Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Anybody tried Google's Chromecast Device?




The article linked below explains the device in more detail, but I have long pined for a a simple connection to any screen in the room.  If the Chromecast dongle works as advertised, it might prove remarkably useful in professional presentations.

I envision screens that take up entire conference room walls, but require no substantive computer hardware to drive them.  The "dumb screen / smart device" concept makes a lot of sense.  Remotely connecting to any screen you plug the Chromecast dongle sounds pretty cool.  "Dumb screens" should be much cheaper than the hardware laden behemoth's on the market now.  In fact, the technology exists to simply "paint" a screen on a wall.  If the wall of the job trailer can display the latest changes to the BIM that would be pretty cool.


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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Old King Coal Rising in Germany?




Germany's fixation on green energy programs, especially solar, seems to be waning.  Solar power - not really the best option in Germany by the way - has failed to date even with massive subsidies.  Wind power has delivered nothing of substance and nuclear doesn't appear to be in the mix.  Natural gas, which could be extracted but for restrictions or fracking, would help lower green house emissions as it has in the US.  But Germany has turned, instead, to Old King Coal just as India and China have.

Lignite and hard coal power plants and gas plants delivered 12.4 percent more power in the first half years, according to figures by the Federal Association of German Electricity Association (BDEW). As a result, German greenhouse gas emissions will rise again in 2013, just as they did in 2012. Already in 2012 lignite and hard coal power plants had emitted approximately four percent more CO2. The data for the first half year now show that this trend will significantly worsen.


Now who would have ever predicted anything like that?



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Fracking Raising Concerns in Saudi Arabia




Interesting take on the shale gas revolution.

Prince Alwaleed told Mr Naimi in his open letter, which was dated May 13 this year, that he disagreed with him.
The prince said: "Our country is facing a threat with the continuation of its near-complete reliance on oil, especially as 92% of the budget for this year depends on oil.
"It is necessary to diversify sources of revenue, establish a clear vision for that and start implementing it immediately."
The prince said Saudi Arabia should move ahead with plans for nuclear and solar energy production to cut local consumption of oil.
Saudi Arabia definitely needs to diversify its economy.  


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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Starving Children to make Archer Daniels Midland Rich!




When will these destructive bio-fuels subsidies end?  This is just madness.  Children are starving all over the world and we are burning 40% of our corn crops annually as fuel.  And the market skewing idiocy is extending to South America and other locations as well.  STOP IT PLEASE!  Do it for the children.



Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ultra Ever Dry + Upsalite = Industrial Scale Kitty Litter Boxes!




The two materials discussed below will blow your mind.

Let's start with Ultra Ever Dry, a product produced and distributed by Ultra Tech International, Inc. out of Jacksonville Florida.  Rather than explain Ultra Ever Dry I will just embed the company's cheesy video, complete with 70s style porn music in the background.


Wow.  Just WOW!

Having litigated hundreds of water intrusion cases, oil spills, and other environmental disasters I cannot slow the march of potential uses for that product in my mind.  From planning and construction through operations and maintenance I can envision hundreds of thousands of uses for that product.

Now, let's turn our attention to an even more amazing material, the obscure and heretofore unknown materail Upsalite.

Never heard of it hey?  Of course you haven't.  That's because it was only discovered a few months ago, by accident, in Sweden.  See, the article at i09 We Come from the Future.  That's right, this is another of those serendipitous scientific breakthroughs that will change the world.  As with most advanced materials it will take time to bring useful products to market, but the potential for Upsalite is off the charts.

 The new material featured an adsoprtion capacity about 50% larger than that of comparable materials at low relative humidities, and an ability to retain more than 75% of the adsorbed water when the humidity was decreased from 95% to 5% at room temperature.
Swedish researchers create ‘an impossible material’ by mistake
“This places the new material in the exclusive class of porous, high surface area materials including mesoporous silica, zeolites, metal organic frameworks, and carbon nanotubes”, noted researcher Maria Strømme through a release. Indeed, it can adsorb more water at low humidities than the best materials available — and with less energy. “This, together with other unique properties of the discovered impossible material is expected to pave the way for new sustainable products in a number of industrial applications”, said Strømme
Note that adsorption is different than absorption.  Different as in a more unique and useful characteristic of the new material.

