Sunday, December 28, 2008

Unique Hidden Alleyways of Lyon France

After heading to Europe on four different occasion, I am disappointed I have never visited France. I’ve never even had a connecting flight land in this fine country.

Not only do I love the idea of a good stay in Paris, I would also like to go to France’s second largest city, Lyon. Once there, I would really want to explore the hidden “Traboules” within "Old Town".

It is a feature of Lyon possibly as quaint as the back alleyways and small, least used streets of Venice. Lyon has over 400 of these hidden passageway that link two parallel streets. This network of internal labyrinth of alleyways dates back to the 1500’s

You are very unlikely to happen upon or discover any of these hidden passageways on your own. However, there are a few well made maps that reveal where to make your way deep within the maze. (One such maps may be picked up at the Tourism Office, Place de la Republique.) Many traboule entries appear to be secured via a private secured keypad; if you simply hit the lower central button on the lower row of the keypad you are often instantly granted access. I feel when you use hidden attractions like traboules, just for a moment you truly feel like a local.

My description of a "Maze" might be an overstatement, since they really aren’t interconnected. Each begins and end perpendicular to a public street; serving as a shortcut. Many feature beautiful little central courtyards.

A famous attraction within one of the inner courtyards only accessible thought a Traboule is a large spiral staircase called the Pink tower.
Surprisingly, this listed Lyon attraction reminds me of a rarely visited little attraction I once saw in Venice, called "The Winding Staircase", Contarini Bovolo.
I digress, let's get back to Lyon, France.

Here are some tips for you if you find yourself wondering the streets one day:
Things To Do in Lyon (240 Reviews - 207 Photos)
1. Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière (39 Reviews - 43 Photos)
2. Vieux Lyon - general (35 Reviews - 46 Photos)
3. Cathédrale St-Jean (20 Reviews - 18 Photos)
4. Rhône & Saône Rivers (18 Reviews - 16 Photos)
5. Fourvière Hill (14 Reviews - 13 Photos)
6. Musée Civilisation Gallo-Romaine &Amphitheatres (13 Reviews - 10 Photos)
7. Presqu'ile (13 Reviews - 12 Photos)
8. Place des Terreaux (12 Reviews - 14 Photos)
9. Place Bellecour (12 Reviews - 11 Photos)
10. Parc de la Téte d'Or (9 Reviews - 4 Photos)
» More Things To Do in Lyon

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/France/Rhone_Alpes/Lyon-105728/TravelGuide-Lyon.html

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tools to Analyze a GREEN World

The tools to analyze our GREEN world: http://firstlook.3tiergroup.com/

Although you can already feel the .green world bursting at the seems with ventures like AWS “True Wind” hitting the scene each and every day on the web:
http://www.awstruewind.com/maps/united-states.cfm
I often find their signature tool “Wind Navigator” is often down and not working for days at a time. Also a sign of how new and green do many of these company’s are.
http://www.awstruewind.com/windnavigator-demo.cfm

You have to start somewhere though. And I respect each of these entrepreneurs for jumping on the band wagon and understanding this is hardly a fad.

Texas Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency infrastructures:
http://www.dsireusa.org/library/includes/map2.cfm?CurrentPageID=1&State=TX&RE=1&EE=1
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Maps Worth A 1000 Words...

Human Development Index:

Countries fall into three broad categories based on their HDI: high, medium, and low human development. The 2007/2008 edition of the Human Development Report was published on November 27, 2007; in Brasília, Brazil.

Which map of the world do you find most compelling?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where or when will your kids go to school? 1950 or 2015

It is now understood we are using a school system designed in the 50's to educate our kids born in the 21st century. Unfortunately, this reality doesn't sound like a very forward thinking proposition for the wealthiest country on the world...

Let's look for a moment at the latest tools which should presumably be the types of technologies tomorrow's students will find useful.

First consider a writing instrument such as the PULSE SmartPen, that record all verbal lectures while each note is taken. Then allows you to simply tap the note on the paper, to replay and hear the related sound bite.
$150
(This pen also saves all your recorded notes too your computer; converts them to searchable text if your wish; and places them on the Internet for sharing if desired. -Click Here- for example notes.)

Now how about an exceptional, portable system for storing and viewing all text books; such as, the iLiad by iRex Technologies; which scores big by providing a touch screen over its' eInk screen creating a very effective ePaper! This allows for very convenient highlighting, bookmarking, annotating and instant text searching.
$500
Some models also provide wireless Internet connectivity.

Now all that's needed is an inexpensive home based or portable computer to plug these devices into and utilize for heavy typing and easy Internet based research and reporting. Doesn't have to be too fancy, and thanks to all the free software available via Google Apps, we really don't need to buy much in the way of software tools. ASUSTek sales just such a machine. The Eee PC 1000 (h)
$350
Okay, now that the students of the future each have all the devices they require; for around $1000!
**Recognizing it is odd that the eBook cost almost as much as the PC. However, these eInk based devices should drastically come down as their popularity increases and novelty wears off. There are several good eInk based eBook options in the $300-$400 rang but they don't have a touch screen.

