Posts Tagged ‘science’

5
Mar

Occupy Venus

by adminadam in videos

  • Venus has 0.9 G’s, 90% of Earth’s gravity; Mars has slightly less than 0.4 G’s.
  • Venus has a thick atmosphere which could protect us from cosmic rays and meteorites.
  • Venus has moderate to high temperatures.
  • At 50km up the atmosphere averages 70 degrees Celsius and is equal to roughly one Earth atmosphere in terms of air pressure.
  • As it’s closer to the sun; power would be cheap and 4 times more plentiful than Mars.
  • As it’s closer to Earth; transit times would be reduced by 30-50% over Martian trip times.
  • And despite that we cannot land on the surface (crazy pressure, 450 degree temperatures), we could build CLOUD CITIES!

CloudCity
CloudCity2

NASA has done research into the potential of Venus to sustain human colonies, as well, in project HAVOC:

The atmosphere of Venus is an exciting destination for both further scientific study and future human exploration. A lighter-than-air vehicle can carry either a host of instruments and probes, or a habitat and ascent vehicle for a crew of two astronauts to explore Venus for up to a month. The mission requires less time to complete than a crewed Mars mission, and the environment at 50 km is relatively benign, with similar pressure, density, gravity, and radiation protection to the surface of Earth. A recent internal NASA study of a High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) led to the development of an evolutionary program for the exploration of Venus, with focus on the mission architecture and vehicle concept for a 30 day crewed mission into Venus’s atmosphere. Key technical challenges for the mission include performing the aerocapture maneuvers at Venus and Earth, inserting and inflating the airship at Venus, and protecting the solar panels and structure from the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. With advances in technology and further refinement of the concept, missions to the Venusian atmosphere can expand humanity’s future in space.

See more at http://sacd.larc.nasa.gov/branches/space-mission-analysis-branch-smab/smab-projects/havoc/

16
Mar

Rupert Sheldrake – Banned TED Talk – “The Science Delusion”

by adminadam in videos

I now plan to read his book, The Science Delusion, as well. It is an excellent talk and TED is doing itself a huge disservice in removing it from their front page. They have relegated it to a small back corner of their site and labelled it “open for discussion”. I personally feel disgusted at their behavior, especially considering the meritorious elucidation of the problems with science as it is currently practiced in our world today.

RupertSheldrake ChangeInScience

A big thank you to Rupert for his dedication to real science and real skepticism. And unless they reinstate it in a prominent place in an expedient fashion, a big shame on TED for their hypocrisy in claiming that they want to engage — with us, with Sheldrake, and with the world on the very important topic of what we actually know and what we think we know — as they actively try to dis-engage from it all.

Other talks that have been censored by TED:
Nick Hanauer: Rich People Don’t Create Jobs
Graham Hancock: The War on Consciousness [another must-watch]

Another view into the minds of TED organizers:
JRE #330 (The Joe Rogan Experience): Eddie Huang TED Conference Exposed

3
Mar

Curious: The Muqaddimah

by adminadam in links

I am very curious about this book. I have just learned about Ibn Khaldun through wikipedia and he is perhaps best known for this and the series it is part of. Seems it is probably the first attempt at a Philosophy of History. It also recounts much of the history of the Middle East and delves into many fields, like economics, sociology, and religion. If you want to preview or read it online, please click on the cover photo.

The Muqaddimah - An Introduction to History - Ibn Khaldun

I will of course post a review and continue to add quotes to my quotes page as I get into it.
(At this point I have yet to order it, but hope to very soon!)
— 84adam, Mar. 3, 2013

19
Oct
1
Mar

Extropy +16: Space (Research) Tourism

by adminadam in home

Space Tourism for Scientists

The New York Times ran an article yesterday on space tourism for scientists and scientific purposes:

“If all goes as planned, within a couple of years, tourists will be rocketing into space aboard a Virgin Galactic space plane — paying $200,000 for about four minutes of weightlessness — before coming back down for a landing on a New Mexico runway.

Sitting in the next seat could be a scientist working on a research experiment.

Science, perhaps even more than tourism, could turn out to be big business for Virgin and other companies that are aiming to provide short rides above the 62-mile altitude that marks the official entry into outer space, eventually on a daily basis.”

Why (and Can’t I Get a Better Price)?

Xcor Aerospace has offered the lowest ticket prices at $95,000 a person, which makes it reasonable (or at least a bit more reasonable) for scientific research budgets. I personally like pondering the outcomes of regular short-interval experiments being done in low-earth orbit, in addition to the falling prices after the practice has been established well enough.

So, what is the draw for the scientific community over such short trips? One slashdot user (Nyeerrmm) had the following to say and mentioned metallurgy and composite materials experiments, and equipment testing for later installation into the International Space Station:

“…There are some metallurgy applications. You can make some alloys out of otherwise immiscible metals. Melt them on the ground, stir quickly at the start of the free fall period and quench the mix.

There’s also some composite materials that consist of a metal and gaseous component. For example, you might have some sort of hollow beads with a metal binder. The radical density differences make this a hard material to build in normal Earth environment. Or you might be trying to make a solid metallic foam.

