.

With global resources becoming increasingly limited, research into the elements will become all the more important for humankind. We want Japan, which is scarce in natural resources, to bring this flower into full bloom.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 10

李約瑟/ 李大棐

我還記得以Science and Civilisation in China (1954-2008... C.U.P. - 27 volumes to date)聞名的

"李約瑟的妻子的漢文名字為 李大" Dorothy Moyle (1896–1987) *可見我以前讀過一些李約瑟

(Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham, CH, FRS, FBA (9 December 1900 – 24 March 1995), also known as Li Yuese (simplified Chinese: 李约瑟; traditional Chinese: 李約瑟; pinyin: Lǐ Yuēsè: Wade-Giles: Li Yüeh-Sê), was a British academic and sinologist known for his research and writing on the history of Chinese science. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941,[1] and as a fellow of the British Academy in 1971.[2] In 1992, the Queen conferred on him the Companionship of Honour and the Royal Society noted he was the only living person to hold these three titles.[3]) 的傳記翻譯

*"" 作為名字
如歐陽修之子歐陽棐(《 集古錄 跋尾》)

我看"科普" 各舉一例

討論"科普" 可以分幾個層次

我認為 "科學月刊 2009年12月號480期" 有些或許多介紹都是misleading的
科學月刊 2009年12月號480期(含評論)

今晚貼一篇"Spina Bifida(脊椎披裂)之研究開啟胎兒手術之門"


Spina Bifida(脊椎披裂)之研究開啟胎兒手術之門
內附的紐約時報之介紹 叫做"科普"
(脊椎披裂)之研究開啟胎兒手術之門A Randomized Trial of Prenatal ve...

(脊椎披裂)之研究開啟胎兒手術之門A Randomized Trial of Prenatal versus Postnatal Repair of Myelomeningocele

(spī'nə bĭf'ĭ-də) pronunciation
A congenital defect in which the spinal column is imperfectly closed so that part of the meninges or spinal cord protrudes, often resulting in hydrocephalus and other neurological disorders. Also called schistorrhachis.

[New Latin spīna bifida : Latin spīna, spine + Latin bifida, feminine of bifidus, split in two.]

Spina Bifida(脊椎披裂)之研究開啟胎兒手術之門

我第一次點閱上文中的"嚴格的臨床測試" 對導引到原刊物的摘要

Media in This Article

Figure 1Prenatal Repair of Myelomeningocele.
Figure 2Enrollment and Outcomes.

Original Article

A Randomized Trial of Prenatal versus Postnatal Repair of Myelomeningocele

N. Scott Adzick, M.D., Elizabeth A. Thom, Ph.D., Catherine Y. Spong, M.D., John W. Brock, III, M.D., Pamela K. Burrows, M.S., Mark P. Johnson, M.D., Lori J. Howell, R.N., M.S., Jody A. Farrell, R.N., M.S.N., Mary E. Dabrowiak, R.N., M.S.N., Leslie N. Sutton, M.D., Nalin Gupta, M.D., Ph.D., Noel B. Tulipan, M.D., Mary E. D'Alton, M.D., and Diana L. Farmer, M.D. for the MOMS Investigators

February 9, 2011 (10.1056/NEJMoa1014379)



Prenatal repair of myelomeningocele, the most common form of spina bifida, may result in better neurologic function than repair deferred until after delivery. We compared outcomes of in utero repair with standard postnatal repair.


We randomly assigned eligible women to undergo either prenatal surgery before 26 weeks of gestation or standard postnatal repair. One primary outcome was a composite of fetal or neonatal death or the need for placement of a cerebrospinal fluid shunt by the age of 12 months. Another primary outcome at 30 months was a composite of mental development and motor function.


The trial was stopped for efficacy of prenatal surgery after the recruitment of 183 of a planned 200 patients. This report is based on results in 158 patients whose children were evaluated at 12 months. The first primary outcome occurred in 68% of the infants in the prenatal-surgery group and in 98% of those in the postnatal-surgery group (relative risk, 0.70; 97.7% confidence interval [CI], 0.58 to 0.84; P>


Prenatal surgery for myelomeningocele reduced the need for shunting and improved motor outcomes at 30 months but was associated with maternal and fetal risks. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00060606.)

