Archive for October 2012

Preserving industry Moore’s Law pace: Carbon nanotubes are making progress

October 28, 2012

“I.B.M. scientists are reporting progress in a chip making technology that is likely to ensure the shrinking of the size of the basic digital switch at the heart of modern microchips for more than another decade”

“Carbon nanotubes are essentially single sheets of carbon rolled into nanoscale tubes”

“Carbon nanotubes are one of three promising technologies that engineers hope will be perfected in time to keep the industry on its Moore’s Law pace.”

“Against all expectations, the silicon chip has continued to improve in both speed and capacity for the last five decades. In recent decades, however, there has been growing uncertainty over whether the technology will continue to improve. The end of the microelectronics era would inevitably stall a growing array of industries that have fed off the falling cost and increasing performance of computer chips.”

“In recent years, while chip makers have continued to double the number of transistors on microprocessors and memory chips, their performance, measured as “clock speed,” has largely stalled. This has forced the computer industry to change its design and begin building more parallel computers. Today, even smartphone microprocessors come with as many as four processors, or “cores,” which are used to break up tasks so they can be processed simultaneously.”

Source NYT:



Smartphone + cloud + MIT’s algoritms = a social robot named Dragonbot.

October 28, 2012

‘Imagine this scenario: you have a conversation with a Dragonbot in San Francisco (yes, you will be able to converse with these things eventually). It uses the camera in its smartphone brain to recognize your face and upload that recognition to a cloud server. You tell the Dragonbot something, perhaps that you are happy the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series. A month later you come to Boston and see a different Dragonbot. It can use its cellular connection to retrieve information from the cloud, recognize your face and ask about your feelings for how the Series turned out.’

Source RWW

Les Enfants du Paradis, a precursor of luxury TV productions

October 28, 2012

Les Enfants du Paradis is far less a movie that we tend to consider as a masterpiece , than a kind of theater play which is what the film deals with. More importantly, through the crowd scenes rolled  on Boulevard du crime, the film enters the register of luxury drama TV movies. it is a particularly well constructed and brilliantly played precursor of today prestige TV productions.

Source Slate

“You know: ‘You’re Asian, you must be smart,’ “. Asians’ success at high school prep test

October 27, 2012

‘in 1971, Stuyvesant High School (one of the elite’s NYC public high school) was mostly white, 10 percent black, 4 percent Puerto Rican or “other Spanish surnamed,” and 6 percent Asian.

‘This year at Stuyvesant, 72 percent are Asian and less than 4 percent are black or Hispanic.’

“You know: ‘You’re Asian, you must be smart,’ ”  said Jan Michael Vicencio, an immigrant from Manila and a junior at Brooklyn Tech, one of the eight schools that use the test for admission. “And you’re not sure it’s a compliment or an insult. We get that a lot.”

‘Asian students cited their parents’ observance of ancient belief systems like Confucianism, a set of moral principles that emphasizes scholarship and reverence for elders, as well as their rejection of child-rearing philosophies more common in the United States that emphasize confidence and general well-being.’

Source NYT

Greenhouse gas: 2 sectors are increasing their emission

October 25, 2012

The major sectors that emit greenhouse gas are, in descending order: transport, manufacturing, agriculture / forestry, construction, energy industry. on these 5 sectors, 4 reduced their emission since 1990. 2 increased it considerably: transport and construction.

Planning can have some influence on these two sectors. indeed, some virtuous buildings (passive construction), if poorly located, may present heavy GHG emissions because they induce an intensive use of the automobile.

Source Technicités, oct 2012.

Tax burdens have come down. Excepted local gov tax

October 25, 2012

‘share of GDP gobbled up by the taxman, tax burdens have come down in most countries since the turn of the 21st century’

‘In much of the rich world there is a trend towards taxes being spent in state and local government, rather than central government’

Source The Economist

Videogames piracy to enter French anti p2p agency’s fighting zone

October 25, 2012

‘France is believed to be the first country where the video games industry is involved in these organized anti-piracy efforts. The “six-strikes” scheme that will go live in the U.S. next month is limited to the movie and music industries.’
Source: Torrent freaks