Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finding One's Place In The Known Universe

Video via Tahoe Is Walking On

Our brains require nourishment, exercise, and frequent stretching. If we are to lay the groundwork for the next level of human existence, we need to think outside of the box, outside the lines, beyond conventional limits.

Assembly line schools and universities cannot prepare you for what the real universe is like. The ruling classes want you to be a good drone and automaton, follow orders, and mind your place.

If you have other ideas, consider joining us.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Genetics and Intelligence: Steve Hsu's Google Tech Talk

PDF Slides for Steve Hsu's talk

Genes and Intelligence study looking at genes of individuals with IQ > 145: High IQ volunteers needed

This talk by Hsu is likely to be a very big deal, simply due to its clarity of presentation, vast quantity of reliable evidence, and its venue.

IQ is not everything, in terms of life success. Executive function and conscientiousness, as well as a certain social facility, are all important as well. But for an increasingly complex high technology society, the smart IQ fraction is becoming more important.

It is an issue that must be confronted by society, and the sooner the better.

Friday, August 19, 2011

With This Kind of Heat You Can Kill Peak Oil

With plentiful process heat provided at temperatures between 700 C and 950 C, a person could kill peak oil and have plenty of energy left to power industry and a broad spectrum of industrial processes.   Specifically, one could:
  1. Unlock the trillions of barrels oil equivalent in oil sands (PDF)
  2. Unlock the trillions of barrels oil equivalent in coal to liquids and gas to liquids (PDF)
  3. Unlock the trillions of barrels oil equivalent in shale oil kerogens 
  4. Provide abundant industrial process heat for production of fertilisers, refining fuels, making plastics, etc 
  5. Split CO2 into CO to use as a hydrogen carrier 
  6. Overturn conventional fears of EROEI and Peak Oil 
Those things, and many more, will be accomplished by next generation gas-cooled high temperature nuclear reactors. Helium gas coolant will run gas turbine generators at high temperatures, which provides electrical power at higher efficiencies than older steam cycle generation systems. And as mentioned above, the higher temperature process heat will find a wide range of practical uses in industrial processes and energy production.

Conventional fears about EROEI and peak oil will be overturned since the energy used to produce hydrocarbon fuels, fertilisers, plastics, and other products of industry and energy, will come from the high temperature heat effluent of nuclear reactions -- of which there is no conceivable near term shortage.  Unless political lefty-Luddite dieoff.orgy forces of faux environmentalism intrude even further than at present.  In that case, all bets are off, and the leftist inspired great human dieoff is put on the table by government planners.

But that would be political peak oil and political energy starvation.  Which is yet another reason why choosing your political leaders wisely can be a matter of life or death.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peter Thiel, SeaSteading's Financial Backer, Doesn't Like Boats


The website "" provides an interesting profile of the billionaire backer of the Seasteading Institute, Peter Thiel. One of the things you learn is that Thiel doesn't particularly like boats, and doesn't plan to be an early adapter of seasteading. Another thing you will learn is that Thiel is something of a maverick provocateur.
If the seasteading movement goes forward as planned, Thiel won't be one of its early citizens. For one thing, he's not overly fond of boats, although maybe, as Friedman says, "he just needs to be on a large enough structure." Thiel characterizes his interest as "theoretical." But whether Thiel himself heads offshore or not, there's a whole lot of passion underlying that theoretical interest. Thiel put forth his views on the subject in a 2009 essay for the Cato Institute, in which he flatly declared, "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible." He went on: "The great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms," with the critical question being "how to escape not via politics but beyond it. Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country."

Until a libertarian colony can be established in outer space—Thiel is bullish on that idea, too, though he thinks the technology needs at least a half-century to develop—seasteading will have to suffice. "[It's] not just possible, or desirable," he said in an address at the 2009 Seasteading Institute Conference, "but actually necessary." _Details

Also check out this Cato-at-Liberty article on seasteads from the perspective of tax havens. It includes a 9 minute video on the economic benefits of tax havens.

This short article on Peter Thiel and seasteading at The, includes a number of criticisms of seasteading from a small number of web personalities.

The near-term vision of seasteading as promoted by The Seasteading Institute is not particularly inspiring. Front man Patri Friedman does alright in public speaking, media appearances, and writing articles. But he does not have the type of maritime heavy industry background that would inspire confidence in truly serious investors.

Seasteading is desperately in need of a "killer app," and it is not clear that offshore gambling, banking, and tax havens will be good enough -- particularly if the legal question of sovereignty is not settled.

In a global boom economy, seasteading might have better prospects, and a lot more millionaire and billionaire investors. But there is a need for more "heavy hitters" with backgrounds in large marine structures and financing, and in the various offshore industries which might bring quick profits to such a speculative venture.

The challenge of building a robust seastead able to stand up to anything the ocean might throw at it, is not as great a challenge as building a robust space elevator to geosynchronous orbit. But it is still a significant challenge.

The challenge of raising new generations of young people with practical real world competencies, plus a sense of adventure, is likewise a significant challenge -- given the state of today's perpetual adolescent incompetents, psychological neotenates, and academic lobotomates. But challenges tend to bring out the greatness in innovators.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Mega-Super WiFi 802.22 Can Cover 12,000 Square Miles

To put it in a nutshell, 802.22 was designed to run on a totally new spectrum which was made available when analog TVs were outlawed some years back in the US. For those who prefer more solid scientific figures, the 802.22 spectrum will work in ranges from 54MHz to 698MHz, where such frequencies are the perfect vehicle for long distance transmissions.

