Category Archives: Travel

Future Tech – To Be or Not to Be! Which is the answer?

brain waves

Must engage brain!

What future do we imagine? From what sources do we seek our solutions?

Several NASA scientists claimed their source of inspiration came from TV or movies. Most often you hear the respondents believe they felt compelled to get into engineering or scientific vocations because of Star Trek or Star Wars.  Of course sports stars have impressed young people for years to aspire to become professional athletes. The fact is, what we envision for ourselves becomes our compass or guiding star.

When President John F. Kennedy gave a speech on the goal of the United States was to put a man on the moon, we did it. It seemed like a huge step for us at the time. We have new problems that require solutions for a much more terrestrial environment.

The electric car seems like an answer to green house gases or air pollution in large cities, but is it really?

atomic particlePeople often ignore that electrical generation is derived from some type of coal burning, oil or gas burning,  nuclear fission, hydro-dam or to a very small extent, wind and solar. The vast majority of our electrical generation comes from carbon fuel sources. In order to have the capacity for additional electrical charging stations for cars, a rise in green house gases will result from these power plants with our current designed infrastructure.

Beyond that problem is another, the need to dispose of a lot of batteries, which carry high concentrations of toxic materials. Leaching heavy metals into sources of ground water is also a huge problem. The batteries for electric cars still cost a lot of money with total costs higher than $10,000. The life expectancy is anywhere from 4-7 years. Batteries can be recycled but are expensive.

Cars used in colder climate require plenty of energy to heat the interior and defrost the windows. With gasoline or diesel, the combustion process already transfers the waste heat from the engine while with electric cars heating requires extra energy from the electric car’s battery. Typical travel distance before a long recharge is 80 to 100 miles. With a heater or AC requirements, that travel distance (time between charges) is greatly reduced. Heaven help you if you get stuck in rush hour and your batteries are full discharged. You can’t just go get a can of electrons to recharge your batteries.

So overall, are we gaining anything other than limited distance transportation? If we shift the pollutants from one energy source to another, is there a net gain?

Tesla Model S Motor Trends Car of the Year for 2013

Tesla model S front profile

Tesla model S front profile

I have to admire the foresight, creative, risk taking spirit of Elon Musk. He understands the issues, and fully expects to overcome them. The same perseverance and risk he has undertaken with space travel, he’s leading an independent charge in electric vehicles, too.

Today’s Problems with electric vehicles

• Cost too high.
• Range too limited.
• Environmental Impact too small.
• Driving too different.
• Choices too limited.

None of these are obstacles too large for his vision & the company, Tesla. It seems some of his biggest hurdles are from major automotive franchises which have sought to limit the states in which his company may sell vehicles from a local store front. Even that opposition is withering.

Perhaps we will see an abundant conversion from the internal combustion engine to electric or hybrid.

Ten years ago Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning launched what would become Tesla Motors. They soon were joined by Elon Musk, who had a huge payday from selling his share of PayPal to eBay. The goal was to build a production electric sports car similar on the tzero concept developed by AC Propulsion (ACP). ACP was uninterested in the immense effort required to put into production, the wickedly fast and emissions-free roadster, so the trio of tech entrepreneurs took on the challenge.

Early Tesla designs incorporated batteries that could be mass produced from Panasonic. These batteries sometimes have a tendency to overheat and the result could be a very expensive automotive bonfire. They engineered a way to keep the batteries cooler but not before videos went out describing dangers that weren’t accurate.

Examination of the facts demonstrate this fire wasn’t due to batteries, rather because of the damage from road debris.

BMW wants to get into this future automotive tech as well. Ads have gone out to gain ‘cool factor’ among early adopters.

