Three radical nation-less visions for the future


Country living can be a pain. And we’re not talking about the hardships of life in a rural community, we’re talking about the difficulties of living in a country. For all the services and security the social compact buys us, we are forced to pay a price in compromises — something made all the more poignant by what’s going on in the White House right now. But unless you want to drop out of the modern, law-abiding world altogether, this is the deal we’re stuck with.


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Patent office expansion would create a jobs windfall for Denver

Denver 546

A patent office expansion to Denver might serve as a magnet for companies looking to be near the new offices.

The U.S. patent office plans its first expansion beyond the nation’s capital and they have Denver, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas envisioning the next Research Triangle and an accompanying jobs windfall.

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Power of 10 Interface


Information at the speed of need

Futurist Thomas Frey:  The distance between information and our brain is getting shorter.

Twenty years ago if you had access to a large information base, such as the Library of Congress, and someone asked you a series of questions, your task would have been to pour through the racks of books to come up with the answers. The time involved could have easily have been 10 hours per question.


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DaVinci Inventor Showcase Displays Wide Range of Innovations

jerome rifkin

Inventor of the Year at the DaVinci Inventor Showcase – Jerome Rifkin, Tensegrity Prosthetics

The DaVinci Institute held its annual Inventor Showcase on Saturday, November 13, where a large group of inventors demonstrated innovative concepts and products.  The event attracted a large crowd of inventors, entrepreneurs and families looking to get a glimpse of what is just around the corner.


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Senate Considered Banning Dial Phones in 1930


Alexander Graham Bell at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago.

June 25, 1930 – Senate Considers Banning Dial Phone:  In the spring of 1930, the Senate considered the following resolution:

Whereas dial telephones are more difficult to operate than are manual telephones; and Whereas Senators are required, since the installation of dial phones in the Capitol, to perform the duties of telephone operators in order to enjoy the benefits of telephone service; and Whereas dial telephones have failed to expedite telephone service; Therefore be it resolved that the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate is authorized and directed to order the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. to replace with manual phones within 30 days after the adoption of this resolution, all dial telephones in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol and in the Senate office building.


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Top 20 Brainiest Cities in America


Boulder, Colorado has been rated  America’s #1 Brainiest City

Where do the biggest brainiacs in America live?  Boulder, Colorado, tops the list of America’s brainiest metros. Boulder is home to the University of Colorado and was recently named by BusinessWeek as the nation’s best place for startup companies. In addition to CU, Boulder is the home of NCAR (National Center of Atmospheric Research), NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology), the DaVinci Institute, the Space Science Institute, and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Boulder is also home to a vibrant startup community headed up by groups like TechStars, the Boulder NewTech Meetup Group, and Startup Guru. Located next door in nearby Louisville is The Vault, the DaVinci Institute’s famed coworking space for startups.

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Latest Ag Innovation – Mobile Slaughterhouses

4 mobile slaughterhouse 786

Any animal, anywhere, any time

The slaughtermobile — a stainless steel industrial facility on wheels — is catching on across the country, filling a desperate need in a burgeoning movement to bring people closer to their food. It is also perhaps one of the most visible symbols of a subtle transformation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, long criticized for promoting big agribusiness.

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Apple and the iPad Could Revolutionize Medicine


The iPad may revolutionize medicine.

Steve Jobs got a new liver, the rest of us got an easier way to watch Hulu in bed, and the health-care industry just may have gotten the big break it needed to launch into the 21st century. Following his hush-hush surgery last spring, it’s easy to imagine the colossus of Cupertino, Calif., staring at the ceiling tiles in his hospital room and wishing for a way to hop online without having to bother with a laptop.


Nanotechnology: Science Fiction Fears Vs. Real World Innovation


Dr. Ben Wang shows a model of an ‘unmanned aerial vehicle’

Nanotechnology has surprising applications in mundane materials like sunscreen and esoteric items like high-tech body armor for soldiers. But some fear scarier scenarios worthy of a science fiction novel.  At Florida State University, engineers are creating new body armor for American troops. It’s more durable, more bulletproof and light enough that it can cover arms and legs as well as torsos.


Winners of the WSJ 2009 Technology Innovation Awards


The latest version of the T5000 biosensor from Ibis Biosciences

Medical detective work may have just gotten a lot easier.

Just how difficult it is gets highlighted every time an infectious disease sweeps the globe, as the new strain of swine flu did earlier this year. Current methods of testing for disease-causing microbes are pretty effective at discovering whether an infected fluid or tissue sample contains a known virus or bacteria. But trying to detect previously unknown organisms is a whole different story.


