Showing posts with label Speed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Speed. Show all posts

October 8, 2019

Interplanetary Travel - Coming Soon


Awesome presentation on Interplanetary Travel by Charlie Kuehmann, VP Materials Engineering at SpaceX and Tesla. 

Interplanetary travel and colonization is one of the most exciting possibilities for mankind.  

It's all just beginning (we've only been in orbit for about 50 years). 

One of the keys Charlie mentioned at SpaceX and Telsa is how quickly we learn. 

It's okay to fail, as long as we learn quickly and progress from it.  

The progress with reusable rockets at SpaceX is impressive. 

Can't wait for more to come soon.  ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2019

Rubik's Cube On Speed

A regular, traditional Rubik's Cube is 3x3 by 6 sides. 

That's a total of 54 moving squares to order by color on each side. 

This Rubik's Cube On Speed is 7x7 by 6 sides.

 So this cube has 294 squares to figure out. 

(I did find another cube on eBay that was even larger, 15x15, called "Professional Level" selling for $384.40)

I'm sure there are some real whiz kids out there that can do these puzzles. 

And probably in under 3 minutes...

For me, I admire the dexterity and spatial skills. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 13, 2018

10-Steps To Common Sense Defense


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 12, 2018

Why Isn't The U.S. Keeping Up Militarily?


The United States is ranked as the most powerful country in the world:



But the U.S. spends more than the next 7-8 countries COMBINED!(See below chart from Forbes 2016)


In fact, military spending is more than half of all U.S. federal discretionary spending. 

So the question is why are we spending so much more than everybody else, is the United States getting its money's worth, and most importantly are we able to defend ourselves? 

The U.S. defense budget is going up and has been approved at $717B for 2019. 

All the other 28 NATO countries together spend less than half ($296B) as much as the U.S. alone. 

If you add NATO spending as a complement to the U.S. then the total spend on our mutual defense approaches $1 trillion!

Russia ($69B) China ($146B), North Korea ($6B), and Iran's ($16B) military spending in total pales in comparison at just $237B.

NATO as a whole is outspending Russia + China + North Korea + Iran by a factor of 4 times yet these countries are still considered major threats to us!

Despite all the truly incredible brave, hard working, and excellent men and women that serve with distinction in our military, 

Therefore, again why is it that the U.S. is spending more on what others seem to get for cheaper?  Is there significant fraud, waste, and abuse in the system?  Are we as a rich capitalistic nation simply getting fat, lazy, and stupid?  

Notwithstanding the outsized spending by the United States, incredibly from today's Wall Street Journal, there is another article about our inability to defend ourselves:
"These are admissions that the U.S. cannot proportionally and equally defend itself in space, cyber, and response to tactical and nuclear weapons except through the threat of escalation and intrusion into other domains."
Some poignant examples given:

- Our stationary land-based nuclear missiles are no match for Russia and China's mobile-based ICBMs.

- Our ten busiest U.S. ports do not have an adequate defense against an underwater nuclear missile launch.

China and Russia variously are beating us out in:
  • Quantum Communications
  • Anti-Satellite Weapons
  • Directed Energy 
  • Hypersonics 

In fact, it was just reported that China conducted its 8th hypersonic test of a plane--with this one said to capable of Mach 10--and that it is capable of carrying nukes! 

Further, our carrier group fleet and land forces are at risk with respect to Russia and China's hypersonic weapons.

Of course, EMP weapons can fry our electrical grid and a large cyber attack could disable our critical infrastructure.

Let's not even talk bioweapons--think Black Plague from the Middle Ages that wiped out 30-60% of Europe. 

Yes, some of these are asymmetric warfare, but why are we still thinking and fighting so kinetic and conventionally. 

If we are fighting the wars of yesteryear instead of the battles of today and the threats of tomorrow then what good is our military investments and assets.

