Showing posts with label future. Show all posts
Showing posts with label future. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our psychic newspaper friends in Lincoln

Well, this actually hasn't happened, but the Lincoln Journal Star stands behind its ability to predict the future, we predict.

And here are some other clairyoyant headlines from today's Journal Star (motto: "It's gonna happen, you just wait and see"):

* Obama tells press 'Yes, I am a Muslim from Kenya'

* Hillary Clinton becomes first woman president, sends Bill to Gitmo

* Ricketts lures Simonize factory to Lincoln

* Unicameral OKs Beercade franchise for old Senate chamber
* Sandhills ranchers cut off beef to 'uppity' Omaha eateries

* Omaha cop shoots mayor, thought she had gun

* Judge upholds ban on opposite-sex marriage

* JS reporter Pilger held in slaying of online editor

HAT TIP: Romenesko.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Solar freakin' roadways!

What if . . . ?

Yeah, what if we built solar freakin' roadways?

What if our roads produced power? What if they never needed to be plowed or salted in the winter?

What if they were simple to repair, one panel at a time?

What if?

Yeah, what if we built solar freakin' roadways? The technology is here. Now. Maybe.

What if we produced enough power from our roads that we never had to build another coal-fired power plant? What if we produced all kinds of clean energy . . . from . . . our . . . roads?

What if our roads and parking lots eventually -- perhaps -- paid for themselves?

WHY CAN'T some city start experimenting with solar roadways? Why can't we find out, even if the developers' claims are complete pie in the sky, what the real power output is and what the real, practical benefits are in real-world conditions? Let's get some real data.

Why can't, for instance, Omaha experiment with them? We're doing major streetscaping and urban renovation in several older parts of the city. We're building major new developments around the city. Why not incorporate some solar streets and parking lots into them?

Why not apply for federal grants or matching funds for a large-scale demonstration project?

This country is staring down any number of global-warming, power-generation and infrastructure problems as we stumble forward into an uncertain future. Why not look for ways to help ourselves out of a worsening jam? Why not try this as one potential solution? We have to start somewhere. Why not here?

Well, here and in the Netherlands.

Solar roadways just might be a big part of the solution. And they look cool, too. Let's try it and see what we've really got here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Everything I need to know about science . . .

. . . I learned from Star Trek.

If you like, I can share it with you via my Surface. And you can read it on your iPad.

UNLESS, of course, you'd rather that I just contacted you via your communicator -- uh . . . cell phone.

BUT DON'T go totally booger-eater on me here, OK?

I SHOULD have told you the booger-eater thing earlier, shouldn't I? Siri?


