sexta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2010, ringoringoringo: “Abbey Road, Before Crossing”..., ringoringoringo: “Abbey Road, Before Crossing”...: "



The 8 Habits of Highly Productive People

The 8 Habits of Highly Productive People: "

Note from Celes: We just upgraded to a new and better server! It was getting way too slow on the old host even after 3 upgrades, so I finally decided to move out. With the new server, loading time is faster and usage experience is better. Hopefully there’ll be no more downtime as well. Thanks for your continuous support!

Dec 30DLBL is now underway, and today is Day 2! Members, please check your mail for instructions and file into the forum! If you’re interested to join in, you can still join us! Read more!

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What makes a productive person? Is it the ability to robotically churn out work, hour after hour? Is it the amount of discipline one has? Is it the speed at which one works?

Before we can discuss what makes a productive person, we should first define what productivity is. The common notion of productivity is the ability to churn out a lot of work in a short span of time. True, but not complete. IMO, true productivity is the ability to create a lot of high impact work in a short span of time. This is the kind of productivity we should concern ourselves with, not other kinds of productivity which are more empty / busy work that create no impact in the long term. For example, let’s say Peter types very fast and can reply 1000 emails a day. That doesn’t make him/her productive, because there’s little output (product) to speak of (unless the emails contribute to tangible, high impact outcomes). However, if John completes just one task in a day that has more impact than the 1000 emails put together, then he’s more productive than Peter is.

The past few months have been my most productive months for the year. I ran/spoke at a total of 8 workshops/speeches/conferences, including one in Hong Kong last month. My latest workshops have drawn in the highest number of participants to date. I created and ran 30DLBL, the first ever 30-day personal development challenge of its kind online, and had the honor of running it with over 1,200 of you in this special journey. I wrote, did the design and launched The 30DLBL Book (both guidebook and workbook), which has sold over 200 copies to date (that’s almost double of TPEBook in its first 2 weeks of launch). TPEB grew almost double in subscribers since Sep (3 months), from 9k to over 18k, making it one of the biggest personal development blogs online today. At the same time, I’ve also been managing other work, such as 1-1 coaching with clients (I’m handling about 5-6 clients on average at each time), administrative aspects of the business, writing TPEB articles/guest posts, maintaining the site, etc.

A few days ago I finished designing my line-up of workshops next year, and earlier this week I conceptualized the idea for my next book for next year (I noticed many of you are in the stage where you’re thinking of pursuing your passion or turning it into a viable, full-time career. I want you to join me and pursue your passion as a full-time career, so I’m going to write about this for my next book. I’ll be sharing how I turned my passion from nothing into a 5-digit monthly income career today and how you can do so too. More on that next year). That’s all while maximizing other aspects of my life, such as keeping to my exercise regime (I exercise daily now), having a positive social life, keeping in touch with old friends, all at the same time.

I think productivity is really how you manage yourself, and the habits you practice. By selectively practicing certain habits over others, you can get a lot more output for your time. Here, I’ll share with you my top 8 habits in productivity. Practice them and compare how your productivity changes afterward :D.

Habit 1: Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant (and focus on the important)

The first thing is to slice and dice everything that’s unimportant. Whenever I go to my work desk, I write down a list of things to do for the day. I then evaluate which are the most important things out of the list, first circling them, then ranking the items. After which I’ll challenge these items to see if they’re the best use of my time. What impact does doing these make? Can I be doing more high value tasks? Doing so helps me ensure I’m working on the absolute most important things for the day. Then, for the non-important ones, I either push them to a later date or find a way to take them off the list. (Learning how to say no to others is very important here.) Those who have The 30DLBL Book might recognize this as the 20/80 List in Day 8. It’s my favorite daily self-management tool.

For everything you’re doing now, ask yourself how important this is. Does this bring you dramatically closer to your dreams? Does this create any real impact in your life in the long-term? Is it the absolute best way to spend your time or can you be doing more high value tasks? If not, perhaps it’s time to ditch it. No point doing something unimportant! Say you’re handling a project that makes no difference to your business after it’s completed. It wouldn’t matter whether you take 1 hour, 3 hours, 1 week or never to do it! It’d still make no difference!

