Currently viewing the category: "Tech, Web & Maths"

« A truly fine meal is enjoyed not once but three times, in anticipation, in consumption, and in remembrance »

Dear followers,

As you might know, I love food, and I love Excel (yes, Excel!), and as such I have a very strong tendency to record, rate and recommend all my favorite restaurants and bars using spreadsheets. (Happy to share them with you, current ‘shareable’ spreadsheets are Paris and London, still working on NY, Dubai and Marrakesh!)

I recently decided that the only missing feature to my little notes was a map, so I could look up what in my favorites or to do list was close by if I was in an area.

Of course, Google having a response to (pretty much) everything, you can create your maps using « My Places » in Google Maps. So here is my Paris Shortlist, in blue are my shortlisted places and in red my to-do list!

Any suggestions please comment on this article and I will gladly add it to my map (even better if you want to go and try it out with me!).


View Ambrouille’s Paris Shortlist in a larger map

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David Fisher Architect (Florence – Italy) is an Italian-Israeli architect based in Florence; he is known for designing the Dynamic Tower, a rotating skyscraper proposed for construction in Dubai (although the basic concept has precedents, especially the 2001 Suite Vollard in Brazil with independently rotating floors).

« Since the dawn of humanity man has seeked to exceed the limits of previous generations. The achievement of new limits in Architecture has been written in history as a reminder to new generations: humanity has to pursue virtue and knowledge. New limits and prospects are now opened: buildings are now able to change their shape and be part of environment. This is the era of Dynamic Architecture »

Here is the video presenting his Dynamic Tower, and some explanation by David Fisher himself about the birth of the idea and the science behind it. I have been delving a little further to know more about Fisher and the tower itself, and stumbled upon a surprisingly witty Wikipedia article questioning Fisher’s credentials and honesty… Not sure what/who to believe but nobody can contest that the video and project are impressive.

Dynamic space – The birth of the idea.

The idea was somehow part of my architectural beliefs following years of research on technology of construction, human and social aspects. « Architecture part of nature » is a concept that I always carried with me: Buildings that adjust to life, to our needs, to our moods. The inspiration, however, arrived at a precise moment in December 2004, when I was watching the view from the Olympic Tower in NYC, on 51st and 5th. I noticed that from a certain spot you could see the East River and the Hudson River, both sides of Manhattan… That is when I thought to myself: « Why don’t we rotate the entire floor? That way, everybody can see both the East River and the Hudson River, as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral! ».

That is how I got inspired to create the building that changes its shape continuously.

But it really all started during my childhood, when I used to watch every evening the sun set over the Mediterranean. (I like the guy, who could not like a Mediterranean aficionado?!) The huge red sun would slowly fall into the water, signalling that one day was over and another was about to begin. This aspect of motion and its relation to the dimension of time always intrigued me.

When I grew up and became an architect I understood that an architect should design buildings that adjust to life. They should adapt to our space, our functionalities and our needs that change continuously – and even to our sense of beauty, itself in continuous motion.

These are the first buildings to have a fourth dimension: Time. This is the new philosophy of dynamic buildings, adjusting to sunrise and sunset, to the wind and to the view – thus becoming part of nature. I call these buildings « Designed by Time, Shaped by Life ».


More on Dynamic Architecture, thanks Philou for sharing!

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Currently in the process of re-writing my resume, I find myself struggling with a terrible dilemma: which font? More specifically, which family font?

So, I did what everybody does nowadays and popped the question to my good friend Google, and stumbled upon this very nice infographic by

(And yes, I am still struggling, Times New Roman or Calibri?)

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Instauré sous sa forme actuelle par Napoléon Bonaparte, le baccalauréat a vu passer des dizaines de générations d’élèves anxieux. Un stress qui a parfois poussé les candidats à prendre des décisions absurdes.

Le baccalauréat commence aujourd’hui avec l’épreuve de Philosophie, et pour bien démarrer la semaine, retour sur cinq histoires insolites qui, de mémoire de surveillants, ont marqué en profondeur les annales du pire du bac.

2004, une année à marquer au fer rouge…

… ou à l’encre de Chine. Lors de cette session, dans l’académie de Marseille, un candidat a eu l’idée pour le moins marquante de se faire tatouer une partie de son cours de physique-chimie sur l’avant-bras.

