2014年1月31日 星期五

台灣的 3D Printing 產業夢:老套_

Ralph Jennings
Ralph Jennings, Contributor
I cover under-reported stories from Taiwan and Asia.
1/25/2014 @ 10:37下午 |2,220 views

Taiwan Seeks Dominance In 3D Printing. Will Its Plan Stand Up?

Taiwan, the world’s high-tech contractor since the 1980s, wants to lead the next consumer electronics trend instead of designing it for someone else. That shift would make local brands more competitive globally as offshore rivals chip away at contract work. So Taiwan is moving to become the world’s top developer of 3D printing technology. Here’s its plan to come from behind and dominate one of the world’s fastest growing tech trends:
A government-backed tech incubator has formed an alliance of 90 local companies keen on working with one another on 3D printers, the printing stock and related software. The Industrial Technology Research Institute is also offering to pay up to 40% of company proposals to develop object printing, which it identified in 2013 as a mission for the next eight years.
3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer t...
3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer thicknesses (Photo credit: Creative Tools)
Object printing first materialized decades ago, based largely on open-source software. It grew popular after 2010 as prices fell and everyday people started popping out self-designed lampshades and washing machine parts. DIY kits with the printers and stock (ink plus a lot more) sell today for as little as $200. Tablet PCs grew on a steep curve over the same period, but China is taking away Taiwan’s piece of that trend.
But developers in China, Japan, Europe and the United States are working now as hard as Taiwan, probably harder and with more research breakthroughs. That international rivalry makes sense as American tech consulting firm Wohlers Associates says the 3D printing market grew 28.6% to $2.2 billion in 2012 after jumping nearly 30% in 2011.
Companies in Taiwan could still beat the others on their traditional strengths of speedy, customized production. The 90 alliance members must form an efficient supply chain and share knowhow rather than standoffishly compete per the Taiwan tech industry’s tradition, argues Jon Hsu, executive director of the research institute’s southern region campus. “Like the United States has defense and China has automotive, Taiwan has consumer electronics. We have the technology and now the direction,” Hsu says. Then there’s Taiwan’s reputation for build-it-fast flexibility. “You make a call and get a cup of coffee, and before it gets cold you get the job done,” Hsu says.
Unlike overseas, in Taiwan it’s hard to name the top object printing investors. Taiwan’s VIA Technologies is working on a board that could function as a 3D printing controller and Voltivo Group is developing what Managing Director Oliver Fueckert calls a “secret sauce” for high-end printing stock.
It’s going to take more than that. “Obviously the government needs to come on board,” Fueckert says. “This is something where Taiwan has all the ingredients for success.”
Innovation may need a boost first. The island has an advantage in metal printing, Hsu says, but it should tap other countries for intelligence on plastics printing. To generate new ideas locally, the incubator will fund 3D printing proposals that help bring what it called in a Jan. 6 news release a “wave of domestic investment in new technologies and new industries in Taiwan.” Otherwise Taiwan will earn a global name for copying the original designs of other people’s latest schemes to copy objects.

2014年1月29日 星期三

How YouTube Is Evolving for the Masses



How YouTube Is Evolving for the Masses

During a keynote address at the recent BizTech@Wharton conference, YouTube’s Shiva Rajaraman discussed the site’s evolving user experience and what it means for people on the go and couch potatoes alike.

How a New High-Tech Vest Can Make Readers Feel Like They’re in a Book

How a New High-Tech Vest Can Make Readers Feel Like They’re in a Book

The latest attempt to make science fiction a reality.
Ever read a book so detailed that you felt like you were in the story? Now there’s a vest for that.
For a class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., students designed a book cover with 150 LED lights that get darker and brighter based on the scene on the page. An accompanying black “wearable” that resembles a harness is supposed to convey tension and the protagonist’s mood in the story through a body temperature control function, vibrations, heartbeat and shiver simulator and air pressure bags that open and constrict.
Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, and Julie Legault said that they developed this technology at the MIT Media Lab to explore “new ways of experiencing and creating stories.”
The project used a science fiction novella aptly called The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr. because the main character exhibits a broad range of emotions. But as one commenter pointed out on the class’s website, “Market this with 50 Shades of Grey and you’re onto a winner.”

Read more: Wearable Tech Developed at MIT Conveys Emotions in Books | TIME.com http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/01/29/how-a-new-high-tech-vest-can-make-readers-feel-like-theyre-in-a-book/#ixzz2rqNdoBG1

Read more: Wearable Tech Developed at MIT Conveys Emotions in Books | 

“Market this with '50 Shades of Grey' and you’re onto a winner.”

2014年1月25日 星期六

Science & Space / Science & Environment

the Time Magazine 的稱為Science & Space 有點意思  有的 用Science & Environment......

