Archive for February 20th, 2008

Great engineering challenges and survival

“The National Science Foundation announced today 14 grand engineering challenges for the 21st century that, if met, would greatly improve how we live,” says NetworkWorld.

What? Making solar energy ‘affordable’ is a “great engineering challenge”? Have they even seen this? Fusion energy is indeed an engineering challenge to realize cheap energy, but making things “affordable” sounds boring as it simply means “optimizing something that already exists” rather than “creating something new”.

Now, in that top-14 list there is something missing in my opinion. Something so important that if it is not realized, at some point the human race will be no more and it will be a useless effort to “make solar panels affordable”. And this is Terraforming technology.

Humans are the dominant species on this planet, and little by little this means overpopulating and do hungry resource hunting. Even if the politicians manage to put their shit together and put some limits at the human grasp on this planet, all the “freedom groups” will cry foul and they will debate this until the planet is on its knees.

Steven Hawking said it, and other said it too: every intelligent species that has an affect to its planet, they must move on to the next planet until the resources of that new planet are done too. We are destructive, and that’s in our nature. Terraforming is the best way to move on, because finding in time a planet that matches our own from the get go is nearly impossible. And Mars is a good candidate for terraforming.

So where’s the research?

Rainy Day

Rainy Day” is now the most “liked” HD “true” video on Vimeo. The first one in that list is a timelapse made out of digital pictures rather than a real video. As far as I am concerned, when shooting video with the limitations and difficulties this encompasses, no one has made anything better than this video, after 9 months since it got released. I expect “Rainy Day” to surpass all videos in that list anyway, as it still gets over 200 page views per day…

To me, this is the benchmark to beat.

Larry Lessig for Congress

Larry Lessig, the popular Stanford uni professor and EFF & Creative Commons board member, is considering running for an open seat in Congress. I hope he does, and I hope he makes it. Larry is a great guy, intelligent, with drive for change. Check his pledge below: