Category Archives: How Little We Know

Fix income inequality with $10 million loans for everyone! – The Washington Post

Sheila C. Bair

Sheila Bair was the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 2006 through 2011.  Since she stepped down from her post, she’s been talking about the Crisis on and off…

Financials aren’t the focus of this blog, but this article is worth your time.

For several years now, the Fed has been making money available to the financial sector at near-zero interest rates. Big banks and hedge funds, among others, have taken this cheap money and invested it in securities with high yields. This type of profit-making, called the “carry trade,” has been enormously profitable for them.

So why not let everyone participate?

Under my plan, each American household could borrow $10 million from the Fed at zero interest. The more conservative among us can take that money and buy 10-year Treasury bonds. At the current 2 percent annual interest rate, we can pocket a nice $200,000 a year to live on. The more adventuresome can buy 10-year Greek debt at 21 percent, for an annual income of $2.1 million. Or if Greece is a little too risky for you, go with Portugal, at about 12 percent, or $1.2 million dollars a year. (No sense in getting greedy.) Read the whole thing

Obviously this is satire and it won’t be the last.  This is a situation where only those with much to lose have the power to start  us down the road to recovery by acknowledging the problem: You can’t fix a debt problem by adding more debt.

But until then, enjoy the circus.

Tagged , , , , ,

Wearable Computing from Valve

Pursuant to last weeks note on Project Glasses, Valve has let out in a blog that they are also working independently working on the concept.   I wonder how many other companies are exploring this?  Valve has the reputation and relationships with game developers (in addition to its powerful in-house line-up of brands) to ensure exponential adoption in the sub-30 year old demographic so long as the price point is reasonable.   Full article is interesting, but has little in the way of details on the tech – Sounds like they are quite early in the process.

Also, they’re hiring if anyone is looking.

By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision). The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection. And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.

via Valve: How I Got Here, What It’s Like, and What I’m Doing | Valve.

Tagged , , ,

3D Printing & Lattice Structures – Within Technologies – Digital Forming

This is a more technical talk, but if you want to understand what I’m talking about with “variable lattice matrix”, this guys company already designed the algorithm.   Fascinating work with enormous implications in the fairly near term on what & how we can build.

Anybody have $30k for the optimized license? Lets talk.

Tagged , , , ,

Spider Silk More Conductive than Copper – Architect Magazine

So much for our understanding of Thermodynamics. (Bolds are mine for emphasis)

Spider Silk More Conductive than Copper

Xinwei Wang, Guoqing Liu and Xiaopeng Huang (left to right) analyze the thermal conductivity of spider silk. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Iowa State University associate professor Xinwei Wang has conducted experiments measuring the thermal conductivity of materials for years. After testing many of the known thermal conductors such as copper, aluminum, or diamonds, Wang wanted to find an organic material with higher-than-expected conductivity. His target candidate came in the form of spider silk—in particular, dragline thread of golden silk orbweaver spiders.When Wang measured the silk, which is only 4 microns thick (human hair is 15 times that diameter), and was surprised by the results. In a paper just published in the Advanced Materials journal, Wang specifies that the dragline silk has a thermal conductivity of 416 watts per meter Kelvin. Copper, a well-known conductor, conducts heat at a rate of 401 watts per meter Kelvin. “This is very surprising because spider silk is organic material,” Wang says. “For organic material, this is the highest ever. There are only a few materials higher—silver and diamond.”Wang also discovered that spider silk becomes more conductive when it is stretched; not less conductive as is the case with many materials. The conductivity rate is also directly proportional to the length: a 20 percent increase in length of the silk results in a 20 percent increase in conductivity. Wang attributes the high rate of conductivity to the pure molecular structure of the material, as well as its nanocrystal-carrying proteins and the coil-shaped structures that connect them. Future applications of Wang’s discovery might include heat-dissapating electronics, clothing, or bandages, as well as other products that prioritize thermal management. “Our discoveries will revolutionize the conventional thought on the low thermal conductivity of biological materials,” Wang says.

Blog Entry – Spider Silk More Conductive than Copper – Architect Magazine.