Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the category “Change around us”

More on the frontier of military technology

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Several intriguing articles on military forces using technology:

  • ISIS using larger drones with larger payloads
  • Marine Corps wants to experiment with giving an entire battalion suppressors for all their weapons
  • Pakistan developing second strike capability by putting nuke loaded cruise missiles on diesel subs
  • Lots of jobs in the US military will be replaced by robots

2/21 – Washington Post – Use of weaponized drones by ISIS spurs terrorism fears – In Iraq, Islamic State is working with drones above the quadcopter size. With wingspans of about 6 feet, the drone can carry a mortar round at about three pounds instead of a hand grenade.

IS has posted videos of multiple uses of the drones to drop explosives. The frequency of offensive use of the drones is high enough that Iraqi troops must scan the scan sky for drones and take cover when one is spotted.

Captured documents indicate IS is doing research to develop new drones and modify off-the-shelf versions.

This is a significant step up from my previous discussion of ISIS’ drone usage. On January 30, I mentioned:

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Uh oh. Trouble with clocks on European and Indian navigation satellites

Modern GPS satellite. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Modern GPS satellite. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Trouble brewing with the clocks on navigation satellites. I previously mentioned this on 1/24:

1/18 – BBC News – Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures – The EU’s satellite navigation system, called Galileo, is having trouble.

Purpose of system is so European users won’t be vulnerable to accuracy degrades by the US, Russian, or Chinese GPS constellations, should any of those players wish to do so.

There will be 24 satellites in the system when fully deployed, plus a few extra for spares. Currently 18 are in orbit. One is close to complete failure for some other reason.

Now there is a problem with failing clocks.

Each satellite has four atomic clocks, two rubidium and two hydrogen maser. Those give accuracy to within one second per three million years. That level of accuracy is needed to get the most precise location data.

Nine of the hyper accurate clocks have failed in orbit. One sat has 2 failures. That means 8 sats have lost one or more clocks.

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Deep background on disruption in music and publishing. Up next? Hollywood.

Does the graph remind you of the newspaper and music industry? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Does the graph remind you of the newspaper and music industry? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Several articles provide an in-depth view of the disruption taking place in several industries due to the IT revolution.

  • Hollywood is ripe for the same creative destruction we’ve seen in music, newspapers, and publishing.
  • New York Times is shrinking their physical space and staff size
  • Prime time TV still having a rough time

The question to ponder in the back of your mind is what are you going to do when this wave of disruption overturns your industry?

January 2017 – Vanity Fair – Why Hollywood As We Know It is Already Over – Looking for a good article on how technology is going to do to Hollywood what IT has already done to music and publishing? If so, this is what you’ve been looking for.

Check out the article to help understand the massive change surrounding us.

Disruption of music industry

First, music and newspapers. The author saw his first indication the music industry would collapse when he started downloading music. Instead of driving to a store somewhere and spending $20 to get one song he wanted, he could spend a buck and get the song immediately.

Author says the music industry has shrunk by half in the last decade. Remember that is after the first round of disruption hit.

Disruption of newspapers

Next were the newspapers. For a long time, the web part of the New York Times was physically separate from the headquarters. “Banished” is the word the author used. At the same time, startups like Instapundit (yeah Professor Reynolds!) and DailyKos were figuring out how to blog. Then WordPress and Tumblr allowed anyone on the planet to start blogging, and doing so for free.

Author says a lot of people didn’t want to wander over to a newsstand and buy a whole newspaper or magazine when instead they could read the single article they wanted, online, for free.

To illustrate the concept, I’ve never bought a copy of Vanity Fair and doubt I ever will. I certainly didn’t drive over to Barnes & Noble to buy the current edition so I could read this article. A blogger I read (see above!) mentioned it and I clicked over.

The end result of the loss in audience?

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More uses for small drones, some good ideas, some unsettling

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Drone technology marches forward, regardless of whether you or I think it is a good idea. A few recent article:

  • Incorporating drones into a home security system.
  • LA Sheriff starts to use drones
  • US Navy experimenting with swarms of drone ships
  • ISIS using off-the-shelf quadcopters to drop small bombs.

1/3 – Engadget.com – Your next home security system could deploy patrol drones A company has developed a security system with a learning algorithm which ‘learns’ the normal routine at your home. When something happens outside the range of normal, the system can deploy drones to put several cameras on the situation.