Let's first consider the (simplified,) primary $$ cost of today's educational system:
  • Facilities - Building and classrooms
  • Staff - Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff - janitorial, security, custodian, lawn care, cooks, etc...
  • Materials - Books, Furnishings, Supplies
  • Technology - Computers, Video Projection Systems, Software, networking
  • Food, and Utilities - Electricity, phone, water, sewage, Internet service provider, etc...
Now lets briefly list the obvious pro and cons of a solution such as homeschooling:

PROS:
  • Avoiding all infrastructure cost and inefficiencies listed above to maintain the public schools
  • A potential for self-paced progression for each student. Move ahead in accordance to your abilities versus simply your age.
CONS:
  • Depending on the age of the student, a Parent, guardian or instructor must be present at all times.
  • Maintaining good accountability of work completion and performance is hard to regulate or enforce.
  • Some lower income families are dependent on the school system for reliable food and shelter during the work week.

So what is the actual cost of today's educational system system?
What standards could actually be enforced?
Are "Gadgets" and new technologies enough?

  • Recoding all hand written notes, synchronized with audio of online lecture.
  • eBooks with reported confirmations of read text
  • Study materials with recorded and reported highlighting

Can the Internet be utilized to provide a reliable homeschooling infrastructure?
  • Curriculum accountability through uploaded work and study preparations
  • Online live video lecturing with remote student interaction
How can these possibilities and solutions like them not all be weighed as a viable part of an extremely deteriorating educational system, and a goal to excel as a world leader in modern innovations and opportunities.


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Sunday, November 9, 2008

I am what I eat... And, no - I wouldn't call you fat!

I don't discuss or report on a whole lot of nutritional issues or information, but I'm making an exception today...

It was recently sugested by a doctor of mine to change up the sources of my nutrition.
A recommendation was made for 80 percent to 100 percent of my calories to come from vegetables, fruit, raw nuts, potatoes, and either lean or omega-3 protein sources including fish, lean meat, skinless chicken, wild game, grass-fed animals and omega-3 eggs. Spices such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, and the other popular spices are all anti-inflammatory. The best oils/fats to use in moderation are extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and butter.

Instead I was describe as being on a typical "American Suiside Diet", one which consisted of; food and calories soucreced from about 10 percent dairy products, 20 percent from refined sugar, 20 percent from refined grains, 20 percent from refined oils. The biggest problems clearly are the sugar, grains and oils. Approximately another 20 percent of calories come from obese meat, which is the fatty meat from domestic animals that live a sedentary life in feedlots where they are fed a tonnage of grains/corn instead of grass/pasture. The remaining 10 percent of calories might be fruits and vegetables.

It does seem I'm in trouble here... I don't think I can deny the accusations... This food issue combined with all the hours I spend sitting at a computer arn't good news!

Our focus should be on correcting the 80 percent of calories that come from sugar, refined grains, oils and obese meat. Worrying about yogurt, the occasional bran muffin, a cup of coffee, etc., has little influence compared to the tsunami of inflammation created by the 80 percent of calories derived from inflammatory foods. Another key to reducing dietary trauma and inflammation is to eat appropriate amounts for your body. In general, overeating leads to an inflammatory response.

I like that! I'm not fat, or merely gaining weight...
My body is simply having an "inflammatory response" to my diet. :-)

Knowing you have a problem is have the battle...
Now at least we know what to call it.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Neither candidate is talking about the REAL ISSUES!

So here we are about 30 days from the elections...
Neither candidate is talking about the REAL ISSUES! But what difference does it make - NEITHER ARE WE!

Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative; if you ignore these REAL issues; and continue to allow your favorite candidate to ignore them, then you have helped in ripping the fabric of our democracy to shreds.

It is real simple, most, if not all of the things we are arguing over as United States citizens whom like to act every four years as if we are divided into to TWO simple political parties, will be a moot point once our Dollar plummets to the value of the Russian Ruble. Studie these charts and you will clearly understand why we are facing a complete collapse of the American way of life!


All thanks to the theft, embezzlement and misappropriation of the leadership in this country! Leadership by both the Republican and Democratic parties that each of us try to find some pride in claiming as our own.

Since we have oddly allowed ourselves to become a TWO party democracy. As if two parties could ever have the wherewithal to comprehensively represent the fabric of 360 million people! We at least created a smaller target of only two groups to hold responsible, but we still didn't bother. If you call yourself a Republican or a Democrat then I ask when is the last time you also chose to hold either of your own parties accountable. Shouldn't you always worry about the log in your own eye before you point out the spec in your brothers.

We let all of them get away with every last dime of squandered American dollars. We let ourselves get distracted with crazy issues having almost NOTHING to do with the impact our federal government actually has on economy, our savings, our stability and our lives. While acting as if decision over the following types of topics should affect our voting preference for the President of the United States; abortion, gay rights, universal health care, a fear of socialism, gun control the fear we of all nations would ever have trouble defending ourselves when we're the ONLY "super power" in the world, and certainly the only one with over half a dozen aircraft carriers, and fighter planes that now cost $220 million dollars a piece (10x more than any predecessors,); and can go head to head with any other modern fighter at a ratio of 2 on 15 and still win.

We have active imaginations in this country as to what issue matter for both the long and short term areas of our lives and how our federal government will impact each versus our state and local leadership. And yet we continue to go on forgetting the impact our Federal leadership has on the very Dollars we use to run each and every one of our lives in this country.


Are you worried about the stock market? Are you worried about your retirement? It does not matter if you earned 4% or 14% on your CDs & 401k if when you go to access that money the dollar has drop another 10% in value. How well would you swallow a 40% drop? Who do you think is in charge of the 17-33% you send them every two weeks in FICA and Social Security payment? On top of this you pay 8%+ on every retail purchase you make. And this is all just for starters and just keeping it REAL simple! It is not hard to get your mind around what you should really be voting for! Stop thinking it is about pro-life or gay rites, and gun control, and start understanding it is about Theft, Embezzlement and corruption! Stop thinking it is about Socialism, and understand it is about the type of corruption that only a communist would be guilty of.


