30 March 2010

Gee Whiz, the Future!

Al Fin jokes frequently about "Gee Whiz! Futurism", but it cannot be denied that significant breakthroughs are waiting to be made in several different areas. Just because our politicians are total idiots and psychopaths is no reason to be totally pessimistic. The new tools of the future will be extremely powerful. Those who can take them and use them constructively and imaginatively should be able to do okay.

The first junctionless transister. Shrinking electronics devices even smaller.

First magnetic monopole? The potential for opening entire new fields of materials and technology.

Nano-desalination breakthrough. If this device can be scaled up, it will change the future.

Diamond nanowire photo-quantum device. Early glimpses of the potential of quantum diamond electronics and photonics.

Nano-superconducting wires for super-efficient nanoelectronics. More advanced quantum effects on the way.

Electronically switchable adhesion device for walking on walls and ceilings. May be particularly useful in weightless environments and for robots.

Automated rainwater catchment and irrigation system. Making desert homesteading more workable.

High altitude blimps that create their own hydrogen from water using photovoltaics -- stay perpetually high! Living and working between Earth and space. Good training for long-term astronauts -- also great launching platforms for ultra high skydives!

Woven high pressure air tank "flatpacks" for firefighters and other interesting uses. These "deflatable" pressure tanks can be stored flat when empty, then inflated to high pressures in designed shapes -- to avoid getting "hung up" in tight spaces. Besides uses in firefighting, should be useful for underwater uses, possibly outer space. Also possibly useful for gaseous fuels.

"Silver bullet" antiviral that works against multiple deadly viruses. May be useful in bio-warfare situations as well as emerging epidemics of lipid enveloped viruses.

Fascinating and semi-fascinating questions about brain and mind.

H/T Keelynet and Brian Wang

The problem with most futurists is that they know very little about nitty-gritty survival. The problem with most survivalists is that they know very little about the future. The problem with most government officials who have authority over the public is that they not only know very little about either the future or survival -- they truly do not give a damn beyond their own power structures, and their own pensions and benefits.

You have to do it yourself, don't count on government. Don't count on talking heads on television or pundits on the internet. It's all on you.

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Blogger puetzz said...

So what is the optimal balance between survival and the technological future(or the demographic future)?

Tuesday, 30 March, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Benjamin: I don't understand your question. You have to survive to get to the future, but you have to plan for the future in order to survive well.

The welfare state model which the US has been leaning toward for 50 years just got a big boost from Obama. Obama's approach is the ultimate in spending beyond one's means for political graft and gain. That kills the future without helping the survival of anyone except those who are politically connected. It is the freeloader mentality elevated to rule. It will end very badly.

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was confused at first when I saw the link to the article on the newly developed junctionless-transistor since I was always under the impression that a transistor was by definition a junction. The article partly confirmed my previous belief, but then showcased the new device, which I don't completely understand.

Just when I thought we were approaching the physical limits of computing with the only possible rescue being as-yet-unrealized quantum devices, a simple development like this makes it possible to stretch out existing technology.

The only problem I can see for future spacefaring civilization is that extremely small transistor gates like the one in the article, and on Pentium chips can be accidentaly triggered by the high levels of radiation in space.

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other quibble is that America has been moving towards the welfare state model since the election of 1932, which is more than 50 years ago. 50 years ago would be about JFK's time in office when he was proposing a massive social program called The New Frontier. After Kennedy died LBJ took up JFK's agenda and renamed it the Great Society and was able to get it passed in the name of the dead president. The Great Society did expand the size of the Federal government, but it was based on the earlier expansion of government begun by FDR. So the expansion of government goes back almost 80 years.

Anyway, good night.

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

It goes back much further than that, Ron.

The US Constitution limits government. But government doesn't like to be limited. The war between the government and the constitution has been going on since the start.

Obama is the first president to bring the war out into the open and put it on steroids. There is a reason that leftists in particular hate the constitution.

Thursday, 01 April, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are completely correct.

Thursday, 01 April, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I stated that radiation makes microchips with small gates malfunction I was thinking of an article I remember seeing in the AZ Republic ten years ago that stated that NASA was taking up a Intel 486 processor instead of using a Pentium because of radiation concerns. After 15 minutes of googling I found this which relates the incident I was thinking of and describes why radiation has become a problem again.

Thursday, 01 April, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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