Malheureusement pour lui, le surveillant a découvert la supercherie. Il sera interdit d’examen pendant cinq ans, et passera le reste de sa vie avec des formules abstraites inscrites sur le corps.

20/20 pour tout le monde

Il faisait bon de passer son bac en 1982 en Haute-Normandie. Onze professeurs en colère ont décidé d’accorder la note maximale à tous leurs élèves. Par ce geste, ils entendaient dénoncer les excès du jury de l’année précédente qui attribué de si mauvaises notes que la moitié des copies dont il avait la charge ne dépassait pas 6/20. Malheureusement, leur coup de force n’a pas fonctionné: les copies ont été corrigés par d’autres correcteurs et les élèves ont attendu leurs notes plus longtemps que leurs camarades.

Ca vole bas

En juin 2009, quelques jours avant le début des épreuves, trois élèves de terminale du lycée Romain-Rolland à Argenteuil (Val d’Oise) se lancent dans une expédition nocturne avec pour objectif de dérober les sujets du bac qu’ils pensent être dans le bureau de la proviseure.

Manque de chance, les sujets ne s’y trouvent pas. Cerise sur le gâteau, nos trois cambrioleurs en herbe se font repérer par la gardienne de l’établissement, ce qui leur vaudra un passage en garde à vue. Et le droit de ne plus recommencer.

Les profs aussi trichent

Les résultats au bac ne sont pas attendus avec fébrilité uniquement par les élèves. Les chefs d’établissements et les professeurs scrutent également attentivement les moyennes. Parfois un peu trop. En 2002, la hausse spectaculaire des résultats de la filière S d’un lycée parisien intrigue les autorités. De 20% de réussite en 2000, ils passent à 57% en 2001 et à 75% en 2002. Une hausse qui correspond au passage de l’établissement en centre d’examen.

Après enquête, la direction du lycée reconnaît avoir ouvert les sujets avant le jour des épreuves « pour voir s’il n’y avait pas d’erreur ». Une pratique strictement interdite. Dans le rapport de l’inspection académique, on rapporte aussi que des cours supplémentaires ont été dispensés quelques jours avant les épreuves de math et de physique.

Usurpation volontaire d’identité

Qui n’a jamais rêvé d’envoyer un crack en maths ou un philosophe dans l’âme à sa place pour éviter le gadin? C’est ce qu’a tenté de faire Karim, lycéen au Sacré Coeur de Rouen, le 21 juin 2012. Il a envoyé son ami Jamel, diplômé d’un master en maths, à sa place. Mais la supercherie a rapidement été repérée par le surveillant qui a noté que la carte d’identité ne correspondait pas au candidat.

Une fois repéré, l’usurpateur volontaire s’est enfermé dans les toilettes de l’établissement avant de se faire déloger par les autorités. Jugés en septembre dernier pour usurpation d’identité, les deux compères sont condamnés à 105 heures de travaux d’intérêt général pour Jamel et trois mois de prison avec sursis pour Karim.

Merci l’Express!

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When TED asked Bill Gates to curate a list of his favorite talks, his first response was “there are too many to pick, really.”

However, he’s whittled it down to 13 essentials and here is the first of them, by Hans Rosling.

You’ve never seen data presented like this.

With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, the statistics guru debunks myths about the so-called « developing world. »

 Stats that reshape your worldview

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Stephen L. Carter (born October 26, 1954) is an American law professor, legal- and social-policy writer, columnist, and best-selling novelist.

He recently published this article relating to privacy and the Google glasses, which I found very interesting, and which says in very accurate words what I think and would have never been able to express so well, so this is total ‘plagiat’ but to my defense here is a link to Stephen Carter’s blog and and books!

Privacy looks different through Google Glass, by Stephen L. Carter

No sooner had Google Inc. yielded to popular pressure to bar facial-recognition applications from Google Glass than techies split into two factions: those who called the ban an outrage that would hurt law enforcement and medical care, and those who said the ban would make no difference because sooner or later the wall was bound to fall.

The original concern rested on the notion that wearable facial-recognition technology would constitute a threat to privacy — the privacy, for example, of those who would prefer to walk the streets unrecognized. Google’s position continues to be that privacy concerns about Glass are overblown. I think the long run will prove Google right, for reasons less technological than generational.

