Where does innovation live? Despicable Me

Sometimes humor can stealthily deliver a powerful message.

Take the new movie, Despicable Me, a new 3-D feature that debuted this weekend.

When GRE, the “despicable” protagonist, needs an innovation to get his evil mojo back where does he find it?

In the past he might have stolen it from the Army or maybe a hapless inventor working out of his garage.

In 2010, he goes to Asia and steals it.

The message is subtle but stinging.  The United States which historically has been viewed as the technology leader of the word has slipped.  GRE approaches the Evil Bank (humorously referred to as being formerly named Lehman Brothers) to fund his dastardly endeavors but for technology innovation he goes to the Far East.

I’ve been researching book on technology innovation so maybe I’m reading too much into it after all it’s just a movie.

But a generation of children are being exposed to the notion that cool technology doesn’t originate in the United States.

Hopefully someday we’ll look back at this film and laugh at the notion of cool new technology being the exclusive domain of the far east.  Let’s hope so…

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Apple iPad 3G first impressions

Last week the iPad 3G landed at my house as a present for my wife.  After several days of use here are my initial impressions.

It has quickly become the most popular device in the house, displacing the iPod Touch and iPhone.

Out of the box I was slightly disappointed.  I expected it be bigger, the iPad feels like a scaled-up Touch.  After a few days of use, I began to appreciate the larger size of the iPad.  I love my iPhone but the larger screen size of the iPad makes web browsing easier and watching videos comfortable.  The iPad screen keyboard is very accurate compared to pecking at the iPhone/Touch keyboard.

As an entertainment device, the iPad is a clear winner.  For many people it also is a competent laptop replacement if you limit yourself to web applications.  You don’t want to write a novel on the device, but it’s fine for composing short documents and email.

There are a few chinks in the iPad armor.  The well documented lack of Flash support is annoying but not a deal breaker.  Another problem is that there’s no support for Google’s Chrome web browser.  If you go with a 3G model and Apple Care warranty the price easily exceeds budget laptops and netbooks.

I expect the iPad to will decimate the netbook market and take a good chunk out of the budget laptop market.  Since most people in these segments are buying a device to mainly browse the internet, it will be an easy decision to upgrade to an iPad.

Compared to the now discontinued Windows XP Tablet edition, the iPad is a far superior device.  Once again Apple has taken a form factor with a great promise, shed extraneous features, and created a slick streamlined device for the masses.

With rumors of a Google tablet in development, the iPad may soon have some competition.

But for now the Apple iPad rules the tablet space.

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McLaren Cribs copies Planes to Build Faster F1 Cars

…McLaren’s wing addresses a paradox of racing: How to maximize downforce in the corners while minimizing drag on the straights. It’s always been a compromise, one that traditionally has required teams to continuously adjust the front and rear wing on a car during practice until they find the right balance.

Ideally the amount of downforce would be variable — increased in the corners and decreased on the straights. But F1 prohibits the use of movable parts to manage airflow, so no one’s been able to find a way to do that.

Until now.

McLaren’s solution appears to combine an aerodynamic principle common in aviation with the mechanics of a flute.

Downforce operates on the same principle as lift, which is of course imperative to flight. At low speeds — actually, high angles of attack — airflow over the wing of an airplane begins to detach from the upper surface of the wing. When this happens, the wing is less effective at generating lift. That can impair control or, worse, result in insufficient lift to maintain flight.

Full Article

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Warp speed is possible but…

it might kill you!

Johns Hopkins physicist William Edelstein said at the American Physical Society conference in Washington, D.C. the two hydrogen atoms per cubic centimeter in space pose no threat to regular space travel, but would transform into “deadly galactic space mines” at near-light speed, Space.com reports.

Just another detail to be worked out!

gearlog.com

 

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