2014年1月23日 星期四

Scientists: Taiwan clams threaten endangered Japanese species in Tokyo Bay

Scientists: Taiwan clams threaten endangered Japanese species in Tokyo Bay

January 18, 2014
A project to revive the population of common orient clams in Tokyo Bay may be inadvertently putting the endangered indigenous species in further peril, researchers said.
The Japanese clams are farmed in Taiwan and shipped back to Japan for dispersal in beaches around the bay. But the researchers say they believe Taiwanese clams are being mixed together with their Japanese counterparts during the farming process.
They said DNA tests confirmed that Taiwanese clams have found their way into the bay and pose a threat to the Japanese shellfish by taking away their habitat and through cross-breeding.
Massive landfill projects and the construction of sea walls around the nation destroyed much of the Japanese clams’ habitat. In 2012, the Environment Ministry designated the common orient clam as a species at increased risk of extinction.
The researchers, led by Ayako Yamakawa, a lecturer of marine biology at Okinawa International University, examined the DNA of shellfish gathered at 12 sites in Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan between 2004 and 2013.
They concluded that the DNA in six of 62 clams collected on man-made beaches at Kasai Rinkai Park in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward was identical to the DNA of the Taiwanese variety.
The results of the study were carried in a Finnish publication late last year.
One theory holds that common orient clams in Taiwan were originally taken from Japan to the island in the 1920s.
But the recent study showed that more than 8 percent of the DNA of Japanese clams was dissimilar to the DNA of the Taiwanese clams.
“It would take the shellfish more than 2 million years to be different to that extent,” Yamakawa said. “The ones that turned up in the park’s beaches must be the indigenous Taiwanese clams.”
To revive the common orient clam population, the confederation of fishermen’s cooperatives in Chiba Prefecture has been releasing the shellfish off Kisarazu in the prefecture.
The clams, originally from Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, are sent for farming in Taiwan, which fisheries officials say has advanced technology in the field, and then transferred to Chiba Prefecture.
According to the Chiba prefectural government, 100 tons of farmed shellfish were released into Tokyo Bay in fiscal 2012. The harvest was 39 tons the same year.
A private group has been also releasing young clams provided by the Chiba confederation on beaches at Kasai Rinkai Park since 2010.
Yamakawa called for a system to determine whether clams are Japanese or Taiwanese. It would cost only 1,000 yen ($9.07) or less to conduct a simple DNA test per clam, she said.
“It would prove a great challenge to remove the Taiwanese shellfish once they settle in the bay,” she said.
But officials with the Chiba confederation are cool to the idea.
“We believed that the indigenous species did not exist in Taiwan,” an official said. “We are aware of the contents of the study, but we are not thinking about taking any specific measure now because we trust the clam farmers (in Taiwan).”

Common orient clams collected at Kasai Rinkai Park in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward. Six clams in the first two horizontal rows are species from Taiwan. (Provided by Ayako Yamakawa)
Common orient clams collected at Kasai Rinkai Park in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward. Six clams in the first two horizontal rows are species from Taiwan. (Provided by Ayako Yamakawa)
  • Common orient clams collected at Kasai Rinkai Park in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward. Six clams in the first two horizontal rows are species from Taiwan. (Provided by Ayako Yamakawa)

'Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out'

The Guardian
'Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out' http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/22/facebook-princeton-researchers-infectious-disease

2014年1月22日 星期三

A 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours


20/11/2013 16:45 | By Mark Hattersley, contributor, MSN Innovation

The 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours

A revolutionary 3D concrete printer can build a 2,500-square-foot home layer by layer in a single day

A newly built house (© Getty)

