Tag Archives: technology

The frustrations of modern technology


And after all that there is the problem of remembering the password(s).

Where have we been?

Here’s a great graphic I picked up from Geekation. There’s a lot of information here. Click on the image to access the details – It’s worth it.

This fascinates me as I remember the first Sputnik launch in 1957. All this has happened in my lifetime!

It’s certainly changed our picture of the solar system.

Thanks to: Where have we been? A very cool picture of where we have sent probes throughout the solar system.

Science on New Zealand TV

Maori Television has been very successful. As well as the coverage of Maori issues many viewers have been pleased at their programming of quality foreign films.

I came across another gem of theirs recently: 411 – a locally produced programme on innovation, science, technology and design. (See 411.net.nz for information).

Presenters Tumamao Harawira and Taupunakohe Tocker

It’s a fast moving but quite informative programme. Often covering local companies and research institutes.

Recent stories have covered subject like Lense Innovation, Car Recycling, The Synchrotron, Cinematic Games, Kiwifruit Innovation, Maori Digital Art, Virtual Learning, Reef Design, Interactive Books and Wireless Mobile Device Learning.

Future programmes will cover Supercars, Honey Innovation, Bio-Engineering, Gaming Development, Custom Ear Monitors, Appliance Innovation, Building Technology, Observatory Technology and Advanced Materials Manufacturing.

It’s about time we had something like this.

If you are interested tune in Fridays 10:30 pm on Maori Television.

The presenters are Tumamao Harawira and Taupunakohe Tocker


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Last chance – almost!

With the retirement of NASA’s shuttle fleet later this year we won’t be seeing images like this any more.

This shows Image of the solar transit of the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Atlantis 50 minutes before docking last weekend. The last planned trip for Atlantis.

Have a look at the full image or click on the photo – it’s worth it!

The image is by Thierry Legault (see Solar Transit of ISS and Atlantis – Last Mission of Atlantis).
Thanks to Bad Astonomer (see ISS, Shuttle transit the Sun!).


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Look out!

This is scary stuff. Look at all that space junk. I guess it’s a matter of resolution. But it must be quite a job keeping track of it all.


Each dot represents a bit of known space junk that’s at least 4 inches (10 cm) orbiting Earth. Note the distinctive outer ring, known as a geostationary orbit, where weather and communication satellites orbit at the same rate that the Earth turns, allowing them to remain over a single spot on Earth at all times. The concentration of dots obscuring Earth in the center of the image represent debris in low-Earth orbit. In total, some 19,000 manmade objects this size or bigger orbit Earth as of July 2009; most are in low-Earth orbit. Countless smaller objects are also circling the planet. Credit: NASA/Orbital Debris Program Office.

via Image Display.

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An optimistic future for energy storage?

The problems we face from climate change are also tied up with problems from resource depletion, particularly those related to energy. Even today we all feel the economic consequences of increasing fuels costs. It is easy to be alarmist and concentrate on the problems. And its easy to be blind to the possible cures for these problems.

But there are technological possibilities which provide some optimism that humanity will deal with these problems. A new process recently developed for storing solar energy is one of these. The process works by using a cobaltic phosphate catalyst in the electrolysis of water, overcoming problems related to normal electrolysis methods. The hydrogen and oxygen produced can be stored and converted back into electricity, when desired, using fuel cells. It can be used with any method of electricity generation which is not normally matched to demand, such as solar and wind.

In the video below Daniel Nocera describes how such a system could be used in distributed power generation systems. He believes such systems could be possible in the near future.

Of course, its difficult to predict the future. And the technology developed by Nocera’s team is only one example of a number of technological developments related to energy production and storage. However,  development of this energy storage system is an example of why we should be more optimistic about our future.

Daniel Nocera describes new process for storing solar energy

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Climate change optimism

It’s easy to be alarmist, or at least pessimistic, about climate change. After all, the possible consequences are pretty dramatic.

However, let’s not forget that our species has the ability to foresee consequences and to take action. That arises from our intelligence. Unlike other species, we don’t have to passively continue activity which could lead to our own extinction. This intelligence may well be a prime cause of environmental change – but it does enable us to adapt.

So, it’s good to see some positive messages.

This book, Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming looks interesting. It gives a positive message. Humanity’s response to current climate change is opening up all sorts of technological possibilities. I think the authors say somewhere that these new technologies could lead to a revolution at least as great as that ushered in by computers.

Have a look at their web site and the short videos narrated by one of the authors  Mirriam Horn. These outline some of the technological possibilities.

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