Many people tend to wrongly classify regular tasks as high value tasks. A good tool to set them apart is the Time Management Matrix that classifies our daily activities into 4 different quadrants. Your most important tasks fall under Quadrant 2. I’ve written about it extensively complete with diagrams and recommendations on how to deal with tasks in each quadrant, so read them here: Put First Things First.

Going by the questions I raised above, my most important tasks are the ones that bring me closest to my dreams when I do them. For example, working on my blog allows me to reach out to more people out there, which lets me achieve my end vision of enabling others to achieve their highest potential and live their best life. For you reading this now, I’d like to think that you found this blog partially through my efforts in reaching out to people out there, and partially thanks to the universe. :hug: Thank you for being here at the blog. This is why I prioritize TPEB blog development over all other tasks, such as writing guest articles, getting new speaking engagements, etc. While other tasks help me progress in my goals too, they’re not as effectively as working on my blog.

It doesn’t end with correctly identifying the high value tasks. Often times, we’ll be imbued with a stream of random, miscellaneous requests throughout the day. I used to give immediate attention to these things. Say random request # 1 comes in and I’ll do it immediately since it takes just 5-10 minutes, max. This is the same for random request # 2, #3…. all the way to #20. After a while, I realized these things take a lot of my time and I don’t even get any meaningful result out of them.  Not only that, I never finish my high value tasks. I may think I’m being very productive when I finish the random things, but truth is it’s just fake productivity.

So nowadays, I use a separate “will-to” list for these urgent tasks. I dump all the incoming tasks here and work on my 20% tasks. At the end of the day, I allocate a time slot to clear these tasks. I batch the similar urgent tasks, then clear them at one go. Turns out I’m always able to get them cleared in an hour or less, compared to the few hours I’d have taken if I attended to them in the day.

Habit 2: Allocate breaks strategically

I don’t think being productive requires you to work non-stop like a robot. On the contrary, it’s when you try to do that that you become less productive. While the number of hours spent on work increases and the amount of work accomplished seems marginally higher, the work done per unit time is lower than your average. Not only that, the work done per extra unit time actually decreases.

If you think the above sounds confusing, not to worry! Here’s a simple example to illustrate my point. Say you want to write a book. You can usually type 1,000 words in an hour working on your book. This goes well for the first 2 hours, and you clock 1,000 words per hour. However, at the third hour, you feel tired, and you type 500 words in the 3rd hour instead. That’s -500 words less than your usual output! This is known as the Law of Diminishing Returns in economics.

Rest is important. No matter how much you want to work, there are areas of your life that it can’t fulfill. Such as love, family, health. That’s why our life wheel is made up of different segments, vs. just 1 big segment. Each segment is distinct and unreplaceable by others. By “rest”, I’m referring to any segment of your life that’s outside of Business/Career/Studies. Taking time off charges your batteries so you can sprint forward when you return to it.

Earlier this year, I did an experiment. I went for a period where I continuously worked without stopping (save for necessary breaks like sleeping, eating, etc). I also went for a separate period where I would work, then space in break times in between work, such as catching up on emails, exercising, walking around the house, reading books, going for a walk, catching up with friends, a short nap, and so on. What I found was this:

Output decreases over time when there are no breaks (despite reaching the point of diminishing returns)

With breaks, the output can be maintained at a consistent high

*Drawings are very empirical, but you get the idea!

What this means is when I work non-stop without any breaks, my productivity keeps slipping until it’s near 0. However, when I take breaks, they help me start on a high note when I get back. Even though there are “down-times” away during the breaks, the high output more than makes up for that. Hence, by strategically placing my break times, I’m able to maximize my output. Rest, hence, does not prevent me from getting more done – it enables me to get more done. More time spent on work does not necessarily lead to more work done, but applying the above strategy AND combining it with increased time spent on work will maximize your output.

If you’re self-employed or on a flexible work schedule, you can put this into practice easily. Even if you’re in a 9-5 job, you can still do it all the time. Whenever you feel unproductive, throw in a quick break. Walk away from the desk, get a drink from the pantry, go for a toilet break, talk to a colleague about work. You’ll be more perked up when you return.

Habit 3: Remove productivity pitstops (i.e. distractions)

Productivity pitstops are things that limit your productivity. They can be the music you listen to when you work, your slow computer, unwanted phone calls, alerts from your inbox on incoming mail, the internet, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These things trap you and prevent you from getting things done.

What should you do then? Well, remove these pitstops! Or go to a place where they’re no longer an issue. For example, a big productivity pitstop for me is the internet. When I write my articles while online, I have the tendency to click to other sites. I’d check my mail, after which I become distracted by the new mails. The mails would lead to follow-up work and replies, which take time. By the time I’m done, a good 15-20 minutes has passed. Then within minutes of working, the same cycle repeats. So instead, when I’m writing, I unplug the LAN cable from my laptop and move my laptop to my bed (which is what I’m doing now as I’m writing this article). It’s a lot faster!

Go about your daily routine and observe when your output slows down. What’s distracting you? How can you remove it? Experiment and try working in different places. Adjust your environment. Make tweaks here and there. The more productivity pitstops you find and remove, the more productive you’ll be.

Habit 4: Tap into your inspiration

I can’t stress how important this is to maximizing your output. No matter what field you’re in, your inspiration is the key to your output. For example, an inspired programmer creates programs that changes people’s lives for the better. An inspired structural engineer designs effective building structures. An inspired marketer creates breakthrough marketing plans that touches people’s hearts. An inspired writer writes continuously. A highly inspired musician writes one song after another

I fully grasped the impact of inspiration when I started my business and was in charge of my full schedule. I realized during the times when I’m inspired, work is simply effortless. Taking writing as an example. The words will flow and I don’t even need to process them. They get transferred as thoughts in my mind straight to the keyboard. My last article How To Finish What You Start was completed in 1 night, which is much faster than my normal articles which can take as long as a week (for series posts). That’s because I was very inspired when I was writing it. On the other hand, when I’m uninspired, nothing comes out. It’s like when opening a tap and there’s no water, save for 1-2 drops.

What do you do then? Do you just idle, waiting for inspiration to strike before you do any work? That’s allocating your control to your external world, which really isn’t what this blog is about. I often hear people say they’re not planning to write because they’re not inspired. I think it’s not about waiting for inspiration to strike but about learning to channel into your inspiration.

How do you do that? It’s simple – think about what inspires you in life. Is it helping others grow? Connecting with people? Being recognized for your work? Working with the poverty? Helping the unfortunate? Being #1 in your field? How can you achieve them? Find out your motivators, then use them to drive you. My biggest inspiration is to see others achieving their highest potential and living their best lives. I love seeing everyone living to their highest being, and if there are ever anything blocking them I’ll feel all ready to rip it away, so I use this to drive me in everything I create. When I’m writing a blog entry, I’ll start by thinking what is an area people are facing blockages in, then I channel into that energy. 30DLBL was created because I noticed while many people pursue self-help, not many know how to translate what they read into practice. I got inspired to create a personal development program which would encapsulate my best strategies and learnings on how to live our best life. This program would consist of a series of tasks, at a manageable pace of one task a day, which would both trigger immediate action and create tangible results. And hence, 30DLBL was born.

Habit 5: Create barriers to entry

A great thing about our world today is that it’s easier than ever to reach out to someone. Everyone is just a sms/phone call/email/Facebook message away. At the same time it has become a highly distracting place to live in. Every few minutes, there’s a new request coming in. Your phone rings and it’s a telemarketer; You get an sms from a friend who’s bored at work; You get a new email and it’s some unrelated, unimportant mail; You get a Facebook mass events invite from someone you don’t know; Your calendar sends an alert about an appointment you already know… the list goes on. There are constantly messages coming from all different directions, shouting for your attention. Each one of them serves an agenda that’s not yours. And every time you pay attention to them, you’re distracted from doing what matters… to you.

What do you do then? To get real work done, I recommend you put up barriers, so it’s hard(er) to reach you. Unplug your phone, switch off your phone, close off your inbox, set a personal rule where you only reply to emails after X days. I’m not saying disappear from the face of the earth, but do that during your work hours at least, especially when you’re working on an intense project. After a while, people will get used to it and adhere to the rule in order to reach you.

