Technology differs from science in its core purpose. The purpose of technology is to make things we understand work; that of science is to discover how things we don’t understand work. In mathematical terminology, science searches for the founding theorem, while technology pursues its many corollaries. Science is constrained by the faith it has placed in, or the frantic search for, a unifying paradigm; technology has, in principle, more freedom to apply science in many different ways.
However, in practice science and technology tend to operate a lot closer to each other. Read more…
An emerging scientific paradigm (which can be referred to as a theory or a model) can be compared to a net which is just good enough to hold a few large pieces of evidence that have been observed – but so far not grasped – by the scientific community. At the risk of overworking the metaphor, picture a net-bag holding Newton’s apple: as a bag, it is rather unsophisticated, but it is good enough to catch the apple as it falls. If it also manages to catch a few other pieces of fruit, the bag becomes effective and consistent enough in the eyes of the scientific community, that everyone adopts it as THE bag that will enable them to grasp ANY piece of fruit. A paradigm is born and everyone believes in its abiliy to explain the whole world.
South Korea has just switched on the first commercial road in the world where OELVs (Online Electric Vehicles) can be constantly recharged while driving. Electric cables fitted under the pavement are used to generate electromagnetic fields which are picked up by a coil inside the vehicle and converted into electricity. The technology allows electric vehicles (EV) to break through the range barrier, which has hampered EV adoption so far.
Aix-en-Provence based Wysips® (What You See Is Photovoltaic Surface), a subsidiary of Sunpartner, is ramping up the production of a transparent photovoltaic surface. Since winning the CTIA prize for groundbreaking innovations in Orlando, Florida in 2011, Wysips has further developed the technology reaching 90% transparency and packing enough power generation in an 0.5mm layer beneath the tactile surface to offset the energy consumption of the ‘network search’ function of a mobile phone and placing emergency calls.
With year-end and the festive season, many were busy buying gifts for their loved ones. Some chose to gift Nespresso machines and products from the Apple Store, fitting very well with the lifestyle of most these days – browsing the internet with a good cup of coffee in the comforts of their own home.
Musing over this, it struck me that fundamentally, the approaches taken by the marketing organizations of Apple and Nestle (Nespresso) to promote their products are quite similar: Read more…
A few years ago when I was living in France, my elder brother visited me. We both walked down to the small city centre in hope of finding a home theatre system for me. Back then, I was a novice to the audio world with very limited knowledge on available systems, whilst my brother had years of experience of assembling speakers, woofers, sub-woofers and amplifiers on his own to achieve the best sound effect and quality.
We entered a store that sold several systems. My eyes were immediately caught by popular brand names such as Sony and Yamaha, particularly with the display of large multi-component systems. The intricacies intrigued me and were compelling evidence for what I perceived to be high quality.
While I kept myself busy with the popular and catchy systems, I realized my brother was stationed in a corner looking at what appeared to be a black box akin a computer CPU.
In these times of financial crunch and flat growth, there will inevitably be advocates of a return to old Keynesian economics. However successful Keynes’ ideas may have been in their time, I somehow doubt that the same recipes that brought the world back from the Great Depression would work just the same. And it may well be that Keynes himself would also be looking for new ideas if he, rather than his economics, were to return:
“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”
John Maynard Keynes Read more…