Thursday, December 30, 2021

December 30: Dark Matter, Diamandis, Omicron

Dark matter and dark energy: the mysterious ingredients in our universe Science is an ongoing flirtation with the unknown. ...... The history of modern cosmology is one of the great triumphs of the human imagination. ........ most religions have also wondered about our origins ........ (1) Galaxies are receding from one another with speeds proportional to their distance, carried by the expansion of space itself; (2) A bath of microwave photons (i.e., the particles that make up light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation) permeates the whole universe, serving as fossils from the time when the first hydrogen atoms formed, some 400,000 years after the Big Bang — as predicted by theory; and (3) Between a second and three minutes after the Big Bang, the first light atomic nuclei were formed by a process called “primordial nucleosynthesis” in quantities also predicted by theory and verified by observations. ......... If we think of the material composition of the universe as a cake recipe, we find ourselves currently in the odd situation of knowing that we have three main ingredients — regular matter, dark matter, and dark energy — and how much of each we need, but we don’t really know what the two most abundant are. ......... Having mass (and thus gravitational pull), it affects the stuff we can see. But efforts to collect particles of dark matter have been unsuccessful so far, a somewhat stressful tension between astronomical observations and fundamental theory. .........

Dark energy was discovered in 1998 and is even more mysterious and elusive.

........ Like subtle tracks of a fox on a vast snowfield, we know they are out there in some form due to the way they impress their presence on what we can see in the world.

HOW TO CREATE A WORLD OF POSSIBILITY Before the invention of the wheel… the cart, the carriage, the automobile, the wheelbarrow, the roller skate, and a million other offshoots of circularity were not imaginable. They existed in a realm that was off-limits until the wheel was discovered. But once discovered, these pathways became clear. This is the adjacent possible. ............. We have wandered into a world where the expansive nature of technology has begun to connect with our inner desires. ........ “For most of history, the unique mix of talents, skills, insights, and experiences of each person had no outlet. If your dad was a baker, you were a baker. As technology expands the possibility space, it expands the chance that someone can find an outlet for their personal traits . . . When we enlarge the variety and reach of technology, we increase options, not just for ourselves and not for others living, but for all generations to come.” .......... one’s emotional satisfaction moves in lockstep with one’s income—as income rises, well-being rises—but only to a point. Before the average American earns $75,000 a year, there is a direct correlation between money and happiness. ............

Above that number, the correlation disappears.

.......... 70% to 80% percent of the money we earn goes to meet basic needs such as water, food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. ........... On average, across the globe, the point where well-being and money diverge is roughly $10,000. ......... Thirty years ago, most well-off US citizens owned a camera, a CD player, a stereo, a video game console, a cell phone, a watch, and a whole bunch of other assets that easily add up to more than $10,000. All these now come standard on today’s smartphones. ............

In our exponentially enabled work, that’s how quickly $10,000 worth of expenses can vanish. And importantly, they can vanish without much outside intervention. No one set out to zero the costs of two dozen products.

.............. Unlike earlier eras, we don’t have to wait for corporations to get interested in solutions, or for governments to get around to our problems. We can take matters into our own hands. ......... Meanwhile, the one-quarter of humanity that has forever been on the sidelines—the rising billion—has finally gotten into the game. ............

where there is vision, the people flourish.

