2013年12月31日 星期二

Adding and taking away (Advanced manufacturing)

Advanced manufacturing

Adding and taking away

THERE are now a score or more of ways to print objects out of metal, plastic or both by building them up, layer by layer, into the finished article. But such 3D printing has its limits. One is that no version of the process is good at making the surfaces of its products smooth and accurate enough for them to be used as mechanical components: for example, as the bearings in an engine. If the necessary tolerances are not met, the engine will seize and be no good to anyone. Many engineers therefore think that “additive manufacturing”, as it is sometimes known, remains a long way from ousting traditional “subtractive manufacturing”—in other words, milling, cutting and grinding things.

The Lasertec 65 Additive Manufacturing machine, though, is the start of an approach that might change the traditionalists’ minds. It is a hulking device which, on the outside at least, resembles a large industrial refrigerator (the 65 refers to the 650mm height of the internal chamber in which things can be built). But that belies the sophistication of its interior. For though it can indeed, as its name suggests, do additive manufacturing, it can also subtract, if required. A prototype of this new, hybrid device was unveiled at the Euromold engineering show in Frankfurt in December by its creator, DMG Mori Seiki, a machine-tool firm based jointly in Germany and Japan. The Lasertec will go on sale in 2014, it is expected at more than $500,000 a pop.

That price tag demonstrates two things. The first is that machine-tool makers are beginning to recognise 3D printing is going to be important in the factory of the future, not just for making models and prototypes (as is already happening) but also finished goods. The second is that additive manufacturing can complement subtractive manufacturing, as well as compete with it. If it work—and sells—the Lasertec could be the first of many such hybrids.

This particular machine builds material up using a process called laser-deposition welding. That involves spraying a fine jet of powdered metal through a nozzle and into a laser beam, which melts both the powder and the surface of the piece being worked on, welding the two together. (A sheath of inert gas surrounding the nozzle stops the molten material oxidising.) By repeating the process, layers of material can be built up. The company claims it can do this 20 times faster than is possible by using a laser to melt successive layers of powder spread onto a flat bed in the process called laser sintering, which is now the most common way metal items are 3D-printed.

Once the newly built structure has cooled, it can be machined. This happens in the same chamber, using a conventional cutting tool. The device can change tools automatically, in order to create the required shape and finish. Moreover, during both welding and machining the table to which the part being worked on is attached can be rotated around multiple axes, to increase the machine’s dexterity.

Subtractive manufacturing, in which a milling machine cuts shapes from metal blocks, may waste as much as 95% of the original material. By building something additively, even to only approximately the right shape, and then milling it, such wastage, the company reckons, can be reduced to around 5%.

Moreover, the object can be milled every time a new layer is added. This means smooth internal surfaces can be created inside what eventually becomes a solid object—something previously possible only if an item was made by joining together components that had been milled separately. With its ability to add and remove materials that include aluminium, brass, copper, stainless steel and numerous alloys, the hybrid Lasertec can also be used to repair items that are worn, or even broken. A case, perhaps, of old and new technologies coming together to produce more than the sum of their parts.

2013年12月24日 星期二

IBM says 'big data' will transform schools, hospitals — and malls

我讀: IBM says 'big data' will transform schools, hospitals — and malls
You can read the rest of the predictions, as well as past "5 in 5s," at IBM's A Smarter Planet page. Sure, they sound like science fiction now, but five years is a long time in tech. Come 2018, we'll see whether these ideas were too ambitious, or not ambitious enough.  

IBM says 'big data' will transform schools, hospitals — and malls

Dec. 17, 2013 at 12:01 AM ET
ibm 5
IBM has released its yearly "5 in 5" predictions for the technological innovations that could change the way we live over the next five years, and this time it's all about "big data." We generate so much information every day, yet it's rarely put to good use — IBM thinks that's about to change, with profound implications for everything from medical care to window shopping.
Big data is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and for good reason: Between online tracking, intelligent city infrastructure, and phones and tablets taking the place of paper and pen, more data is being accumulated than ever.
But much of that data has yet to be used to actually make things better. We can tell where traffic is and why it's there — but can't prevent it. We can track a student's progress with a digital permanent record — but we can't adjust their lesson plan. IBM's prediction is that the next five years will bring practical applications of these piles of bits and bytes. And the five predictions they make are:
-The classroom will learn you
-Buying local will beat online
-Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well
-A digital guardian will protect you online
-The city will help you live in it
Take the classroom, for instance. Children who do all their homework, reading and testing on a tablet or computer can be evaluated and tracked continually and independently. Is one excelling in math but lagging behind on reading comprehension? A teacher can dial up the lessons in one and examine the shortcomings in the other with a few taps — no conference needed, no staying after class.
It'll be much different from the way the last generation was schooled, but kids and teachers both seem to benefit.
"The kids adapt to it instantly," said Bernard Meyerson, IBM's chief innovation officer, in a phone interview with NBC News. "These kids are digital, they know how to do this stuff."
"If we don't focus on education the way we focus on health care and other issues, we're in deep trouble," he continued.
DNA, too, is a treasure trove of information just waiting to be truly taken advantage of. What if instead of blindly trying a cancer treatment, that treatment could be cross-referenced against your DNA — or even better, against others whose DNA is similar? The database would have to be massive (and confidential, naturally), and the computing power to wrangle it immense, but the benefits are potentially just as huge.
What about cities, where there are cameras on every corner, car-sensing plates at every traffic light and meters at every place where electricity and water are distributed? The information generated by a city's denizens as they go about their everyday lives could improve things immensely. And you don't need to go around installing high-tech gizmos, either.
"You can do some amazing stuff with the infrastructure that's already there," explained Meyerson. "You can actually make those real-time adjustments in the processes of the city, without adding anything, frankly."
What's missing isn't the hardware, it's the software. At the center of all the data created by millions of people, cars and dollars should be a brain, nipping and tucking here and there to save a few thousand gallons of water, get people home a few minutes earlier, or dispatch police or firemen before anyone thinks to call them.
Of course, it's not all such serious business. You yourself produce a lot of data that's only relevant to you: how quickly you go through a gallon of milk, how many miles you've walked in your shoes, what recipes you like. IBM is working on a sort of digital personal assistant that looks at all that info and not only reminds you to pick up more milk, but recommends spices for that curry you've been perfecting.
"We have a 'chef' function that looks at the tastes you like, and literally suggests combinations of flavors you might like," said Meyerson. Alternatively, it might let you know that shoes you'd considered buying are on sale at the shop you're about to pass by, or warn you that the shop you're already in doesn't have them in your size.
You can read the rest of the predictions, as well as past "5 in 5s," at IBM's A Smarter Planet page. Sure, they sound like science fiction now, but five years is a long time in tech. Come 2018, we'll see whether these ideas were too ambitious, or not ambitious enough.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.


The 5 in 5

Innovations that will change our lives in the next five years
In the future, everything will learn
This year, IBM researchers are exploring the idea that everything will learn – driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way. These innovations are beginning to emerge enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics and learning technologies all coming together.
A new era in computing will lead to breakthroughs that will amplify human abilities, assist us in making good choices, look out for us and help us navigate our world in powerful new ways. Read more about the IBM 5 in 5.

Contact IBM

The classroom will learn you

The classroom of the future will learn about each individual student over the course of their education, helping them master the skills that match their goals.The rapid digitization of educational institutions will allow unprecedented instrumentation of the learning process. Cognitive computing, or learning technologies, will help us calculate everything we can about how each student learns and thrives, then create flexibility in the system to continually adapt and fine-tune what we deliver to that student and how this supports teachers and employers.

Katharine Frase
VP and CTO, Global Public Sector
Katharine provides thought leadership on innovation and strategic transformation specific to the creation of new solutions.

Buying local will beat online

The technology trends will move us back to brick and mortar—but with a difference. In the future, retailers will layer increasing levels of engagement and personalization on top of the shopping experience, ultimately merging the instant gratification of physical shopping with the richness of online shopping and making same-day delivery a snap.

Sima Nadler
IBM Research Lead for Retail
Sima acts as the liaison between IBM Research and the Retail/ Commerce sales, services and development arms of IBM and its customers.

Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well

Today, full DNA testing to help make treatment decisions is still rare. But cognitive systems and cloud computing may make this form of treatment mainstream. It could be done faster, more affordably and much more frequently. In addition to DNA testing for cancers, we may even see DNA-specific personalized treatment options for conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

Ajay Royyuru
Director, Computational Biology Center
Working with biologists and institutions around the world, Ajay is engaged in research that will advance personalized, information-based medicine.

A digital guardian will protect you online

Security is evolving from being based on rules, like passwords, to being automatic and made stronger through us just being us.This guardian will have your back, trained to focus on the people and items it is entrusted with based on a 360 degree of an individual’s data, devices and applications. It will make inferences about what’s normal or reasonable activity and what’s not, ready to spot deviations that could be precursors to an attack and a stolen identity.

J.R. Rao
Director, Security Research
JR works closely with customers and academic partners to drive new and innovative technologies into IBM's products and services and definitive industry standards.

The city will help you live in it

For citizens, smart phones enabled by cognitive systems will provide a digital key to the city. People can have fingertip access to information about everything that’s happening in the city, whether an experience is right for them, and how best to get there. Because these learning systems have interacted with citizens continuously, they know what they like—and can present them with options they might not find easily.

Sergio Borger
IBM Research - Brazil - Strategy & Human Systems
Sergio’s current work in sentient cities brings mobile, social and cognitive computational aspects into our modern urban lives.

Learning videos and
activity kits

Connect with our experts to explore more

Learning Technologies

IBM researcher Dario Gil explains how learning systems are different from the traditional computers that we're using widely today.

Hello, Watson

Math Games for Kids

Big Data & Cognitive Systems

IBM Research VP David McQueeney explains how the combination of big data and cognitive computing make it possible to know ourselves and our world more deeply.

STEM and the new era of computing

Mission: Innovation

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2013年12月19日 星期四

Release the Hounds/Dogs Are People, Too

Release the HoundsBy REBECCA SKLOOTDecember 18, 2013狗所知道的東西,我們所知甚少書評麗貝卡·斯克魯特2013年12月18日
Bryan Meltz
Gregory Berns wasn't sure if his pug Newton really loved him. Newton wagged his tail and gave kisses, but that wasn't enough. Berns, a neuroscientist, wanted hard data. He also hoped to uncover “what makes for a strong dog -human bond” and how that might improve canine welfare. So he built a special MRI machine, and trained dogs to lie still inside it, allowing him to study their brains. Though the results may seem obvious to dog lovers (that humans and dogs experience emotions similarly), they're not a given for science. Berns's book is a beautiful story about dogs, love and neurology that shows how nonhuman relationships are inspiring researchers to look at animals in new ways, for their benefit and ours.
格雷戈里·伯恩斯(Gregory Berns)不確定他的哈巴狗牛頓(Newton)是否真的愛他。牛頓經常對他搖尾巴,親吻他,但這些還不夠。作為神經學家,伯恩斯想要更堅實的數據。他還想找出“狗和人類之間強烈情感聯繫的原因”,以及那種聯繫對改善犬類身心健康的作用。所以他製造了一台特殊的磁共振成像機,訓練小狗安​​靜地躺在裡面,以便研究它們的大腦。雖然對愛狗人士來說,研究結果是顯而易見的(人類和狗經歷類似的情緒),但從科學的角度講,它們還不是既定事實。伯恩斯的書是關於狗、愛和神經學的美麗故事,展示出非人類關係如何激發研究者們從新的角度看待動物,以造福動物和人類。
It's baffling that animals have been an essential part of our lives for millenniums, yet, scientifically speaking, we know little about them. Researchers have long studied animals in the wild to learn how they interact, or in laboratories to see what they can teach us about human behavior and disease. But there's been little focus on animals for the sake of understanding their inner workings, and even less on our relationships with them. Now the birth of fields like anthrozoology, the study of human-animal interactions, is changing that , and this shift is showing in books as well.
Animal books are often either memoirs that tell stories of people and their pets (like “Marley & Me,” by John Grogan) or idea-driven books about specific areas of animal-related science (“Inside of a Dog,” by Alexandra Horowitz ). There's nothing wrong with these books. I adore many of them. But I often wish more titles blended those categories into something I'd call narrative animal science writing: a genre combining rich storytelling with science to explain animals, the roles they play in our lives and we in theirs. Berns's book does this. So does “What the Dog Knows,” by Cat Warren.
關於動物的書通常是講述人和寵物之間故事的回憶錄(比如約翰·格羅根[John Grogan]的《馬利和我》[Marley & Me]),或者是在某些與動物相關的具體科學領域內提出觀點的書(比如亞歷山德拉·霍羅威茨[Alexandra Horowitz]的《一隻狗的內心》[Inside of a Dog])。這些書沒什麼問題。其中很多書我都很喜歡。但是我經常希望能有更多書把這些類別結合起來,寫一些我稱為敘述性動物科學的內容:既有豐富的故事,又用科學解釋動物們的行為以及我們在彼此生活中的角色。伯恩斯的書做到了這一點。卡特·沃倫(Cat Warren)的《狗所知道的東西》(What the Dog Knows)也是如此。
Warren, a science journalism professor ​​at North Carolina State University, never dreamed of becoming a cadaver dog handler, searching woods and rubble for dead bodies. She just wanted a new German shepherd puppy after the death of her saintly dog​​ Zev. What she got was Solo: “a maniacal clown,” loving and intensely smart, but “an unpredictable sociopath with other dogs.” After Warren's vet warned her Solo was en route to being dangerous, people recommended acupuncture and obedience trainers; Warren thought agility work might help. Nothing did.
In too many cases, dogs like Solo end up in shelters (or worse) because they roam or fight or tear up furniture. Fortunately, Warren understood behavior issues are rarely the dog's fault. They often just mean humans haven't found the right way to channel their pet's energy. After a trainer mentioned cadaver dog work as an option for Solo, Warren entered a world she knew nothing about.
“What the Dog Knows” is a fascinating, deeply reported journey into scent, death, forensics and the amazing things dogs can do with their noses: sniffing out graves, truffles, bedbugs, maybe even cancer. But it's also a moving story of how one woman transformed her troubled dog into a loving companion and an asset to society, all while stumbling on the beauty of life in their searches for death. “I never thought death could have an upside,” Warren writes. “I certainly never expected a dog to point that out to me.”
《狗所知道的東西》是本非常吸引人的書,它詳細介紹了氣味、死亡、取證以及狗鼻子能做的很多神奇的事情:嗅出墳墓、松露和臭蟲,甚至癌症。同時它也講述了一個動人的故事:一個女人把一隻愛惹麻煩的狗變成了富有愛心的伴侶和有益社會的動物,他們在尋找死亡的過程中發現了生命的美好。 “我從沒想到死亡能帶來正面作用,”沃倫寫道,“我更沒想到,是一隻狗讓我看到了這一點。”
Rebecca Skloot is the author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” She is writing a book about humans, animals and ethics.

Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
本文作者麗貝卡·斯克魯特(Rebecca Skloot)著有《亨麗埃塔·拉克斯的不朽生命》(The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks),她正在寫一本關於人類、動物與倫理的書。

Dogs Are People, Too

Jane Evelyn Atwood/Contact Press Images

FOR the past two years, my colleagues and I have been training dogs to go in an M.R.I. scanner — completely awake and unrestrained. Our goal has been to determine how dogs’ brains work and, even more important, what they think of us humans.
Now, after training and scanning a dozen dogs, my one inescapable conclusion is this: dogs are people, too.
Because dogs can’t speak, scientists have relied on behavioral observations to infer what dogs are thinking. It is a tricky business. You can’t ask a dog why he does something. And you certainly can’t ask him how he feels. The prospect of ferreting out animal emotions scares many scientists. After all, animal research is big business. It has been easy to sidestep the difficult questions about animal sentience and emotions because they have been unanswerable.
Until now.
By looking directly at their brains and bypassing the constraints of behaviorism, M.R.I.’s can tell us about dogs’ internal states. M.R.I.’s are conducted in loud, confined spaces. People don’t like them, and you have to hold absolutely still during the procedure. Conventional veterinary practice says you have to anesthetize animals so they don’t move during a scan. But you can’t study brain function in an anesthetized animal. At least not anything interesting like perception or emotion.
From the beginning, we treated the dogs as persons. We had a consent form, which was modeled after a child’s consent form but signed by the dog’s owner. We emphasized that participation was voluntary, and that the dog had the right to quit the study. We used only positive training methods. No sedation. No restraints. If the dogs didn’t want to be in the M.R.I. scanner, they could leave. Same as any human volunteer.
My dog Callie was the first. Rescued from a shelter, Callie was a skinny black terrier mix, what is called a feist in the southern Appalachians, from where she came. True to her roots, she preferred hunting squirrels and rabbits in the backyard to curling up in my lap. She had a natural inquisitiveness, which probably landed her in the shelter in the first place, but also made training a breeze.
With the help of my friend Mark Spivak, a dog trainer, we started teaching Callie to go into an M.R.I. simulator that I built in my living room. She learned to walk up steps into a tube, place her head in a custom-fitted chin rest, and hold rock-still for periods of up to 30 seconds. Oh, and she had to learn to wear earmuffs to protect her sensitive hearing from the 95 decibels of noise the scanner makes.
After months of training and some trial-and-error at the real M.R.I. scanner, we were rewarded with the first maps of brain activity. For our first tests, we measured Callie’s brain response to two hand signals in the scanner. In later experiments, not yet published, we determined which parts of her brain distinguished the scents of familiar and unfamiliar dogs and humans.
Soon, the local dog community learned of our quest to determine what dogs are thinking. Within a year, we had assembled a team of a dozen dogs who were all “M.R.I.-certified.”
Although we are just beginning to answer basic questions about the canine brain, we cannot ignore the striking similarity between dogs and humans in both the structure and function of a key brain region: the caudate nucleus.
Rich in dopamine receptors, the caudate sits between the brainstem and the cortex. In humans, the caudate plays a key role in the anticipation of things we enjoy, like food, love and money. But can we flip this association around and infer what a person is thinking just by measuring caudate activity? Because of the overwhelming complexity of how different parts of the brain are connected to one another, it is not usually possible to pin a single cognitive function or emotion to a single brain region.
But the caudate may be an exception. Specific parts of the caudate stand out for their consistent activation to many things that humans enjoy. Caudate activation is so consistent that under the right circumstances, it can predict our preferences for food, music and even beauty.
In dogs, we found that activity in the caudate increased in response to hand signals indicating food. The caudate also activated to the smells of familiar humans. And in preliminary tests, it activated to the return of an owner who had momentarily stepped out of view. Do these findings prove that dogs love us? Not quite. But many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions.
The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.
DOGS have long been considered property. Though the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and state laws raised the bar for the treatment of animals, they solidified the view that animals are things — objects that can be disposed of as long as reasonable care is taken to minimize their suffering.
But now, by using the M.R.I. to push away the limitations of behaviorism, we can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs, and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives), seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.
One alternative is a sort of limited personhood for animals that show neurobiological evidence of positive emotions. Many rescue groups already use the label of “guardian” to describe human caregivers, binding the human to his ward with an implicit responsibility to care for her. Failure to act as a good guardian runs the risk of having the dog placed elsewhere. But there are no laws that cover animals as wards, so the patchwork of rescue groups that operate under a guardianship model have little legal foundation to protect the animals’ interest.
If we went a step further and granted dogs rights of personhood, they would be afforded additional protection against exploitation. Puppy mills, laboratory dogs and dog racing would be banned for violating the basic right of self-determination of a person.
I suspect that society is many years away from considering dogs as persons. However, recent rulings by the Supreme Court have included neuroscientific findings that open the door to such a possibility. In two cases, the court ruled that juvenile offenders could not be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. As part of the rulings, the court cited brain-imaging evidence that the human brain was not mature in adolescence. Although this case has nothing to do with dog sentience, the justices opened the door for neuroscience in the courtroom.
Perhaps someday we may see a case arguing for a dog’s rights based on brain-imaging findings.

