Monday, March 25, 2013

Software Engineering

Software engineering (SE) is concerned with developing and maintaining software systems that behave reliably and efficiently, are affordable to develop and maintain, and satisfy all the requirements that customers have defined for them. It is important because of the impact of large, expensive software systems and the role of software in safety-critical applications. It integrates significant mathematics, computer science and practices whose origins are in engineering.

Students can find software engineering in two contexts: computer science programs offering one or more software engineering courses as elements of the CS curriculum, and in separate software engineering programs. Degree programs in computer science and in software engineering tend to have many courses in common; however, as of Spring 2006 there are few SE programs at the bachelor’s level. Software engineering focuses on software development and goes beyond programming to include such things as eliciting customers’ requirements, and designing and testing software. SE students learn how to assess customer needs and develop usable software that meets those needs.

Both computer science and software engineering curricula typically require a foundation in programming fundamentals and basic computer science theory. They diverge in their focus beyond these core elements. Computer science programs tend to keep the core small and then expect students to choose among more advanced courses (such as systems, networking, database, artificial intelligence, theory, etc.). In contrast, SE programs generally expect students to focus on a range of topics that are essential to the SE agenda (problem modeling and analysis, software design, software verification and validation, software quality, software process, software management, etc.). While both CS and SE programs typically require students to experience team project activity, SE programs tend to involve the students in significantly more of it, as effective team processes are essential to effective SE practices. In addition, a key requirement specified by the SE curriculum guidelines is that SE students should learn how to build software that is genuinely useful and usable by the customer and satisfies all the requirements defined for it.

Most people who now function in the U.S. as serious software engineers have degrees in computer science, not in software engineering. In large part this is because computer degrees have been widely available for more than 30 years and software engineering degrees have not. Positions that require development of large software systems often list “Software Engineer” as the position title. Graduates of computer science, computer engineering, and software engineering programs are good candidates for those positions, with the amount of software engineering study in the programs determining the suitability of that graduate for such a position.
Most IT professionals who have computing degrees come from CS or IS programs. It is far too soon for someone who wants to work as a software engineer or as an information technology practitioner to be afraid that they won’t have a chance if they don’t graduate from a degree program in one of the new disciplines. In general, a CS degree from a respected program is the most flexible of degrees and can open doors into the professional worlds of CS, SE, IT, and sometimes CE. A degree from a respected IS program allows entry to both IS and IT careers.
Media attention to outsourcing, offshoring, and job migration has caused many to be concerned about the future of computing-related careers. It is beyond the scope of this web site to address these issues. The report of the British Computer Society addresses these issues as they impact the U.K. The Globalization Report of the ACM Job Migration Task Force reflects an international perspective, not just a U.S-centric one.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Is The World Really Ending In 2012!?

Is The World Really Ending In 2012!?

If you have never heard of the doomsday prophecy along with the date 21st December 2012 then where have you been?! With the interweb rife with chatter and conspiracy theorists hyperventilating over this coming date it has been pretty hard to have not. Like all good conspiracies there is in-depth information and surprisingly eyebrow lifting facts which make the hardest of cynics think twice before the scoffing begins. Whether you are a believer or not, it sure makes for an interesting read. Let us look at the top theories which have people worried; what are the reasons behind the hysteria?


The Sumerians where a super advanced civilization which was settled in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) around 5000 – 4000 BC, it is debated that they were actually the earliest civilization discovered. They were advanced in architecture; building the most incredible layered plat formed pyramids and temples and the very first civilization to be accustomed with metrology system which resulted in the creation of arithmetic, geometry and algebra.

But more surprisingly is that they were so advanced in the astrology of our galaxy from the colours of our planets to their moons, that these facts recorded from all that time ago have only been proven in the past century. In 1851 a collection of Sumerian books and 22,000 scrolls were discovered in Iraq. They tell the story of a flood changing Earth as we know it, wiping mankind from the planet, a story which is reiterated in Genesis. They also point to a planet which we refer to in modern day terms as Planet X.

Planet X is said to be enormous in size – 4 times bigger than Jupiter in fact, dwarfing the Earth. The Sumerian’s had another name for it – Nibiru.

Above is a seal which depicts our solar system with the sun centred and with the planets placed orbiting around it. You can see there is a 12th planet which they named Nibiru and is assumed to be a dwarf planet.

