Category Archives: profiles

What would Yoky Matsuoka say about Sudbury Valley School?

Growing up in Japan, Yoky Matsuoka was on her way to becoming a world-class tennis player. When injuries ended her tennis dreams, she turned to another early interest: robotics. Twenty years later Matsuoka is now a leader in the emerging field of neurobotics, hard at work creating robot technology that can help disabled persons.



“RODNEY BROOKS: Yoky used to always surprise me, because she would go into a field [an area of robotics] where she knew nothing, really, and within three or four weeks, she’d be knowing everything about it and making contributions there. ”

“YOKY MATSUOKA: I am the first generation who is openly having this dual life and saying, “You know what? I’m not going to wait ’til tenure. I’m going to start having my kids.” And it’s really exciting, but it’s really, really hard. ”

“I really wanted to be somebody who sticks out, be different, have an attitude. If people say, “Hey, you have an attitude,” I think, to me, that’s a compliment.”

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Horazio Barra and Termobuild

In case it’s of interest… Another method for storing extra wintertime solar heat (or summer night-time coolth) in an out of the way place is to add concrete channels in the ceilings. I thought this was called the Barra Method. But here’s a company that makes a system using this technique that doesn’t seem to mention him. They maybe aren’t specifically doing solar, but similar logic it seems. LINK

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Harold Hay — Solar Pioneer

“Everybody there would be talking about sophisticated collectors and tracking systems and very exotic and expensive surfaces that were marginally more efficient absorbers of the suns rays and multi-million-dollar research projects,”says Steve. ” And, usually, the guys doing all the talking didn’t have a working prototype of anything they were spouting off about.

“And then Harold Hay would get up and he’d have some actual test data taken from some incredibly simple and low cost experiment hed just ran. And everybody would say,’You mean that’s all you’re doing? You’re just moving some insulation back and fourth? And they’d all go back to their discussion of some idiotic idea that would probably never work—but which was sure to cost the taxpayers of, this country several million dollars. They just couldn’t appreciate the genius of the man.” (Steve Baer)


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William Atkinson – Solar Pioneer

The Orientation of Buildings or Planning for Sunlight, 1912, William Atkinson, Fellow of the Boston Society of Architects

– and –

“New England colonials built salt box houses with south-
facing glass. By 1860, solar building was a lost art in the US. Millions
of immigrants came to cities like Philadelphia and lived in houses with
random orientations. In 1912, architect William Atkinson built a “sun house”
near Boston. It worked fine and reached 100 degrees indoors on freezing days.
He wrote a book about it, and his work was forgotten, in a kind of solar
amnesia.” from Environmental sermon

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