Archive for the ‘Information Age’ Category

25 Megabits of Bandwidth Makes Everything Work Again


Our internet based applications seem to work quite a bit better with twice the bandwidth. Imagine that!

I called our ISP, Wow, this morning, to inquire about upgrades. I learned about a $10 upgrade that gives 25 megabits versus the 12 megabits I was getting. 

That’s quite a bit more bandwidth per dollar than what I was paying.

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It’s a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes – by Jeffrey Tucker

I have a rare treat for my readers today. This is an audio book, It’s a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes, read by Stefan Molyneux. This book is by far one of the best descriptions of how fantastic of a world we live in, yet often are not aware of it, because we become desensitized to it and take it for granted.

We often do not fully realize the potential of what we have available to us, perhaps because we are slaves to our day-to-day perspectives and habit patterns. Sometimes it helps to step back for a moment, so we may realize what is available to us.

Think back just a decade or two and remember what the world was like. Could you have even imagined all of the wonderful tools that are now available to virtually everyone at little if any cost? Imagine what it would be like to go directly from the world of the 1980’s to the world of today? Wouldn’t you be blown away by the fantastic pace of change that has happened in many areas of life?

The marketplace of innovation and ideas has brought us so many magnificent additions; but it’s up to us to figure out how to get the most out of it. Imagine what it will be like in another 10-20 years, if the marketplace of innovation and ideas is allowed to continue along. Furthermore, imagine what it will be like if people are motivated by the inspiration they receive, when they contemplate the vast potential of everything we have and are in the process of creating.


We are surrounded by miracles created in the private sector, particularly in the digital universe, and yet we don’t appreciate them enough. Meanwhile, the public sector is systematically wrecking the physical world in sneaky and petty ways that really do matter.
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Stephen Hawking Talks of Aliens in his New Documentary

Perhaps a mainstream physicist talking, in such a public forum, about the existence of aliens will make it a more accepted topic of discussion. It is still considered unacceptable and even ridiculous to say that any aliens have been or are anywhere near earth at this time; though I have seen what I consider good evidence of this likelihood during my many years of being open to this possibility.

I think that Mr. Hawking is probably wrong about the motivations of alien beings. There are many resources scattered about the cosmos, many precious metals are for more accessible and more easily processed in asteroids; it seems unlikely to my little mind that they would need to land here for materials. This doesn’t eliminate the possibility, however, that they may land here for food and genetic material; as this planet is quite a buffet of plant/animal life.

In my heretical opinion, they have been here since the beginning and are helping to shape our evolution as a species. We are probably part of a larger confederation, which we may be made more aware of at some point in the future, when they decide we are ready.

What I find unbelievable is the idea that we are an isolated cosmic accident, formed by some highly unlikely accidental combination of amino acids which just so happened to survive and form the basis for life. There is more evidence for the existence of aliens than there is for our evolution occurring in this way.

Darwinian evolution is a very limited and material-centered way of viewing life forms. Just look out in nature at all of the scattering of seed, migration of species and the like. Why should the universe around us be any different than what we see on this Earth?

“As below, so above; and as above so below. With this knowledge alone you may work miracles.”


Don’t talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking

THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space. Read the rest of this entry »

You Should Have a Robust Backup System For Your Computer

I’ve had several friends with drives going out recently and it occurred to me that I should really look into getting a decent backup system. At first I thought of just burning DVD’s periodically or getting one of those 1-2 TB drives which attach to your USB port; but it all seemed to be a bit labor intensive. I just know that I would forget to backup at just the wrong time and lose critical files.

If you do anything business related on your computer, I think you will find that a good backup solution, even if it is only used ONCE, will pay for itself many times over.  Just think about all of the work that goes into creating and organizing the files on your computer and if your time and effort is worth anything, a few hundred dollars will seem like a pittance; especially when you consider the fact that, with a good backup solution, you can simply replace your drive and be back up and running with a few hours as if nothing happened.

Network Attached Storage

The solution which I feel is finally coming of age, for the home user on a budget, is Network Attached Storage (NAS); particularly NAS systems which support at least RAID 1 mirroring or similar setups which allow for redundancy.

While most of us can get away with having an external drive that we periodically copy our data to; there is still a good possibility that this drive will crash. If you are using this drive to archive files, then you will have lost data. So it is imperative to have a mirrored system to hold your data.

I waded through the various systems out there and the reviews. I found many which are “adequate” but inflexible; because they do not allow for future expansion. For example, I saw many which allow you to swap out drives; but cap the number of Terabytes you can have in the array.

Well, after a night of searching, I ran into a combination which gives you a total of 2TB (redundant, actually 4TB total) on a nicely featured NAS box.

Mirrored Hot Swappable 4TB Network Attached Storage System for Under $600

I recently ordered one of these diskless NAS boxes for under $200 after rebate:

It runs a tiny version of Linux and supports a variety of backup and file system protocols including Apple’s “Time Machine”. One nice aspect of it, is the fact that you can plug in any SATA or SATA II hard drive and have it do RAID 1. So you can always buy a larger drive in the future.

