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Posts Tagged ‘Harrison’

Apollo Veteran: Skip Asteroid, Go To the Moon

December 7th, 2012 12:48 admin View Comments

Moon

astroengine writes “It’s 40 years to the day that the final mission to the moon launched. Discovery News speaks with Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt about where he thinks the Earth’s only satellite came from and why he thinks a NASA manned asteroid mission is a mistake. ‘I think an asteroid is a diversion,’ said Schmitt. ‘If the ultimate goal is to get to Mars, you have a satellite only three days away that has a great deal of science as well as resources. The science of the moon has just been scratched. We’ve hardly explored the moon.’” The National Research Council came out with a report a few days ago which found that the inability for the U.S. to find a consensus on where to go is damaging its ability to get there. Bill Nye spoke about the issue, saying, “I believe, as a country, we want to move NASA from [being] an engineering organization to a science organization, and this is going to take years, decades. Now, through investment, we have companies emerging that are exploring space on their own and will ultimately lower the cost of access to low-Earth orbit, which will free up NASA to go to these new and exciting places.”

Source: Apollo Veteran: Skip Asteroid, Go To the Moon

Sci-fi Author Harry Harrison Dies at 87

August 15th, 2012 08:17 admin View Comments

Sci-Fi

tmjva writes “Per BBC’s Entertainment page, author Harry Harrison died today at the age of 87. His body of work included Make Room! Make Room!, (the inspiration for Soylent Green), The Stainless Steel Rat, and Bill the Galactic Hero. From the article: ‘Harrison’s first novel, Deathworld, was published in 1960, while the first book in the Stainless Steel Rat series was published a year later. The last of the series was published just two years ago in 2010 and the books are widely regarded as producing one of science fiction’s great anti-heroes, Slippery Jim diGriz, aka The Stainless Steel Rat. The author also parodied the sci-fi genre in his seven Bill the Galactic Hero books, which were first seen in 1965. He saw his work as anti-war and anti-militaristic.’”

Source: Sci-fi Author Harry Harrison Dies at 87

ReadWriteWeb Meetup: North America

November 14th, 2011 11:00 admin View Comments

rww_150.gifOn November 15, 2011, there will be a ReadWriteWeb Meetup near you! If you don’t see a Meetup near you, be sure to add your city to the list.

There are several meetups planned already in North America. Here are a few that caught our attention.

The Official ReadWriteWeb Meetup in Portland in October was a huge success, so the Worldwide Meetup should be just as good. Be sure to RSVP soon.

St. Louis is hosting another killer ReadWriteWeb meetup. Their location is the Drunken Fish CWE. Let us know if you are planning on attending to see Joe Brockmeier, David Strom, Alicia Eler and Scott Fulton in person. More on the St. Louis Meetup.

Boston’s meetup is meeting at Meadhall and will host startup founders, PR folks, entrepreneurs and students, among others. ReadWriteWeb writers Dan Rowinski and John Paul Titlow will be on hand to impress. RSVP on the Boston Meetup page. Read more on the Boston Meetup.

Located near DC? Then you can’t miss the Vienna meetup, held at the Dolly Madison Library. Be sure to corner ReadWriteWeb webmaster extraordinaire, Jared Smith, for his opinions on the weather (not kidding).

In Montreal the Meetup will be held at 4020 St-Ambroise, suite 147. RSVP here.

Other meetups of note in North America include Chicago at Thai Spoon on Harrison and Wabash, Cleveland at Bier Market and Framingham, MA at 492 Old Conneticut Path.

Other North American Meetups:

Winnipeg – Canada
Ottawa – Canada
Brooklyn
New York
Austin, TX
Blue Springs, MO
Chesterfield, MO
Chapel Hill, NC
Indianapolis, IN
Irvine, CA
San Francisco, GA
Palo Alto, CA
Orange, CA
Seattle, WA
Albuquerque, NM
Towson, MD

Source: ReadWriteWeb Meetup: North America

Keen On… Scott Harrison: Do You Know How To Build a Successful Non-Profit Brand?

April 25th, 2011 04:43 admin View Comments

Does founding a non-profit organization require the same skills as founding a traditional start-up company? Are the most successful social entrepreneurs as skilled in personal reinvention as the top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs?

Yes and yes. Take, for example, charity: water, the meteorically successful non-profit organization founded by the charismatic Scott Harrison. Four years ago, Harrison was a nightclub promoter making his living by selling $15 bottles of vodka for $350 at four in the morning. Today, having raised over $40 million, he is running a global non-profit dedicated to solving the world’s water crisis.

So how did he do it? As Harrison told me when he came into the TechCrunchTV studio last week, it required both radical personal reinvention and an understanding of the importance of marketing in building a new brand. Sounds familiar? Yes, the worlds of the non-profit and for-profit entrepreneur are uncannily similar. The only difference being that one is the business of making money and the other in “business” of giving it away.