To become a more capable fighting force that is less vulnerable, more capable of defending this country, and making better use of our large investment dollars here are 10-steps we need to take to transform our military; we need to transition as follows:

  1. From static land-based nuclear missiles to a fully mobile platform.
  2. From vulnerable fleets of large ships and planes to "unstoppable" swarms of miniaturized lethal drones. 
  3. From a preponderance of earth-based kinetic weapons to space-based energy directed weapons. 
  4. From having to generally choose between speed or power to using the power of speed as an "unstoppable" force of nature. 
  5. From projecting a time and space bound visible presence to a persistent invisible existence.
  6. From attempting to defend limited points of presence to establishing a "impenetrable" umbrella shield of multi-layered defenses.
  7. From reactively identifying and stopping cyber threats to proactively hunting and destroying them. 
  8. From knee-jerk instinctive putting of human lives in harm's way to matter-of-factly sending milbots (military robots) to the front lines. 
  9. From relying on the heroics and genius of individual human brainpower to harnessing in realtime "the collective" augmented by artificial intelligence into a hive.
  10. From relying on escalation of a "bigger, badder gun" to being able to fight capably in every battle arena, win in each and dominate holistically. 

Over $700B per year should buy us a lot of defense, hopefully in the future we can really use it to defend ourselves. ;-)
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March 30, 2018

NATO Is Asleep At The Wheel

So this is the dumbest military strategy I have ever heard. 

NATO is planning a "rapid deployment force" of at least 30,000 troops, 30 naval ships, and 360 planes to fight off a Russian invasion.

Sounds good?

The only problem is that this rapid reaction is planned to occur "within 30 days" of being put on an alert. 

Gee, a lot can happen in 30 days. 

It took only a little over two weeks for Russia to invade and annex Crimea in 2014 in a blitzkrieg that completely took the West by surprise. 

NATO continues to be shockingly unprepared for a Russian land grab.

Further, the 4,600 troops stationed on "forward deployment" and the 5,000 additional "spearhead force" to come to their aid "within 10 days" is again completely inadequate and ridiculous. 

Israel won the 1967 War in just 6 days against invading armies from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, and Israel again halted the advancing Egyptian army in the 1973 Yom Kippur War in just 3 days. 

With modern weaponry, Wars are fought and won in days--not months and years anymore. 

The long deployments we've had in Iraq and Afghanistan are not traditional wars, but wars of attrition again terrorism and dictatorships. 

If and when there is a war with the "Great Bear," it will be fought and won--OR lost in days--as well. Russia will act with stealth and speed and a ferocity that we remain blind to. 

And I fear that when we are ready to fight back, it will be way too little too late--like in Crimea--and all that will be left--after the European lands are gone--is more meaningless sanctions that Russia will retaliate against, tit-for-tat, anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 3, 2018

QC + AI = S


Quantum Computing (QC) + Artificial Intelligence (AI) = Singularity (S)

Quantum Computing - Computers using subatomic particles to superprocess atincredible speeds and with less energy--it's similar to massive parallel processing, but in the case of Qubits, they can store more than just 1s and 0s (bits--a binary state), but rather can be both o and 1 at the same time (a "superposition").  So for very large problems ("exponential scaling"), instead of processing (computing one step at a time), you can process all options simultaneously to find the very best ("optimized") solution by eliminating all options that don't fit the algorithm.

Artificial Intelligence - Computers simulate intelligence, using language, perceiving their environment, reasoning to draw conclusions, solving problems usually done by humans, being creative, and where they can actually learn and self-improve!

Singularity - A state of runaway hypergrowth from the attainment of computing superintelligence, where computers are able to autonomously build ever smarter and more powerful machines that surpass human understanding and control leading to unfathomable changes to human civilization. 

The Information Age is giving way to the Intelligence Age, and it is all ready to explode. 

We are getting to the point of no return...

(Source Photo: Screenshot from YouTube with attribution to the move, Lucy")
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October 23, 2017

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Database

There is a very useful article in Bloomberg about how the U.S. is taking too long to publish cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

And the longer we take to publish the vulnerabilities with the patch/fix, the more time the hackers have to exploit it!

Generally, the U.S. is lagging China in publishing the vulnerabilities by a whopping 20-days!

Additionally, China's database has thousands of vulnerabilities identified that don't appear in the U.S. version. 