Stop thinking the Democrats cornered the market on Social Program spending when no one in history can shake a stick at the spending of the republicans, and stop believing that the Democrats will solve things by taxing the rich when they won't stop the excessive corporate taxes which burdened our much needed employees.

Ask yourself? Are you about the Left or the right, or are you about the right and the wrong?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Interesting views of our "Fundamentally strong" economy

Interesting & interactive views of our "Fundamentally strong" economy:

MSNBC has started making it a habit to put some admirable efforts into many weekly interactive charts & slide shows. Here is a nice one that summarizes the incredible two year picture of Wall Streets peaks and valleys. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26797480

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The "Real Issues", Are Charting The Future of The United States, with or without us...

Whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent or simply disenfranchised or idealistic, it doesn't change the fact that we are all on this journey together. The "Real Issues" our country is burdened with, are charting the perilous future of the United States; with or without your knowledge of the facts or direct involvement.

Don't read the rest of this article unless you want to gain a broader perspective of what it means to vote for your next U.S. Presidential candidate. And more to the point, what it will mean to our countries immediate and long term future. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

For the moment, let's just all agree to respectfully gain a mutually beneficial, increased understanding for the current stability of our Federal Government. With a goal of estimating how much longer our leaders in Washington can realistically function if allowed to continue drifting down our current course. We'll examine exactly what resources our country has available financially speaking and how we will stay a float? Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I am going to use easy illustrations and the very charts which are truly plotting the current course we are on together. (You'll see the official government agencies or private sources listed at the bottom of each chart. Just click to enlarge.)

However, let's keep in mind while we look at this state of affair, that no presidential candidate is ever going to fail to remind each of us, that "we are the richest country in the world." While this may be true, in so far as the personal wealth of all of our citizens, I think you will soon see, it is a rather moot point where related to the future success of our Government, which is at the guiding helm of our prosperity.

And I beg you; if you don't understand the below information's meaning or ultimate impact on our future, then leave a comment asking for clarification; if you don't trust the facts and figures presented, then PLEASE research another reliable, reputable source for yourself in an effort to find contradictions; and again, leave a relevant comment. What you learn in the process of doing your own research will astound you. And please let me know if you EVER find any information that in the least way significantly changes the conclusions drawn by the experts I present within this Blog entry.

I'm worried that some folks reading this who don't know me, might assume I am some doom and gloom individual. One of those whom just finds it easier to play devils advocate and always blame those in charge. Since this is far from myposition pertaining to our country or my life I thought I would offer up some proof. Therefore, I'm going to first show you a set of charts I recently (this summer) published to my own company's website; boasting how positive the local economy, employment and hosing rates were humming along in my area of the country, north Texas. Then I'm going to tell open my eyes and worry about more than just "my part of the country", and find the truth about our leadership and the state of our entire 50 state union, rather than just selfishly bragging about the one I live in.

First let me get my bragging about my local economy over with. I work for a relatively wealthy real estate investor and directly assist and coordinate several related Land Development efforts he and his co-owning family members are engaged in. So we eagerly observe all areas of business new where related to interest rates, hosing markets, and finance with high anticipations of favorable returns. All news in one way or another contains insight as to the returns we hope to make on each project. Having an open ear to modern America's dramatized, commercialized, news media can often be completely depressing and stressful, but for the most part we try be responsible and motivated sales people and ultimately boast an up beat stories for those clients we server and potential tenants and partner we hope to involve on our endeavors. While be open and honest about all potential profits & pitfalls is a burdensome and taxing scope of any partnership is is also the most crucial test of one business practice to maintain a realist and honest forcast.

Admitedly, I continually go looking for reliable, respected, positive reinforcements and information about our North Texas market; here are some of the very recent statistics I researched and posted on our company website to spread our company's goal of optimism.


There is no way to complain about our job growth, nor the related declining unemployment in this part of the country.



So here I sit in a native in my great state of Texas, and our housing market is also looking; folks are steadily moving this way, well into the foreseeable future to take full advantage of all this prosperity. So what do I have to worry about?

Weather you feel the Democrats will drive your taxes through the roof, or you feel 8 more years of republican leadership will double our National debt, again; the fact is neither party candidate is addressing any real solutions of "makeovers" which will commit their cabinets to the full time task of salvaging the inevitable collapse of the U.S. Federal Government. Either we completely reconcile the current state of affairs or we will witness over the next 30 years, an outcome that will make the fall of the Roman empire look like a little league game compared to the disaster a collapsed United State's Federal Government will have on the state of the global economy.

The emotional, moral, ethical, and fear based topics of privacy, torture, war, privacy, national defense, taxes, abortion, race, gender, education, fuel prices, food cost, health care, stem cell research, evolution, numerous science policies, NASA's budget, foreign policies, oil prices and on and on are all going to seem rather superficial in the scheme of a complete economic meltdown rivaling the collapse of the last modern super power to self destruct.

From a distance, I think any of us with a typical, limited knowledge of what caused the Soviet Union's collapse, assume it was their own government's corruption. Their governments horrible practice of Communism; and living rich, lavish lifestyles; while the rest of their citizens resided in poverty or extreme lower class situations. Not to mention their poor foreign policies; which were so often ailed with our own country's enemies.

