Archive for July, 2008

The water resources of the world and food

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

The water resources of the world are unevenly distributed: water is scarce in many farming regions. This leads to food shortages. About 1,2 billion people live in these areas.

Using present methods of food production will require another 2000 more cubic kilometers of water by 2030 – ref. International Water Management Institute IWMI . We are facing a water crisis.

The solution is more efficient use of water through new mechanisms: pricing water for efficient use, recycling water, reducing leakage, build storage, partial flooding, changing to less thirsty crops, concentrate on cash crops and import staples, monitor water use efficiency, eat less meat.

Growing deserts of the world – or not?

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

There are dry ecosystems on the earth where peple have been able to live for thousands of years. Nomadic people have used such land well for a long time. Their insights must not be overlooked! 

Attention should now be given to many of these areas as they seem to be threatened.

Desertification issues are difficult to discuss. There are many complex variables involved, including natural processes with a long term development such as forest issues, changes in the environment, intensified water use, climate change, commercialisation of resources.

These changes can contribute to damage to the old maintenance systems causing severe disturbances. To combat desertification we need long term series of data to be able to work sensibly with these issues.

UNCCD – United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Internet going forward

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Can we realize the potential of the internet? What will be the internet´s future trajectory?

Several issues are coming to the front: security, censorship, traffic priority, generativity, privacy, ownership, attached PCs/boxes/appliances…


Scene recognition systems

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The scene recognition system thinks like a photographer.

Scene recognition systems links together automatic focussing, exposure metering and white balance control.

Data power is required and we thus see a synthesis of optical and data technologies.

(More …)

Under the sea – near the bottom

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

90% of the planet´s living space and 91% of the biodiversity is under water. 

We do not have much activity in deep waters – as yet! We have found oil in deep waters, there are metals and minerals being investigated, as well as creatures and plants, gas hydrates are being looked into.

Russia is claiming that its continental shelf reaches the north pole via the Lomonosov Ridge.

The International Seabed Authority will hear the case in due course.

The greatest depth is about 10000 meters.


Great cities for design (BW)

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

What makes a city great:

What is Gaia?

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Gaia is the metaphor for the living earth we live on – a living planet that can respond to the changes we make. Gaia will survive in one form or another – will we?

The Gaia hypothesis views the biosphere as an active, adaptive control system able to maintain the earth in homeostasis (or a tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements)

“The earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components.” 

The goal is to sustain habitability! We need to take decisions about what our future will be.

(James Lovelock)

Geothermal Energy Systems

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Geothermal energy offers a number of advantages for energy production – small emissions, good sustainability, unaffected by changing weather conditions, can work continuously, price competitive, offers a degree of scalability.

There are several engineering considerations – corrosive fluids, low temperature, emissions. We find environmental concerns as well as advantages. The sites can cool down over time. Enhanced technology can be used in the future.

“Non-electric generating capacity of geothermal energy is estimated at more than 100 GW (gigawatts of thermal power) and is used commercially in over 70 countries.”

Estimates of exploitable worldwide geothermal energy resources vary considerably. Theoretical potential is huge. Drilling at depths of over 10 km is possible – ref. the petroleum industry.

(Wikipedia, The Economist)

Norway: Norwegian company starting up.

In Sweden there are now about 275000 homes with geothermal heating, in Norway the number is about 18000. Drilling distance is about 4-5000 m depth. Many complexities: hot wet rock, hot dry rock

2009: A new institute for geothermal energy is being established at the university in Bergen, Norway.

2009: Interest in developing this industrially in Norway is awakening. Several companies are starting work in the field, including finding industrial partners for projects.

Fiber to all!

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Municipalities are building their own networks based on very fast internet. Speeds can be very high – more than 100 Mb/s initially.

Nets of this kind are natural monopolies. One net in the community is really enough!

The customer owns the networks and the customer escapes the burden of a monopolist network provider. The key is ownership which creates many positive incentives for the owners.

Neither cable nor telecom companies should own IP access!

Cloud computing

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Computing clouds are very large concentrations of computing power and storage. This concept will be the new force in developments in the neat future.

Software will increasingly come as a service through a browser. Microsoft, Google a.o. are already competing in this arena. People will also keep the “old” ways of doing things. We thus get software plus services. Data will be where users prefer.

Many devices will be used to reach the net which becomes a hub. Around this you have some worldscale major applications/platforms and many smaller applications written by independent developers. Users will also want to use their devices off the internet.

All your devices must be integrated – with automatic synchronization of important files. Independent developers will be offered tools to produce the new offerings.

The cloud will be based on open standards in the open-source community.

Microsoft wants to create a new “Windows in the cloud” (?). Health Vault from MSC with medical data can connect to monitoring devices. New applications for consumers and institutions including education will be forthcoming. Mailboxes will be online, as well as standard wordprocessors, spreadsheets etc.

The big question: How will the software industry develop? Where will we find the “hip”companies? Very soon all devices will be internet embedded!

Google launches its new  Chrome browser in an attack on Microsoft. Chrome is also in effect an operating system running on the web or cloud. Google´s business is now search, ads and apps. Chrome source code is free.

Oct. 2008: Microsoft unveiled a version of its Windows operating system that is designed to run over the internet, marking a milestone in the company’s attempt to reposition its core software business around the web.

Windows Azure signals a potentially disruptive shift to make money from internet-based computing through subscriptions and advertising.

The software is intended to support a new web-based software infrastructure on which mass-market services could be built and deployed, making it far more ambitious than earlier generations of centralised computing.

31. October 2008: How much of software will migrate to the cloud – we will probably have a mix of the old and new regimes.

Increasingly devices will upload stuff from the net, and web pages are pieces of software that are executed in the browser. There will also be widgets living on the device. Platforms for consumers and business will emerge.

Netbooks, wireless devices will be important for the cloud.   We will see an informationcentric world with an established body of data that will follow people through life. The data will be   available from the net, device neutral,  and virtualisation allows access from anywhere.

The cloud will gather information as well, also from sensors and tags, that we´ll see all around us.

Who will be the cloud providers: Amazon, Google, cisco, EMC, VMWare?

Do   we need a Cloud Computing Consortium and Open Social Consortium?

Companies will be smaller and more agile, buying packages of services, don´t do it yourself!

Mobile devices will become virtualized as well

Lets move it all to the web!