Another zero gee favorite is large protein crystals (for crystallography). The five minute period might be enough to create fairly large and relatively flawless crystals in some cases.

There’s one final reason even when zero gee processes take much longer than five minutes. It’s a cheap way to test the equipment before you put it in a really expensive environment.

For example, if you have a kit for making proteins in a week, it would suck to put that on the ISS and find out that you have a horde of technical problems that need to worked out by very expensive astronauts. Even five minutes is enough to get the gear running and find problems that manifest quickly.”

Any Takers?

The biggest researcher so far looks to be Southwest Research Institute, who specialize in chemistry, space science, mechanical engineering, and a number of other fields. Southwest plans to study how soil and rocks settle on the surface of asteroids, in addition to testing a refurbished ultraviolet telescope from 1997 and trying out a biomedical harness that monitors scientists’ vitals during space flight. Let’s wish them luck so that other potential early adopters may also be encouraged to join in on these new space research endeavors.

According to the Times, “even if only some of these companies succeed, the prospect is that in a few years, hundreds of suborbital flights could be taking off every year”. Wouldn’t that be cool…

Links

NY Times article: Space Tourism May Mean One Giant Leap for Researchers
Slashdot discussion: Scientists, Not Just Tourists Are Getting Tickets to Ride Into Space

19
May

For the purists

by adminadam in humor

Via XKCD.

20
Apr

Extropy +7: Game Theory

by adminadam in articles, videos

“Most complicated negotiations are predictable.”

Bruce Bueno de Mesquito, CIA & DOD Consultant/Game Theorist

~

Analog to Asimov’s Psychohistory realized in Game Theory-Based Computer Simulations with 90% success rate in predicting future political outcomes.

This to me represents the pinnacle (or a pinnacle) of the outsourcing of information processing in order to supplement human intelligence — and it has extropy written all over it.

In his TED presentation (below), Bruce Bueno de Mesquita lays out his predictions for Iran and its nuclear future. The essential pieces of information in Game Theory based-predictions, the questions that must be asked, are as follows, and these are what BdM runs through his own simulations:

  1. Who are the key players, or agents of influence?
  2. What do they say they want?
  3. How focused are they on the one issue, as opposed to multiple issues?
  4. How much persuasive influence do they have?

Outcome and credit are also important to consider, i.e. how valuable are these to the key players? If we know how willing the key players are to sacrifice themselves for a cause, we can also predict how reasonable (or unreasonable) they would be in negotiations. If they don’t care at all about the credit, they probably won’t hear any pleas for negotiation. However, if they are “reasonably self-interested”, so to speak, they may want their name on the final treaty that is drawn up and hence would be willing to sit down and chat with you. Most people, according to BdM, fall somewhere in between absolutely wanting credit and wanting a definite outcome.

Game Theory is a field of mathematics that applies all of the above pieces of information with the following assumptions about individuals:

  • People are “rationally” self-interested, that is, they try to do what they think is in their own best interests.
  • People have values and beliefs.
  • People have limitations.

Interesting to note at the end of the video the speaker’s answer to the question of what impact such simulated outcomes could have upon word reaching the ears of the Iranian Key Players; that “the Americans” believe it will be futile to try to rouse the masses to get behind bomb building… Wouldn’t this just spur them on all the more?

‘No, no, just the opposite’, BdM says. ‘Iran will make just enough to demonstrate their capacity to make a bomb, and perhaps settle on that stance quicker having seen my predictions’ (paraphrased).

“Let’s hope so”, says the TED man. Yes, indeed, I say — inşallah.

Watching this kind of makes me want to study Game Theory. : )
Any good book recommendations amongst you readers out there?

29
Dec

Extropy +2: Extropian Forefathers

by adminadam in home, quotes

Mind, through the long course of biological evolution, has established itself as a moving force in our little corner of the universe. Here on this small planet, mind has infiltrated matter and has taken control. It appears to me that the tendency of mind to infiltrate and control matter is a law of nature.
— Freeman Dyson

We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.
— Vernor Vinge

Self-organization and extropy are themselves fundamental principles of the physical universe, to the extent that the laws of physics themselves may have developed through a process of self-organization.
— Lee Smolin

The explosive nature of exponential growth means it may only take a quarter of a millennium to go from sending messages on horseback to saturating the matter and energy in our solar system with sublimely intelligent processes. The ongoing expansion of our future superintelligence will then require moving out into the rest of the universe, where we may engineer new universes.
— Ray Kurzweil

Technology expands data by 66% per year, overwhelming the growth rates of any natural source.  Compared to other planets in the neighborhood, or to the dumb material drifting in space beyond, a thick blanket of learning and self-organized information surround this orb.
— Kevin Kelly

The universe might end in intelligent life (rather than as either a ball of fire or as scattered ice). Not life as we know it, but life that has acquired the capacity to shape the cosmos as a whole, just as life on Earth has acquired the ability to shape the land, the sea, and the atmosphere.
— James N. Gardner

The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out … and the water seems inviting.
— Carl Sagan