Sunday, July 28, 2013 ... /////

Some amazing technological advances

I am getting lots of similar news and sometimes I collide with some of them in the media. Sometimes they sound amazing.

First, MIT has developed a perfect mirror – a material that reflects electromagnetic waves without any losses.

Now, Tesla Motors and Colorado's company SpaceX believe that they can build an amazingly fast superhighway of evacuated tubes where you can drive from California to NYC in an hour.

A combination of magnetic levitation, vacuum would allow minivan-sized capsules to travel up to 6,000 kph and the replacement for the EastCoast-WestCoast air ticket would cost just $100. Slingatron is a mechanical hypervelocity launcher, a railroad to space, by HyperV Technologies Corp. You may contribute your dollars to that project but this particular project – endorsed by Freeman Dyson – seems a bit premature if not amateurish to me. Tel Aviv is building SkyTran, a futuristic public transportation system where people are transferred much like the packets on the Internet (physical internet). The military and navy aren't sleeping, either. DARPA, the U.S. defense research unit, is planning to build Hydra, an undersea drone carrier. If you want something that can be inserted into your pocket, what about a mobile smartphone DNA analysis? Well, the Biomeme's device has a docking station performing a polymerase chain reaction. The results may be sent to the cloud in real time and it's not hard to imagine a speedy system that immediately informs one about diseases by seeing their DNA or RNA signatures. Let's continue with the medical miracles. Many people have transparent brains – because nothing ever gets absorbed into them. But what about a transparent brain that does its job? Stanford folks developed Clarity, a hydrogel process that makes the mice's brain transparent. Mice are very helpful collaborators the medical researchers. They implanted fake memories into mice. Geeks may now use Nerdydata.com, a search engine the focuses on the source code. Habitable planets may be out there but they are very far. We can't get there anytime soon. 3D printing will explode next year as some key patents expire. Arcam AB will grow as well, a Swedish metal 3D printing company. 3D Systems buys a metal printer. Now, people will also be able to print in liquid metals. Boeing is switching to PrintRite3D. 3D printing may change supply chains. Kawasaki's stainless steel robotic arm has seven degrees of freedom. Some important paperwork was signed 3 days ago for the Hawaii thirty-meter telescope. Chromecast, Google's little and cheap$35 cork that you USB-insert into your stupid HDMI TV to create a smart one has been sold out.

It will cost you nothing if you want to detonate a nuclear bomb in a city of your choice. Google Earth is everything you need. ;-)

Impressive technological revolutions are occurring around us. They're driven by a tiny portion of the human population – and those behind each of them are often very specialized, anyway. I am afraid that we're entering a world in which the bulk of the mankind doesn't know what's going on around them which is bad not only because knowledge is good but because the people may be cheated in many new ways. Maybe it's not such a bad thing, however.

Via Viktor Kožený, Czech media, U.S. media etc.

snail feedback (12) :

I read the news article about the false memories and found it quite inacurate. It does little to explain the actual technology, it just hunts for sensation by speaking about courts and false memories of witnesses. The actual technology is called optogenetics and it has nothing in common with Inception (a rather dull Hollywood movie)

BTW, isn't the brain a little like the Universe?

via Viktor Kožený? Does this international gangster read your blog?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Mephisto, thanks for the attempted clarification.

BTW you misunderstand the meaning of the word "gangster". And be sure that the answer is Yes and beyond. ;-)

The comparison of the brain with the universe was meant as a superficial analogy only. They have a superficially similar web structure - the filaments and clusters of galaxies resemble neuron bodies and axons and dendrites. Maybe we are living in the brain of a God :-)

Can't wait for a flying jacket... ;-)

I remember a 1965 proposal in Scientific American for trains that would run underground in vacuum sealed tunnels. The trains would get their initial boost from gravity like a bowling ball return channel, thus would cost very little to propel. They never got built though.

I am just a little bit sad that so few has been done to improve the technology on direct detection of gravitational waves ... while detecting the Higgs was very cool, seeing those waves would be an (somehow) even greater breakthrough on physics!

This is fascinating. I don't remember Kozeny ever heading a shadow cabinet - I assume he was not doing it from jail?

I once read that Kozeny and his wife Ludka ordered an 8000 dollar bottle of 1985 Romane-Conti in a London restaurant, tried it, declared it as "too young" and sent it away to be drunk by the kitchen stuff. When I red that I regretted I did not work in that kitchen on that day - now I don't think I will ever try a Romane-Conti (or maybe, if I am lucky, I will do so on my death-bed, just as Kings of Poland used to do with certain ancient Hungarian Tokajs).

reader Gene Day said...

Regarding the perfect mirror developed at MIT, 100% internal reflection has been known for centuries but this new discovery involves perfect external reflection, meaning that the reflecting surface has a increased index of refraction. I am pretty sure that the same thing can be done with multiple dielectric layers (again working only at one wavelength and one angle of incidence, just as for the MIT structure). Since the MIT structure needs only one layer it may be more economic to produce and that makes it kind of neat from a technological standpoint.
It is probably too early to predict practical applications.

reader Smoking Frog said...

Here's another amazing (and NSFW) technological advance:

another amazing technological advance

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL - but I've already had the device since 2004.

Note they're making fun of Peter Thiel in the last sentence. ;-)

reader Smoking Frog said...

2004? That's nothing. A friend of a friend designed and built such a device in the early 1980s. It was controlled by a PC via the serial port. It failed, and he suffered a permanent injury. Something about a cam. (Jesus, a cam!?)