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Longmont, CO May Host Global Contest

Longmont Paper page 1 09 06 2009 2

The Greener Home Competition

Fifty Longmont homeowners could get full-house makeovers.
But that wouldn’t mean new couches, matching drapes and fresh paint.
These makeovers would include installing solar panels, wind turbines and data-control centers to manage energy use and safety systems.
Englewood-based DaVinci Quest is putting together a global contest to invite teams to design environmentally friendly smart homes — and then renovate 50 houses — for a “significant cash prize.”
And Longmont residents could be the beneficiaries if the company chooses Longmont as the host city.
“It’s kind of like ‘Extreme Home Makeover,’ only with 50 houses,” DaVinci Quest CEO Karl Dakin said. “What may be done to each one may be similar; it may be entirely different.”
The company’s “Greener House Contest” will kick off later this year, Dakin said. He expects DaVinci Quest to choose its host city within the next three months. The company then in early December will put out the call for teams to start designing.
Crews would start renovating and retrofitting houses next summer, likely between June and August, Dakin said.
The goal is that 50 teams will be matched with 50 homeowners who will give over their houses to be renovated to make them more energy efficient, safer and smarter.
If you build a house smart enough to manage energy, Dakin asked, why not build a house smart enough to manage other things as well, such as safety?
That could take many different forms, he said. For example, a system could alert firefighters that no one is inside a burning home or alert residents when the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch.
The contest criteria, so far, are:
Reduce the house’s energy consumption and reduce the waste produced there.
Produce and store energy, as well as store water, at the house.
Enhance communications and telecommuting opportunities.
Link the home with local safety departments.
Operate the house as a system and connect it with available community systems.
Spend no more than $25,000 on the renovation.
Solving problems
DaVinci Quest is a spinoff of the DaVinci Institute, which Thomas Frey launched in 1997 in a small office on Main Street in Longmont. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Frey spent 15 years as an engineer and designer for IBM, where he received more than 270 awards.
The institute began as “a nonprofit futurist think tank,” according to its Web site, but soon morphed into an organization focused on tangible results: inventions, innovations, business concepts.
The institute began educating aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs to give them the skills to make their projects viable, according the Web site.
That is, in part, how DaVinci Quest came about, Dakin said. The affiliate is a for-profit social enterprise that is taking on global social problems by fostering innovations, he said.
“Problems in the world need to be solved, and we need new innovations to do that,” Dakin said.
DaVinci Quest plans to do that by creating a series of 10 competitions to focus resources — time, money, people, ideas — on issues such as energy consumption, health care, food supply and natural disasters.
And it’s doing it through a relatively new concept called “crowdsourcing,” which Dakin describes as “using the world as our research and development team.”
Instead of handing over a task to a panel of experts, DaVinci Quest puts out an open call for ideas. The Internet allows people from all over the world to “come at a problem in every way,” Dakin said.
“The potential wisdom of the crowd is greater than a bunch of smart people in a room,” he said.
Teams could be university faculty or government agencies — or just a random person who decides to take on the challenge.
“It can be anybody anywhere in the world,” Dakin said. “We want to involve as many people in the world as possible.”
But there has to be an incentive, a push, a reason for those faceless people in the global crowd to focus on one issue. Enter DaVinci Quest and its contests.
DaVinci designs the criteria for a contest and creates measurable objectives and metrics to determine who wins.
And the “Greener House Contest” is its first.
DaVinci Quest is limiting its search for a host city to Boulder County, in large part because of the countywide ClimateSmart program, Dakin said.
ClimateSmart helps residents and businesses invest in energy-efficient improvements by providing loans for more than 40 different energy-efficiency upgrades.
Dakin said DaVinci Quest plans to choose one city — rather than pick 50 homes scattered throughout Boulder County — to cut down on complications that would come with different building codes, plans, permits and programs.
DaVinci Quest is looking for a company to sponsor a “significant cash prize,” though the amount hasn’t been determined. It also is looking for companies to sponsor each of the 50 teams.
A team can be one or more people from any-where in the world. Each team would pay an entry fee, be matched with a homeowner and use local programs to finance renovation costs.
The city would function as the economic development partner to help provide support services and guide everyone through building code issues.
Dakin met with Longmont Area Economic Council president and CEO John Cody last week to discuss the economic development possibilities of having Longmont as host city for such a contest.
By Rachel Carter via

Fifty Longmont homeowners could get full-house makeovers. But that wouldn’t mean new couches, matching drapes and fresh paint.

These makeovers would include installing solar panels, wind turbines and data-control centers to manage energy use and safety systems.

Englewood-based DaVinci Quest is putting together a global contest to invite teams to design environmentally friendly smart homes — and then renovate 50 houses — for a “significant cash prize.”

Continue reading… “Longmont, CO May Host Global Contest”