Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Small Sensor - You Name the Task (Audience Participation)

The only thing I have to say about this article is that it's wicked cool. Now, what do you think this kind of tech could be used for in space applications? Just something to get you thinking and hopefully stimulate your brain for a moment. :)

I look forward to seeing what people think.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One More Step Along the Journey

Virgin Galactic has completed one more step along the journey of making Commercial Space a reality. Yesterday marked the first attached flight of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, taking to the air together. Moving in the forward direction, it's nice to see Virgin Galactic making progress towards their ultimate end goal of providing more people a way to see the Earth as never before, and experience a thrill of a lifetime. One can only hope that that eventually leads into an avalanche of support for the advancement of humanity into space. :)

On a side note, SpaceX recently did their Falcon 9 three second test fire on the pad at the Kennedy Space Center. I didn't think that was really Blog worthy, even though it is important, but what could I say about that. Still, in the next month or so I hope to be writing about their successful Falcon 9 test launch. Now that is Blog least to me. :) That is another step forward to the end goal, but only one goal of many to be set, I'm sure.

The steps that will be taken over this next year will probably come slowly, with little fanfare by the mass media who find it more compelling to talk about athletes and their infidelity for hours on end than serious news that can positively affect many of us. Alas, that's the pop culture we live in. I guess it's up to us insiders to do what we can to bring it to the forefront, a job I'm more than willing to undertake. :)

Ad Astra!!!

The Idiocy of Lunar Ownership

This is where the notion of ownership becomes retarded. We're going to commit the same acts of stupidity on the Moon that we do/did on the Earth if we don't change our ways. Territorial disputes account for what...over half of all wars in history? Yeah, those are great parts of our history, where we killed each other over dirt (or the resources on or below said piece of dirt). Of course, that's no better than killing each other over fairy tales, mythos, or faith I suppose.

Sure, let's do the same stupid things on another solar system body by establishing property, ownership, false borders and selfish nonsense...idiotic.

No one owns the Moon, just like no one owns the Earth. And the notion that it's human nature to assume control and fight for 'things' is asinine. We are TAUGHT those values, they are not born into us. You can teach people to share and get along just as easily as you can teach them to be selfish and fight for pieces of dirt. Unfortunately humanity isn't civilized enough to teach the former of those two...yet.

I'd like to assume we would learn from our mistakes and not take our negative baggage with us when we start to expand humanity into the stars. I guess that's too much to ask once you bring lawyers into the mix.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Imagine If You Will

Imagine if you will...

You wake up on a Monday, living somewhere in the central United States (could be anywhere, but I'm using my local reference for the sake of discussion). When you wake up doesn't really matter. If you're a night owl, who functions better in the dark, maybe that's around noon. If you're a morning person, it could be at the crack of dawn. It really doesn't matter since you dictate your own schedule like everyone else does anyway, but let’s just say it was at 8am.

You stroll yourself to the kitchen, noticing that you're a bit low on some groceries. You make your way over to the kitchen wall computer, access your local food distribution center, and select what you need. The system says your goods will arrive in an hour via the automated cargo transport system. That works. This gives you time to eat breakfast and then take a shower. Good thing money is gone, because the high level of technology now implemented in agriculture has made food plentiful for everyone around the world, and the advances in robotic transportation are no longer hamstrung by costs or profit margins.

Breakfast is uneventful as you watch television, uninterrupted by commercials since there’s no such thing as “selling” products anymore. Now what used to take 30 minutes to watch (like the morning news), takes only about 15, and it’s nice that the majority of the news is about technical developments, the budding space exploration programs around the world, fun social events in the city and the past months efficiency ratings on key city systems. Always nice to see those numbers creep up, and numbers like the global crime rate continue to decrease.

Anyway, the shower is typical, and with a few minutes until the groceries arrive you check email and video chat with a friend in England, who you might visit today. The computer calls out indicating your groceries are about to arrive, so you grab your holding cart and walk out to the front yard. The cargo transport pulls up, the on board computer (with GPS and built in radar systems) knowing where you live just like the old post office people did when sending mail. You pull out the full cart with your groceries and replace it with your empty one, so that it can be returned, cleaned and used many times over throughout the city by the people. You press a button on the transport and it zips off back to the distribution center. A few moments later, your groceries are put away and it’s only 9:30am.

Well, what to do now? Last week was your only real work week for the year, as a volunteer technical expert on the automated hydroponic greenhouse building in your area. If something goes screwy, your volunteer team would be called in, much like how volunteer fire fighters used to operate, well, until we started building things out of fireproof materials. Anyway, with over 300 of you living in the area, it’s easy to rotate 5 to 6 person teams so that you’re “on call” for a week, but off for the next 51 weeks of the year. Of course, personal projects are what drives you, like the one you’re working on with about a thousand other people around the world on a new improvement to the international transportation grid system, but you don’t need to do that every day. That’s just interesting for you. And last week was uneventful, with no calls, so you spent your time researching on your project, and you did try to paint something...but we won’t talk about that endeavor. It’s nice to be able to work on what you like, instead of behaving like a rat in a maze doing something you “need” to do just to survive.