The University of Southern California is testing a giant 3D printer that could be used to build a whole house in under 24 hours.
Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis has designed the giant robot that replaces construction workers with a nozzle on a gantry, this squirts out concrete and can quickly build a home according to a computer pattern. It is “basically scaling up 3D printing to the scale of building,” says Khoshnevis. The technology, known as Contour Crafting, could revolutionise the construction industry.
The affordable home?
Contour Crafting could slash the cost of home-owning, making it possible for millions of displaced people to get on the property ladder. It could even be used in disaster relief areas to build emergency and replacement housing.  For example, after an event such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which has displaced almost 600,000 people, Contour Crafting could be used to build replacement homes quickly.
It could be used to create high-quality shelter for people currently living in desperate conditions. “At the dawn of the 21st century [slums] are the condition of shelter for nearly one billion people in our world,” says Khoshnevis, “These buildings are breeding grounds for disease a problem of conventional construction which is slow, labour intensive and inefficient.”
As Khoshnevis points out, if you look around you pretty much everything is made automatically these days – “your shoes, your clothes, home appliances, your car. The only thing that is still built by hand are these buildings.”
A 3D printing robot (© Contour Crafting)
The robot automates the process of building a house from scratch
How does Contour Crafting work?
The Contour Crafting system is a robot that by automates age-old tools normally used by hand. These are wielded by a robotic gantry that builds a three-dimensional object.
“Ultimately it would work like this,” says Brad Lemley from Discover Magazine. “On a cleared and leveled site, workers would lay down two rails a few feet further apart than the eventual building's width and a computer-controlled contour crafter would take over from there. A gantry-type crane with a hanging nozzle and a components-placing arm would travel along the rails. The nozzle would spit out concrete in layers to create hollow walls, and then fill in the walls with additional concrete… humans would hang doors and insert windows.”
The robot carries a reservoir of ready made concrete (© Contour Crafting)
The robot carries a reservoir of ready made concrete
“It’s a CAD/CAM solution,” says Khoshnevis. The buildings are “designed on computer and built by a computer”. Contour Crafting hopes to generate “entire neighbourhoods built at a fraction of the cost, in a fraction of the time, far more safely, and with architectural flexibility that is unprecedented.”
The Contour Crafting solution also produces much stronger structures than traditional building methods. According to Contour Crafting the tested wall is a 10,000PSI (pounds per square inch) strength compared to an average of 3,000PSI for a regular wall.
A test wall built with the robotic arm (© Contour Crafting)
A test wall built with the robotic arm
The system could potentially be used to build large office blocks and even tower blocks. “You can have multi-nozzle machines and even have the structure climb the building,” says Khoshnevis. says Khoshnevis. This animation demonstrates how a home is built using the Contour Crafting technique.
Will all future buildings look the same?
One concern with contour crafted homes is that they’d all look the same. Mind-numbing duplication was a key criticism of the suburban estates from the 1950s, even though they also brought good-quality housing to millions of people. Would robot-made homes have the same problem, spitting out endless duplication of the same basic template?
They would not be as homogenous as the suburbs, says Khoshnevis, because “every [Contour Crafted] building can be different. They do not have to look like track houses because all you have to do is change a computer program” to get a completely different house.
Because the buildings are printed with a nozzle, they can also be far more creative than current constructions. “The walls can be curved” says Khoshnevis and “you can have very exotic architectural features without incurring additional costs.”
A Contour Crafting robotic arm being tested at the research centre (© Colour Crafting)
A Contour Crafting robotic arm being tested at the research centre
Will builders be out of work?
What the implications are for builders is, of course, a major concern. Building and construction has largely escaped the construction line automation of other industries and remains solid employment for millions worldwide. According to the International Labour Organisation construction employs nearly 110 million people worldwide and “plays a major role in combating the high levels of unemployment and in absorbing surplus labour from the rural areas.”
That’s a lot of people Contour Crafting could make redundant, which raises the question of whether the system could do more harm than good.
Instead of building the house workmen are used to maintain the machine (© Contour Crafting)
Instead of building the house workmen are used to maintain the machine
“There is concern about people being put out of construction jobs,” says Khoshnevis but “the reality is that a lot of new jobs can be created in this sector as well.” Khoshnevis reminds us that in 1900 almost 62% of all Americans were farmers, whereas today less than 1.5% of Americans are in agriculture, thanks to advanced in technology. “The same will be true in the case of construction.” Khoshnevis argues that “Construction is a hazardous job” and points out that “it is more dangerous than mining and agriculture.“it is more dangerous than mining and agriculture. It kills 10,000 people every year [and] because of all the different trade and managements structures, the process is pretty corruption prone. It is very costly and always over budget.”
When will we see robotic builders?
But can the Contour Crafting robot move from its research lab environment and into the real world? “Khoshnevis is a prolific inventor,” says Brad Lemley, “who emigrated from Iran in 1974 and holds patents in fields ranging from optics to robotics, [and] decided there had to be a better way while trowelling plaster cracks in his living room following the 1994 Northridge California earthquake."
“If you can build a wall, you can build a house,” says Khoshnevis. But Contour Crafting was named one of the 25 best inventions in 2006 by the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the History Channel’s Modern Marvels programme and is still being tested.
Recent developments have included new types of ceramics and construction materials. (© Contour Crafting)
Recent developments have included new types of ceramics and construction materials.
Current research is being funded by Nasa along with the Cal-Earth institute. The future development for Contour Crafting is to investigate construction of modern civil structures, alongside the construction of structures on the moon. According to Contour Crafting these structures include landing pads, roads, hangers and radiation walls.
Nasa’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) facility is investigating infrastructure elements in order to evaluate the feasibility of adapting and using the Contour Crafting technology for extraterrestrial application.
“This technology is like a rock that we have rolled to the top of a cliff,” Khoshnevis told Discover Magazine, “just one little push and the idea will roll along on its own."

2014年1月20日 星期一


H. A. Simon 有討論科學哲學的專書1977. Models of Discovery : and other topics in the methods of science. Dordrecht, Holland: Reidel.
這篇文章是通俗科學. 主題與他的哲學等密切相關. 他可以有深入的說法.


