Atom Wave: August 2008

Atom Wave

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Great Patriotic Fraud

With the election of America’s next President now two months away, you will without suspicion be hearing ads skeptical of Barak Obama’s patriotism or McCain’s national security credentials. Now I try not to get too involved in politics, because I know that it is a travesty of leadership. No one ever gets elected without a good con job. Their newest and oldest con job is the cache all of patriotism! Does Barak Obama have the courage to deal with Iran? Is McCain in the know about all the threats to the United States from Russia? This is bullshit people! I don’t know how long these people have been inbreeding.
One of the perks of the United States Presidency is that you are the most protected person on planet Earth! When you have the entire secret service and military protecting you, you never really have to put anything on the line.
It gets better people? Any answer to almost any question is just a phone call away! When you have all of government intelligence behind you, you never have to worry about not being in the know.
Politics is all about the exercise of shallow perception, and anyone who buys into this is just as shallow. You ought to be in the know by now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Geoengineering Hubris

The Earth is dying! With each drive and flight humanity inches one day closer to its day of reckoning in the fire once the oil is gone and the atmosphere is a furnace. Aware of the coming apocalypse, the fine people of Discovery have endeavored with Project Earth, a series of alternative energy and weather manipulation schemes to offset global warning. The theories are wide, from launching trillions of lenses into space to deflect solar energy to seeding dying forests with air dropped canisters of tree seedlings.

Now I don’t want my meaning to be lost or misconstrued, but the prospect of geoengineering is problematic for me. History is a long story of new technologies producing unintended consequences, from the persistent hassles of plastic waste to the unending problem of orbital debris from the space program. At best, these solutions if they work should only be used for stopgap measures. Sooner or later, humanity will have to make its peace with the Earth or perish.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oil Boom

You know how I once said that oil companies are raping the United States, and that we Americans are totally asking for it. It seems that there is a bonus to all this economic abuse, and it is in our jobs. Assuming that you are like me and employed in the manufacturing arts, this oil boom is the best thing ever. Once you have found the science, the calculus of globalization no longer pays off. Do you think that it is painful to fill up your car now? Try paying to ship a container across the globe, a price well into the thousands of dollars. Once you swallow the numbers, it is becoming less efficient to manufacture overseas in Asia. These coming years and decades will see a resurgence of manufacturing in the United States or at least the Americas.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Stinging Edge

When do you know that you are in trouble? When the friendly jellyfish just stung you on the ass on the beach. If you just want to shrug it off as an annoyance, you had better think again. One of the terrible consequences of global warming, pollution, and over fishing is that jellyfish populations are on the rise; actually they are exploding. The jellyfish may be the oceans ultimate survivor, able to thrive when all other species die. Ever since mankind developed an insatiable taste for seafood and raped the oceans, the jellyfish have been getting less competition from predators such as the Shark and Swordfish. Add in global warming and the associated declines in rainfall, the natural barrier of less salty water has been lost. Pollution has only amplified the problem by removing oxygen from the oceans, which the jellyfish don’t really need. Where once jellyfish sightings where rare: they are now frequently closing beaches and clogging fishermen nets.
This fraken mess could be partially fixed if nations could just agree to close sections of ocean to fishing and allow the ecosystem to restore itself; short of that restaurants may need to redraw their menus in the future. Want some jellyfish with your shrimp?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Grand Quantum Computer Scam?

Last year the Canadian company D-Wave announced the successful testing of a new quantum computer in Mountain View, California. With the announcement came the promise from Geordie Rose, the company founder, that the computer would be operational and commercially available by this time this year.
But the operational workings of this machine remain shrouded in mystery, much to the rage of scientists. D-Wave has withheld all but the simplest details behind the design of the machine, except for some theoretical work and that it runs on a superconducting niobium chip chilled in liquid helium down to minus 273 degrees Celsius.
It might be true, or the greatest computer scam in history! Without independent confirmation, any claim can be made. By the way, I have a warp core in my closet and I fly to work everyday on the back of a Dragon.
One of the wicked things about quantum computers is that they should vastly accelerate computing speeds, a feat not yet demonstrated by D-Wave. Want to read the e-mail of the Kremlin? Or model the detonation of a white dwarf star? Forget about it, the best that the Orion seems capable of is functioning as a slow analog computer. Despite these failures, the company still has the blessing of some venture capitalist and NASA.