Here is a link to the study detailing the Discovery of Upsalite.

Everybody knows I'm a bit of a redneck and I may be misunderstanding the chemical makeup of Upsalite but it sounds to me like this is some Industrial Strength Kitty Litter!

Would love to be involved in an environmental clean up where these two products were deployed in tandem.  Better yet, let's work with planners and designers to build these advanced materials into new facilities and nip the environmental disasters in the bud before they can become disasters.

Cool stuff coming our way that's for sure.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

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Collaborative Construction
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Collaborative Solutions - DIGESTED JOINTLY




As more and more stakeholders in the built industry recognize the value of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) more and more of those stakeholders are attempting to adopt, adapt and implement BIM and IPD in the real world.  

Those efforts, typically undertaken by A Teams made up of Koolaid drinking BIM Evangelists and IPD Advocates, tend to be very successful.  However when the B Team / Second String / Replacement Players sub in for the A Team on subsequent projects implementation becomes a lot tougher.

Not surprisingly, advocates of BIM and IPD now contend "Built Culture" needs to change before we can successfully implement BIM and or IPD, or that the "Human Side of BIM" matters more, etc. etc.  This is all true.  But what is the solution?  How do we "Change the culture of the built industry?" Well, it's not easy.  But collaboratively pursuing solutions to the vexing and wicked problems faced by the built industry is a good place to start.  Collaborative Construction, of course, has been at this for a while now and we've developed a series of workshops, legal instruments and programs that support stakeholders interested in deploying BIM and IPD in the real world.

One of the key features of each Collaborative Construction workshop, legal agreement and or program is the pursuit of Collaborative Solutions.  Over the past several years we've tracked what works - and what doesn't - and as with most much of what we teach at Collaborative Construction the concept of Collaborative Solutions, and the mind set required to achieve Collaborative Solutions, has been boiled down to an acronym.  We say Collaborative Solutions are best DIGESTED JOINTLY.  

The image below summarizes the concept and the audio file linked below the image provides further insights.  Please share these ideas and contact us if you need help implementing BIM and or IPD in the future!




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Collaborative Construction
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Penn State Updates BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners




Penn Statue University, a leader on BIM implementation efforts, updated the BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners.  Follow the link below to download a PDF copy of the Guide.  It is well organized, thorough and very useful.

If your organization is interested in leveraging BIM from the planning and design phase through construction and into operations and maintenance let's schedule a time to talk.  That same applies to built industry stakeholders with clients asking such questions.


Download a copy of the Guide and read it from cover to cover!

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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Monday, July 22, 2013

More on MOOCs




Below is an excerpt from another article detailing the rise of MOOCs on the Web.  A large number of major universities around the world have jumped into the game at various levels.  The entire endeavor strikes me as similar to the travel industry's reaction to the Web and the ensuing slaughter of most travel agencies.  Universities that figure out where and how to fit into the emerging process will do great.  Those that fail to do so will, I think, fail.  One thing that's clear, nobody knows what the right business model looks like yet. 

The industry has similar network economics to Amazon, eBay and Google, says Ms Koller, in that “content producers go to where most consumers are, and consumers go to where the most content is.” Simon Nelson, the chief executive of FutureLearn, disagrees. “Anyone who thinks the rules of engagement have already been written by the existing players is massively underestimating the potential of the technology,” he says.
Certainly, there is plenty of experimentation with business models taking place. The MOOCs themselves may be free, but those behind them think there will be plenty of revenue opportunities. Coursera has started charging to provide certificates for those who complete its courses and want proof, perhaps for a future employer. It is also starting to license course materials to universities that want to beef up their existing offering. However, it has abandoned for now attempts to help firms recruit employees from among Coursera’s students, because catering to the different needs of each employer was “not a scalable model”, says Ms Koller.