So if these behaviors and policies lead to their downfall, what was at the root? In other words what characteristics define a true, failing, Communist nation? Beyond the dictatorship style of leadership and governing, I think most of us also feel that the power of a dictatorship, ultimately becomes a basis for abuse and the squandering of the hard earned resources of those whom they lead. Well, shamefully I'm afraid that last characteristic is beginning to sound a bit too familiar, even in our democratic, republic! Isn't it?

So what is the real consequence of our government's financial collapse. I started this little essay by agreeing with the pitch that "we are the richest country in the world." Well if wealth is to be measured in this case by liquidity, and that of actual cash, you must ask yourself; what happens to your own savings or wealth when the printed dollar bill (or anything you could withdrawal from a bank,) becomes worth as much as a Russian ruble.

Quick history lesson: the ruble was devalued in August 1998 following the Russian financial crisis. The ruble lost 70% of its value against the U.S. Dollar in the 6 months following the Russian financial crisis. In November of 2004, the authorities of Dimitrovgrad (Ulyanovsk Oblast) erected a five-meter monument to the ruble.
Do you assume your Treasury or Municipal Bonds will be magically protected from such macro economic irresponsibility? We are indeed told such investments are after all the "safest". With out ever considering the possibility of an imploding Dollar value.

After all we are the United States of America! So we are therefore bulletproof aren't we! We are after all, not Communist! ...and therefore nothing bad will happen to us.
LET'S GET REAL! We're neither the Soviet Union nor Bullet proof...

Within our Democracy, all government officials should be elected, by the people; and be, for the people; and as a results, naturally, serve the people's best interest. In this case, our republic might survive and serve us well. HOWEVER, theft has been allowed to happen right in front or our faces! Embezzlement! We like to also say we fear socialism in this country, it is evil. We feel electing Democrats will add to Entitlement programs which synonymous with most folks definition of Socialism (Which actually has very little to do with true socialism, but that is for another discussion.) So some feel by voting for the Republican party they are vote for those whom they feel will "Shrink"
government.

McCain recently gave a speech where he boasted, "Government has a clear responsibility to act in the interest of the public. And that is what I intend to do to do..." He was referring to the recent debacles in the banking and insurance sectors. And explained he would accomplish this oversight under the auspicious of a "commission" he wants to establish to study the private banking economic crisis. I just don't understand how our government can be trusted to regulate and audit or review anything, given it's own practice of embezzlement an highly creative / corrupt book keeping.

Let's just hope Sarah Palin's 15 minutes of highly distracting fame (and previously Oboma's,) hasn't further distracted all of us from the real problems facing our country. All of us, regardless of party loyalties, are all less than 60 days from our privileged of electing a new president. How can we find the courage and solidarity to insist both of these parties take ownership of our future rather than make excuses and spend time blaming the other?

We must instill in each candidate, during their limited remaining campaign tours, a recognition of their accountability to the American people; however, the only reason they would feel accountable to these issue is if they perceived we were aware of them. So your awareness directly effects this countries future? Our next President must observe and feel burdened by this awareness and see it as an obligation which will follow them after they are sworn in. An oath they take in front of their voters; confirming their responsibility to sacrificially set our Government on a course of redemption for the years of corruption and theft of the American people's hard earned money.

Surely we all wish for a future administration that worries much less about their own fragile, personal legacies or even the political future with their respective parties and alternatively finds more responsibility to the American people and the future stability of our country. An administration actually capable of avoiding our eminent destruction based on these decades of embezzlement and theft and unheard of (even in the private sector) of mismanagement and deceit.

We should expect nothing less of our future leadership, and unfortunately nothing less will work!

(Head over to my August posting " WE OWE IT TO OURSELVES", for more information on our current "state of affairs" here in the U.S.A..)

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let's take stock of our investments... No let's take cheep green stock!

When I first saw this interview it was the acreage yielding statistics that really struck me! When the described alternatives are compared to say, corn; the comparison is shameful.

  • Corn, yields a dismal 18 gallons of oil per acre per year! WOW - Truly pathetic!
  • Palm, yields 700-800 gallons per acre per year
  • Algae, 20,000 gallons per acre per year (in an open pond system!)
  • Additionally the "Vertigro" system, overcomes evaporation and obviously uses any acreage with extreme efficiency.
  • A ten thousand (10,000%) percent increase over corn! (And that is only useing an open pond system.) These sad comparisons aren't science fiction, they're a reality; one, which will hopefully have an impact on current, very poor ethanol production techniques!

    Is it any wonder why corn based ethanol is so debated? The only winners are the farmers… And perhaps commodities traders. I thought the corn farmer's were already further protected with government subsidies as well? Perhaps that's only the milk & cheese producers. The point is, how many different ways do we need to waste resources before we invest in efficient, viable solutions for our country. Oops, I digress...

    Well, the original goal of this particular blog entry was finding "cheep green stock", so please feel invited to look up VCTPF's latest trading value; for your chance to get an inexpensive piece of Valacent's (http://www.valcent.net/) “High Density Vertical Growth”, Vertigro system.

