The Moon, Europa

The Moon, Europa

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NASA's Europa Page

NASA is still trying to postpone a mission to Europa citing cost and current budget restrictions. However, a recent set of grants given to ten U.S. universities is an encouraging step in the direction of a fully realized mission to Europa (Cube Sats). The university's respective programs will develop small cube satellites, which are smaller and cheaper than traditional deep space probes, with the potential to enhance a future mission. The smaller satellites would increase the number of sensors placed in orbit resulting in more data. A mission conducted exclusively using cube satellites - especially if taken from an existing model, assuming the technology was available at the time, would very likely be cheaper than developing a single large mission dedicated spacecraft.

For more information on Europa, see NASA's Europa page.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Regenerative polymer self heals...

     A 2013 article in Chemistry World (Terminator Polymer) described a polymer that could heal a broken bond with itself after about a two hour recovery period. Not too bad but a little slow. More recently, a research team at the University of Illinois has designed an experimental polymer system that can heal itself much like human body uses blood to clog and fill a minor wound. Using two gel filled "capillaries" this polymer is able to fill a wound up to 9mm in circumference with a two stage gel, probably something like an epoxy mixture, and harden to about 62% strength retention. No mention about how long the process takes but this seems like a better method of repair since damage to soft substances often comes in the form of tears or punctures.
     The existence of regenerative polymer materials was posited in Europa, giving Jonas Black's submarine, Manta, the the ability to heal her hull when damaged. Seeing science fiction becoming science fact is always an exciting prospect...with the exception of Skynet becoming self aware, of course.

For the full article see link below:

Regenerative polymer self heals after injury

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mustache Discrimination Must End!

     Having been the victim of mustache discrimination, I understand the plight of my fellow persecuted mustachioed brethren. I once had a full length horseshoe mustache that had a lovely reddish hue when rays of sunlight filtered through the fall foliage. Alas, I was eventually told by my boss that I must shave most of it off because it "did not look professional". After briefly considering ending my career, I did as I was told. I have often missed my mustache and take advantage of any significant leave of absence to reacquaint myself with my long lost friend. Recently, I was glad to discover the American Mustache Institute; an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of those downtrodden, mislabeled and just plain misunderstood mustachioed men who want nothing more than to live in peace with those who lack the courage or - sadly - sometimes the ability to grown their very own bristly lip sweater. So if you have dreamed about growing a mustache but never thought you could, or never wanted to admit it, visit the expert fellows at the AMI.

The American Mustache Institute

Friday, January 2, 2015

Machine Intelligence

     Step by step Artificial Intelligence continues to become closer to reality. One important step in the process is what is known as "machine intelligence". Machine intelligence refers to the use of computer programs and applications in processing information. While not true AI, machine intelligence is becoming the most prolific form of AI as open source programs take advantage of crowd sourcing and mobile computers (i.e. phones and tablets) to test and perfect their applications. Mega-data collectors such as Google are using their vast resources and near endless pools of online data to process information and use it to further their own research. Larger companies often struggle to innovate as smaller start up companies use platform programs to take greater risk and build new applications outside the realm of corporate safety.

     Several comments in a recent article from offer an encouraging perspective: "...neural networks, which have been in development since the 1940s, are only loosely related to the way the brain actually works." And, "Machine intelligence does not need to resemble the human brain at all," Said Jeremy Howard on Reddit. "The more interesting question is: what can machines do? Not ‘are they truly intelligent?’ Machine ‘intelligence’ is different enough from human intelligence that I don’t think it is a terribly useful analogy.” Understanding there is not a processor set currently in existence which possesses the capacity to perform on the level of the human brain means developers will not be chasing unattainable goals but will work within the confines of available technology to take full advantage of its potential. Such gains will lead to further understanding and ultimately lead to programs that more closely resemble true AI. Let us all hope they are designed to be Three Laws safe.
Deep Learning and Machine Intelligence - Full Article on Forbes