On The Internet

China continuing to develop their space program

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/355184,china-moon-mission-scheduled-for-december.aspx

China is certainly taking off in the realms of space exploration of late and based on how things have been tracking they could be poised to take the role of the dominant nation in at least “near earth” space based sciences and exploration over the next 50 years. Funding for NASA and subsequently government based space development by the United States peaked between 1990 – 1993 and has since been in a steady rate of decline over subsequent years as a percentage of the federal budget.

Given the rather large deficit that the country has that is not entirely surprising and they certainly have bigger problems at home to take care of than continuing to invest in projects which whilst in my opinion are beneficial to mankind and the sciences do not offer a great deal in terms of general usefulness to the population or immediately tangible return on investment; Especially when there is a need for investment and projects closer to home to address many issues that face the nation.

Based on the former greats the USSR (defunct) and the USA increasingly pulling back from space related endeavors I believe progress, innovation and discovery will likely come from two sources in the next 50 years:

– The European Union (if they chose to more band together and use collective resources for a unified space agency comprising all nations that are members of the union)
– China

Space, the final frontier is home to many resources and potentially even things that we have not discovered yet due to their absence in our planet’s geological make up that could further fuel development here and given the human races’ pioneer spirit shown over many cultures and centuries I feel it is still the likely evolution in our continued expansion and I am glad to see that China continues to move forward in the development of its’ space program and that it is also a signatory of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 nobody wants space based death “lasers”.

Facebook

I find myself currently pondering whether or not to return to Facebook, as whilst I do like my own company and often appreciate being left to my own thoughts and devices my level of social interaction has definitely decreased since I have gotten off the damned thing. I had been using the site less and less over the last 18 months, even more so in the last six months aside from some photos and family / event related postings and don’t see the point in having a news feed cluttered up with games and memes and liking / playing every little thing that comes along.

But further to this it appears that facebook really has replaced the more traditional and even earlier online methods of communication between friends and family as it is not only a game, information, useless junk, news site but also a messaging program in which a reasonable portion of the world seems to have migrated to in order to keep in touch and it is the last thing that I seem to be missing as only two of my friends have actually stayed in touch in the post deactivated facebook world for me.

It has been about six weeks since I removed the app from my mobile phone that part I did not miss so much, I simply went back to how contact used to be on the online world being on chat when I was simply at my computer rather than effectively being on chat all the damned time and around 2-3 weeks since I deactivated my account entirely and overall I don’t actually miss the site or it’s content that much but I do miss the conversations that have been shared over it. So whilst I do not particularly like the site as a whole or how much time of their lives people devote to it, I think I will probably find myself back on it before too long as I do miss the conversation.

I wonder if my friends list even noticed I was no longer on theirs πŸ™‚

State of the World

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/world/middleeast/syria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

This and things like it make my blood boil and seriously makes me question if the human race should have any hope or right for the future. Granted I am well aware that a large portion of the world are not like this and the planet is filled with beautiful people who still instill hope in me for our species the fact that things like this can happen really make me wonder. What if this is a sign of things to come in regards to the future of our species, if people willing to purpotrate atrocities like these actually manage to gain more power and momentum in the wider society just where could we as a people end up?

β€œThe only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke (assumed)

Personally I am a strong supporter of diplomacy, we all have to share this world and the resources it has to offer and in the end we all have different wants and needs and in the end it in my opinion and theory most of the time be possible to reach a compromise in which neither side is severely disadvantaged. In some instances the suffering of a people with no recourse does warrent militant action as when words fail and there is still injustice abound sometimes it takes force to institute change.

Irrespective of if this was an attack by the rebels to imply guilt on the current government or vice versa it is the methodology of a coward. It is important to have things that you believe in and are willing to stand up for, and in the end even die for if required but in my opinion there should be rules. The vast majority of the peoples in this world are innocent bystanders simply trying to go about their business or erk out a living for themselves and their family and not necessarily a part of either side in a dispute. They are not pawns on a chessboard or tools to be used to incite sympathy or damnnation no one has the right to decide their lives are any less important than our own.

The fact that the death toll included so many children makes this an even further unforgivable act. Children should be the embodiment of our hopes and dreams, a chance to learn from the mistakes of our and previous generations and are the custodians of what is to come; This act makes them nothing more than a statistic, a number in the death toll and sends a message that whomever did this is a coward and has no regard for the sanctity of human life.

It’s times like these I almost wish I could support an eye for an eye mentality of justice but I cannot in good conscience do so.

Advertisements and the modern world

I will admit it, in regards to some things I am most certainly a sheep, however I am a sheep that is aware of his nature as a commodity in this digital age. We live in an increasingly interconnected world, it allows for the sharing of information at an almost scary pace, to share ideas and philosophies and even to connect with the people that we do not see every day. However everything has it’s price.

Social media is absolutely booming these days with the advent of the myspace, facebook and twitter and their unprecedented growth people add other people, things they are interested in and in my opinion an unholy number of mind numbingly useless apps / quizzes / tools / blatant attempts to steal your details. This massage surge has seen the introduction of online passports of the sites, more and more resources are allowing you to sign in with accounts from other resources such as news and facebook and even some other general sites whereas back in the old days we would have different logins for the various portals we chose to interact with.

Modern society seems to be based on the principles of “convenience” which is why we tend to happily flock towards things that make our lives easier such as bridged logins, however in my opinion it is an inherently bad idea.

Andrew Lewis (according to what I could find on google at any rate) said: “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold” Truer words have never been spoken.

These days most people do not read terms of services that are attached to the things that we do online, we feed these sites our information and hope that they “play nice” However each time we install an app or do a quiz on facebook we are agreeing to allow the makers of that app to access our information (different apps have different levels of what you agree to), posts, friends, contact information, where we go (in the case of some smartphone apps) photos and the like.

Then we have shared logins, which basically means ok X news site, or tripadvisor or anything sure you can have all of my facebook details.

This is the reason why I still maintain separate logins for things. My facebook account is for facebook, my yahoo account is for yahoo (well and flikr), my msn account is for msn and Trip advisor well you get the picture now. That way I control what information of mine each separate service gets to subscribe to.

Some people may wonder what can be potentially seen as useless information about you could possibly be considered valuable, and it all boils down to the almighty dollar, pound sterling, euro or whatever currency that you subscribe to. Online advertising is a HUGE business, never before have companies had access to such wealths of information about potenital markets, and then with that information be able to custom tailor ads and who they get seen by.

In my case I do wonder how they come up with what adverts to display to me, 99.9% of the time what they present to me I am not remotely interested in, but they have proven that they are learning as once in a blue moon they do have something that I stop and go hmm at and perhaps look at.

A snapshot of the ads on my facebook page at this point in time.

What are you waiting for?
Lonely times are gone whether you’re looking for fun, dating or a long term relationship. Make a free and quick profile now.

What you think because I am single I am going to be desperate to sign up to some dating site I have never heard of in order to spend some of my hard earnt money on a bunch of chicks which are most likely paid in order for you to never get anywhere with? Yeah no thanks.

$9.99 Threadless T-shirts
Sale has been extended! Ends 23.3.

Well as a general rule I don’t wear T-Shirts often, I am more of a shirt or polo shirt kinda guy…

Perth Solar Sale
perthsolarsale.com.au
Be one of the first 50 people to register and pay your deposit on our solar open day to receive 2 VIP corporate hospitality tickets

Ok of all the ads currently on my page, this would be the most likely one that I would be interested in, as I have been considering a solar farm in the backyard to generate the household power needs. However good that deal may make itself out to be I wouldn’t be convinced as they need to cover their advertising costs somehow…

Meet Indonesian Singles
Indonesian dating and singles site. Don’t miss out. Join now! IndonesianCupid.com

At least it is only 2 ads tonight regarding me finding someone… I guess the algorithm goes joel = single + travels to indonesia fairly reguarly therefore give him an ad to meet singles in Indonesia. Again no thanks

90% OFF RETAIL!
smartbiddy.com
HUGE SAVINGS! 90% OFF BRAND NEW Apple, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Xbox, Nintendo, Canon…Become a member today and receive 20 FREE Bids

Ok so let me get this straight, you want me to become a member in which you need to pay to be able to bid and although you advertise to not pay more than 10% of retail by the end of the auction the prices will be up at near retail anyway and you get a cut of my pay to bid… Again yeah no.

D-O-M-I-N-A-T-E
The NEWEST tower defense game on Facebook – Play Now!

Ok this one makes sense, there is 2 games that I play on facebook so advertise more. However you would think that they would be aware of the types of games I play (ie not tower defense) and advertise those to me.

It’s why I don’t google while signed into a google account, why allow them to collect more specific information about my searches and browsing history to better target ads (they can still do it based on your ip anyway)

Remember who you are and what you choose to share are yours to control and not our facebook / google overlords, also if you find ads that are no where near remotely interesting to you click them occasionally. They make you waste your time glancing at them it is only fair to make them pay for the privilege.

Sheesh it really is the week for it….

NASA to Unveil Discovery That Affects Search for Extraterrestrial Life
By Mike Wall
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 30 November 2010
01:19 pm ET

NASA is expected to make an announcement Thursday (Dec. 2) about a new scientific finding that “will impact the search for extraterrestrial life,” the space agency said in a statement.

NASA has scheduled a press conference for Thursday at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Agency officials said the discovery is in the field of astrobiology, which is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe.

The press conference will be broadcast and webcast live on NASA TV. SPACE.com’s NASA TV feed is available here.

Participating in the press conference will be:

     

  • Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.
  • Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.
  • James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe
  •  

The results will also be published in a paper in the journal Science at 2 p.m. Thursday, according to NASA officials.

The announcement comes closely on the heels of several other major milestones in the search for life and possible habitable environments beyond Earth.

In late September, for example, researchers announced the discovery of the first potentially habitable alien planet. And less than two weeks ago, astronomers discovered the 500th planet beyond our own solar system.

Seems to be the week for science

History has taught us that things tend to have a habit of repeating themselves, be it due to human nature or a rule that governs existence why then can it not be true of the universe in general? We know a reasonable amount of what makes up our universe however there is still a considerable amount that we do not yet understand. We as a species do not accept that however and always seem to be seeking to further our understanding of the nature of things which is a good thing.

We know that the life of the bodies in the universe have their own lifespans just as we humans do, stars begin their lives in dust as do the planets that orbit them, as stars get older they go through various stages of aging in which produces various other elements and effects in the area, in the end many explode scattering the elements that they held within throughout our universe thus seeding the basis of the elements that we know and also allowing new things to form from the resulting nebulae, dust and energy.

Modern science has taught us that everything began from a single point and the birth of our universe took place with the “big bang” going forth billions of years to today towards the universe that we know as home. But what if like other forms of creation and life this was not the beginning of all things, but a continuation of a cycle of death and rebith?

New discoveries and theories have been made in this area which I definately find interesting, we as a species have a habit of making the same mistakes, however we also have the potential and the capability to learn from our mistakes and grow / become something new. Could this also be true of our universe? Does it go through similar processes potentially leading to a “perfect state”. Think of what secrets the universe may have learnt in its evolution / death / rebirth and how these come to play in the future. At least it seems it has learnt how to bring itself back from the ashes of it’s extinction to begin life again.

Certainly an interesting week for science.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/technology/radiation-rings-show-big-bang-may-have-been-just-one-of-many-and-theyre-not-over/story-e6frfrnr-1225963294939

Radiation ripples show the Big Bang may not have been the first, and there could be more to come

  • By Helen Davidson
  • From: news.com.au
  • November 30, 2010 1:53PM
cyclic universe rings
THE Big Bang might not have been the beginning of the Universe, but just the start of a new chapter. 

Scientists have found rings of radiation in the cosmos that may be older than the Big Bang, suggesting that event was just the latest in a series of rebirths, Wired reports.

The theory was proposed by Sir Roger Penrose, a theoretical physicist at Oxford University, and Vahe Gurzadyan of the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia, in an article on arXiv.org.

The circles of radiation appear in concentric circles made up of below average temperature in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which is the leftover glow of the Big Bang.

The CMB

More interesting discoveries

Ganked from http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/27/caltech-research-could-lead-to-quantum-hard-drives-networks-pa/

To quote Neo from the matrix: Whoa

Whilst breakthroughs in science is always an awesome thing in my book, it’s the 21st century where is my flying car damn it!

Caltech research could lead to quantum hard drives, networks, parallel universes

By Darren Murph posted Nov 27th 2010 11:43AM
Quantum anything has typically fallen into our oft-used category of ‘awesome things that’ll never happen,’ but if a crew of researchers at the California Institute of Technology have anything to say about it, they’ll soon be changing the fortunes of that segment. The team has recently demonstrated quantum entanglement for a quantum state stored in four spatially distinct atomic memories, and while that probably just blew your mind a little bit, the breakdown is fairly interesting. Essentially, they’ve uncovered a quantum interface between the atomic memories, which is said to “represent something akin to a computer hard drive for entanglement.” If extended, it could pave the way toward quantum networks, and in turn, massive webs of quantum computers. We’re obviously decades out from understanding what this all means for the common computer user, but just remember this: “for an entangled quantum system, there exists no objective physical reality for the system’s properties.” And you thought The Matrix was deep.

An Interesting age

A few weeks back I remember reading how we were in the 490’s of discovered exoplanets with us creeping slowly towards the 500th mark. If I remember the article correctly it indicated that we were most likely to hit this milestone in the beginning of the new year, yet low and behold space.com announces the discovery of the 500th exoplanet.

We certainly live in an interesting age of science and discovery, the 1800’s had the physical innovations that allowed us to develop mechanical tools to make our lives easier the industrial revolution. The 1900’s was a further expansion of this and the introduction of electronics allowing us to develop tools instrumental in further studies of the theoretical / classical sciences.

It seems that the 2000’s is going to further build on the “space age” discoveries of the latter half of the last century in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics and general understanding of the way that things work and our place in the universe. However all this discovery of alien worlds and the potentially habitable one it makes you realise that no matter how far that we have come we still have a very long way to go before we can even think of stepping upon a world that orbits another star.

As a world we have the potential to achieve great things, have our own “space empire” in our solar system with our current levels of technology and resources coupled with the human pioneer drive however as much as I think it would be awesome to see, I would be surprised if it does happen within the next 10 years due to the fragmentary nature of our species, so much power and potential but diluted there is only so much we can accomplish without true pooling of resources and knowledge.

That aside, I would like us to focus on developing more efficient means of space travel, even for within our own solar system, however the only thing that gives me pause with this aside from my desire to see it happen is the fact that technology used in these purposes could also be used for military based applications, and given our nature would we be more likely to use it to settle the solar system, or blow the crap out of our neighbour?

Either way an interesting age to be alive