Nibiru translates to – ‘planet of the crossing’ and legend or fact has it, Nibiru travels around a long elliptical orbit only coming towards earth every 3600 years coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar, which ends? You guessed it December 21st 2012 and that is where the date comes from. Some think that the Sumerians and Mayans were not predicting the end of the earth but a consciousness in human enlightenment and a new beginning for the human race.

Planetary Alignment

On the same date the Mayan calendar ends (21st December 2012) the sun goes straight through galactic equator, an alignment which only ever happens once every 26,000 years. It is stated that this alignment of the sun and the planets which enters the dark rift of the Milky Way will be the first time it will be witnessed and recorded in history to date, therefore we have no knowledge of what destruction or affect if any it will have on Earth.

Some think this coinciding with the calendar is worrying. Did they really know something we do not? Gossip is widespread with concerns of polar shifts and all kinds of end of day’s biblical destruction. We all know that the planets and the sun does affect conditions here on earth, but some say this will have no precedence on us at all, others state that we will see an increase in solar activity and large scale disruption. It seems even the scientists cannot agree on this forth coming anomaly.

Solar Storm NASA Warning

In 2010 and again earlier this year NASA issued a warning on an up-coming solar maximum for late in 2012, scientists say that the sun will be entering and passing through an interstellar energy cloud which excites/energizes the sun. What affects could this have on planet Earth? Well, it is stated that it could in fact dismantle and frazzle our satellites knocking out our power grids, ending our communications for month’s maybe years. Something we are not prepared for, worse case – prompting worldwide blackouts, ending the usage of technology we rely on daily, from cell phones to navigational systems. NASA also states that it will cause more natural disasters such as much larger earthquakes, volcanic eruptions along with extreme weather.

Main tunnel of seed vault.National Geographic

Worryingly enough our governments seem to be preparing for some kind of major event behind the scenes , vast seed banks have been structured underground in Russia and Norway . FEMA camps have been stockpiling disposable coffins in their 100,000’s and construction of underground bases for the “elite” seem to be being built underneath our very own noses. Under Denver Airport being one of them.

See video:News Report

So there you have it! I have touched on just some of the rumors and theories circling the web. Should we be worried or do we thrive on these conspiracies, excited by the unknown, doomsday scenarios and biblical prophecies! Personally, I will not be worrying just yet and hey, if it does happen nothing much we can do about it, it's not like we would be informed by our governments anyway.

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The Causes of Global Warming

The Causes of Global Warming

The climate of our planet varies depending on internal or natural processes, volcanic eruptions or changes in the Earth’s orbit. The growth in the Earth’s temperature over the last 50 years was the results of several underlying causes, both natural and man-made. Greenhouse gases are those gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect. This causes are either caused by nature or by several human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels.

Greenhouse gases are released both by nature and human activities. In the wild, methane, a greenhouse gas, is released from arctic tundra and wetlands. The Earth is also bound to undergo a cycle of climate change, that usually lasts about 40,000 years.

However, man-made causes are the most numerous and the most damaging. Pollution, mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is the main factor that disrupts the Earth’s climate. When these fuels are used, or coal and oil are mined, CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

Fossil fuels are used at a greater scale since there are more and more people driving a car, using transportation and more agriculture. Another source of methane is manure, produce by more animals raised for food. Trees are being cut down to make room for homes and buildings, that would convert our CO2 to oxygen. Buildings structure alone account for about 12% of CO2 emissions.

Deforestation is the second cause of atmospheric carbon dioxide. 34 million acres are being cut down each year, leading to 25% of all carbon emissions entering the atmosphere. The forests that we are losing every year can account for an absorption rate of 2 billion tons of carbon annually.

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Awesome Dragonfly Wing giant greenhouse farm in New York City

Awesome Dragonfly Wing giant greenhouse farm in New York City

In these days of scares about global warming and world food shortages, it is always good news when we hear fo schemes to bring more of the green environment into our cities. Belgian firm Vincent Callibeau Architects designed a vertical farm based on the wings of a dragonfly, which is a truly eco-friendly building, awesome in concept.

Intended to be located along the east river at the south edge of Rooselvelt island
in New York City the tower will be, in essence, living organism being self-sufficient in water,
energy and bio fertilizing. Comprising 132 floors and 600 mtrs tall, the Dragonfly
will be able to accommodate 28 different agricultural fields for the production of fruit, vegetables, grains, meat and dairy.

This incredible construction needs to reflect the social diversity of the occupants, and will be laid out around two poles of housing work places, offices and research laboratories as well as
private leisure spaces. There are to be gardens, kitchen gardens, orchards, meadows, rice fields, farms and suspended fields for crops. Numerous elevators, and stair wells will be serving all the floors.

