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NSD: NOAA Staff Directory

NSD: NOAA Staff Directory

Great Place For A Virtual STEM Field Trip

Bill Gates Speech at Harvard (part 2)

Warren Buffett - Success principles

Bill Gates - Tips for Students

Bill Gates Speech at Harvard (part 1)

Mark Zuckerberg at Startup School 2012

Get Funded With Crowdfunding - June 12, 2012 webinar.mp4

How To Crowdfund Your Business - Webinar 12/04/2012

Crowdfunding: What You Need to Know

STEM - Here's to you, Mr. Zuckerberg

Roderick MacLeod, E/V Nautilus Chief Navigator: JASON STEM Career Q&A

What do you want to do - STEM Careers

Roderick MacLeod, E/V Nautilus Chief Navigator: JASON STEM Career Q&A

STEM Summer Bridge Experience at Lancaster Engineering Ac...

Green: Vegetation on Our Planet (Tour of Earth)

NASA Satellite Watches Plants Change Over Seasons

NASA Satellite Watches Plants Change Over Seasons

June 27th, 2013 | by Michael Keller
NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite keeps a vigilant eye on the herbal Earth. A representation of its work—a compilation of vegetation data taken over the course of a year—is below.
The satellite’s visible and infrared light sensor records the reflection of sunlight off vegetation to understand how plants sprouting and shedding their leaves change the land.
While interesting to watch on its own, this data is folded into an analytical tool called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, which is used for environmental modeling and weather prediction. 

BEAUTIFUL supercell time lapse from Booker, Texas!

Collaboration is Dead – Long Live Symbiosis | Beyond Philosophy

Collaboration is Dead – Long Live Symbiosis | Beyond Philosophy

Collaboration is Dead – Long Live Symbiosis

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The African Oxpecker is an animal that lives on the backs of large animals, taking care of the ticks that suck their blood. In addition to ridding the larger beast of pesky ticks, the bird, which actually sucks a little of the animals blood also, makes a loud shriek when startled serving as a personal alarm for the animals as well. Animals a hundred times its size, including Rhinoceroses, tolerate, even welcome this small bird and its blood sucking. Why? Because the bird forms one-half of a relationship, with shared benefits for both animals’ survival. This is more than collaboration, this is a symbiotic relationship. Once can’t survive without the other.
It isn’t just rhinos though. Sharks are the benefit of a symbiotic relationship as well. Cleaner fish, like catfish, gobies or wrasses, will clean the debris and parasites that collect on the outside skin of the larger fish. The sharks even enjoy a good tickle as an added bonus while the cleaner fish dines.  The shark refrains from eating the fish and the fish gets a meal from the skin of the fierce predator. This symbiotic relationship has no end to mutual benefits — particularly for the Goby.
Like the survival needs of Oxpecker and the Goby, symbiosis is a critical concept for corporations’ survival. Today I read an article by business designer Toni Keskinen called, “Symbiosis Strategy: Creating the Ultimate Customer Value Proposition” which discusses the need of today’s business to generate a value proposition that has massive input from its customers.  He describes the symbiotic relationship as the ultimate value proposition that requires collaboration with your customer to achieve.
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Txchnologist - Neuromorphic Chips Bring Artificial Brain Closer

Txchnologist - Neuromorphic Chips Bring Artificial Brain Closer

Neuromorphic Chips Bring Artificial Brain Closer

Neuromorphic Chips Bring Artificial Brain Closer

July 30th, 2013 | by Ysabel Yates
Even after years of progress and exponential growth in capabilities, the best computers out there in terms of efficiency, speed and processing power aren’t made of silicon and circuits. The crown still goes to the unbelievably complex human brain. In February 2011, Ars Technica reported on a study that found all the world’s general-purpose computers in 2007 held about the same processing power as a single human brain.

