Dumbass NY Times Article: “The Elusive Big Idea”

A recent article in the NY Times is getting buzz and making rounds.

Its crap.

Just off-hand, here are some big idea innovations that are and will change the world:

 

The Evolution Machine [ref] == Radical Health and Biological Science driven advances

It is a strange combination of clumsiness and beauty. Sitting on a cheap-looking worktop is a motley ensemble of flasks, trays and tubes squeezed onto a home-made frame. Arrays of empty pipette tips wait expectantly. Bunches of black and grey wires adorn its corners. On the top, robotic arms slide purposefully back and forth along metal tracks, dropping liquids from one compartment to another in an intricately choreographed dance. Inside, bacteria are shunted through slim plastic tubes, and alternately coddled, chilled and electrocuted. The whole assembly is about a metre and a half across, and controlled by an ordinary computer.

Say hello to the evolution machine. It can achieve in days what takes genetic engineers years. So far it is just a prototype, but if its proponents are to be believed, future versions could revolutionise biology, allowing us to evolve new organisms or rewrite whole genomes with ease. It might even transform humanity itself.

Thorium Powered  Vehicles [ref]  == Replacement of Fossil Fuels for mobile vehicles

“Thorium, an abundant and radioactive rare earth mineral, could be used in conjunction with a laser and mini turbines to easily produce enough electricity to power a vehicle. When thorium is heated, it generates further heat surges, allowing it to be coupled with mini turbines to produce steam that can then be used to generate electricity. Combining a laser, radioactive material, and mini-turbines might sound like a complicated alternative solution to filling your gas tank, but there’s one feature that sells it as a great alternative solution: 1 gram of thorium produces the equivalent energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline.”

The Space Shaft [ref] == Cheap Orbital Lift Capacity

A private European organization has a proposal for creating 100-300 kilometer high multipurpose towers. The towers would be composed of moveable lighter-than-air rings stacked upon each other. Modules would be added from the bottom up and filled with a light gas. Shuttles within the shaft could take people and payloads to the top, slowly but inexpensively. In an interview with Sander Olson, Patrick Vankeirsbilk describes how the first towers could become operational within a decade, and could be used both for tourism and for getting payloads inexpensively into space.

Universal Anti-Viral[ref] == Better health and Quality of Life for all

Too good to be true? You might think this is impossible.

“Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.”

It works against 15 viruses tested so far.

Cure for Cancer via Applied Genetic Engineering [ref] == Increased Human Longevity and Quality of Life

Cancer Cured By Injecting White Blood Cells that had been genetically altered by a modified/harmless version of HIV

 

Applying Economic Thinking and Quantitative thinking to Everything!

 

3D Printing [ref] Manufacturing only limited by our imaginations

Think: 3D Printing + Semi-autonomous Robots + Interplanetary Internet + Cheap Space Launch/Lift Costs + off-planet atomic power

 

Abundant and Cheap Energy for all should be our goal [ref]

I want to drive an affordable electric or gas/electric or some sort of flex-fuel vehicle as a mobility device. I want to take a train once a month to Madison or the Fox River Valley. I want to see a new nationwide network of smart electrical grids powered by small scale nuclear plants, municipal plasma furnaces, wind and solar (where the make sense) or whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up and successively execute. I long for the day of orbital solar power.

I love the idea of (and the change it will make) of Russia and Saudi Arabia and the others of their ilk being deprived of their ability to make mischief  and misery for the rest of the world. I welcome their fall. This will be a good thing for the world.

 

Micro Robots For Health Care [ref] == Loner and Healthier Lives

They look like spirals with tiny heads, and screw through the liquid like miniature corkscrews. When moving, they resemble rather ungainly bacteria with long whip-like tails. They can only be observed under a microscope because, at a total length of 25 to 60 µm, they are almost as small as natural flagellated bacteria. Most are between 5 and 15 µm long, a few are more than 20 µm.[…]

 

What are your ideas?

Bring on the SpaceShaft!

Found via a tweetNextBigFuture introduces me to the Spaceshaft!!!!

 

A private European organization has a proposal for creating 100-300 kilometer high multipurpose towers. The towers would be composed of moveable lighter-than-air rings stacked upon each other. Modules would be added from the bottom up and filled with a light gas. Shuttles within the shaft could take people and payloads to the top, slowly but inexpensively. In an interview with Sander Olson, Patrick Vankeirsbilk describes how the first towers could become operational within a decade, and could be used both for tourism and for getting payloads inexpensively into space.

 

Yes Please!!  Read it all! Hey is this the cheaper 80% alternative to Space Elevators/Beanstalks?

 

More:

http://spaceshaft.org/

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/SpaceShaft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Space Stuff

I would like to actually have the Science Fiction future I felt was come when I was young.

 

Falcon Heavy links.

