SpaceX will launch it’s first space shot on a resupply flight to the space station in late November. NASA gave technical approval to the launch.
Update – the SpaceX resupply mission was a success.
Why is this discussion in a blog about nonprofit issues? Three reasons.
First, is a superb illustration of stretching our brains. In the nonprofit sector we need to be intentionally thinking about the future. See my discussions here, here, here, here, here, and here. Just the idea of private space flights will stretch our brain.
Continue reading “Private sector rocket launches will resupply space station”
What could a teenager working minimum wage 60 years ago buy with his summer earnings compared to now?
Mark Perry has a calculation at his blog Carpe Diem: Young Americans: Luckiest Generation in History:
Here is the short version:
1952 after working for the summer, a teen could buy:
- 17” TV
2011, after working the summer, a teen could buy the functionally equivalent items as 1952:
- Laptop & printer (if you can call that comparable to a typewriter)
- 32” HDTV, blue-ray player, home theater system (just a tad bit more than a 17” TV, but still comparable functionality, sort of)
Plus in 2011 our hypothetical teen still would have enough money left over at the end of the summer to buy some bonus stuff on top of matching types of things from 1952: Continue reading “Teen’s purchasing power from working for the summer in 1952 and 2011”
John Bredehoft has a creative two-part post comparing technology in 2011 and 1981. Focus is on the change in portability – the ease of getting news anywhere and being able to reach someone anywhere.
What if modern portability existed, or didn’t exist, 30 years ago?
More on changes in portability
Continue reading “A field trip from August 2011 to August 1981 and back”
Don Boudreaux has a fantastic PowerPoint presentation posted at Café Hayek: Stagnating Middle-Class? It is from a presentation he gave at Cato University.
He opened up a 1974/1975 Sears catalogue. He then calculated how many hours a person would have to work to buy something in 1975 compared to buying a similar item today.
To make the comparison he obtained the hourly wage of an average non-supervisory employee in 1975 and the same average wage today. Those average wages are $4.87 in 1975 and $19.00 today.
For example, in 1975, a 35mm SLR camera, pretty nice for back then, was $347. That is 71.3 hours work for an average worker. In contrast, a Nikon Coolpix 12.0 mp camera today is 4.8 hours of labor.
Continue reading “I can’t think of a better time to be alive. Or, is the middle class better off today than in 1975?”
How to combine the idea of opportunity cost, cul-de-sac, and government overruns in one post?
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial (behind paywall) says:
When it was first conceived, the shuttle was supposed to be a kind of space truck, going into orbit 50 to 75 times a year and carrying large payloads at a cost of $54 million a launch in 2011 dollars. It didn’t work out that way. The shuttle went aloft an average of five times a year. The cost-per-launch averaged some $1.5 billion. Its heaviest payloads barely exceeded what an unmanned Delta IV rocket can carry.
Let’s do some math, shall we?
Continue reading “Space shuttle as illustration of opportunity cost and cul-de-sac”
Previous post introduced the ideas of Cliffs, Cul-de-sacs, and Dips explained by Seth Godin in his book, The Dip.
What do we do with that idea?
Seth Godin says:
It’s okay to quit, sometimes.
In fact, it’s okay to quit often.
Continue reading “When is it time to let go of a project? The Dip, by Seth Godin”
What if a replicator, like you see in the sci-fi movies, was a reality?
People who have developed the technology call it 3-D printing.
Continue reading “What is 3-D printing? Are replicators possible?”
When is it time to push through the obstacles and keep trying to achieve?
That is the topic of Seth Godin’s book, The Dip. Since the book was written in 2007, I am late to the party. Still want to write about it because most people I talk to are not familiar with his work.
We need to distinguish between cliffs, cul-de-sacs, and dips.
Continue reading “What are Cliffs, Cul-de-sacs, and Dips? The Dip, by Seth Godin”
We all need to gain balance in our lives. Get some ideas on how in Dr. Richard Swenson’s book In Search of Balance. (full disclosure – I am not compensated for the Amazon link.)
From my Amazon review:
More and more of everything faster and faster is the phrase Dr. Swenson uses to describe life today.
Eight words that describe all aspects of our world. More and more – a rapidly increasing volume and quality and intensity. Of everything – all aspects of our life, such as technology, money, every area of knowledge, experiences, entertainment, great books we should read, quality of consumer goods. Faster and faster – the rate of change is accelerating.
Nobody reading this review needs to be told your life is out of balance. With a moment of reflection we all realize that. That we don’t have a spare moment to reflect is the crux of the problem.
Instead of us just trying harder, or working smarter, or just ‘getting it together’, he provides a series of prescriptions on how to gain equilibrium in life.
Continue reading “Prescriptions to gain balance in your life that go beyond ‘just try harder’”
Storage costs are about zero.
Got to thinking about the cost of storing data on external hard drives. Did a few calculations to look at the radical change in costs over the last few years. Used my actual purchases and listings today at Amazon. Wow.
Here are the costs per gigabyte of storage for the newer portable hard drive (2 of ‘em are about the size of a paperback book) and for the larger externally powered ones (more the size of a thick hardback): Continue reading “Radical cost reductions in technology – illustration from external hard drives”
It isn’t the initial idea of a technology that makes life so fantastic for all of us. It is the next round of people who figure out how to make it ridiculously cheap that lets everyone enjoy the really cool inventions. So explains Matt Ridley, of the Wall Street Journal, in Three Cheers for the Cheapeners and Cost-Cutters.
“A feature of innovation is that the greatest impact of a new idea comes not when the light bulb goes on over the geek’s head, but when the resulting technology eventually becomes cheap enough for many people to use—perhaps decades later.
This is the driver behind the tremendous productivity gains in the last few centuries.
Continue reading “Cheapeners make life really fantastic for all of us – the radical cost reductions in technology”
Previous posts here and here mentioned four emerging trends identified by La Piana Consulting in their report called Convergence- How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector. Will now discuss the last trend they have noticed.
As mentioned previously, I will be quoting from their report a lot.
“Sector boundaries are blurring” – Continue reading “Convergence report from La Piana Consulting, blurring boundaries – part 4”
Previous post mentioned the first two emerging trends identified by La Piana Consulting in their report called Convergence- How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector. Will discuss two more trends in this post.
As mentioned before, I will be quoting from their report. Notice lots of quotation marks.
“Networks enable work to be organized in new ways” – Continue reading “Convergence report from La Piana Consulting, networking and volunteerism trends – part 3”
(cross-post from Attestation Update)
A graph of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia shows the devastating losses suffered during the advance on Moscow and retreat. It is the best illustration I’ve seen of creatively presenting a complex body of information. Dare I say it is a beautiful graph? Why is this of interest to us? It shows a powerful way to communicate statistical data.
You can see the graph here at Cartographia. Click on the map to enlarge.
One sentence of explanation allows you to interpret the entire view – Continue reading “Creative visualization – astounding use of a map to show statistical data”