Showing posts with label Global Warming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global Warming. Show all posts

August 6, 2019

Oh Baby, It's Warm Outside?

I love when people can communicate through pictures effectively. 

Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words--probably more. 

This was a simple drawing to depict I assume global warming. 

- 2000 some nice mountain glaciers.

- 2020 the snow is melted.

It's like the person didn't have to say a word. 

But I get it. 

Also, I know there is supposedly a lot of scientific evidence for global warming.

But for me personally, I don't see it or feel it.  

The summers, if anything, feel cooler and the Winters feel colder to me. 

I know that is anecdotal and not representative of the world. 

However, it is hard to reconcile what the scientists say, when your own eyes aren't seeing it. 

Granted, I'm not in Alaska where, for example, the glaciers are melting, 

Still wouldn't we be feeling something here?

Maybe a few degrees really isn't perceptible. 

I guess time will tell us for certain. 

Hopefully, by the time we do see it, we won't get run over by the speeding train.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 9, 2016

Reconstituting The Water Of Antarctica

So Antarctica is the 5th largest continent of 7 in the world. 

It is 5.4 million square miles, and it is larger than both Europe and Australia. 

But it has only a temporary population of 5,000 people, mainly researchers. 

About 70% of the world's fresh water is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which is 90% of all the world's ice. 

And the ice there extends 7,000 feet thick.

If all the ice would melt, the global sea levels would rise 2,000 feet!

Despite 95% of models over the last 30 years predicting the ice sheet melting due to global warming, it actually continues to expand.

It's a paradox for the science community, but one of the explanations is that as ice shelves break off, they actually forms a protective barrier for the new ice being formed along the main ice landmass. 

Even with global warming, the average temperature in Antarctica is still -35 degrees Fahrenheit, and most parts never get above freezing. 

So here's an idea--rather than fear global warming, is there an opportunity to use it and advance it, if only we can channel the effects of it for the good of humanity. 

The Antarctic Treaty System prevents nuclear weapons explosion there, but wouldn't that be a cool way to melt some ice and get some fresh drinking water for this thirsty planet or even to somehow move to MARS for colonization there?

Also, we could place solar mirrors in space to redirect sunlight to melt the ice--that's either some probably some pretty big mirrors or the dispersion ray of a space laser(s). 

The key now is to get the water to where you want it to go and not to destroy by massive flood our worldwide seaboard cities--and that's where a mass molecular transporter comes along. 

There is still much to discover and invent, but when it's done, I think we will definitely be heading to Mars and beyond.

Really, we have to, there is no other long-term survival choice for humankind. 

And perhaps, G-d placed the survival pod for us right under our feet at literally, the southern most point of the world, Antarctica! ;-)

(Source Photo: here via Wikipedia)
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June 21, 2016

It's Getting Mighty Hot

This is a advertisement around Washington DC alerting people to the dangers of global warming.

"I'm Too Hot"

And 

"9 of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000."

Wait a second, for some (or many) a little extra heat may be considered a good thing especially if you live up north with generally freezing cold and miserably snowy winters.

So don't just tell us about it getting hotter, but tell us how hot is it actually going to get and what will happen when it does--melting glaciers, rising oceans and catastrophic flooding of cities, weather abnormalities and violent natural disasters, and so on.

We need to move on to the substance of this. 

Just like with the national debt, we keep talking about it going up (and up). 

Well what's so bad about that if we can just print some more greenbacks and pay for more stuff, maybe it's a good--or great--investment in our country and future?

Here again, the message that isn't getting out clearly is what is going to happen when the debt becomes unsustainable and printing or devaluing dollars will not solve the problem and may actually exasperate it by creating run-away inflation, a downgraded or junk credit rating, and higher debt payments possibly tanking our economy and people's savings.

Yeah, we don't want to cause a panic. 

But shielding people from vital information on the dangerous paths we are on will only lead to going further down into the abyss of non-action and potential for cascading calamity. 

Let's face it--it's unpopular to talk anything doom or gloom--financial crises or natural disasters or especially anything with WMD--but if we aren't the adults in the political room, who will be? 

For once, I'd love a leader who tells it straight, who helps us face our own worst nightmares, and actually gets us back on track again, rather than keeps the wool pulled over our eyes for another term or two.

Leadership is lost in rosy glasses, vote counting, pundits called upon to obscure the truth from the people, keeping a false calm, and creating wildly inflated legacies.

These motives for now are stronger than the determination to deal with the threats we face, but not forever, and then the pendulum will most abruptly swing in the other direction, precariously late for the ensuing global effects. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 12, 2016

From Top To Bottom


The the other day, I was walking through the grass.

I came across these toys horses that had been left in a pile.

I thought about the innocence and beauty of children.

How nice it is to just sit in the green grass and play with your horsies. 

Today, I was downtown and GWU has a big graduation going on.

This guy wrote on the bottom of his cap, "If youre reading this, I just graduated."

Of course, this is America, and so he left off the apostrophe (') in you're (you are).

Oh well--neither STEM nor spelling is apparently part of the education curriculum anymore. 

But how quickly the kids grow up and before we know they're college graduates. 

From childhood innocence and dependence to adulthood independence and its colorful assortment of sin. 

All grown up and what we hope happens next...

...off to start a big career, continue with graduate studies, marriage and kids of their own...the sky is the limit. 

We need smart and enthusiastic people coming of age with big ideas, teamwork, and precision execution to solve the ginormous problems we face.

Still huge debts, hunger and poverty, dreaded old to frighteningly new illnesses, a unsustainable use of our planet with tongue in cheek efforts to change, rising social inequity and racial tensions, and raging terrorism and WMD that is making a global and more deadly comeback.

I have no grads this year, but we sure as hell need every person coming off the assembly line to step up and make a difference. 

Right now, the leadership in the world (commercial, spiritual, and government) is overwhelmingly deadwood (people lacking in caliber and  integrity like Steve Jobs, the Lubavicher Rebbe, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan).

From failing products and falling profits, to "religious" sex abuse, demagogues overseas, and plenty of lying and corruption at home. We need and should expect more, demand more, perhaps in the young people there will be more--that is our hope and saving grace. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 25, 2015

Technology Forecast 2016



Andy Blumenthal talks about three technology imperatives for 2016.

1) Medical technology
2) Counter-terrorism technology
3) Space technology

Enjoy and happy New Year!
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December 9, 2015

Global Chaos But G-d Is On Watch

We are continuing to see the number 613 (a critical number representing G-d's commandments to us in the Torah).

I wrote about this in my post last month (Nov 26).

Yesterday, I randomly looked up at this guy cleaning in front of one of the GW University buildings and there it is...613. 

On Sunday, we stopped for something to eat (see receipt total with the scrambled 613 in it)...$16.38.



The principle of divine intervention in everything we do in our lives is a paramount religious belief, and in Judaism, we learn that not a leaf falls from the tree without it coming from G-d. 

The times we are living in is certainly not normal with terror and war on nearly every horizon (ISIS, Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China to name just a few around the globe), a growing threat from WMD, the economy in shambles, government debt exploding, energy, mining, and other commodities in free-fall, and global warming continuing to heat things up

Further, with immense conflict and political dysfunction in how to deal with these challenges, and amazingly little to no resolve to seemingly even address many of them at all, the views and positions are moving toward extremes and the people's emotions seem to range from generalized frustration to genuine fury.

The story isn't over on all these fronts for America or the rest of the world, but I believe even if leadership's heart is hardened and progress seems almost completely stymied in the face of emerging global chaos, G-d is watching and guiding things very closely at this historic time. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)
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November 24, 2015

Top 30 Legacy Of Hope And Change

Over 7 long years, the promise of "hope and change" has given way instead to the disappointment of chaos and dysfunction.

Just some 30 examples off the top of my head...

1) Nuclear IRAN

2) Civil War SYRIA

3) Fragmented IRAQ

4) Taliban resurgent AFGHANISTAN

5) Militarization of SOUTH CHINA SEA

6) Nuclear missile NORTH KOREA

7) Terrorist State ISIS

8) Resurgent aggressive RUSSIA

9) Weaponization of SPACE

10) Streaming crisis of REFUGEES

11) Broken system for IMMIGRATION

12)
Sharply rising MURDER RATES

13) Growing and largest PRISON POPULATION

14) Rising RACISM

15) Increasing INEQUALITY

16) Worsening polarization in POLITICS

17) Poor TRANSPARENCY

18) Dysfunction in GOVERNMENT

19) Rising NATIONAL DEBT

20) Crisis in HEALTHCARE

21) Failing system of EDUCATION

22) Stalling INNOVATION

23) Growing insecurity of CYBER 

24) Infringement on PERSONAL PRIVACY

25) Falling participation in LABOR FORCE

26) Slowing ECONOMY

27) Worsening CLIMATE CHANGE

28) Shrinking affiliation with RELIGION

29) Epidemic of SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

30) Declining HAPPINESS

Now, one of our main hopes has to be genuine change for the better. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 21, 2015

The Times and Events Of Gog And Magog

So I have never ever heard so much talk about doomsday as I am these days. 

