Category: Technology

The latest news in technology, device reviews and everything in between.

DesignFeaturedTechnology

When technology gets too smart

We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can’t know if we’ll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it. — Stephen Hawking Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things. The human species’ use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools.

The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. The steady progress of military technology has brought weapons of ever-increasing destructive power, from clubs to nuclear weapons.

Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today’s global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of Earth’s environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it.

Until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but 21st century scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and passed their knowledge to other generations.

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A closer look at distant nebulas

Emission nebulae often have dark areas in them which result from clouds of dust which block the light. Many nebulae are made up of both reflection and emission components.

An emission nebula is a nebula formed of ionized gases that emit light of various colors. The most common source of ionization is high-energy photons emitted from a nearby hot star. Among the several different types of emission nebulae are H II regions, in which star formation is taking place and young, massive stars are the source of the ionizing photons; and planetary nebulae, in which a dying star has thrown off its outer layers, with the exposed hot core then ionizing them.

Usually, a young star will ionize part of the same cloud from which it was born although only massive, hot stars can release sufficient energy to ionize a significant part of a cloud. In many emission nebulae, an entire cluster of young stars is doing the work.

The nebula’s color depends on its chemical composition and degree of ionization. Due to the prevalence of hydrogen in interstellar gas, and its relatively low energy of ionization, many emission nebulae appear red due to the strong emissions of the Balmer series. If more energy is available, other elements will be ionized and green and blue nebulae become possible. By examining the spectra of nebulae, astronomers infer their chemical content. Most emission nebulae are about 90% hydrogen, with the remainder helium, oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements.

DesignTechnology

Turris Babel Book Design

A brand is a name, term, design, or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising. Initially, livestock branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron. A modern example of a brand is Pepsi which belongs to PepsiCo Inc.

Here’s what we did for this project:

  • Printed on super thick card stock
  • Hand screen printed cards
  • Embossed for professional touch

In accounting, a brand defined as an intangible asset is often the most valuable asset on a corporation’s balance sheet. Brand owners manage their brands carefully to create shareholder value, and brand valuation is an important management technique that ascribes a money value to a brand, and allows marketing investment to be managed (e.g.: prioritized across a portfolio of brands) to maximize shareholder value. Although only acquired brands appear on a company’s balance sheet, the notion of putting a value on a brand forces marketing leaders to be focused on long term stewardship of the brand and managing for value.

Design: Studio Mut

ScienceTechnology

James Webb Space Telescope

In contrast to other proposed observatories, the JWST telescope is the last big NASA astrophysics mission of its generation to be built. The James Webb Space Telescope, previously known as Next Generation Space Telescope, is a space observatory under construction and scheduled to launch in October 2018. The JWST will offer unprecedented resolution and sensitivity from long-wavelength visible to the mid-infrared, and is a successor instrument to the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The telescope features a segmented 6.5-meter diameter primary mirror and will be located near the Earth–Sun L2 point. A large sunshield will keep its mirror and four science instruments below 50 K. JWST’s capabilities will enable a broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology.

One particular goal involves observing some of the most distant objects in the Universe, beyond the reach of current ground and space based instruments. This includes the very first stars, the epoch of reionization, and the formation of the first galaxies. Another goal is understanding the formation of stars and planets. This will include imaging molecular clouds and star-forming clusters, studying the debris disks around stars, direct imaging of planets, and spectroscopic examination of planetary transits.

In gestation since 1996, the project represents an international collaboration of about 17 countries led by NASA, and with significant contributions from the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. It is named after James E. Webb, the second administrator of NASA, who played an integral role in the Apollo program.

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DesignTechnology

Tips to keep your desk clean

Ah, the desk. Is there any place better for an intellectual to work? The pen of the writer, the pencil of the engineer, the papers of the taxpayer—all find their heavens at the desk. So it goes to reason that cleaning up and organizing your desk is a very important idea. We’re going to start with some very basic tips, but they could make all the difference if you keep up!

Clear the desk

Get rid of the non-essential items!

Get rid of the non-essential items!

Line up books and binders that you use daily to establish a perimeter for your work area. Removing the papers and other objects until you can actually see all of your desk’s surfaces. Make piles on the floor of EVERYTHING except the computer components, telephone, and desktop pad or organizer in the appropriate pile as you pick them up. The phone book, stapler, pens & pencils, tape, etc. go into “Things that Need to be Handy”. Check the date and topic on each item as you pick it up. If it is out of date, no longer an issue, or no longer needed, pitch it in the recycling bin. Put things that belong to other people in the “somewhere else” pile.