    Another couple of picks I like which are actually in the Solar arena are unfortunately not yet IPO's. But I'm keeping my eyes and ears open. If your hear something please leave me a comment.
    Energy Innovations - http://www.energyinnovations.com/ and NanoSolar - http://www.nanosolar.com/

    Another exciting company in the field of Product development and Venture Capitol is Idea Labs - http://www.idealab.com/


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    Friday, August 29, 2008

    The Holy Grail For A Modern Inventor

    When I was 22 I heard of a company just 3 hours south of me in Austin, Texas, which had just brought online a costly, (at the time,) but mainstream solution for "3D Prototyping"; termed, Sintering. My understanding was the technology had been revealed and formalized in a Thesis by a University of Texas graduate student and then licensed through DTM corporation, a subsidiary of B.F. Goodrich in the 1990's; who in turn set up an impressive facility right there in the originating town of Austin Texas.
    (DTM merged with, 3D Systems in 2001 http://www.3dsystems.com/)

    As an young, eager, aspiring inventor I saw no choice but to call the company's switchboard and ask to speak with anyone who might have the time to explain more about the technology. Keep in mind this was 18 years ago and you couldn't just "go online" and Google or Wikipedia desired knowledge. So I did it the old fashion way.

    I was lucky; I not only received thorough information on the technology; I was also instructed how to export compatible 3D data set from my own personal computers into an IGES or STL format from my DOS based Microstation CAD software; providing 3D files compatible with their machines. In addition; (I assume the manager could interpret my enthusiasm;) he invited me to come take a tour of the facility any time I wished. I took him up on the offer the following week.

    At the time to purchase a machine; capable of producing a 12" cubed prototype dimension, cost over $180,000! These incredible technologies are now becoming not only common place, but affordable; or should I say, inexpensive enough to be afforded by a much broader audience.

    Desktop Factory's solution pictured below, can now be reserved for $4999. It is marketed to small companies and private inventors. http://www.desktopfactory.com/ (UPDATE: Desktop factory failed to gain necessary funding to complete their journey to market with this consumer product line.)

    This video (below) demonstrates a more commercially viable solution, by www.zcorporation.com, which actually "3D Prints" in color.


    Update: One of the major players in todays 3D Printing products is "Objet" http://www.objet.com/3D-Printer/Products_Overview/

    There are now even a few publication and websites fully dedicated to the field of Rapid Prototyping; 3D Printing
    www.rapidtoday.com
    www.fabbaloo.com
    www.designnews.com
    wohlersassociates.com

    Update:
    We are now seing a growing trend of "Home Brew"3D printer kits, which offer a bit more rudimentary version of 3D printing, at a budget cost; in both the initial hardware and the printing materials they require.
    The most popular version of these Home Brew devices is made by "Maker Bot".  They just released version 2 of their popular "Maker Bot" kit at the 2012 CES show in Las Vegas.
    http://www.makerbot.com/
    Update 2:
    1.) Let’s all 3D print our houses, what could possibly go wrong? A USC professor is working on a means of using 3D technology to wholly disrupt the construction business.

    2.) Stone Spray project uses 3D printer to build long-lasting, intricate sandcastles.Researchers have created a 3D printing robot that uses organic materials to build some truly stunning sandcastles.

    3.) 3D-printed exoskeleton gives a little girl use of her arms (video)

    4.) Students build 3D printer that fits into a briefcase. Technology is getting smarter by the day, and some gadgets are on their way to becoming more and more portable. Two students, Ilan Moyer and Nadya Peek, from the MIT CADLab and MIT Center for Bits and Atoms respectively have built a 3D printer that can fit into a briefcase.

    5.) DIY: 3D printing a custom iPhone case. Sharon Vaknin dives into the world of 3D printing to find out what it takes to print a custom iPhone case.

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    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    We owe it to ourselves to know better and take action - NOW!

    I had to take action! The movie crashed coursed me in a way I wasn't expecting with the most substantial, startling combination of facts and statistics I have ever heard in one sitting!
    I.O.U.S.A., A MUST SEE!


    The movie ended, EACH AND EVERY viewer was frozen in their seats! They had no choice but to sit frozen with a sort of hopeless anger and fear... Perhaps frightened for the first time, that the U.S. will economically implode on itself within each of our lifetimes.

    Did you know that the federal government is in a $53 trillion financial hole? A hole that's growing by $2 trillion to $3 trillion every year? That amounts to a burden of $175,000 on each and every American citizen.

    So I sent a letter today to:
    • John Cornyn, U.S. Senator, TX, Republican Party
    • Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Senator, TX, Republican Party
    • Kenny Marchant, U.S. Representative, TX-24, Republican Party
    And this is just the start! The smallest start!

    I'm additionally inspired by:
    Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Founded by the former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker
    http://www.pgpf.org/getinvolved/

    Download The State of the Union's Finances

    The Concord Coalition:
    They are continuing with their sponsorship of the aggressive "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour". It's mission is to cut through the usual partisan rhetoric and stimulate a more realistic public dialogue on what we want our nation's future to look like, along with the required trade-offs.

    Here is a video of a "Fiscal Wake Up Tour" speech:


    I.O.U.S.A. The Movie - Web Site (We are one of only 10 cites where it was released.)
    http://www.iousathemovie.com/

    Other Compelling Materials:


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    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    I've got some swamp land I'll sell you...

    Remember when there use to be clever cliche which warned us of getting double crossed or bait and switched. It just seems to me there were some more sensible times in our country's history, when we socially knew how to spot a wolf in sheep's clothing.
    Doesn't seem those rules, or cautions are applied much anymore.