2011年2月9日 星期三

自立型知能 機器手開發成功 (不用程式)

プログラム不要「考えるロボット」 鶴岡高専チーム開発



 国立鶴岡工業高等専門学校制御情報工学科(山形県鶴岡市)のチームが、あらかじめプログラムしないでも、自分で考えて要求された動作を行う「自立型知能 アームロボット」の開発に成功した。将来、実用化されれば、専門知識がないオペレーターでも、声でロボットを操ることができるうえ、多品種少量生産などに も機動的に応用できる可能性があるという。

 開発したのは、同校制御情報工学科の佐藤義重教授(知能制御システム)と研究室の学生13人。「人間の持つ学習判断能力を機械に持たせられないか」と考 えて2年がかりで開発した。昨年7月に国際システムサイエンス学会で理論発表し、1月28日にその試作品を校内で公開した。


 従来のアームロボットでは、あらかじめプログラムした動作しかできないのに対し、開発したロボットは、音声認識ソフトに声で指示を伝えると、カメラが対 象のものの色や形を認識し、自分で判断して選択する。ものの位置が変わったり、重なり合ったりしていても、対象物を選別してつかみあげるという。



 佐藤教授は「最近のロボットプログラムは複雑化して、専門知識がないと動かせないケースもあるが、音声なら誰でも操れる。あらかじめ決められた動作をす るのでなく、自分で判断して動くので、必要な動作が頻繁に代わる多品種少量生産の製造工程に応用すれば作業効率を高めることが期待できる」と話してい る。(溝口太郎)

2011年2月8日 星期二

中醫 之我見

讓我想發表一下我對中醫的看法 (中醫 之我見)
基本上 我還是不信這些中醫所賣的膏藥
中醫之無知和胡說八道 可以參考魯迅小時候為他父親抓的各種異想天開的藥方的故事

以"中醫倪海廈的演講 "中所說的乳癌等 簡直是胡說八道
前幾天我在BBC 聽到的消息是英國"乳癌存活者"已是病患的三分之二 (當然 郭台銘元配可能是發現得太晚 所以回天乏術)......
Lymph Node Study Shakes Pillar of Breast Cancer Ca...

不過將醫學當科學研究 也只是近百來年的事 (所以稱醫學為最年輕的科學)
而他們的功勞有多大呢 人類平均至少多活半輩子

而中醫多 (不是全)一再胡說八道

2011年2月7日 星期一

The RAND Corporation

RAND Corporation Provides Objective Research Services and Public ...

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The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that ...

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蘭德公司(RAND)是美國的一所智庫。在其成立之初主要為美國軍方提供調研和情報分析服務。其後,這個組織逐步擴展,並為其它政府以及盈利性團體提供服務。蘭德擁有1600名左右的員工。他們分別在下列六個地點工作:(美國本土)加利福尼亞聖莫尼卡弗吉尼亞阿林頓賓夕法尼亞匹茲堡;(歐洲)荷蘭萊頓德國柏林英國劍橋。有些人認為蘭德公司的名字是「調研和發展」的縮寫(RAND= "R"esearch "AN"d "D"evelopment),而柯蒂斯·勒梅則諷刺其為「研究並得不到結果」("Research And No Development".)



[編輯] 蘭德計劃


[編輯] 公司宗旨


[編輯] 成就及專門技術

蘭德公司在發展系統分析方面倬有成就。其在航空系統和美國航空計劃,電腦和人工智能等方面做出了重要的貢獻。 蘭德公司還開發了許多應用於建立當今互聯網的技術原理。




蘭德公司也是弗里德里克帕蒂(Frederick S. Pardee)蘭德研究生院的所在地,它是最早有關公共政策的研究生項目之一,同時也是第一家授予博士學位的院校。這個項目的獨特之處在於學生與蘭德的分 析師一起工作,解決現實社會中的問題。校園所在地時蘭德公司聖莫尼卡(Santa Monica )總部。


蘭德公司發行了非常多的出版物,最暢銷的書籍是《百萬亂數表》(A Million Random Digits)

[編輯] 著名蘭德公司參與者

[編輯] 另見

[編輯] 外部連結

2011年2月6日 星期日


February 3, 2011, 2:30 pm

The Commuter Bike Redesigned and Electrified

This week, most people on the East Coast were hunkering down indoors, prepared for this winter’s fourth Snowstorm of the Century. I, on the other hand, was riding around a hotel ballroom on a YikeBike. And I’ll be straight with you: I had kind of a Segway moment.