自1998年以來,約翰·布羅克曼(John Brockman)一直在張貼類似的問題。其中包括那些東西是你深信不疑但卻無法證明的,互聯網正在給一切帶來怎樣的改變,以及有哪些東西你已經改變了看 法。布洛克曼是一名作家經紀人,一個愛挑釁的人,在他的在線沙龍Edge上主持知識分子之間的論戰。
其中的一些人是科普界赫赫有名的人物,比如普林斯頓高等研究院(Institute for Advanced Study)數學家兼未來學家弗里曼·戴森(Freeman Dyson);哈佛大學(Harvard University)語言學家、暢銷書作家斯蒂文·平克(Steven Pinker);牛津大學(Oxford University)進化生物學家、無神論者、暢銷書作家理乍得·道金斯(Richard Dawkins);發明了「心流」概念的心理學家米哈里•奇克森特米哈伊(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi),心流是指一個人完全迷失在自己所做的事務中,奇克森特米哈伊說,科學家們需要放棄一個觀念,即他們發現的真理永遠是放之四海而皆準的。
這種看法得到了演員和科普人士艾倫·阿爾達(Alan Alda)的呼應,他批判了那種事物非真即假的概念,那是邏輯學和數學裡的基本概念。有些時候是要考慮語境的。
諾貝爾物理學獎得主、麻省理工學院(MIT)的弗蘭克·維爾切克(Frank Wilczek)建議放棄精神和物質之間的差異,這是自笛卡爾(Descartes)時代以來的一個基礎概念,至少在西方是這樣。維爾切克說,目前,我們對物質和原子有了更多的了解,物質「可以以一種錯綜複雜的動態模式翩翩起舞;它能利用環境資源,能自行組合和釋放熵。
不過,別過於激動了。非營利組織教育引擎(Engines for Education)的電腦科學家、心理學家羅傑·尚克(Roger Schank)說,能下棋的電腦無助於我們理解人類如何下棋、為什麼下棋,也不會下棋下得無聊了想起來去玩一種新的遊戲。他說,我們應該廢除「人工智能」這個術語,他還說:「本來就沒必要創造人造人類。真人已經夠多的了。」
曾創辦《全球目錄》(Whole Earth Catalog)等刊物的斯圖爾特·布蘭德(Stewart Brand)打 算談談核能,他認為一個無法證實的觀念阻撓了核能的發展,即任何程度的核輻射都是不安全的,無論這個程度有多低。結果,人們要額外花無數的錢,圍繞着核電 廠建立起「毫無意義的安全防護」,之所以說它毫無意義,是因為我們的細胞含有某些機制,能修復被輻射破壞的DNA,還有一條更重要的原因,那就是「我們都 會死」。
道金斯教授和西北大學(Northeastern University)心理學家莉莎·費德曼·巴瑞特(Lisa Feldman Barrett)均批判了本質主義的概念,這種概念認為,狗和貓、三角形和樹木、空間和時間、情感和思想等事物都有一種使其自成一體的內在本質。道金斯提出,這個概念在數學上是可行的,可是一旦被用到物種上,或是政治上,就成了一場災難,因為它杜絕了事物出現變化或漸變的可能性。
麻省理工學院(MIT)的宇宙學家馬克斯·鐵馬克(Max Tegmark)提出,即使沒有「無限」的概念,我們一樣可以過得不錯。科技公司應用思維(Applied Minds)的電腦科學家W·丹尼爾·希利斯(W. Daniel Hillis)提出,沒有「因果」的概念,我們也能過下去,他說,「因果」只是我們的大腦為了滿足說故事的嗜好而弄出的產物。MIT電腦科學家希斯·羅埃 德(Seth Lloyd)說,到了放棄宇宙這個概念的時候了。
不錯,沒有什麼是神聖不可侵犯的。我們不妨拿醫療新時代風 靡一時的循證醫學為例。宏觀認知公司(MacroCognition)心理學家加里·克萊因 (Gary Klein)說,由於循證醫學的概念會阻撓醫生嘗試沒有被隨機控制試驗驗證過的其他療法,所以,這個概念可能會阻撓醫學的發展。他舉了一個例子,許多患者 所患的疾病,要多於試驗能控制的疾病類型。
小說家伊恩·麥克尤恩(Ian McEwan)對今年的問題本身提出了質疑。他說,什麼概念都不用消失;科學需要堅持自己的傳統和理念。他說,「亞里士多德對人類的各個知識領域都廣有涉 獵,不過其大部分見解都是錯的。然而,他發明了動物學,單這一件事就是無價的功勞。你會把他推到一邊嗎?誰知道呢,說不定哪一天你就需要一個老概念。」
畢竟,科學界的硬通貨不是信仰、甚至不是真理,而是懷疑。 難以想像類似的嘗試會來自天主教樞機團(College of Cardinals),或是中國共產黨的中央政治局。和民主制度下的社會一樣,在科學界,人們可以質疑所有一切。當科學家和其他知識分子停止爭執之時,我 們就會知道,我們有麻煩了。