Clear out desk drawers and cabinets and do the same thing with the contents. (Don’t forget the very top area of the desk.) Clean all surfaces with a moist cloth and cleaner, then wax and then dry.

Establish a perimeter

Line up books and binders that you use daily to establish a perimeter for your work area. Hold back on the ones you only use weekly or even less often. Keep in mind that some books and binders can go into the shelves as you organize them.

Organizing your shelves

Prioritize the “Shelf” items by necessity, keeping only the things that look presentable or that you use on a regular basis to actually put back in the desk shelves. (Find new covers for items that are ratty in appearance but must be handy for daily use.) The rest can go behind cabinet doors or on a separate shelf near the desk.

Add a cactus to add a little life to the room.

Add a cactus to add a little life to the room.

Line up books and binders that you use daily to establish a perimeter for your work area. Organize your shelves, keeping knick-knacks to a minimum and then replacing the high-priority shelf items and knick-knacks so that the shelves are an even mix of work related objects and aesthetic or sentimental objects. Don’t forget to use the very top area. This is a good space for large knick-knacks, a plant or large photos. Do NOT put work related items on the very top. Set unused knick-knacks aside until after the desk is finished so that you can sort them and find new locations for them.

Use the closest drawer for the things that must be handy, leaving out only items that MUST be on top of the desk. Remember to keep all extraneous items away from your keyboard and mouse. (If your desk does not have a drawer, purchase a computer monitor riser that will accommodate a small plastic drawer under it, or purchase a small plastic drawer system for use in a desk cabinet, on the side of the desktop, or on a nearby shelf.)

DesignTechnology

Ambient Strings album review

Clément Ader demonstrated the first two-channel audio system in Paris in 1881 Stereophonic sound or, more commonly, stereo, is a method of sound reproduction that creates an illusion of directionality and audible perspective. This is usually achieved by using two or more independent audio channels through a configuration of two or more loudspeakers in such a way as to create the impression of sound heard from various directions, as in natural hearing. Thus the term “stereophonic” applies to so-called “quadraphonic” and “surround-sound” systems as well as the more common two-channel, two-speaker systems.

Stereo sound systems can be divided into two forms: The first is “true” or “natural” stereo in which a live sound is captured, with any natural reverberation or ambience present, by an array of microphones. The signal is then reproduced over multiple loudspeakers to recreate, as closely as possible, the live sound.

Stereophonic sound attempts to create an illusion of location for various sound sources within the original recording.

The History of Stereo

Vinyl makes a comeback

Vinyl makes a comeback

Clément Ader demonstrated the first two-channel audio system in Paris in 1881, with a series of telephone transmitters connected from the stage of the Paris Opera to a suite of rooms at the Paris Electrical Exhibition, where listeners could hear a live transmission of performances through receivers for each ear.

This two-channel telephonic process was commercialized in France from 1890 to 1932 as the Théâtrophone, and in England from 1895 to 1925 as the Electrophone. Both were services available by coin-operated receivers at hotels and cafés, or by subscription to private homes.

Images provided by Das Programm.

ScienceTechnology

Curiosity mission extended indefinitely

Curiosity‍‍’​‍s design will serve as the basis for the planned Mars 2020 rover. In December 2012, Curiosity‍‍’‍s two-year mission was extended indefinitely.

Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 15:02 UTC aboard the MSL spacecraft and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC. The Bradbury Landing site was less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the center of the rover’s touchdown target after a 563,000,000 km journey.

The rover’s goals include: investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for future human exploration.

As established by the Mars Exploration Program, the main scientific goals of the MSL mission are to help determine whether Mars could ever have supported life, as well as determining the role of water, and to study the climate and geology of Mars. The mission will also help prepare for human exploration. To contribute to these goals, MSL has eight main scientific objectives.

Biological

  • Determine the nature and inventory of organic carbon compounds
  • Investigate the chemical building blocks of life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur)
  • Identify features that may represent the effects of biological processes (biosignatures and biomolecules)

Geological and geochemical

  • Investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials
  • Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils

Planetary process

  • Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes
  • Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide

Surface radiation

  • Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic and cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons. As part of its exploration, it also measured the radiation exposure in the interior of the spacecraft as it traveled to Mars, and it is continuing radiation measurements as it explores the surface of Mars. This data would be important for a future manned mission.