Remember that? After inventor Dean Kamen first gave secret demos of his self-balancing upright scooter to industry hotshots, their awed reactions included remarks like, “They’ll redesign cities for this thing.”

Of course, the Segway never did become as commonplace as the bicycle, and the YikeBike won’t either. But what a cool idea.



(Credit: YikeBike)

你應該看過上世紀早期的大小輪腳踏車(penny-farthing bikes)圖片。就是前面有非常大的輪子, 然後後面一個非常小的輪子。New Zealand發明家Grant Ryan採用了類似的樣式來復刻,打造出YikeBike, 一款可折疊式電子雙輪車讓你能在市區中移動。



摺疊起來的 YikeBike
(Credit: YikeBike)

YikeBike是昨天發表,而預計在2010年出貨。缺點部分,目前無法保證你可以在你的國家騎這玩意。但無論如何,你如果很急的 話,還是可以先上官網預購。但是我們要先警告你,這玩意有個缺點,和Segway無法普及的原因一樣,就是非常貴,售價為4860美金。(約新台幣16萬 元)

來源: The Design Blog

2011年2月4日 星期五

薬師寺(奈良市)の東塔: 測量3Dの「目」










2011年2月3日 星期四

Google project lets armchair tourists visit world's top museums

Art | 02.02.2011

Berlin's Old National Gallery is one of 17 museums that have joined a project run by Google Street View. They're allowing visitors to walk the museum's corridors online.

For decades, museums have been looking for ways to use technology to enhance visitors' impressions. Interactive exhibits, searchable databases, and cataloging their collections online are all options museums have been exploring in order to let more people have a deeper experience of art.

Now, Google's controversial Street View is the latest technology to have been pressed into service in the name of high culture. By going to the Google Art Project website, users can take virtual tours of selected rooms in 17 major art museums and galleries, and more rooms continue to be added all the time.

'A game changer'

The concept is being supported by some of the biggest names in the museum world, and it has great potential, curators and art educators say.

"It could be the game changer," Julian Raby of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, told Reuters news service. The Freer, part of the Smithsonian, is one of 17 galleries participating in the Art Project.

The concept was started by Google employee Amit Sood, during time his employer freed up for personal initiatives. He had the idea of using Street View technology to develop virtual tours.

New use for technology

It works like this: Cameras mounted on a special trolley traveled through empty galleries after hours, taking 360-degree images of selected rooms which were then stitched together. So far 385 museum rooms are online and navigable. The company plans to add more in the coming years.

Botticelli's 'The Birth of Venus'Bildunterschrift: Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus' also got the 'gigapixel' treatment

Viewers can travel the halls of participating museums and galleries, and zoom in on the individual paintings there. Seventeen works were photographed using "gigapixel" photo-capturing technology, resulting in an image on the computer containing seven billion pixels and providing detail not visible to the naked eye.

Nelson Mattos, a vice president of engineering at Google, said the site would help democratize high art, allowing people from around the world who were unlikely to see the originals, to come close to the experience on the Internet.

"This really represents a major step forward in the way people are going to interact with these beautiful treasures of art around the world," he said.

Interactivity and gigapixels

The technology adds a new layer of interactivity; viewers can build "private collections," add comments, and share information.

Speaking at the event launch at the Tate Gallery in London, Mattos told the media that he was confident that no matter how advanced the technology, the new site would never replace visiting the museums.

"We obviously don't believe this technology is going to prevent people from coming to the museums," he added. "We hope that the opposite will happen."

Each museum chose one work to be photographed using gigapixel-capturing technology, resulting in an image on the computer containing seven billion pixels and providing detail not visible to the naked eye. That means online viewers can zoom in to see every single brush stroke of a painting.

Zooming in on art

The works that got this treatment include Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night" and "In the Conservatory" by Edouard Manet.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors interiorBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: No chance to get to Paris? Versailles can be visited by Street View

"We're interested in getting depth of understanding of a limited amount of works," said Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery in London, which took part in the project.

More than 1,000 additional works have been photographed in high resolution for the project and "hung" in the virtual galleries, as well. Visitors can go up to a wall, look at a painting, and zoom in on it in detail.

The museums featured on the site include the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Freer in Washington, the Uffizi in Florence, the Palace of Versailles in France, Museum Kampa in Prague, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London's National Gallery, and the and the Reina Sofia in Madrid, among others.

Author: Jennifer Abramsohn (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Kate Bowen

A Google-Twitter service using international phone lines is helping Egyptians to stay connected after the internet shut down

How Egypt got onto the Internet

IBNLive.com - ‎3小時之前‎
New Delhi: These folks' ancestors built the pyramids. Plugging into the web was actually child's play. Gagandeep Singh Sapra, The Big Geek, System 3 Group ...

Twitter and a cellphone help UCLA student broadcast Egypt's voices

Los Angeles Times - ‎19小時之前‎
Beginning last Thursday, he relied on his own BlackBerry, contacts he had in Egypt and Twitter to start calling as many Egyptians as he could, ...

With no Internet, Egypt news freed by Google SayNow #Jan25

Computerworld (blog) - ‎19小時之前‎
Egypt's Internet disconnected by Hosni Mubarak, so try to tweet via voice. Google's SayNow stands by Egyptian democracy protestors, helping them communicate ...

Phones keep Egyptians tweeting

New Zealand Herald - ‎22小時之前‎
By Jonathan Browning A Google-Twitter service using international phone lines is helping Egyptians to stay connected after the internet shut down. ...

Google creates speaking Tweets

The Australian - ‎2011年2月2日‎
GOOGLE has launched a service that allows Egyptian protesters to post messages to Twitter under the #egypt tag without an internet connection. ...

US student bypasses Egypt's web blackout

Al Jazeera - ‎2011年2月2日‎
After internet services were disconnected in Egypt, protesters were prevented from speaking to the world. But thanks to John Scott Railton, a Los Angeles ...

Egypt: Google, Twitter give people a voice after all Internet service cut off ...

Vancouver Sun (blog) - ‎2011年2月1日‎
By Jenny Lee 1 Feb 2011 COMMENTS(0) Open for Business Google and Twitter have joined forces to create a way for people in Egypt to send Twitter messages now ...

Bypassing Egypt's media restrictions

BBC News - ‎2011年2月1日‎
The internet in Egypt has been cut off for the past four days and people have not been able to access social media sites. Now Google has launched a new ...

EGYPT: Capturing voices with Twitter and a cellphone

Los Angeles Times - ‎2011年2月1日‎
John Scott-Railton, a doctoral student in urban planning at UCLA, decided to try Twitter for the first time last week. Moved by the rising tension in Egypt ...

The Circuit: Google helps Egyptians tweet, tech CEOs head to the White House ...

Washington Post - ‎2011年2月1日‎
By Hayley Tsukayama LEADING THE DAY: Social media has mobilized in a big way in support of the protesters in Egypt. Google, Twitter and SayNow teamed up ...

Internet Life Is Finally Back In Egypt For Millions of Egyptians

Reviews Of Electronics - ‎26分鐘之前‎
I'll bet you they won't be taking their internet for granted for a long time either. As of 9:29:31 UTC, or 11:29 am Cairo time), “the Egyptian Internet ...

Google And Twitter Devise Voice Mail Box System To Help Protesters In Web ...

ShortNews.com - ‎47分鐘之前‎
Without the internet, movement coordinators and other Egyptians are silenced. 140-character messages are being supported by a Google-Twitter system that ...

Twitter, Google Launch Service for Egyptians to Send Phone Tweets

SpinPort News - ‎1小時之前‎
By Aaron Marvels – February 3, 2011 Posted in: Headlines, Technology Twitter and Google have begun a service which allows people in Egypt to issue Twitter ...