Over the Side With Old Scientific Tenets

Here are some concepts you might consider tossing out with the Christmas wrappings as you get started on the new year: human nature, cause and effect, the theory of everything, free will and evidence-based medicine.
Those are only a few of the shibboleths, pillars of modern thought or delusions — take your choice — that appear in a new compendium of essays by 166 (and counting) deep thinkers, scientists, writers, blowhards (again, take your choice) as answers to the question: What scientific idea is ready for retirement?
The discussion is posted at edge.org. Take a look. No matter who you are, you are bound to find something that will drive you crazy.
John Brockman, the literary agent and provocateur who presides over intellectual bar fights at Edge, his online salon, has been posing questions like this one since 1998. The questions have included what you believe but can’t prove, how the Internet is changing everything, and what you’ve changed your mind about.
“It’s really the same thing every time,” Mr. Brockman said over the phone, explaining that this year’s question had arisen at a conference on the social sciences last summer and immediately engendered a debate about whether it was suitable for the Edge forum.
Mr. Brockman’s contributors, many of whom are his clients, are a rambunctious lot who are unified by little more than a passion for ideas and the love of a good fight. (He represents several New York Times writers, although not this one.)
Some are boldface names in the pop-science firmament, like Freeman Dyson, the mathematician and futurist at the Institute for Advanced Study; Steven Pinker, the best-selling linguist from Harvard; Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and best-selling atheist from Oxford University; and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist who invented the notion of flow, or being completely lost in what you are doing, and who says scientists need to let go of the idea that the truths they find are good for all time and place.
“Some are indeed true,” Dr. Csikszentmihalyi says, “but others depend on so many initial conditions that they straddle the boundary between reality and fiction.”
That thought was echoed by Alan Alda, the actor and science popularizer who criticizes the idea that things are either true or false, a staple of logic and math. Sometimes context matters.
Take death, which seems a pretty definitive state. “The body is just a lump,” Mr. Alda says. “Life is gone. But if you step back a bit, the body is actually in a transitional phase while it slowly turns into compost — capable of living in another way.”
Frank Wilczek of M.I.T., a Nobel Prize winner in physics, would retire the distinction between mind and matter, a bedrock notion, at least in the West, since the time of Descartes. We know a lot more about matter and atoms now, Dr. Wilczek says, and about the brain. Matter, he says, “can dance in intricate, dynamic patterns; it can exploit environmental resources, to self-organize and export entropy.”
We can teach it to play chess.
But don’t get too excited. Roger Schank, a computer scientist and psychologist for the nonprofit group Engines for Education, says that a chess-playing computer won’t tell us anything about how or why humans play chess nor will it get interested in a new game when it gets bored. We should abolish the term “artificial intelligence,” he says, adding: “There really is no need to create artificial humans anyway. We have enough real ones already.”
Stewart Brand, founder of the “Whole Earth Catalog,” among many things, wants to talk about nuclear power, which he argues has been hampered by the unprovable notion that no level of radiation, no matter how low, is safe. As a result, billions of extra dollars have been spent to provide “meaningless levels of safety” around nuclear power plants — meaningless because our cells contain mechanisms for repairing radiation damage to DNA and because, moreover, “we all die.”
Professor Dawkins and Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychologist from Northeastern University, both attack the concept of essentialism, which holds that things like dogs and cats, triangles and trees, space and time, emotions and thoughts — all have an underlying essence that makes them what they are. This works great in math, Professor Dawkins argues, but is a disaster when applied to species or politics, disallowing the possibility of change or gradation.
“Florida must go either wholly Republican or wholly Democrat — all 25 Electoral College votes — even though the popular vote is a dead heat,” he complains. (The number is now 29.) “But states should not be seen as essentially red or blue: they are mixtures in various proportions.”
Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at M.I.T., claims we could get along just fine without the notion of infinity. The computer scientist W. Daniel Hillis of the technology company Applied Minds claims we can get along without the notion of cause and effect, which he says is just an artifact of our brains’ penchant for storytelling. Seth Lloyd, a computer scientist at M.I.T., says it’s time to lose the notion of a universe.
Yes, nothing is sacred. Take evidence-based medicine, all the rage in the new age of health care. Gary Klein, a psychologist for the company MacroCognition, says the idea can impede medical progress by discouraging doctors from trying alternative treatments that have not been blessed by randomized controlled trials. He points out, for example, that many patients suffer from more conditions than experiments can control for.
Ian McEwan, the novelist, attacks this year’s question itself. Retire nothing, he says; science needs to hang onto its traditions and ideas. “Aristotle ranged over the whole of human knowledge and was wrong about much,” he says. “But his invention of zoology alone was priceless. Would you cast him aside? You never know when you might need an old idea.”
The whole thing runs more than 120,000 words. You can dip into it anywhere and be maddened, confused or stirred. If there is an overall point, it is that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
The true currency of science, after all, is not faith or even truth, but doubt. It’s hard to imagine a similar effort coming out of the College of Cardinals or the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. In science, as in democracy, everything has to be up for grabs. When the scientists and other intellectuals stop squabbling, then we will know we are in trouble.

