I have become an iReporter for CNN. In my 17 submissions, two have made it to the CNN web page. Here is one of them:
In case you haven't noticed, there has not been any posts for a few days. I decided to change direction with my blogging again, and gain a wider audience on the stuff that interests me, and not just the Karla Homolka or Michael Jackson autopsy pictures.
Have you ever flown over a city at night and seen the road lined with streetlights snaking across the landscape. To some people, the sight is beautiful. To others it is both light pollution and a colossal waste of energy.
My idea for the future involves on-demand street lights. With advances in LED (light-emitting diode) lighting, the street lamps could glow with a minimal amount of light to provide a bit of safety, and when a car or a pedestrian approaches, it turns itself on, for only as long as the car or pedestrian needs it. Then it goes back into its quiescent state.
This makes a lot more sense than burning kilowatts and generating photons for no one to see. Who do we think we are -- the universe? The only trouble is that we don't have the vast amounts of energy that the universe has at its disposal. We do need street lamps to light up our life, but only while life is under them.
We are generating data at an incredible rate. With the help of Moore's Law which states that the amount of transistors (hence) memory on a chip doubling every two years, we now take pictures, record and twitter every moment of our lives. All of this digital data has to be stored. Up until now it hasn't been a problem.
However, the most stuff that we as humans are generating is data and the curve is not linear but exponential. This means that the amount of yearly data is not a straight line but a power curve. If we generate 2 exabytes a year, then the next year it is 4 and the next year is 16 exabytes. We must find new ways to manage this data.
Mother Nature has given us a template in DNA. DNA contains enough encoded information to make a human being, and it is tiny and found in every cell. We must find a way to encode data in a manner similar to the way DNA encodes information. Right now, data is a single dimension. If we can dimensionalize data, we can store a lot more data in a much smaller space. It will be much more efficient than the data compression that we do now.
So all of you inventors out there, get your thinking caps on. If you find a way to make Digital Data DNA, you will be richer than Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim and the top 5 worlds richest billionaires all combined.
When the internet first appeared, I was naive enough to think that if everyone had an internet connection, and it would engender dialog and we would be on the way to peace in this brave new world.
I was wrong. The internet is being used as a weapon by groups of people who want to obliterate other groups of people. The ethic-less Chinese are using it to try and gain world dominance. The Muslim extremists use it to communicate messages to synchronize their mayhem and destruction in the West. The Tea Baggers use it to spread their right-wing intolerance As a matter of fact, even Colonel Sanders and KFC are coming out with a Tea Party Bucket. It consists entirely of right wings and a**holes.
With the ninth anniversary of September 11th come and gone over the weekend, I was struck with several cogent thoughts about the future of people. We will always have the hierarchy of people. The bottom of the hierarchy is populated with most of the people who will never escape the lower socio-economic, cultural and intellectual level. The people least qualified to have children have the most. It is very Darwinian. The best of Mother Natures vast genetic experiments, like the cream, rises out of the morass to the top.
As long as there is a large pool of people at the bottom (and many of them have votes), then politicians will stoop to the lowest common denominator to harvest those votes. And as one American commentator put it, to get rid of hate in the world, we have to shoot all the grandmothers. Children learn hate on their grandmothers knee. So we will always have hate.
The Arabs will hate the Jews. The Muslims will hate the Christians. The right wing Republicans will hate their black president, gays, immigrants, Hispanics, and anyone not like them. Everyone will hate New Jersey.
The only way to break this mold is through the scary principle of eugenics. People will have to have a licence to have babies. They will be genetically matched and screened to eliminate genetically passed diseases, including stupidity.
The two questions that jump out are (1) Do we want this kind of world and (2) will it ever happen? I believe that the answer to both is "No". It would be like herding cats. The people that disagreed with it, would bear arms against those who wanted such a system. There would be more murder and mayhem then we have now.
I guess that the only hope for peace on earth, is the large asteroid that is heading directly for Earth. When it impacts, after the dust settles, there will be peace for another 65 million years.
In the future, what do you get a millionaire who has everything -- easy, his own personal satellite. Why would someone want their own personal satellite? For one thing, it has the bandwidth to enable a person to live in two places anywhere on the planet.
