Sunday, May 31, 2009

Inside MAYA Design's Innovation Boot Camps | Fast Company

Inside MAYA Design's Innovation Boot Camps

By: Kate Rockwood
136-intelligent-design1Group Project: Maya Design's Mickey McManus, Chris Pacione, Dutch MacDonald, and Amy Ferchak collaborate to help engineers understand design. | Photograph by Chris Crisman
How a little lab called MAYA is giving firms such as Emerson and General Dynamics an innovation boost.

better keep this over here not at technoist or

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The Demise of ‘Form Follows Function’ -

NEW YORK — If there was a (booby) prize for the most misused design cliché, a firm favorite would be “form follows function,” with “less is more” coming a close second.

Skip to next paragraph

Tan Le, co-founder and president of Emotiv, with the Epoc headset.

I'm enjoying this article over a cup of tea... while arbitering a 7 year old cooking session. btw She's just worked out how much 125g of butter is by herself by reading the label and halving 250g. I will have to ignore her pleas for help more often.

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How to Participate - DNA Ancestry Project

this is so... cool? is this like being in at the start of wikipedia and watching it take off... or the internet... or like galaxyzoo... or seti...

of course on closer reading it may prove dreadfully disappointing... but...

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Hackers and Painters: Paul Graham: TippingPointLabs: YCombinator: YongFook: Egg.Co: SweetCron: LifestreamBlog: Mark Krynsky:

Too much STUFF to read and do. I think I'll go play football and postpone the where is my blog moving and what is it turning into discussion again.

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Dr Georgina Child - surprising science - linked irradiated gourmet pet food to unexplained cat deaths

Dr Georgina Child
BVSc DACVIM (Neorology)

A series of mysterious cat deaths was caused by the government-mandated practice of irradiating imported pet food. The Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, has ordered the controversial sterilisation process, which has been in place for more than a decade, to cease immediately, following compelling overseas evidence that some cats can suffer fatal neurological damage after eating irradiated dry food. Dogs do not appear to be affected by similarly treated food.

About 90 cats fell ill last year and 30 died before a Sydney vet, Georgina Child, made the link in November between the mystery illness and a brand of Canadian gourmet pet food called Orijen.

The manufacturer, Champion Petfoods, blamed the contaminated food on Australian quarantine regulations, which demand that pet food not cooked over a specified temperature undergo irradiation of 50 kiloGrays upon arrival in the country. Of the 60 countries Champion Petfoods exports to, only Australia makes irradiation compulsory.

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and the company that carries out the process, Steritech, insisted at the time the irradiation process was harmless. A limited range of imported human foods, including dried herbs and some tropical fruits, are also irradiated before landing on store shelves, but at much lower levels than that mandated for pet food. Mr Burke said the inspection service decided to act in response to international reports his department received only late last week. Work was being done in state and federal governments to see how safety standards for pet food could be improved.

This is right up there with the NZ schoolgirls discovering NO Vitamin C in Ribena.

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This is a thing that i found while looking at lifestreaming.... yongfook love your work!

came to the blog by yongfook from yongfook's lifestream sweetcron - and i think he/she's the developer of sweetcron which is moving fast up the list of today i decide on what platform to focus on!

what i love here is the embedded TED talks are all ones i love and are influencing my thinking right now!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

From Twitter to crying wolf: researchers track public reaction to flu outbreak |

As two Stanford University researchers described their experience watching public reactions in the initial days of the H1N1 flu outbreak, it sounded like one of those nature films in which tiny fish dart back and forth in perfect unison - thousands of individuals behaving as if they were one body.
But what the researchers were watching was in cyberspace, and they were tracking thousands of Twitter-posts pouring into an internet site in response to shifting developments on the flu.
With every twist and turn of the flu reports, the mass of Twitters swung in near perfect unison, the researchers noticed, even though the individual Twitterers had no contact with each other outside the web site.
It was a rare window on the public's psyche as it reacted to the explosion of information - and uncertainty - on a potentially dangerous outbreak of disease.
The researchers, James Holland Jones, an associate professor of anthropology, and Marcel Salathe, a biologist, devised an online survey to gauge people's anxiety about the H1N1 flu epidemic in real time.
Posted during the early reporting of the news, the survey generated about 8,000 responses in a matter of days, but promptly dropped off as doomsday predictions did not come to pass - a development that worries Jones.
"Swine flu is still out there and will be back next flu season," he said. "We've dodged the pandemic for now, but I think it's a very open question whether we have really dodged it. You certainly won't hear that on the 24-hour news channels."
As charted by Jones and Salathe, the shifting reactions over H1N1 suggest that as the country becomes more wired, a threat that is perceived as imminent can be amplified in the echo chamber of instant information and lightning-quick social networks.
But like those schools of fish that change direction in a flash, then instantly shift course again, people today may move from indifference to anxiety and back to indifference in the blink of an eye. Continued...

