Tag: Technology development


I see human genetic manipulations as inevitable. Someone will go there, and others will need to follow to keep up. Of course, while I can see the author’s point that the Chinese will go there first, I think they might not actually be the ones to commit the worst offenses. After all, the Chinese are still a post-communist dictatorship, and those leaders are definitely not going to risk their hold on power from a gang of enhanced super-humans. Hence the introduction of a flaw to control them bye, and the proceeding unraveling of the whole thing.

The inevitable reality is that as technology and knowledge advances, it will present us with opportunities that can, and will, lead to bad things. I remember reading a book a while back that basically made the case that the reason humanity was not finding other intelligence out there was not merely because we were looking/listening for the wrong things as some that point out our technology doesn’t lend itself to the overcoming the difficulties of the vastness of space, but that they simply didn’t exist. Civilizations reached a point where their technological advances caused them to tamper with themselves or build bigger and better engines of destruction, with the inevitable consequence that they would wipe life out.

But who knows? Maybe Ideocracy had it right, an the greatest scientific minds will all gravitate to improving erections and solving hair loss, and we will be spared extinction as the stupid people out-breed the others.

The future looks bright!

Where is my ARC reactor at?

Anyone familiar with the Iron Man genre would know about the fabled ARC reactor powering his suit, and it looks like SOCOM working on ‘Iron Man’ suit, can benefit from it!

Old-fashioned battery power is proving to be the biggest challenge in the military’s push to develop an “Iron Man suit,” a futuristic full-body armor that aims to offer individual troops a revolutionary level of protection and capability on the battlefield.

Adm. William McRaven, chief of U.S. Special Operations Command, said his team is in the final stages of procuring prototypes for the first-of-its-kind suit that will fully cover a service member with ballistic protection and also have internal displays to provide intelligence and communications.

The first three prototypes of what is officially known as the Tactical Assault Light-Operator Suit, or TALOS, will be delivered to SOCOM in June, McRaven said.

Power is always the problem with these things. You need a shit load of power, and reality is that things like the ARC reactor are just fantasy. I remember big talk about nuclear powered batteries solving these issues back in the day, but the things have problems nobody has figured out how to overcome.

This Iron Man suit is not the first instance of power issues affecting weapons systems. The US NAVY has wanted to use more futuristic weapons like Rail Guns and ship mounted LASERs for decades now, but power has always been the issue. Apparently it took a massive ship like the Zumwalt class to give them a platform big enough to have the power generation capacity for these exotic, but if they are made to work properly, incredibly valuable weapons systems. Getting it small enough to fit a mechanized man sized suit is going to be one heck of a challenge.

Whatever company solves these compact power generation and storage problem requirements, and believe me it will not be any kind of nonsense green technology that does this, will make a killing. Where is Robert Downey Jr. when you need him, huh?

Need proof Solar is not ready for Prime Time? Here ya go…

We have had repeated discussions here about the viability of some green technology, and I am certain everyone here knows my stance on solar energy. As someone educated in engineering, I know that technology is simply not ready for use and the cost is prohibitive. many have argued otherwise, but then you occasionally get stories like this one which illustrate the futility of pushing this unready technology. From the article;

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The 20 solar panels Jeffrey Punton installed in the backyard of his Rochester, N.Y., home won’t ever generate enough electricity to cover their cost. Which is the whole point.

He means them as a cautionary tale, one that Punton said cost him $13,000 and for which he received an additional $29,500 in state and federal subsidies and tax credits.

He installed the panels in 2009, and they work: He has generated about 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in four years, saving several hundred dollars a year on his energy bill.

That’s a lot of savings, but it’ll take many years to recoup his initial investment, let alone the public money involved. It’s that public money that chafes him, evidence of governmental intrusion in the marketplace.

It’s a message that runs counter to the prevailing trend, especially in New York’s Monroe County. Greece, N.Y., a town in the county, recently lured a solar manufacturer from California, a coup local and state officials are touting as part of the region’s future.

Punton doesn’t buy it — at least on the consumer scale. And spending $13,000 of his own money on a project he predicted would fail doesn’t bother him.

He considers the $29,500 the government gave him a foolish investment — throwing good money after bad — and misses no opportunity to point it out.

“It’s a billboard to talk about it to people as they come by,” he said. “It’s disappointing how little people know about the economics of it. … I don’t think it’s a smart investment to pay someone three times what they’re putting in.”

About $17,000 of the money for Punton’s panels came directly from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The lesson here is absolutely indisputable. Without heavy government subsidy, this technology not only is prohibitively costly, but it will never pay for itself. Let’s not kid ourselves: any technology that is not at a point where it generates enough savings to warrant the total cost of production, setup, maintenance, and usage, is not ready fro prime time. And any technology that requires so much government subsidy to become marginally palatable, is definitely not worth it.

I got a tax deduction and subsidy a few years back in my state for window replacements. I got rid of some leaky and old windows & sliding doors and replaced them with newer, better insulated ones. The state gave me some $1000 credit (the maximum) towards my taxes, and another $1600 towards the manufacturer’s costs, and I ended paying some $6K out of pocket. I immediately saw improvement in my energy bill. It dropped by over 50% for both summer (cooling) and winter (heating) expenses, from a hefty averaged $245 a month to a little over $115. That’s a big saving. I recouped my investment a couple of years ago, and by now, even the subsidy and the tax deduction have been paid for in energy savings. Yes, my monthly bill is now higher, but that’s because the price of energy has all but doubled in the same timeframe. Consequently, the argument could be made that my savings also doubled, and that’s just awesome. This program was a good one.

That’s not even close to being the case with solar. I know. I researched it because I wanted to do that when I bought my house some 18 years ago. I abandoned it, just like I abandoned the idea of purchasing an electric or hybrid car, because the cost – the total cost, which includes maintenance, and disposal – was insane. I recently looked at it yet again. The numbers have moved a bit, but the cost is still prohibitive and the whole thing is still a loss.

Personally, I am not one of these fucking assholes that likes to tell people my fart doesn’t smell, (South Park – Smug Alert – episode) and is willing to piss away good money just to preen, and I don’t have anything to prove like the guy in this article did. Solar simply is not ready for prime time, and no amount of government manipulation or incentivizing will make a difference. Governments have been trying to change that equation for over 3 decades now, and it has not gone anywhere. The technological advances to make it viable will not come until they are absolutely needed and someone figures out there is huge money to be made. But this reality will never fly with the watermelons that want to steer energy money to their buddies, so we will keep pissing away money on something that’s still not able to deliver the value for the cost, and pretend it is a good thing.