Month: February 2015

The Culmination of Technology

You hear about “revolutionary” tech everyday, right? But where are the effects of this. Obviously the internet and other things like it are true examples of this revolution in technology, but what about the other things you hear about. The battery that can charge your phone in 15 minutes, the virus stopping proteins. Where is that tech?

The fact of the matter is a lot of technology need a lot of development and funding even after discovery. In addition to this, a lot of technology doesn’t stand well on its own, but is instead incorporated into something much larger. For instance, the development of paper thin lenses doesn’t sound very applicable on its own, but when you factor the possible technologies it could be incorporated into (Phones, etc.) it becomes extensively more useful. The only problem here is that you have to wait for that other tech to catch up. In the PC world there’s a term known as bottle-necking. When one of your components on a computer can only perform to a certain extent it may decrease the benefits of another component. This is true certainly for graphics cards and the processing unit. At the moment, the tech in graphics cards is vastly superior to those in processing units, so no matter how late your tech is, your processor will always be bottle-necking your graphics card. Applying this concept to other technologies explains why we aren’t seeing phones that can charge in 15 minutes.

While I wish we could have all this cool technology today, we can’t, and this makes me sad. ='(

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Pretty Cool Tech in 2015

I love finding lists like these that aren’t buzzfeed clickbait posts stolen directly from a reddit compilation. They’re informative, get my nerd juices flowing, and are generally fun to read.

Car-To-Car Communications: Imagine this, you pull up to a corner with an obstructed view to one side. How long do you wait? How far do you inch forward in an effort to see? Gun it and hope no one gets hurt? These are your few options in today’s world. However within the next couple of years the ability for your car to transmit data such as speed, break application, and position to other cars within a few hundred feet will eliminate this potentially deadly situation. With this new tech, as you pull up to the corner you’ll be alerted of incoming cars with a beep, or some other auditory or even visual cue. This technology has the possibility to save countless lives and what it evolves into could save even more.

Internet Balloons: You know that feeling, you’re in the middle of nowhere trying to watch your favorite TV show on Netflix, but your phones internet coverage sucks. How will you ever know if Brad married Jennifer or not? Why wait the couple of days until you return to civilization when you could potentially receive internet signals from floating internet balloons soaring high in the stratosphere courtesy of the all powerful Google. It seems far-fetched right? Wrong! Within the next 5 years this could become a reality. Not only would this tech help you binge watch the entire first season of House of Cards in a day and a half (Totally didn’t do this), but it could provide internet services to areas otherwise without them. Ditching the expensive infrastructure of internet and switching to a completely self reliant floating internet hub far above the reaches of any storm or animal could mean the expansion of the wonders of the internet to everyone.

Apple Pay: While I personally don’t see the appeal here, there has to be someone out there who’s interested in it. Why anyone would want to have ALL the things they need for life on a phone is beyond me, but if it’s your cup of tea, whatever. Essentially it allows your phone to act as your debit card, but only responds to your touch, much like the locks on the newer Iphones do. It’s a cool concept, but I can’t see it being widely used. I’m used to using my debit card, its simple, fits nicely in my wallet, and can be deactivated if stolen. My phone on the other hand can run out of battery, often gets misplaced in my home, and already has enough value on it for potential thieves. All in all, this tech which is already available seems to complicated for widespread adoption, not only would people have to accept using it, but companies would have to adopt all new software and hardware just to accept the payment, not to mention the possibility for Apple to make a buck off the transactions.

3-D virtuality?: So I had not heard of this thing until now, but wow this sounds awesome. Breaking through the fourth wall a little here, this thing is actually amazing, or so I think from what I’ve read so far. It’s basically an Oculus styled device, except it projects images into the room you’re in? I think? This technology has numerous applications both civilian and professional. Imagine designing a car or an aircraft in real-time manipulating the 3-D image as if it were in-front of you. The ingenuity of the thing is incredible. The fleshed out version of this tech probably won’t be available for another 5-10 years or so, but wow, am I excited for the future.

