A smart truck feature

Safety Truck’: Back screens on trucks may pave way for safer overtaking (VIDEO)

Published time: June 16, 2015 20:07

Still from Youtube video by Leo Burnett

Still from Youtube video by Leo Burnett

The Korean tech-giant Samsung has created a ‘Safety Truck’ which aims to reduce crashes when drivers attempt to overtake long vehicles on one-way roads. The solution is quite straight-forward using cameras, wireless video feeds, and huge display screens.

The technology was inspired by the high incidence of traffic accidents in Argentina, where almost one person dies in a traffic accident every hour. Almost 80% of fatalities happen on roads and the majority involve attempts to overtake on one-way roads, according to Samsung’s estimates.

The Safety Truck is a bit different from its fellow gigantic vehicles – instead of obscuring most of the view, it actually shows the driver what’s going on ahead of the wheeled leviathan.

Cameras installed in the front of the long haul vehicle capture real time video of the road ahead and transmit it in real time via wireless feeds to four big screens on the back. The cameras also have a night vision setting to make drivers aware of their immediate surroundings.

The technology was developed in partnership with advertising company Leo Burnett and Argentinian tech group Ingematica.



Here’s one way to experience it from home—a 3D-rendered fly-through showing how the structure is put together. In this video, animator Cristóbal Vila shows us how Fallingwater emerges from the landscape and builds up, plus how cantilevering allows the house to rest on a very unusual foundation. Have a look (and skip to 0:40 if you don’t care for opening credits):

Fallingwater from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

from http://mentalfloss.com/article/58044/3d-tour-frank-lloyd-wrights-fallingwater

More options in the beginning stages of SmartGrid

Mercedes' home battery

Guess what, Tesla: you’re not the only car maker getting into the home battery game. Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a personal energy cell that, like Tesla’s Powerwall, uses giant batteries to store surplus power from your home’s solar panels and keep you off the conventional energy grid. The German firm is taking a more modular approach than its American counterpart, though. Each pack only holds 2.5kWh of electricity, but you can combine up to eight of them to hold 20kWh, or twice as much as a Powerwall. That potentially suits it to certain businesses, not just your own abode. Whatever you think of Mercedes’ pack, it may be your best hope of getting some clean energy storage in the near future. With Tesla’s unit already sold out through mid-2016, you may have little choice but to register for the Mercedes equivalent and wait until it ships in September.

from http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/09/mercedes-benz-home-battery/?utm_source=Feed_Classic_Full&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Engadget&?ncid=rss_full

Someone I Admire, and Why

There are parallels between what a person experiences in life, and what a society or civilization goes through. Many young people come to realize this as they experience “personal fable”, wherein they place major emphasis on their own personal life events, sometimes to the extent where personal issues carry the same (or more) weight as the macro issues covered in the world news media. About a decade ago, I wrote and self-published a novel that employed this concept of personal fable in an effort to engage the reader.

Researching and writing, I came to believe that a primary factor in the improvement of our circumstances will likely (I hope) be an intelligent re-engineering of the way our civilization is physically powered: to widespread, direct collection of the power of our Sun rather than the indirect collection of its energy from fossil fuels; and to a de-centralization of our power distribution system for increased reliability. I learned that author, speaker and Professor Jeremy Rifkin is actively involved in making this happen.

I applaud Jeremy Rifkin’s efforts to bring the world into what he calls the “Third Industrial Revolution”, in which electricity will be created in solar panels mounted on virtually all man-made structures, stored and exchanged in a “smart-grid” of power-transmission: an “internet of energy”, possibly using house and electric-car batteries as means to store surpluses. The de-centralization of a smart grid of energy producer-consumers will not only make society more robust, but will actually facilitate the return of sovereignty to individual people.

Jeremy Rifkin has been effective in influencing the policies of such nations as Germany (the most powerful economic force in Europe) and the People’s Republic of China (which is pretty big too). Both those countries are actively developing smart-grid technology with an eye to the near future when fossil fuels will no longer be an option.

I admire Jeremy Rifkin for the positive impact his personal effort is having on human civilization. Maybe what he is doing, now, is a constructive long-term transmutation of “personal fable”.

— Mark Frankenberg, May 2015

Why I created TopTenDo.com


When I advanced through the ranks in the military, I wanted to make sure I would “get it right”.

Upon becoming an Army Sergeant some years ago, I found the transition from worker to low-level manager to be abrupt. Although I began programming computers around the same time, I found my new management tasks challenging. I also learned that some managers further up the ranks found it amusing to load their new “buck-sergeant” squad leaders with as many tasks and conditions as possible, to see how the new junior managers would cope with it. I remember having an appointment-book in one of the “cargo-pockets” of my uniform trousers, wrapped in a sandwich-baggie to ward off sweat and rainwater, with its leaves dog-eared and interspersed with scraps of paper with additional notes on them. Sometimes things would have to be “carried over” or transposed and that was time-consuming.

Even back then, I suspected that this information management work could be automated. I experimented some with programming ideas, mostly in BASIC and Assembly Language.

Around a decade after getting those first Sergeant-stripes in the Army, I was a civilian, system-administrator in a small company in Tampa, Florida. My work included programming, data-conversions and managing a never-ending and always-changing queue of print-jobs, which I routed between a couple Unix boxes and multiple printers. To ensure that the various departments in the company were getting what they needed, and to make sure that there was clear communication between the department-heads who were requesting IT tasks, I devised a card system (3×5 cards): each card would have a particular report-request with parameters, and the stack of report-request cards would be ordered with the “hottest” task at the top. All through the day, managers would come by and shuffle the cards and consult with me regarding timeframes for particular jobs. This simple, low-tech system worked well.

Now that many of us are carrying computers around in our pockets, and often have access to other computers in multiple locations, all of which are connected to the Internet, the automated task-list and scheduling system I have envisioned for years has become a reality.

Beginning a couple of years ago, when time permitted, I began to build TopTenDo.com: an on-line notes, task and schedule manager: something that wouldn’t require excessive machine horse-power or desktop-downloads or training-time or duplication of effort, but would be effective and dependable. The purpose of TopTenDo.com is to enable us to have the benefits of a task, notes and scheduling system wherever there is access to the Internet, wherby there is no dependency on any single machine or location. I made the system available to multiple concurrent users for free (supported by an ad banner) in early 2014, Having already used it individually for a few months. It continues to evolve today.

In essence, what TopTenDo provides, is a fast, simple, dependable, private, anonymous, free, web-based utility that accomplishes everything that was the intention of that dog-eared, well-worn notebook in the pocket of an Army Sergeant, all those years ago.

I know it works for me. Maybe TopTenDo will work for you too. Try it out at https://www.toptendo.com

— Mark Frankenberg