Hence, hackers can find the vulnerabilities on the Chinese database and then have almost three weeks or more to target our unpatched systems before we can potentially catch up in not only publishing but also remediating them. 

Why the lag and disparity in reporting between their systems and ours?

China uses a "wider variety of sources and methods" for reporting, while the U.S. process focuses more on ensuring the reliability of reporting sources--hence, it's a "trade-off between speed and accuracy."

For reference: 

The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology publishes the vulnerabilities in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD).

And the NCD is built off of a "catalog of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) maintained by the nonprofit Mitre Corp."

Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity, speed is critical.

If we don't do vastly better, we can be cyber "dead right" before we even get the information that we were vulnerable and wrong in our cyber posture to begin with.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 25, 2017

Introducing The Valkyrie

Wow, just loved this new Aston Martin called the Valkyrie!

If I had a spare $2.6 million laying around that no one needed, I'd definitely get one of these. 

1,000 horsepower, V-12 engine, and they fit the car to you, literally!

"It's a carbon fiber rocket" with an assisted electric motor for the environmentally conscious. 

Here's a link to some awesome images of this gorgeous "hypercar" (which reminds me of Elon Musk's Hyperloop and it's a thousand time better looking than the Tesla).  

Fast, futuristic, performance, stylish, and sleek as can be.

I almost want to photoshop a picture of myself in the diver's seat with a huge smile on my face as I wave and say see you later. ;-)

(Source Photo: Aston Martin)
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July 27, 2017

When You Need To BLUF

Most professional (and even personal) communications should start with...
________________________

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front).

This means that you start with the ending--in mind, on paper, verbally, and in digital format. 

You provide the conclusion and/or recommendations right up front.

Rather than first wadding through all the details--context, analysis, considerations, assumptions, risks, etc. 

Let the reader know right away what it is you want. 

Generally, this is different than an abstract or summary that provides a synopsis and leading evidence for the argument put forward. 

Tell me what I need to know and get right to the point! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 9, 2017

Drones Vs. Man

I took this photo of this man and drone in Florida. 

Look how close this machine is flying to his head!

Aside from the surveillance capabilities and offsetting privacy issues, these are bringing some dangerous fighting capabilities anywhere and everywhere.

Just today, I read about how the U.S. shot down an armed Syrian drone--presumably made and deployed by Iran!

I guess it's not proprietary technology anymore!

As drones and robots become better, faster, and cheaper and ubiquitous on the battlefield and on main street, who will be (relatively) safe anymore? 

Unless of course, my drones are stronger than your drones!

It's going to be a war of technology and machines more than ever before. 

Small ones like insects, swarms of them like engulfing locust, and large ones like Godzilla. 

What was once human flesh against a steel blade, arrow, and then bullet is now going to be an superfast artificially intelligent, armed to the hilt "man of steel" (and they don't miss) against just regular everyday people.

Don't hurt your hand punching that Robot in the face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 26, 2017

BIG Difference Between Private and Public Sectors

So I thought this was very telling today about the difference between the public and private sectors...

I was teaching a class and gave the students a challenging scenario and problem and asked how they would solve it.

The class was a mix of leaders and managers from the public and private sectors--this time weighted mostly on the commercial side. 

Typically, the students from the government usually provide answers in terms of lengthy analysis processes, negotiations, vetting and getting buy-in and approvals through many layers of bureaucracy and red tape, as well as getting people to understand the what's in it for me (WIIFM) value proposition.

However, this time, one the students from the private sector said bluntly, the following:


We can either do it the easy way or the hard way!

So I asked, "What do you mean the easy and hard ways?"

And he answered:


The easy way is that we can try at first to appeal to people, but if that doesn't work then the hard way is we just do what needs get done.

Again with great interest and curiosity, I inquire, "And how do you that?"

This time someone else answers, and says:


We do "rip and replace"--we pull up the truck in the middle of the night and we rip out the things we don't like and replace it with what we do, period.

Then I ask innocently again, "So what happens the next morning?"

And the 2nd person answers again, and says:


Who cares, the job is done!