For example when I was working on the 30DLBL Book last month, I blocked out my calendar from other appointments. When my friends wanted to meet-up, I explained I was working on an important project and I wouldn’t be free for a few weeks. On a daily basis, sometimes I’d switch off my phone and only check it at the end of the day to return the messages and calls (my telecom automatically sends a message if there are missed calls while I’m unavailable). I set up my blog contact form as my official contact channel, and funnel the requests through a FAQs page which filter out majority of potential requests before they are sent. I still continue to get regular mails, and people who send them know there’s a minimum 5 day lead time (if responses are needed). By making it harder for others to reach you, you filter out a lot of unimportant “noise” from outside, and that lets you work on your Q2 goals (see Habit 1).

Habit 6: Optimize time pockets

Time pockets refer to pockets of time you have in between events. You usually get time pockets when waiting for people, commuting, walking from one place to another, etc. Look at your schedule. What are the time pockets that can be better utilized? How can you maximize them? Have some ready activities to do during these pockets, such as listening to podcasts, reading books, planning, etc. You will be amazed at how much can be done in just a short amount of time!

For example, I spend a lot of time commuting. Even though I largely work from my home office now, I still commute a fair bit, say when heading out to meet friends, networking, business/lunch/personal appointments, giving workshops, and so on. While I try to schedule them at convenient places, there’s still downtime from walking from one location to the next, waiting for transport, traveling, etc. So rather than let the time go to waste, I use it to do some work. I bought a smart phone last year (with a QWERTY keypad) so I can type articles on the go. I also got a dataplan so I can check my emails wherever I am. Last but not least, I make it a habit to bring a notebook when I go out to jot down ideas. Amazingly, I’m highly productive during these time pockets. Because there’s nothing else I can do in this 15, 30, 45 minutes, I concentrate fully on what I’m doing. Right now, I’m actually typing this article on my bus ride home. Just a few days ago, I finished creating my 3-months plan from Dec ’10 to Feb ’11, as well as created the idea and book outline for my next book for next year, all while having lunch. That’s a lot of progress compared to if I had just spaced out, slept or idled away the time pockets.

Habit 7: Set timelines

A fundamental productivity habit. By Parkinson’s Law, work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This means if you don’t set a timeline, you can take forever to complete what you’re doing. If you set a timeline of 2 weeks, you’ll take 2 weeks. If you set 1 week, you’ll take 1 week. And interestingly enough, if you set 1 hour, you actually can complete it by one hour too, if you truly want to. So set timelines. When you set timelines, you set the intention to complete the work by this time, hence paving the way for the reality to manifest.

I do regular goal setting to maximize my output. The 30DLBL Book was out last month as I had set the timeline for it to be released then. If I hadn’t done so, it would still be in the works, possibly for release this month, next month, or perhaps even never. This month, I’ve timelines for other projects, such as for an upcoming workshop, to start writing my next book, write new articles, have a 2nd anniversary celebration at TPEB (more on that next week!), release The Personal Excellence Book version 2, and hit new readership targets at TPEB.  By virtue of just setting these targets and striving for them, I’m already increasing my productivity compared to if I didn’t set any goals.

Be clear on what you want to achieve (Habit 1), then set your timelines for them. What do you want to finish this month? What will make you look back and think that this is the best way you’ve spent today, and there’s no better way you could have spent it? Set that as your targets. From there, set your weekly goals. Finally, you can set your daily goals which become your day-to-day targets.

Habit 8: Automate everything possible

Technology today has made automation possible for a lot of things we do. Even when it’s impossible to fully automate the task, we can still use the systems to get a lot of the work done for us.

Keep a record of the things you do today, and see how you can automate them. Some of the not-so-productive tasks that we do on a regular basis are:

  1. Delete, archive, sort our mails

  2. Delete spam mail

  3. Paying our bills

  4. Appointment scheduling

  5. Planning our days/weeks/months (unproductive because it’s still planning vs. acting)

Here is a partial list of things I automate:

  • Site mails: I set up a filter where all site requests and reader mails automatically go into my ‘Reply later’ folder. I don’t see them when I check my inbox – Only when I’m ready to reply to mails

  • Scheduling: My schedules are somewhat automated. I set recurring items for things I’ve to do daily, weekly or monthly like paying the bills, posting new 30DLBL daily posts (for Dec 30DLBL), exercising (daily), workshops, etc so I don’t have to worry about them later. It’s not exactly automatic in that I have to first create the entry, but once it’s set I don’t need to do anything about it anymore.