Seeing an opportunity in the huge disparity between our abilities and those of the computing machines we create, many researchers have been aiming to build a new generation of computers based on the one inside our heads. A recent breakthrough from European and U.S. computer scientists has brought this long sought “artificial brain” a step closer to reality. They have created microchips that are able to mimic the information-processing circuitry of the brain in real-time.
Building the artificial brain 
Their neuromorphic chips resemble neurons in size, and are able to solve the same types of cognitive tasks humans can.
"The network connectivity patterns closely resemble structures that are also found in mammalian brains," study coauthor Giacomo Indiveri, a professor at the Institute of Neuroinformatics of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, stated in a press release.
The first challenge their device successfully completed: identifying which direction bars moved across a computer screen. The task was chosen because it requires real-time visual processing, memory and context-dependent decision making, elements which are regarded as signatures of cognition, explains Indiveri.
(One of the neuromorphic chips used by the researchers. Each silicon chip is comparable in size to an actual neuron. Photo courtesy of Emre Neftci / Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich.)
The team chose this simple task because the network they built was small―on the order of 4,000 silicon neurons, with an average of 100 connections between neurons. This is paltry compared to the billions of neurons that make up a human brain.
But as Emre Neftci, a coauthor of the study and researcher at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, explains, the lab isn’t interested in building a network made of billions of neurons just yet. The first step is learning how to configure and combine the small chips to solve simple problems. READ MORE
Efficiency and real-time processing  

The study was published last week in PNAS.
Top image: Rendering of a neuron matrix, courtesy Nicolas P. Rougier via Wikimedia Commons

Become a New York Times digital subscriber - Interesting! I love the Times, especially the science times. I wouldn't blink an eye if it was a buck a week digital subscription.

Become a New York Times digital subscriber

Transit-Oriented Development is Job Oriented Development - Today's Topic What is the process of marketing to and attracting businesses to TOD?

DRCOG - Transit-Oriented Development

What is the process of marketing to and attracting businesses to TOD?

From large-scale developments like Union Station to smaller ones near planned 
outlying FasTracks stations, there is a need to attract businesses to anchor 
the developments. Landing DaVita was huge for Union Station, but are any 
other big fish on the way? What can we do from an economic development 
policy standpoint to ensure that others will follow? And what about bringing 
in the small, local businesses to the smaller stations? Are the developers 
able to make the leases affordable?

DRCOG - Posts Related To Financing | Transit-Oriented Development

DRCOG - Posts Related To Financing | Transit-Oriented Development

Posts Related To Financing

Land banks are public authorities created to efficiently acquire, hold, manage, and develop tax-foreclosed property. This guidebook concentrates on land banking abandoned or unused properties, and explores the development of land banks in St. Louis, Cleveland, Louisville, Atlanta, and Genesee County, Mich., addressing the conditions, history, and legal structures of each. The artical compares and contrastes the legal approaches and policies of these five examples.
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An essential tenet of the New Urbanism is that existing as well as new activity centers of metropolitan regions should be developed to higher densities and a greater mix of uses. New Urbanism suggests that if centers with different commercial functions are numerous and linked by high quality transit service, people will significantly reduce their use of automobiles for both commuting and nonwork travel. Working against this ideal of TODs as an organizing concept for urban design are strong market and socioeconomic forces that have created the current highly variegated commercial structure characteristic of urbanized areas in the US.
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Topics include: Development Partnerships: Sharing Risk and Rewards on Publicly Sponsored Projects "Mixed Use, Sustainable Development, Through Public-Private Partnerships. “Creating Effective Public-Private Partnerships for Buildings and Infrastructure in Today's Economic Environment.
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Over a Million Are Denied Bank Accounts for Past Errors - Excellent Reporting

Over a Million Are Denied Bank Accounts for Past Errors -

"consumer advocates and state authorities say the use of the databases disproportionately affects lower-income Americans, who tend to live paycheck to paycheck, making them more likely to incur negative marks after relatively minor banking missteps like overdrawing accounts, amassing fees or bouncing checks.