Gregory Berns is a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and the author of “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain.”

2013年12月18日 星期三

Antibiotics of the Future

As bacteria continue to develop resistance to existing antibiotics, scientists are working on new strategies to combat bug-borne infections and diseases, Shirley Wang reports. Photo: AP.
Scientists are working to develop new strategies to combat the growing threat of germs that current antibiotics can't fight.
Some researchers are testing new substances, such as silver, to combine with antibiotics to boost their killing power. Other researchers are making use of genetic sequencing of bacteria to help develop killer drugs at a faster pace than medical science was capable of in the past.
Another strategy aims to render harmful bacteria incapable of infecting people, rather than killing the germs outright. One such technique would neutralize disease-causing toxins by disrupting the bacteria's internal mechanisms.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, medical officials say. Common germs such as Escherichia coli, or E. coli, which can cause urinary tract and other infections, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea, are becoming harder to treat because they increasingly don't respond to antibiotics. Some two million people in the U.S. are infected each year by antibiotic-resistant bacteria and 23,000 die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says it doesn't have historical numbers.
One of the biggest threats is from Enterobacteriaceae, a family of germs that naturally lives in the gut and includes E. coli, the CDC says. There are about 9,000 cases a year of infections from the germs that can't be treated with usual antibiotics, resulting in 610 deaths. In 1998, there was just one case. Patients who don't respond to normal antibiotics are given older drugs that had been discontinued because of severe side effects, such as kidney damage, the CDC says.
Scientists say that Enterobacteriaceae are particularly hard to kill because of an outer cell wall that prevents many antibiotics from penetrating. James J. Collins, a professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University and Harvard University, and his colleagues recently discovered that adding trace amounts of silver—long known to have antimicrobial properties—allows the common antibiotic vancomycin to work against E. coli, whereas the antibiotic isn't effective against the microbe on its own. The silver appears to make the outer walls of the bacteria more permeable, allowing the antibiotic to get in and do its job, says Dr. Collins, who published the findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine in June.
Some pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with other types of additives with the aim of short-circuiting bacteria's defenses.
Researchers at Merck & Co., in Whitehouse Station, N.J., are targeting an enzyme called beta-lactamase that lives in certain bacteria and neutralizes antibiotics sent to destroy them. By adding an enzyme-inhibiting agent called MK-7655 to the antibiotic imipenem, researchers managed to kill about 97% of a type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes urinary-tract infections and pneumonia, according to Nicholas Kartsonis, head of clinical development of antibacterial, antifungals and non-hepatology viruses at Merck Research Labs.
Synthetic Biologics Inc. is taking advantage of beta-lactamase's ability to neutralize antibiotics by adding a modified version of the enzyme to the drugs. The aim is to prompt the antibiotic to break down when it reaches the bowel, where side effects and drug resistance for bacteria called Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, develops, but to leave the antibiotic intact in the bloodstream. The process should allow larger doses of antibiotics to be administered without the patient suffering typical side effects such as gastrointestinal problems, says John Monahan, who heads research and development for the Rockville, Md.-based company.
C. difficile, which causes life-threatening diarrhea and is blamed for 14,000 deaths a year, can spread rapidly in hospital patients on antibiotics. Although there are drugs to treat C. difficile, the bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics used to treat other types of infections.
Antibiotics naturally lose their effectiveness over time as bacteria populations build up resistance, and new drugs need to be continually developed to take their place. But antibiotic development by pharmaceutical companies slowed sharply after about 1990, in part because they are less profitable than other drugs used to treat chronic diseases. Compounding the problem has been an overuse of antibiotics in people and farm animals, which has accelerated the creation of antibiotic-resistant germs.
"Antibiotics have a finite lifetime because resistance is inevitable," says Michael Fischbach, a bioengineering and therapeutic sciences professor at the University of California, San Francisco. "Therefore, there's always a need to innovate."
Bacteria have ways of defending themselves against other bacteria, and most antibiotics are derived from the toxins they use. Identifying and developing new antibiotics is a long and slow process. Now, scientists are able to more efficiently scrutinize microbes for undiscovered antibiotics by sequencing their genomes and then using computer analysis to look for gene patterns that suggest a new antibiotic recipe. Typically, antibiotics are encoded by anywhere from 10 to 40 genes.
Sean Brady, head of the Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules at Rockefeller University in New York, and his colleagues recently zeroed in on half a dozen gene sequences. The team found that the genes were encoded for toxins that appeared in lab testing to be active against pathogens resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin, which is commonly used to treat infections in the gut. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in June.