    Recent "grass roots movements", like "The Pickens Plan"; and the likes of environmental conscious campaigns such as "Blue Communities"; forged by one of the largest Foreign Oil Cartels in the world, are becoming the new trend in marketing. These are nothing more than campaigns designed to seem as if a larger majority's interest are in mind, in an effort to expedite local and federal legislation and keep at bay environmental or social interest groups which might delay each billionaire's latest goals. I'm afraid as a whole, we're just to naive to know any better!

    Take the "Blue Communities" Map website for instance; displayed below. They are nice enough to provide a beautiful map featuring interactivity which allows you to roll your mouse over any number of exceptional, natural, underwater habitats and get immediate gratification by viewing an underwater video of the environment.
    http://www.bluecommunities.org/page/map
    (Click Map - then hit BCKSPC to return to blog)

    Just doesn't get any more environmentally friendly than that, does it?

    In the bygone days of cautious cliches, this would have been called a "Snow Job in the Desert"! It just doesn't exist!

    Blue Community's misleadingly claims they are the "worlds expert" in Marine biology and impacts made to under water habitation. They are certainly doing their share of "impacts"; since they are after all, unearthing the largest amount of underwater water land in the history of man, and piling it into vast artificial "sea side communities" for luxury living. Do you see any contradictions here?

    For a little inspiration in finding the irony, watch the video below.


    For additional confirmations of their claim to be the worlds leading environmentalist, you can visit their home website where the same opening video on "Blue Communities" is featured. http://www.bluecommunities.org/page/home

    Now let's look at our own domestic oil tycoon's environmentally conscious marketing. Frankly, details of my opinion on these recently announced domestic campaigns; by one of our most out spoken private oil men, is included in my blog entry from, August 6th, 2008 called "Green and Ripe for the (Boone T.) Pickens". However, there is an impressive similarity to the "bait and switch" marketing of both those "Royal" families in the middle east and the Good 'ol boy campaign's being forged stateside.

    While not quite as profound or tree hugging as the Blue Communities map of precious underwater habitats; Boone T. Pickens like to show colorful maps too. Those that seem to demonstrate how rich the U.S. is in its own "Natural" / "Alternative" energy sources. Such as the areas now being coined the "Wind Corridor".
    (Click Map - then hit BCKSPC to return to blog)

    http://www.3tiergroup.com/

    The only key issue left unexplained (initially), is the fact that this whole campaign has much less to do with impacting our (The U.S.A.'s) dependencies on foreign oil (Since Oil is not used to produce 98% of our electricity); versus the real goal of gaining the public support required to quickly and effectively engage congress; thereby quickly influencing the necessary legislation for positioning the huge transmission line infrastructure required to transport power harnessed in the "Wind Corridor" to the far reaches of large urban areas such as L.A. and New York who will spend endless amounts on this new electricity.

    I think we (the general American population) are far to easily marketed too. Show us a map and a couple of videos and we assume you not only know what you're talking about, you also must care deeply about the big picture; and doesn't this include myself and my interest?

    Thanks for the map & the videos! It means everything to myself and my fellow Americans. We're sold!
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    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    How Much Does $4.00 A Gallon Actually Buy?

    If you ever wondered where all the money you throw in your gas tank goes?
    ...wonder no more, here is where 70% of it is exploited!


    Palm Island Resort

    Full Size Image Link:
    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/134896main_image_feature_418_ys_full.jpg
    Advertised as "being visible from the Moon," this man-made palm-shaped structure displays 17 huge fronds framed by a 12-kilometer protective barrier. When completed, the resort will sport 2,000 villas, 40 luxury hotels, shopping centers, cinemas, and other facilities. When completed, the resort is expected to support a population of approximately 500,000 people. Image Credit: NASA

    They also built "The World" with 70% of your gas money...


    At least the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind has also built the tallest structure in the history of mankind. So we've got that going for us... "Us" as in the U.S.!


    All brought to you courtesy of yours and my dependency on Foreign Oil and:
    His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
    UAE Prime Minister and Vice-President, and Ruler of Dubai.

    For more information on the United Arab Emirates current developments and impresive presentations, visit these sites:
    (Due in part to my own professional background, I did find an interest in the simulation technology they are using to show off each piece of their vision to their 500+ stakes holders who's oil money makes it all happen. http://digitalproducer.digitalmedianet.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=351051&afterinter=true )
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    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    The U.S. is FOR SALE - Again!

    It seems it was the plot of at least a few movies in the 90's; it was rather popular at that time to vilify the progress of Japanese investment in the U.S..

    Well, how popular is it to now watch Middle Eastern company's and Royalty spending there windfall profits on our gluttonous, careless, absent minded dependency on their Oil. And their spending it on some of our most treasured and prime pieces of real estate.



    I can remember the catch phases of the 90's when the asian markets were emerging as heavy U.S. investors: "Americas historic national treasures are not for sale!" This meant buildings just like the Chrysler Building? This news along with the other 10 billion in Manhattan purchase bought over the last three years is shameful. (This NY Times article link below has an interesting chart illustrating the last three years of foreign investment/purchases made in New York alone.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/nyregion/10chrysler.html

    The United Arab Emirates presence in America is extraordinary.
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/07/10/nyregion/10chryslergraphic.ready.html

    An interesting media outlet for Aljazeer News is their own English speaking YouTube channel.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/AlJazeeraEnglish Where you can also chose to watch LIVE TV if you wish. http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

    It is typically one of the 50 most viewed channel on YouTube, and is the 69th most subscribed to. That is incredible given the shear volume of YouTube channels. (I maintain 4 of my own.)