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When the databases were created more than 20 years ago, they were intended to help banks guard against serial fraud artists, like those accused of writing bogus checks. Since then, though, the databases have ensnared millions of low-income Americans, according to interviews with financial counselors, consumer lawyers and more than two dozen low-income people inCaliforniaIllinoisFlorida, New York and Washington.
Jonathan Mintz, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, says banks’ growing reliance on customer databases has frustrated efforts to help an estimated 825,000 New Yorkers without bank accounts gain access to the mainstream financial system.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being shut out for relatively small mistakes,” Mr. Mintz said.
As a result, many have no choice but to turn to costly fringe operations to cash checks, pay bills and wire money. Saving for the future, financial counselors say, can be especially difficult.
The ranks of those without bank accounts have swelled — up more than 10 percent since 2009, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — as banks have sharpened their focus on more affluent customers who typically generate twice the revenue of their lower-income counterparts. Many banks are closing branches in poor areas and expanding in wealthier ones, according to an analysis of federal data.
Rejection for would-be bank customers can come as a shock. Tiffany Murrell ofBrooklyn says a credit union denied her checking account application in September 2012 even though she had a job as a secretary and was up to date on her bills."

Hoover warned about Pearl Harbor - When America finally did get into the war, the Bureau expanded rapidly. In just two years, the FBI almost doubled in size.

After Roosevelt appointed Donovan to head up this important new intelligence agency, Hoover went completely sour on any cooperation with the British intelligence operatives. The consequences of this attitude were controversial when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
The British double agent Dusko Popov, who reputedly inspired Ian Fleming's creation of James Bond, was approached by the Germans to become their spy. Popov did so, but reported everything he did to the British.
When the Germans sent Popov to set up a large spy ring in the U.S., he was asked to gather some very provocative information for the Japanese. The Japanese request, called the "Japanese questionnaire," involved a lot of extremely specific information about Hawaii and Pearl Harbor. British Intelligence and Popov came to the conclusion in August of 1941 that the Japanese were preparing an invasion of the United States at Pearl Harbor.
The FBI was very unfriendly to Popov. Hoover disliked double agents, especially wealthy playboys like Popov who showed up at Hoover's favorite New York City nightclub, the Stork Club. Hoover added the "Japanese questionnaire" to other evidence he had that the Japanese were very interested in Hawaii, but he did nothing with the information from Popov or other sources.
Gentry claims that it is possible that with the thousands of reports that the Bureau received, it was difficult to determine which ones were legitimate. "Still, it is difficult to explain that Hoover...didn't warn the president that two German agents had been ordered to study the defenses of Pearl Harbor for the Japanese, and that the last had been told it was 'of the highest priority,' indicating that a time factor was involved."
When America finally did get into the war, the Bureau expanded rapidly. In just two years, the FBI almost doubled in size from 7,420 employees to 13,317. Special agents more than doubled to 5,702.
Wiretaps and other electronic surveillance expanded dramatically, although Hoover was never honest with his congressional watchdogs when they questioned him about the extent of the wiretapping. The FBI even burglarized to get what it wanted.

international space station | Popular Science

international space station | Popular Science

The Evolution of the U.S. Intelligence 

Conditions are optimal for cancer research!

The Evolution of the U.S. Intelligence Community-An Historical Overview

The Evolution of the U.S. Intelligence Community-An Historical Overview

The Evolution of the U.S. Intelligence Community-An Historical Overview

The function of intelligence as an activity of the U.S. Government is often regarded as a product of the Cold War. Indeed, much of what is known today as the Intelligence Community was created and developed during the Cold War period. But intelligence has been a function of the Government since the founding of the Republic. While it has had various incarnations over time, intelligence has historically played a key role in providing support to U.S. military forces and in shaping the policies of the United States toward other countries.