2 million

The number of U.S. patients per year whose infections aren't treatable with the existing array of antibiotics
Whether the antibiotic will be useful in treating people remains to be seen, says Dr. Brady. The main problem with identifying new antibiotics isn't that they don't work, but that they cause severe side effects or toxicity, drug makers say.
Another group of researchers, headed by Dr. Fischbach at the University of California, has found a handful of new antibiotics that kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, by sequencing genomes of bacteria found in the environment. MRSA can cause a range of illnesses from skin infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
An unusual strategy doesn't aim to kill bacteria at all, but rather to make them less harmful. Since bacteria only cause infections when their population has reached a certain threshold, called a quorum, researchers are looking for ways to disrupt the chemical signals the bugs use to communicate with each other. Another approach aims to neutralize toxins or disrupt other signaling molecules that are necessary for bacteria to be infectious.
"We don't challenge them to a duel but basically confuse them into not causing infection," says Gerry Wright, a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Dr. Brady and his team at Rockefeller University demonstrated that disrupting a cluster of genes reduced the virulence of a microbe that causes infection affecting the lungs, bones and joints. The researchers published the work late last year in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

2013年12月11日 星期三

David Karp Is Tumblr’s Reluctant Technologist


By Design | David Karp Is Tumblr’s Reluctant Technologist

November 14, 2013
Karp’s “mildly steampunk” living room, with a Niels Bendtsen for Bensen sofa, Poul Kjaerholm leather chairs (all from Modernlink) and a Jason Miller for Roll & Hill ceiling light.
Karp’s “mildly steampunk” living room, with a Niels Bendtsen for Bensen sofa, Poul Kjaerholm leather chairs (all from Modernlink) and a Jason Miller for Roll & Hill ceiling light.
Ben Hoffmann
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David Karp lives by the principle that the world doesn’t need more flashy gadgets and fancy software — which would be fine, had he not founded Tumblr.
“I DON’T LIKE SCREENS very much,” says David Karp, founder and chief executive officer of Tumblr, the popular microblogging platform. “Big bright monitors drive me nuts”; screens in the bedroom are “gross.” He takes his rule seriously, for in Karp’s newly renovated loft, in south Williamsburg, Brooklyn, screens are scarce, as is, for that matter, anything particularly shiny or smooth. It is, instead, a dedication to all that is aged, rough or both: ancient bricks, weathered concrete, blackened steel and reclaimed oak. While Karp designs the future, his personal aesthetic is worlds apart from the Star Trek flight deck or the Google campus that form our usual idea of what is to come. Karp doesn’t believe, he says, that the next century is necessarily about “more screens covering more surface area.”
He is an apparent paradox: a high-tech design leader with a home and possessions that display little affection for anything postwar; frankly, most of the 20th century seems suspect to him. Nothing in his home looks particularly futuristic, or technological, at least as we’ve usually understood those terms. A house may be a machine for living, but Karp says, “I don’t want our house doing very much.” It’s a quiet space, with few distractions; one feels that stone tablets might not be entirely out of place. The newest-looking machine in the house is the metal carcass of a classic 1969 Honda CB160 motorcycle, apparently in the midst of a living-room repair job.
The apartment is built with “analog technology,” says John Gachot, the principal designer, who worked with Karp on the renovation. Gachot specializes in solid, old-school design; working with his wife, Christine, their recent projects include the Acme restaurant in NoHo, the West Village home of Marc Jacobs and a shuffleboard club now being built in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Gachot compares Karp’s loft to a submarine, where everything is made of tested, reliable materials that are designed to work together perfectly. “It’s mildly steampunk,” he adds, pointing out a few of the details, like tin ceilings and brass screws, at least “in the sense of looking backward.” The materials and methods are genuinely old: the reclaimed oak that dominates the living room comes from an old dairy farm in Pennsylvania, and the brick and concrete have aged with the building. “It’s very open and honest,” he says of the design. “Everything is exposed, and you can see all the connections.” Switching metaphors, he compares the home to the design of classic motorcycles, one of Karp’s obsessions, which are naked machines, all working parts exposed. Above all, Karp’s home is about as different as it is possible to be, style-wise, from the tech palaces of the West, or the smart homes of the 1990s that were once supposed to be the future.
In the popular imagination, tech leaders don’t live this way. They inhabit some kind of indistinct place, defined less geographically than temporally, for the technologist is meant to live slightly ahead of the rest of us. One imagines Google’s Sergey Brin spending his days encased in advanced wearable technology, orbiting the earth in a driverless spaceship, landing only to introduce humanity to new products from the mother ship. On the West Coast, the credible technologist simply must use devices and materials more advanced than the masses use. One wouldn’t want to be caught lugging around an old Dell laptop, or, God forbid, a BlackBerry.
David Karp at the kitchen island of his Williamsburg, Brooklyn, loft, designed by John Gachot.
David Karp at the kitchen island of his Williamsburg, Brooklyn, loft, designed by John Gachot.
Ben Hoffmann
Karp’s style may not fit the public’s idea of homo futurus, but it is perfectly consistent with the image of New York’s tech industry. New York tech, where Tumblr is based, is distinguished from its Silicon Valley cousin less by technical merit, and more by its design aesthetic and its close relationship with the creativity and culture of the city itself. While still small, New York has had legitimate hits and is now being taken increasingly seriously.
Tumblr, the company Karp founded with his friend Marco Arment, offers free personalized home pages and as such is technically a competitor to Facebook and Twitter. However, the comparison ends there. Tumblr is minimalist and easy to use but also infinitely customizable; it is a genuine creative tool. Using Facebook, meanwhile, demands about all the creativity you’d need to renew a passport. As Karp puts it, “here’s your vanilla white profile page: now fill in your interests, add your friends.” He built Tumblr in reaction to Facebook, which he regards as “insanely restrictive.”
Indeed, much of the New York tech industry can be understood as a reaction to the one-size-fits-all ethos of Silicon Valley. “There’s something very prescriptive in how the Valley builds its tools,” Karp says, “even the ones that are supposed to be expressive.” Consider Etsy, which is a kind of eBay for the design-conscious; or Kickstarter, which provides a platform for financing creative projects; Shutterstock, which licenses images; or BuzzFeed, a social news Web site. The major New York tech firms, with the exception of Foursquare, New York’s popular social-networking app, either cater to creators, or depend on some tie to the creative or media industries as their comparative advantage.
That New York tech has more style than its West Coast counterpart cannot be doubted. But the nagging question is whether the East has substance as well, and more particularly, whether it can actually compete with the power, money and experience of Silicon Valley. Tumblr, which is among New York’s most successful tech firms, sold for $1.1 billion to Yahoo earlier this year, which is a trifle compared with Microsoft (valued, at press time, at $263 billion), Google ($299 billion) or Apple ($423 billion). Nonetheless, Karp, who admits “we’ve got a ton to prove,” is optimistic about New York tech over the long run. “Historically, single-industry cities eventually collapse,” he says, referring to Silicon Valley and effectively throwing down the gauntlet. “It’s the New Yorks, the Londons, the cities that have multiple industries, that are able to survive.” That’s what history teaches, he says, but “it’s really easy to forget that when you’re at the forefront of whatever industry.”
The long view of New York’s prospects is also what appealed to Andrew McLaughlin, a former Google executive who moved east and is now senior vice president at New York’s Betaworks, which bills itself as “a company that builds companies.” (The New York Times Company is an investor.) “If you’re placing a long-term bet on consumer tech,” he says, “then the mix of skills you’ll find in New York, while maybe less technical, seems like a better bet to make.” As a veteran of both East Coast and West Coast tech, McLaughlin captures the aesthetic gap as “the difference between a Palo Alto office park and a Bushwick loft.” For one thing, “New York takes authenticity very seriously,” he says, while “the West Coast doesn’t give a damn.”
“Functionality” matters most, he says, and while he has enormous respect for Google, “no one at Google spends time thinking about how to make their office park ‘authentic.’ They want it to be awesome, with robots, driverless cars, that kind of stuff.” Another difference is that New York’s tech industry tends to work with, or on top of, what’s already there, whether physically or conceptually. “The West Coast thing is to destroy what came before,” while New York is “layering and working with what’s here already,” McLaughlin says, making reference to Rem Koolhaas’s seminal 1978 manifesto on urbanism, “Delirious New York.”
Koolhaas argued that New York was a “collective experiment” in a “factory of man-made experience.” The city is the center of culture, creativity, advertising and finance: the question is whether New York tech can somehow help tie it all together. The physical spaces inhabited by the main New York firms reflect the layered approach being built into the city’s infrastructure, rather than exiled in the suburban office parks, and echo the original Bell Labs in the West Village. Tumblr’s offices are in the Flatiron district, housed on two floors in an old building with rough wooden floors. Betaworks occupies a handsome industrial space in the meatpacking district with 22-foot ceilings and cast iron pillars, surrounded by fashion labels like Alexander McQueen and Tory Burch; the building once belonged to the publisher of Collier’s Encyclopedia. Kickstarter’s offices are in a rough Lower East Side loft with reclaimed cabinets and tin ceilings. (The firm is currently refurbishing a new space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, out of a building that once belonged to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company.)
Most of New York tech remains in Manhattan, but Karp has moved to Williamsburg, which, to state the obvious, is not a traditional C.E.O. hangout. It turns out that Karp and his girlfriend, Rachel Eakley, tried the West Village for a while but didn’t like their location. He went on a search for “old buildings,” and in Brooklyn he found more of what he loves, unblemished by “too much drywall,” which, according to Karp, has spoiled neighborhoods like TriBeCa. Karp’s loft also enjoys perfect views of the east Manhattan skyline. He looks out at the Niemeyer-Le Corbusier United Nations complex, with its broad tower reflecting water and sky. It was that view that sealed the deal and convinced Karp he could leave the island. He started thinking that looking out on Manhattan would be “so much frickin’ cooler than being in the West Village and seeing the Jersey skyline.” But not all is perfect: his view also includes an eruption of nondescript condos that have infected the Brooklyn bank of the East River. “I get so nauseated when I see these big glassy things,” he says, which look like “something out of Florida.” He denounces the spread of “generic, superbland architecture by people who decided that contemporary architecture is big glassy buildings. The stuff bums me out.”
Once upon a time, to make it in the tech industry was to migrate from east to west, where the engineers and the venture capital could be found. Yet it seems highly unlikely that either Karp or Tumblr will move to the Valley anytime soon, for matters of taste as much as anything. “If there’s any broader issue I have with the Valley,” Karp says, it’s that “you’d have to be out of your mind to live in Palo Alto.”


