More good stuff on open frontiers – 4/17
The frontiers of private space travel, technology innovations, and the education revolution are amazing to watch. Here are a few articles that caught my eye that I thought are worth a mention of the frontiers that are wide open today:
4/14 – Popular Mechanics – Elon Musk: Falcon 9 Landed “Too Hard for Survival’ – Getting closer to success… The third attempt to land the first stage of SpaceX’s rocket didn’t quite work. The rocket landed on the barge, but apparently hit too hard for the rocket to be reusable. First reports don’t give much more info. The video feed shows the rocket trying to maneuver to the remain completely vertical right before landing, which is probably an indication of some minor issue in addition to too much speed.
A few more tries and then success and then a radical drop in the cost of space flights.
4/15 – Behind the Black – Why SpaceX’s first stage failure is really a magnificent success – Longer video of landing show the rocket was not maintaining straight vertical position. Thus it was wobbly when touching down, fell to the side, and exploded. That is progress.
Mr. Zimmerman thinks three so-called failures is a tremendous success.
Because it shows it is possible to recover the first stage. Even if they haven’t figured out every single detail, it is possible.
All of SpaceX’s competitors, assuming they have any perception, ought to now be in terror that SpaceX will figure it out and thus take all their business.
4/5 – Wall Street Journal – Big Investor Involvement Could Boost Bitcoin – Big investment firms are getting interested in Bitcoins as an investment and trading area using their proprietary trading funds. They sniff trading profits in the air. Increased involvement would produce increased activity which would stabilize the price of Bitcoin and provide some liquidity.
4/16 – Daily Mail – The jeep that can down a drone: US Navy reveals anti-UAV weapon that can fire lasers from a moving vehicle – The Navy is working on a laser small enough to mount on top of a Humvee which has enough capacity to track and shoot down UAVs. Components of the system have already been tested. A small 10kW model will be tested late in 2015 with upgrade to 30kW later.
Makes sense. As UAVs are deployed for surveillance and some carrying weapons, countermeasures get developed. Thus is the tale of weapons development for many centuries.
Next step a few years after full deployment will be commercial versions to be deployed at the White House, military bases, and homes of Hollywood stars.
2/26 – American Interest (Peter) – School’s Out Forever – Article points to excerpt from new book discussing that MOOCs may be the future of education. Picture small facilities where a few profs mentor students and the students are mainly taking MOOCs. Most people getting an education take MOOCs directly.
Here’s the core issue, as I’ve seen it explained in dozens of ways:
Higher ed as it currently functions is a 20th-century relic. It cannot survive indefinitely: it is too costly, too inefficient, and too monolithic for the era of digital personalization. Whether Carey’s vision will replace it or not, something very new is coming.
Two small colleges announce in one week they are closing their doors:
- 3/3 – Times Free Press – The end of Tennessee Temple in Chattanooga – Merging with Piedmont International University in North Carolina.
- 3/3 – Chronicle of Higher Education – Sweet Briar College, Citing ‘Financial Challenges,’ Will Close Its Doors in August – Local newspaper points out this is the third liberal arts college to close in Virginia in three years.