Earlier in the year (January 2015) the Doomsday Clock moved up to 3 minutes to midnight--that was a full 2 minute move or 40% advance to the end of times. 

The cited reasons by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

- "Unchecked climate change"

- "Nuclear arms race"

Essentially, these "pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity."

But on a daily level now--

Islamic extremism showing through post 9/11 mounting turmoil and unbelievable terror in the Middle East, including seeming non-ending ISIS brutality, Iran's march towards nuclear weapons and advanced ballistic missiles, the Sunni vs. Shiite war for dominion centering (lately) in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen but with much larger geopolitcal overtones towards a return of a powerful caliphate to challenge the West, fighting between Muslims and Christians in countries like Nigeria, ongoing terror threats to the democratic State of Israel, and a rising tide death, casualties, and refugees.

Russian aggression in multiple countries and regions including Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, air and naval military incursions and encroachment towards Turkey, the countries in the Baltic Sea region, the Arctic, and even a Russian military satellite parking itself between 2 U.S. satellites yesterday. 

China's militarization including greater military spending on advanced weapons, Island/posts building in the South China Sea, and ongoing threatening overtures toward Taiwan and other neighbors, and cyber warfare conducted against the U.S.government and the private sector. 

Frightening new military capabilities are coming online with advances in weapons of mass destruction--nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological--colonization and militarization of space, laser weapons, satellite killers, swarms of drones, armies of robots, and cyberwar.

The drumbeat of climate change and environmental deterioration (unsustainable practices of deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and the extinction of countless species) is being felt in changing weather patterns, global warming, glacier meltdown, alternating threats of flooding and drought in various part of the world, major storms and lightening patterns, and an uptick in natural disasters (tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes), and an overall trend towards shortage and conflict. 

An ailing global economy after 2 major recessions in the 21st century so far, booming national debts, stalling economies, slowing innovation, and scarcity of stable, good paying, full time jobs in an outsourcing, short-term, freelance, contractor culture, and automaton and robotization advances. 

Dysfunctional political systems that are bogged down with endless indecision, infighting, bickering, finger-pointing, stalemates, shutdowns, pork barrel spending, catering to special interest groups, short-term wins at the expense of long-term goals, corruption, and a lack of strong capable leadership at the helm. 

An article I read recently from Russian Times, I believe, said how the U.S. teeters just steps from potential collapse by just relatively easy societal interruptions (presumably that they could facilitate) and that with farms/food production far from major metropolitan areas, people hooked on drugs that they could not get supplies for, and other severe disruptions in our critical care needs, we would be in big trouble--the message was clearly watch out, you are extremely vulnerable. 

That these tactic threats and overtures are already being made explicit is not a good sign. Just politicians and countries throwing around their weight or jockeying for position on the world stage--who knows?

But people are frail, countries are vulnerable, budgets are limited, and bad things can and do happen if we are not careful in a world ticking closer to very dangerous times and events.

The coming realization of the prophecy of a devastating world war--of Gog and Magog--is what people are saying to me.  

In conversation about deteriorating world events, my wife innocently asked someone this week--"Can we avoid a major world war?" Their unequivocal response, "No, it's inevitable!" ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2015

Time Runs Out - What Are We To Believe?

Time runs out, but we are still chasing highly elusive goals (just some examples): 

1) Iran - Time runs out on deadline for a nuke deal even after "the framework" was supposedly set three months ago. And as Iran's Supreme Leader and the Iranian Parliament chant death to America, can we really believe that Iran will ever truly give up their pusuit of nuclear weapons of mass destruction (and terrorism) to use on you know who?  


2) Greece - Time runs out on an extension of more Greek bailout funds, and they default on payment to the International Monetary Fund potentially leading to their exit from the Euro and the EU. With a Greek debt of $271 billion, can we really believe they will ever be able to repay this? 


3) Social Security and Medicare - Time is running out on the solvency of our own social entitlement system in the U.S.  For example, the Social Security Disability Trust Fund runs dry already next year in 2016, Medicare is exhausted by 2030 and Social Security by 2033. With just 16 and 19 years of funding left for these major programs that tens of millions depend on, can we really believe that magically we will dig our way out of this mega mess of a financial hole? 


