- 4:55 pm - Thu, Jun 19, 2014
- 1 note
A big win today, as the Supreme Court says that implementing an un-patentable abstract idea on a computer doesn’t magically render it patentable. This doesn’t kill all software patents, but it definitely weakens the most egregious examples.
- 10:11 am - Tue, Jun 17, 2014
Very interesting article about how super-accurate, turbine-level forecasts optimize the output of wind farms.
- 11:56 am - Mon, Jun 16, 2014
- 1 note
A Public Service Announcement
You may not realize this, but Semicon West is scheduled well in advance. It’s always about the second week in July, and the exact dates are available at least a year in advance.
Similarly, print publications put their editorial calendars together months in advance. Had you asked, they could have told you their deadlines for Semicon West coverage six months ago.
Clearly you didn’t ask, or you wouldn’t be calling to ask if I know someone who can turn an opinion piece around in less than a week, or a technical article in two weeks.
No, I don’t. Everyone who might be able to is already busy, and you don’t want to pay their rush job premium anyway.
But I promise I won’t start laughing until after I hang up the phone.
- 9:51 pm
Yes, it is possible to write an article on a subject about which you know absolutely nothing. As this author demonstrates. Grab a couple of quotes from a journal article or press release, throw in a few intelligent sounding buzzwords, and you’re good to go. I guess I’ve been doing it all wrong: I’ve been bashing my brains against sites like arXiv.org all this time.
Those who want to know what contextuality has to do with quantum computing will find the original research here.
Those who want to know more about quantum computing can find my ongoing series on the subject starting here.
- 2:16 pm - Mon, Jun 2, 2014
- 1 note
Good short interview with Dr. Diana Marculescu, this year’s recipient of the Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation Achievement Award.
- 8:31 am - Mon, May 19, 2014
Not sure whether climate change is real? Your insurance company thinks it is, and will charge you accordingly.
- 10:05 pm - Sat, Apr 26, 2014
- 1 note
More and more San Francisco roofs are sprouting solar panels. The flagpoles at the center-left edge of this picture are on Howard Street, in front of Moscone South.
- 9:59 pm
- 346 notes
Most people know Redwood National Park in California as home to the tallest trees on Earth. But the parks also protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly 40 miles of pristine coastline, all supporting a rich mosaic of wildlife diversity and cultural traditions. Together, the National Park Service and California State Parks manage these lands for the inspiration, enjoyment, and education of all people.
Photo: Jessica Watz - www.sharetheexperience.org
Serendipity is a wonderful thing. I spent part of last weekend driving through part of Redwood National Park. Well worth a visit.
- 9:31 am - Sun, Apr 13, 2014
Navy researchers demonstrate proof-of-concept in first flight of an internal combustion powered model aircraft fueled by a novel gas-to-liquid process that uses seawater as carbon feedstock.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the challenges of carbon sequestration is the need to deal with large quantities of carbon dioxide, which under normal conditions is a pretty stable molecule.
The US Navy claims to have developed a process for extracting carbon dioxide from seawater, and converting it to hydrocarbon fuel. For the Navy itself, this would mean that, for instance, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier could make the fuel for its airplanes, rather than having to carry a separate supply of jet fuel.
The implications for the civilian energy industry are less clear. The announcement has sparked lots of excitement, but doesn’t say much about the energy efficiency of the process. The energy to break all those carbon-oxygen bonds has to come from somewhere, and not all of it is going to be recovered when the fuel is burned.
That raises two questions. The first is cost. The Navy estimates that fuel produced this way will be cost-competitive with conventional fuels, but they haven’t actually scaled up to the point where they can fly a full-sized airplane, much less compete in the civilian transportation market.
The second question is carbon-neutrality. The fuel itself is carbon-neutral: carbon extracted from seawater came from the atmosphere to begin with, so burning it doesn’t add any more carbon to the system. But you still have to consider the energy used to drive the reactor. If it comes from a carrier’s nuclear power plant, that’s great, but if it comes from coal — as 20% of US energy does — I’m not sure you’ve really gained anything compared to conventional oil or natural gas.