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Current Topic: Technology

Recommender Systems, Collaboration, and Social Good
Topic: Technology 9:14 am EST, Mar 25, 2005

The whole intuitive idea is word of mouth.

Recommender Systems, Collaboration, and Social Good

Making a Truly Autonomous Robot
Topic: Technology 3:06 pm EST, Mar 12, 2005

Stiquito Controlled! is a widely accessible, user-friendly book that provides step-by-step instructions for building Stiquito, a small, multi-legged robot that resembles a "walking-stick" insect. The book includes comprehensive instructions and all the parts needed to complete assembly. Most notably, the kit contains a microcontroller board that allows Stiquito to walk on its own.

Making a Truly Autonomous Robot

Spying from Space: Constructing America's Satellite Command and Control Systems
Topic: Technology 2:02 pm EST, Mar 12, 2005

In Spying from Space, David Christopher Arnold tells the story of how military officers and civilian contractors built the Air Force Satellite Control Facility (AFSCF) to support the National Reconnaissance Program.

Spying from Space fills a gap in space history by telling the story of the command and control systems that made rockets and satellites useful. Those interested in space flight or intelligence efforts will benefit from this revealing look into a little-known aspect of American achievement.

Spying from Space: Constructing America's Satellite Command and Control Systems

Blazing The Trail: The Early History Of Spacecraft And Rocketry
Topic: Technology 1:32 am EST, Dec 17, 2004

This book presents the fascinating story of the events that paved the way to space. It introduces the reader to the history of early rocketry and the subsequent developments that led into the space age. People of many nations and lands contributed to the breakthrough to space, and the book takes the reader to faraway places on five continents. It also includes many quotes to give readers a flavor of how the participants viewed the developments.

"Hughes Aircraft Company had emerged as a guided missile powerhouse and major defense contractor in the early 1950s. Disagreements with Howard Hughes led to resignation of two leading specialists Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge, who formed in September 1953, with the financial help of Thompson Products Company, a new company, the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation (R-W). R-W started with four employees, including the founders, and was located at first in a former barbershop on 92nd Street in Westchester near the Los Angeles airport. Thompson Products and R-W merged in 1958 to form Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, Inc., the name officially shortened to TRW in 1965."

Blazing The Trail: The Early History Of Spacecraft And Rocketry

SAFE: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World
Topic: Technology 1:06 am EST, Dec 17, 2004

If our society is the most technologically sophisticated on Earth, then why can't we protect ourselves from terrorists and other threats to our safety and security?

This is the question that frustrates -- and scares -- all of us today, and the answers have proved maddeningly elusive. Until now.

It's time to ask ourselves a question: Are we willing to let them keep beating us at our own game? For the brilliant and colorful innovators in these pages, the answer is no.

Readers of SAFE will come away understanding the unique challenges posed by technological progress in a networked, and newly dangerous, world. Witnessing the work of this gathering force of innovators up close, they'll be inspired by the power of the human intellect and spirit -- and realize how important the contributions of individual citizens and communities can be.

SAFE: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World

Jacquard's Web
Topic: Technology 12:31 am EST, Dec 17, 2004

In Jacquard's Web, James Essinger tells the story of some of the most brilliant inventors the world has ever known, in this fascinating account of how a hand-loom invented in Napoleonic France led to the development of the modern information age.

An impressive case of historical detective work -- it will leave the reader mesmerized.

Jacquard's Web

Complex Networks
Topic: Technology 11:59 pm EST, Dec 16, 2004

This volume is devoted to the applications of techniques from statistical physics to the characterization and modeling of complex networks. The first two parts of the book concern theory and modeling of networks, the last two parts survey applications to a wide variety of natural and artificial networks. The tutorial reviews that form this book are aimed at students and newcomers to the field, and will also constitute a modern and comprehensive reference for experts. To this aim, all contributions have been carefully peer-reviewed not only for scientific content but also for self-consistency and readability.

An online version of this book is available. Abstracts are freely available; full text is by subscription only.

Complex Networks

Underground, by David Macaulay
Topic: Technology 9:44 am EDT, Oct 23, 2004

David Macaulay takes us on a visual journey through a city's various support systems by exposing a typical section of the underground network and explaining how it works. We see a network of walls, columns, cables, pipes and tunnels required to satisfy the basic needs of a city's inhabitants.

"A straightforward yet fascinating description of the labyrinth beneath the feet of any city dweller. And what a complex covered world David Macaulay reveals! He invents an intersection of two streets and proceeds to show what we all might find if we dared to descend through that Alice-in-Wonderland manhole."

Underground, by David Macaulay

Looking Back As The New York Subway Turns 100
Topic: Technology 9:40 am EDT, Oct 23, 2004

One hundred years ago next Wednesday, at precisely 2 pm, cheering citizens flooded the streets of Manhattan, creating a "carnival" atmosphere that had the city "in an uproar from end to end."

The cause of celebration was the completion of the first section of the New York City Subway.

For all the excitement on opening day, it didn't take New Yorkers long to revert to their jaded selves.

This brief article on the history of subway technology brings David Macaulay to mind. Be sure to check out the illustrations.

Looking Back As The New York Subway Turns 100

RE: FCC: Broadband Usage Has Tripled
Topic: Technology 9:42 pm EDT, Sep 13, 2004

flynn23 quoted:
]] The number of broadband Internet subscribers in the US has tripled since 2001.

"Triple! Triple! Triple!!"

I can almost hear Harry Caray.

This is called spin, but it's pretty weak.

You only have to read five sentences into the article to find:

"The report also says that the number of users of broadband services (speeds exceeding 200 kbps in both directions) soared to 28 million in December 2003 from 9.6 million in 2001."

In other words, broadband penetration in the US went from 3.2 percent to 9.5 percent; that means in each year since 2001, another 2 percent of the population has obtained broadband access. At that rate, everyone could have broadband access as soon as 2050. Outstanding! What an astonishing achievement!

Compare to South Korea, which by various estimates has broadband penetration somewhere between 60 percent and 80 percent, depending on the details of your definition.

RE: FCC: Broadband Usage Has Tripled

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