The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on July 12, 2009

  • Ourossoff raises some important question regarding heritage and preservation – who gets to decide (and why) that something should be preserved, and why is 20th century modernism still neglected?
    How old does a building have to be before we appreciate its value? And when does its cultural importance trump practical considerations?

    tags: tokyo, architecture, modernism, kisho_kurokawa, nicolai_ouroussoff, metabolism, capsule_tower

  • David Merrill, inventor of Siftables, interactive electronic building blocks, demonstrates his technology at the 2009 TED conference.

    Amazing technology; when he started the demo, I was immediately reminded of what art historians used to do when we still used slides: we used “slide tables” (basically light boxes) and moved the slides around to create and edit our lectures, really almost on the fly, as it were. It was a very creative way to put together a presentation and make connections between ideas, in a tactile and spatial way, that you can’t do in the same way anymore using only digital media. So it’s kind of nice to see some of that spatial aspect coming back into how we (literally) manipulate information to make new connections.

    tags: ted_conference, mit_techreview, video, siftables

  • Theories on why our brains periodically “lurch into a blizzard of noise” or chaos.
    Some believe that near-chaotic states may be crucial to memory, and could explain why some people are smarter than others.

    In technical terms, systems on the edge of chaos are said to be in a state of “self-organised criticality”. These systems are right on the boundary between stable, orderly behaviour – such as a swinging pendulum – and the unpredictable world of chaos, as exemplified by turbulence.

    tags: neuroscience, brain, new_scientist, david_robinson, chaos

  • Timely.
    Immelt exhorted Americans to give up the notion that the U.S. can make it as a services-led, consumption-based economy, where “a mortgage broker is pulling down $5 million a year while a Ph.D. chemist is earning $100,000.”

    The country must refocus on manufacturing and R&D and must strive to be a leading exporter, he said. He announced that GE was opening an advanced manufacturing and software technology center outside of Detroit near the headquarters of Visteon, the auto parts maker that recently sought bankruptcy protection.

    Coincidentally, “Restoring American Competitiveness,” an article in the July-August special issue of the Harvard Business Review makes the same case about the importance of manufacturing. It warns that the erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base is seriously undermining the country’s ability to innovate. (So much for the idea that we can succeed by letting other countries manufacture the products we invent!)

    In his speech, Immelt offered a vision for how the business and government together can revive the economy and solve grand challenges such as clean energy and affordable health care. “We should welcome the government as a catalyst for leadership and change,” he said, calling for a “real public-private partnership.” (This from a self-described “Republican and free market guy.”)

    This article fits nicely with Konrad Yakabuski Globe & Mail article, Canada’s Innovation Gap (below).

    tags: harvard_business, steve_prokesch, america, economy, renewal, innovation, manufacturing, video

  • Insightful (and often cutting) article on the status of innovation in Canada. Stephen Downes responded on his blog here, basically agreeing, saying that we need a bit of free market and a bit of government direction as well, and that we (Canadians) need to wean ourselves from our corporate overlords. The latter are almost like a third force here, rooted historically as the controllers of resource extraction. In an aside, G&M journalist Konrad Yakabuski notes that Canadians already log more work hours than Americans and are workaholics compared to Europeans – who innovate more and therefore, because they work smarter, don’t need to work harder.

  • tags: innovation, canada, globeandmail, productivity, technology, resources, economic_development, konrad_yakabuski

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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