  • Tweeting/Facebook: I automate the tweeting and posting of my new posts. Every time a new post goes live, my twitter will have an announcement, which automatically feeds into my facebook as well

  • Book payments: My book payments are automatic. Whenever someone makes a purchase for one of my books, e-junkie (my payment vendor) will automatically generate an invoice, a download link and a confirmation email and send them to the buyer. The payment is automatically sent to paypal.

  • Coaching payments: The same goes for my 1-1 coaching, where the payment system is automatic.

  • Coaching schedules: My coaching sessions with each client are set on a fixed day, fixed timing every week. Like #2, I have to first create the entry, but after that it’s automatic. That way we don’t need to arrange for a time slot every week and can get on with the coaching topics.

  • Site maintenance: I’ve set up the blog and forums to be as low maintenance as possible, to the extent where my only involvement is to write/post new content and reply comments. Many things such as the statistics, category count (in the sidebar), etc are automatically generated by wordpress.

  • Email filters: I set up filters for newsletters and subscriptions that go into different folders depending on the category. That way my only job is to read and get the value, not to sort. (Read XX tips of email management).

I’m continuously looking for ways to automate my process, so I can spend more time on creating value for others rather than being stuck in busy work. By automating your to-do list as much as possible, you reserve your time for the absolute important things. If you get a deja vu feeling when doing something on your task list, that’s a cue to automate that item.

Apply the 8 Habits of Productive People

What habits can you apply in your work/life now? Practice the 8 habits above and boost up your productivity immediately. If you found this article useful, please share it with others whom you think will benefit. Tweet it, like it via facebook, and share the link to your friends on facebook via the links below.

Here are other articles in the productivity series you will find useful:

  1. How To Finish What You Start: 10 Important Tips

  2. 11 Simple Tips To Effective Email Management

  3. The Best Productivity System There Is

  4. 50 Ways To Boost Your Productivity

  5. Become the Master of Your Time

  6. Put First Things First

Related Posts:


It's not an arsenic-based life form

It's not an arsenic-based life form: "
Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

Oh, great. I get to be the wet blanket.

There's a lot of news going around right now about this NASA press release and paper in Science — before anyone had read the paper, there was some real crazy-eyed speculation out there. I was even sent some rather loony odds from a bookmaker that looked like this:







[The +/- Indicates the Return on the Wager. The percentage is the likelihood that response will occur. For Example: Betting on the candidate least likely to win would earn the most amount of money, should that happen.]

I think the bookie cleaned up on anyone goofy enough to make a bet on that.

Then the stories calmed down, and instead it was that they had discovered an earthly life form that used a radically different chemistry. I was dubious, even at that. And then I finally got the paper from Science, and I'm sorry to let you all down, but it's none of the above. It's an extremophile bacterium that can be coaxed into substiting arsenic for phosphorus in some of its basic biochemistry. It's perfectly reasonable and interesting work in its own right, but it's not radical, it's not particularly surprising, and it's especially not extraterrestrial. It's the kind of thing that will get a sentence or three in biochemistry textbooks in the future.

Here's the story. Life on earth uses six elements heavily in its chemistry: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, also known as CHNOPS . There are other elements used in small amounts for specialized functions, too: zinc, for instance, is incorporated as a catalyst in certain enzymes. We also use significant quantities of some ions, specifically of sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride, for osmotic balance and they also play a role in nervous system function and regulation; calcium, obviously, is heavily used in making the matrix of our skeletons. But for the most part, biochemistry is all about CHNOPS.


Here's part of the periodic table just to remind you of where these atoms are. You should recall from freshman chemistry that the table isn't just an arbitrary arrangement — it actually is ordered by the properties of the elements, and, for instance, atoms in a column exhibit similar properties. There's CHNOPS, and notice, just below phosphorous, there's another atom, arsenic. You'd predict just from looking at the table that arsenic ought to have some chemical similarities to phosphorus, and you'd be right. Arsenic can substitute for phosphorus in many chemical reactions.

This is, in fact, one of the reasons arsenic is toxic. It's similar, but not identical, to phosphorus, and can take its place in chemical reactions fundamental to life, for instance in the glycolytic pathway of basic metabolism. That it's not identical, though, means that it actually gums up the process and brings it to a halt, blocking respiration and killing the cell by starving it of ATP.