2014年1月16日 星期四

Fly like a bird: The V formation finally explained

Fly like a bird: The V formation finally explained

2014年1月7日 星期二

polar vortex


vortex, sybaritic, chakra, shivers

‘Polar Vortex’ Sends Shivers Across the U.S.
An arctic air mass could make it feel like 50 degrees below zero in parts of the northern Plains and Midwest.
 一個罕見的極地旋風(Polar Vortex)超級冷氣團,已於1月6日清晨襲擊美國中西部地區,造成幾個大城如伊利諾州的芝加哥和明尼蘇達州的雙城市在凌晨時氣溫分別為攝氏-25度和 -34度的極低溫。體感溫度更是降到-50度以下。這兩個城市也因此宣布其中小學今天停課一天,以避免學童受到寒害。
美國所有媒體現在都要畫圖表說明「明天過後」怎麼發生的... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/polar-vortex/

Here's an explanation of the polar vortex weather phenomenon causing the extreme cold snap in the US.

2014年1月6日 星期一

Stop Pouting About Tech's Next Big Thing, It's Here

Stop Pouting About Tech's Next Big Thing, It's Here
 It's easy to get jaded when you cover the technology industry. Silicon Valley's giants are constantly belching wisps of marshmallow-thick hype, and any reporter looking to cover the beat has to be constantly on guard against unproven claims about this or that algorithmically abetted amazing advance.

So when Christopher Mims of Quartz recently declared 2013 to be a 'lost year for tech'--one in which, he says, the industry produced nothing of great value--I could see where he was coming from. I feel the same way some days; when I'm covering some new me-too social-media product or a great new way to target ads, I hang my head in despair.

But then I read a couple of rebuttals to Mims by Daring Fireball's John Gruber and Om Malik, of Gigaom. They argued that the industry's biggest advances have occurred beneath the media's radar, and that the industry, as a whole, is anything but stagnant.

I side with these more positive takes. Here's my roundup of reasons to break out of your tech funk and be optimistic about tech in 2014.

First, stop clamoring for the 'next big thing.' Were you disappointed, once again, that Apple didn't release something amazing and new this year--a TV or a smartwatch, say? Were you bummed that there were few revolutionary features on the latest smartphones? Have you concluded that the tech business is boring, that there isn't any more innovation, that we live in uninteresting times?

If so, I've got two words for you: Grow up.

I, too, constantly yearn for mind-blowing new tech. But I've been getting tired of the claim that just because we haven't seen something on the order of the smartphone or tablet in the last few years, the tech industry can no longer innovate. The problem with this argument is that the touchscreen smartphone (and its cousin the tablet) was a singularly novel, industry-shattering device, and we're unlikely to see anything as groundbreaking in a generation.

The smartphone and the tablet *are* the next big things, and we act like spoiled children when we claim that they somehow aren't enough. Most future advances will simply be improvements or expansions on these basic technologies--ways to make smartphones and tablets cheaper, more powerful, smaller, lighter, and to let them control and connect with an ever-large slice of our lives.

In 2013 we saw several such innovations. Google's Motorola subsidiary released a really good phone, the Moto G, that sells for $199 without a contract--the first of several devices that will radically expand access to mobile phones. Meanwhile Apple's top-of-the-line devices came with an incredible processor, the A7, which proved that mobile devices can approach the power of desktop-class PCs. I was blown away, too, by the growth of apps that are now rewiring our worlds--apps such as ride-sharing service Uber or the robotic slot-car racer Anki Drive, which show the potential for our phones to transform the physical world.

As the analyst Benedict Evans has argued, the true revolution in mobile computing is one of scale; we're going from an Internet controlled by PCs to one controlled by three billion to five billion phones. No device on the horizon--not the long-awaited TV made by Apple, not Google Glass, not a smartwatch--will be as exciting as what smartphones and tablets hold in store for us. So let's stop yearning for new stuff just for novelty's sake. The next big thing is already here, it's in your pocket, and it's incredible.

Second, privacy is no longer an afterthought. I've already argued that the disappearing-message app Snapchat was the most interesting technology of 2013 because it paved the way for services that don't save all our data by default. The larger message of Snapchat, though, is that privacy isn't dead.

For years, tech giants have given lip service to privacy. 'It's very important to us!' they insist while slurping up mountains of your data. But the industry hasn't spent much time looking at privacy as a place for innovation, as a feature that users will care about when they choose apps or services.

Thanks to Snapchat, revelations about the National Security Agency, and an increased fear of living in a panopticon, that will thankfully begin to change in 2014. Watch for an avalanche of apps that take privacy seriously--whether they delete data by default, keep your data local, or limit the scope of their sharing.

Third, enterprise tech is interesting, finally. For years, business software was a dead-end for innovation, dominated as it was by Microsoft, Oracle, and other entrenched incumbents. Now that's changing. In 2013 several alternatives rose to challenge old-school business tech--like Quip, a clever new word-processing app, or Box's collaboration software, Box Notes--and I suspect this trend will continue this year.

One enterprise advance I'm looking forward to: The rise of companies looking to bring cloud-based services to specific, specialized markets--also known as 'vertical software-as-a-service' businesses. I'm talking about firms like Veeva Systems, which makes a cloud-based sales tool for the health care industry, and which successfully launched an IPO in the fall. Watch for other startups aimed at specific industries--law firms, hospitality, health care--to get really big, without anyone noticing, in 2014.