RT @someguyincalifornia the revolution will be tweeted

Motherboard - ‎15小時之前‎
Fortunately John Scott-Railton, an enterprising urban planning doctoral student at UCLA and vigorous social media user, “took to Twitter,” UCLA's Youtube ...

YouTube & Flickr Offer On-the-Ground Look at Protests in Egypt

Mashable - ‎16小時之前‎
Since Internet access was restored Wednesday in Egypt, witnesses of the growing violence throughout the country have been able to share their photos and ...

Tracking the Egypt Crisis via Google, News Curation Tools

NewsHour - ‎17小時之前‎
After a widespread shutdown of Internet and mobile phone service in Egypt as street protests intensified last week, there were reports Wednesday that Web ...

Google, Twitter assist protesters in Egypt

The Daily Campus - ‎18小時之前‎
The Internet is shut down across Egypt. The Egyptian government is censoring Al Jazeera, the Middle East's main broadcasting company, and yet all over the ...

Welcome Back Online, Egypt

Gizmodo Australia - ‎19小時之前‎
By Kat Hannaford on February 2, 2011 at 10:00 PM Hello to our Egyptian readers. After five days without internet – following the Egyptian government's ...

Google using YouTube to highlight Egyptian protest footage

TechSpot - ‎19小時之前‎
By Emil Protalinski, TechSpot.com YouTube has been highlighting Egyptian protest footage for days, but Google has now outlined the ways it is making sure ...

Google Aims to Give Egyptians a Web Voice

Search Engine Journal - ‎20小時之前‎
The conflict within Egypt has been raging on, with a strong sense of confrontation across all levels. One of the major areas of conflict is in the media and ...

Google, Facebook and Twitter Offer Support to Egypt Protesters

TMCnet - ‎20小時之前‎
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor While corporate entities are seldom willing to “take sides” in political matters that do not directly affect ...

Egyptians' Voices via Twitter Thanks to Google

ScienceBlogs (blog) - ‎22小時之前‎
As the world watches history in progress in Egypt, here is an example of how technology can facilitate the voices of the people in Egypt. ...

Translating the Voices of Egypt

MyFox Houston - ‎22小時之前‎
HOUSTON - Since the Egyptian government pulled the plug on Internet access throughout the country, its citizens have been looking for anyway possible to ...

Google 'Speak to Tweet' gives Egyptian protesters 140 character lifeline

Tech Digest - ‎2011年2月2日‎
By Gerald Lynch on February 2, 2011 Comments (0) Google's 'Speak to Tweet' tool, launched only on Monday is already proving its worth by offering the ...

Google, Twitter and the Blogosphere Keep Egypt Plugged In

Technorati - ‎2011年2月1日‎
For many of us, a day without Internet would be would be like a day without caffeine. We'd be a little bored, a little edgy, maybe even a little cranky. ...

Google voicetweeting service for Egyptians

Siliconindia.com - ‎2011年2月1日‎
By SiliconIndia Bangalore: Google with its new voice tweeting service is helping Egyptians to communicate with the people around the world. ...

What's the Buzz: Speak-to-Tweet gives Egypt new voice; Free Facebook

KTVQ Billings News - ‎2011年2月1日‎
Google has launched a special service in an effort to give a virtual voice to people in Egypt. A group of engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow have ...

Google Voice2Tweet Beats Egypt Internet Blackout

Aquapour - ‎2011年2月1日‎
A million people crowd Freedom Square in Cairo demanding a new government. Mubarek cut off the internet, but Google invented a workaround. ...

Can Google Help Protesters Bypass the Egyptian Internet Shutdown?

DailyFinance - ‎2011年2月1日‎
It didn't take long for Google (GOOG) to find a way to make use of its newly acquired social-media-voice company, SayNow. After announcing the deal just a ...

Mob Rules: Google Helps Egypt Tweet Despite Ban

SmartHouse - ‎2011年2月1日‎
By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 02/02/2011 Internet engine kings Google along with Twitter have moved swiftly to enable voice tweets in the wake of the ...