Amidst financial buildings and high-rise apartments, this 132 story complex will address the pressing need for environmental and ecological sustainability. This design focuses on creating a completely self-sustaining organism that not only utilizes solar, wind, and water energies, but also addresses the pending food shortage problems that the world will face in this century

Centered around two main towers, symmetrically arranged to allow growth to expand vertically rather than horizontally, to take full account of the crowded Manhattan conditions, this concept building is hoped to demonstrate one way of addressing ecological problems in future. A sprawling greenhouse would link the two towers and help carry the load of the building. The complex is to be arranged in a way that allows living spaces to be interspersed with meadows and farms.

The metal and glass wing design was directly inspired by the exoskeleton of a dragonfly, and is to house the plant and animal farms. Due to the appropriate sun and wind conditions within these wings, proper soil nutrient levels will be able to be achieved, maximizing plant growth, while exterior vertical gardens will filter rain water which, once mixed with domestic liquid waste, will be treated organically in order to be reused for farming needs.

The space between the wings accumulates warm air from the exoskeleton to heat the complex during the winter, while natural ventilation teamed with plant evapo-perspiration will cool the air during the summer. This vertical complex would contain 28 different agricultural fields, housing, office space and laboratories as well as orchards, farms and production rooms.

This far-sighted project highlights the future potential of vertical farming, first realized by the Seawater Vertical Farm in Dubai. The design facilitates the use of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power. In addition, the space between the “wings” would use solar energy to accumulate warm air within the structure during winter months, and the design of the spine would efficiently separate and re-circulate waste products from plants, human beings and animals. Nothing, or at least as little as possible would be wasted. What an awesome idea. Let’s hope it really takes off.

The Venus Project

This is probably the best known future city concept.

The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization unlike any socio-economic system that has gone before. It calls for a straightforward redesign of a culture, in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but totally unacceptable.

The Venus Project is an organization that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change, one that works towards a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. It outlines an alternative to strive toward where human rights are no longer paper proclamations but a way of life.

They operate out of a 21.5-acre Research Center located in Venus, Florida.

When one considers the enormity of the challenges facing society today, we can safely conclude that the time is long overdue for us to re-examine our values and to reflect upon and evaluate some of the underlying issues and assumptions we have as a society. This self-analysis calls into question the very nature of what it means to be human, what it means to be a member of a "civilization," and what choices we can make today to ensure a prosperous future for all the world's people.

At present we are left with very few alternatives. The answers of yesterday are no longer relevant. Either we continue as we have been with our outmoded social customs and habits of thought, in which case our future will be threatened, or we can apply a more appropriate set of values that are relevant to an emergent society.

Experience tells us that human behavior can be modified, either toward constructive or destructive activity. This is what The Venus www.thevenusproject.comProject is all about - directing our technology and resources toward the positive, for the maximum benefit of people and planet, and seeking out new ways of thinking and living that emphasize and celebrate the vast potential of the human spirit. We have the tools at hand to design and build a future that is worthy of the human potential. The Venus Project presents a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture. What follows is not an attempt to predict what will be done, only what could be done. The responsibility for our future is in our hands, and depends on the decisions that we make today. The greatest resource that is available today is our own ingenuity.

While social reformers and think tanks formulate strategies that treat only superficial symptoms, without touching the basic social operation, The Venus Project approaches these problems somewhat differently. We feel we cannot eliminate these problems within the framework of the present political and monetary establishment. It would take too many years to accomplish any significant change. Most likely they would be watered down and thinned out to such an extent that the changes would be indistinguishable.

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Best Future City Concepts

Best Future City Concepts

1. Seoul Commune 2026 (Green towers in the park), Seoul

The project by the Korea-based firm Mass Studies came as a response to Korea’s rapid technological and architectural development, which the designers describe as ‘anarchical.’ Covering 393 400 square miles, 15 towers of varying height- from 16 to 53 floors- function like one giant house in this park. It consists of two very contrasting elements: the park represents a public space, while the rising towers are an accumulation of individual dwelling units and demarcated private space. The Seoul 2026 proposal offers a fully-functional community development that is efficient, high-tech, and immensely sustainable. The buildings are being designed to use lattice-like geometric shapes to allow airflow as well as maximum strength while using a minimum of materials. They will be covered in plants. The towers’ internal functions are separated into public, private, and commercial, offering purely-private rooms called “cells” and communal spaces for public activity. Members of the commune may range from permanent residents to nomadic short-term lodgers. Seoul Commune 2026 suggests a minimized private space consisting of a bedroom and a bathroom in several spatial variations. Six elevators and six shaft spaces are used for transportation. The bases of all 15 towers offer programs for sports and leisure, educational facilities, a convention hall, conference spaces, cultural facilities, and supporting commercial facilities.