This reminded me a little of the old images of the mob gangster pulling up in the shadows of the night to someone's door that wasn't cooperating and applying the baseball bat to the knees!

Yes, it's a very different and extreme way of getting what you want and when you want it, done. 

Quite a BIG difference between the private and public sector approach to getting thing done!

One one hand, we have the speed and execution of the marketplace versus the more lengthly thoughtfulness and inherent compromises of government and politics. 

What's it gonna be--some bureaucracy, seemingly endless red tape, and horse-trading or the good ol' baseball bat to the knees? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 17, 2017

Twitter BESTS Facebook

Here are six reasons why Twitter bests Facebook and we ain't seen nothing yet:

- Unadulterated News & Messaging 
Twitter is where you can hear it from the President's mouth or the Kardashians or anyone else for that matter with no media bias and filtering (their very mission is information sharing), while Facebook is often about reposting stories, pictures, and videos that we find of interest already on the web. What's even more amazing is that anyone of us can tweet back to @realDonaldTrump or @SpeakerRyan...that is some unbelievable access we now have. 

- Speed of Information To Market
Twitter is now considered the fastest way to get the latest (and greatest) on what's happening.  From the US Airways jet crash into the Hudson River to up-to-the-minute updates on the Mumbai terrorist attackYou could even watch the election debates or the Walking Dead and get a real-time running commentary. 

- Our Very Social Identity
Twitter is now part of our very social identity, so that everything from our blog writings to our resume has our Twitter handle. Mine is @AndyBlumenthal.  

- It's Populism As A Movement
Twitter, while not technically as popular in terms of number of users as Facebook, is more popular in terms of the cultural impact. Politicians are putting out policy debates online and fighting it out there too, while celebrities and athletes are sharing personal updates, and the world is truly communicating directly and succinctly in 140 characters or less what's really important to them. 

- Operating On A Global Open Platform 
Twitter feeds are open to anyone who follows them and tweets are searchable on the web as opposed to Facebook which is predominantly a closed system to the web and you've got to be "friends" to get the real scoop with someone. Whether the Iranian Green Revolution or the Syrians Being Bombarded in Aleppo it's open and on Twitter. 

- Get Your BIG Data and Feed Your Artificial Intelligence
Twitter has about 500 million tweets a day or about 200 billion a year.  Even pulling out the ridiculous "What I had for lunch today" tweets, there is still an unbelievable amount of data to mine for analysis and artificial intelligence. Talking about a potential treasure trove of information and sentiment from over 317 million users, and computer algorithms are already churning through it to make the big data intelligible and usable for decision making. 

Certainly Twitter (and Facebook) need to get their virtual arms around fake news and profiles, but the good thing about it is that others can call b.s. as soon as they see it in 140 characters or less. ;-)

(Note: I am so impressed with Twitter's prospects, I am putting my own money where my mouth is.)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2017

The Trump Twitter Genius

President-elect Trump is a Twitter genius!

At 70-years old, he has managed to use a millennial social media tool to take on the world, and despite opponents questioning of his temperament, so far he has unequivocally won with it. 

Using Twitter, Trump defeated candidates from Cruz to Clinton in running for president of the United States and at a fraction the cost.

Using Twitter, Trump has shaped not only policy discussion, but national sentiments around healthcare, over-regulation, tax reform, and even updating our critical nuclear deterrent capability. 

Using Twitter, Trump has strengthened alliances and friendships with nation and states from Israel to Taiwan and decreased escalating tensions with Russia. 

Using Twitter, Trump has put competitors and adversaries on notice about bad behavior from China to North Korea.

Using Twitter, Trump is setting the stage for correcting economic problems and imbalances from unfair trade practices to shipping jobs overseas.

Using Twitter, Trump gets around media bias and messages and connects directly with the people of the world. 

Of course, it is critical to vet important communications and ensure they are accomplishing the goal, but this needs to be weighed with the ability to reach out and get the message out quickly and effectively to the masses...and it's a most fascinating and delicate balance that needs to be achieved. 

So far though, we are no longer working at the speed of government, but at the speed of the Internet. 