I saw this interesting bit of info in one of the reviews:

“It does Netgear’s own proprietary XRAID mirroring (but not RAID 0). XRAID apparently allows the automatic upgrade to more then two drives, if you would use it in a Netgear box, which supports more then two drives. Unlike with other home office NAS, the firmware is saved in a flash and not on the drives itself. The drives are hot swappable and rebuild themselves automatically unlike with many other personal NAS products. The NAS can share directories via CIFS, NFS, AFP, and HTTP. It also can do FTP and TFTP, which comes in handy in the lab.”

So if a 3TB drive came on the market and you wanted to incorporate it into your box, you would just pull one of the 2TB drives out and pop it in; then it will copy the data over. Then you would pop the other 2TB array out and the data on the newly copied drive would be copied back; so you can expand the array easily.

When you toss in 2 x 2TB Western Digital Hard Drives, the whole system with 2TB of redundant network accessable storage came out to under $600.

Tired of Being Bound to Social Networking Sites

I would love to see social networks de-centralized. Something like a blog (with openID authentication or something similar), feed reader and email; this would likely accomplish much of what is done with networking sites like FB.

Unfortunately, most people do not have the desire or the know-how to have such a set-up. So until this propagates to a larger sub-set of the population; most of this kind of communication will be stuck on places like FB & MySpace.

I can sense a growing dis-content among many, with this kind of centralized set-up. I think they really are tired of giving control of their content, feed management and social network to a large company.

If someone can implement a very simple, easy to install, open source, app, which accomplishes much of what these network sites do; then there may be a big change in store for this kind of communication.

It will have to be something that people can equate to their existing social network sites (at first). Most likely, it will also have to integrate with sites like FB, in order to remain connected to the legacy network.

That would be a good project for an enterprising programmer. Something to finally put an end to these large networking sites controlling our experience and profiting from our everyday activities.

Destroying Viruses with Resonant Frequencies


It is likely that scientists may, some time in the near future, be able to destroy viri by bombarding it with frequencies that resonate with the particular virus.

Every object resonates at a particular frequency. When the amplitude of the frequency is increased sufficiently, an object will be destroyed.

Recent experiments have shown that viruses can be killed by the pulsations of lasers at the right frequency. The present-day understanding of this technology, however, involves trial-and-error.

Imagine what virus eradication techniques will be possible when scientists move out of the current drug paradigm, and into the understanding of resonance.

source: Live Science February 5, 2008

Another Earth Found? Virtually the same conditions as our Planet…

New Earth

The “second earth,” 1.5x the size of Earth, has simmilar temperature range as our planet, though its years are only 13 days.   It is located about 20 Light Years away from our planet, in the constellation Libra. It was found orbiting a star named Gliese 581.

‘Second Earth’ found, 20 light years away

Ian Sample | TheGuardian

Scientists have discovered a warm and rocky “second Earth” circling a star, a find they believe dramatically boosts the prospects that we are not alone.

The planet is the most Earth-like ever spotted and is thought to have perfect conditions for water, an essential ingredient for life. Researchers detected the planet orbiting one of Earth’s nearest stars, a cool red dwarf called Gliese 581, 20 light years away in the constellation of Libra.

Measurements of the planet’s celestial path suggest it is 1½ times the size of our home planet, and orbits close to its sun, with a year of just 13 days. The planet’s orbit brings it 14 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. But Gliese 581 burns at only 3,000C, half the temperature of our own sun, making conditions on the planet comfortable for life, with average ground temperatures estimated at 0 to 40C. Researchers claim the planet is likely to have an atmosphere. The discovery follows a three-year search for habitable planets by the European Southern Observatory at La Silla in Chile.

“We wouldn’t be surprised if there is life on this planet,” said Stephane Udry, an astronomer on the project at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland.

Two years ago, the same team discovered a giant Neptune-sized planet orbiting Gliese 581. A closer look revealed the latest planetary discovery, along with a third, larger planet that orbits the star every 84 days. The planets have been named after their star, with the most earthlike called Gliese 581c. The team spotted the planet by searching the “habitable zone”.

Future Cars May Be Powered by Compressed Air

Two designers have created engines that can be run on a compressed air tank for a fraction of the energy cost of gasoline. The engines can be run on compressed air alone or a hybrid of compressed air and a motor to refill the air tank.

With a hybrid compressed air engine, one could travel from New York City to Los Angeles on a single tank of gas!

The first line of air-powered vehicles will be powered by compressed air alone; they will have a top speed of 110 km/h with a range of 210 km. The tanks can be refilled in 3 minutes at a compressed air station or plugged in and refilled with the on-board compressor. Read the rest of this entry »

Astronomers find gaping hole in the Universe

University of Minnesota |

University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen “dark matter.” While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.
“Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size,” said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota astronomy professor. Rudnick, along with grad student Shea Brown and associate professor Liliya Williams, also of the University of Minnesota, reported their findings in a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. Read the rest of this entry »

TED Talks: The Metaverse of Imagery is About to Merge

Seadragon is a program which allows massive amounts of image data to be viewed and organized in whatever way desired. This allows one to view a virtually unlimited amount of visual data including images and text.

The Photosynth software, powered by Seadragon, has the capability to pull together a large collection of photos taken of a certain place. The photos can be spatially related to one another based upon the metadata and graphical analysis. The demo shows a view of the Notre Dame Cathedral that was created by thousands of photos scraped from Flickr.

video: Blaise Aguera y Arcas Demos Photosynth and Seadragon