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 tag “technology change”

More amazing news from the open frontier of technology

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few more of the amazing things going on in the open frontier of technology:

  • USAF experimenting with anti-drone shotgun rounds that would snag a drone
  • One state considers allowing police to put lethal weapons on drones
  • Amazon building 7th and 8th fulfillment center in Southern California
  • Amazon starts collecting sales tax in last four states it doesn’t already do so
  • 2 terrabyte flash drive
  • computers as smart as humans by 2029 instead of 2045?

3/13 – The Drive – U.S. Air Force Buying Special Drone-Snagging Shotgun Shells – USAF has 600 special 12-gauge rounds on order for testing. If the test goes well, they will buy 6,400 more.

The rounds are used for snagging a drone.

Read more…

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:

Read more…

Another successful launch and recovery for SpaceX’s Falcon 9

Successful recovery of Falcon 9 booster during CRS-10 mission. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Successful recovery of Falcon 9 booster during CRS-10 mission. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Just watched the recovery of a Falcon 9 booster. I missed the launch. Very cool video from the on-board camera as the booster descended through a cloud bank and landed dead center on the pad.

This mission, CRS-10, will deliver over 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station. Two really cool things. First, a private company providing supply runs to ISS is a thing. Second, it is almost routine to recover the first stage.

Liftoff of Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule on CRS-10 mission. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Liftoff of Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule on CRS-10 mission. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Read more…

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?

Read more…

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.

Read more…

The wide open frontier of drone technology

Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Several recent articles reveal research into weaponizing drones:

  • Russian nuke-armed drone sub
  • DARPA trying to develop swarm capability
  • successful test of a swarm
  • converting full size plane into drone with drop-in package

12/8 – Bill Gertz at Washington Free Beacon – Russia Tests Nuclear-Capable Drone Sub – Published reports in Russia indicates their military is developing a drone sub that can travel 6,200 miles, dive to 3,280 feet, and zip along at 56 knots.

Most troublesome is it will equipped to carry a  nuclear weapon, possibly up to the massively huge size of 100 megatons.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

Fun news on the open frontier of space exploration

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

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

The number of private sector companies working to develop commercial exploration of space is amazing, as is the progress they are making. A few fun articles:

  • Blue Origin’s capsule escape test went well; check out the video
  • Orbital ATK successfully launched a Cygnus capsule on their Antares booster.
  • Lots of companies are working in the small sat market, with lots of competition in all sectors of the open space frontier

10/5 – Popular Mechanics – Blue Origin’s Rocket Test Just Went Better Than Anyone Thought Possible – Blue Origin just successfully completed the crew capsule escape test. The capsule’s emergency rockets fired 70,000 pounds of thrust off angle to the flight of the booster to separate the capsule from the booster.

Speculation on Twitter yesterday is the off angle push would topple the booster and require its destruction.

Instead, the booster survived the capsule’s escape, continued climbing to over 200,000 feet, fell back to earth, and successfully recovered two miles from the launch site.

Astounding.

Check out the video. Jump to the 1:07:00 mark for the launch and escape. Watch another five minutes for the astounding recovery.

Amongst the other fabulous details, keep in mind the camera is tracking the booster at 200,000 feet, down through 100,000 feet, all the way to the ground. Amazing.

10/17 – Space.com – Orbital ATK’s Antares Rocket Returns to Flight with Gorgeous Night Cargo Launch Read more…

Cool stuff on the open frontier of technology: commercial drones, merchant ships without crews, and tiny satellites.

 

Imagine one of those providing enough bandwidth to allow merchant ships to operate without a crew. Imagine scaling that down to show-box size to allow a company to sell daily images of every spot on the earth. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Imagine one of those providing enough bandwidth to allow merchant ships to sail the world without any crew. Imagine scaling that down to show-box size to allow a company to sell daily images of every spot on the earth. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Technology is advancing at mind-boggling speed:

  • New rules for small drones allow commercial use of drones
  • Drones as bold security guards
  • Cubesats that can count all the cars in all the parking lots of a retailer
  • Research underway for merchant ships that can travel the world without any crew members on board

8/30 – Wall Street Journal – Business-Drone Rules to Take Effect – New rules governing business use of drones up to 55 pounds go into effect this day. Previously, rules required all drone operators to merely register with the feds. New rules allow business use of drones, by licensed pilots, within line-of-site, during the day, with drones under 55 pounds.

Expect more rules to address flight beyond line-of-site, and how to operate when people are underneath the drone.

8/22 – TechCrunch – Drone startup Aptonomy introduces the self-flying security guard – Company has a drone loaded with cameras, lights, loudspeakers, including night-vision cameras. I am sure there will be microphones to pick up sounds and conversations.

It can be dispatched as a remote-controlled security guard.

Read more…

Cool stuff on the open frontier of technology: drones

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

A few articles I’ve noticed recently on the open frontier of drone technology.

7/7 – Behind the Black – Boston Dynamics – Atlas, The Next Generation – The skill of robots.

Astounding. Amongst many items to notice in the video is the lack of an external power supply

6/08 – The Guardian – World’s first passenger drones cleared for testing in Nevada

Read more…

Astounding new technology has arrived. Astounding old technology is fading away.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Production line for that world-changing plane could possibly close in a few years. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Ponder the remarkable contrast. We see phenomenal breakthroughs in space exploration almost weekly. On the other hand, the production line for the 747, the plane that opened up world travel to the masses, is slowing down and could be shuttered in a couple of years.