Imagine sending out 22 Mbps of data within a 62 mile radius from a sole base station – that would certainly bring Wi-Fi connectivity to even the most rural areas around the country. _Ubergizmo
IEEE has created a new 802.22 WiFi standard to take advantage of the FCC "Super WiFi" classification.
IEEE, the world’s largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, today announced that it has published the IEEE 802.22TM standard. IEEE 802.22 systems will provide broadband access to wide regional areas around the world and bring reliable and secure high-speed communications to under-served and un-served communities.

This new standard for Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs) takes advantage of the favorable transmission characteristics of the VHF and UHF TV bands to provide broadband wireless access over a large area up to 100 km from the transmitter. Each WRAN will deliver up to 22 Mbps per channel without interfering with reception of existing TV broadcast stations, using the so-called white spaces between the occupied TV channels. This technology is especially useful for serving less densely populated areas, such as rural areas, and developing countries where most vacant TV channels can be found.

IEEE 802.22 incorporates advanced cognitive radio capabilities including dynamic spectrum access, incumbent database access, accurate geolocation techniques, spectrum sensing, regulatory domain dependent policies, spectrum etiquette, and coexistence for optimal use of the available spectrum.

The IEEE 802.22 Working Group started its work following the Notice of Inquiry issued by the United States Federal Communications Commission on unlicensed operation in the TV broadcast bands. _IEEE Press Release via Tekgoblin
More on Super WiFi:
Super Wi-Fi is inching closer to reality, and now the IEEE, the standards organization responsible for all things Wi-Fi, has published the IEEE 802.22standard.

This new wireless networking standard promises speeds up to 22Mbps to devices as far as 100-kilometers (roughly 62-miles) away from the nearest transmitter. This new band of Wi-Fi on steroids comes through the patch of "white space" frequencies that were previously used to analog television broadcasts.

There’s no word on when and which regions of the United States will be the first to get in on this super Wi-Fi. Houston is currently the only access point for a white space Wi-Fi, which comes courtesy of Rice University researchers. Super Wi-Fi has been slow in coming since the FCC originally approved it back in September 2010. _PCWorld
Similar technologies can create dynamic wide range data networks on the open seas, to improve safety and expand exchange for large fleets of working seasteads. New colonies built across the Arctic and Antarctic could likewise use this type of wide range networking, to coordinate activities, weather warnings, etc.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Las Vegas Hot and Dry for Black Hat Conference

The Black Hat security conference opens in Las Vegas, Nevada, today to hot, dry weather, and a very full schedule.
Security researchers will demonstrate new hacking techniques that probe networking devices, exploit holes in common database management systems and target vulnerabilities deep inside various operating systems. Other experts will reveal research into the destructive power of new, more sophisticated malware strains designed to remain virtually undetectable long after they penetrate target systems.

...The focus will turn to weaknesses in cloud architecture when two members of WhiteHat Security Inc.'s Threat Research Center, Matt Johansen and Kyle Osborn, show off serious holes in Google Chromebooks, notebook computers that run the Google Chrome OS. Users of these new devices primarily use the Chrome browser to navigate the operating system and access email, files and other documents on the Web.

In a Black Hat webinar last month, Johansen said the Chromebook platform is open to Web browser attack techniques. It uses a browser-extension trust model, Johansen said, and those extensions act like Web applications, which can be attacked using the same techniques that cybercriminals have been using for years. _SearchSecurity
Meanwhile, the "biggest-ever" series of cyber attacks has been revealed in a McAfee report. Signs point to China (or perhaps Russia) as the origin of the cyber mischief.
Security experts have discovered the biggest series of cyber attacks to date, involving the infiltration of the networks of 72 organizations including the United Nations, governments and companies around the world.

Security company McAfee, which uncovered the intrusions, said it believed there was one “state actor” behind the attacks but declined to name it, though one security expert who has been briefed on the hacking said the evidence points to China.

The long list of victims in the five-year campaign include the governments of the United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); the International Olympic Committee (IOC); the World Anti-Doping Agency; and an array of companies, from defense contractors to high-tech enterprises.

In the case of the United Nations, the hackers broke into the computer system of the UN Secretariat in Geneva in 2008, hid there unnoticed for nearly two years, and quietly combed through reams of secret data, according to McAfee.

“Even we were surprised by the enormous diversity of the victim organizations and were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators,” McAfee’s vice president of threat research, Dmitri Alperovitch, wrote in a 14-page report released on Wednesday.

“What is happening to all this data … is still largely an open question. However, if even a fraction of it is used to build better competing products or beat a competitor at a key negotiation (due to having stolen the other team’s playbook), the loss represents a massive economic threat.”

McAfee learned of the extent of the hacking campaign in March this year, when its researchers discovered logs of the attacks while reviewing the contents of a “command and control” server that they had discovered in 2009 as part of an investigation into security breaches at defense companies.

It dubbed the attacks “Operation Shady RAT” and said the earliest breaches date back to mid-2006, though there might have been other intrusions as yet undetected. (RAT stands for “remote access tool,” a type of software that hackers and security experts use to access computer networks from afar).

Some of the attacks lasted just a month, but the longest — on the Olympic Committee of an unidentified Asian nation — went on and off for 28 months, according to McAfee.

“Companies and government agencies are getting raped and pillaged every day. They are losing economic advantage and national secrets to unscrupulous competitors,” Alperovitch told Reuters.

“This is the biggest transfer of wealth in terms of intellectual property in history,” he said. “The scale at which this is occurring is really, really frightening.” _FinancialPost
Given its shady history, China is the most likey perpetrator, although Russia cannot be ruled out entirely. The cyber and crypto arms races are ongoing and unlikely to end until humans stop using advanced computing, communications, and codes.