3D printing is an amazing technology that opens up great opportunities for us to enjoy life. The future is great. It is exciting to see how quickly advances are being made in this area. I think the ability to print replacement parts is a huge benefit. And the creative uses people will put these printers too will be a joy to see.
Posts about Technology
Working as a Software Developer
For most of my career I have been focused on management improvement – helping organizations improve results. Technology plays a big role in that and along the way I found myself becoming a programer for a while; and then a software development program manager. This is a good post on working as a software developer:
Write for people first, computer second. The code you write will be read many times in the future (by you, or another developer). The computer doesn’t care how the code is written, so make it as easy as possible to understand for the next person that has to read it. A corollary to this is: don’t be too clever. It’s better to be clear than to be clever.
When there is a compelling need to write for the computer first and people second make sure to document that code well. For example, some code that is extremely dense and complex and confusing but greatly enhances the efficiency of a critical area of code.
I recently wrote a book, Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability. There are many great things about a career in software development. It certainly is also challenging and not for someone looking for the easiest career but I have seem a higher percentage of happy software developers than I have seen in any other discipline.
Related: How To Become A Software Engineer/Programmer – The Software Developer Labor Market – Avoiding Tragedy of the Commons for Software Development – Preparing Computer Science Students for Jobs – Hiring the Best Fit For Your Company in an Inefficient Job Market – Want to be a Computer Game Programmer? – What Graduates Should Know About an IT Career
Promoting Innovation in Sierra Leone
Another inspirational kid that shows that the potential for human good is much greater than the talking heads and politicians that litter the TV screen so often.
In the video Kelvin says, “That is my aim: to Promote Innovation in Seira Leone, among young people.” See another video as Kelvin explains his homemade battery.
Support these young engineers in Sierra Leone via innovate Salone.
Related: Inspirational Engineer Build Windmill Using Trash – Supporting the Natural Curiosity of Kids – What Kids can Learn If Given a Chance – I was Interviewed About Encouraging Kids to Pursue Engineering
Arduino Introduction Video Tutorial
Arduino is a very cool open source programable hardware engineering initiative. It is great for kids and adults who like to learn and create electronic devices. The Arduino Starter Kit is a great education gift for those interested in such things.
The video explains how to build a basic circuit with the Arduino board, and how to use each of the basic components such as LEDs, switches, and resistors. See more videos on related topics. Massimo Banzi, the co-creator and CEO of Arduino, and seen in the videos, also has a book: Getting Started with Arduino.
The Eagle Has Landed
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren land on the moon: July 20, 1969. As Neil Armstrong took humanity’s first step onto the Moon he said:
Citizen Science: Use Your Smart Phone to Help Scientists
10 Ways You Can Use Your Smartphone to Advance Science by Matt Soniak
The Indicator Bats Program (iBats), a joint project of the Zoological Society of London’s Institute of Zoology and The Bat Conservation Trust, got its start with a couple of researchers working in Transylvania (of course) in 2006. The idea of the project is to identify and monitor bat populations around the world by the ultrasonic echo-location calls they use to navigate and find prey.
The goal of Project NOAH (Networked Organisms and Habitats) is pretty ambitious: “build the go-to platform for documenting all the world’s organisms.” Their app has two modes. “Spottings” lets you take photos of plants and animals you see, categorize and describe them and then submit the data for viewing on NOAH’s website and use by researchers for population and distribution studies.
Invasive plants and animals can crowd out natives, compete with them for food sources and alter the fire ecology of an ecosystem, disrupting its natural balance. Researchers and programmers from UCLA, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the University of Georgia have teamed up to create the What’s Invasive citizen science program and smartphone app. Volunteers can use the app to look up lists of the top invasive species in their area, created by National Park Service rangers and biologists. If they spot a plant or animal from the list, they submit a geo-tagged observation, with optional picture and text notes, so that scientists can locate, identify, study try to remove the species.
The Chemistry of Fireworks
The video features John A. Conkling, Ph.D., who literally wrote the book on fireworks — he is the author of The Chemistry of Pyrotechnics.
The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China.
A Syrian named Hasan al-Rammah wrote of rockets, fireworks, and other incendiaries, using terms that suggested he derived his knowledge from Chinese sources, such as his references to fireworks as “Chinese flowers”.