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Collaborative Construction
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Glue Sticks for Buildings?




As a long time advocate of modular construction I read the article linked and excerpted below with great interest.  The article describes certain research conducted by Germany scientists looking for a more efficient way to bond modular components in the fields.  Nails, staples, bolts and welds traditionally serve as the attaching mechanism in the field and much the work in construction entails nailing, stapling, bolting or welding component parts in place.  The researchers want to insert special adhesives to bond component parts.

These advances, combined with other advances in BIM, IPD and materials science - concrete in particular - are increasing the speed and efficiency with which planning, design and construction services can be delivered.  Don't fall behind!

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI in Braunschweig have come up with an alternative together with their colleagues from the Institute of Joining and Welding at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. "We've developed an adhesive tape that sets in under a minute to reliably and durably bond together the individual components," says Dr. Andreas Zillessen, a scientist at the WKI. "The adhesive sets at the push of a button, so to speak. This means that when we apply the adhesive tape when assembling components, we can wait as long as we like without the adhesive drying out, as other kinds of adhesive would."
The secret is inside the material itself: unlike ordinary adhesive tape, it does not consist merely of a backing material and adhesive -- it also has its own "heating system." This is a metal strip that is coated with adhesive on both sides. If you want to stick together two strips of wood, you place the adhesive tape in the right position, put the strips of wood in place, and then let an electrical current flow through the metal strip. The metal heats up, and the adhesive melts and binds to the wood. First the adhesive is turned liquid by the heat so that it gets into the pores in the wood; then it sets very quickly once it cools. "At present, the gluing and setting combined take around a minute, but over the long term we want to make these processes significantly shorter," explains Zillessen.


My preference would be to see automated demolition mechanisms built into the process as well.  Land is the enduring asset in real estate and in the past 100 years we've moved from permanent - and spectacularly beautiful buildings ala the great churches and cathedrals of Europe etc, - to what are, for all practical purposes, disposable buildings.  The problem is disposing of our throw away buildings has become extraordinarily expensive.  So let's give some thought, as an industry, to the demolition costs while, at the same time, advancing ideas like the one linked above.  For example, could the adhesive be designed in a way that enabled ease demolition by re-heating the metal plates when it came time to tear down the facility?  Food for thought.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Initial Podcast Style Post




In late May Lauren Browne interviewed me for an article she wrote for Connect Press.  A copy of the article is linked below.  At the time I recorded the interview via Skype, but Lauren's questions were not recorded.  I finally modified the audio and inserted Lauren's questions.

The audio file is linked below.  Let me know what you think of the audio format.  I might post more audio files if I can figure out how to use Audacity efficiently.

Below is a link to Lauren Browne's article:

Cloud Computing:  Changing Collaboration's Digital Infrastructure.


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Governments Continue to Mandate BIM




Governments around the world - including here in the US - continue to mandate BIM.  Unfortunately, too few - including the feds in the US - have made any effort to modify the antiquated procurement laws and regulations that are antithetical to BIM and the best practice associated with the development, deployment and execution of BIM.


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

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Collaborative Construction
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Elon Musk Thinks Outside the Box




How cool would it be to work on one of these projects?  Better yet, how cool would it be to commute coast to coast in 45 minutes?  Or travel to China, Australia or Europe in 2 hours?  Think back to the science fiction of the 1950s and imagine where we will be by the 2050s.

Lots of cool stuff on the horizon.

Elon Musk wants to revolutionize transportation. Again. The serial entrepreneur envisions a future where mag-lev trains in enormous pneumatic tubes whisk us from Los Angeles to New York in 45 minutes. Need to be in Beijing tomorrow? No problem. It’s a two-hour ride away.

***

Musk’s interest in the idea was sparked after researching California’s new high-speed rail project and realizing that it will be the slowest and — at $70 billion — the most expensive system on the planet. To his mind, there’s a better solution. The Hyperloop is it. And one firm unaffiliated with Musk is in the early stages of development.