This is the second part of my interview with Harrison. On Earth Day (last Friday), he explained to me why water changes everything.

The reinvention of Scott Harrison

How to build a non-profit brand

Experiencing radical generosity

Source: Keen On… Scott Harrison: Do You Know How To Build a Successful Non-Profit Brand?

The Royal Society Asks: Are We Ready to Meet E.T.?

January 10th, 2011 01:38 admin View Comments

You know the old routine in sci-fi: Aliens show up, people of Earth freak out. Whether we provoke  aliens a la The Day the Earth Stood Still or they arrive foaming with blood lust like in Mars Attacks, storytellers’ general feeling is that the mass of humanity would not respond well to the real presence of extraterrestrial life. We need Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to keep ‘em separated from us.

In 2011—the year after we were supposed to make contact—are we humans still a backwater mob of talking apes who would crumble into pandemonium, or cosmic self-doubt, at the discovery of life beyond Earth? This week, a special issue of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society addresses that question and more.

You’ve come a long way, baby

Albert Harrison, psychologist at the University of California, Davis, may live to regret saying nice things about humanity. But it’s nice to see somebody giving us a vote of confidence:

The Brookings Report warned in 1961 that the discovery of life beyond Earth could lead to social upheaval. But [Harrison] says “times have changed dramatically” since then. Even the discovery of intelligent aliens “may be far less startling for generations that have been brought up with word processors, electronic calculators, avatars and cell phones as compared with earlier generations used to typewriters, slide rules, pay phones and rag dolls,” Harrison writes in one of the papers. [MSNBC]

SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) hasn’t been successful in its half-century hunt for alien civilizations, but it has ingrained into people the idea of looking for life beyond Earth. The continually increasing exoplanet count (one discovery was announced just today) is showing people just a small glimpse of the variety of worlds out there. Thus, Harrison says the people of Earth would respond to the discovery of alien life with “delight or indifference,” according to the Press Association.

If you would greet the discovery of alien life with “indifference,” you need to reevaluate your worldview.

These creatures are not your friends / The sound of silence

Not everyone’s outlook is so rosy. The idea that extraterrestrial life would at the very least dislike humans—and probably try to wipe us out—doesn’t exist simply in the realm of sci-fi movies; Stephen Hawking made waves last April for articulating this argument. And in another paper in the Royal Society’s special issue, Simon Conway Morris argues that we ought to expect hostility.

Any life that might look like us, Morris reasons, probably would have emerged the same way that we did, though evolution by natural selection. And if you want to guess their temperament, look in the mirror.

“Why should we ‘prepare for the worst’? First, if intelligent aliens exist, they will look just like us, and given our far from glorious history, this should give us pause for thought,” wrote Morris in the journal’s special issue. [The Guardian]

The fact that alien civilizations haven’t swung by Earth to wipe us out with death rays or plagues, he argues, is evidence for the case that they don’t exist.

“At present, as many have observed, it is very quiet out there,” study author Simon Conway Morris, of the University of Cambridge, [said] in an e-mail interview. “And given many planetary systems are billions of years older than ours, I’d expect us to be best grilled on toast back in the Cambrian.” [Space.com]

What about God?

Suppose that extraterrestrial life—whether microbe or walking, talking alien—appears, and doesn’t destroy all humans. Will it destroy human religion? Ted Peters, a professor of systematic theology at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in California, considers this conundrum.

Most religions were formed with the notion of life on Earth being special, a notion that could be dashed in one swift stroke. Yet religion survived the revelation that the Earth is several billion years old and not the center of the universe. Most likely, he writes, it shall go on.

His conclusion … is that faith in Earth’s major religions would survive intact. “Theologians will not find themselves out of a job. In fact, theologians might relish the new challenges to reformulate classical religious commitments in light of the new and wider vision of God’s creation. Traditional theologians must then become astrotheologians…. What I forecast is this: contact with extraterrestrial intelligence will expand the existing religious vision that all of creation – including the 13.7bn-year history of the universe replete with all of God’s creatures – is the gift of a loving and gracious God,” he speculated. [The Guardian]

Who’s forming the welcoming committee?

Questions like what alien life might look like or how religion will change in a brave new universe make for fine conversation starters. But there’s one pressing matter we need to settle first: If E.T. shows up, what are we going to do?

The head of the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs, Mazlan Othman, presents her view that the United Nations should take a leading role in coordinating the global response to evidence of extraterrestrial life. Othman got in hot water when news reports made it sound as if she was angling to become an “ambassador to the aliens.” In the journal, however, Othman presents a sensible case: She draws an analogy to the role played by the United Nations in considering what should be done in the event Earth is threatened by an incoming asteroid. [MSNBC]

Let us know what you think about the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and how humanity would respond to it. And if you want to read the full Royal Society papers, many are now available free at the journal’s website.