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Finding the Ticket to Ride

Pierre Omidyar and Richard Branson

Pierre Omidyar and Richard Branson (Wikipedia)

Those of us growing up during the age of the transistor followed by the integrated circuit, polio vaccine, color television, microwave ovens, commercial jets for the everyday traveler, CD followed by the DVD, surround sound, computers which used to consume warehouse size buildings being reduced to the size of your hand, have gotten used to routinely seeing the next ‘big thing’ in technology. Richard Branson hasn’t just satisfied himself building an entertainment empire, air and train transport, mobile phones while naming them under his global banner Virgin, he’s preparing to open space travel to the average, well above average moneyed passengers. It’s not going to be a rocket to the moon or for that matter, earth orbit. It’s a brief journey to approximately 62 miles up and back again. All of that for the economical price via Virgin Galactic of $250,000. In a moment of temporary lack of business sense, Richard Branson let it be known, cheaper fares are coming. Of course to a multi-squillionaire, cheaper fares are relative. Actually that’s sort of pocket change these days as the latest news from the U.S. Debt Clock, total long-term unfunded liabilities are at $126 trillion, a $1.1 million liability for each U.S. taxpayer.

While you’re packing, you can travel light-er with your new slimmed down iPad Air.  For those who must have the latest in techno-trinkets, this super-light piece of digital-gasm will please those on the go. If only they could have foreseen how lightweight and sleek pad computers were going to become by the time Star Trek was more than a 60’s TV fad…

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson 9/29/2005 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson 9/29/2005 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council, in Wash, D.C. (Wikipedia)

Astrophysicist and StarTalk Radio host Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to explore deep space. Professor Tyson wants to visit Europa, a moon of Jupiter because it’s believed to have an ocean of water beneath its surface. As a scientist, “any place on earth we find liquid water, we find life”, so that’s why and where he wants to explore.

Alien Notions

This post is an extension of essentially two posts I’ve made regarding possible alien visitors from another planet. I first posted “Did Aliens Visit our Planet?” on June 13, 2013. I followed up with a post of a different nature on July 8, when Google came out with their clever “Roswell Incident” Doodle. In a later discussion about what are my thoughts about possible interactions with aliens from another planet, I gave the following expanded response.

water and landIn a blog post I made on June 13th, I asked the rhetorical question, Did Aliens Visit our Planet?  The succinct answer I gave to the question was, no. I realize knowledge of any sort is limited to only those with the experience. That is why I understand those with limited science background, a high school level or meeting a minimum college requirement, might find the idea of evolution is not believable. Conversely, for those who claim a clinical or scientific assessment concerning life origins often refuse to believe in anything beyond their 5 senses. Each can make valid points about their interests and pursuits to the exclusion of those who don’t share the same knowledge. To be clear to the reader, I believe there’s some truth in both. To me, evolution goes beyond the oft used phrase, it’s only a theory. The theory if you understand it, goes well into significant details about the progressive adaptation of life forms, from the simplest to the complex. I also believe there’s a spiritual nature to human beings which extended past the physical 5 senses. I also think you can’t call forth God in an incantation anymore reliably than objective demonstration in a lab. The simple analogy is if you want to experience God, you can’t stand outside the restaurant window and look at the menu. That’s about as far as I want to explain it, leaving this to further discussion in future posts. All of this is only my opinion and I claim no special expertise on extraterrestrials, science or spirituality.

Using that as a background, there may be people when reading what I said before and including what I type now, that think it’s only my lack of experience with things extraterrestrial which lead me to that conclusion. Confining my answer to the provable suggests anyone claiming we have been visited upon occasion by intelligent life from other worlds, requires the tin foil hat award. There are however some people with credibility that have said they have had interaction with unexplainable flying phenomenon and served in honor for the military service. I believe I included those links in my prior posts. This speech goes into some of the scientific explanations on Extraterrestrial Life and World Government Policies.

Essentially any interstellar civilization would have easily overwhelmed us if they wanted to because their ability to travel vast distances would require mastery of significantly more advanced energy resources which provide incredible power to engines capable of spanning vast distances in a short time span. Even the technology we see in Star Trek isn’t sufficient to move rapidly enough when you know that travel well outside our galaxy requires either infinitely longer life spans than human or hundreds of times faster than the speed of light. If a ‘warp-drive’ technology isn’t the method, then time manipulation through quarks or black-holes might be the answer.

