Tech Scavenger

Searching for the Future

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Get on Startram Now! We Might Have a Warp Drive in the Future!

I haven’t been posting for awhile due to a lot of travel at work, general busyness at home, etc. This article brought me back!

For years now scientists have postulated that type of faster than light travel (FTL) could be accomplished with something called and Alcubierre drive. One of the chief problems was that it required a ridiculous amount of energy, more than we could ever hope to produce. 

However, Harold White of NASA says that physicists have found a way to radically reduce the energy requirements involved, allowing for a theoretical speed of 10 times the speed of light to be achieved. 

If he’s right, who knows, maybe we’ll be traveling to the stars before I’m 100! 

Read the link above for more information. Just to dampen the enthusiasm with a dose of realism… I’m sure there are a lot of issues to be solved other than just the energy problem, but I’m excited to see that at least one of the show stoppers involved in the Alcubierre drives has been solved!

HT: Slashdot

PS - I have a bunch of article links saved up that I’ll be trying to get up in the next week or so. 

Filed under FTL travel space Alcubierre startram

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3-D Printed Structures Progressing

I covered this here a little while, back but with the Curiosity landing and increased interest in space, and some incremental progress being made in terms of developing the 3D printed structure idea, I thought this subject deserved another look. 

3D printed structures allow buildings to be built very quickly by using a print head progressively “print” layers of the building. Also, with the right print head, you can often print your structures using primarily local materials.

The inventor of the product makes what is, I think, a salient point. If you can build with local materials, perhaps tech like could be used to build structures in hostile, remote environments like the Moon and or Mars. 

It makes we wonder if we could use something like this to assist in terraforming parts of our planet, like was suggested here

Filed under 3D Printing teraforming

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Must Read: The Verge Covers Living Cyborgs

We are close, very close to seeing cybernetic body modifications going mainstream. Right now it is sort of an underground industry, but I’d like to see clinics and the like for modifications like those described in the article. It won’t be long, I’m thinking. I’ll be one of the ones who get in line early I’m guessing. 

Next up, the cyborg-olympics. Or would it be the cyberlympics?

Filed under cyborg bio engineering bio electronics

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So What's Been Happening With Cold Fusion Research?

If you’ve been asking yourself that question, I heartily recommend this article from Mark Gibbs at Forbes. For years now, admitting you are a cold fusion researcher has been analogous to admitting you study unicorns in the wild. 

I’m not versed enough to say whether or not that view is fair, but Gibbs spends some time going over the status of various Cold Fusion research organizations.

In a nutshell, cold fusion still seems to be stuck in the all fluff, little substance phase.  Though a number of organizations seem close to making demonstrations, nobody seems to be producing anything tangible yet. 

Filed under fusion cold fusion fusion research nuclear energy nuclear

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Brain to Machine Interfaces Just Got Better

A new coating prevents scar tissue from building up around brain implants, allowing for implants to become much more permanent.

With the controversy building around the prosthetic sprinter, new brain implants, eye implants, etc, you begin to wonder when bio-electric/bio-mechanical improvements will become the norm. 

I won’t be surprised if my grand kids are regularly in at the shop for “upgrades”. Heck, I suppose I won’t be surprised if I’m going in for some sort of robotic enhancements as I get older.

My only worry is the level of autonomy we might end up giving up when we start using body parts enhanced with state of the art electronics. Otherwise, I’m pretty excited about what the future could hold in that respect.

Filed under cyborg cybernetics robot robotics prosthetic

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Thorium Energy Alliance Suggests the Federal Government Act to Permit a "Thorium Bank"

We don’t currently produce significant quantities of rare earths, used in Lithium batteries, among other things, here in the United States. Right now, the bulk of the world’s production is in China.

A major reason that we no longer mine rare earths here is that one of the by-products, thorium, is slightly radioactive and therefore subject to all sorts of environmental and regulatory hurdles. 

The Thorium Energy Alliance has suggested that to solve that problem, a “Thorium Bank” be authorized by Congress, which will allow the bank to do research, development, and implementation of thorium power plants across the country. I think there are better ways to do what they are suggesting, but nevertheless I wish them luck, because any solution is better than our current hand wringing paralysis when it comes to nuclear energy.

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FCC Says Verizon Can't Charge for Rate Limited Tethering Plans

This is great news for consumers. Up till now, Verizon has been charging ~$20 extra a  month if you want to use your phone to provide internet access for your other devices. Up until last year though, you could get around that charge with a third party app.

Then Verizon started blocking tethering apps from the app store. The FCC has ordered Verizon to pay 1.5 million in damages and unblock the apps. We’re again a little closer to unfettered internet service.

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New Laser Powered Retinal Implant Could Give Sight to Those With Macular Degeneration

Anything with lasers gets coverage here… especially when it helps people out! Read the article. The technology behind these implants is simply incredible. The fact that they are simulating nerve impulses to help create an image is mind boggling. 

This makes the the Matrix-like day when almost anything can be “felt” or experienced through spinal implants seem that much closer.

Filed under lasers pewpewlasers medical technology medical research cyborg cybernetics

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New Concussion Test Provides More Definitive Results

This particular new test is near and dear to my heart because I love football so much.  

Football comes with some higher than average concussion risks and too many of those can spell problems for ex athletes, especially later in life. Too many times, there is a temptation to ignore concussive symptoms and “just play through it”, even though doing so dramatically increases chances for further injury.

There were times when I played where I was tempted ignore my concussion symptoms. Fortunately, I didn’t and I still have the use of at least part of my brain!

When doctors get access to a blood test that shows definitely whether or not an athlete has a concussion and how severe it is, the decision making process will become easier and the athletes safer.

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Eric Schmidt: Google Self-Driving Cars Should Become The Predominant Mode Of Transport In Our Lifetime

More self-driving car predictions… I wonder, will the underlying technology for self driving cars work in self guided personal aircraft? I’ve always wanted to see that Moller air car built (though that particular project looks like a perpetual investor scam these days…).

singularitarian:

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt offered some new insight into Google’s self-driving car program today at his annual press talk at Allen and Co.’s Sun Valley conference.

Filed under self-driving car air car flying car