OH, SIRI . . . while I'm thinking about it, could you give me an update on how that warp drive is coming?
In the "Star Trek" TV shows and films, the U.S.S. Enterprise's warp engine allows the ship to move faster than light, an ability that is, as Spock would say, "highly illogical." 
However, there's a loophole in Einstein's general theory of relativity that could allow a ship to traverse vast distances in less time than it would take light. The trick? It's not the starship that's moving — it's the space around it. 
In fact, scientists at NASA are right now working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Maybe the warp drive on "Star Trek" is possible after all. 
According to Einstein's theory, an object with mass cannot go as fast or faster than the speed of light. The original "Star Trek" series ignored this "universal speed limit" in favor of a ship that could zip around the galaxy in a matter of days instead of decades. They tried to explain the ship's faster-than-light capabilities by powering the warp engine with a "matter-antimatter" engine. Antimatter was a popular field of study in the 1960s, when creator Gene Roddenberry was first writing the series. When matter and antimatter collide, their mass is converted to kinetic energy in keeping with Einstein's mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2.In other words, matter-antimatter collision is a potentially powerful source of energy and fuel, but even that wouldn't be enough to propel a starship faster-than-light speeds. 
Nevertheless, it's thanks to "Star Trek" that the word "warp" is now practically synonymous with faster-than-light travel. 
Is warp drive possible? 
Decades after the original "Star Trek" show had gone off the air, pioneering physicist and avowed Trek fan Miguel Alcubierre argued that maybe a warp drive is possible after all. It just wouldn't work quite the way "Star Trek" thought it did. 
Things with mass can't move faster than the speed of light. But what if, instead of the ship moving through space, the space was moving around the ship? 
Space doesn't have mass. And we know that it's flexible: space has been expanding at a measurable rate ever since the Big Bang. We know this from observing the light of distant stars — over time, the wavelength of the stars' light as it reaches Earth is lengthened in a process called "redshifting." According to the Doppler effect, this means that the source of the wavelength is moving farther away from the observer — i.e. Earth. 
So we know from observing redshifted light that the fabric of space is movable. [See also: What to Wear on a 100-Year Starship Voyage] 
Alcubierre used this knowledge to exploit a loophole in the "universal speed limit." In his theory, the ship never goes faster than the speed of light — instead, space in front of the ship is contracted while space behind it is expanded, allowing the ship to travel distances in less time than light would take. The ship itself remains in what Alcubierre termed a "warp bubble" and, within that bubble, never goes faster than the speed of light. 
Since Alcubierre published his paper "The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity" in 1994, many physicists and science fiction writers have played with his theory —including "Star Trek" itself. [See also: Top 10 Star Trek Technologies] 
Alcubierre's warp drive theory was retroactively incorporated into the "Star Trek" mythos by the 1990s TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 
In a way, then, "Star Trek" created its own little grandfather paradox: Though ultimately its theory of faster-than-light travel was heavily flawed, the series established a vocabulary of light-speed travel that Alcubierre eventually formalized in his own warp drive theories.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Miracles of technology

It's 1972, and through the miracle of modern technology, you can play tennis . . . on your television set!

Will wonders never cease in Space Age America? Surely, the world of Star Trek cannot be far away.

Someday soon, I'll bet we'll even have "communicators" and computers you can talk to!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This . . . is London

Somewhere in hell, Adolf Hitler is kicking himself right now for wasting all that time and effort on the Blitz.

This works just about as well and proves to be much more demoralizing for the British public than Luftwaffe air raids.

FOLKS, THIS IS what it looks like when people have no morals, no taboos and no hope for the future. The Brits are no more or no less virtuous than we in the States, and now we're entering the Age of Austerity, too, with fewer jobs, fewer social services, less welfare, less hopefulness, more materialism and more nihilism.

Take a hard look. This is the next new thing, coming soon from Austerity Britain to Tea Party America.

P.S.: I agree with the British public. Mark Stone has two of them.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The next big thing

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

When I was young, the wave of the future rolled in from the east across the North Atlantic.

The British Invasion, it was called. First, the Beatles . . . then everybody and everything. That's where we got "mod." That's where we got New Wave, too.

Now, from
NBC News' World Blog is a foreshadowing from Austerity Britain about what may well be coming to Austerity America.

As political and social protests grip the Middle East, are growing in Europe and a riot exploded in north London this weekend, here's a sad truth, expressed by a Londoner when asked by a television reporter: Is rioting the correct way to express your discontent?

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

The TV reporter from Britain's ITV had no response. So the young man pressed his advantage. "Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere.

The truth is that discontent has been simmering among Britain's urban poor for years, and few have paid attention. Social activists say one out of two children in Tottenham live in poverty. It's one of the poorest areas of Britain. Britain's worst riots in decades took place here in 1985. A policeman was hacked to death. After these riots, the same young man pointed out, "They built us a swimming pool."

Police and local leaders in Tottenham made real progress in improving community relations in the intervening years and that's true about all of Britain. The best way to prevent crime, the theory goes, is to improve the lot of the people, then they won't need to commit crimes. But caught in a poverty and joblessness cycle, young people in many British urban areas have little hope of a better life.

So when a local 29-year-old father, described by police as a gangster, was shot dead by an officer, the response came quickly.
AS AN ANCIENT GREEK philosopher once wrote, "When the people lose hope, the fit hits the shan . . . but good."