4) Global Warming - Time is running out on cutting carbon emissions leading to global warming and catastrophic climate change. With global warming denial still in vogue and reluctance by the industrial nations to significantly cut back on emissions in time, can we really believe that catastrophic enviornment damage will be averted? 

5) War - Time is runing out as potential for eventual war looms on the horizon with China, says respected DoD Futurist, Peter Singer. With disputes in the South China Sea and with Taiwan, China bulking up on advanced weapons, and the U.S. pivoting to Asia, the fears of a serious confrontation are there. Similarly, with Russia and it's annexation of Crimea and ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine, threats to it's Balkan neighbors, confrontations on the European borders, and an increasingly nuclear and militant Russia, the Cold War is heating up. The last world war ended 70 years ago, can we really believe that the peace will continue to prevail with powerful adversaries in turbulent and uncertain times? 


Yes, hopes and dreams are important, but real concrete action is too or time will simply run out and then what? ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

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March 22, 2015

10 Reasons In Just 1 Week To Fear Government Breakdown

When I saw this in the store, I knew it was a true sign of the times, as they say. 

When the government that is supposed to sustain order and usher in social and economic progress is dysfunctional and broken, instead we have:


"Chaos, Panic, [and] Disorder"


Here's some news highlights from just this last week:


SPREADING BASE OF WORLDWIDE TERRORISM


1) ISIS murdered 137 and wounded over 300 in suicide bombings at mosques in Yemen.


2) Al Qaeda / Islamic State killed 23 mostly European tourists and injured over 50 at attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia.


3) Iraq's battle to take back Tikrit from ISIS slows as ISIS continues to hold territory in Iraq and Syria larger than many countries--this after the last U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011. 


AGGRESSIVE POWER AND LAND GRABS:


4) Russia annexes South Ossetia from Georgia, just a year after annexing Crimea from Ukraine.


5) China starts up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with support from key European Countries as well as Australia and South Korea, challenging American dominance via the International Monetary Fund (IMF)--this shortly after China surpasses America as the world largest economy.


PROLIFERATION OF WMD:


6) Iran says "Nuclear deal within reach," while their neighbors in the Middle East shutter and warn of impending nuclear arms race.


FORESAKING STALWART ALLIES AND MIDDLE EAST PEACE:


7) The Administration threatens to back United Nations against Israel, imposing a 2 state solution rather than a negotiated peace and security for the region. 


ECONOMIC MESS:


8) U.S. economic forecast by the Fed was downgraded to just 2.5%, despite years of near-zero interest rates that were supposed to spark growth, but instead has simply driven stocks into overdrive and set us up for another bursting of the financial bubble


HEALTHCARE SHAMBLES:


9) Upcoming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare could see 8 million people lose subsidies and ultimately their health insurance coverage.


ENVORNMENTAL CRISIS:


10) 2014 as the hottest year on record and 13 of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century so far, this as even Chinese officials acknowledge looming fallout ahead in terms of climate change and disasters


If this is just one (more) week with the current breakdown of government,  those causing it all, as the sign states, can proclaim:


"My Work Here Is [Almost] Done."
 ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 14, 2015

Lobbying Will Get You...Where?

In Washington, D.C., lobbying is a way of life. 

Just walking from the State Department to the Metro means you'll get accosted by somebody wanting action on some issue. 

I took this photo in action today of this guy obviously not in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

He equates it with "Climate Chaos!"

He is holding a sign up to me and trying to hand me some literature.

Whether or not piping tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast is net good for the economy and national security or bad for the environment and global warming, is of course a matter of debate. 

But like all issues, there are two sides to everything--so prove your case!

Maybe the point to free speech is that everyone can not only have an opinion, but also express it and advocate for it. 

There can be open and amble discussion, vigorous debate, compromises, and ultimately a vote and decision--that hopefully gets us to the best course of action. 

Unlike countries run by dictators or religious fanatics who attempt to quell all opposition--where bloggers are flogged and jailed and authors and satirists are threatened and murdered--we try to make our best case and not condemn those who simply think different than us. 

In expressing ourselves here, someone may occasionally joke and say, "now don't chop my head off for saying this," but in other countries they really mean it! 

Tyrannical dictatorships and Jihadists terrorizing and imposing their will on the masses just won't cut it anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 27, 2014

Something Everyone Cares About

This was a funny Facebook post by someone from Las Vegas.

He bemoans that there are no virgins left in Vegas.

I tell my wife what he said.

And she says, "Well what does he expect in Vegas?"

I say, "I'm not sure, but I think he might be married and has kids."