Last but not least, robots aren't necessarily coming for your job. It's been a cliché in the Valley for years that machines will replace humans across a wide variety of job types. It's been a cliché in the Valley for years that machines will replace humans across a wide variety of job types. But while artificial intelligence is still advancing at a furious pace, I was thrilled that AI is augmenting, rather than superseding, humans. Look how Redfin used tech to create better real-estate agents rather than replace them, or how the app Duolingo crowdsources human intelligence to produce better translations than machines are capable of.

I think we're witnessing the dawn of a new paradigm in machine-human cooperation: Combining machine intelligence with biological intelligence will always trump one or the other. Machines make us better, and we make machines better. There's still hope for us. Welcome to the bionic future.

Do you have any to add? I'd love to hear from you about the best and worst tech trends of the year.

2014年 01月 06日 07:22



Everett Collection
所 以,當Quartz通訊記者米姆斯(Christopher Mims)將2013年稱作“科技領域的失落之年”,並稱科技產業這一年中沒有製造出富有價值的產品時,我能理解他為何得此結論。有的時候我也會這麼想。 當我在報導某款新的(過度社交化)媒體產品,或者一種新的定位廣告的方式時,我都沮喪得抬不起頭來。

但之後,我讀到Daring Fireball博主格魯伯(John Gruber)和Gigaom創始人馬利克(Om Malik)對米姆斯觀點的反駁。他們認為科技產業最大的進步潛藏於媒體的視線之外,整個產業絕非停滯不前。


首 先,不要再嚷嚷著呼喚“下一代偉大產品”的到來。今年蘋果公司(Apple Inc. ,AAPL)沒有發佈什麼新型產品(比如說電視或者智能手錶),你感到失望了嗎?新款智能手機沒有太多革命性的新性能,你郁悶了嗎?你是否已一口咬定科技 產業了無生趣,將不會再湧現出新的技術革新?你是否認為我們已身處一個百無聊賴的時代中呢?


我 也總是希望能夠有新的卓越技術出現。但是僅僅因為近年來沒有出現類似智能手機、平板電腦的新產品,就有人斷言科技產業已無法繼續創新。這種說法令我生厭。 其問題在於,觸屏式智能手機(以及功能近似的平板電腦)是一種極其新穎、撼動了整個產業的電子設備,而我們在這一代產品中不可能再看到如此開天闢地的產 品。


2013 年見證了一些此類創新成果的湧現。谷歌(Google Inc. Cl A ,GOOG)旗下的摩托羅拉(Motorola)推出了性能出色的Moto G,這款裸機售價僅199美元的手機徹底地拓寬了人們對手機的接觸面。與此同時,蘋果的新款高端設備裝配了高效卓越的A7處理器,使得移動設備亦可實現台 式個人電腦的計算能力。移動應用數量的壯大也令人倍感驚歎,例如叫車應用Uber和智能軌道賽車Anki Drive,都無不彰顯著智能手機改造真實世界的巨大潛力。

正如分析師埃文斯(Benedict Evans)所提出的,移動計算真正的革命是規模的革命;我們正從由個人電腦控制的互聯網轉向由30至50億部手機控制的互聯網。即將問世的設備中,無論 是人們期待已久的蘋果電視還是谷歌眼鏡或智能手表,沒有哪一種能夠像智能手機和平板電腦那樣令人興奮。因此不要再只是為了新奇而追求新設備。下一個重大產 品已經存在,它就在你的口袋里,非常不可思議。



受 Snapchat的出現、美國國家安全局(National Security Agency)監控活動泄密、以及人們日益擔憂自己生活在全方位監獄中的現象影響,上述情況在2014年將開始發生變化。讓我們期待重視隱私的應用如雪崩 般出現——無論其采取的方式是默認刪除數據、以本地方式保存數據還是限制數據分享的范圍。

第三,針對企業的科技也終于有意思起來。多年 來,商業軟件是創新的死胡同,被微軟(Microsoft)、甲骨文(Oracle)和其他根深蒂固的巨頭所主導。現在這種情況正在改變。2013年,幾 個替代產品崛起,對傳統的商業科技產品構成了挑戰,比如一款巧妙的新文字處理應用Quip,或Box推出的協作軟件Box Notes。我猜這種趨勢還將在今年持續。

我期待的一個企業發展是,著眼于將云服務引入具體、專門化市場(又稱縱向軟營)的公司興起。我 說的是像Veeva Systems這樣的公司,它為醫療保健行業提供基於云服務的銷售工具,并在去年秋季成功進行了首次公開募股(IPO)。2014年,針對具體行業(如律 所、酒店、醫療)的其他初創企業有望悄然實現擴張。

最後同樣重要的是,機器人不一定會取代你的工作。硅谷多年來的一個陳詞濫調是,機器將 在多種類型的工作上取代人類。但隨著人工智能的發展如火如荼,我為之興奮的是它正成為人類的補充而非替代。可以看看Redfin如何利用科技打造更好的房 地產經紀人,而不是取代他們;也可以看看Duolingo應用如何通過對人類智能開展“眾包”來提供比機器更好的翻譯。



