More good stuff on the open frontier of technology – 2/18

A few articles on the amazing things going on the in wide open tech frontier. Video of building an airplane. Potential for blockchain (which is the tech behind Bitcoin), we are all moving toward being entrepreneurs, and FAA’s draft rules on drone use.

1/7 – BBC – The world’s biggest ship – for 53 daysThe Globe can carry 19,100 of the standard 20 foot containers. That’s equal to 4,550 of the usual container you see pulled on a big rig on the freeway. It is the largest cargo ship on the sea. It weighs in at 186,000 gross tons.

It only takes a crew of 23 to operate this ship, which shows how automated it is. The engine is so efficient that this ship uses 20% less fuel per container than a ship that can hold 10,000 TEU (I think that is the abbreviation).

Boeing – Time lapse video of airplane construction hattip BehindTheBlack blog.


1/22 – TechVibes – How Technology Behind Bitcoin Could Transform Accounting As We Know ItGreat article providing background on blockchain, which is the core technology behind Bitcoin. Good brain stretcher on where blockchain could go.

A bit of a stretch on using blockchain to replace accounting records and make CPA auditors obsolete. Idea suggested here would only apply to a pure cash-basis organization, which means only workable concept for very small, simple entities.

That suggestion only works if a company’s accounting doesn’t involve any estimates, allocations, cutoff issues, fair value, valuation allowances, or internal control.

But still a good exercise for your brain.

Seismic shift in the nature of the economy

2/5 – Megan McArdle at Bloomberg View – Sorry, Millennials, We’re out of the jobs you wanted When I started this blog, describing the article by Ms. McArdle would have been a full post. Now I get the idea a lot easier. A WSJ article reported many people don’t want to fill the growing number of sales jobs. Seems people don’t want work with variable pay and high reward for effort. I get it.

Unfortunately, the overarching direction for the economy in the future is toward variable pay where the employee has lots of risk. There will be less fixed pay for set duties with the employer taking all the risk.

The multi-century trend is away from farmers and tradesman (yes, it was men then) working for themselves and taking big risks but getting good rewards when all is working well.

Watch for two massive transitions:

With the Industrial Revolution, scale made it important to coordinate lots of people in a factory. Thus, the company hired bunches of people to do assigned work for fixed pay and company had the risk and reward.

We are now in the midst of a huge change to more and more people being freelancers or taking on the risk and rewards of their job.

If you don’t grasp what Ms. McArdle is saying and I’m summarizing, perhaps you need to read many dozens of posts here on my blog.


2/15 – Wall Street Journal – FAA Proposes Rules to Allow Commercial Drone Flights in U.S.Draft FAA rules on commercial use of drones allow far more freedom than was expected. At first glance, I am rather impressed. Commercial use of drones weighing 55 pounds or less will require passing a written test on safety, operating below 500 feet and within sight of operator, and avoid flying over people not involved in the operation. Screening by TSA, similar to getting private license today, is required. No actual flight experience needed.

2/16 – Wall Street Journal – Drone Rules Cheered, but Not by All Restrictions are a fraction of what had been feared. Proposed rules would limit some applications, such as package delivery. Overall? Looks like a great set of rules to me.

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