Why wind turbines have three blades

bigturbine00:17:12:16

Steve Jobs

… You know throughout the years in business I found something which was I’d always ask why you do things and the answer you invariably get is oh that’s just the way it’s done.  Nobody knows why they do what they do.  Nobody thinks about things very deeply in business.  That’s what I found…

The quote above from just over 17 minutes into Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview is for me the greatest insight and the biggest idea in the whole movie. I find myself applying it to many things. You can, too. Just ask why?

In this column I’ll try […]

Searching for a nanotech self-organizing principle

elevatorOne of the frustrations of nanotechnology is that we generally can’t make nano materials in large quantities or at low cost, much less both. For the last five years a friend of mine has been telling me this story, explaining that there’s a secret manufacturing method and that he’s seen it. I’m beginning to think the guy is right. We may finally be on the threshold of the real nanotech revolution.

Say you want to build a space elevator, which is probably the easiest way to hoist payloads into orbit. Easy yet also impossible, because no material can be manufactured that is strong enough to make an elevator cable to […]

2016 Prediction #1 — Beginning of the end for engineering workstations

2016predictionsFirst a look at my predictions from one year ago and how they appear in the light of today:

Prediction #1 — Everyone gets the crap scared out of them by data security problems. Go to the original column (link just above) to read the details of this and all the other 2015 predictions but the gist of it was that 2015 would be terrible for data security and the bad guys would find at least a couple new ways to make money from their hobby. I say I got this one right — one for one.

Prediction #2 — Google starts stealing lunch money. The title is 100 percent smart-ass but my point (again, […]

Soylent Green — Now Made with More Women!

Soylent_greenSoylent Green is the punchline of a bad joke told to me at the breakfast table by Channing, my 13 year-old son, but in a way it is fitting for this column about women executives in danger of being chewed-up by their corporate machines. And kudos to you if you caught the reference to Edward G. Robinson’s final film — about an over-populated world where people are recycled into cookies.

First up is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, whom I’m told is rapidly losing the support of her hand-picked board. Mayer, who is expecting twins, will probably not be returning from her upcoming maternity leave and Wall Street has begun speculating about possible successors. […]

Google’s OnHub router may save WiFi from itself

OnHubGoogle this week introduced its first WiFi router and my initial reaction was “Why?” WiFi access points and home routers tend to be low-margin commodity products that could only hurt financial results for the search giant. What made it worth the pain on Wall Street, then, for Google to introduce this gizmo? And then I realized it is Google’s best hope to save the Internet… and itself.

WiFi is everywhere and it generally sucks. WiFi has become the go-to method of networking homes and even businesses. I remember product introductions in New York back in the 80s and 90s when we were told over and over again that it cost $100 per […]