7/26 – Satellite Today – Sky and Space Global Details Vision for 200 Satellite LEO Network – The company, Sky and Space Global, plans to put 200 nanosatellites, or cubesats, into a low Earth orbit to provide a worldwide communications network. It is categorized as narrowband, providing only voice and messaging along with data forwarding.

Company estimates the cost for constellation of 200 satellites will be somewhere in the range of $120M up to $160M.

Read more…

Are you richer today than John D. Rockefeller was in 1916? The answer is, um, yes.

Would you trade your place in life today for life occupying the Gould-Guggenheim mansion when it was completed in 1912? Even if a billion dollars was tossed into the trade? Photo by Adobe Stock.

Would you trade your place in life today for life occupying the Gould-Guggenheim mansion when it was completed in 1912? Even if a billion dollars was tossed into the deal? I would not make the trade.  Photo by Adobe Stock.

I suggest you are in fact richer today than John Rockefeller was 100 years ago. If it were possible for Prof. Don Boudreaux to switch places with John Rockefeller’s life and even if he could have a billion dollars after he arrived back in 1916, he would not make the switch. He would rather live as a comfortable professor today than be a billionaire 100 years ago.

I agree.

Here are three posts to explain this strange idea: first, what life was like 100 years ago, why Prof Boudreaux would not make the switch, and then why Coyote Blog wouldn’t either.

(Cross-post from Attestation Update. This post supports my conversation on ancient finances at that blog and also fits the discussion of how much life has improved over the last 200 years here.)

An article in The Atlantic on 2/11/16 describes America in 1915: Long Hours, Crowded Houses, Death by Trolley. The article is drawn from a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The life of American workers in 1915If you enjoy this brief discussion, I heartily recommend you read the full BLS report. It is a fun read, but then, I am an accountant.

I will update a few of the stats in the Atlantic article where the author took a shortcut. When I browsed through the BLS report, I noticed some sentences which were repeated nearly verbatim in the article, which is okay since the report is a public document.

A few highlights:

Workers in factories averaged 55 hours a week. The fatality rate across the economy was 61 deaths per 100,000 compared to about 3.3 per 100,000 today.

Read more…

How much has our economic wellbeing improved from that our of distant ancestors?

A view of economic progress. Ponder the productivity improvement and resulting increase in wealth to go from this:

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

To this:

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The overall standard of living has increased by a factor of somewhere between 30 and 100 in the last 200 years.

The little side trip in this post and the next will lead me back to my discussion of ancient finances in general and Alexander’s haul from his military campaigns in particular.

(This is a cross-post from my other blog, Attestation Update. It is part of a series of posts discussing ancient finances, with a focus on the loot taken by Alexander the Great during his military campaign.  This particular post is pertinent to this blog, so I will bring it here. The remaining conversation on Alexander’s haul will remain at the other blog, since that is where I talk about finance.  You can find the discussion here.)

Writing in Bourgeios Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, Professor Deirdre McCloskey says it this way:

..in the two centuries after 1800 the trade-tested goods and services available to the average person in Sweden or Taiwan rose by a factor of 30 or 100. Not 100 percent, understand— a mere doubling— but in its highest estimate a factor of 100, nearly 10,000 percent, and at least a factor of 30, or 2,900 percent. The Great Enrichment of the past two centuries has dwarfed any of the previous and temporary enrichments.

Let me phrase that another way. The value of what is enjoyed today by an average person is roughly equal to what 30 or 100 people had two centuries ago. That means the constant dollar value of what is consumed and enjoyed has grown by a factor of somewhere between 30 and 100.

Read more…

More amazing things on the open frontier of technology

A few fun things I’ve seen lately. Amazon announces it will soon open its 9th fulfillment center in California.  Astounding video quality on a GIF presentation is close to photo quality.

3/15 – Behind the Black – Check out this animated video. Consider the question raised by Behind the Black – with this quality of animation, how soon until human actors aren’t needed because an apparently live action movie can be 100% animated?

As I mention the following two articles, ponder that I ordered something from Amazon early in the evening yesterday. It shipped this morning and will be delivered today.

Update: I ordered the items after 5 and they were delivered by 10 the next morning. Evening order, next morning delivery. Very cool.

3/30 – DailyBulletin (Inland Empire area of LA) – New Amazon fulfillment center coming to San Bernardino, to add 1,000-plus jobs – This will be the seventh facility in California. San Bernardino is about 60 miles east of downtown LA. Amazon locations in the state: Read more…

Cool stuff on the open frontier of technology

A few fun things I’ve seen lately. Amazon opens its 7th fulfillment center in California. Animated short that is close to photo quality. GIF showing how applications have displace everything on a circa 1990 work station.

3/15 – Behind the Black – Check out this animated video. Consider the question raised by Behind the Black – with this quality of animation, how soon until human actors aren’t needed because an apparently live action movie can be 100% animated?

3/30 – DailyBulletin (Inland Empire area of LA) – New Amazon fulfillment center coming to San Bernardino, to add 1,000-plus jobs – This will be the seventh facility in California. San Bernardino is about 60 miles east of downtown LA. Amazon locations in the state: Read more…

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