i'm fascinated by the schooling fish analogy to crowd behaviour seen on twitter. it redefines what we know of communication and reaction. and i still don't know how.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Online campaign gathers support for Myanmar's Suu Kyi

You can not be human and not fight for Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom. Maybe I'm setting the bar too high, based on the evidence of her imprisonment. But I refuse to believe that.

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TEDxSydney - warmup event for TEDxNewtown?

I have a choice. I can write up the draft intro for our local TED Talks @ Newtown Kids Science Club or I can shower and change before attending the big TEDxSydney in half an hour.Or I can be optimistic and attempt both... probably badly. This is for an audience of primary school children and parents:

Tonight's TED Talks are going to be about video games. We will have some great games for you to play and we also have some very interesting videos from TED that describe the development of video games and show something about their future evolution.

Dr Michael Harries is going to chair the discussion after the videos. As well as being a parent at the school, Michael is a futurist who knows a lot about computers, robots, artificial intelligence and iphones.
Our world is in a state of rapid change. Sometimes we're so caught up in today that we can't see tomorrow coming and we can't remember our yesterdays.

What was it like when your parents were at school? Way back then, thirty odd years ago, only universities and big companies had computers. A computer took up an entire room and cost a lot of money. Lots of people shared each computer.

By the time your parents went to university, computers were getting smaller. Public computers were becoming popular and some of us even had our own personal computer. Not that we used much of their computational ability. They were largely fancy typewriters. And as well as writing assignments on them, we played games on them. Can you imagine Runescape without pictures? Just writing?

Stage 3 students, you have entered a whole new instance. When you go to high school next year, you will probably have your own computer at home or at school. And it will be connected to the internet. All of the information in the world is going online and you're being encouraged to wiki or google it.

Stage 2 students, you can expect more. Your teachers will be using electronic whiteboards and you're looking forward to having your own touch screen device. Soon you won't be able to open up a book without trying to double click on it. You might laugh, but I've tried to eat with my mouse. I was so busy watching something on the screen that whenever I wanted to take a bite of my sandwich I moved my mouse. I started wondering if my mouse was broken because I wasn't getting any food in my mouth. Duh.

But I've saved the best for last. Kindy and Stage 1 students. By the time you go to high school, you won't be putting your computer in your pocket. You'll be wearing it all the time. It might look like.... this (my hat) or maybe this (necklace/earrings/glasses). There will no longer be any difference between a computer, a phone, a game, or any other device. You will not be tied to a box, with a screen and a keyboard because you will be able to make one anywhere out of almost anything. Everything can be connected.

If you haven't all used a Wii yet, then you will tonight. And imagine what is coming next. It's going to look like Minority Report. It's going to look like magic. When you go to high school and your teachers tell you to take off your hats because you are inside now. What they will be really saying is, it's time to turn off your mobile phones, switch off your computers and stop playing games. But that's ok because by the time you go to high school, your teachers will also have some pretty cool games for your classroom.

Tonight's TED talk is about video games. We have videos from Brenda Laurel a virtual reality pioneer who has studied games and girls, David Perry who has designed famous games like Enter the Matrix and Patti Maes from MIT who is designing the sixth sense, your future computer. Or your new hat.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TED Talks (Newtown Kids Science Club PLUS)

TED is a global phenomenon. Originally a conference bringing together people from Technology, Entertainment and Design, TED events now bring together the best thinkers in every walk of life and every part of the world and share their ideas. For free. Each TED Talk at Newtown Public School will start with an interesting TED video selection followed by a discussion chaired by a local expert. 
6 to 7.30pm Thursday evenings at Newtown Public School.
NEXT: Thursday 4th June 2009 “Who Makes the Games Our Children Play?”
featuring video from Dr Brenda Laurel (Virtual Reality pioneer) "Making Games for Girls" ; 
David Perry (Enter the Matrix etc) "Game Design for the Future"
and Dr Patti Maes and Pranav Mistry (MIT Media Lab) "The Sixth Sense"
chaired by Dr Michael Harries PhD Artificial Intelligence

Please come along and promote at schools in the Newtown area!

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Monday, May 25, 2009

My birthday present is to give to Kiva for - Oyunbileg Luvsanchoi

Oyunbileg Luvsan has a small butcher stall in the Huchit Shonhor market, one of the largest food markets in Ulaanbaatar. Since the beginning of her business in 2000, she has been selling fresh meat that she purchases from the wholesale markets. Her husband drives his truck to purchase and bring meat from the wholesale markets located outside the city.

Oyunbileg lives with her husband and two children in the Bayanzurh district of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. Her older daughter is a 6th grader in the local high school and her younger daughter is just 4 months old. She and her family live in a ger (a round, nomadic tent). Her family is working hard to build a new home on their land in the near future. She requests a loan to purchase more meat from the wholesale markets for her business.


Every xmas and birthday I like to share my good fortune by giving to someone else. With Kiva, it's a double gift because as the money is repaid, I can loan it again and again. I've made 25 loans now to people from all parts of the globe.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Shoppers of the future will 'pick' fruit from supermarket shelves - Telegraph

Supermarket shoppers in the next decade will be able to pick fruit and vegetables from plants still growing on the shelves, according to a report into the future of retailing. 

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor 
Last Updated: 10:51PM BST 15 May 2009

Hand picking oranges: Shoppers of the future will 'pick' fruit from supermarket shelves
Produce out of season takes about three or four days to travel from field to supermarket shelf Photo: GETTY

Instead of buying pre-packaged packs of tomatoes or strawberries, they will be able to "harvest" as much or as little as they like – introducing the concept of "harvest by" dates rather than "best before" dates.

The idea has been proposed by Futurelab, a company that helps businesses predict trends of the future, and was part of a report commissioned by Sainsbury, the supermarket chain.

Lucy MacLennan, Sainsbury's technical manager, said: "This would completely change how we sell produce to our customers. It would get rid of best before dates and allow shoppers to buy the freshest possible fruit and vegetables."

Currently, produce out of season takes about three or four days to travel from field to supermarket shelf, but under the futuristic plan the plants would be grown in hydroponic pods.

These are special mini greenhouses that allow plants to grow without the need for soil; they grow in a special nutrient-enriched solution, cutting down on pesticides.

The pods would be very light and would allow the farmer to transport the plant from his farm to the supermarket while it is still growing.

Ms MacLennan said that shoppers picking their own crops in-store would, realistically, not happen for another ten years at least.

"It could cut right down on wastage and packaging. It would make not just environmental sense, but economic sense too so we are looking at it seriously," she said.

The produce most likely to be sold this way would be light-weight crops such as peppers, strawberries, raspberries, beans, peas, tomatoes and mushrooms.

I love the idea of living in a food farm. All urban environments should have aquaculture or horticulture built in!

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ThinkGeek :: I Failed the Turing Test

can we wait for m's birthday? i don't think so. it's my birthday next week!

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NY TIMES Book Review - This Child Will Be Great, by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Madame President

Published: May 15, 2009

In November 2005, Liberian women strapped their babies on their backs and flocked to voting tables all across their war-racked country to elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Africa’s first female president. It was a seminal moment in the political history of not just Liberia but the entire continent, where patriarchal rule has long dominated, leaving African women on the sidelines to fetch water, carry logs, tend farms, sell market wares and bear the children of their rapists, while their menfolk launched one pointless war after another.

Times Topics: Liberia

Now comes “This Child Will Be Great,” a memoir by Johnson Sirleaf, the heiress to this line of long-suffering yet rock-strong women. Her father was a lawyer, a member of the Gola tribe who — as part of a common practice in Liberia — had been reared by one of the elite families descended from the freed American slaves who settled the country in the early 19th century. Her mother was the mixed-race daughter of a German trader who abandoned his Liberian wife and child, and was never heard from again.

In the complex spaghetti of Liberian society, Johnson Sirleaf was considered by outsiders to be from the elite class. She attended one of the country’s best private schools, moved freely within the upper echelons of its social strata, reported religiously to church on Sundays and traveled to America for college. But her native Liberian parentage meant that she also knew the other side of life, the side where a vast majority of Liberians lived for the 150 years before the 1980 military coup that violently splintered the country, ending the rule of the American-Liberian class, and eventually led to 13 years of civil war.