The Early Years of the Republic

During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington was an avid user of intelligence as well as a consummate practitioner of the intelligence craft. Records show that shortly after taking command of the Continental Army in 1775, Washington paid an unidentified agent to live in Boston and surreptitiously report by use of "secret correspondence" on the movements of British forces. Indeed, Washington recruited and ran a number of agents, set up spy rings, devised secret methods of reporting, analyzed the raw intelligence gathered by his agents, and mounted an extensive campaign to deceive the British armies. Historians cite these activities as having played a major role in the victory at Yorktown and in the ability of the Continental Army to evade the British during the winters at Valley Forge.
In a letter to one of his officers written in 1777, Washington wrote that secrecy was key to the success of intelligence activities:
    "The necessity of procuring good intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged-All that remains for me to add is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, success depends in most Enterprises of the kind, & for want of it, they are generally defeated, however, well planned...." [letter to Colonel Elias Dayton, 26 July 1777]
Washington was not the only one to recognize the importance of intelligence to the colonials' cause. In November of 1775, the Continental Congress created the Committee of Secret Correspondence to gather foreign intelligence from people in England, Ireland, and elsewhere on the European continent to help in the prosecution of the war.
Washington's keen interest in intelligence carried over to his presidency. In the first State of the Union address in January 1790, Washington asked the Congress for funds to finance intelligence operations. In July of that year the Congress responded by establishing the Contingent Fund of Foreign Intercourse (also known as the Secret Service Fund) and authorizing $40,000 for this purpose. Within three years, the fund had grown to $1 million, about 12% of the Government's budget at the time. While the Congress required the President to certify the amounts spent, it also allowed him to conceal the purposes and recipients of the funds. (In 1846, this latter provision was challenged by the House of Representatives, but President Polk, citing national security grounds of protection of sources, refused to turn over more specific information on the use of the Fund to the Congress.

Watch Video: company delivers cakes using drones -- Shanghai Daily

Local company takes delivery of cakes to new heights - literally -- Shanghai Daily | 上海日报 -- English Window to China New

Three women look up in amazement as a drone carries a cake along the Huangpu River.
Photo by Ti Gong

HAVE the cake and eat it too.

And get it delivered in style as well.

In a crazy story that would make even spy master James Bond sit up and take notice, a local cake factory is using drones to deliver cakes in Shanghai! And China's civil aviation authorities are not too happy about it.

The factory used remote-controlled aircraft on five different occasions to "fly" cakes across the Huangpu River to customers in downtown, claimed Men Ruifeng, the marketing manager of the Incake company, which only accepts orders online.

The drone, measuring 1.1 meters in diameter and fitted with five propellers, flies at a height of about 100 meters and can be remotely controlled over several kilometers. It has two cameras and the controller can pilot it from a nearby vehicle, Men said.

The company has three such drones, all of them refitted from a Chinese-made aviation model.

During one of the "test" flights last week, the drone hovered around the International Financial Center, the Citigroup Tower, Shangri-La Hotel and Jin Mao Tower for 45 minutes before crossing the Huangpu River to reach a customer.

Men claims the air service is quick and more environmental friendly. The cakes too are intended for couples celebrating special moments and are willing to shell out about 2,000 yuan (US$325.8), Men said.

The drone flights along the river has caught the attention of the locals, many of whom praised the factory's creativity, but others pointed out to the potential dangers from the sky.

"What if the cake or even the drone fell on a passer-by from the 100 meters," a netizen asked.

A drone weighs about 10 kilograms.

Another netizen worried that the new mode of delivery could be hijacked by criminals to deliver drugs or even bombs.

But Men said a company staff will keep an eye on the drone and keep in touch with the controller.

Local police said they were also investigating the issue. The drone was used to deliver stuff, making it different from normal aviation practices, a police officer said.

Unmanned aircraft have to be approved by the civil aviation authority before being used for business, said an official with the civil aviation's East China Regional Administration.

Moreover, the company also has to apply to the administration and report its flying details, especially those over the downtown areas, the official pointed out. He said the authorities plan to come up with a new unmanned aircraft management regulation to manage drones that may become a common sight in the future.