Glass is essentially eyewear connected to a processor and the Internet, with an interior display that looks to the wearer like a television screen. This sounds so cool and space-agey that it’s at first hard to see how the privacy issues arise.

Certainly the claim that the famous have a “right” to wander the streets incognito seems thin, and Google initially seemed inclined to ignore it, preferring to tout the obvious utility for, say, police officers able to identify suspects at a glance. The company might never have done its about-face had not the disclosure of the scope of National Security Agency’s data- mining program (and Google’s own unclear participation therein) brought privacy to the forefront of public conversation.

But there are other privacy issues. For example, Nick Bilton of the New York Times was startled to encounter Google Glass wearers in the men’s room, immediately after being reminded that “one of the gadget’s greatest features is the ability to snap a photo with a wink.”

Creepy Glasses

Creepy indeed. But privacy as traditionally understood encompasses far more than photographs in the bathroom or recognition on the street. Privacy is fundamental to life in liberal society, where, as the philosopher Judith Shklar argued, our fear of abuse of authority should lead us to establish constraints on both government and private power — so that we are free, in almost everything we do, to make our choices without worrying about retaliation.

Ten years ago, in a report titled “Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society,” the American Civil Liberties Union gave an example of privacy in this traditional sense: “A woman who leaves her house, drives to a store, meets a friend for coffee, visits a museum, and then returns home may be in public all day, but her life is still private in that she is the only one who has an overall view of how she spent her day. In America, she does not expect that her activities are being watched or tracked in any systematic way — she expects to be left alone.”

That familiar cultural understanding has been upended — not all at once by post-Sept. 11 anti-terror measures, but gradually, as more and more of our lives are lived out digitally. The woman in the ACLU’s example might use GPS, thus revealing her location as she drives. Perhaps she talks on her mobile phone, stops to buy gas or pays for coffee with a credit card. All of these activities leave digital traces. To imagine that those traces simply vanish, unrecorded, is no longer reasonable.

And reasonableness is very much the word to think about. When we conceptualize privacy as a right, our thoughts turn naturally to the Constitution. According to the judges, the measure of what is private turns on what a reasonable person would expect to be private. But the reasonable person is a shifting target, her expectations informed by culture and mores and actual practice.

Once everybody knows what so many already suspected — that the federal government eavesdrops extensively on the people it purports to represent — our expectations suddenly shift. One might be a passionate opponent of the programs, or one might accept their grim necessity; either way, the reality of their existence necessarily changes the way we think.

Cool Glasses

How much has the digital world changed the conception of privacy? A recent study by the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California concluded that the so-called millennials — those ages 18-34 — don’t share the fears of their elders about online privacy. In particular, the rising generation seems willing to trade privacy for other gains. They are, for example, “more receptive than older users to accepting targeted advertising when their personal information is required.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been widely criticized for making essentially this very point, but the data suggest he is right. The millennials do indeed tend to have a different view of where one draws the privacy border. As a headline several years ago in New York magazine declared: “The future belongs to the uninhibited.”

A recent Washington Post-Pew Research Center survey purports to show that those ages 18 to 39 are slightly more worried than their elders about the NSA program. But the same poll indicates that this group is far less likely to have paid close attention to the story. The episode seems to be rolling off their backs, perhaps because the young always assumed that somebody was cataloguing their telephone calls, Internet searches and credit-card transactions.

According to the companies that market to them, millennials are quite sophisticated in using privacy controls to limit access to their online data. But they seem to worry a lot more about keeping their online activities from parents and teachers than from corporations and government.

The point is that the reasonable person and her expectation of privacy are reconstructed in every generation. Criticizing Google for supplying what is certain to be heavy demand for so cool an advance as Glass is no way to hold a serious conversation. And a serious conversation is what will be needed — not among us Baby Boomers, but among those who follow us.

That will be an intriguing challenge. It’s important for members of the rising generation to be active in shaping their expectation of privacy, and so demand law and practices that strike a reasonable balance. The alternative is to drift along, allowing their expectations to continue to be shaped for them, by the twin determinisms of technology and security.

Stephen Carter’s blog and and books

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Etant moi même une inconsidérable fan d’Excel, et l’utilisant non seulement tous les jours mais quasiment toutes les heures, je reconnais que Tatsuo Horiuchi fait ici preuve d’une imagination débordante, sur un logiciel dont je pensais déjà exploiter un bonne majorité des capacités!

