Accel Rose's Blog Posts

Stewart Brand: Why squatter cities are a good thing

April 17 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

Futurist Stewart Brand explains that the global rise of squatter cities is a good thing because it enables people to connect with others and gain access to education. He points out that unemployment in squatter cities is generally near zero.

Check out his short and sweet presentation at TED:

Brand projects that the number of people living in squatter cities will grow three-fold to $3 billion over the coming decades. Makes me wonder if these regions will become the new hot-beds of innovation as technology rapidly lifts their inhabitants up the hierarchy of needs, provides cheaper connectivity and better education.

Google Maps Now Predicts Traffic

April 17 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: The Web   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

Google Maps has now added a traffic feature that allows you to see the level of expected traffic for a given time on a given day. This marks the first of what I believe will be many prediction components or layers to the Earth platform.

I expect we’ll soon see more robust traffic forecasts displayed by Google. Later on, I’m betting the company will integrate visual forecasts of local crowd traffic, business hours and even recurring annual/holiday events at given locations, perhaps using a combination of time of day, Google Street View footage and geo-tagged flickr photographs to build up these prediction composites.

Eventually, it seems rather likely that Google Earth will develop a robust time toggle feature, as predicted by David Gelertner in his seminal work Mirror Worlds (an absolute must-read if you’re interested in Google or the future), that will save us all a great deal of travel time, gas money and grief; not to mention point us in the direction of useful and fun events.

Visual Search via iPhone Now Possible

April 17 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

A new consumer-ready system called ViPR , by Evolution Robotics , lets machines – from your cell phone to robots – recognize objects. Already, this software permits consumers to snap photographs, then to search for image matches, returning relevant image and text results. In other words, you can take photos of product packaging, movie art, billboards, etc and instantly get more information related to the image you have just captured.

Take a look at this demo to see for yourself:

Eventually, such systems will be essential for robots and other systems that either need to navigate a complex environment or serve to input and index information.

In the near term it will be interesting to see how software like ViPR will function in concert with the new image barcodes being used on billboards in Japan and in newspapers by Google. Once optimized, such systems will undoubtedly lead to consumer efficiencies and new behaviors.

Where will China and other nations invest as the U.S. dollar continues to fall?

April 15 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Economics   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

Futurist Patrick Dixon compellingly argues that the global economic environment is ripe for Chinese investment in bargain priced banks and U.S. property holdings:

Dixon asserts that it is in U.S. interests to allow direct Chinese investment, lest the rising economy allocate its money elsewhere.

He also expects sovereign wealth fund managers representing other powerhouse economies to diversify into technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, mining and oil industry if prices continue to fall.

UK joining Euro - less likely after sub-prime crisis

April 14 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Economics   Year: General   Rating: 2 Hot

Futurist Patrick Dixon argues that the current sub-prime mortgage crisis is likely to further discourage the UK from joining the European Union currency bloc any time soon:

Gerd Leonhard Breaks Down Music 2.0

April 14 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Entertainment   Year: General   Rating: 2 Hot

Media futurist Gerd Leonhard thinks the production of music is about to open wide thanks to a new infrastructure that supports rapid licensing and sharing of components. Check out his take on how music 2.0 is shaping up:

An Electric/Magnetic Car Highway That Runs Parallel to Current Roads

April 12 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Transportation   Year: 2010   Rating: 2 Hot

Here’s a cool concept animation of a highway system that would incorporate lanes for electric/magnetic cars:

The company behind the mock-up is a Barcelona-based outfit called New and Better Opportunities for a World on the Move that seems to be developing some cool product visions.

Culture Is Your Operating System : Terence McKenna

April 11 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Information   Year: General   Rating: 3 Hot

Here’s a trippy yet provocative YouTube piece by Terrence McKenna, creator of Novelty theory (which predicts the ebb and flow of novelty in the universe as an inherent quality of time), that explores the the notion of culture as an operating system that sits atop the natural human brain, conditioning our experiences (it certainly could do without the spooky music). If more or less accurate, this concept means that we’ll have the ability to transform mindset, or to “download a new operating system”, as we develop the requisite technologies. According to McKenna, that requires “clearing the necessary disk space”. Take a look for yourself, if you dare:

What operating system are you running?

Is culture the human equivalent of an operating system?

or Show Results

Kamen Demos Water Purifier on the Colbert Show

April 10 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Environment   Year: 2008   Rating: 7 Hot

Check out Dean Kamen’s latest water-purifying device in action on the Colbert Show:

Unlike the Segway, this seems like an invention with a large demand for it. Let’s hope it can be deployed quickly to the regions that need clean water most urgently.

Car Catcher Nets May Help End Chases

April 08 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 2 Hot

All those live car chases we see on television may be coming to an end. A company called Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation that specializes in pop-up safety nets for all sorts of vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, UAV’s) has now developed a car catcher that can safely stop cars moving at speeds up to 50 mph. Check out the demonstration video:

I can easily see such devices built into LA highways, perhaps at narrow on- and off-ramps, or used sporadically at strategic locations all across the town. They would also work great as a non-lethal form of ambush in war zones – although shooting out or puncturing tires is probably a more effective way to go.

Combined with increasingly popular automobile kill switches that can remotely disconnect an engine from its fuel supply, devices like these nets have the potential to make the roads quite a bit safer, as well as to deter a good amount of auto theft.

Of course, one possible counter to that is to simply train robots to steal cars instead, or simply hack the car systems.

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