Sadly, causing the people to lose hope is something American government and society have learned to do very, very well.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Simply '70s: Future shocked

Almost 40 years ago, we were suffering from Future Shock.

Gee, I wonder what fresh hell we're suffering from today?

Too much change in too short a time? The death of permanence?

Wonder where that leaves us four decades down the road from 1972?

No, we don't change the color of our skin, we just tattoo every inch of it. The artificial-intelligence robot that finds its way around the room? We call it the Roomba . . . a self-guided vacuum cleaner.

FUTURE SHOCK, meet Louise Brown . . . and the loss of all the philosophical and ethical qualms we had about such in 1972.

And the film nailed what was coming with gay marriage.

HOME ELECTROSHOCK therapy? Who needs that when you're popping Prozac like M&Ms?

"That is the challenge of future shock, to look clearly into today's world to understand the consequences -- that what we do today determines what tomorrow will be."
Reaction No. 1: No s***, Sherlock. Reaction No. 2: We're screwed.

THIS SLICE of 1972, based on the 1970 Alvin Toffler book -- and its vision of a thoroughly shocked future -- notably has no mention of a couple of things shocking the present of 2011 and the future from here on. That would be the Internet and global warming.

Hang on, folks. The journey into infinity and beyond just might be a rough one.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Your Daily '80s: It's the future . . . today!

Man . . . look at this stuff! It's a futuristic wonderland . . . right now in 1983!

Lost in Space has come to pass! Look, it's the Robot!

The next thing you know, we'll have "communicators" and "tricorders," just like on Star Trek!

And huge view screens just like on the bridge of the Enterprise. I wonder what wonders we'll see in 2010?

We'll be getting around in nuclear levitating cars, no doubt.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The world of tomorrow!

Funny how history happens while you're waiting on the future.

Somehow, I don't think the world turned out future-perfect as "progress" might have dictated.

Still, does that stop us from daydreaming -- and loving world's fairs? Nah, not really.

And if someone, someday manages to find and resurrect an ancient server from something called "the Google," we from the ancient past salute you. Just like they did in 1939.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Speaking of harebrained schemes. . . .

You may or may not have heard of the guano storm surrounding The Washington Post's now-abandoned plan to -- for a price -- put together "informal salons" where lawmakers, bureaucrats and Post editors and reporters would discuss the issues of the day.

"Sponsors" of these informal salons -- according to a leaked "precursor" document to a Post flier that went out last week -- could find it advantageous to:
* Participate in an issues-based discussion as an equal at the table with key policy-makers

* Interact with core players in an off-the-record format

* Build key relationships in an informal setting

* Discuss critical topics of interest to you and your organization in a neutral environment with Washington Post news executives

[Have an] Acknowledgement in formal printed invitations and at the dinner of your underwriting role
WELL, I GUESS the bigwigs at The Washington Post at least should get credit for creativity in the quest for new "revenue streams." After all, influence peddling as a "revenue enhancer" is definitely thinking "outside the box."

From Michael Calderone's blog on the
Politico website:
But as far as materials go in preparing for the July 21 event, there was more than just a hastily-prepared,one-page flier. POLITICO has obtained a detailed, word document, sent out more than two weeks ago, which goes into greater specifics about what potential sponsors could have received.

And now that the Post is undergoing an internal review into what went wrong, it's worth looking at all the materials sent out by the business side, and how there could have been such mis-communication with the newsroom over the parameters of this an event.

The Washington Post salons, according to this solicitation to potential underwriters, would "provide an intimate and informal dinner and discussion setting where leading policy makers and business leaders discuss issues, options and solutions relating to major international, national, local and cultural affairs with top Washington Post editors, columnists and journalists."

In addition to Weymouth and Brauchli, the dinner on the week of July 20 would include "other Washington Post health care editorial and reporting staff." (As I reported Thursday, Brauchli said he was attending, but didnt know other guests invited. Reporter Ceci Connolly also told POLITICO she would be invited).