This is an incredible awakening in politics, but also for everyone on the incredible power of social media tools to communicate directly, unvarnished, and with impact, and no one has done it better than Donald Trump. 

The mastery of social media will continue to depend on messaging with speed, significance, and effect balanced with the vigilance as to exactly when to hit that crucial send button to the Twitterverse and the world. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 13, 2016

Balancing Change and Stability

So new leaders frequently want to come into town like a knight in shining armor riding speedily on their white stallions to "save the day." 

Being new and needing to prove themselves, change and quick results are the imperative.

The problem is that fast, quick wins can be mistakenly and superficially achieved while sacrificing longer-term organization success.  

We push people to hard, too fast, and without the underlying care and emotional feeding to duly support the rainbow in the sky changes being sought. 

People are human beings that need to be brought along in a unified manner and with a solid infrastructure and not plowed over for the sake of some short-term gains.

You can push for change so hard--you can crack the whip and you can demand what you want when you want--but rest-assured that you are leaving a great pile of destruction in your wake. 

Performance results are built by maintaining a sane balance between change and stability--pushing others to do more with less has to be replaced instead with getting out front yourself and pulling the organizational weight at a measured pace so that workers aren't trampled by the raw, unbridled ambition of the leadership. 

You may have a great scorecard of accomplishments, but they may be the tip of what is otherwise an iceberg of discontent and disaster beneath. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2016

Agile Processes As An Enabler

So something that I've learned is that processes can be an enabler or a hinderance to progress depending on how it's used.

On one hand, without a standardized and clear process where people know what they are supposed to do and when, we are likely to end up with a lot of chaos and not much getting done for the customer or organization.  

This is especially the case where tasks are complex and numerous people are involved requiring there to be solid coordination of team members, sync of activities, and clear communications.  

On the other hand, rigid processes that are so prescriptive that no one will get out of step for any rhyme or reason can be counter-productive, since this can hinder productivity, time to resolution, and customer service. 

For example, we all understand the importance of a help desk ticketing system in IT to document issues and deploy resources for resolution and measure performance. However, when customers, especially VIPs are in a bind and need help ASAP, it may not make sense to tell them to go open up a ticket first and foremost, instead of helping them to quickly get back online, and even opening the ticket for them and in parallel or as we get to it afterwards. 

Process should be an enabler and not obstacle to progress. Process should be followed under normal circumstances, but rigidly adhering to processes without adapting to conditions on the ground risks being out of step with the needs of the organization and a customer service model. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2016

The Need For Speed

In the gym this morning, I watched Joel Osteen giving his Sunday sermon on the monitor. 

The guy is a genius--always on message, always inspiring hope, always uplifting the masses. 

Today, he spoke about acceleration. 

The idea was that no matter how deeply bad our situation in life (e.g. illness, debt, demoted) and no matter how many months or years it would normally take us to recover or get out of it, G-d can accelerate things so that we are healed, solvent, or promoted tomorrow. 

He didn't say this, but as I understand it, G-d is above time and space, and so he can move you faster out of your funk then anyone would normally think.

Osteen gave the analogy of a bow an arrow, and the further back you are pulled--the more pressure and tension you are under in life--then the further and faster, G-d can propel you forward. 

To me it's interesting that when we are enjoying a wonderful moment in life, that we wish time would slow or completely stop, so we could savor the good times that much longer or just "stay in the moment forever."

And at other times, when we are down and suffering, the days of despair and defeat can drag on and on, and it seems like the hours and days just don't pass fast enough...it's almost like torture in that it seem to go on forever. And that is when, we hope and pray for a speedy resolution to whatever ails us--we just want to be free from the problems, the illness, the suffering--and so if only, we could leap forward in time and this "would all be over." 

If you are happy, life is too short.  But if you are in pain and suffering, every moment can be torture.

So if we are worthy, time can magnify and be an accelerant for prolonging the good times and getting out of the bad times (or G-d forbid, it can work in reverse as well--shortening the good times in life and extending out the bad ones). 

Similarly, long life can be a blessing if we are healthy and able to enjoy a real quality of life or it can be grueling for those in pain and suffering. 

My wife told me about this news item from a couple of days ago, where a guy won the lottery, but shortly after was murdered--his life cut short--in a home invasion (this "lucky" guy never got to enjoy his winnings).

G-d who controls time (and space) has quite a lot of leeway to test us or meet out justice--just speed things up or slow things down and the experience and feelings are magnified accordingly. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to spitfirelas)
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November 25, 2015

Speed Of Time

So a friend told me yesterday something interesting about the passing of time. 

We were looking back and saying how quickly it all goes...

I said, "Like the blink of an eye!"

He then told me this:

"Time is like the speed of a automobile. 

Your age is how fast the car is going. 

So for a child of 10-years old, the car is going 10 miles an hour...and it feels too slow. 

But for an adult of 60-years old, the car is going 60 miles per hour...too fast--in this case, 5 miles over the speed limit. 

The older you get the faster the whole thing goes by."

I told him how much I liked this explanation. 

And finished by saying, that in the end, we should just have good memories of it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 14, 2015

Blame The SLOW Trains

So another tragic major train derailment in Philadelphia this week. 

Already 8 people killed and over 200 injured. 

All over the news, we see that the train was speeding by going just over 100 mph.

Yes, it was a curve, and maybe we need to build some straighter more stable lines (I believe that is partly what eminent domain used properly is for) and with the latest safety features. 

But does anyone ask how can other countries safely implement their trains at far faster speeds--that makes 106 mph look virtually like a mere snails pace in comparison.

Just last month, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about the U.S. potentially upgrading to bullet trains that rountinely and safely go at far higher speeds:

Japan: 375 mph!

France: 199 mph.

China: 186 mph.

U.S.: 149 mph (even the Acela train has the potential to do at least this much, but for the most part they don't due to shared lines with commuter and freight trains and an aging infrastructure--uh, so where did all that money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act go exactly?)

In what now seems retrospectively almost mocking, Japan Railways, International Division Chief stated: "We have a track record of transporting a huge volume of passenger traffic with very few delays or accidents...Because the trains operate so accurately, travel can be made very efficiently [and safetly]." 

Do you think we the U.S. can catch up with our 21st century peers here?

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Toshy Island Paddy)
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October 3, 2014

Data Like Clouds

So data is like clouds...

Clouds want to be free roaming the wild blue skies similar to how data wants to be searchable, accessible, useful, and so on. 

But with data, like clouds, when it rains it pours--and when data blows about with the windstorm and is compromised in terms of security or privacy, then we not only come away wet but very uncomfortable and unhappy. 

Then, as we actually end up putting our data in the great computing clouds of the likes of Amazon, iCloud, HP, and more, the data is just within arm's reach of the nearest smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. 

But just as we aspire to reach to the clouds--and get to our data--other less scrupled (cyber criminals, terrorists, and nation states)--seek to grab some of those oh so soft, white cloud data too.

While you may want to lock your data cloud in a highly secure double vault, unfortunately, you won't be able to still get to it quickly and easily...it's a trade-off between security and accessibility. 

And leaving the doors wide open doesn't work either, because then no one even needs an (encryption) key to get in. 

So that's our dilemma--open data, but secured storage--white, soft, beautiful clouds wisping overhead, but not raining data on our organizational and personal parades. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 6, 2014

World's Fastest Bicycle "Egg"


This human powered bicycle is so cool--and fast!

It is called the ETA (or "Banana Bike") and is being designed by AeroVelo, University of Toronto engineering graduates and students.


These are the same folks that created the award-winning Atlas human-powered helicopter. 


The ETA is expected to reach over 87 mph, thereby breaking the human-powered land speed record of 83.1 mph.


The bicycle mechanics are being enclosed in an egg-shaped aerodynamic shell and it will be powered by a single person doing the pedaling. 


A combination of the movie Tron and the 1970's sitcom Mork & Mindy, it offers the potential for an environmentally friendly way to get around town and some nice fat-burning exercise too. ;-)


(Source Screenshot: here with attribution to BusinessWeek)

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