Adieu tableaux croisés dynamiques, listes triées, graphiques en batons et VBA, bonjour motifs japonais, fleurs traditionnelles et paysages de rêves!

A 73 ans, cela fait maintenant une décennie que Tatsuo Horiuchi à élu Excel comme outil de création; il s’est ainsi imposé comme artiste numérique « digital artist » et présente ses oeuvres à travers plusieurs expositions.

Vous pouvez aller sur son blog (qui est en japonais, donc on ouvre avec Chrome et on utilise le super plugin permettant de traduire la page en anglais, ce n’est pas trop mal traduit!) ou il y présente ses oeuvres et quelques techniques de réalisations!

Chapeau bas :)

Thanks to T.S.H for sharing! 

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Allez, un peu de maths et quelques vieux souvenirs émus. Le Théorème Central Limite établit la convergence en loi de la somme d’une suite de variables aléatoires vers la loi normale. Intuitivement, ce résultat affirme que toute somme de variables aléatoires indépendantes et identiquement distribuées tend vers une variable aléatoire gaussienne.

Et comme nous, les Francais, sommes très fort pour dire d’une façon complexe ce qui pourrait être exprimée plus simplement, voila la définition anglaise que je trouve plus straightforward:

« In probability theory, the Central Limit Theorem states that, given certain conditions, the mean of a sufficiently large number of independent random variables, each with a well-defined mean and well-defined variance, will be approximately normally distributed. »

Victor Powell montre dans une animation la distribution d’une variable aléatoire qui tombent sur des triangles dans une distribution normale, vous pouvez jouer avec le nombres de triangles et la vitesse de distribution et voir la distribution gaussienne se constituer:

Cliquez sur l’image pour accéder à l’animation!

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When you focus on all the small events and decisions that happen throughout a single day, those 24 hours can seem like an eternity.

Graphic designer Luke Twyman turned that around in Here is Today.

It’s a straightforward interactive that places one day in the context of all days ever.

You start at today, and as you move forward, the days before this one appear, until today is reduced to a one-pixel sliver on the screen and doesn’t seem like much at all.

Puts things into perspective huh!?


Read on Flowing Data

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So this new company, Remee say they can help you dream lucidly. Why? What? How? Well first, watch the video below. It’ll get you in the right mindset. All set?

Ok, to proceed: Have you ever had a dream where you knew you were dreaming? What did you do? Did you wake up and think nothing more of it? What would you say if we told you you were on the verge of something entertaining or even sublime? Lucid Dreaming is the ability to understand and control your dreams as they happen, and it’s something people have been doing for thousands of years!

What is Remee?

Remee is a specialized sleep mask designed to help increase the frequency of your Lucid Dreams. The key to Lucid Dreaming is recognizing when you’re dreaming. That’s where Remee comes in.

Inside what looks like a normal sleep mask is a microcontroller.

During your sleep, Remee flashes a series of customizable, recognizable light patterns via six rear facing LEDs.

The lights aren’t bright enough to wake you up, but, if you are dreaming, they can appear as visual anomalies in your dreams, helping the dreamer recognize the fact that they are dreaming, and become lucid.

Once lucid, you can begin controlling the world around you.

And for $95 (£60) you can order these here!

Thanks Polux for sharing :-)

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La NASA dévoile des images exceptionnelles de la Terre illuminée la nuit.

Grâce à un nouveau satellite, Suomi NPP, les scientifiques de la NASA ont pu réaliser des images impressionnantes de la Terre vue de l’espace, la nuit. Tout se révèle alors à l’objectif, depuis la lueur vacillante des bateaux jusqu’aux aux étendues lumineuses des mégapoles.

Sublime. Prenez 5 min pour la regarder:

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Vous vous souvenez peut-être du son d’ouverture de Windows 95, ou même le bruit d’une cassette VHS que l’on insère dans un magnétoscope, voire même celui du modem se connectant un internet.

Sachez qu’un musée virtuel des sons en voie de disparitions, ou même disparus a ouvert ses portes sur internet: The Museum of Endangered Sounds.

Créé par Brendan Chilcutt (je mets sa photo en bas de l’article parceque sa tete me fait beaucoup trop rire, et je crois bien qu’on a les meme lunettes!), ce site regroupe une petite panoplie de sons que presque personne n’a entendu depuis des années, mais que les plus âgés connaissent très bien.