Chinese fireworks began to gain popularity around the mid-17th century.
Repair Cafes in The Netherlands
I really like these efforts. We throw away too much stuff that has plenty of useful life left. Also it is a great way to build community. And it is an interesting way to learn about products we use everyday (both by fixing them and having your items fixed). The throw away culture is something we should aim to change. By these actions and also by engineers designing products to be fixed instead of thrown away. I donated to a similar fixer collective in Brooklyn via Kickstarter.
Friday Fun: Elephant Playing with a Smart Phone
An elephant plays with a smart phone (Samsung Galaxy Note).
Related: Friday Fun: Cats and Kids with iPads – Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant – Crow Sledding, Flying Back Up and Sledding Down Again – Cat Toy: Robotic Ball You Control with Your Smart Phone
NASA Biocapsules Deliver Medical Interventions Based Upon What They Detect in the Body
Very cool innovation from NASA. The biocapsule monitors the environment (the body it is in) and responds with medical help. Basically it is acting very much like your body, which does exactly that: monitors and then responds based on what is found.
Dr. Loftus [NASA] thinks we could realistically see wildspread usage on Earth within 10 to 15 years.
The cells don’t get released from the capsule. The cells inside the capsule secrete therapeutic molecules (proteins, peptides), and these agents exit the capsule by diffusion across the capsule wall.
NASA plans to use the biocapsules in space, but they also have very promising uses on earth. They can monitor a diabetes patient and if insulin is needed, deliver it. No need for the person to remember, or give themselves a shot of insulin. The biocapsule act just like out bodies do, responding to needs without us consciously having to think about it. They can also be used to provide high dose chemotherapy directly to the tumor site (thus decreasing the side effects and increasing the dosage delivered to the target location. Biocapsules could also respond to severe allergic reaction and deliver epinephrine (which many people know have to carry with them to try and survive an attack).
It would be great if this were to have widespread use 15 years from now. Sadly, these innovations tend to take far longer to get into productive use than we would hope. But not always, so here is hoping this innovation from NASA gets into ourselves soon.
Related: Using Bacteria to Carry Nanoparticles Into Cells – Nanoparticles With Scorpion Venom Slow Cancer Spread – Self-Assembling Cubes Could Deliver Medicine – Nanoengineers Use Tiny Diamonds for Drug Delivery
How Lysozyme Protein in Our Tear-Drops Kill Bacteria
A disease-fighting protein in our teardrops has been tethered to a tiny transistor, enabling UC Irvine scientists to discover exactly how it destroys dangerous bacteria. The research could prove critical to long-term work aimed at diagnosing cancers and other illnesses in their very early stages.
Ever since Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming found that human tears contain antiseptic proteins called lysozymes about a century ago, scientists have tried to solve the mystery of how they could relentlessly wipe out far larger bacteria. It turns out that lysozymes have jaws that latch on and chomp through rows of cell walls like someone hungrily devouring an ear of corn.
“Those jaws chew apart the walls of the bacteria that are trying to get into your eyes and infect them,” said molecular biologist and chemistry professor Gregory Weiss, who co-led the project with associate professor of physics & astronomy Philip Collins.
The researchers decoded the protein’s behavior by building one of the world’s smallest transistors – 25 times smaller than similar circuitry in laptop computers or smartphones. Individual lysozymes were glued to the live wire, and their eating activities were monitored.
“Our circuits are molecule-sized microphones,” Collins said. “It’s just like a stethoscope listening to your heart, except we’re listening to a single molecule of protein.”
It took years for the UCI scientists to assemble the transistor and attach single-molecule teardrop proteins. The scientists hope the same novel technology can be used to detect cancerous molecules. It could take a decade to figure out but would be well worth it, said Weiss, who lost his father to lung cancer.
“If we can detect single molecules associated with cancer, then that means we’d be able to detect it very, very early,” Weiss said. “That would be very exciting, because we know that if we treat cancer early, it will be much more successful, patients will be cured much faster, and costs will be much less.”
The project was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the National Science Foundation. Co-authors of the Science paper are Yongki Choi, Issa Moody, Patrick Sims, Steven Hunt, Brad Corso and Israel Perez.