Take this house for example as a necessity for survival...shelter. After living in an apartment for a while, you decided a few years ago that a little place of your own away from everything would be nice, if just for a little while. It’s not like you have to lug furniture or many things around, since everything is always furnished how you like anyway. So you went downtown to the residential development building, selected an open plot of land, and started telling the computer what kind of house you wanted. Man you love voice recognition software. Those software people are amazing. Of course with millions of them working collaboratively around the world, it’s no wonder we always have the most amazing capabilities. After an hour or so, you’ve put together the exact house you like, including a nice virtual walk though in the VR room, complete with your personal landscaping touch and all the best furniture you enjoy.

Of course, everything produced these days is of the best possible quality, designed to last as long as possible. Good thing too. It was getting ridiculous with the amount of waste that went into making a bunch of redundant, second rate products. People used to complain that we didn’t have enough resources. It had nothing to do with availability, it had everything to do with waste and misuse. Anyway, your house was ready in less than a week, constructed by the automated robotic systems that build virtually everything these days (bye bye pointless human labor), complete with its own power system, independent of the grid. Although there is a grid system as backup, provided by the geothermal/solar hybrid plant in the center of the city, but it’s mainly used for powering city systems like the transport conveyors and automated subways. Anyway, the move was a piece of cake, since it’s not like you have to schedule everything in your life around a soul sucking job requirement, or bills, or costs, or what you can afford to do.

So, you decide you would like to visit your friend in England and call them up to make sure it’s all good. Sounds good to them, especially since you’ll be there in just under 4 hours and will be able to hit the clubs later that evening, no problem. 45 minutes from your house to the station, and the bullet train leaves at 11am and arrives around 7pm London time. Man you love those 2,000mph Maglev trains! Why did we ever use those loud, inefficient, gravity competing, pollution contributing airplanes that could only hold 400 people at a time anyway...and go only about 400mph?

Getting to the train station is no big deal, and the ride is just as relaxing as all 1,500 people on the train have their own suite (well, families have their suites as families). Might as well fit a workout in today by hitting the gym on the train. A good workout and a nap later and you’re notified by the lovely voice computer that you’ll be arriving in London shortly. Your friend greets you, and hoping you had not eaten yet, wants to take you to a nice restaurant in town with the newest meals programmed using the latest cooking techniques employed by an amazing up and coming chef. You knew they’d do that, so you held off dinner until now. The restaurant ambiance is amazing, as all restaurants are these days, since they all reflect what used to be called 5 star ratings. Some have people serving the food and some have robotic waiters or conveyor systems that serve the food. Either way is fine by you, but your friend is nostalgic, and this restaurant has a service staff of good old flesh and blood people.

The best thing, in your mind, is that the people are always nice and happy, always. It’s not like they’re working to pay bills anymore, or pay for college, or any other old world cost reasoning that would drive up their stress level and sour their mood, but they’re working this kind of job because they simply love interacting with people, serving food, having pleasant discussions and making people happy. In fact, the stress level of the whole planet has dropped significantly, including you, save for when your annoying sister calls, but that’s family. In general, people are now free to pursue their intellectual or artistic passions, no matter what they are, because nothing is holding them back.

The robots in the back kitchen, programmed to mimic the cooking styles of the most world renowned chefs on the planet, have just been upgraded to reflect the newest style of chef Antonio Misconi. Italian food never tasted so good, and no matter where you go in the world, the robots make it exactly as he would make it. It’s beautiful, and tasty.

The conversation is great, the food wonderful, and the nightlife just as enjoyable and fun. While out, you have a flash of brilliance, or so you think anyway, and you use your phone to add a suggestion to the global central database where that project is that you’re working on with others around the world. Your friend mocks you for always “working”, then you both bust out laughing and enjoy the nightlife of the city. You’ll get back on the details of that idea later when you get home in a few days, if you don't decide to take a trip to the Moon Base you've been thinking about, and maybe by then someone else in the world would have taken that idea and expanded it to arrive at a solution. Who knows, but right now, life is for living. And the best thing about this day is that never once did you have to worry about the old world notion of cost. You just live.

Note: If you’re a married person in this scenario with a family, it’s really no different.

Every single aspect of this mental exercise is possible in today’s world. The question remains, do you want to continue living in the world we have now, or be part of the solution that drives humanity to the next step in our social evolution, on Earth and among the stars?