Une collection commencée en janvier, disposée avec de petits gifs très simples. Un musée qui ravira tous ceux qui ont grandi dans les années 1990!

Donc a tous ceux qui partagent la nostalgie de bruits qui ont bercé notre enfance, il est temps d’envoyer a Brendan des enregistrements avant qu’il ne soit trop tard (je m’accroche encore désespérément a mes vieilles cassettes VHS du Roi Lion et d’Aladin, meme si on n’a plus de lecteur cassette!).

Allez, pour ceux qui sont so-bilingual, un petit mot de Brendan Chilcutt qui ne pourra que vous convaincre!

« I launched the site in January of 2012 as a way to preserve the sounds made famous by my favorite old technologies and electronics equipment. For instance, the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR. As you probably know, it’s a wonderfully complex sound, subtle yet unfiltered. But, as streaming playback becomes more common in the US, and as people in developing nations like Canada and the UK get brought up to DVD players, it’s likely that the world will have seen and heard the last of older machines like the HR-7100. And as new products come to market, we stand to lose much more than VCRs.

Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I’m gone?

These questions and more led me to the undertaking that is The Museum Of Endangered Sounds.

My ten-year plan is to complete the data collection phase by the year 2015, and spend the next seven years developing the proper markup language to reinterpret the sounds as a binary composition.

If you don’t understand my passion and the significance of my work, you probably never will. But if you do, then you’ve come to the right place.

And please, please email me if you enjoy the museum or have any questions! I love to hear from people and need to know what gadget sounds I am missing.

Thank you! »

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Article incroyable publié sur Le Monde Blogs, mettant en évidence l’évolution des virus et des bactéries. Vraiment fascinant, je ne comprends pas comment j’ai pu détester la bio… Prenez 5 min pour le lire!

Dans la nature, les principaux ennemis des bactéries ne sont pas les antibiotiques, mais les bactériophages (ou phages). Dix fois plus nombreux que les bactéries, ils ne s’en prennent qu’à elles. Comme on peut le voir sur les photographies ci-dessus prises à l’aide d’un microscope, les phages ont la plupart du temps une forme de champignon : la tête contient le matériel génétique du virus, qui est injecté dans la bactérie par le pied. Lorsqu’ils rencontrent leurs proies, « les phages les infectent et se multiplient en utilisant le matériel de leur hôte. Puis ils détruisent la paroi de la bactérie pour se libérer, prêts à attaquer de nouvelles bactéries. Un cycle complet se déroule très rapidement, de quelques minutes à une heure. »

Sous la pression constante des phages, les bactéries ont développé de nombreuses stratégies de défense. Certaines ont ainsi procédé à des modifications de leur surface pour barrer l’entrée aux virus. D’autres bactéries s’en prennent au matériel génétique des virus et l’empêchent d’exécuter le programme de réplication. Mais la stratégie probablement la plus fascinante est celle du hara-kiri. Chez certaines espèces, la bactérie infectée va se suicider en s’empoisonnant. Concrètement, elle a à sa disposition un système toxine-antitoxine : elle fabrique à la fois un poison ainsi qu’un antidote qui le neutralise. Quand elle est attaquée par un virus, la bactérie « relâche » la toxine et meurt. Ce geste est considéré comme « altruiste » par les biologistes car s’il mène au décès de l’individu, il protège la collectivité bactérienne dans la mesure où le virus ne pourra se dupliquer dans la cellule morte.

Mais les bactéries ne sont pas les seules à évoluer. Dans ce qui s’apparente à une course aux armements, les virus ne restent pas inactifs. Ainsi, une équipe de chercheurs britanniques et néo-zélandais vient-elle de publier en octobre, dans la revue PLoS Genetics, une étude montrant l’incroyable parade à la technique du hara-kiri qu’a trouvée un virus nommé Phi-TE . La bactérie qu’il infecte s’appelle Pectobacterium atrosepticum. C’est un agent pathogène pour de nombreuses plantes et elle provoque notamment la jambe noire, une maladie de la pomme de terre. Ayant remarqué que certains spécimens de Phi-TE parvenaient à sortir de Pectobacterium atrosepticum après l’avoir infecté, les auteurs de l’article sont allés y voir de plus près. Et ils se sont aperçus que ces phages mutants synthétisaient une imitation très réussie de l’antidote, ce qui empêchait la toxine d’agir. La bactérie était sauvée du suicide mais, bien évidemment, ce sauvetage n’arrangeait pas ses affaires puisqu’il n’était que provisoire : le but de la manœuvre était de maintenir la bactérie en vie le temps que Phi-TE se multiplie et parte ensuite à l’assaut de la colonie.

