Future Home For Mankind

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Thought these artist renderings of the Trappist-1 Star were awesome. 


NASA discovered this star and 7 Earth-size planets around it that could conceivably have water and sustain human life. 


As we continue to gobble up Earth’s resources and build incredibly powerful weapons that may one day soon destroy it, we need to have a viable Plan B.


Hence, the race to find another planet(s) with resources and environmental conditions where human civilization can survive and thrive.


I’m not sure what is more exciting than finding that magic planetary home of the future, where everything is new and pristine again like the Garden of Eden.


A place to go where hopefully we take not only the bits and bytes of our current world, but also the lessons learned to do it better again. 😉


(Source Photo: NASA JPL here and here)

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Beautiful Rise and Fall

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Just wanted to share this beautiful Fall scene in Maryland.


While we are about to embark on a major infrastructure spending spree to make this country great again–and we need it to fix all the rot in our roads, bridges, trains, airports, marine ports, schools, utilities, and more–at the same time, we need to keep in mind the safeguarding of the beauty of our natural outdoor spaces and resources.


I heard President-elect Trump on 60 Minutes last night speak about the $6 trillion that we have spent in the Middle East fighting terrorism since 9/11, and that with that money, we could’ve rebuilt our infrastructure twice over.


While the amount is seen on the high end, the point is that while other nations are investing in their infrastructure, people, and future, we are wasting large sums of blood and treasure in a fight that in over 15 years, we haven’t won, and many question whether we are significantly even any safer.


We need to fight smarter, spend more strategically, and take care of America first.


BTW, what did we get from the prior investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus spending of $831 billion in 2009…where did all that money go (uh, down the special interest drain)?


While the beautiful outdoors needs to stay pristine, our country needs to seriously rebuild with clear project expectations and results and at the same time wipe out the terror threats against us–no more dabbling, PC, Mr. Nice Guy (of course, we need to be nice to those that are nice to us, but also we need to fight for this country like we mean it)!


That’s a big agenda, but for under $6 trillion, we ought to be able to get some decent return on our investment please, 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Election Disillusionment

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So invariably you hear these days from those that dislike one or the other candidate running for President, that if he/she wins, they are moving out of this country. 


That is apparently how strong people feel in terms of dislike for the candidates–in fact, the most disliked candidates in American history!


Well, I ran into this couple in the Metro.


They were from New Jersey and visiting Washington, D.C. with their daughter. 


They were wearing matching t-shirts that said:

“Election 2016Time To Move To Mars”


Now moving from the USA is not far enough away for people to get from the horrible politics and/or politicians that they can’t seem to stand…so next stop is Mars!


As a big time proponents for colonization of other planets, I think this may actually be one of the best things to come out of this election cycle. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Defeating Terrorism Not Optional

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So in today’s New York Times Sunday Review, David Rieff provides some insights on the state of terrorism that we are living with. 


Two very concerning points he makes:


1) A resignation that not much can be done: There are limited security resources, but infinite points for terrorists to strike. As he says, “Not all these attacks can be stopped….there is no way to police every subway station, cafe, and public square.”


2) Many of our leaders are in convenient denial or disengaged: They see the daily terrorist attacks and their response is a rote rejoinder to either join for a brief memorial, slough it off altogether, or even make a joke of it (as if murder is a laughing matter). Rieff repeats even a recent interview with President Obama where he makes light of the impact of terrorism in that doesn’t pose “an existential threat to the United States of the world order.” Unless of course, it escalates and involves weapons of mass destruction or potentially taking out significant portions of our nation’s critical infrastructure.


This just seems so different that how our nation has raised itself up in past conflicts and to win them: 


In World War II, the Allies were committed to defeat Nazi Germany, and they did, including through D-Day, one of largest and bloodiest invasions in history. 


President Reagan helped win the Cold War, by labeling the Soviets the “evil empire” and setting America on a major military buildup, one that the Soviet Union could not afford and eventually withdrew from. 


After 9/11, President Bush vowed that we would get Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive,” no matter how long it takes, and eventually we did!


Over and over, the odds were not great and the stakes were enormous, but a positive attitude and the commitment to win took us a long way. 


In contrast now a attitude of defeatism has set in with Rieff declaring that “the stark truth is that the number and lethality of terrorist attacks are far likelier to rise than to diminish in the near future,” and as he quotes the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying, “Times have changed, and we should learn to live with terrorism.”


How can anyone agree with that–should we really resign ourselves to learn to live with random acts of violence, murder, and terror? 


Rieff ends with that “the best we can hope for is to hold on to enough of our humanity to have a chance of clawing back the rest when the war ends, as all wars do.”


I do not believe that this is good enough!


Not identifying the enemy, disengaging from global events or leading from behind, appeasement of sworn enemies, removing sanctions and releasing terrorists from GITMO, getting soft on terror saying it’s not so bad out there that “the birds were [still] chirping and the sun was out,“, and giving up on defeating it…is a losing attitude and proposition and one that will only result in more heartbreaking and innocent deaths. 


Dismissing or belittling the issue, defeatism, and jokes will not defeat terrorism, but a commitment to do whatever it takes to save lives and protect our nation will, as has been the case from Hitler to Bin Laden, and so it will be again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

2016 Technology Advances – Doing Well Sir

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In just the last few days and weeks, I have been astonished at the progress already being made towards the important technology advancements mentioned in Technology Forecast 2016

On the front for medical technology to fight cancer, just today it was announced that the foundation from Sean Parker (of Napster and Facebook) is providing a $250 million grant for a new cancer institute to advance the field of immunotherapy to boost the body’s natural defenses (i.e. immune system) to fight the cancer.

In terms of space technology, famed astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking and venture capitalist, Yuri Milner are teaming up with a $100 million for research to develop “Starchips” (a nanocraft robot on a chip) for a voyage to another solar system 25 trillion miles away. 

Finally, there are advances for counter-terrorism technology on display with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcing in February a pilot of new biometric technology kiosks to capture and compare facial and iris biometrics for travelers exiting the U.S. to compare with their entry data and ensure an end-to-end visitor entry/exit solution.  

I am pleased at the commitment and progress we are making in these critical technology areas, and sincerely hope that these efforts will flourish for us all in the not too distant future. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Hate, Discrimination, and Violence…But We’re One

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As we live day-to-day in near endless and escalating cycles of hate, discrimination and violence along national, religious, racial, gender and other divides…

It is nice and refreshing to see someone wearing a t-shirt this morning that says:

“One World, One Dream”

I don’t know what the Asian characters above it say…but hopefully, it’s more hopefullness!

Unfortunately, without a common enemy–whether disasters, plague or alien invasion–what divides us normally seems stronger than what holds us together.

Hence, routine murders, maimings, abductions, rapes, enslavement, and harrassment of one neighbor against the other. 

We behave like little children fighting for the toys in the sandbox except with consequences that can elevate all the way to genocide or WMD. 

As we squabble with each other, perhaps there are moments when we can have the self-awareness and strength of character to actually look in the mirror with some shame for how low we’ll stoop to get our share in a world of divine comedy. 

Wouldn’t it be nice for humanity to change ways and instead have compassion on each other (children of G-d), share the toys, and end the miserable hate. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Technology Forecast 2016

Andy Blumenthal talks about three technology imperatives for 2016.

1) Medical technology

2) Counter-terrorism technology

3) Space technology

Enjoy and happy New Year!