If one has a house in Europe totally wired with cameras and screens, and another one in North America, with a 24 hour per day video and audio uplink, it would be like having that person in the house, even though he is a continent away.
There are other uses. One has the bandwidth to work at home and do things like trade stock or other occupations where one's presence is normally required.
The owners of these fancy birds in the sky will teach their children this new nursery rhyme:
Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might.
I want to see my satellite.
It won't be long now until you start to see underwear with self-sanitizing strips. Gone will be the days of musty smells emanating from the groin area after exercise or just during a hot day. Strips of sanitizing and deodorizing agents will be sewn into the undershorts that will keep them fresh and clean all day.
Sold under the trade name of Ever-Fresh, or Jockey Juice, or Wundie Undie, these things will smell fresh as a rose under any circumstances.
This is an item that doesn't require the development of any new technology, so we are waiting for an enterprising entrepreneur to rush this one to the patent office.
The best benefit to society of these new jockeys, is that you won't have to enjoy the farts of people in close proximity to you.
Nanotechnology is the science of small stuff. It encompasses small machines, robots and even small particles. Right now, nano particles are put into cosmetics, and they change colour depending on what wavelengths of light hit them. Nano particles are used in many industrial applications as well.
We will see nanotechnology move into tooth care. Instead of brushing, we will insert an appliance into our mouth and the nano machines and cleaning nano particles take over and they will be much more efficient than regular toothbrushes. Cavities will no longer exist.
With a toothbrush of the future based on nanotechnology, there will be no excuse for the British to have bad teeth.
Plants are an integral part of living for human beings. They provide food, raw materials, shade and even aesthetics -- with flowers decorating a home or playing a part in a wedding or a funeral.
With the ease of genetically modified plants, we will begin to see plants created that are multi-functional. For example, when the DNA is infused with the glow-in-the-dark DNA from some ocean creatures, your hallway plant will be a night light. And you will be able to throw out your Glade Plug-ins to keep your air fresh. A plant that is engineered to do so, will not require electricity -- just light and a bit of watering occasionally.
I predict that some plants with wide tropical leaves will be engineered to absorb sound in places like shopping malls and public areas. Plants will be enhanced to filter out and clean air. They already provide oxygen and eat carbon dioxide.
Our future will incorporate plants into our bio-system which will perform better than their mechanical or electrical counterparts. So while we await these miracle plants, lettuce rest -- I feel beet.
The chief driving factor of progress is corporate profits. Of these days, someone will figure out that the lactose intolerant are a huge niche market segment, and we will have the invention of artificial milk.
Artificial or cowless milk will have a much larger consumer base than the lactose intolerant. Folks who follow the organic way, can finally buy milk where it has no chemicals, pesticides, growth hormones, drugs or any other additives in it. In essence, artificial milk will be as pure as mother's milk, provided that the mother is not a crack addict or taking any kind of drugs at all.
The other advantages of cowless milk is that it is not handled anywhere near manure so it cannot be contaminated with e coli. It will not spoil on the way to the dairy from the farm, and it will not take as much energy to produce. You will not need the tractors to make the hay and corn to feed the cows. In addition, there will be less greenhouse gases from the artificial process.
The big question is, will it taste the same? Does the milk process from animals actually contribute to the taste that we all know and love along with dipped Oreo cookies? If not, then no one is going to cry over this spilled milk.
In a previous entry on growing meat in a lab, I mentioned the concept of tissue culture in an artificial medium. Today' concept takes it just a little further. In the future, instead of relying on people who kick the bucket for transplantable organs, we can grow one artificially in a chamber, just for the person who needs it. You don't need to go through the fuss and bother of waiting for someone to die, or suffering the trauma of knowing that someone else's guts are inside of you.
Scientists have already grown an artificial ear on a mouse. However, we will develop the protocols to grow complex organs like a kidney, in a laboratory chamber, totally without the mouse.
One of the benefits is that the starter tissue could come from the person needing the organ. Thus once the organ was grown, there would be no chance of rejection (except when the person dates).
Judging by the spam that I get, I'm willing to bet that the first artificial organ grown for transplant, will be the male sex organ. Some men with esteem issues will pay anything for a large one.