Read more…

More amazing news from the open frontier of space

Falcon 9 landing. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Falcon 9 landing. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

News from space exploration continues to amaze. Consider:

  • Video of first time SpaceX recovered a booster
  • China sees first commercial launch on government rocket
  • Private sector, or what passes for it, in China gets into the launch business
  • EU’s GPS satellites having lots of unexplained clock failures

Video of the first vertical recovery of a rocket – Beyond the Black highlights What happened at SpaceX the first time they landed a first stage – SpaceX had a bunch of camera operators recording when it tried to recover a booster. Great video. National Geographic produced a documentary on the successful effort. Check it out:

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Amazing capabilities in computer tech

Is that robot telling other robots what parts to pull in an Amazon warehouse? Or is it searching databases to develop your profile before picking which call center operator to connect you to? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Is that robot telling other robots what parts to pull in an Amazon warehouse? Or is it searching databases to develop your profile before picking which call center operator to connect you to? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are a few recent reports of astounding things IT and AI can do:

  • Amazon warehouses are so heavily automated it only takes about sixty seconds of human labor to pull, pack, and ship your order.
  • Call centers can construct a profile of you while the phone is ringing.
  • In our society, where if there isn’t video to illustrate and prove a story, the story didn’t happen, it is getting easier to fabricate video.

10/6/16 – CNN – Amazon only needs a minute of human labor to ship your next package – Astounding video to go with the article. I am amazed at the level of automation in their warehouses.

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Tally of space launches in last two decades

Falcon 9 liftoff, carrying 10 Iridium satellites into orbit. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Falcon 9 liftoff, carrying 10 Iridium satellites into orbit. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Behind the Black has tallied the number of space launches by country and by US company, by year from 1998 through 2016.

Mr. Zimmerman provides the tally at Launch industry trends, based on recent history on 1/11. He provides more observations on the trends in the January 13, 2017 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast.

For a more overall view (and under fair use) I added up the launches from 1998 through 2006 and then from 2007 through 2016. I chose a break of 2007 because that is when Lockheed Martin and Boeing formed their joint venture, United Launch Alliance. Here are the long-term trends:

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Update on environmental damage from wind power

WInd farms will soon get 30 year long permits to take out those birds. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

WInd farms will soon get 30 year long permits to take out those birds. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

Just a few of the recent articles providing updates on slice-and-dicers damage in general and status of North Dakota wind farms in particular.

  • Wyoming project may get specific permission to kill eagles
  • All wind farms get broad permission to kill eagles for 30 years
  • Massive subsidies for wind power, which is intermittent and unreliable, meaning it is often unavailable when needed
  • Updates on two N.D. turbine farms

12/8/16 – Denver Post – Wyoming wind project may get permit to kill eagles – The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm, which will start with 500 slice-and-dicers and may expand to 1,000 bird-choppers, could get two critical permits by next month (January).

The first permit will allow destroying eagle nests that are currently unoccupied. I’m guessing that will chase away eagles from the kill zone.

The second permit will allow the facility to kill 14 golden eagles a year for five years. They can also off 2 bald eagles a year for five years.

The slicer farm will have to do mitigation for the golden eagles they expect to kill, but not the bald eagles.

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Tally of planned launches for 2017

Ariane 5 on pad for VA227 launch. Credit: Arianespace.

Ariane 5 on pad for VA227 launch. Credit: Arianespace.

I’m constantly amazed at the activity in space. Maybe I’m just slow to catch on but there is a lot of work getting stuff into orbit.

Spaceflight 101 reports their tally of planned space shots in their post Spaceflight101 Launch Calendar.

I will modify their tally by adding another 15 launches by China as reported by GBTimes, China to attempt close to 30 space launches in 2017. Behind the Black explains that China is somewhat secretive about their space plans, so they don’t announce all their expected launches.

Previously mentioned the tally of actual launches for 2016.

In other news, Behind the Black reports India considers going to Jupiter and Venus. Their first manned flights are planned for 2024. BtB also reports Arianespace wins two contracts, aims for a dozen launches in 2017. Article guesses that Arianspace is getting these contracts because SpaceX has a backlog longer than their current capacity can deliver timely. Article indicates SpaceX needs to up their launch rate to stay competitive.

So, here is the list of planned launches. I also include the lift vehicle. That data is useful for me in order to keep straight what rockets belong to whom.

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Tally of space launches in 2016

Antares booster on launch pad. Courtesy of Orbital ATK. Used with permission.

Antares booster on launch pad. Courtesy of Orbital ATK. Used with permission.

Here is a list of actual launches in 2016. Next post will describe the planned launches for 2017.

Parabolic Arc – USA, China Led World in Launches in 2016 – Supercool article describes the launch successes and failures in 2016, including a tally of launches by country and life vehicles. Recap of status of all the US players.

I pulled the tally of attempts and successes, including the launch pad failure of a Falcon 9 as an attempt, even though it didn’t get off the ground and thus is not actually an attempt:

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An illustration why mining asteroids would be lucrative. Also, a startup to provide world-wide ‘net access

Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Amazing things going on in the world of private space exploration:

  • One asteroid in the asteroid belt has massive amounts of ice; why that is important
  • OneWeb is moving forward with plans to launch a constellation of small sats to provide access to the internet across the planet

12/16 – Tech Times – Dwarf Planet Ceres Is Full Of Water: Biggest Asteroid in Solar System Was An Ocean World – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has taken images of dwarf planet Ceres and determined it does in fact contain massive amounts of frozen water.  The polar regions of the asteroid contain layers of ice from 30 to 300 feet thick.

This is a really big deal because water is critical for space travel. Obvious use is hydration of astronauts and food preparation. Not so obviously, the H2O can be broken down into oxygen for breathing and hydrogen for propulsion.

Combine that idea with the cost of getting anything into orbit, which is somewhere north of $100,000 a pound. More on that in a moment. A gallon of water to drink could cost something in the range of a million dollars, give or take, to get into orbit.

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A glimpse at the pricing of new jets

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Hey, I’m interested in the oddest things. Saw an article saying Boeing completed a deal for 80 aircraft at a list price approaching $17 billion.

I wondered, just what is the sticker price for a brand new jet?

If you are also curious, follow along with me as I take a quick look at the details.

12/12 – Wall Street Journal – Boeing Seals Nearly $17 Billion Iran Deal – The deal could get sidetracked by a change in administration, but they have a deal, subject to approval of a wide range of federal agencies.

The deal with Iran includes:

  • 15 – 777-300ER wide bodies
  • 15 – 777X, wide bodies, under development
  • 50 – 737 Max, single aisle obviously
  • 80 – total deal

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Newspaper revenue continues to fall off the cliff

DIfference between this guy and the newspaper industry is this guy has a rope. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Difference between this guy and the newspaper industry is this guy has a rope. Oh, and he is doing this intentionally. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previously explained Still falling of a cliff, newspaper edition. The post has two graphs from Carpe Diem showing the collapse in newsroom employment levels and industry revenue.

Here are a few more articles describing the cliff that newspapers are falling off of.

(Yeah, I know. Bad grammar.)

10/27 – New York Times – More Wretched News for Newspapers as Advertising Woes Drive Anxiety – At the time the article was written (late October), layoffs had already taken place in the Times and Gannett, with layoffs expected at the WSJ.

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Keeping up with other change around us

 

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they closed their doors.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they closed their doors.

Here are a few random articles on the massive change around us:

  • Another idea for private space exploration
  • Private funding of litigation
  • Manufactured diamonds

10/29 – Blasting News – Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos revives the idea of free flying O’Neill space colonies – Here is another old-news-but-new-to-me idea for space exploration: a free-floating space station positioned at a Lagrange point, which are five spots where the gravity of the moon and earth cancel out.

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Slivers of evidence for results of state-legal recreational marijuana use – #28

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The reason I am watching the newly state-legal recreational marijuana markets is to see the impact of heavy regulation on the industry.

A related issue is the social results of recreational marijuana. Here are a few articles providing some early hints of the results. Perhaps these are nothing more than slivers of hints. Yet there are some early indications. On the other hand, perhaps these are merely transition and implementation issues.

11/2 – Wall Street Journal – A Brave New Weed / The costs so fare from marijuana legalization are higher than advertised – This grand experiment in legalizing marijuana is going full steam. As ought to be expected, there are substantial costs.

The massively important question is whether the increased costs in some areas are worth the drastically lower costs in other areas (mass incarceration, militarization of law enforcement, severe enforcement costs).

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