I have been thinking about being able to reproduce results easily and quickly.  As you can read in my previous post about jupyter notebooks.  They will, at least in python let you do so.  However, when attempting to reproduce entire dependencies for your software so that you can easily install on another machine there is Nix:

There are obviously other ways of managing packages, but NIX install packages within build environments so that you can isolate packages to particular projects.  Then you can easily know that you have the list of packages that are needed for reproducing your project build on another computer.  It is pretty neat, but as you may have guessed it works with linux and max os, not windows.

Jupyter notebooks

Some interesting projects:

Google has there own modified jupyter notebook that integrates into google drive:

And there is Binder (beta) that will create an executable jupyter environment from a github repo with jupyter notebooks.  Then anyone can easily run your code.


So, I was thinking that it would be interesting if we made a uniform harvesting mechanism.  Essentially all produce such as potatoes, corn, tomatoes, grapes, carrots, etc would all be grown in the same manner.  So, like if we modeled it after growing corn you would have a similar plant that would produce a husk and instead of inside being corn you would have carrots and grapes etc.  This way the harvesting would be easier as it is more uniform.  It can be optimized for space so the crop density and yield would be high.  The other nice thing is that it would be able to grow in a variety of climates.  This would solve a lot of problems.

This of course brings with it very very big questions such as biodiversity, aesthetics.  This might be solved by creating new biodiversity by not having it grow exactly the same, but in the general pod like structure.

This also makes me wonder about growing meat and tissue in plants.  Both plants and animals are organic matter.  That is a bit weird, but why can’t we customize the bark or shell of a plant to produce more complex structures?  Essentially bioengineering is awesome and scary and will produce some really cool things hopefully.

These things seem like things we’d like to take with us to other planets.

Smart Apartment Communities

I am getting a new apartment and am going to move-in in October!  This time it is a fancy one, not a basement of a house, but well it is still technically in a basement (subterranean as the apartment office calls it).  It is fancy in that it is part of an apartment complex.  The best part though is that I will be moving in there with my then to be wife, Leslie :).

So, last night Leslie was on her amazon because she was checking the shipping order for one of her friends wedding gift.  I was watching and she accidentally scrolled down too far and I saw what she got me for my Birthday!  She got me a Raspberry Pi 3!  So, it is a bit early for my birthday, but I don’t care.  I’m getting a raspberry pi!!!

This got me thinking of multiple ideas of what to do with it…  From making the whole kitchen into a smart kitchen.  Where we have smart outlets, automatic faucets, lights that turn on when you walk in or off when you leave, and automatic alarms that go off if the oven has been on for longer than you set it for, sound system controller, humidity regulator (since a basement probably will need a dehumidifier), temperature controller. dishwasher monitor, voice controlled kitchen timers…. I mean the list just goes on and on and on!

This got me thinking that apartment complexes would be the ideal candidate to start renovating for smart living spaces!  Essentially a smart community.  They could operate on there own smart/micro grid, have there own micro water plant (because why don’t we operate water and sewer like the micro-grid?  I mean that way the entire water system is not so easily polluted by a single source.  Also, that means a more exact amount of water is able to be cleaned etc.  idk but seems like a cool idea right?), also there would be solar panels installed on all the roofs (or at least those that make sense).  Then they could also renovate the apartments themselves.  Of course the more you pay the more the automation and the higher end the appliances etc are.  Of course you would want the smart house to be easily able to integrate the apartment resident’s devices and personal augmentation.  That way they could add more automation themselves if they desire.

So, that is a lot up front.  But, if the complexes start offering for a significant rent increase the basic smart house, they could start to increase there revenue and start to renovate the communities and start to make there company stand out.  Eventually they would have the dream of my last paragraph.  Of course if they are building a new community they might consider doing this from the start.

So, that was a fun idea I had.  I think that this would be a fun business to get into.  Contracting with apartment companies to renovate their apartment communities.


Machine Learning and History

I’ve had this idea for doing clustering and data mining of history texts.  Would be interesting to creating learning algorithms that can learn timelines and context.  Essentially history textbooks are structured possibly geographically and as a time series of events.  Then doing graphical analysis and social analysis on these structures.  Could compare history texts and see what is left out and maybe what each text places more emphasis on what events.  Also, doing this across time to see how history texts have changed in what the historians themselves find interesting.  Possibly finding patterns in history itself that were not evident or obvious without such algorithms that can crunch large large volumes quickly.  Doing the normal sentiment analysis as well.

This could then lead to producing a better picture of different countries and people groups and how they were formed.  Possibly doing anomaly analysis or creating other types of filters to uncover gaps in the history texts themselves.

This of course seems like it should have been done.  Main issue is getting digital copies of the history books for the algorithm to work with.  So, it may not have been studied.  Creating learning algorithms that can understand human history seems like an important area of research.  Especially as we are writing history now it is important to maintain a grasp of the entire picture and how everything fits together.

Amazing last week or so

So, I thought I’d write about the past few days as they were quite exciting, eventful, and since I’m forgetful I don’t want to forget.  I’ll begin of course at the beginning.  Which probably isn’t really the beginning but oh well.  The excitement started 12/12/15.  I went home to hanover that Friday (12/11) and had supper at the Landing with Logan, Rebekah, Josh, Terri, and Mom and Dad.  Food was great, I got a bbq burger and it was massive and delicious.  But, more importantly it was the last meal I was eating with Logan before he became a married man!!!  The next day (12/12) on a beautiful sunny and probably around 60 degrees (practically spring in December!) at around 10am Logan and Rebekah were married!!!!!!!!!!!  The rest of the day was a bit uneventful.  But I wore a suit so that was sort of different (planning on wearing it again Jan 3…).  But I had a fun evening/night taking apart Mom’s new laptop and replacing the hard drive with an SSD.  Before replacing I did a quick boot speed test and it took about a 1.5 minutes to do a cold boot with the hard drive.  With the SSD it took about 12 seconds.  The really cool part was when I installed all of the stuff (anti-virus, dropbox, etc) it still only took about 15 seconds to boot (I wait until all the icons in the task tray are loaded).  Word and excel start pretty much immediately as soon as click on the icon.  Which is amazing :).  So, I was satisfied with the $80 250 GB SSD over the 1TB hdd.