2. Ultima tower, San Francisco

Ultima tower is future city concept designed by Eugene Tsui. It’s designed to solve the problem with world population crisis. Conceptualized as human termite nest, these two miles green towers could house over one million people in area of only one mile. It’s shaped like a cone and would be able to fit full ecosystem of hills, ravines, lakes and rivers. The lakes would have sandy beaches, grass, trees and rocky islands. It’s imagined as if nature grew upwards with multi-soil levels. In the tower could be built residential, office, commercial, retail and entertainment objects. Ecological efficiency is a rule. The building will recycle goods and will use only eco friendly materials. Cars will not be let in. Only electric automobile, hybrid cars and bicycles would be allowed.

3. Sky City 1000, Tokyo

The project proposed by Takenaka Corporation in 1989 is another one which would be set to solve population crisis and lack of green space. It would house about 35000 residents and 100 000 workers. It’s 1000 meters high and comprises 14 concave dish-shaped “Space Plateaus” stacked one upon the other. The interior of the plateaus would contain green space, and on the edges, on the sides of the building, would be the apartments. Also included in the building would be offices, commercial facilities, schools, theatres, and other modern amenities. People would move with triple-deck high-speed elevators from floor to the top in less than two minutes. Each plateau will also have a monorail system which will help move people laterally. Authorities in Tokyo take this project very seriously; Sky City 1000 could be first realized future city concept.

4. Crystal Island, Moscow

450 meters tall self-contained city designed by Foster + Partners. It can fit about 30 000 residents in 900 apartments, but will also boast hotel rooms, cinema, theatre, museum, sports fields, shopping malls and school for 500 students. This project was already granted preliminary planning permission for construction on Nagatino Peninsula, just 4.5 miles from the Kremlin. The mega structure would form an amazing “second skin” and thermal buffer for the main building, shielding the interior spaces from Moscow’s weather. This second skin will be sealed in winter to minimize heat loss, and opened in the summer to naturally cool the interior. The building would be powered by built-in solar panels and wind turbines. The site would also feature on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation. It will be built in a new park, which would provide a range of activities. This project was delayed in 2009 because of the global financial crisis.

5. Bionic Tower, Hong Kong/Shanghai

The Bionic tower is project designed by Spanish architects Eloy Celaya, Rosa Cervera and Javier Gomez. It’s proposed vertical city, an extremely large building purposed for human habitation of 100 000 people. It would be built on completely artificial island of 0.4 square miles connected to the mainland. It would cost about 15 billion dollars. Until now the cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong have shown interest for this project.

6. X-Seed 4000, Tokyo

Although only an architectural dream, it’s cool. Created and developed by Peter Neville, and designed by Taisei Corporation, the 800 floors building would be 4 km high and 6 km wide, able to fit 500 000 to 1 000 000 people. It could eclipse even Mount Fuji, whose iconic shape has been attributed by the architects as their inspiration. X-Seed 4000 would be powered entirely by the sun, although it is unclear whether this would involve covering the facade with photovoltaic panels or next generation thin film solar panels. The interior of the building does appear to adhere to the Soleri’s ideology of humans in coexistence with nature; as seen above there is no shortage in terms of indoor foliage. The question remains: who would want to live in the shadow of a 2.5 mile tall building? However, X-Seed is “never meant to be built”. According to Georges Binder, managing director of Buildings & Data, a firm which compiles data banks on buildings worldwide. “The purpose of the plan was to earn some recognition for the firm, and it worked.”

7. Shimizu TRY 2004 Mega-City Pyramid, Shimizu

If built, Shimizu TRY mega-City Pyramid would be the largest man-made structure in world’s history; 730 meters high and 12 times higher than Great Pyramid in Giza in Egypt. Designed to accommodate 750 000 people, or 1/16 of Tokyo’s population, this building would help solving the problem of lack in space in Tokyo, knowing the fact that it takes space of only 1/47 of metropolis’ area. The proposed structure is so large that it cannot be built with currently available materials, due to their weight. The design relies on the future availability of super-strong lightweight materials based on carbon nanotubes. This pyramid city would be composed by 5 stacked trusses, each with similar dimensions to that of the great pyramid of Giza. It will use only renewable energy, mostly of the sea, the sun and the wind. For interior transport would be used accelerating walkways, inclined elevators, and a personal rapid transit system where automated pods would travel within the trusses. According to Discovery Channel’s documentary on the pyramid it would be complete within the year 2110.