Farhad Manjoo

2014年1月5日 星期日

Re-Examining the "Out of Africa" Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasoids) in Light of DNA Genealogy


現代人的起源問題一直是一個備受爭論的話題,現今「走出非洲」理論是多數人普遍接受的主流理論。2012年5月美國DNA譜系科學院Anatole A. Klyosov重新審視了「走出非洲」論和歐羅巴人種的起源,認為人類並非起源於非洲,並使用“Walk through Y”項目的數據證明了這一觀點。研究結果發表在科研出版社英文期刊《Advances in Anthropology》(人類學進展)上(點擊閱讀原文)。
在過去的二十年裡,「走出非洲」論已經人盡皆知,但它卻從未被直接證明過。然而,對於許多專家來說,這一理論仍然具有著令人信服的吸引力。這一理論 主要基於這樣一個前提:最古老的人群顯示出最大的多樣性,而非洲人是多樣性最大的人群。其實這並不是一個強有力的論點,因為不同DNA的混合也會導致高的 多樣性。
17個主要單倍型類群中46個進化亞枝的7556種單倍型,按照它們祖先的單倍型和與共同祖先的時間間隔,設計了一個時間平衡單倍型類群樹,發現非 洲單倍型類群A起源於距今132000±12000年前,來自於所​​有的其他有著單獨共同祖先的單倍群,我們稱其為β單倍群,起源於 64000±6000年前。一個單倍群A和β單倍群下游的共同祖先,創造了α單倍群,起源於160000±12000年前。
研究證明,歐羅巴人種單倍群並非起源於「非洲」的單倍型類群A或B,事實支持歐羅巴人種以及所有非非洲人的單倍型類群,並未攜帶單核苷酸多態性 M91、P97、M31、P82、M23、M114、P262 、M32、M59、P289、P291、P102、M13、M171、M118 (單倍型類群A及其進化亞枝單核苷酸多態性)或M60 、M181、P90(單倍型類群B),這是最近在“Walk through Y”FTDNA項目中,幾百個來自各種單倍群的人顯示的結果。
2013年11月澳洲墨爾本考爾菲德南部國際岩石藝術聯合會(IFRAO) Robert G. Bednarik也在科研出版社英文期刊《Advances in Anthropology》(人類學進展)發表的一篇文章中,從多個角度分析反駁了「走出非洲」理論,認為「走出非洲」理論是一個騙局(點擊閱讀原文)。(新聞來源:科研出版社/爾灣閱讀)

Re-Examining the "Out of Africa" Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasoids) in Light of DNA Genealogy
PDF (Size:750KB) PP. 80-86   DOI: 10.4236/aa.2012.22009
Anatole A. Klyosov, Igor L. Rozhanskii
Seven thousand five hundred fifty-six (7556) haplotypes of 46 subclades in 17 major haplogroups were considered in terms of their base (ancestral) haplotypes and timespans to their common ancestors, for the purposes of designing of time-balanced haplogroup tree. It was found that African haplogroup A (originated 132,000 ± 12,000 years before present) is very remote time-wise from all other haplogroups, which have a separate common ancestor, named β-haplogroup, and originated 64,000 ± 6000 ybp. It includes a family of Europeoid (Caucasoid) haplogroups from F through T that originated 58,000 ± 5000 ybp. A downstream common ancestor for haplogroup A and β-haplogroup, coined the α-haplogroup emerged 160,000 ± 12,000 ybp. A territorial origin of haplogroups α- and β-remains unknown; however, the most likely origin for each of them is a vast triangle stretched from Central Europe in the west through the Russian Plain to the east and to Levant to the south. Haplogroup B is descended from β-haplogroup (and not from haplogroup A, from which it is very distant, and separated by as much as 123,000 years of “lat- eral” mutational evolution) likely migrated to Africa after 46,000 ybp. The finding that the Europeoid haplogroups did not descend from “African” haplogroups A or B is supported by the fact that bearers of the Europeoid haplogroups, as well as all non-African haplogroups do not carry either SNPs M91, P97, M31, P82, M23, M114, P262, M32, M59, P289, P291, P102, M13, M171, M118 (haplogroup A and its subclades SNPs) or M60, M181, P90 (haplogroup B), as it was shown recently in “Walk through Y” FTDNA Project (the reference is incorporated therein) on several hundred people from various haplogroups.

Haplogroup - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In molecular evolution, a haplogroup (from the Greek: ἁπλούς, haploûs, "onefold, single, simple") is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor ...

Human mitochondrial DNA

In human genetics, a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup ...

Haplogroup J-P209

Haplogroup J-P209 is believed to have arisen roughly 31,700 ...

Human Y-chromosome DNA

In human genetics, a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup ...

Haplogroup L-M20

Haplogroup L-M20 is associated with South Asia. It has also ...

Haplogroup I-M170

In human genetics, Haplogroup I-M170 is a Y-chromosome DNA ...


A haplotype (from the Greek: ἁπλοῦς, haploûs, "onefold ...