Ben Hoffmann
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大衛·卡普(David Karp)生活的原則是認為這個世界已經不需要更多搶眼的配件和花哨的軟件了——這本來是可以的,只是他又發明了Tumblr。
「我並不是很喜歡屏幕,」流行微博平台Tumblr的 創始人兼首席執行官大衛·卡普(David Karp)說,「光亮的大屏幕監視器會讓我抓狂」,而卧室里出現屏幕簡直就是「噁心」。卡普對於這些規則是很嚴格的,在他布魯克林區威廉斯堡 (Williamsburg)南部新裝修的loft敞開式公寓里,屏幕幾乎絕跡,甚至連是一些特別閃亮和光滑的東西也都少之又少。相反,公寓里滿是一些或 老舊、粗糙,或者既老舊又粗糙的東西:古老的石頭,久經年月的水泥,發塗黑的鋼鐵和回收的橡木等。卡普的設計着眼於未來,但一般人所想像的未來是如同《星 際迷航》(Star Trek)的駕駛艙或是谷歌(Google)辦公園區之類的地方,卡普的個人美學和這些相去甚遠。卡普說,他不認為下一個世紀必定是「更多的屏幕覆蓋更多 生活表面積」的世界。
看得出來,他是個矛盾體:一位高科技的設計領袖,他的家和他所擁有 的東西卻似乎對任何「二戰」後出現的事物都不太感冒;坦白地說,他似乎覺得20世紀的大部分的東西對他而言都不可靠。他家裡沒有任何東西會令人覺得特別有 未來感,也沒有什麼高科技的東西,至少以我們對那些詞彙的標準理解來說是這樣。一所房子可以是一台服務於生活的機器,但卡普說:「我不想讓我們的房子承載 太多功能做太多事情。」這是一個寧靜的空間,能令人分心的東西很少;你會感覺,也許連石碑放在這裡都不會顯得不合適。房子里看起來最新的機器,就是一輛經 典款1969年本田CB160摩托車的金屬殘骸了,很顯然,它是正在進行中的「客廳維修工程」里的一部分。
據房子的首席設計師約翰·加紹(John Gachot)說,這所公寓是用「模擬技術」建造的。加紹與卡普一起進行房子的翻修,他擅長的是沉穩的老學院派設計。他與妻子克里斯汀(Christine)合作,近期的項目包括了位於北休斯敦街的Acme餐廳, 馬克·雅可各布(Marc Jacobs)位於西村(West Village)的家,以及布魯克林格瓦努斯正在建造中的一個沙壺球俱樂部。加紹把卡普的公寓比作一艘潛水艇,裡面每一樣東西所用的材料都是經過測試並證 實可靠的,而且彼此間被設計得嚴絲合縫。「它有一點蒸汽朋克的感覺,」他補充說,並指出了其中一些細節,比如錫制白鐵做的天花板和黃銅的螺絲釘,說那至少 「是有一點點懷古的感覺。」材料和工藝則確確實實是古老的:佔據起居室的那些回收來的橡木,來自賓夕法尼亞州一家古老的乳製品農場,而磚石石塊和水泥也都 和這座建築一起久經了年月。「它非常開放和坦誠,」他這樣評價這些設計,「所有東西都顯露在外,於是你可以看到所有的連接線。」然後他又換了一個比喻,將 這個家比作卡普所着迷的經典款摩托車設計,也就是裸體的機械,所有的運轉機件都裸露在外。最重要的是,卡普的家在風格上儘可能地遠離西方社會的科技聖殿模 式,或者像那些曾被認為是未來趨勢的20世紀90年代智能家居風格。
在普遍的想像中,科技領袖們的生活不是這樣的。他們應該住在某種難 以分辨的地方,顯示的更多是時間上而不是地理位置上的不同,因為技術工程師就應該活得比我們其他人超前一些。你會想像谷歌的謝爾蓋·布林(Sergey Brin)應該每天被包圍在各種可以穿在身上的高科技當中,坐在一艘無人駕駛的太空船里巡遊整個地球,為了將母機船上的新產品介紹給人類而偶爾降落到地 面。在西岸,值得人們信賴的技術工程師,所使用的的設備和材料就必須是一些比大眾所用的更先進的設備和材料。他們不會想被人看見自己拿着一台舊款的戴爾 (Dell)筆記本電腦或者——天啊——黑莓(BlackBerry)手機到處跑。
Ben Hoffmann
卡普的風格或許並不符合公眾對於「未來人」的想像,但卻與紐約高科 技產業的形象完美契合。Tumblr所在的紐約科技產業界與硅谷的兄弟產業並不一樣,但它的不同並不在於技術水平,而更多地是在於設計美學,以及它與這座 城市創意文化的緊密聯繫上。雖然紐約科技產業仍然很小,但它已經做出過一些受到行業認可的重要成就,而且現在已經越來越得到重視。
Tumblr是卡普和他的朋友馬可·阿蒙特(Marco Arment)一起創立的公司,它提供的是一種免費的個人化主頁,於是在技術上,它也是Facebook和Twitter的競爭者。不過,對比也就到此為 止了。Tumblr遵循是一種極簡主義原則,非常易於使用,同時又具有無窮的個人化可定製性;它是一個真正的創意工具。相比之下,使用Facebook所 需要的創意大致上和更新一本護照沒什麼兩樣。用卡普的話說,「這就是你的香草白個人資料主頁:現在請填入你的興趣愛好,並且加入你的好友吧。」他正是針對 那個他認為「局限得不可理喻」的Facebook而建立了Tumblr的。
紐約科技產業毫無疑問要比西岸的同行更有設計風格。不過一個揮之不 去的問題是,東岸是否也有同樣的內在實質,或者更準確地說,它是否能夠在影響力、資金以及經驗等方面與硅谷競爭。Tumblr是紐約最成功的科技公司之 一,它在今年早些時候以11億美元的價格賣給了雅虎(Yahoo),這相比起微軟(目前市值2630億美元)、谷歌(2990億美元)或者蘋果(4230 億美元)來說,只能算是個零頭。不過,卡普雖然承認「我們還有很多東西有待證明」,但卻對紐約科技產業的長遠未來頗為樂觀。「從歷史上來說,單一產業的城 市最終都會崩塌,」他指的是硅谷,而且實際上是有力地下了一道戰書,「而那些擁有多元產業的城市,比如紐約、倫敦等,才有能力生存下去。」他說,這是歷史 所教給我們的,但「當你身處某一項產業的最前沿時,這一點很容易會被忘記」。
紐約的長遠前景也吸引了谷歌的前高管安德魯·麥克勞林(Andrew McLaughlin),他後來轉戰東岸,如今是紐約Betaworks的 高級副總裁。這家公司把自己標榜為「一家創建企業的企業」。(紐約時報公司[The New York Times Company]是投資者之一。)「如果你要在消費者科技產業上下長遠的賭注,」他說,「那你在紐約能找到的技能組合似乎是一個更值得押的賭注,哪怕它或 許並不那麼純技術化。」在東岸和西岸都算得上資深人士的麥克勞林,將兩者在美學上的差距看成是「一家布殊維克公寓和整個帕洛阿爾托辦公園區的區別」。他 說,其中一方面就是,「紐約對於真實本真性是看重的,」他說,而「西岸卻對此不屑一顧」。
他說,「功能性」是最重要的,而雖然他很尊重谷歌,但是「在谷歌, 里沒有人花時間去想怎樣將他們的辦公園區變得『真實』。他們想要讓它令人驚嘆,擁有諸如機械人、無人駕駛汽車之類的東西」。另一個區別是,不管是實體還是 概念,紐約的科技企業傾向於以既有的東西為基礎,或者在這些東西上發揮,無論是實際存在的實體還是一些概念。麥克勞林說,「西岸企業的作風是要摧毀舊有的 東西」,而紐約則是「層層遞進,在已有的東西上發揮」,麥克勞林這樣說道。他引用了雷姆·庫哈斯(Rem Koolhaas)1978年關於城市化的開創性宣言:《癲狂的紐約》(Delirious New York)。
庫哈斯認為,紐約是一個在一家「人造體驗工廠」里進行的「集體實 驗」。這座城市是文化、創意、廣告和金融中心:問題是紐約科技產業是否能夠以某種方式將所有這些東西聯繫起來。紐約主要大型企業辦公室所處的物理空間,反 映了一種多層次的建築方式,將企業建設在城市的基礎設施當中,而不是另僻一塊郊外的辦公園區,同時也與西村最初的貝爾實驗室(Bell Labs)相呼應。Tumblr的辦公室所在的地方,是熨斗區:一幢有粗糙木質地板的舊建築里的兩層樓。Betaworks則在肉庫區里佔據了一塊漂亮的 空間,裡面有22英尺高的天花板和鑄鋼鐵支柱,周圍包圍着的是像亞歷山大·麥昆(Alexander McQueen)和湯麗柏琦(Tory Burch)這樣的時尚品牌;這座建築曾經屬於科里爾百科全書(Collier』s Encyclopedia)的出版公司。Kickstarter的辦公室則是在下東區一個粗糙的loft敞開式公寓里,裡面有回收再利用的儲藏櫃和錫制白 鐵天花板。(該公司目前正在翻新一個新的辦公地點,位於布魯克林綠點區一座曾經屬於伊貝哈德·法貝爾鉛筆公司[Eberhard Faber Pencil Company]的建築。)
大多數的紐約科技企業都仍然在曼哈頓,但卡普已經遷移到了威廉斯 堡。眾所周知,那裡並不是CEO們通常聚集的地方。事實上,卡普和他的女友蕾切爾·伊克利(Rachel Eakley)曾經在西村嘗試過一段時間,但並不喜歡他們所在的位置。於是他開始搜尋「老建築」,然後發現他更喜歡布魯克林。據卡普所說,那裡塗了「太多 的石膏牆」,糟蹋了像翠貝卡這樣的街區。卡普的公寓還有完美的曼哈頓東區天際線景觀光景。他望出去,能看見由奧斯卡·內邁耶(Oscar Niemeyer)和勒·柯布西耶(Le Corbusier)設計的聯合國大樓群組,寬廣的塔樓能反射水景和天空。正是這樣的風景最終促成了這個決定,也讓卡普相信他可以離開那個小島。他開始覺 得,眺望曼哈頓要「比身在西村遙望當中看見澤西島要酷太他媽多了」。但也並不是說一切就完美了:他看到的景觀也包括忽然冒出來的不倫不類的住宅樓,影響了 布魯克林東河(East River)沿岸的風景。他說,「當我看到這些巨大的玻璃怪物時,我真是覺得噁心,」他說,那看起來就像是「某些從佛羅里達來的東西」。他痛斥指責那一片 「平淡平無奇、乏善可陳的建築」,說它們的「設計師就是覺得當代建築就是巨大的玻璃大廈」。「那東西把我噁心壞了。」
曾有一段時間,要想在科技業界出人頭地,就得意味着從東岸搬到西 岸,那裡是工程師和風投資本集中的地方。不過,卡普或者Tumblr在短期內搬到硅谷似乎是非常不可能的事情,其中最主要的原因是這當中,品味是其中一個 最主要的原因。「如果我對硅谷還有什麼更大的意見的話,」卡普說,那就是「你真得是有病才會住在帕洛阿爾托」。