Got it? Arsenic already participates in earthly chemistry, badly. It's just off enough from phosphorus to bollix up the biology, so it's generally bad for us to have it around.

What did the NASA paper do? Scientists started out the project with extremophile bacteria from Mono Lake in California. This is not a pleasant place for most living creatures: it's an alkali lake with a pH of close to 10, and it also has high concentrations of arsenic (high being about 200 µM) dissolved in it. The bacteria living there were already adapted to tolerate the presence of arsenic, and the mechanism of that would be really interesting to know…but this work didn't address that.

Next, what they did was culture the bacteria in the lab, and artificially jacked up the arsenic concentration, replacing all the phosphate (PO43-) with arsenate (AsO43-). The cells weren't happy, growing at a much slower rate on arsenate than phosphate, but they still lived and they still grew. These are tough critters.

They also look different in these conditions. Below, the bacteria in (C) were grown on arsenate with no phosphate, while those in (D) grew on phosphate with no arsenate. The arsenate bacteria are bigger, but thin sections through them reveal that they are actually bloated with large vacuoles. What are they doing building up these fluid-filled spaces inside them? We don't know, but it may be because some arsenate-containing molecules are less stable in water than their phosphate analogs, so they're coping by generating internal partitions that exclude water.


What they also found, and this is the cool part, is that they incorporated the arsenate into familiar compounds*. DNA has a backbone of sugars linked together by phosphate bonds, for instance; in these baceria, some of those phosphates were replaced by arsenate. Some amino acids, serine, tyrosine, and threonine, can be modified by phosphates, and arsenate was substituted there, too. What this tells us is that the machinery of these cells is tolerant enough of the differences between phosphate and arsenate that it can keep on working to some degree no matter which one is present.

So what does it all mean? It means that researchers have found that some earthly bacteria that live in literally poisonous environments are adapted to find the presence of arsenic dramatically less lethal, and that they can even incorporate arsenic into their routine, familiar chemistry.

It doesn't say a lot about evolutionary history, I'm afraid. These are derived forms of bacteria that are adapting to artificially stringent environmental conditions, and they were found in a geologically young lake — so no, this is not the bacterium primeval. This lake also happens to be on Earth, not Saturn, although maybe being in California gives them extra weirdness points, so I don't know that it can even say much about extraterrestrial life. It does say that life can survive in a surprisingly broad range of conditions, but we already knew that.

So it's nice work, a small piece of the story of life, but not quite the earthshaking news the bookmakers were predicting.

*I've had it pointed out to me that they actually didn't fully demonstrate even this. What they showed was that, in the bacteria raised in arsenates, the proportion of arsenic rose and the proportion of phosphorus fell, which suggests indirectly that there could have been a replacement of the phosphorus by arsenic.

Wolfe-Simon F,
Blum JS,
Kulp TR,
Gordon GW,
Hoeft SE,
Pett-Ridge J,
Stolz JF,
Webb SM,
Weber PK,
Davies PCW,
Anbar AD, Oremland RS (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1197258.

Read the comments on this post..."

Introducing Google Earth Engine

Introducing Google Earth Engine: "
(Cross-posted from the blog)

Today, we launched a new Google Labs product called Google Earth Engine at the International Climate Change Conference in sunny Cancun, Mexico. Google Earth Engine is a new technology platform that puts an unprecedented amount of satellite imagery and data—current and historical—online for the first time. It enables global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the earth’s environment. The platform will enable scientists to use our extensive computing infrastructure—the Google “cloud”—to analyze this imagery. Last year, we demonstrated an early prototype. Since then, we have developed the platform, and are excited now to offer scientists around the world access to Earth Engine to implement their applications.

Why is this important? The images of our planet from space contain a wealth of information, ready to be extracted and applied to many societal challenges. Scientific analysis can transform these images from a mere set of pixels into useful information—such as the locations and extent of global forests, detecting how our forests are changing over time, directing resources for disaster response or water resource mapping.