These four technologies were the coolest I could spot from the list, but surely the others are just as cool. Maybe not as particularly relevant to a consumer standpoint, but others may find them relevant.

Green Standard on Track

With the recent movement into lowering the carbon footprint by many nations around the globe, green energy alternatives have started to take hold. The European Union, EU, mandates certain countries to generate a specific percentage of their power using green methods. The U.K. is one of those. In news that is gladly received, the U.K. is on track to produce 15% of it’s total energy use through green power by 2020.

I’ve made numerous posts on the importance of alternative energy and the possible implications of not embracing it, however this is the first story I’ve seen that actually gives me hope for the future worlds energy use. Maybe we aren’t royally screwed (Get it, royal, England, right?), but instead on the right track. Although this is only one success benchmark, it is still a bright look on the possible bleakness of the future. If this milestone is met it will be increased in later years and soon be mandated by the EU for other EU countries. The U.S. already has a green energy initiative in which a certain amount of energy production is supposed to come from green energy. The expansion of these programs will cause not only a brighter future, but also the booming of these alternative energy production.

How are these standards met, however? How are they being implemented? At the moment a majority of the U.K.’s green energy comes from wind energy. Due to England being an island and having an abundance of coastline available, it isn’t uncommon to see wind turbines dotting the shore. The amount of energy these produce is rivaling that of gas power, the former leader of power production in the U.K. While the use of gas has decreased coal has increased as the price plummeted in global markets due to U.S. natural gas fracking. While the use of fossil fuels has not entirely been eradicated, we’re on the right path to making sure the future is powered by green alternatives.

The only question that remains on the U.K.’s progress is if the incoming government will uphold these standards. A common problem in today’s world. Old establishments policies are being reworked by the new administration and possibly throwing these plans off track. Hopefully, incoming leaders in all nations understand the importance of these programs and continue their success. While this is all I ask for, maybe some incoming leaders will expand these programs? Maybe? Please?

I realize that all of these posts around green energy make me seem like a grass loving hippie, but I’m not. Just simply concerned with the continuation of our current life styles in a future world that differs incredibly from our own.

LHC back in particle discovering action!

If you’re even the slightest bit of a dork, or pay attention to the slightest bit of news you’ve probably heard of the Large Hadron Collider or LHC for short. If you haven’t, it’s essentially a large ring, that speeds subatomic particles up and smashes them into one another, just to see what happens. While the actual reason and process is much more involved, that’s the gist. This particle accelerator has been the talk of many physicists since it’s creation. It helped scientists discover the Higgs Boson particle and the Higgs field, which essentially interacts with matter to give it mass in 2013, but was put out of commission for 2 years for upgrades.

Those upgrades have now finished and the LHC is back and two times more powerful to smash more particles into each other. Researches are hopeful we may have the largest modern discovery of physics within the next year as experiments using the LHC continue early this year. The main discovery on the agenda: anti-matter. While we’re getting into uncharted territory even for me, essentially it’s the opposite of matter, as the name would suggest. Researchers hope that experiments will provide insight as to why nature prefers matter over anti-matter. Due to this small fact, is why we are here in the first place. Why not try to understand it.

Quick random strange thought here: By us trying to understand why matter is preferred, it’s really just matter organized into atoms, organized into elements, organized into compounds, organized into cells, organized into a brain trying to understand itself. Whoa.

Whatever the LHC discovers it will surely be interesting not just to physicists, but to science lovers throughout the world, such as myself. I’ll be waiting.

MegaDrought

MegaDrought, sounds fake and hyped up, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it’s not. Unless things are changed, soon.

Researches from the Science Advances journal predict that there is an 80% chance that major drought will hit the southwestern U.S. between 2050 and 2099. The already dry area which contains parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and other agricultural areas accounts for a large portion of the U.S. fruit and cattle production. California alone accounts for over 50% of the grape production in the U.S. Imagine your local super market without grapes, or types of oranges, or steak, or hamburgers. Not much of a super market right?

