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Comment Re:Electricity? (Score 1) 317

This IS the sort of Green Tech President Obama wants America to invent. Why is everyone down on the idea? Because it's a "hippy" solar collector? And they've been around fifty years getting the "it's a hippy toy" rap? I say this just needs a second invention to be applied to it in order to charge batteries, steam-purify water or heat a home's hot water.

Comment Re:iSlate? (Score 1) 596

"Slate" just seems to be around. Read or listen to The Better Part of Valor (Confederation Series) by Tanya Huff and people use PDA computers that link to desks and recharge and upload content from them. I'm more amused that the Apple tablet was branded unicorn-ware or some such by a popular tech podcaster. Call it the Newton Plus and be done!

Comment Axim anyone? (Score 1) 596

Dell had a foundation for building products in this size and got run over by the smartphones and "one device for all" movement. So if there's a tablet movement it will be with little satellite devices via bluetooth to make it a bag phone that happens to be a computer. Only take it out when you need to, otherwise, voice dial with the earpiece. But only within 30 feet of your briefcase. What goes away comes back later...

Comment Re:Covered in Brin's _Earth_ (Score 1) 314

When the article says something like "tidal generated" black hole, I start thinking of a little string of these MBH swishing up like a current in a pool. Walla! Cosmic string-like series of holes that generate more as they swish by! Sure, they die, complete their life cycle, whatever... but there's always more...

Now, I think _Earth_ needs a re-read...

I'm still waiting for sub-vocal computer inputs.

Comment Re:Scary Hypothesis.....We are destroying the Worl (Score 1) 314

So it is that, in our version, the electrical meltdown in the LHC saved this universe? For a year...? Have we gotten to the point where because we got scientists saying they can see the swinging stars going around the black hole at galactic center and planets around other stars we think we know anything about physics??! I thought those theories just got a handle on the whole fractoidal, depends-what-scale-you're-at thing about physics down... Folks here post that 'it can't be dangerous, because we haven't seen them when we look out at the stars.' I keep thinking about those sage words: "Space is big... I mean, really big..." They're probably out there chewing on something. But to summon one up next to the only planet we've got is a bit scary.

Comment Re:Meh- I'll take a Stokemonkey... (Score 1) 282

Hey! Let me tell you a really cool thing! There's these fantastic things they put on bicycles now called gears. Okay, okay. Maybe you live in San Francisco or the mountains. But part of cycling is picking a route that might avoid a few of the nasty hills. If we're going to do a green revolution maybe we'll have to take the longer way round to the store...Maybe what really needs to be written is an article on how to use gears and brakes correctly.


Horses? Are you serious? Are we going back to 1914 in your world? I believe I heard on TV that equine waste was the #1 problem in large cities of the past. Cities in Asia embraced the bicycle as "normal" locomotion, so should we.

PS: get out more for more "fitness" on your cycle. That "Mum" is seriously out-classing you hills or no hills, I wager.

Comment Re:Meh- I'll take a Stokemonkey... (Score 1) 282

I keep saying my next bike will be one of those freight hauler bicycle. It's a concept that I think serious bike people wanted for a long time but the bike builders didn't know what to do to bring it about. There was always a "I'd love to ride to the store but what do we do with the goods to get them back home? Better just take the car..." sort of thing going on. Maybe it isn't a stylin' Schwinn or Trek, but it's a get-things-done bike. http://rockthebike.com/cargo/mundo But, the downside is it isn't going to behave nicely going up a tiny radius stairway to get into an office or apartment. I'm stuck with my traditional cycle and a pair of panniers until some changes happen in my community.

The issue with bike commuting presently is having a home on roads that accept bicycles between home and work. When I lived in Chicago I was a serious bicycle commuter. Now I'm outside of Hilton Head, SC and there is no real chance of making a try at commuting. I sort of pictured the spike in gasoline prices would have brought round a greater number of people riding bicycles. It sort of happened on the island where you don't have to use the road the county is trying to keep calling a "highway," but not out where it's the only connector road between destinations. More than gas price will have to drive that sort of change.


And I wish that those plexi go-mobiles would catch on. But I'd want some sort of mass grouping of them on the roads here to assure people know about them and won't smack into me. And down here in South Carolina, I'd like my boss to let me shower at the work end of the ride :) Don't know if that's ever going to happen.

Comment needs something changed (Score 1) 282

While it's minimalist shape is improvement on the original It, and surely beats trying to get a bicycle up a stairway and into an apartment or office, I do wonder if it's really capable of hitting the market they want. I run a shipping department at work. Twenty-two pounds isn't exactly "light" over distance. Feel like hauling 22 lbs up a few flights of stairs? (Just picture it like the parents of school-age kids are concerned with backpacks of text books. I agree with the other post about strained shoulders.) Why pick it up at all? Disabled and weak people that need this kind of device sure would need aid to pick it up. Why can't it fold up into a rolling luggage sort of thing? Put those wheels to work moving it into the train station, bus, office building and home.