The challenge has been to cope with the massive scale of satellite imagery archives, and the computational resources required for their analysis. As a result, many of these images have never been seen, much less analyzed. Now, scientists will be able to build applications to mine this treasure trove of data on Google Earth Engine, providing several advantages:
  • Landsat satellite data archives over the last 25 years for most of the developing world available online, ready to be used together with other datasets including MODIS. And we will soon offer a complete global archive of Landsat.
  • Reduced time to do analyses, using Google’s computing infrastructure. By running analyses across thousands of computers, for example, unthinkable tasks are now possible for the first time.
  • New features that will make analysis easier, such as tools that pre-process the images to remove clouds and haze.
  • Collaboration and standardization by creating a common platform for global data analysis.
Google Earth Engine can be used for a wide range of applications—from mapping water resources to ecosystem services to deforestation. It’s part of our broader effort at Google to build a more sustainable future. We’re particularly excited about an initial use of Google Earth Engine to support development of systems to monitor, report and verify (MRV) efforts to stop global deforestation.

Deforestation releases a significant amount of carbon into the atmosphere, accounting for 12-18% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. The world loses 32 million acres of tropical forests every year, an area the size of Greece. The United Nations has proposed a framework known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) that would provide financial incentives to tropical nations to protect their forests. Reaching an agreement on early development of REDD is a key agenda item here in Cancun.

Today, we announced that we are donating 10 million CPU-hours a year over the next two years on the Google Earth Engine platform, to strengthen the capacity of developing world nations to track the state of their forests, in preparation for REDD. For the least developed nations, Google Earth Engine will provide critical access to terabytes of data, a growing set of analytical tools and our high-performance processing capabilities. We believe Google Earth Engine will bring transparency and more certainty to global efforts to stop deforestation.

Over the past two years, we’ve been working with several top scientists to fully develop this platform and integrate their desktop software to work online with the data available in Google Earth Engine. Those scientists—Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Carlos Souza of Imazon and Matt Hansen of the Geographic Information Science Center at South Dakota State University—are at the cutting edge of forest monitoring in support of climate science.

In collaboration with Matt Hansen and CONAFOR, Mexico’s National Forestry Commission, we’ve produced a forest cover and water map of Mexico. This is the finest-scale forest map produced of Mexico to date. The map required 15,000 hours of computation, but was completed in less than a day on Google Earth Engine, using 1,000 computers over more than 53,000 Landsat scenes (1984-2010). CONAFOR provided National Forest Inventory ground-sampled data to calibrate and validate the algorithm.

A forest cover and water map of Mexico (southern portion, including the Yucatan peninsula), produced in collaboration with scientist Matthew Hansen and CONAFOR.

We hope that Google Earth Engine will be an important tool to help institutions around the world manage forests more wisely. As we fully develop the platform, we hope more scientists will use new Earth Engine API to integrate their applications online—for deforestation, disease mitigation, disaster response, water resource mapping and other beneficial uses. If you’re interested in partnering with us, we want to hear from you—visit our website! We look forward to seeing what’s possible when scientists, governments, NGO’s, universities, and others gain access to data and computing resources to collaborate online to help protect the earth’s environment.

Posted by Rebecca Moore, Engineering Manager, Google Earth Engine


quinta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2010

quarta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2010

54 Mind-Blowing Digital Paintings

54 Mind-Blowing Digital Paintings: "

Here we’ve collected together over 50 legendary examples of digital painting in Photoshop. This hyper-modern medium blends traditional painting techniques with a digital canvas to produce stunning results. Featuring Cris de Lara, Alon Chou, Frederic St-Arnaud and others. This article contains some mild artistic nudity.

Editor’s note: In an effort to introduce some of our newest readers to some of our older, and most popular content we have decided to resurrect this post from November 2008 for everyone to enjoy for the first or second time. Enjoy!

1. Marta Dahlig

Marta is a long-standing Deviant Artist. She is 22 and from Poland, and she has been with DeviantArt since early 2003. During that time her amazing artwork and community involvement has made her work easily recognizable on the Deviant Art site. Her series of the seven deadly sins are pure perfection and a must see for any aspiring digital painter.

2. Daniel Conway

Daniel is a 23 year old lad who is currently living in the UK. He has spent 3 years studying both traditional art and digital animation. Currently however, he has been teaching himself the art of digital painting. His self teaching has certainly paid off, because his portfolio is truly amazing.

3. Marek Okon

Marek is also another digital painter from Poland. He is 27 and has some incredible talent. While he has been painting and doing web design for a while, it was only recently that he started he digital painting career. As you can see by looking at some his work, Mark is very into the sci-fi world. As a result, his work creates scenes that are truly creative and futuristic.

4. Cris de Lara

Who says all digital painting has to be complex sci-fi art? Cris has an awesome digital painting portfolio filled with a wider variety of subjects. Cris is currently living in Canada and started her jump into the digital painting world by learning traditional painting first. She first started with oil painting, but has now grown into doing work with comic books, illustrations, and TV.

5. Artgerm

Artgerm is the studio head and creative director of the talented digital painting studio Imaginary Friends. He is obsessed with Manga comics and this shows in some of his work. When not painting, he studies various other medias and styles as well as designs t-shirts.

6. Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe

Lorenz is a freelance digital artist born in Germany. After finishing his studies, he decided to freelance full time and has been doing quite well at it. He mostly works with clients in the entertainment industry such as movies, video games, and books. The majority of his digital painting skills are self taught.

7. Alon Chou

Alon started working at a gaming studio doing 3D modeling work, but was more interested in his 2D work so he decided to leave his job. Today he works as a freelancer doing digital painting and other 2D jobs. Mostly he does character and scene designs for games and movies.

8. Linda Bergvist

If you are into CG and digital painting, you have probably seen the EXPOSÉ and EXOTIQUE books. If so, you have also seen some of Linda’s work. Here digital paintings are no stranger to collections of great digital artwork. She likes to use a combination of Corel Painter and Photoshop to create her digital painting masterpieces.

9. Aleksi Briclot

Aleksi mostly works in the video game industry using his talents as a digital painter for creating concept imagery for game designs. Aleksi’s work isn’t limited to sci-fi digital paintings, but can also be found in books, comics, and a variety of magazines.

10. Goro Fujita

Goro was born in Japan, but moved to Germany where he currently lives today. Shortly after high school, Goro began freelancing with graphic design and programming. This led to his interest in animation and digital painting. Today he focuses mostly of digital painting and 3D animation. He currently works as a visual development director for feature films.

11. Jason Chan

Jason is from San Francisco and has been pretty successful in the digital painting community. His unique, child like sci-fi style has allowed him to create his own little niche in the community. You may have seen some of his work on the popular card game, Magic the Gathering.

12. Bobby Chui

Bobby started learning about digital painting by being an extremely active member on the CG Society website. Today he is not only an amazing digital painter, but also the owner of Imaginism Studios in Toronto. It is here where he teaches other about digital painting techniques. His art has won a number of awards and is very different from many of the other artists featured here today.

13. Robert Kim

Here we have another amazing young deviant artist who is filled with talent. Robert is 22 and from Calgary, Canada. He draws much of his inspiration from games, anime, and art. His digital painting offers a nice change from the complexly detailed images of many other digital painters. His style crafts together a mix of creative imagery and traditional painting to formulate an outstanding finished product.

14. Craig Sellars

Currently, Craig works as a freelance visual development artist. Mostly this means he works in the video game industry as a concept designer. In the years past he has worked with Walt Disney Features and the behemoth video game company Electronic Arts.

15. Vitaly Samarin Alexius

Vitaly was born in 1984 in south central Siberian Russia. In 1998 Vitaly moved half way across the world to Toronto. It is here that he began his journey into learning the world of art, Photoshop, and digital painting. He has a created a style unique to his name which he likes to call “dreamisim.” He currently works as a photographer and illustrator.

16. Frederic St-Arnaud

You have probably seen a ton of Frederic’s work without even knowing it. He has been in the business for over 11 years and has worked some really big names. He has learned everything from basic drawing to 3D animation. Some of his most popular projects include major motion picture posters such as Sin City, Indiana Jones, and Death Race.

17. Raphael Lacoste

Raphael grew up in France, but currently lives in Canada with his wife and son. Originally Raphael studied the fine arts, but later on in his life he began studying 3D animation. Currently Raphael is working as an art director for video games and other CG related work.

18. Taeyoung Choi

Taeyoung started out as a drawing instructor, but slowly worked his way into the world of digital painting and 3D animation. He mostly focuses his skills on the gaming industry to create character and background concepts. He has won several awards and features in an older edition of the EXPOSE book.

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