But wait that’s not all :).  Wed. 12/16 I finished my last class for my PhD!!  I only have to do comps, propose, and defend!

And then to celebrate (not really but I like to think) the next day (12/17) I went with some friends to the DC zoo lights :)!  Basically my bible study group went to Kings Dominion and we Wesley couldn’t come and we wanted to do something with him.  So, Stephen Kuhl told me about the Zoo lights and I got everyone together and figured out the schedule etc.  This was really fun.  It was my biggest group of people I’ve organized into doing something together ever (9 people).  The group consisted of David, Kelsey, Cameron, Addie, Stephen Kuhl, Ashley, Stephen Emerick, Wesley and me!  We metroed in which was quite slow as we all tried to get there together.  I should try to get better at driving in DC.  But, altogether the lights were pretty and we got to see bison, monkeys and gorillas.  We then ate at Chipotle afterwards.

Next, came Saturday (12/19)!  I really packed all the fun into a short period of time didn’t I haha.  Saturday was New Hope’s 25th anniversary dinner hosted by the lovely Katy and Jonathan of The Pixie and the Scout (which now that I’ve met them I think the name is based off of her and him).  I got the opportunity to work in the kitchen with them plating the food and cutting sausage and learning all kinds of tricks.  I got to direct a group of people to set up the 18 tables so that they looked nice and like the model table (I’ve actually gotten good at giving orders since having to direct undergrads with robots).  The food of course was sublime!  Never had anything taste soo good.  I really need to get the recipes for the dishes.  I however ate in the kitchen because I couldn’t find a seat.  It was ok because Katy and Jonathan mostly were in the kitchen too so I got to talk to them a little.  They actually cater for Redeemer!  Tim Keller knows them by name!!!  Totally awesome :).  Through this experience I’ve developed a challenge problem for multirobot task allocation and that is serving tables.  It is a multi-robot task problem (coalitions may need to be formed), we need multi-task robots (robots that can do more than one task), time extended tasks, and some of the tasks have dependencies!  So, it is a very difficult problem and having a real life problem to try and solve is always better than just trying to solve it in the abstract and then looking for a problem to use your solution on.  So, I’m ecstatic!  I’m hoping to send them an email or facebook message to say thanks!

What do you know thats not all yet!  Sunday 12/20 I saw Star Wars VII The Force Awakens!!!!!!!!!!  It was totally awesome, I actually might go and see it again tomorrow (12/22).  I got some people from New Hope to come with me to the IMAX at the Air and Space museum in DC to see it.  We drove in and waited in line for about an hour and got pretty bad seats (right in the front).  But, the movie was excellent.  Went with Corrie, Cameron, Addie, Stephen Emerick, Stephen Kuhl, and Ashley.  The cool part was that Steven and Pastor Scott came with some people from HCC.

So, was Star Wars the pinnacle?  I doubt it.  But it will be hard to beat.

Autonomous Mixer

Ingredients 🙂

  1. 3D printer
  2. Motors
  3. Touchscreen with Raspberry-pi
  4. Leap Motion (for gesture recognition)
  5. Pressure Sensor (to know when the bowl is on the turn table)
  6. Kinect (for facial response feedback, mixing monitoring)

So, this would be the coolest mixer everrr (lol)!  Would 3d print the housing and the mixing blades.  Would self-clean (maybe) and automatically mix the ingredients using the right speed and mixing blades without a mess.  Could use learning from demonstration to teach it how to mix different ingredients.  Then could eventually optimize it for minimizing different things like number of turns etc to mix depending on the ingredients and end product.  Would automatically stop when finished mixing of course.  Leap Motion so you don’t need to touch any buttons.  Connected to the internet to share learning data and settings.  Learn to print new mixing blades.

I have a ton more ideas but I’ll come back.  This seems like it should be on Kickstarter.  Most mixers are very lame and need you to touch them to be able to adjust settings etc.  This could be easily automated and keep the machine clean.  They are also very very expensive for some of the “nice” ones (around $400).  So, could sell this for a lot less and have a ton more features.

Modern Jukebox

The modern jukebox should be an app and people can pick the song to listen too from their personal device.  Could have a voting based or purchase based.  Then I can listen to the music I want when I’m at the school cafeteria, at a restaurant, or the mall.  Could get “tokens” for playing music while in the store or restaurant.  In the future your device could even do the song requests for you.

Sun based internet

I was just reading about LiFi and I was wondering why not just create window attachments that produce the same effect?  Then you can use the sunlight instead and the window can modulate the light to achieve the same effect as the LiFi.  Then both the lifi bulbs and the windows could work together to achieve optimal coverage.

So, this method only makes sunlight a medium for information to be encoded onto.  Therefore, device to device communication still requires an LED.  The main interest for using sunlight is to allow for regular internet access.

On a grander scale could we modulate earth’s atmosphere to essentially just be a bigger window so that we give internet to everyone on earth through sunlight?  That sounds like an XKCD comic haha :).