8. Ziggurat Dubai Carbon Neutral Pyramid, Dubai

We can’t talk about Future City Concept if we don’t mention Dubai. The Ziggurat Dubai Carbon Neutral Pyramid is designed to house incredible number of 1 million residents, covering 2.3 square kilometers. This giant eco building was unveiled at Dubai Cityscape Event in 2008 and attracted a lot of attention by expert of the architecture, who were sure that project can be incorporated into grander plans, meaning that it may not be a one-off structure. The project was undertaken by Dubai based environmental design company Timelinks. The city will use natural renewable energy resources of solar, wind and steam making it completely self-sustainable in energetic terms and supported by a carbon neutral system producing zero carbon dioxide emissions. “Ziggurat communities can be almost totally self-sufficient energy-wise. Apart from using steam power in the building we will also employ wind turbine technology to harness natural energy resources. Whole cities can be accommodated in complexes which take up less than 10% of the original land surface. Public and private landscaping will be used for leisure pursuits or irrigated as agricultural land”, said Timelinks, MD, Ridas Matonis. The transportation network will make cars redundant and will have a plenty of green spaces for recreation and agriculture.

9. The Venus Project, Venus, Florida

Maybe this is the best known future city concept. The goal of The Venus Project is to restructure the world into green-thinking and energy-sustainable place. It’s based on the philosophy that technology will improve better if people are not so profit-minded. To prove it to the world, a group led by ideologist Jacques Fresco built research center in Venus, Florida, where new technologies are being developed. Cities would be based on the land, under the sea and above the sea. People, according to this concept, would live in very high skyscrapers, constructed entirely of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, steel and glass, and stabilized against earthquakes. These super-size skyscrapers will assure that more land will be available for parks and wilderness preserves, while concurrently helping to eliminate urban sprawl. Each one of these towers will be a total enclosure system containing a shopping center, as well as childcare, educational, health, and recreational facilities. This will help alleviate the need to travel to outside facilities. Would be used only renewable energy, as anything else is not in line with their philosophy.

10. Sky-Terra, San Francisco

A designer from San Francisco Joanna Borek-Clement created this project of cities in the sky inspired by the neuron cells. Unlike the others which include great skyscrapers blocking the sun, these interconnected giant building would keep the sunlight out. The towers should reduce the urban heat island effect. Rainwater will be used for landscaping needs. The towers will be built from modular parts to conserve resources and energy. The transportation system consists of interconnected foot paths and also bike paths and electric car paths. Getting to the city will be done by elevator. The Sky-Terra towers offer many options from public parks, to greenbelts, playing fields, jogging paths, amphitheaters, pools or bath houses – all with the aim of providing people with access to

Fuel from Algae

Fuel from Algae

Algae fuel or Algal Bio fuel is an alternative to fossil fuel that uses algae as its source of natural deposits. Several companies and government agencies are funding efforts to reduce capital and operating costs and make algae fuel production commercially viable.Harvested algae, like fossil fuel, release CO2 when burnt but unlike fossil fuel the CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere by the growing algae.

High oil prices, competing demands between foods and other biofuel sources, and the world food crisis, have ignited interest in algaculture (farming algae) for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogasoline, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels, using land that is not suitable for agriculture. Among algal fuels' attractive characteristics: they can be grown with minimal impact on fresh water resources, can be produced using ocean and wastewater, and are biodegradable and relatively harmless to the environment if spilled. Algae cost more per unit mass (as of 2010, food grade algae costs ~$5000/tonne), due to high capital and operating costs, yet are claimed to yield between 10 and 100 times more fuel per unit area than other second-generation biofuel crops.The United States Department of Energy estimates that if algae fuel replaced all the petroleum fuel in the United States, it would require 15,000 square miles (39,000 km2) which is only 0.42% of the U.S. map, or about half of the land area of Maine. This is less than 1⁄7 the area of corn harvested in the United States in 2000. However, these claims remain unrealized, commercially. According to the head of the Algal Biomass Organization algae fuel can reach price parity with oil in 2018 if granted production tax credits.

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