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?














Entrepanuerial Solutions to the Bailout (On the Baliout aka The Great Looting)

How about new banks?

Let Wal-Mart get into banking like they hinted at a few years ago. I could give a fuck if current bankers and their lackeys in congress are opposes. Wal-Mart would have a customer focus and would optimize.

Hey, I’d even let the US Postal Service get back into banking. Let them open a US Postal Service Credit Union and use post officers as branches.

If Congress want to feel like they are doing something, let them set up a expedited process for issuing federal banking charters.

Close down the insolvent banks.

No more bailouts (aka taxpayer lootings).

We need new banks.

Entrepreneurship News: “The Innovators Club”

From IEEE Spectrum:

You don’t need your own exercise equipment to get fit, so why do you need your own machine tools to build something cool?

Such thinking led Jim Newton to found the first TechShop, a high‑tech workshop open to anyone who pays a modest membership fee. Think of it as a health club for geeks. Instead of treadmills and elliptical trainers, you’ll find laser and plasma cutters, milling machines and lathes, oscilloscopes and frequency generators. What’s more, you’ll run into like-minded folk who can give you tips on everything from tungsten inert-gas welding to computer-aided design, either through organized classes or informal coaching.

That first TechShop opened its doors in Menlo Park, Calif., in October 2006. Now it’s branching out. Two new facilities, one in Durham, N.C., and another in Portland, Ore., are opening soon, and more are in the planning stages [see sidebar, “A New Crop of Shops”

What a nifty idea!

Communities (like Milwaukee aka for “fixing Milwaukee”) would do well to promote these things with an rapid permit approvals and fee waivers. Heck, waive property taxes for a couple of years! The payoff will be worth it.

From IEEE Spectrum 10/2008
Photo w/o permission: Timothy Archibald

Entrepreneurship News: “Snow-thrower accessory invented by sixth-grade students Matt Moran and Sam Hipple”

From JS-Online:

Why didn’t we think of it?

That’s how Ariens Co. engineers reacted when they first saw the snow-thrower accessory invented by sixth-grade students Matt Moran and Sam Hipple.

The students from Davenport, Iowa, built a rock salt dispenser that mounts under the handlebars of an Ariens snow thrower and spreads salt along the machine’s path, allowing the user to clear snow and melt ice in one pass.

The invention is made from a garden fertilizer spreader and some bicycle parts. Called the Mega Melter, it will be developed and sold by Ariens.

Matt and Sam will receive a cash royalty for each of the salt spreaders that Ariens sells through stores such as Home Depot and smaller equipment dealerships.
Matt and Sam got their idea when they entered an invention competition sponsored by the engineering colleges at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The boys, now in seventh grade, also were looking for an easier way to remove snow and ice from their sidewalk and driveway last winter.
The competition was part of a program called Invent Iowa, which encourages students in grades K-12 to seek and solve problems. In the annual event, hundreds of students come up with inventions ranging from toilet paper protectors to extendable handles for baby strollers.
Ariens Co. is keeping the boys informed of the product’s development. The company plans to sell the salt spreader as an accessory for new and existing snow throwers.

How cool is this! I wish I had known about thing like this when I was a kid. Congrats to the youngsters. I expect good things from them in the future as engineers/inventors/entrepreneurs.

Hey where is Invent Wisconsin or Invent Milwaukee? There is something here for my “Fixing Milwaukee” series.

“The party can still be for limited government, but a government effective in providing tools to support innovation and entrepreneurship”

…so it is written in this CSM editorial: “Do Republicans have a ‘Yes, we can’?”:

But it will be a party out of power and one that cannot keep riding this elephant in the direction it’s been going. Republicans have too many splits, from libertarians in the West to social conservatives in the South to Rockefeller moderates in the Northeast.

No wonder a “maverick” was able to win the nomination, slipping through those political cracks. The GOP is now at risk of becoming a white, rural party whose core geographic base stretches only from Georgia to Idaho.
The GOP brand has been reduced to one word – freedom – in the way that the Democrats were stuck with the one-dimensional brand of equality. But if there is one reason for Obama’s victory, it is that he seeks to move his party, and the country, toward that classic American brand: opportunity.

What are their suggestions?

If Republicans want a comeback, they could become the loyal opposition that debates Democrats on the best way to create more opportunities for Americans, allowing them to increase their social mobility through hard work and education.

The party can still be for limited government, but a government effective in providing tools to support innovation and entrepreneurship.

The above in in sync with my beliefs.

Update: I would map closest to what Smitten Eagle call’s a Western Republican:

3) Western. The Western Republican is the Republican of libertarian leanings, generally favoring non-intrusive government in terms of social issues, and also favoring fiscal discipline. They tend to oppose nationalization of anything. They often, but not always, favor a strong national defense. Reagan was a western republican. This is the future of the Republican party, because the Western Republican can capitalize on the whims of the Independent Voter, who is usually fiscally conservative, libertarian socially, and for a strong national defense.

More on the Hyperion Mini-nuke reactors

From The Guardian (via Instapundit):

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.’
The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory
‘You could never have a Chernobyl-type event – there are no moving parts,’ said Deal. ‘You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it’s too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.’

Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six metres by two metres. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.


Entrepaunerial News: Using YouTube to get the word out…

…was covered in last Sunday’s New York Times:

The video showed how, in a few easy steps, the Nintendo Wii remote controller — or “Wiimote” — could transform a normal video screen into a virtual reality display, with graphics that seemed to pop through the screen and into the living room. So far, the video has been seen more than six million times.

That video, together with others that Mr. Lee, now 28, posted on YouTube, have drawn people to the innovator as well as his innovations. Video game companies have contacted him and, in September, M.I.T.’s Technology Review named him as one of its top innovators under 35.

There is a related SlashDot discussion.

The is a great idea. It is another venue for entrepreneurs/inventors/innovators to connect with each other, potential customers, and potential inventors.

Here are to of the video: