Showing 28 posts tagged power

Information is only of value if you can get it to people who can do something with it. Sharing is power.

General Stanley McChrystal at TED 2014. McChrystal’s memoir, My Share of the Task, is a magnificent read. 

Nearly seven decades earlier, Vannevar Bush made an eloquent case for the same concept in his seminal essay “As We May Think.” 

(via explore-blog)

Data is the pollution problem of the information age. All computer processes produce it. It stays around. How we deal with it—how we reuse and recycle it, who has access to it, how we dispose of it, and what laws regulate it—is central to how the information age functions. And I believe that just as we look back at the early decades of the industrial age and wonder how society could ignore pollution in their rush to build an industrial world, our grandchildren will look back at us during these early decades of the information age and judge us on how we dealt with the rebalancing of power resulting from all this new data.

The Battle for Power on the Internet - Bruce Schneier - The Atlantic (via fred-wilson)

(via fred-wilson)

Attack on Power Grid Could Cause Broad Hardship, Report Says

Terrorists could black out large segments of the United States for weeks or months by attacking the power grid and damaging hard-to-replace components that are crucial to making it work, the National Academy of Sciences said in a report released Wednesday.

By blowing up substations or transmission lines with explosives or by firing projectiles at them from a distance, the report said, terrorists could cause cascading failures and damage parts that would take months to repair or replace. In the meantime, it warned, people could die from the cold or the excessive heat, and the economy could suffer hundreds of billions of dollars in damage.

While the report is the most authoritative yet on the subject, the grid’s vulnerability has long been obvious to independent engineers and to the electric industry itself, which has intermittently tried, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to rehearse responses.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

Also, do you realize what it’s like to be a hunter-gatherer whose computer needs recharging? Last night I found myself sitting on the floor of the local public library, next to a power outlet that, thanks to a splitter, I was sharing with not one but two people. This library was built in the digital age and so has lots of accessible electrical outlets—a hundred at the very least. And so far as I could tell, all of them had something plugged into them. This was the most crowded I’ve seen a public library since, well, the beginning of the digital age. (People have asked whether libraries can serve a useful function in the digital age. The answer is yes. Plus, the books add a nice decorative touch.)

Sandy and Me - Robert Wright - The Atlantic

Lasers May Soon Keep Drones Perpetually Aloft

Two companies, Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive, have managed to keep the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System, also known as a drone, in flight for over 48 hours by using lasers on the ground to recharge the aircraft’s battery mid-flight. So … that’s terrifying and cool. LaserMotive held the test in an enclosed wind tunnel, and if you’re wondering what happened after 48 hours, well, it seems they just got bored.

» via Yahoo! News

Knowledge has gone from being an adjunct of money power and muscle power, to being their very essence. It is, in fact, the ultimate amplifier. This is the key to the powershift that lies ahead, and it explains why the battle for control of knowledge and the means of communication is heating up all over the world.

PowershiftAlvin Toffler on the age of post-fact knowledge and the rise of the super-symbolic economy (1990)

(via explore-blog)

Army Plan: Wirelessly Recharge Gadgets ... From 50 Feet Away

Leaving home while carrying a phone, an iPad and a laptop might also mean lugging along several tangled power cords. Now add radios and GPS devices. Now strap them to your person and wrap the cords around your body beneath your 30-pound armored vest. Oh, and you’re on patrol in Afghanistan, which means there’s no place to plug in when your phone’s batteries start to die. This explains why the Pentagon is keen on eliminating those cables with wireless chargers, and now wants to boost the range to more than 50 feet.

The plan involves spending $5-6 million using the branch’s research and development centers to “increase the efficiency of power transfer over longer distances,” according to an Army statement. If successful, it means that soldiers — instead of being limited to recharging their gadgets when returning to base, or by plugging into their vehicles — could go cordless. That means recharging by a wireless battery attached to their body — no plugs. The Army also hopes to build wireless transmitters on bases, allowing soldier gear to recharge passively, without having to plug anything in. And one day, it might be used on drones.

» via Wired

What worries him most is that we humans haven’t yet evolved to be as wary of algorithms as we are of used car salesmen.

Algorithms: The Ever-Growing, All-Knowing Way Of The Future | NPR (via courtenaybird)

(via courtenaybird)

Authenticated electricity: Sony power outlets will charge you for charging

Sony is building a new kind of power outlet that raises a not entirely pleasant prospect—in the future, plugging a phone into a public wall socket might require authentication and take a chunk out of your bank account. But the technology will have many important uses, Sony says, from managing payments for recharging electrical vehicles to avoiding blackouts by intelligently regulating the use of power.
Announced by Sony last month, and demonstrated today in a video posted by Tokyo news site DigInfo TV, Sony’s authentication outlet manages electricity use on a per-user and per-device basis with NFC (near field communication) and RFID (radio-frequency identification) tools.
The technology may be years away from commercial release, but a prototype demonstration shows a handheld dryer being plugged into an outlet that has the ability to authenticate devices. The dryer doesn’t need to be modified because it attaches to the outlet through a plug containing an NFC chip.

» via ars technica High-res

Authenticated electricity: Sony power outlets will charge you for charging

Sony is building a new kind of power outlet that raises a not entirely pleasant prospect—in the future, plugging a phone into a public wall socket might require authentication and take a chunk out of your bank account. But the technology will have many important uses, Sony says, from managing payments for recharging electrical vehicles to avoiding blackouts by intelligently regulating the use of power.

Announced by Sony last month, and demonstrated today in a video posted by Tokyo news site DigInfo TV, Sony’s authentication outlet manages electricity use on a per-user and per-device basis with NFC (near field communication) and RFID (radio-frequency identification) tools.

The technology may be years away from commercial release, but a prototype demonstration shows a handheld dryer being plugged into an outlet that has the ability to authenticate devices. The dryer doesn’t need to be modified because it attaches to the outlet through a plug containing an NFC chip.

» via ars technica

Scared of Anonymous? NSA chief says you should be

Anonymous has so far plied its trade in “hactivist” exploits. But according to the director of the National Security Agency, it might soon turn its focus to U.S. infrastructure.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources, Gen. Keith Alexander has said in private meetings at the White House and elsewhere that the U.S. must keep a close eye on Anonymous’ growth. He reportedly warned that if the organization continues to gain power, it might even take down a part of the U.S. power grid within the next couple of years.

How serious might such an attack on the power grid be? An industry official speaking to the Journal said that the U.S. grid has backups in place to safeguard against attacks. For a limited period of time, however, it could cause trouble.

» via CNET