No matter what we can imagine with our current level of scientific limitations, any civilization engaged in reaching past our galaxy requires advancement in its societal moral structure. I think it’s impossible to develop and wisely use exponentially advanced technologically with the current morality on our planet. I’m going to be very blunt in these remarks because it is the type of ‘tough love’ and self-evaluation our world requires if it really wants to become advanced.

1 – All forms of racism have to be eliminated. This isn’t the simple and current PC accepted explanation clouded by emotional memories of past injustice, I’m also referring to all modern forms of racism. The current George Zimmerman trial is but a reminder of the seething hatred of individuals looking to ‘raise hell’ if a verdict doesn’t go their way. This is just another relic of tribalism when one group sees another as inferior or hostile to their advancement.  Peaceful thought and solutions are the real radicalism for future advancement of civilization. Humans have slowly evolved from tribes to  nations. All countries are extensions of the tribal concept. A ‘tribe’ organizes  through territorial boundaries, rules of conduct and creates its own forms of protection, such as police and military. A physical force is used to project the tribes presence into the surrounding communities. When advances in technology are invented, the large organizations (nations) often see themselves as superior and use this tech against other competing nations.

When a gang, a group or a nation raise up an armed force against another, they are simply responding to the primitive instincts passed through their genetic connection to ancient pre-ape ancestry. They do so for protection, material or territorial rights  or suppression of other groups. This is what Arthur C. Clarke along with Stanley Kubrick were depicting in the earliest scenes of 2001 A Space Odyssey. The primitive ape-like creatures in the beginning of the movie are the forerunner of humans. They discover the larger bones of dead animals as useful bone crushing weaponry against other ape groups.

As advances in weaponry develop to the point of being able to annihilate entire nations, we are left with making the choice to either become as morally advanced as the technology or face extinction.

2 – We need to better understand the value in human reproduction rather than instantaneous gratification or using it to define our self-worth. Evolution couldn’t have occurred without reproduction. Any process as difficult as giving birth or raising children requires significant emotional involvement. Sexual desire and elation through intercourse  and nurturing instincts are normal and necessary. We witness a multitude of aggressions as routine in our lives. We need to extricate ourselves of another societal self-loathing. The essential step is in understanding that creation is as eventful as destruction of life. Thus if a life is sufficiently developed in the womb to develop into a human, (past an egg division with a few thousand cells), then that life needs to be respected. All human reproduction can be eliminated or controlled through contraception, however using abortion as an extension of contraception is the same as taking any other human life. This is another vestige of aggression and can be observed as well in the Chimpanzee community in their elimination of the weak or unwanted new-born primates.

Mission: Earth, Voyage to the Home Planet

3 – As much as we fear and debate the idea of a global community, the Star Trek equivalent of a United Federation of Planets is a necessity. If you have that much destructive capacity, an equally self-regulated but relatively free society would be necessary. This concept is so foreign to our world now because of primitive tribal instincts, we have nations and even criminal elements at constant war. Anyone advocating world-wide government is immediately suspect because our entire history shows we only end up with despotic dictators in control. To this day we see local governments run by the powerful which force their view of Utopian ideals on others through law. If any of these elements obtain authority such as criminals, gangs, corporate czars, mafias, rebels, police, military gain too much power through significant technological advantage, they simply revert to the advanced ape wielding the large bone in their opposable thumb equipped hands against other group(s) and crush them. Unless we learn to universally accept a higher morality we ultimately find groups always ready to bash one another. I’m not advocating any religious theology in this post. If we continue to see nations acquire nuclear technology along with a means to deliver this destructive weaponry and limited self-control, we will never get to the point of becoming a level II civilization. Maybe if there are advanced aliens visiting our planet they will have to set aside the ‘prime directive‘ as described in Star Trek and intervene for our survival.