Comme l’explique un des auteurs de l’étude, George Salmond (université de Cambridge), « ce travail met en lumière le monde incroyablement dynamique de la co-évolution entre les bactéries et leurs virus ». Au cours de leurs recherches, les biologistes se sont également aperçus que, non contents de contrecarrer la stratégie « suicidaire » des bactéries, les phages étaient capables de mieux encore. Les chercheurs ont en effet constaté que certains virus pouvaient prélever, dans le matériel génétique de leurs proies, l’ADN encodant le système de défense toxine-antitoxine et le transplanter chez d’autres hôtes. Histoire de leur apprendre à se défendre contre… des virus concurrents de Phi-TE , ce que les biologistes ont appelé une « infection altruiste ». Ce ne sera pas la première fois dans l’histoire qu’un protagoniste arme son meilleur adversaire contre un autre ennemi…

Lu sur Le Monde – Blogs (Article complet ici) et partagé par Charles©!

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The New York Times published an article presenting 32 innovation that will change our future daily lives.

I loved Maggie Koerth-Baker’s introduction (below), and her regard on innovation « It’s messy, and it’s awesome » and have selected one post in each section (Morning Routine, Commute, Work, Play, Health, Home); however I strongly recommend you read the full article here!

« The electric light was a failure.

Invented by the British chemist Humphry Davy in the early 1800s, it spent nearly 80 years being passed from one initially hopeful researcher to another, like some not-quite-housebroken puppy. In 1879, Thomas Edison finally figured out how to make an incandescent light bulb that people would buy. But that didn’t mean the technology immediately became successful. It took another 40 years, into the 1920s, for electric utilities to become stable, profitable businesses. And even then, success happened only because the utilities created other reasons to consume electricity. They invented the electric toaster and the electric curling iron and found lots of uses for electric motors. They built Coney Island. They installed electric streetcar lines in any place large enough to call itself a town. All of this, these frivolous gadgets and pleasurable diversions, gave us the light bulb.

We tend to rewrite the histories of technological innovation, making myths about a guy who had a great idea that changed the world. In reality, though, innovation isn’t the goal; it’s everything that gets you there. It’s bad financial decisions and blueprints for machines that weren’t built until decades later. It’s the important leaps forward that synthesize lots of ideas, and it’s the belly-up failures that teach us what not to do.

When we ignore how innovation actually works, we make it hard to see what’s happening right in front of us today. If you don’t know that the incandescent light was a failure before it was a success, it’s easy to write off some modern energy innovations — like solar panels — because they haven’t hit the big time fast enough.

Worse, the fairy-tale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keeps changing. The incandescent light was a 19th-century failure and a 20th- century success. Now it’s a failure again, edged out by new technologies, like LEDs, that were, themselves, failures for many years.

That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible. This is what innovation looks like. It’s messy, and it’s awesome. »

Morning Routine – Electric Clothes

Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed a fabric that doubles as a spare outlet. When used to line your shirt — or even your pillowcase or office chair — it converts subtle differences in temperature across the span of the clothing (say, from your cuff to your armpit) into electricity.

And because the different parts of your shirt can vary by about 10 degrees, you could power up your MP3 player just by sitting still. According to the fabric’s creator, David Carroll, a cellphone case lined with the material could boost the phone’s battery charge by 10 to 15 percent over eight hours, using the heat absorbed from your pants pocket.
Richard Morgan


Commute – Bikes

1. Anti-theft handlebars
Here’s an old idea whose time has come again. The bearing system that allows the bike to turn can be locked so that a thief can’t steer his stolen bike. The lock is internal, meaning that he’d have to destroy the bike to ride it away.

2. No more greasy chains
An updated shaft drive — which replaces the chain with a rod and internal gear system — would be perfect for urban riders. They’re popular in China right now, but new versions will be lighter and have more sophisticated gearing.
One-piece plastic and carbon-fiber frames


Work: the SpeechJammer

When you aim the SpeechJammer at someone, it records that person’s voice and plays it back to him with a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This seems to gum up the brain’s cognitive processes — a phenomenon known as delayed auditory feedback — and can painlessly render the person unable to speak.