The researches predict that the drought will be on par to or greater than those experienced during the Medieval era which saw many of Europe’s inhabitants starve to death due to large food shortages. Surely this couldn’t happen in modern times right? Not with the connectivity of our world and the large amount of imported food? Without a doubt the consequences will not be as great, but there will be food shortages none the less. Will there be riots in all major cities just because people can’t get food? Probably not, but in smaller more remote areas that rely on these crops there may be. And unhappy people in one area can very quickly create problems for happy people in another area.

Apart from the death of many crops, the problem of drinkable water is also presented. Over the past decades the amount of people fluctuating to America’s Southwest has put enough pressure on the local water supplies. With these numbers continuing to rise over the coming decades as well as the increase in the Earth’s average temperature this problem will not be getting any better. While this will not mean the dehydration of all the people in the Southwest it for sure does mean some sort of adaptation to life with rationed water. Households may have a limit to how much they have access to, grass may be forced to die in order to conserve water for drinking. Toilet bowls may not fill all the way, but these are the steps needed to ensure enough drinking water is available.

This doesn’t have to become a reality, however. This can easily be avoided by actions we take now. By minimizing our water intake and our carbon footprint output, we can stop this crisis before it begins. With more and more world leaders coming out in support of actions to stop climate change I’m hopeful this will become a reality. The amount of backing of programs by leaders can do nothing without the participation of citizens however. It’s not up to the president or prime minister how much water you use, or how often you bike to school or work rather than drive. Changing these habits right now won’t only affect your health today, but the health of your tomorrow. The well being of future generations of all species on earth relies on the choices we make today regarding energy and resource consumption.

Spider-Man joining the MCU? FINALLY?!

While I planned on focusing on movies and movie related topics later on in the year, this story is too good not to share.

Today, dorks everywhere rejoice in the fact that Marvel and Sony have finally come to a deal that will allow Spider-Man to finally be seen on the big screen alongside The Avengers and other Marvel heroes in Marvels Cinematic Universe. While many were disheartened that Marvel was not able to completely buy back the rights to Spider-Man from Sony, the fact that the Web-Slinger will soon be joining his Avenger pals is too exciting to get mad over.

The specifics of the deal are this: Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel movie (Speculation is Civil War, but I’ll touch on that later) then will release a standalone movie in the Summer of 2017. Sony will retain financing, distribution, and final creative direction rights, but will be collaborating with Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel. Additionally, there are talks to have other Marvel characters implemented into the future standalone Spider-Man movies. While there is no official word if Spider-Man will be recast, many fans speculate that in order to have the franchise fit in story wise, Sony may have to drop Andrew Garfield.

Back to my comment about Civil War now. The long-loved arc of Marvels comics which pits beloved Marvel heroes against each other was announced to take place in the MCU not too long ago. Due to Spider-Man’s important part in the story of Civil War, many fans speculated that Marvel would either have to change the story or find a way to get Spider-Man in. Now that Spider-Man is in ( I love how that sounds), it only stands to reason that he would be implemented in Civil War. Whether he will still be an integral part of the story or only have a minor role is yet to be seen however. Who knows though, we may see him earlier than that. Even though the Avengers 2 is done shooting, there still may be time to throw Spidey into a post credit scene. I’m excited enough about Age of Ultron, but when I’m sitting in that theater after the credits roll nothing would make me more excited than to hear the classic web shooting sound and see red and blue fly across the screen.

Whatever comes of this deal, even if Spider-Man only has a short cameo in a Marvel film, the fact that these two companies were able to come together and discuss something their fans wanted to see is a nice sight. Who knows what this could lead to, Marvel is practically printing their own money right now, so the risk is low, but the reward if it goes well would be monumental. It could lead to further collaborations within the Marvel scene that could allow for some pretty big characters on one pretty big screen.

Fox, I’m talking to you, MAKE IT HAPPEN!