Pay Attention To Space Force

We’re not paying close enough attention to the new U.S. Space Force.


It was signed into law by President Trump on December 20.


Space Force is the U.S. military’s 6th service branch (separate from the Air Force).


While it is currently the smallest branch with 16,000 personnel and just a $40 million budget, I would look to this branch to move over time to one of the largest (if not the largest) branch of the military.


Let’s face it, Earth is small potatoes in the realm of the Universe.


We will be expanding into outer space and colonizing it–we have to!


In addition, the weapons in space will be high-tech and costly relative to their earthly counterparts, and  our dominance in space will not come cheap either in terms of aerospace and engineering talent or in terms of the systems and weapons that will assure our superiority.


In January, the new Star Trek aired on CBS, and as is long said on that preminiscent science fiction show, “Space is the final frontier” and the U.S. Space Force will become front and center in our defense.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Do We Get The Replicators

Good advertisement piece for a 3D Printing Class. 


Not sure that we’re nearly there yet in terms of the Star Trek vision for the Replicators that could make food and other items on demand. 


But things are slowly taking shape. 


Someone wake me up when I can order up a pizza from this thing.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Space Force: Up Up And Away

Space Force as another full branch of the military is the right thing to do!


The things that get focused on, get accomplished. 


Space is the “final frontier.”


And as Gene Roddenberry realized with the creation of Star Trek in 1964, it is the future of Mankind’s very survival. 


It’s time to stop thinking small as in planet Earth, and start thinking big as there is a whole universe out there!


Russia and China get it–hence their development and testing of anti-satellite rockets and other “kill vehicles” in space as well as lasers and jamming equipment against our satellites, and of course, their plans to colonize the Moon and land men on Mars and beyond. 


Why have we in America only gotten it in Hollywood?


Yes, there have been a few notable exceptions such as President Reagan with his vision for the Star Wars’ Strategic Defense Initiative and President Trump with the bonafide stand up of a Space Force.


Some of the Pentagon brass, particularly the Air Force, may hem and haw about the politics of this thing…losing money and prestige for their branch of the military, but their power is not the concern, our power as a nation is!


I envision a day in the not too distant future when the Air Force doesn’t run Space Command, but rather Space Force runs the Air Force. 


We need to put politics aside and stop laughing at our own ignorance about the potential of space for our future survival and for conflict. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Just The Way We Are

Great speaker today at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).


Mike Reiss, producer and writer for the hugely successful Simpson show–the longest-running series on primetime TV with 30 seasons and over 600 episodes!


The topic was “The Science Behind The Simpsons.”


Whether the guest was Stephen Hawkings or Leonard Nimoy–there was no shortage of scientists and science in this animated, comedy show that taught us much about life.  


The video clip above was a short capture of the Simpsons singing “We are happy just the way we are.”


Incremental change and continuous improvement is so important to our growth and maturation in life.


Yet, there is also a lot to be said for being happy with what you have and who you are. 


There is so much to be grateful for and plenty to enjoy at the moment. 


Many people are on the proverbial roller coaster to nowhere.  


It’s nice to get off the roller coaster and finally be somewhere that makes you happy and fulfilled. 


Mary Poppins get hit by the airplane at the end of the skit, and you know what, she’s not even missed. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

3-D Printing Comes To Life

3D Printing
So my daughter is graduating high school, but is already taking a class in 3-D printing. 



(This little guy pictured here was made experimenting in the class and was a precious gift from her.)



Already prophetically envisioned in Star Trek as “the replicator,” this technology has been around in primitive trial form since the 1980’s.



In 3-D printing, alloyed material is successively layered under computer control to make complex shapes and products.



It makes traditional 2-D printing (on paper) look like rubbing two sticks together to build a fire (circa the paleolithic period of mankind thousands of years ago). 



The promise of 3-D printing for advanced manufacturing is absolutely incredible.



The Wall Street Journal describes how NASA researchers and engineers are working toward using 3-D printers in space to “make bricks suitable for airtight buildings and radiation proof shelters” simply using the sand already on Mars. 



