Posts Tagged ‘ technology ’

Blueberries!(!!!!!!)

So my dad and brother took a short trip to my grandparent’s place out in the boondocks. The awesome thing about these boondocks is that they house my grandparent’s hundred (100) plus blueberry bushes. These bushes are simply loaded with big, fat ripe blueberries. We always gorge ourselves when we visit, but I haven’t been up there during blueberry season in years. 😦 Therefore, when my dad and brother came back today with a 5-gallon pail of blueberries in tow, I was very pleased to say the least :D.
(Best thing on the planet 🙂 )
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I’m tired, as I’ve spent my day in various exciting activities; these activities included: melting under oppressive heat, and searching through long lists of inventory parts and the internet to find all the pieces of a lab that are necessary for us to run this program at the YMCA. I also got a long list of scholarships for which I may be eligible. I’m going to start looking up and applying to them tomorrow. 🙂

Isn’t she a beauty?
Designed by a friend/colleague/instructor of mine (Shawn Wallace) and based on Neil’s “Hello World” boards.
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I’m hoping to use these in the new lab.

Ambitionz
Day 22
78 Dayz to go

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Help! A Computer Stole My Job! (And My Kid’s Jobs Too)

Computers. They’re overworked and under-payed. It’s like a slave workforce all over again. And for some reason, they don’t say anything in protest – neither do they attempt to escape. Well, occasionally, they do break down, but we never get the message. We just call in a couple of humans with their computer slaves to fix them.

Wait, you say; you can’t possibly want me to believe that you’re drawing this post onto the internet by hand. No. I don’t expect you to believe that. It’s simply not true. I too have purchased a personal assistant. My assistant stays faithfully by my side at most times – remembers everything I tell it, gives me all the latest news that I want to know, lets me see what everybody else says about anything and everything, connects me to my friends, family and colleagues, and helps me look professional. I even bought it a brightly colored suit to wear. I don’t have to pay my assistant – after my onetime ownership deposit, I was home free. My personal assistant doesn’t require room or board. Or hardly any other maintenance fees; and I’m getting a second for school this year. This second assistant, the school will be giving me. This assistant will help me draft and draw wonderful designs – making up for my (nearly) complete lack of artistic drawing ability. It will also help me with advanced mathematics and modeling for topics such as physics and calculus, keeping me from having to expand my brain too much. It even brings an entire library to my desk for research, and I and my friends will probably grumble when our assistants tell us that we must get up and actually go to the library, if we wish to read full length journal articles, deemed too important or sophisticated to be freely available on “the Internet”.

I seem to be incredibly dependent on my personal assistant – why am I complaining?

Here’s a couple quotes from a Forbes article I read today:

What’s that? You’d like to work for my small business? I appreciate your interest. And I, like so many others, feel terrible about how long you’ve been unemployed. We would like to do something about the situation. We’d like to help you. But there’s something you (and the woman from the Rite Aid) need to know. I’m not sure how to say this kindly so it’s best I just say it: many of us don’t really need more employees.

What? you say; but – but, I’m human. I’m intelligent – I have cognitive skills – I’m a critical thinker – I’m personable. How could you possibly not need me? Did you read the last paragraph?

Here it is again:

I know you need a job and I know this is a very difficult situation. And I don’t want to sound cruel because I’m trying to help you. And to get help with a problem the first thing we have to do is diagnose the problem. So here’s the cold, hard truth about why you’re unemployed: most businesses don’t need you any more. We can do just as much, if not more, without you.

Source: Forbes: 9.2% Unemployment? Blame Microsoft

Yes. The computer stole your job. Do you have any idea how much time I spent talking to a computer today? That could have been you I was talking to. All of the computers I spoke with were personable even if they weren’t tremendously informative. They all seemed pretty intelligent – I mean they told me what to do in x, y and z situations and told me what the few humans who were kept in reserve for emergencies could and couldn’t help me with.