But just the same way I don't see Segways at the Wal-mart, but do see the occasional Hover-round Chair, I don't think this is going to transform cities overnight :) It's got too much punch, needs acceptance from communities and the law, and has too large a price tag.

Comment Re:Fire, vibration... (Score 1) 414

I guess my mom's flippant reaction to my saying there's only a few Shuttle missions left was right? She said there'd be more. In big-picture view, NASA has done okay with the Shuttle. They get their wake-ups and they scramble to show they're a responsive and responsible government agency. Admittedly, the pre and mid launch abort systems on Shuttle hasn't been tested "live" at a launch(and I hope it isn't ever,) but if they had to ditch the rocket portion during ascent they're in a better location attached to the side. You just got to hope the wings don't burn or break off and that the pilot is conscious and able to get his hands on the controls sometime before hitting the ocean. It would be interesting to poll what system the astronauts would like to use.

Comment Re:It's about subtracting things, not just adding (Score 1) 499

The Segway tried to subtract walking from a human's day and it didn't take off at the price tag of $5000 a unit.


The motor replaced the horse too directly in a lot of ways. Transportation was so stuck on dragging goods and people around, they take out the horse, plop in the motor in it's place. (And measure its work in terms of horse-power, to boot!) I don't think much got subtracted in the system. There wasn't a lot of rethinking of the system and as a result we've got the most inefficient cars.

Comment Star Trek inspired someone (Score 2, Interesting) 499

Just as Jules Vern inspired a few things to come about. Would we have SCUBA and subs without him? It's just a bit sad that every science fiction movie and TV show does not get respect. If there was more shows for the young people to see now we'd continue to inspire some kids.

Star Trek didn't do too bad predicting stuff from the 60's. I think one thing Roddenberry's crew took for granted was that the computer would just 'be there' for our bridge crew. And that was 1963 when personal computing was still not really thought of. People still used slide rules and mechanical adding machines and cash registers. I think it's simply a trickle of stuff that makes it, like the article hints. Things with the lowest effort to adapting present tech to new methods will make it arrive faster than the more difficult ideas. Like food created on the fly and matter transporters. And methods for which people pay a premium to embrace will surface the quickest. Think computers, cell phones and Walkman's. A minority of people paid the sky-high prices for the originals and encouraged the knock-offs to drive the price down fast. If the power of the peoples' pocketbooks wasn't so free on "have to have" stuff we wouldn't have tiny cell phones and iPods.

Star Trek had quite a few pointed predictions:

1. flash memory cards. Back when your recording media had to move at the correct speed to recreate sound this appeared too impossible. This stuff is now down to the size of a thumbnail.

2. medical scanners. For sure this is what is MRI today. Or the further development of ultrasound. And it's getting to the size of the tri-corder sooner or later. The room you have to put the unit it gets smaller every year.

3. Tablet PC/Palm computers/PDA/Kindle. (When they had to show a pretty girl, she came around for a signature with a tablet.) Only they actually got more compact than depicted in the show.

4. communicator. The cell phone. (Okay so you don't have to be on an away-team to have one... But the perk of getting a Blackberry from your job used to be a big thing.)

Stuff that hasn't made it:

1. the hand held phasers. These hint at power storage to size greater than even the smallest battery can bring today. Plus we still don't have the kind that would stay cool in the hand as it unleashed its charge. Stunner tech is almost there but hasn't 'gone wireless' to the distance they could zap someone on the show. There's a level of energy storage we still haven't reached.

2. matter transport and creation. A single photon across a room is hardly a start on this making you a turkey sandwich on the fly.

3. space craft/shuttles to space. The X-prize was an ambitious try to getting money behind the effort. We're almost there. But I still suspect someone will 'take the skies' from those ambitious folks in the name of regulating space for the good of the earth governments and not smacking willy-nilly into existing equipment up there in orbit. (And with NASA turning back to rocket technology of the 1970's to continue heavy lifting to the ISS a sleek little space ship bus not going to come from them. The tried and true is cheap enough for government work.)

4. warp drive/small fission/small fusion. Of course, we're going to have to wait for small-scale fusion or the space race developed fuel-cell tech because there's a level of danger.

The technology might be ready to adapt to the 'next greatest thing' but the ease of use still hasn't eliminated the 'idiot factor' in the design and operation. Like the article's jet pack example. You're putting a fuel on a person and directing the jet past their body. Someone is going to make a mistake sometime. Presently, there isn't a company out there which wants to face the class action court case for burns and accidents. There's a level of risk that businesses no longer take. I think there's not a lot of individuals that want to take on that level of risk. Great strides forward might be sitting on shelves all over America because of this.

Comment Re:Difficult to keep reading... (Score 1) 708

Newspapers are for my mom. Not really gone yet. People that need to feel they've brought news home with them love them still. Small communtity newspapers might hang on awhile. Now, she'd *love* an Internet with not just guardrails but tracks like some vast trolly you can never get off of and do bad things to her indentity and computer files. Once newspapers and TV reported that the Internet was scary and difficult to remain as unknown as someone picking a newspaper out of a newspaper box she ran for the hills... with her paper.

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