Moreover, the astronauts on their journey may be eating pizza from these printers as well (except for the sand, but still probably better than MREs–Haha).



Already objects have been printed “19 feet long…stone-like building blocks weighing one-and-a-half ton each”!



In the future, 3-D printers could be sent in advance to planets we look to colonize and “lay down landing pads, roads, and shelters” in preparation of our arrival.



These printers could even build working replicas of themsleves or “swarms of self-assembling construction robots” boosting our capacity for even more building.



Moreover, technology is in the works to recycle from 3-D printing by melting down the printed products back into material that could be reused for new printing projects.



On Earth, where we have long been drawing down our natural resources as well as polluting our environment, the prospect of going to other worlds where their are new resources and we actually have the ability to use them constructively is humanity’s chance for a whole new chapter of life beyond. 😉



(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Robots Reach The Clouds

Robot 3
So robots have reached the clouds before many of our government agencies have–who would’ve thought?

 

Bloomberg Businessweek reports how robotic activities are being stored in the cloud and are then accessible to other robots to learn from and repeat as necessary.

 

The “cloud servers essentially [are] a shared brain” where memories and experiences are uploaded and accessed by other robots with a need to know the same thing.

 

The cloud is the means of transfer learning from one robot to the other.

 

It serves like a master neural network where the Internet provides the how-to for everything from serving juice to patients in a hospital to functioning as autonomous warbots in battle.

 

Like the Borg on Star Trek with a collective brain, the cloud may become the mastermind for everything from day-to-day functioning to taking over the species of the universe.

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Remodulate The Shields For Cyber Security

I really like the concept for Cyber Security by Shape Security.

They have an appliance called a ShapeShifter that uses polymorphism to constantly change a website’s code in order to prevent scripted botnet attacks–even as the web pages themselves maintain their look and feel.

In essence they make the site a moving target, rather than a sitting duck.

This is like Star Trek’s modulating shield frequencies that would prevent enemies from obtaining the frequency of the shield emitters so they could then modify their weapons to bypass the shield and get in a deadly attack.

In real life, as hackers readily change their malware, attack vectors, and social engineering tactics, we need to be agile and adapt faster than the enemy to thwart them.

Changing defense tactics has also been used by agencies like Homeland Security to alter screening methods and throw potential terrorists off from a routine that could be more easily overcome.

I think the future of IT Security really lies in the shapeshifter strategy, where the enemy can’t easily penetrate our defenses, because we’re moving so fast that they can’t even find our vulnerabilities and design an effective attack before we change it and up our game again.

And hence, the evil Borg will be vanquished… 😉

Amazon Delivery – By Crunk-Car, If You Like

Amazon Delivery - By Crunk-Car, If You Like

Jeff Bezos of Amazon is one very smart guy and when he announces that he is interested in drones delivering your next online order that makes for a lot of grandstanding.

But really how is a dumb drone delivering an order of diapers or a book so exciting.

Aside from putting a lot of delivery people at USPS, UPS, and FedEx out of work, what does the consumer get out of it?

Honestly, I don’t care if if the delivery comes by Zike-Bike, Crunk-Car, Zumble-Zay, Bumble-Boat, or a Gazoom, as Dr. Seuss would say–I just care that it gets here fast, safely, and cheaply.

Will a drone be able to accomplish those things, likely–so great, send the drone over with my next order, but this doesn’t represent the next big technological leap.

It doesn’t give us what the real world of robotics in the future is offering: artificial intelligence, natural language processing, augmentation of humans, or substitution by robots altogether, to do things stronger, faster, and more precisely, and even perhaps companionship to people.

Turning surveillance and attack drones into delivery agents is perhaps a nice gesture to make a weapon into an everyday service provider.

And maybe the Octocopters even help get products to customers within that holy grail, one day timeframe, that all the retailers are scampering for.

It’s certainly a great marketing tool–because it’s got our attention and we’re talking about it.