ScienceTechnology

United States enters the space race

The Space Race has left a legacy of Earth communications and weather satellites, and continuing human space presence on the International Space Station. It has also sparked increases in spending on education and research and development, which led to beneficial spin-off technologies. The Space Race was a 20th-century (1955–1972) competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for supremacy in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II, enabled by captured German rocket technology and personnel. The technological superiority required for such supremacy was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, unmanned space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon.
The competition began on August 2, 1955, when the Soviet Union responded to the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year, by declaring they would also launch a satellite “in the near future”. The Soviet Union beat the US to this, with the October 4, 1957 orbiting of Sputnik 1, and later beat the US to the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961. The Space Race peaked with the July 20, 1969 US landing of the first humans on the Moon with Apollo 11.

The Space Race has left a legacy of Earth communications and weather satellites, and continuing human space presence on the International Space Station. It has also sparked increases in spending on education and research and development, which led to beneficial spin-off technologies.

On April 2, 1958, President Eisenhower reacted to the Soviet space lead in launching the first satellite, by recommending to the US Congress that a civilian agency be established to direct nonmilitary space activities. Congress, led by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, responded by passing the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which Eisenhower signed into law on July 29, 1958. This law turned the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It also created a Civilian-Military Liaison Committee, chaired by the President, responsible for coordinating the nation’s civilian and military space programs.

First Human in space

Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space, 1961. By 1959, American observers believed that the Soviet Union would be the first to get a human into space, because of the time needed to prepare for Mercury’s first launch. On April 12, 1961, the USSR surprised the world again by launching Yuri Gagarin into a single orbit around the Earth in a craft they called Vostok 1. They dubbed Gagarin the first cosmonaut, roughly translated from Russian and Greek as “sailor of the universe”.

Although he had the ability to take over manual control of his spacecraft in an emergency by opening an envelope he had in the cabin that contained a code that could be typed into the computer, it was flown in an automatic mode as a precaution; medical science at that time did not know what would happen to a human in the weightlessness of space. Vostok 1 orbited the Earth for 108 minutes and made its reentry over the Soviet Union, with Gagarin ejecting from the spacecraft at 7,000 meters (23,000 ft), and landing by parachute. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (International Federation of Aeronautics) credited Gagarin with the world’s first human space flight, although their qualifying rules for aeronautical records at the time required pilots to take off and land with their craft.

ScienceTechnology

Hubble Space Telescope turns 25

The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990, and remains in operation. With a 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) mirror, Hubble’s four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectra. The telescope is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Hubble’s orbit outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere allows it to take extremely high-resolution images with negligible background light. Hubble has recorded some of the most detailed visible-light images ever, allowing a deep view into space and time. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe.

Hubble’s Impressive Shots

Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile, and is well known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy. The HST was built by the United States space agency NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency, and is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute. The HST is one of NASA’s Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts. After launch by Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, four subsequent Space Shuttle missions repaired, upgraded, and replaced systems on the telescope.

Space telescopes were proposed as early as 1923. Hubble was funded in the 1970s, with a proposed launch in 1983, but the project was beset by technical delays, budget problems, and the Challenger disaster. When finally launched in 1990, Hubble’s main mirror was found to have been ground incorrectly, compromising the telescope’s capabilities. The optics were corrected to their intended quality by a servicing mission in 1993.

DesignTechnology

Branding Overhaul Project

A brand is a name, term, design, or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising. Initially, livestock branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron. A modern example of a brand is Pepsi which belongs to PepsiCo Inc.

Here’s what we did for this project:

  • Printed on super thick card stock
  • Hand screen printed cards
  • Embossed for professional touch

In accounting, a brand defined as an intangible asset is often the most valuable asset on a corporation’s balance sheet. Brand owners manage their brands carefully to create shareholder value, and brand valuation is an important management technique that ascribes a money value to a brand, and allows marketing investment to be managed (e.g.: prioritized across a portfolio of brands) to maximize shareholder value. Although only acquired brands appear on a company’s balance sheet, the notion of putting a value on a brand forces marketing leaders to be focused on long term stewardship of the brand and managing for value.

Design: 26 Lettres.