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Robots on the Farm... Is Construction Next?




Robotic lettuce thinners and other devises deployed in California's Salinas Valley save money and time, lowering costs for producers and consumers.  Leveraging GPS and other advances in technology, scientists continue to increase the reach of robots.  This extension of the knowledge economy impacts every industry, and construction will not be immune.
In this region known as America's Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary.
Farmers say farm robots could provide relief from recent labor shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality and yield a more consistent product.
How about an article that tackles the issue from the construction industry perspective?

In the Construction Dive this morning there is a link to a piece by Ron Gallagher in Builders Magazine in which he quotes a critic who complains:

Another critic, Jaron Lanier, a Microsoft researcher and author of Who Owns the Future,  in June wrote, “More and more activities will be operated by software. Instead of Teamsters, there will be robotic trucks. Where there had once been miners, there will be mining robots. Instead of factories, there will be 3D printers in every home.”

Follow the Construction Dive link to the full article.


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Collaborative Construction
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Nanotech or Biotech? Cancer Cure on the Horizon?




The article excerpted and linked below takes the nanotech concept we sometimes tackle on the blog to a whole new level.  A UK team appears to be on the verge of developing biological mechanisms whereby human T cells, the fighters in our immune system, can be created artificially and used to target cancer.  Very cool stuff it if comes to fruition.

Using the body's immune system to fight cancer is one of the most promising areas of therapy, and could prove particularly helpful in the treatment of metastatic disease, when the cancer has spread from its original site.

The immune system is complex and is composed of many kinds of cells, proteins and chemical messengers that modulate how it works. Scientists are working on ways of exploiting the immune defences to recognise and eliminate cells that have become cancerous.


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Collaborative Construction
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Will the UK Embrace Shale Gas?




The UK's Bowland Shale contains more shale gas than the US has in the Marcellus Shale and the Barnett Shale formations combined.  If the UK wants to be "green" the country should take advantage of the shale gas in the Bowland Shale.

Natural gas is much more environmentally friendly than coal, which continues to be the mainstay of electricity production around the world and in the U.K. Gas emits less than half the CO2 per kilowatt hour produced, and it emits much lower amounts of other pollutants like nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, black carbon, carbon monoxide, mercury, and particulates. If the U.K. sold its shale gas both domestically and abroad to replace coal, it could reduce local air pollution significantly and reduce global carbon emissions by 170 megatons. At the same time, instead of costing $8 billion per year, shale-gas production would add about $10 billion per year to the U.K. economy.


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

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Collaborative Construction
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3D Printer Prints Fuel Injector for NASA




The advance in 3D printing technology continues.  These improvements have exciting implications for the built industry!

Nasa said the component would normally have taken a year to make because of the exact measurements involved, but by using SLM the manufacturing time was cut to less than four months and the price reduced by more than 70%.
"Nasa recognises that on Earth and potentially in space, additive manufacturing can be game-changing for new mission opportunities, significantly reducing production time and cost by 'printing' tools, engine parts or even entire spacecraft," said Michael Gazarik, Nasa's associate administrator for space technology.


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Recycling Concrete Buildings?




Holy cow!  I've been clamoring for this process for several years - and being called crazy for it - but never dreamed we were this close.  The photo below depicts the new machine at work.  Here's a link to a more detailed ARTICLE.

I love love love what this guy is doing.  

The cost of the machine and the process is probably higher than the cost of smashing an existing concrete structure through brute force, but that's because it is a prototype / first generation technology.  I think the cost will plummet.  When the revenue from recycled concrete, aggregate and steel is taken into account the difference in costs will likely drop further.

The challenge, for advocates of BIM and IPD, will be to identify design / construction techniques that will enable this process, or variations, in the future.

ERO Concrete Recycling Robot, Omer Haciomeroglu, concrete recycling, demolition robot, building material recycling, concrete reuse, energy-efficient building demolition, waste-free demolition, rebar reuse 

This is what real sustainability entails.  The future is now!

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


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