So my wife says, "Then why does he care?"

I think for a second and answer, "It's someone everyone cares about like global warming."

And we both started to crack up laughing.  

My wife ends the conversation with, "Andy, you are a funny guy!"  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 21, 2014

Beautiful Berries

These were some beautiful berries in Downtown, Washington, D.C. today.

Seems a little weird for the latter half of October.

Anyway, we can enjoy the beauty of G-d's creations and nature.

But we probably should question those that are telling us that global warming is shlock science or a hoax--because it certainly is not looking that way--is it?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2014

Why We Expect Nothing

I took this photo of a sign at the Metro station to the Reagan National Airport by Washington, D.C. 

"Expect The Unexpected" is the warning.


Don't be complacent--anything can happen--be vigilant--is the message. 


It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry jokes about people going to the beach and hiding their wallets in their shoes.


Like, a criminal would never think to check your shoe!


Oh, push the wallet all the way down to the toes, under the tongue, that way the bad guys will never be able to get to it. 


Here, it's more a case of of why don't we expect the darn expected. 


Everybody knows that people "hide" their valuables at the beach in their shoes!


In modern times, we seem blind though to any expectations at all.


- Arab Spring and civil war spreading into Syria and Iraq--after Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and more--who would've thought?


- Russia taking over Crimea and agitating in Eastern Ukraine--after their little excursions into Georgia and Chechnya--who would expect that?  


- Financial meltdowns and major recession after the dot com and housing bubbles--even my barber was talking about retiring and buying a mansion in the Caribbean--where are these coming from?


The question then is are we really unable to see past our noses or do we just hold steadfast to principle that ignorance is bliss?


Well let's just test the "expect nothing doctrine" that we seem to all be living by these days and see how you feel about these:

  • North Korea--they would never invade the South again.
  • Iran--sure, they are going to give up their nuclear weapons and their greater Middle Eastern Caliphate ambitions. 
  • China--Yeah, we'll just pin them in the South China Sea and they'll never get out.
  • The national deficit--it's not and will never be too big for us to handle because we're rich. 
  • Terrorism in a major American city--not after 9/11 and all that Homeland Security.
  • Environmental catastrophe--we will build a big bubble over ourselves, so no problem.
  • Economic inequity--the top 1% deserves to control 43% of the Nation's wealth and everyone else just sit down and shut up.
  • The Singularity--how could a machine ever be smarter than us; we've got all the technology fully under our control. 

Well, if you are blind or dumb enough to believe these, just keep putting your money in your shoes at the beach, because there is no reason to expect that anyone would ever think to look for it there. ;-)

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May 16, 2014

Rise Oceans Rise

The polar ice caps are melting--does anyone believe it or care?  

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Antarctica alone holds 60% of the world's fresh water "locked into millions of cubic miles of polar ice."

NASA glaciologists states: "Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can't stop it."

In other words, we may have "reached the point of no return."

Sea levels are seen rising 10 to 12 feet--that's almost 1.8 x Magic Johnson across all our oceans.

The New York Times says that just a four foot rise would inundate cities like New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans. 

WTOP reports that the impact will not just be in low-lying cities but even Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay is at great risk. 

And while over time barriers may be able to be built up around DC to protect it, other areas like New York City is "almost unenclosable."

Global warming has is changing our earth's ecosystems, and like the National Deficit, we can try to prove it false, ignore it, or hope for a technological breakthrough or miracle to save us. 

Yes, there are lot's of doom and gloom scenarios, and it's hard to know when to take catastrophe seriously and when it is Chicken Little.

While I wouldn't go looking for high ground just yet, maybe that Miami oceanfront--as much as I love it--may not be the best long-long term investment around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 22, 2012

Still An Innovation Nation


Yesterday, according to the Mayan calendar, we were to have seen the end of the world. Today professors like Robert J. Gordon in The Wall Street Journal (22-23 December 2012) unfortunately continue to spread doom and gloom. 

According to Gordon, "for more than a century, the U.S. economy grew robustly thanks to big inventions; those days are gone."


Gordon seems to think predominantly from 20/20 hindsight, seeing the innovations of the past -- such as the electric light bulb, running water and the jet airplane -- as the last major vestiges possible of human advancement. 


As Gordon states: "Only once would transport speeds be increased from the horse (6 miles per hour) to the Boeing 707 (550 mph).  Only once could our houses be replaced by running water and indoor plumbing. Only once could indoor temperatures, thanks to central heating and air conditioning, be converted from cold in winter and hot in summer to a uniform year-round climate of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit."


