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Showing posts from March, 2016

Interstellar Trade - wait, how about: Interplanetary Trade? Is it possible?

Interstellar trade makes no sense. Forget about making interstellar trade possible, even with Einstein's laws of space and time, where it seems that you get to places faster than the speed of light. Just don't try to go back, because 100's of years , if not 1000's of years have passed. There are no physical goods that would make sense to send between stars, except for reproducing killer robots that can grow humans (well, only killing if they ask our permission.) There have actually been some papers on the effects of interstellar trade  (by Pual Krugman, Nobel prize winner!) The main conclusion is that interest rates on the linked star systems should be correlated.  Looking at correlation of interest rates between earth based countries, the correlation is probably pretty low. Let's consider the secondary effects of trade, planets that trade with the planets that you trade with: the effects have to be very, very small.  So you can make any calculations only assum

Smart Watches, Dumb People?

Smart Watches, Smarter People? Are smart watches making people dumber or smarter?  If they aren't making people smarter, why would anyone buy them?  Because they think they could make you smarter.  Smart watches today actually outsell Swiss-made mechanical watches (in volume not in total dollar sales, yet: smart watches sold $1.3B  in 2014 and $5B in 2015, Swiss watches were about $6B in 2015), but in the typical waves of disruptive innovation  that happens every day, smart watches will sell in a much larger volume and probably surpass market size of Swiss watches next year.   Swiss watches are the best analog computers that money can buy.  Think Steampunk computers. I've had a few of them, and they have their own issues.  They wear out.  They need adjusted.  Their accuracy is good but not great. They can do a lot, but one smart watch can do everything that every Swiss watch ever made could do, and more. Swiss watches are now officially art; just fancy complications, a

Where are they? The aliens, I mean.

The Fermi Paradox I've always been fascinated by the Fermi paradox . One day in the 1940's Dr. Enrico Fermi asked his fellow physicists, "Where the hell are all the aliens?" Sounds kind of weird doesn't it? But, at that point in time we had just invented rockets, computers, and shown that you could make self-replicating systems .  So it's pretty obvious what we are going to do. We are going to keep sending these robots out into space and as soon as they can do repairs, we're going to let them replicate and fill up the galaxy. (Yes, we're an exploitative bunch.)  And we will follow along shortly. So why hasn't this happened?  Why don't we see other civilizations?  The galaxy has been around almost 15 billion years, the earth has been around only about 5 billion years.  Obviously if life can arise anywhere else but the earth, it should be already out there.  And why should we be special?  Of course life is out there.  If it's out