2013年12月10日 星期二

Big Data Spots Endangered Species

Dec 10, 2013

Big Data Spots Endangered Species

A wild boar in a Malaysian rainforest caught on a Conservation International camera.
Conservation International
To find out whether a species is at risk of becoming endangered, scientists typically spend years painstakingly monitoring animals.
Now, powerful computing systems are starting to disrupt that slow process, an influential environmental group says. Applying big data analysis to images from the rain forest, Conservation International found that animal species scientists did not think were at risk are actually experiencing sizable population declines.
They found populations were dropping by roughly 30% among anteaters, armadillos, civets, wild boars, shrews, and moon rats.
“We thought these animals were abundant,” said Jorge Ahumada, the ecologist who directs the organization’s camera trap project. “We assumed they were fine.”
The group announced the results of the big data study at a conference in Barcelona on Monday.
Conservation International started installing cameras in 16 rain forests in 2007 and today operates the largest such network in the world. Soon enough, it had animal photo overload — a collection of 1.5 million images.
Until recently, Ahumada said, scientists didn’t have the capability to analyze the large volume of images generated by the cameras. They could track individual animals in specific locations, but couldn’t see patterns in images taken across forests for all of the 275 species the organization monitors.
Conservation International’s software, which is produced by H-PHPQ -0.77%, has been used by big firms in tech, insurance and other kinds of business.
It’s an example of the sophisticated software that’s being built to help companies and organizations analyze the reams of data they’ve stored, and bring information about the real world into systems that can spot patterns.
These kinds of technological tools are now starting to become available to non-profit organizations and social service groups.
In  a statement, Meg Whitman, CEO, of H-P said: “The results of the early warning system demonstrate the ability of HP to use big data to address the world’s most complex challenges for our customers and partners across sectors, industries and organizations.”
H-P donated the technology to Conservation International.
After presenting the findings, Conservation International says it will now advocate for further study among ecologists to determine whether the animals should be put on the U.S. government’s endangered species list.

2013年12月6日 星期五

打着 "灯笼"(Lantern) 轻松“翻墙”

打着“灯笼” 轻松“翻墙”

(德国之声中文网)它的名字叫"灯笼"(Lantern)。这一由美国政府资助开发的软件和现有的"翻墙软件"有所不同,它利用社交网络的结构,为用户提 供更加方便快捷的全网浏览服务,让互联网受政府限制的网民可以登陆浏览像"Facebook"(脸书),"Twitter"(推特)或者视频网 站"Youtube"等站点。
开发Lantern软件的Brave New Software公司介绍称,绝大多数翻墙软件需要服务器的配合。而在Lantern系统中,每台机器都可以作为服务器,从而比其他工具提供更多的容量。 通过运行Lantern,每个在非封锁区的电脑,都可以变成封锁区用户的代理,使他们可以访问被封锁的网站。
Infografik Bildergalerie Chinas Firewall Bild 09 “穿过长城,我们可以连接世界”
换句话说,一个在中国的网民,可以通过其海外友人的电脑与自由的互联网世界连接。这种连接可以最多跨越四层交友关系。也就是说,这个中 国网民最多可以通过朋友的朋友的朋友的朋友的计算机全面浏览互联网。由于Lantern是建立在信任网络的基础上,让相互信任的朋友分享网络连接,所以安 全性能也有相当程度的保障。同时,用户在Lantern上的朋友越多,因特网的速度和可靠性就越高。用户可以通过谷歌邮箱中的联系人邀请朋友加入 Lantern的网络,逐步扩大网络带宽。
Screenshot Websperrung in China Symbolbild 中国的“网络警察”无所不在
"灯笼"是一款免费软件。软件开发人员之一霍姆斯(Chris Holmes)向《南华早报》表示:"美国国务院的一项'种子基金'为软件的研发提供了220万美金"。据美国政府公布的消息,仅2013年,美国国务院和国际开发署就拿出2500万美金,用于支持推动互联网自由的组织。
致力于研究中国互联网审查制度的温云超(网名"北风")长期关注各种"翻墙"方法。他已经通过其社交网络向许多用户推荐了Lantern软件。据他介绍, 由于许多中国网民翻墙后首先去"Youtube"网站看视频,占用大量带宽,导致使用该软件浏览网页的速度极慢。他观察到,Lantern有时也会"后院 失火",出现终端验证失效等故障。