Image: flickr / Jay Adan

Source: The Royal Society Asks: Are We Ready to Meet E.T.?

Google Says Microsoft Is Driving Antitrust Review

September 6th, 2010 09:21 admin View Comments

GovTechGuy writes “On Friday we discussed news that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott opened a probe into whether Google ranks its search listings with an eye toward nicking the competition. Google suggested the concerns have a major sponsor: Microsoft. In question is whether the world’s biggest search engine could be unfairly disadvantaging some companies by giving them a low ranking in free search listings and in paid ads that appear at the top of the page. That could make it tough for users to find those sites and might violate antitrust laws. Abbott’s office asked for information about three companies who have publicly complained about Google, according to blog post by Don Harrison, the company’s deputy general counsel. Harrison linked each of the companies to Microsoft.”

Source: Google Says Microsoft Is Driving Antitrust Review

Google Says Microsoft Is Driving Antitrust Review

September 6th, 2010 09:21 admin View Comments

GovTechGuy writes “On Friday we discussed news that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott opened a probe into whether Google ranks its search listings with an eye toward nicking the competition. Google suggested the concerns have a major sponsor: Microsoft. In question is whether the world’s biggest search engine could be unfairly disadvantaging some companies by giving them a low ranking in free search listings and in paid ads that appear at the top of the page. That could make it tough for users to find those sites and might violate antitrust laws. Abbott’s office asked for information about three companies who have publicly complained about Google, according to blog post by Don Harrison, the company’s deputy general counsel. Harrison linked each of the companies to Microsoft.”

Source: Google Says Microsoft Is Driving Antitrust Review

DARPA’s New Sniper Rifle Offers a Perfect Shot Across 12 Football Fields

May 25th, 2010 05:23 admin View Comments

sniper“Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes,” American revolutionaries supposedly yelled at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Legend has it that the rebels were trying to conserve ammunition, given the inaccuracy of their 18th century guns.

But things have come a long way since 1775. With DARPA’s new “One Shot” sniper system [PDF], scheduled to be in soldier’s hands by the fall of 2011, the U.S. military will give snipers the ability to take out an enemy at a distance of .7 miles in winds around 10 to 20 miles per hour. Military brass hopes the system will give snipers a perfect shot at least six times out of ten.

The One Shot system still wouldn’t come close to matching the record for shooting accuracy: In November of last year, British Army sniper Corporal Craig Harrison made two shots at a distance of 1.53  miles in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. But Harrison modestly thanked perfect shooting conditions: no wind, great visibility, and mild weather. The DARPA program aims to give soldiers the technology to hit a target despite adverse conditions.

To meet that goal, engineers first had to figure out what to do about wind. The prototype gun can’t get rid of the wind, but it needs to correct for it. Otherwise, over long distances, the bullets will veer off course; DARPA notes that a 10 mph crosswind can produce a miss even at a distance of a quarter of a mile.

The One Shot sniper scope has a computer system that uses lasers to track not only distance, but also the wind turbulence in the path of the bullet. A set of crosshairs appears not in direct line with the gun’s barrel, but instead where the bullet will actually hit, and also displays the confidence of that shot.

US military trials have found that a laser beam shone on the target can do more than just determine the range: it can also be used to “measure the average down range crosswind profile”. The laser information can be combined with automatic readings of temperature, humidity etc and a “ballistic solution” computed. [The Register]

But there’s more work to be done on the One Shot system before it arrives in combat zones. These high-tech systems can’t require a lot of training or give off a lot of heat.

What the agency really wants is a battle-ready system that doesn’t require tricky in-field optical alignment and fiddling with lasers. Night and day accuracy also means that the laser, which is used to help calculate and subtract wind turbulence between the predator and his prey, can’t be infrared. Enemies with night-vision goggles would see that from a mile away. [Wired]

DARPA has just finished its first phases of the project, developing and testing the computer targeting system. Among other things, the next steps include making the system the right size and weight for battle, and completing some tweaks to the target crosshairs. With these improvements, according to a DARPA announcement this month, the Agency will ask for 15 “fully operational and field hardened systems” for field testing.

Image: flickr / The U.S. Army

Source: DARPA’s New Sniper Rifle Offers a Perfect Shot Across 12 Football Fields

“Skinput” Turns Your Body Into Your I/O

March 4th, 2010 03:49 admin View Comments

kkleiner writes Skinput is a system from Carnegie Mellon’s Chris Harrison that monitors acoustic signals on your arm to translate gestures and taps into input commands. Just by touching different points on your arm, hand, or fingers you can tell your portable device to change volume, answer a call, or turn itself off. Even better, Harrison can couple Skinput with a pico projector so that you can see a graphic interface on your arm and use the acoustic signals to control it. The project is set to be presented at this year’s SIGCHI conference in April, but you can check it out now in several video demonstrations.”

Source: “Skinput” Turns Your Body Into Your I/O