Other invited guests, according to this offer, would include the following: "Congressional leaders at the forefront of building health care legislative initiatives," "administration and agency officials involved in creating health care policy,"leading researchers from key think-tanks and academic institutions, "hospital and medical group trade association representatives (may be an underwriter), "health care insurance trade association representatives (may be an underwriter), "patient advocate group representatives," and "corporate leaders in health care delivery, health care IT, and / or insurance (may be an underwriter)."

The salons, to be held up to 11 times annually (except in August), were slated to be two-and-a-half hour. off-the-record dinner discussions with no more than 20 participants. As for editorial involvement, the offer mentions the "executive editor, key section editor, beat reporter (optional)."
REALLY, I DON'T KNOW how a reasonable person looks at this mad Post scheme as anything but influence peddling as part of the newspaper's business model. Put less charitably, the paper's management was perfectly willing to profit by pimping out its journalists and playing matchmaker for pols and those willing to "service" them (in a manner of speaking).

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the late "D.C. Madam," would be so amused.

For a century now, newspapers have been quick to dust off the old line about how they
"comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The phrase's originator, Chicago journalist Finley Peter Dunne, didn't have public relations in mind when he coined it.

Instead, he was worried about the potential for newspapers to abuse their power, just as any ingrained institution might:
"Th newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward".
ANYMORE, the newspaper doesn't do so much for us. But, unfortunately, it seems papers like The Washington Post are determined to use what pull they still possess to comfort the comfortable. For whatever profit they can milk out of the deal.

And if that just happens to heap more affliction upon the afflicted . . . well, the afflicted aren't in newspapers' target demographic.

But then again, if
The Daily Blab is run by the same sort what runs The Washington Post, who'd want to be? Obviously, fewer every day.

While you're at it, get a DeLorean time machine

The San Francisco Chronicle trotted out a snazzy, retooled anachronism Monday morning. Now all the editors need is Doc Brown's super-pimped DeLorean to take them back to 1955:
One hundred forty-four years after two teenage brothers in San Francisco founded The Chronicle with a $20 gold piece borrowed from their landlord, The Voice of the West is about to embark on a bold new era that could provide a model for how daily newspapers can thrive in today's market.

Beginning today, the newspaper will be printed using full-color presses and acquire some of the characteristics of a daily magazine - a showcase for the dramatic use of sharp, crisp photographs, graphics and advertisements. The new presses will have the capability to run color images on most every page, including section fronts.

"This will be eye opening for a lot of people," said publisher Frank J. Vega. "It's going to give us a lot more vibrancy and flexibility in what we do. We're calling it high-definition newspaper. It's going to be much more visually pleasing."

The Chronicle, which has run its own presses since the 1800s, has long been plagued by poor color reproduction and annoying creases. Its current presses are more than 50 years old. Its photographers and artists carp about the paper's muddy appearance.

With state-of-the-art presses and a vivid page design, the newspaper's top editors say they are committed to producing a paper that can compete effectively against the imagery of the Internet, glossy magazines and television - or anything else that impinges on a potential reader's valuable time.
AT LEAST the dinosaurs had an asteroid strike to blame for their demise. Today's newspaper editors would like you to think the Internet is their asteroid . . . as they try to convince themselves that one harebrained scheme or another might yet turn away their date with doom.

Alas, there's no asteroid for publishers and editors to hide behind. This extinction is totally self-inflicted -- mainly due to the arrogance of an industry that thought time would wait for these men . . . and women.

This die-off is due to the stupidity of an industry that saw the handwriting on the wall a generation ago but thought that living in abject denial can make things not be so, thus making difficult change unnecessary.

There's one more area where the
Daily T Rex departs from its reptilian ancestors: Today's dinosaurs, as exemplified so perfectly by the Chronicle, didn't even wait to die before turning into a bunch of fossils.

HAT TIP: The Media Is Dying.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Who knew?

For the last post of the year, we present The Future . . . or, what we were supposed to have 10 years ago.

Where the hell is my air car?