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review 2017-05-20 13:01
Good message, told in forced dialogues
Constance & Nano: Engineering Adventure #1 - Kelly Thompson,Nicoletta Baldari

So, I really kinda love this comic.   It's about Constance, a girl who lives in a town where flooding happens more and more often.   This flooding is a great cause for concern: her friend got hit by a car when the street he used to get to school was flooded, and Constance herself almost gets hit until she's saved by the local superhero, Nano.   When she asks her teacher why the street gets flooded, he sets up a meeting between the girl and his friend - a woman - who's an engineer.   Constance not only learns about what's happened, and what's being done to fix this problem, but she also learns about Nano's secret identity and figures out why her mom's garden is flooding.   She uses her newfound knowledge about engineering to fix the garden problem, because she can, and she knows the town is working on fixing the bridge.   This comic is put out by the Society of Women Engineers (or SWE) and it's a great message: women are engineers, and if we want more women engineers, we should foster that curiosity young.   (I'm also glad that this doesn't skew only to women engineers.   That is obviously the focus, but you see women and men working together when there are panels showing what the engineers are doing - like surveying - to start to tackle this problem.   It's subtle, but the message is there: men and women are working together to fix this.)

 

Everything, from Nano's identity to the big problem of the flooding of the town to the relatively smaller problem of the garden flooding are dealt with and wrapped up, as much as they can be in this short comic.   (Solutions are presented, but the changes don't happen immediately, because realistically it just won't be fixed with the snap of a finger.   Nano says she trusts Constance to keep her secret, which seems weird since they just met and Nano doesn't have any real basis for believing that a young child would have the necessary willpower to keep this secret.)

 

If only the dialogue didn't feel so stilted and forced.  I understand: the message was the points and it came on so strongly.   Which again is a great message, encouraging and empowering girls to learn about engineering.  But the message overtook any plot, any natural dialogue, and I kind of cringed at this fact.   Still, the importance of the message really overtook any reservations I had.     I'll take it, stilted dialogue and all.   

 

The art is bright, highly stylized and just excellent.  Adorable, very cartoonish, this fit the message, and the people this message was intended for, so very appropriate here.   Love, love, love the art.   

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review 2017-05-09 18:40
Sculpting the future
How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection - David F. Dufty

Longtime readers of the blog will recall that I've had a certain fear fascination with robots and A.I or Artifical Intelligence. You can check out my posts about books like Our Final Invention which details the growth artifical intelligence into super intelligence or In Our Own Image which is a thought experiment about what the evolution of AI will look like in the future to get an idea of what I mean. Today's book is somewhere in the middle. How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection by David F. Dufty covers the creation of a robotic incarnation of the famous sci-fi author which (according to its creators) has the ability to learn as it communicates with humans i.e. it is self-aware. The novelty of this machine was that it was created in the image of a man who was known for his paranoia about 'thinking' machines and that it was an artistic as much as technological acheivement. This book chronicled the creation of the android from its inception including the sculpting of the head and body by Dr. David Hanson through to its programming by Andrew Olney. (Not to mention the many volunteers from the FedEx Institute of Technology in Memphis who logged many hours helping to make this dream a reality without any compensation.) The PKD android was a sensation among scientific circles as well as among laypeople because of his realistic facial features, expressions, and his seemingly intelligent responses to questions. However, I am not convinced that he would have passed the Turing Test which proves that he was a self-aware artificially intelligent machine. Moreover, I found this book was lacking in many areas. Each of the chapters seemed to end without any real resolution and the ending fell flat. Also, one of my pet peeves is a nonfiction book without any endnotes or at the very least a bibliography and this one committed that sin. Overall, I'd say that this book would appeal to someone who hasn't done any significant research into this field and wants to dip their toe into that world but for me it didn't make the grade. 5/10

 

If you want to see the PKD android in action then you can check out the Hanson Robotics website. Be forewarned, if the idea of a seemingly artificially intelligent machine with human-like characteristics freaks you out then you shouldn't go to that website. To see what I mean, take a look at the pictures below. *shudder*

 

Source: Ascend Surgical

 

Source: Philip K. Dick Android Project

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-03-13 18:37
Information Theory, James Stone
Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduct... Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

Eggzellent stuff!

 

 

What a great intro to a subject I found fascinating and is widely applicable: Digital communications, computing, neuro-science and other biological sciences, linguistics (a favourite) and then there's my secret application that made me want to read the book in the first place...but you won't find it in the book. There is a proper glossary of technical terms, something that long term readers of my reviews know I think is essential and yet all too frequently absent. There are also appendices on various topics in probability and statistics that are relevant and you may be unfamiliar with or in need of a quick refresher about. This is also good textbook writing, in my view, as is including XKCD cartoons (with permission). The latter are even relevant!

 

I found it straightforward to follow what was going on despite having been solidly rebuffed by my previous encounters with the subject. I think this is mainly because some opaque terminology is properly and thoroughly defined and explained and put into a practical context as soon as possible. I strongly recommend this if you ever have a need to learn the basics of the subject and thanks to whomever recommended it to me!

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text 2017-03-13 08:49
Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 260 pages.
Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduct... Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

Stone says there is an energy limit (Landauer's Limit) below which acquiring information is impossible. This 0.693 Joules/bit. This apparently contradicts Feynman in his Lectures on Computation. The solution; Landauer's limit applies only to IRREVERSIBLE computations, where-as Feynman is talking about REVERSIBLE computing.

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text 2017-03-09 06:05
Top 6 Engineering Colleges in Mumbai

College aspirants from all over India prefer to study in Mumbai as this city is home to some of the top universities and colleges in India. There are many engineering colleges in Mumbai which provide quality education to those who want to become successful engineers.

 

The students can choose from different branches of engineering programs. Engineering colleges in Mumbai have produced many renowned engineers. If you’re also planning to pursue engineering in the city of dreams, here’s a list of top engineering colleges in mumbai that you should keep in mind-

 

  1. The second oldest and most elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay takes the first place in the list of best engineering colleges in Mumbai.

 

  1. With the extremely efficient cadres and management, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS University) takes the second place. This college offers Mechatronic Course along with other generic streams.

 

  1. By focusing on training and research in various branches of chemical engineering and chemical technology, the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) is considered as one of the leading institutes for engineering aspirants in India.

 

  1. DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering is named after the industrialist Dwarakadas J Sanghvi. The Institute offers eight engineering programs and gives preference to students who come from an economicallyweak background and have good grades.

 

  1. The Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) is one of the oldest engineering colleges in Asia, having been founded in the year 1887. It is one of the most sought-after colleges in the city till date.

 

  1. If you want to choose the allied branches of Engineering, Technology and Information technology then KJ Somaiya Institute of Engineering and Information Technology (KJSIEIT) Institute is an excellent choice for you.

 

Depending on their course preference, the students can choose from any of the top engineering colleges in Mumbai. If you’re planning to pursue engineering, it is important to keep yourself updated on the admission process, entrance examination and other eligibility criteria.

Source: www.fuccha.in
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