Recent Technology Scanning Hits
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By: Jim Dator, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies
Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Based on a keynote presentation to the Fifth General Assembly of The International Parliamentarians’ Association for Information Technology, held in the Finnish Parliament, January 16, 2007.
“Democracy” As A Social Invention
Constitutional representative government, often mistakenly called “democracy”, was one of the greatest inventions of the 18th Century. It rivals other 18th Century inventions such as the sextant, the steam engine, the cotton gin, smallpox vaccination--and the guillotine--all of which changed the world in important ways. But all of them also have been superseded by vastly more powerful inventions, while constitutional representative government persists as a strange relic from the past, in more or less the same form, and certainly on the basis of the same mindset from which it originally emerged .
Almost all other social inventions, such as those in business, transportation, communication, education, and even religion, are vastly different from what they were in the 18th or 19th centuries, but the forms and features of constitutional representative democracy remain essentially unchanged from when certain social philosophers, primarily in England and France, invented the concepts, and then political craftsmen in France and some of the former British colonies in North America first created structures derived from the ideas, and tried them out as a basis for governing a nation.
From cyborg housemaids and waterpowered cars to dog translators and rocket boots, Japanese boffins have racked up plenty of near-misses in the quest to turn science fiction into reality.
Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Man has so far conquered space by painfully and inefficiently blasting himself out of the atmosphere but the 21st century should bring a more leisurely ride to the final frontier.
Soldiers barking orders at each other is so 20th Century. That's why the U.S. Army has just awarded a $4 million contract to begin developing "thought helmets" that would harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops. Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will "lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone."
Breakthrough In Energy Storage: New Carbon Material Shows Promise Of Storing Large Quantities Of Renewable Electrical EnergySubmitted by frank on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 14:15.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 17, 2008) Engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have achieved a breakthrough in the use of a one-atom thick structure called "graphene" as a new carbon-based material for storing electrical charge in ultracapacitor devices, perhaps paving the way for the massive installation of renewable energies such as wind and solar power.
The researchers believe their breakthrough shows promise that graphene (a form of carbon) could eventually double the capacity of existing ultracapacitors, which are manufactured using an entirely different form of carbon.
Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) recently revealed a free plug-in for Google SketchUp that will allow anyone to perform energy modeling on projects. The powerful plugin will allow anyone to analyze a building’s energy performance, carbon dioxide emissions, daylighting, air flow, solar analysis, and more, providing functionality that was only previously available in Autodesk’s Revit Architecture and Revit MEP.
MUMBAI, India: The new technology is, to its critics, Orwellian. Others view it as a silver bullet against terrorism that could render waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods obsolete. Some scientists predict the end of lying as we know it.
SpringerLink - Journal Article
[Editors Note: you can see one of these visualization tools applied to the WFUNA Millennium Projects Mid East Peace Scenarios HERE ]
PEOPLE share their videos on YouTube and their photos at Flickr. Now they can share more technical types of displays: graphs, charts and other visuals they create to help them analyze data buried in spreadsheets, tables or text.
A new cheap way of producing solar cells in a pizza oven that could eventually bring power and light to the 2 billion people in the world who lack electricity...
FOR her 10th birthday, Nicole Kuepper received an inspirational present from her parents - her first solar-energy kit.
It sparked a fascination with solar technology that last night led to Ms Kuepper, 23, winning two Australian Museum Eureka Prizes for her scientific research.
This week at the Black Hat Security Conference two security researchers will discuss their findings which could completely bring Windows Vista to its knees.