Johnson Sirleaf tells the story of an old man who, within days of her birth, came to visit to pay his respects. The man looked at the baby and turned to her mother “with a strange expression,” telling her, “This child shall be great.” Johnson Sirleaf refers to the anecdote elsewhere in the book, usually with irony; her family would wryly remind her of it when, for instance, she was trapped in a physically abusive marriage, or when she fell into the latrine, or when she was locked up in prison by one of the various madmen who ran Liberia, with no idea whether she would be executed, raped or released.

This is the incredible story of a woman who spent her life talking tough to the lunatics surrounding her. It is an accessible walk through contemporary Liberian history, told by someone who was somehow always in the center of the political storm; during the 1980 coup, Johnson Sirleaf, as the country’s minister of finance, was spared, while 13 colleagues were executed on the beach. After another coup attempt — this one aimed at the military strongman Samuel Doe — Johnson Sirleaf was taken prisoner and threatened with execution by the paranoid Doe. When Charles Taylor invaded Liberia in 1989, Johnson Sirleaf met in the bush with this wide-eyed guerrilla, determining for herself, she says, that he was “not at all grounded in the very real consequences of the path upon which he had embarked.”

“This Child Will Be Great” will most likely not appeal to every­one. Johnson Sirleaf, whom I have interviewed, refrains from the sort of emotional detail that might allow her life’s story to resonate with readers uninterested in the “who’s up, who’s down” scales of Liberian political parties. She throws a lot of abbreviations out there, and even Liberians may have trouble with some of them.

But Johnson Sirleaf admirably conveys the hopelessness of the everyday Liberian who still worships — futilely, it turns out — the United States, waiting for the day when America sweeps in to rescue a country founded by Americans. That day never comes, as “This Child Will Be Great” demonstrates again and again. But perhaps, in electing this no-nonsense, practical technocrat as the first woman to be their president, Liberians are finally ready to make a stab at trying to rescue themselves.

Helene Cooper, the White House correspondent for The Times, is the author of “The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood.”  via

This goes in the must read must post Woman Warrior collection!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ailing Suu Kyi taken to prison: reports - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Burma's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly been taken from her home in Rangoon to the notorious Insein prison.

A court will be convened at the jail to hear charges against her relating to a secret visitor to her home.

A spokesman for Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party says the pro-democracy leader will be charged over an incident last week where an American man swam across a lake and reportedly spent two days in her home.

The authorities caught him when he was swimming back.

Security measures have been been beefed up around her home as a result.

Ms Suu Kyi has been under house detention for 13 of the past 19 years since she won national elections in 1990.

Her latest home detention order is due to lapse in less than two weeks.
She has been suffering poor health in recent days.

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The Twelfth Down Under Feminists Carnival « Zero at the Bone

Incredibly stupid and mixed up of me! I blogged the wrong credit for carnival. I think I was reading In a Strange Land's intro at the time of my hasty mistaken post. Apologies to Chally and correction, finally.

12th Down Under Feminists Carnival is collated by Chally from Zero at the Bone, where much other good reading resides.

Good reading is also at In A Strange Land by Deborah.

Apologies are by Andra who doesn't spend enough time reading (and proofreading) blogs.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid - recommended #cua09

Turns out we have it at home already! I'm making mix tapes (aka stacks of books) for my partner from my back catalogue and he's making mix tapes for me. I sometimes start salivating when I walk in the door and look at the stack of books on my table. Although it's often weeks before I get any reading time. (book via - not monetized by click throughs!)

In economics, the bottom of the pyramid is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group. In global terms, this is the four billion people who live on less than $2 per day, typically in developing countries. The phrase “bottom of the pyramid” is used in particular by people developing new models of doing business that deliberately target that demographic, often using new technology. This field is also often referred to as the "Base of the Pyramid" or just the "BoP".
Several books and journal articles have been written on the potential market by members of business schools offering consultancy on the burgeoning market. They include The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C.K. Prahalad of the University of Michigan, Capitalism at the Crossroads by Stuart L. Hart of Cornell University and the first empirical article Reinventing strategies for emerging markets: Beyond the transnational model, by Ted London of the University of Michigan and Hart. London has also developed a working paper, commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme, that explores the contributions of the BoP literature to the poverty alleviation domain

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Go Grace Hopper!

Go Grace Hopper! Yes, I know she's dead. Like Ada Lovelace. But can you name a woman philosopher? Without googling it. Let's get the names of great women in technology out there! Frequently. This sounds fantastic. Wish I was there.

