Category Archives: cool stuff

Your New Home Security Device Is Airborne

I had a feeling that sooner or later, someone would come up with a flying home security device. A device that is alerted by sensing an “issue”, and then can fly to investigate and report to your phone.

But making a drone that is capable of this is hard. And so, we have not had this type of device on the market … until now

Ring has made it

Ring latest home security camera is taking flight — literally. The new Always Home Cam is an autonomous drone that can fly around inside your home to give you a perspective of any room you want when you’re not home. Once it’s done flying, the Always Home Cam returns to its dock to charge its battery. It is expected to cost $249.99 when it starts shipping next year.

The alternative? Lots of cameras in your house.

My bet — we will see further improvements in the technology. These drones will take different shapes and offer a lot more functions. Stay tuned!

Book Alert: Swinging London of the 60’s!

From Londonist

London in the Swinging Sixties is the stuff of legend, and for one brief moment, there was an achingly hip magazine to capture it in all its groovy glory.

And that mag was?

London Life emerged on the scene in October 1965, giving fashion-conscious youngsters and fans of the emerging new celeb culture a glimpse into a world in which Diana Rigg, Mick Jagger and David Hockney partied at the top of the newly opened GPO Tower.

And it lasted just 15 months.

But ..

Now, a coffee table book, London Life: The Magazine of the Swinging Sixties, pulls together deliciously glossy spreads from the publication, which was seen as the cooler successor of Tatler (ironically, of course, Tatler still exists today).

Check out the Londist link for more!

Christmas is Coming: Samsung may have you Covered

So this gift would not be cheap. It weighs in around 2,k, which is — for most of us peasants — a significant among uf lucre. And yet, there are those special people lurking about who would love this kind of gift.

What king of gift is that?

The third gen Samsun folding phone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G Foldable Smartphone | Samsung US

I know, I know. This sounds gimmicky. But check out the Robb review. It appears that this time, Samsung has got it right.

With the Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung has succeeded in making folding smartphones something to be taken seriously. What once seemed like a gimmick now feels like a feature with genuine appeal and utility. The brand’s latest device isn’t perfect (hey, no phone is), and the folding screen’s long-term durability remains an open question, but it’s easily the most attractive foldable yet. So, who will want this phone? Former phablet users who finally realized the oversized phones was just too big and clunky to carry around. And the rest of us, who’ve been quietly griping about having to use too many devices—phones, tablets and laptops—every day. The Fold2 makes a compelling case for tossing at least one of those.

There is a Difference between Risk and Uncertainty

That might sound a bit nit picky. But in fact, the difference is important.

Risk is when the factors determining success or failure are out of your control but the odds of success are known – a game of dice, for example. You can’t control whether a 2 or a 12 is rolled, but you know the odds.

Think of Bond playing Baccarat. He knows the odds and loves the play them. But there is another kind of experience that is, perhaps, far more common. One that we tend to ignore

Uncertainty is when the factors determining success or failure are not necessarily out of your control, but are simply unknown. It is accepting a challenge to play a game that you do not completely know the rules of. Innovators tend to be more willing to venture into the unknown, and therefore are more likely to engage in ambitious projects even when outcomes and probabilities are a mystery.

So what’s the big deal? Dealing with risks requires a plan. Dealing with uncertainty means making decisions where plans have only limited value. One has to be ready at a moment’s notice to ditch the plan when information coming in changes the rules of the game.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging has allowed researchers to discover that risk analysis is a largely rational and calculation-driven process, but uncertainty triggers the ancient fight-or-flight part of the brain. This research would suggest that experienced innovators are better able to maintain their analytical capabilities in spite of the adrenaline and instinctual response that arises when confronting uncertainty.

Check out this cool post on how these ideas translate into the various skill sets that innovators need.

Kitchen Upgrade: The Proof is in the Schmear!

Schmear?

Strangely enough, the word “schmear” has 2 meanings in its noun form. It also has a verb form, but I will not get into that one. The first meaning is

an underhand inducement.

I am not sure how an underhanded inducement is different than an overhand inducement. And this example didn’t completely clear it up:

“he knew the schmear was on when the producer invited him to lunch”

Was the underhanded inducement the lunch? Or the thing that might be proposed over lunch?

The second definition is far easier to gt

a smear or spread.

That is the meaning we are interested in here. A schmear of cream cheese, to be more precise. You can buy this product, or you can make it.

And if you make it, you get the benefit of adding your favorite combination of herbs, condiments etc. The good news is that this looks very simple – so simple you don’t even need a recipe!

Hurray for the Mighty Mice!

The problem

Living in microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS) might seem like it’d be gentle on the human body, but it’s not. Without gravity, the musculoskeletal system starts to atrophy because it no longer needs to support any weight. And even though regular exercise in space keeps astronauts in decent shape, bone and muscle loss remains a major health concern for long-term space missions.

In fact, the problem has a more earth bound corollary. A significant number of people on earth also suffer from muscle atrophy and bone density loss.

Is there anything that can be done? A study of mice in space may give us a clue

The study involved sending 40 mice to the ISS for a month-long stay. Eight of the mice were missing the gene for myostatin, a protein known to inhibit muscle growth. Another eight mice were given a treatment that suppresses myostatin and the protein activin A, which also helps to regulate muscle mass. The rest of the mice (24) were left untreated as a control group.

The mice that received the gene treatment came back just fine. The others did less well.

Treatments like these could protect astronauts on future long-term space missions. After all, studies show that spending just 16 to 28 weeks in space can cause a 3.5-percent loss in bone density, so space agencies are understandably concerned about the health risks of sending astronauts on a three-year mission to Mars.

And it could help folks back on earth!

Stay tuned!

 

Nuclear Power Aint Dead Yet – and Read This before You Groan

At least 4 issues arise when one says the words “nuclear power”. First is safety. After the types of meltdowns we have seen, one would have to swallow hard before agreeing to allow a Nuke to be built nearby. Second is waste. We still don’t have a great way to deal with spent fuel. Third is proliferation. It aint hard to enrich uranium from fuel into weapons grade stuff. Fourth is cost.

So could a nuke project deal with all four? Check out this post on TerraPower. It uses spent fuel rods for fuel, and looks to be safer and cheaper than earlier nuke designs.  Bill Gates is sold on it, and I will keep an open mind about it — especially if it dovetails with increased use of renewable sources so that we can decarbonize faster.

What about you?