    Not wanting to sounds confrontational, but you know what they say, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." I'm not one that feels other cultures and/or other countries typically need to be considered our "enemies" in order to be kept closer than our "Friends". Certainly doesn't seem like a very popular or even mature position in this day and age. Hard to picture any one as to formidable of an "enemy" when we are the ONLY super power remaining. I'm much more afraid at times WE are (or our complacency is) our own worst enemy.

    I will say, whomever finds themselves in a position to put us in a strangle hold, with issues like their control of OPEC and now massive investments; and ownership of some of our most significant real-estate holdings, is someone we should "keep close"! And in many ways that might not feel to natural or comfortable in the normal scheme of life.

    Staying in our comfort zone just isn't going to cut it this time.
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    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Fake or Future? (I'm not a believer, yet!)

    Fake of the Future, you be the judge. Well, at least you can be entertained watching the video.
    I don't think any of us have enough information to form any sort of opinion yet. Or perhaps, we only have enough information to know better. Physics 101, or simply the old adage; if it is to good to be true then it probably is...



    Perhaps the only thing we get out of this video, is that same sort of entertainment you get when you buy a lottery ticket. You know better than the chances of actually winning, but it is fun to think about the possibilities, so you do it anyway.

    Can magnets provide power from creatively harnessing their potential energy?
    Are the magnetic poles delivering something to us for free; just as gravity powers a old mill using water. Or wind powers a windmill pump. Is there a way to go from the primitive harnessing of earths renewable resources to a more advanced method in our near future.

    I sure hope so, but I'm skeptical of any "Zero Point" machine's claim at the moment.
    Saved me from having to buy a lottery ticket though... I just imagined a world were power was free! And it looked good!
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    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Any color you like, as long as it's Green!

    I've been trying for the last couple of days to stay away from the inevitable topic of; renewable fuels, solar tax credits, rebates, wind power, and OPEC; and stick to a lighter topic of gadgets and big boy toys. And as much as I love my gadgets, it hasn't been easy for me!

    So today I'm going to compromise. It is time to announce a few Green Gadgets! But not just any ol Green Gadgets; the kind that tackle both, our dependency on foreign oil and our desire to go fast!

    Cars, cars and more cars, any color you want as long as their green!

    (One more cool video link for the Honda FCX: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sba5rEBfAgM&NR=1)

    For some additional shopping, start here...
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybrid_sbs.shtml
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    Saturday, August 9, 2008

    Now for a few leads that allow you to "phone home"!

    Here is some rare mobile phone news; since it is not all about the iPhone.
    Enjoy...

    Smart Phone Sites, Sales and Technologies:

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    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Okay, enough "Green" news! Now for some Gadgets...

    I've been blogging about; OPEC issues, renewable solutions, and even added a nice little news banner on the top of my page searching for news feeds about compostie fibers & tax credits. I'de say it is time for a little break!

    So in honor of my 8:08 a.m. blog on 8/08/08 - Here is a short list of some of the high-tech (and a few low-tech) items that you might find of interest.

    A Dose of Gadgets:

  • If you do a lot of reading and research, DocuPen RC800 – Smallest handheld color scanner = http://www.virtual-laser-keyboard.com/docupen/RC800.asp
  • Bluetooth, virtual, laser Keyboard = http://www.virtual-laser-keyboard.com/products.asp
  • Holographic images used for advertising = http://www.mediazest.com/index-products.html
  • Any retro or new Coin Op game you could ever want = http://www.coinopexpress.com/
    When you’re at the airport and you want to watch something other than CNN, on their TV = http://www.qvpusa.com/product.php?productid=16170&cat=0&page=1
  • The quintessential Gadget website = http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets
  • A company that specialize in unique optical illusion art & toys = http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Einstein_Hollow_Face_Illusion.html
    - Demonstration Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ6tmXSM3Kw&feature=related
    - While looking at illusions, this is a wild one too: (View this video with a “Full Screen”) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfxxRgkygRg
  • The ultimate eBook Reader – The Iliad: http://www.irextechnologies.com/products/iliad

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    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Going Solar - Renewable Energy Credits and Solar Tax Rebates


    Know Your State’s Perks.
    DSIRE, which is the Database of Solar Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency, provides all state-wide financial incentive details for free at http://www.dsireusa.org/.

    Act Fast.
    The Federal Solar Tax Credits Program is slated to end on December 31, 2008. Additionally some states are considering modifying or doing away with their rebate programs, so this may be the best time to secure the highest return on investment.

    Calculate S-RECs.
    As a solar system owner, you may qualify to receive Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (or S-RECs) every time your solar electric system produces 1,000 kilo watt hours of electricity. These certificates can be traded in for cash.

    Read More:
    http://www.mainstreet.com/learn-financial-perks-going-solar?puc=msgoogle&cm_ven=MSGoogle
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    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    GREEN and Ripe for the (Boone T.) Pickens!

    Oddly enough, Boone T. Pickens isn't proposing anything that actually, directly, replaces our Oil consumption or imported oil dependency. However he has constructed a super marketing campaign which, acts as if this is what he will ultimately accomplish.

    Keeping in mind during his (full-length) presentation he says we will not discuss Nuclear, since it will "take to long, and is ten+ years off." He mentions that the ten year math of 700 Billion spent on imported Oil, adding up to 7 trillion, is what he is trying to save us from. So his plan is suppose to impact us sooner than nuclear.