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Creating Change » Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

We are changing the world for women and technology one woman at a time. The Anita Borg Institute:
  • Offers workshops, publications and information aimed to develop leadership skills
  • Celebrates and highlights the success of women who are changing the face of technology
  • Provides programs that change the way technology is created, learned and taught
  • Creates new communities to change the culture of technology
  • Enables our sponsors to recruit, retain and develop technical women resulting in higher levels of technology innovation and better financial performance

#feminismfail at #cua09 the Connecting Up Australia Conference. I loved the session with Jody Mahoney, the VP for Business Development of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. Like Cheryl Kernot in the opening address discussing technology and society at large, Jody had all the facts and figures about women's participation in technology.

But the thing that I HATE is that Jody was preaching to the converted. The audience at her session was the smallest I'd seen all Day One. 20 women and 1 man. I can add that I think 1 man was present rather than ZERO men because this was a conference about technology and social change. BUT WHY WASN'T THE ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE OF ALL GENDERS? Because this WAS a conference about technology and social change.
This was a support group for women in technology. I loved it. We need it. But for every support group there must be an equally effective group for social change. The onus is not on women to do all the changing. That is what I ardently disagree with the Anita Borg Institute on "We are changing the world for women and technology one woman at a time."
We should be changing the world for people and technology one person at a time, recognising that women a minority group. I believe that if the workshop had been titled "Minorities and Technology" it would have been packed to the rafters. From now on in fact, I think I am not a feminist. I have become a refugee from the patriarchy. I am a gender role dissenter. I am an authentic ethnic technology minority. 
Let's have another workshop on the topics covered in the Anita Borg 2009 research paper on"The Prevalence of Gender Stereotyping and Biases"only drop the word gender from the agenda and reflash with emotional decision making and modern neurological cognitive theory.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

We Wee - short kids film for Eureka Primary Science Prize 09

This was put together rather quickly but when girls are motivated they can achieve a great deal! It still makes me laugh whenever I watch it. I don't know if the video is going to be deemed suitable for school assembly although I don't see why not!

The web version has poor sound quality, so if you're wondering what is being said at the end, it's.... "what's all this paper doing round the toilet?"

All said, this was a great exercise in going with the flow.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

12th Down Under Feminists Carnival. With cake. « In a strange land

Wouldn't mum be proud! Her birthday is also the 1st birthday of the Down Under Feminists Carnival hosted beautifully by Chally at in a strange land, who is not just referring to NZ.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Rocketcar Day 11 - #FailWhale

Yesterday was rocketcar day 11. #FailWhale (started at yesterday midnight after a party) made it with seconds to spare and wetpaint. I tied it together with wool on the starting line. We still had lift off and made it 4 or 5m down the track before taking out one of the spectators with a spectacular rocket fart. Now the severely scorched arse of a #failwhale retires to our house.

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Technoist is GO!

Michael Harries musings : Technoist has finally shifted from blogger to posterous... with a little help from myself. Michael is finally publicising the intersections of his background in AI and machine learning with his work from large technology companies to small start ups and his interest in user experience and design. From the evolution of the device to the device evolving us.

The interesting graphic is called "Leaky Manifold" from young artist/designer Seth Mabbott. And I really ought to shift from blogger to wordpress as I've done for my sports club sites!

Posted via web from andragy's posterous

Rocketcar Day 11 - #FailWhale

Yesterday was rocketcar day 11. #FailWhale (started at yesterday midnight after a party) made it with seconds to spare and wetpaint. I tied it together with wool on the starting line. We still had lift off and made it 4 or 5m down the track before taking out one of the spectators with a spectacular rocket fart. Now the severely scorched arse of a #failwhale retires to our house.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Technoist is go!

Michael Harries musings : Technoist has finally shifted from blogger to posterous... with a little help from myself. Michael is finally publicising the intersections of his background in AI and machine learning with his work from large technology companies to small start ups and his interest in user experience and design. From the evolution of the device to the device evolving us.

The interesting graphic is called "Leaky Manifold" from young artist/designer Seth Mabbott. And I really ought to shift from blogger to wordpress as I've done for my sports club sites!

Friday, May 1, 2009

35 Phenomenal Fractal Art Pictures | Inspiration | Smashing Magazine

With 35 fabulous images in the article it was very hard to choose just one and on revisiting I'd pick a different handful for display. They are all fabulous. Attributions from top to bottom; Peter Sdobnov’s Treasure in 3D, Silwenka’s Gloris, Nabdrux An abstract piece of art by mailart-org, Quantum Fabric A pure fractal flame by Cory Ench and finally, Water Lilies
These fractal flames were created by Roger Johnston and are an “extension of the iterated function system class of fractals”.

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