But I’ll take a humanoid robot sporting a metallic smile that can actually interact with people, solve problems, and perform a multitude of useful everyday functions–whether a caregiver, a bodyguard, or even a virtual friend (e.g. Data from Star Trek)–over a moving thingamajig that Dr. Seuss foresaw for Marvin K. Mooney. 😉

Survivable Water Pipes

Survivable Water Pipes

When an earthquake strikes, it is not just the immediate loss of life that is a concern, but the longer-term damage to critical infrastructure and the effect on human survival.

As we know, water is critical to every living creature, and in an earthquake, when there is damage to the water infrastructure, such as the underground piping, people can be left without this basic life-sustaining commodity.

When traditional solid cast-iron piping is used, an earthquake can cause these to deform and buckle. However, with a new ductile pipe design by Japanese company, Kubota–the pipes are built in a chain-like fashion and expand and contract, flex and bend, but do not easily break.

According to the Wall Street Journal (14 April 2011), Kubota earthquake-resistant pipes even withstood the 9.0 quake in Japan in 2011, and it can withstand “shaking, landslides, and extreme temperatures.

Now Los Angeles is piloting this pipe along 2 miles of its 7,000 miles of piping–they are focusing on “the most vulnerable, fault-line-adjacent areas,” since the piping is 2 1/2 times the price of regular piping.

In the absence of having a device like the Star Trek Replicator to synthesize food and water on the fly, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade our water systems and other critical infrastructure to protect us from the disasters that come.

“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” needs to be available not just in good times, but also in bad. 😉

(Source Photo: Kubota)

And All The World Will Be One

And All The World Will Be One

It’s a fascinating idea–can the entire world be governed as one?

I remember as a kid watching all the space shows where Earth and its entire people were always shown as one united planet.

Not only was the Earth viewed as a single governed entity and the people as united against outside forces, but multiple planets were united together in alliances–Star Trek (with The United Federation Of Planets), Star Wars (with the Republic, The Empire, and The Galactic Council), and Battlestar Galactica (with the Twelve Colonies).

In all these shows, there was planetary unity as well as an interplanetary union.

Yet, the reality in this world, as we know it, there is plenty of divisiveness and distrust, often leading to conflict, skirmishes, and even all out war.

Over time, we have formed some unity in parts of the world–in ancient times, we had the various empires (Persian, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, British, etc.) that spanned large swathes of Europe, Africa, and Asia–but since these empires were the result of conquest, I do not think this is what we mean by true world unity.

In current times, we have unions that are geographically based and often founded on unity of ideas and beliefs–such as the United States and the European Union (with core beliefs in democracy, freedom, equality, and the rule of law), as well as the Russian Federation, and the African Union.

So the question is can we as a world move from individual countries, nations, and states to a true world order?

The Wall Street Journal (8 October 2012) had a book review on “Governing The World” by Mark Mazower that explored whether global government was possible or even desirable given that a world government could be used not to unite disparate peoples and solve large and complex global problems, but rather for the strong to rule over, colonize, and subjugate the weak.

So far efforts at establishing world-wide governing bodies such the League of Nations and United Nations, have been largely seen as being “mere sound and fury” and essentially ineffectual. Similarly, supportive world bodies, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have been accused by movements such as Zeitgeist of being agents of economic manipulation rather than true benefactors to help needy people.

So far the track record of the world for governing universally people around the world has been less than stellar with events like The Holocaust, and other recent genocides in Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Darfur.

Yet, while the WSJ book review says, “early enthusiasm about the emancipatory promise of world government now seems hopefully naive,” I still believe it is possible when our similarities become more important than our differences.

In all the science-fiction shows that show the people of Earth united, it is always a result of some external threat–whether an outside enemy like the Klingons or Cylons, or other apocryphal events such as a global pandemic, killer asteroids, or even thermonuclear war.

We can come together–not in subjugation but in jubilation–only when we stop hating and discriminating based on differences–and instead band together to raise the standard of living, freedom, and human rights of all.

Everyday, three times a day, towards the end of the Jewish prayers in the Aleinu, we ask for the day when “G-d will rule over the whole Earth”–this is a great hope for not only G-d to be one in all the Earth, but for all people to be governed and united as one–justly and beneficially. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)