Friday, March 12, 2010

ISS thru 2028 and NewSpace Laws

Well, I'm glad to see people actually thinking about life even after 2020. I think the international partners of the ISS are starting to make their feelings known. I don't think they sunk loads of money and staked a good portion of their national worth on a project that was going to fall into the ocean just a few years after completion.

There is still so much we can learn using the ISS at full capacity, including how to replace old and broken systems with new, updated ones. Talk about "This Old House" meets "Star Wars". lol. It will be very beneficial to learn how to replace entire modules, parts, solar panels, etc. while on orbit. And of course we can throw up Bigelow attachments, maybe a sister station floating around, and learn how to go from station to station maybe? The things we can learn are numerous, not just about all the science that can go on board, but also station operations and upkeep in general. :)

Oh, am I thankful for some common sense legislation to protect NewSpace. Space travel is dangerous and risky, wear a fraggin' helmet! As it was so eloquently put, and in my opinion so awesomely said by a friend:

Here's the short form:

Please check all boxes below to signify that you both understand and agree with them:

[ ] 1) I might die

[ ] 2) Even if I die, this will be totally awesome!

Signed: ____________________________

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Drives Innovation and Advancement?

Time to put this one to bed once and for all, and yes, it will end up tying into space exploration and development, so hang on. Over and over again when talking about the Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project, I am confronted by people who say basically this, "If you get rid of money, what's the incentive?"

So here's their assumption, that the pursuit of money, the creation of personal fortune (at whatever level a person wants) is what motivates people to build the better mousetrap. So let's analyze this a bit.

Why do people want money? Here are some fundamental reasons, and there could be more picky ones if you really wanted to develop a huge list, but that's not my point here. Anyway...

-- To have a nicer home.
-- To have a nicer car.
-- To provide abundant food.
-- To have nicer quality clothes.
-- To be financially independent, meaning no debt or financial obligation to anyone.
-- To provide for self education and/or the education of ones family.
-- To be able to enjoy life at will.

Hmmm, you know, all of these sound to me like this person simply wants to have a better quality of life. They want to have a high standard of living that is relaxed, comfortable and truly free. They are not really interested in the pursuit of MONEY, they are simply interested in the pursuit of a better quality of life.

In the current system, money is the means by which that better life is to be attained, and money is a fickle beast that people fight over, kill for, and many cannot get much of, so by the very nature of the system, it's not possible for the multitude to achieve that higher quality of life, even though ALL of them want it. I don't know about you, but I've never met anyone who wants to starve, be homeless and barely survive.

Look, Galileo didn't go up against the Church (at great personal peril) for the pursuit of money. Newton didn't invent Calculus for the pursuit of money. Albert Einstein didn't develop theories on Relativity for the pursuit of money, nor did Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, James Watt, Louis Pasteur, and many others who have developed new and/or better systems that positively affect the human quality of life.

We are conditioned to think that money provides our incentive. Bullshit. The incentive is and has always been the human desire to better their life, which in turn betters the lives of others who use whatever was invented or created. This innovative spirit does not come with a price tag. It does not hinge on material gain, but hinges on the positive advancement of the human condition.

Now, money grubbing business bastards will twist and use this innovative spirit to fund and then rape the inventor of their knowledge for the sole purpose of making money. This happens all the time. Tesla was an eccentric and half nutty brilliant inventor, but brilliant nonetheless. JP Morgan funded and profited significantly off the man, who cared less about financial gain, and cared more about advancing the human condition. So, when he built Wardenclyffe in an effort to provide free wireless electricity, JP Morgan cut the funding. FREE?! Can you believe Tesla wanted to create a system that distributed a needed service for FREE?! JP Morgan can't make money on free things, and in the end, Tesla died a broke and broken man, but gave the world amazing technological advancement. Yeah, money is such a wonderful thing.

So to summarize, money does NOT spawn innovation. Mankind today is riding on the work of a small few, people who only cared about making a system or piece technology better. Most people have no clue how their TV works, or their cell phone, but they use it. They didn't invent it. Of the billions of people living on the planet, less than a million throughout history have provided advancement to the world, and mankind will always produce those kinds of individuals. In fact, I bet because of starvation and rampant poverty throughout the world, we LOSE thousands of brilliant minds every day that NEVER have the opportunity to provide great things for humanity.

We can produce even more brilliant altruistic people if we geared our educational system towards focusing on that goal, not the pursuit of money and material gain, but the pursuit of always trying to make things better, easier, faster and more abundant for all mankind, enabling humanity to be the free and wondrous creatures we can be.

And to tie this into space exploration and development, how can you NOT see the potential of our species among the stars the moment we adopt such a logical and rational approach to how we manage our lives.