Kazutaka Kurihara, one of the SpeechJammer’s creators, sees it as a tool to prevent loudmouths from overtaking meetings and public forums, and he’d like to miniaturize his invention so that it can be built into cellphones. “It’s different from conventional weapons such as samurai swords,” Kurihara says. “We hope it will build a more peaceful world.” Catherine Rampell


Play: Terrifiying Playgrounds

Two Norwegian psychologists think that modern playgrounds are for wimps. Instead of short climbing walls, there should be towering monkey bars. Instead of plastic crawl tubes, there should be tall, steep slides. And balance beams. And rope swings.


The rationale is that the more we shield children from potential scrapes and sprained ankles, the more unprepared they’ll be for real risk as adults, and the less aware they’ll be of their surroundings.

Leif Kennair and Ellen Sandseter’s ideas have won the support of playground experts on both sides of the Atlantic; one company, Landscape Structures, offers a 10-foot-high climbing wall that twists like a Möbius strip. Clay Risen



Scientists at Princeton and Tufts are working on a super-thin tooth sensor (a kind of temporary tattoo) that sends an alert when it detects bacteria associated with plaque buildup, cavities or infection. It could also notify your dentist, adding an extra layer of social pressure to make an appointment.

The sensor may have wide-ranging use: the researchers have already used it to identify bacteria in saliva associated with stomach ulcers and cancers. While the sensor won’t last long on the surface of a well-brushed and flossed tooth, Michael McAlpine, the project’s leader, says that the sensors will be inexpensive enough that you can replace them daily. Clay Risen


Home – Food packaging

It’s depressing to think how much food packaging there is in your kitchen right now — all those juice cartons, water bottles and ice-cream containers. But what if you could eat them? “We’ve got to package in the same way nature does,” says a Harvard bio-engineer named David Edwards.

And so he has devised a way to convert foods into shell-like containers and films that he calls Wikicells. Yogurt will be encased in a strawberry pouch, for instance. You could wash and eat the packaging, like the skin of an apple, or you could toss it, like the peel of an orange, since it’s biodegradable. The newly wrapped ice cream and yogurt will be available later this month at the lab store in Paris, with juice and tea coming within the next year or two.

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Rory Sutherland stands at the center of an advertising revolution in brand identities, designing cutting-edge, interactive campaigns that blur the line between ad and entertainment.


From unlikely beginnings as a classics teacher to his current job as Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, Rory Sutherland has created his own brand of the Cinderella story.

He joined Ogilvy & Mather’s planning department in 1988, and became a junior copywriter, working on Microsoft’s account in its pre-Windows days. An early fan of the Internet, he was among the first in the traditional ad world to see the potential in these relatively unknown technologies.

Inspiring and insightful TED talk:


Some of my favorite quotes:

“When you place a value on things like health, love, sex and other things, and learn to place a material value on what you’ve previously discounted for being merely intangible… you realize you’re much, much wealthier than you ever imagined.”

“The circumstances of our lives actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.”

“Google understood that if you’re just a search engine, people assume you’re a very, very good search engine.”

“When you can’t smoke, if you stand and stare out of the window on your own, you’re an antisocial, friendless idiot. If you stand and stare out of the window on your own with a cigarette, you’re a philosopher.”

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L’image du jour, bonne semaine à tous!


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A Chinese company has seemingly accomplished the impossible, putting up a 30-story building in half as many days. Broad Sustainable Building finished construction on the 30-story hotel prototype in the city of Changsha after only 15 days of construction.

The construction was able to proceed so fast because the foundation was laid ahead of time and the building was largely factory manufactured. Once the pieces were shipped to the site all that was left was for the construction workers to put it all together, which they did at record speed.

According to Broad Sustainable Building’s website, the building was 93 percent factory made, a process which they say eliminates the risks associated with design and construction quality, budget and construction delays.

Critics, however, question the safety the building, pointing to the lack of oversight and pace at which it went up.

Broad Sustainable Building has attempted projects like this before, building a 15-story hotel in just a week as well as a six-story pavilion in less than a day. However, this is the first time they have attempted a project of this magnitude.

The company claims that their building method is environmentally efficient, reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Shared by YC, watched on YouTube and read on ABC News

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