Computers even build our cars, sew our clothing, print our newspapers, vet our employees…the list goes on. No. We don’t need you any more. We don’t even need people anymore. You all should move to Mars.
Recently, a colleague of mine told me that their organization’s PayPal account had been shut down. This decision was made by – you guessed it: a computer. According to PayPal: the computer’s word was final.

Wow…did we make ourselves obsolete? Some seem to think so. In truth, it’s impossible to fully replace humans – but until the industry realizes that – or can afford to pay people, many will be stuck at home, on their computers: alternately praising and bemoaning the invention.

There is light however at the end of this tunnel. It’s not realistic to outlaw computers, or set a minimum wage for their use, and the government seems to be having a hard time coming up with things for us to do – that they will pay us for.
The good news is:computers can’t do everything. Maybe they’ve been given many of our customer service and production jobs (all the ones that didn’t find their way overseas) that we were counting on to help us pay for college; but hey, computers can’t take care of the sick, design other computers, or program themselves (I am aware that development is underway for computers to be able to do all of the above).

We will have to reinvent and retrain ourselves to be much more competitive – much more interesting. We can’t just be able to perform well – computers can do that perfectly. We have to train ourselves to understand computers – not just be able to use them. We must push ourselves, as a workforce – to the next level, the level that will make us masters and not slaves of, or inconsequential side-notes to technology.

He who knows how [in our case, the computer] will always have a job – but he who knows why [you] will always be his boss.

Ambitionz
Day 20
70 Dayz to go

T-minus one (last time). A tribute to the NASA Space Shuttle Program

I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was October 29, 1998. Senator and astronaut John Glenn and the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery began their expedition. I remember the sound, the fire, the awe. I remember the inspiration. I was only 6 years old – but John Glenn was my hero. I stood in my grandfather’s living room with my mother and siblings, completely transfixed by what I saw on the screen, I knew what I wanted to be. I would be an astronaut.

The Space Shuttle Discovery being towed off the runway after it's final landing

Seeing the space shuttle launch had a lasting impact on me; an impact that continues to this day and far out lasted my notions of becoming an astronaut. It simulated and fertilized within me, as a small child, a true love for science and a desire to participate in this wonderful world of discovery. That experience of watching the shuttle launch helped deepen a child’s curiosity, into everlasting amazement at what science can do- and encouraged a strong desire to be part of the community that made the Discovery’s voyage possible.

Like it did for so many American kids, the space shuttle program, (along with events such as the Apollo mission to the moon and Charles Lindbergh trans-Atlantic flight,) gave me an enduring sense of patriotic pride, coupled with the responsibility of our leadership on a global level.

As a citizen of the world and member of the upcoming generation, the space shuttle program impressed me with a sense of my duty to receive the torch of scientific and technological advancement and to keep it alive as our mothers and fathers did before us. They used it to explore space. What will we do with it?

Now, a bit more than a decade later, I am an engineer (in training) and have found my passion in inspiring people to purse an understanding of our world (science) and the development and application of this understanding (technology).

Today, it is with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to the space shuttle program. I think of the twin tragedies which claimed the lives of 14 brave explorers and I am glad for the opportunity to seek new methods of space travel. I think of 132 successful missions and I wonder how we will replace such and integral part of our nation, science program and culture (not to mention job supplying workforce).

We all wonder what the future will hold for American maned space missions; as the question “what’s next” has yet to be answered. No, cargo missions are not what we’re talking about.

I hadn’t planned to watch the launch today. I was scheduled to pick up machines for the summer Fab Lab we’re installing. My little brother and I walked into the basement of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms just as the live feed showed the Atlantis “blasting off”. We watched until it’s solid rocket boosters fell off and blew up into flaming balls of fire as they returned back to earth. They had done their job. NASA says the space shuttles have done theirs as well. Now it’s up to us to do ours.

I wish the Atlantis godspeed on its journey and return home; and yes, I will be visiting the Discovery at the Smithsonian.


