More good stuff on the open frontiers – 7/7

A few articles on the open frontiers of space and technology that are worth a read and a brief comment.


6/14/12 – Popular Mechanics – Tapping the Riches of SpaceThis is an old article, as in from the long gone days of 2012. It outlines the concept of mining water for fuel and heavy metals for construction from the moon or asteroids. If water could be extracted from the surface of Mars for propulsion to return to earth, a round trip would be easier. Fun quote:

We’re not going to be able to reach beyond the International Space Station and sustain human explorers on the moon or Mars unless we start “living off the land” in space.

An old article, but it is one that helped me grasp the idea of mining off the planet.


Jos Stiglingh – Fireworks filmed with a drone – Cool stuff to do with a drone: Videorecord fireworks display at the level they explode. Very cool.

6/18 – BBC – African firm is selling pepper-spray bullet firing drone – A firm in South Africa has developed an octocopter drone that can fire pepper-spray pellets. In can carry 2,000 pellets and fire 20 a second from four barrels. Could also carry paint ball pellets or solid plastic. It also has a loudspeaker on board. Company says it has signed the first sale for 25 units.

Weaponized small drones? Available now.

Countermeasures? I’m assuming they are on the drawing board. Actually, any fast drone on the market could be a countermeasure to the authorities having one of these at the scene of a major protest.

6/17 – The Feed – No Sector is Safe from Robots – Law, architecture, and health care are three more fields that will see much creative destruction as technology advances. Journalism, music, and publishing are already there. Mr. Mead points out there is a creative side of creative destruction, not just disruption. That assumes our systems (legal, political, social, educational, etc.) are savvy enough to put good policies in place to help the transition.

6/30 – Poynter – AP will use robots to write some business stories – automation technology from Automated Insights will be the platform AP uses to automate writing stories of earnings reports. They will increase their coverage from 300 stories to 4,400 stories. I can’t tell if that is per quarter or number of companies covered.  The managing editor says they will not reduce any staffing but will increase the coverage. Writers will explain what the earnings release means in the context. The software will do the first draft of what happened.

I think this illustrates the impact of tech. Using the number stories as a proxy of companies, what this will do is allow AP to increase the scope of their coverage by factor of 10.

Something similar may be happening in legal discovery. A person I know helps attorneys review material in major litigation. In the discovery phase there is a huge amount of material produced. The plaintiff has to sort through gigabytes of documents to find what is of interest. If reviewed manually only a small portion of documents can be reviewed. Adding e-discovery allows an initial search of a larger volume of documents. My acquaintance said it takes just as much time, if not more, for a person to review the results of the electronic search compared to doing a manual search. My observation? Adding the technology of e-discovery increases these culpable for what you can cover, without reducing the amount of human time.

6/30 – Fortune – Big data’s dirty problem – Inconsistency, errors, grammar, missing info, obsolete info. Just a few sources that make ‘big data’ dirty. Cleaning it up or interpreting the dirty data is a major challenge when working with really large data sets.

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