    With a little odd, slight of hand, he illustrates that what he is doing, may ultimately have an, indirect; although he acts as if it is direct, impact on our dependency on foreign oil. As long as we first use his, and other, wind farms to replace the 25% of electricity that Natural Gas currently (and I might add domestically,) produces.

    I'm afraid this is shamefully all about establishing federal government support or mandates that allow for aggressive Right Of Way and Immanent Domain support necessary to establish the Transmission lines required to cross state lines from the "Wind Corridor" in the Central U.S. towards the east and the west sides of the country. It is about private enterprise activating the citizens to fight thier fights for them. Smart business from a smart business man... What else would we expect?

    Unfortunately, a few other significant things must take place, in less than 10 years!
    50% of America must starts driving Natural Gas Vehicles; and the government or Private Enterprise, must invest (as mentioned in his "Ask Boone" video,) 10 billion to retrofit 25,000 gas stations to server up Natural Gas. Talk about an indirect affect! And why does he think this will happen in less than 10 years? What is the REAL story here? His own math isn't working!

    "Our dependence on imported oil is killing our economy," Pickens said in a statement. "It is the single biggest problem facing America today."
    http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/07/11/boone-pickens-plan-tech-science-cx_stc_wt_0710pickensplan.html

    The goal of the "Pickens Plan," announced Tuesday (7/8/08), is to replace more than a third of the oil the United States imports with wind, natural gas and other green energy sources, in the process, saving the country more than $230 billion annually. Currently, the U.S. spends $700 billion a year on foreign oil.

    Pickens Explains his plan in this video:


    Another (wordier) break down of my own initial observations and summary of his presented plan; along with some of the problems I see:

    1. He is proposing to stop using Natural Gas for electric production altogether. This is odd; primarily, because he currently earns a great deal of money from that market.
    2. However, he is proposing to shift our Natural Gas resources from their current primary use in this country, of electricity production, to the transportation market.
    3. While I think it is great that their are over 8 million vehicles world-wide that utilize Natural Gas. Haven't these typically been reserved for fleet proposes; with municipalities and delivery/parcel services? Groups that can centrally refuel via their own tanks. And isn't infrastructure always the 800lbs gorilla in the room preventing quick (10 year+/-) adoption.
    4. I understand each new vehicle sold in this country apparently has a life of over 14 years. Therefore, expecting a very expedient move from our current gas vehicles to Natural Gas is no easier than moving them to electric in the first place.
    5. Which brings me to my final thought. If we are finding renewable ways to replace natural gas in the Electric market; then why wouldn't we also, simultaneously, be inclined to develop a higher dependency on electric vehicles? Which would in turn, potentially weaken the domestic Natural Gas market as it adjust to loosing its role as 25% of our electric production. Something just doesn't add up Mr. Pickens...
    Pickens is hoping to rally support to get the next president to enact his plan. "The plan … is doable in five to 10 years if we can get Congress and the Administration to act quickly,"

    Again, the only HUGE problem I see with this plan so far, is the fact that you can't substantially reduce our dependency on foreign oil by creating more electricity. Since Oil is not what we use to produce 90% of our electricity. Now if we all drove electric vehicles then okay... So his plan will ultimately have to discuss how to drastically accelerate this transition too a new type of vehicle. Should we really 1st drive N-Gas cars, then switch again to Electric or Hydrogen? Why?

    Admittedly, his optimism is in keeping with this video below I keep actively circulating by Amory Lovins; explaining the study performed for the Pentagon by the Rocky Mountain Institute a few years ago called "The Oil End Game".


    Analysts say if Pickens' renewable energy plan catches on, it would mean more business for his Seal Beach, Calif.-based Clean Energy Fuels, which sells natural gas to service stations and municipalities, and Westport Innovations, a Canadian company that makes heavy-duty trucks that use natural gas.

    Pickens is spending $58 million of his own money to market his plan. He started airing ads on TV, radio and in print this week. He's also launched his campaign on social networks Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, YouTube and instant messaging service Twitter.

    Here is one of his TV adds:


    I say GOOD FOR HIM! (Not that he needs my endorsement!) I do worry however, there are many who are passionately on this "band wagon" or "grass roots movement" because they are simply attracted to the idea that a billionaire can now help speak for their hopes of less foreign dependency and alternative energies. I think they need to realize that they have about half of that hope right.

    I personally can’t wait to see where this is headed since smart business men often pull of some incredible things. But I wouldn't over estimate why this PR is being leveraged the way it is. I've attended far to many Public Meetings in my own career for the purpose of informing others of "Displacements", and R.O.W. land purchases mandadted by iminent domain; to think of transmision line legislation as a very romantic topic.

    In conclusion, let me just say that Mr. Pickens has set up one of the most impressive (Video Blogging) websites out there. He obviously has done his homework on the PR side of things; and has GREAT people working on this within his organization. To read more than the tid bits I have included below just visit his site. http://www.blogger.com/www.pickensplan.com

    Incidentally, his site is fast becoming one of the largest repositories of Green videos on the web
    http://push.pickensplan.com/video
    ...thanks to his growing community of over 200,000 "Pickens Plan" site members.
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    Mind The Gap!

    Have you tried Gapminder yet?

    Here is a link (Click HERE) that takes you right to a "Gapmided, statistic model".

    After you try that, pick your own world statistics of interest.
    http://www.gapminder.org/
    You might even find a picture of our, quickly flattening world, that inspires you!
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