TIE Project update

I spent most of today at CBA, installing software on the brand new lab computers that CBA is lending us. We’re scheduled to set up next week. We still have to pick up consumables and other supplies/lab equipment which hopefully will include a couple more computers. Here are some pictures:

Boxes and boxes!
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(Yep – that’s me!)

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My brother installing Windows OS

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Ambitionz
Day 10
80 Dayz to go

I see men as clouds, walking

I am of the opinion that many of our most acclaimed fashion designers are actually deeply disturbed persons who resort to fashion as therapy. These individuals find a twisted satisfaction in seeing their creations worn in public by sane and rational humans. However, they reach the height of their troublesome god-ship complex as they manipulate masses of these same rational beings to covet attire which will get them mistaken for clown/clouds, or the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, or someone without the motor skills necessary to dress himself, or even someone who lived before the age of sewing – a caveman perhaps. (Or, a combination of all four.)(Yes, I could go on.)
Case in point:
Fashion according to Paris


UAVs and military drones represent, to me, an increasingly ominous cloud of destructive technology, which threatens to blur and obscure ethical and humanitarian boundaries. UVAs and military drones are particularly troubling to me. With this technology, we have put into use killing robots, and almost completely remove ourselves from the human aspect and toll of war. “War, even if justified, is a horrible thing.”
I believe that technology should be science, applied for the betterment and sustenance of life. One might argue that, through the use of UVAs, we keep our troops out of harms way and protect our freedom by destroying our enemies. I argue, that, through the use of UVAs, we further disregard the sacredness of life (human life). Not only do we take it upon ourselves to decide who lives and who dies, but the destruction of life is indiscriminately and mercilessly carried out by a non – living creation, devoid of passion or compassion and without the ability to choose to spare life based on circumstances. I believe that these uses of technology (which no doubt will continually be developed at an accelerated rate) threaten many of the more noble, core elements of human interaction.

And then there are the beautiful uses of technology:
IBR Roomba Swarm in the Dark IV
Roomba Robots light painting

Or the ones that help preserve life:

An interesting WIRED Magazine article on Feedback loops used to reinforce positive driving behaviors and care for the elderly.

I spent a significant portion of my day making sense of, and arrangements to fulfill my “New Students” checklist from Wentworth. Besides paying various amounts of money (so that they know I’m serious) I have to make at least one doctor appointment, finalize and submit my homeschool transcript, take an English placement test, take and send them a (good) picture of myself, acquire and read a book (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), and a gazillion other things. See, sometimes you think that once you reach a goal, you deserve a break, or at least a little something to help you maintain your sanity, health and well-being (wait, what am I saying – I’m American. And an engineering student. Shucks.). Lesson: Learn to enjoy the rat race. (I’ve had this lesson before – when will I learn?)
Something else to do

To be honest, I’m psyched about starting college. Especially Biomedical Engineering. When I was about 14 I decided on what I wanted to do – and now I’m doing it. Feels good. I’ll post later on some of the awesome stuff Biomedical Engineers do.
Yes; here is the picture I’m sure you all have been waiting for (or at least that I’ve been dying to post 🙂 )
My acceptance packet!

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In parallel with college preparations, I’ve decided to retake my SATs. I got a perfect score in one section – and I think I could do that in all of them. I’m focusing on math primarily. I’m also doing some sciences and French over the summer (which, hopefully will translate into awesome subject tests scores this fall – and awesome grades once school starts).
Ambition: 2400 SAT super score

I made a contact for a summer job today. We’ll see how that turns out.

Today’s big news: we can pick up machines for installing the temporary Fab Lab next week!!! (Translation: you really, really need to flesh out and complete the lab schedule for the summer, determine, plan and design the classes and project, find some volunteers, train them to run the place – and a few other things I won’t bother to remind you of right now.) For which I’m excited! 🙂 Go TIE Project!

Ambitionz
Day 3
87 Dayz to go

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