Gordon’s pessimism is bad enough (“The future of American economic growth is dismal”) but his arrogance is even worse.


How sad that he cannot see past our momentary troubles and imagine better, greater things to come.


- Is 707 miles per hour really the fastest that humans can travel? I guess Gordon hasn't been following the land speed record in Scientific American (5 November 2012) that has an English project pushing the 1,000 mph barrier and already projecting hitting 1,600 mph or Virgin Galactic (just the beginning of our space journeys) reaching more than 4 times the speed of sound (>3,000 mph!).


- Is indoor plumbing really the last great innovation when it comes to water? Please don't tell that to almost a billion people worldwide who live without potable water. However, thanks to innovators such as Vestergaard-Frandsen, whose Lifestraw water purification tools "removes 99.9999% of bacteria through a superfine filtration process" for only about $6 each (Mashable), many others may soon have access to safe drinking water.


- Is central air is the end of the temperature innovation cycle?--You've got to be kidding me. In the context of global warming and the resulting "storms and other (weather) extremes," there are considerable challenges ahead of us to be met. Someone ought to tell Mr. Gordon that sustainable energies are coming online (solar, wind, wave, and geothermal) that can help stem global greenhouse gases thought to be a major cause. In fact, whole new "green" high-tech cities like Masdar City are being developed to operate with low environmental footprints. 


Gordon may think all major innovations have arrived, and probably thought the same before the Internet and smartphone were created. 


In his op-ed, Gordon calls on skeptics to “rebut” his innovative idea that robust innovation is over. But perhaps he is actually asking them for help. Because such pessimism and small thinking are a prison of his own making. Unfortunately, he is professionally considered an “educator.” But it’s lessons like this that our young people – facing one of the most economically challenging times in modern history - can do without. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Paul Townsend)

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June 9, 2012

Living The Limits


Almost two decades ago, when working towards my MBA degree, I read the book, Beyond the Limits (1992) about how between growing world overpopulation and our disposition to living without regards to our limited resources, we were in danger of depletion and ultimately face an existential disaster. 

Now this theme continues with the movie, Surviving Progress (2012) warning that our unabated consumerism and overproduction is leaving in its wake diminished environmental resources and leading eventually to a collapse of our global ecosystem. 

In between the book and the movie, I have followed the warnings of well known and respected leaders, such as former Vice President, Al Gore on global warning, former Comptroller General, David Walker on our spiraling national debt, oil magnate, T. Boone Pickens on peak oil, and that is just to name a few. 

Yet, the warnings of our unsustainable living keep running up against our impressive technological progress--for example, oil and natural gas is being discovered and still plentiful, agricultural productivity keeps rising, and computers and automation allows us to continuously do more with less. 

So what are we to believe--are we on a unsustainable collision course with mother nature that threatens our very existence or is our innovative prowess and technological progress going to keep us ahead of the curve and out of any danger?

As a technologist, and someone who promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, hard work and sound supporting ethics underlying everything we do, I am a firm believer that we can make a difference. Yes, with G-d's blessings, it is possible to shape our destiny, so that we can continue to not only sustain ourselves, but also actually improve our standard of living.

On the other hand, I cannot help but notice a generally gluttonous lifestyle in our society--where people almost always seem to buying bigger and better homes, cars, and even now yachts and private planes, and where buying and throwing things out is a vicious and endless cycle, where we live for the moment, rather than plan ahead. 

Despite initiatives to reduce, reuse, and recycle, we are still very much a single use society (use and discard), where compulsive shopping and a "mine is bigger and nicer than yours" mind-set and motive prevails. 

Now as humankind plans for Earth's ultimate resource depletion, companies such as Planetary Resources  are researching and developing robotic spacecraft to mine asteroids to get water, extract raw materials, and find new sources of precious minerals, and government agencies like NASA are exploring orbiting space settlements as well as the permanent colonization of the moon and Mars. 

At the end of the day, the Earth--no matter how large and bountiful--is a finite resource and we should use innovation and technology to extend its use and at the same time reach out to find our next hospitable home. 

Watching two seasons of a Discovery television series called The Colony about how people in a simulation of a global catastrophe, survive--I saw that no matter how well they did for a number of weeks living off of existing resources where they were, eventually, they had to plan and creatively build their escape to a new sustainable living place. 

Unfortunately, this is not just TV fiction, but this is our reality--to thrive in our world today, but also to plan and build for the long-term--a new home for mankind.

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