 

A “Coast Guard for Space“…

 

 

Over the years, analysts have proposed several alternative schemes for organizing the American space sector. Most of these proposals have related specifically to the nation’s military space activities. So, for instance, some proposals call for the creation of a Space Corps that would relate to the Air Force in much the same way that the Marine Corps relates to the Navy: autonomous, but under the control of the Secretary of the Navy, and relying on the Navy for various functions such as legal and medical services. Other proposals would adopt the model of the historical Army Air Corps or the later U.S. Army Air Forces, making space a quasi-autonomous service within the parent service.

There is another proposal, however, that would restructure not just military but also civilian space activities. This proposal would create a U.S. Space Guard on the model of the U.S. Coast Guard, charged with carrying out a variety of infrastructure, support, constabulary, and regulatory tasks. The Space Guard would assume some functions now performed by the Air Force, NASA, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 

 

Zubrin: It’s time to build a transorbital railroad

 

The core idea is simple. The space shuttle program is ending. So, instead of funding NASA to spend the next decade developing another white elephant to replace it, let’s just take a quarter of the shuttle’s budget and use it to set up a regularly scheduled launch service to orbit using the most cost-effective boosters on the commercial market.

One-quarter of the shuttle program would provide a budget of $1.2 billion per year. Right now, the choice of most cost-effective launcher is a horse race…
[…]
Having bought these launches for $80 million each, the NASA transorbital railroad office would then turn around and sell payload space on board at a steep discount price of $50 per kilogram. Thus, a 53-ton-capacity launch could be offered for sale at $2.5 million or divided into 5-ton compartments for sale at $250,000 each, with half-ton compartments made available for $25,000. While recovering just a tiny fraction of the transorbital railroad’s costs, such low fees (levied primarily to discourage spurious use) would make spaceflight readily affordable.

As with a normal railroad here on earth, the transorbital railroad’s launches would occur in accordance with its schedule, regardless of whether or not all of its cargo capacity was subscribed by customers. Unsubscribed space would be filled with containers of water, food or space-storable propellants. These standardized, pressurizable containers, equipped with tracking beacons, plumbing attachments, hatches and electrical pass-throughs, would be released for orbital recovery by anyone with the initiative to collect them and put their contents and volumes to use in space. A payload dispenser, provided and loaded by the launch companies as part of their service, would be used to release each payload to go its separate way once orbit was achieved.

As noted above, the budget required to run the transorbital railroad would be 25 percent that of the space shuttle program, but it would accomplish far more. The U.S. government could use it to save a great deal of money because its own departments in NASA, the military and other agencies could avail themselves of the transorbital railroad’s low rates to launch their payloads at trivial cost. Much greater savings would occur, however, because with launch costs so reduced, it would no longer be necessary to spend billions to ensure the ultimate degree of spacecraft reliability. Instead, commercial-grade parts could be used, thereby cutting the cost of spacecraft construction by orders of magnitude. While some failures would result, they would be eminently affordable and, moreover, would enable a greatly accelerated rate of technological advance in spacecraft design, because unproven, non-space-rated components could be put to the test much more rapidly. With both launch and spacecraft costs so sharply reduced, the financial consequences of any failures could be readily met by the purchase of insurance by the launch companies, which would reimburse both the government and payload owners in the event of a mishap.

With such a huge amount of lift capability available to the public at low cost, both public and private initiatives of every kind could take flight.
[…]

 

I want my Science Fiction Future.

(old found draft post) Energy News

Dec 16, 2008 @ 8:35

This was just going to an energy links roundup.

Wireless Power Transmission test have been successful. Yeah for Tesla!

Suck it Al Gore: “Greenhouse Gas Comes from Solar Panels

Bjorn Lomborg Says Cool It!: Getting our priorities right on climate change and the world’s top problems


West Allis (Milwaukee news)
: “Mini wind turbine proposal blows into council chambers”

“Another potential big deal is the thorium breeder reactor.”

(old found draft post) biz ideas X 2

From Sep 26, 2008 @ 14:29


What was I thinking?

asisted Living Robotics
http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2008/09/a_billion_elders_by_2050in_chi.html

bio-discovery driven engineering
http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2008/09/another_county_heard_from_on_a.html

Thinking About Apollo 11

I was too young to remember it, but I was inspired by it and the subsequent missions. I didn’t want them to stop. I wanted the Orbital stations, the moon colony, and the mars mission. I wanted my Science fiction future. I don’t want humans stuck on Terra Firma waiting for a natural or self-created extinction event. We need to get moving and get off this rock. The power of human imagination and ingenuity must be unleashed to fill the heavens. I still want a science fiction future for all of us.

“…scientists in Australia have found a way to stop the body from attacking organ transplants…”

This is awesome news if it works out.

Now we just need to allow folks or estates to be compensated for Organ Donation to increase the supply/availability.