‘भारतमा ‘आउट ब्रेक’ हुने स्थितिमा पुगिसक्यो, नेपालमा संकट आउन सक्छ’ संक्रामक रोग विशेषज्ञ डा. प्रभात अधिकारी भन्छन्, ‘भारतमा ओमिक्रोन ‘आउट ब्रेक’ हुने स्थितिमा पुगिसकेको छ । अबको एक महिना वा त्यसको हाराहारीमा नेपालमा पनि संकट आउन सक्छ ।’ ........... ओमिक्रोन भेरियन्ट अन्य भेरियन्टभन्दा एकदमै चाँडो फैलिने हुन्छ । डेल्टा भेरियन्टभन्दा दुई/तीन गुणा चाँडो फैलिन्छ । डेल्टा भेरियन्ट एक हप्तामा दोब्बर भएको थियो भने ओमिक्रोन दुईदेखि तीन दिनमा दोब्बर भइरहेको छ । संक्रमण वा खोप लगाएको मानिसमा इम्यूनिटी हुँदा हुँदै पनि यो भेरियन्टलाई रोक्न सकिँदैन । ........ शुरु–शुरुका लहर पनि अन्य देशमा फैलिसकेपछि नेपाल आएको थियो । डेल्टा भेरियन्ट भारतमा फैलिएको एक महिनापछि नेपालमा देखिएको थियो । सुरुमा केसहरू ५/१०/२०/५० गर्दै बिस्तारै बढ्दै जान्छ । तर, ओमिक्रोन भाइरस एकदमै चाँडो फैलिन्छ । यसका केसहरू हरेक दुई दिनमा दोब्बर हुँदै जान्छ । बेलायत, अमेरिकामा फैलिएपछि भारतमा ओमिक्रोनले प्रवेश पायो । ...... हरेक दुई दिनमा दोब्बर हुने हो भने एक महिनामा ठूलो हाहाकार हुन सक्छ । अबको दुई/तिन हप्तामा धेरै परिवर्तन हुन सक्छ । .......... डेल्टा, ओमिक्रोन र रुघाखोकीका भाइरसका लक्षण उस्तैउस्तै हुन्छ । लक्षणका आधारमा रुघाखोकी, इन्फून्लजा वा कोरोना भाइरसको डेल्टा वा ओमिक्रोन भनेर छुट्याउन सकिँदैन । ......... खोप लगाइसकेकालाई ६ महिनापछि अनिवार्य रूपमा बुस्टर डोज दिनुपर्छ । नेपालमा अहिले कोरोना खोप भण्डारणमा थुप्रिएर बसेको छ । यो अवस्थामा बुस्टर डोजलाई पनि प्राथमिकतामा राख्नुपर्छ । ........ फ्रन्टलाइनर, जेष्ठ नागरिक, दीर्घरोगी आदीलाई बुस्टर डोज दिन थालिहाल्नुपर्छ । .......... कुनै नयाँ भेरियन्ट देखा परेपछि सामान्यतः दुई महिना उच्च गतिमा फैलिइन्छ । त्यसपछि विस्तारै एक महिनामा हराएर जान्छ । तर, हरेक भेरियन्ट छिटपुट रूपमा तीन–चार महिना रहन्छ, पूरै हराउँछ भन्ने हुँदैन । ......... कोभिडका नयाँ–नयाँ भेरियन्ट आउनेवाला छ । त्यहीअनुसार नै हरेक वर्ष खोप लगाउनुपर्छ । नयाँ भेरियन्ट आउन रोक्न संसारभरका मानिसलाई खोप दिनुपर्छ । अहिले संसारमा यस्ता पनि देश छन्, जहाँका मानिसले पहिलो डोजसमेत लगाएका छैनन् । त्यही ठाउँमा कोरोना आउट ब्रेक भएको पाइन्छ । ..........

डेल्टाको आउट ब्रेक भारतमा भएको थियो । त्यहाँ सबैलाई खोप दिइएको थिएन । जनघनत्व बढी भएकाले त्यहाँ भाइरसको नयाँ म्युटेशन भयो । डेल्टा भेरियन्ट भारतबाट विश्वभर फैलियो ।

.......... ओमिक्रोनमा धेरैजसोमा सामान्य रुघाखोकी मात्र हुनेवाला छ । मानिसहरू यो रुघाखोकी मात्र हो भनेर परीक्षण गर्न मान्दैनन् । अनि थाहै नपाई अन्य मानिसमा संक्रमण सार्न सक्छन् । ........

ओमिक्रोनले पहिलेको भन्दा दुई/तीन गुणा ठूलो लहर ल्याउन सक्छ ।

....... अहिले त सरकार भित्रकै निकायबीच पनि समन्वय नभएको अवस्था छ । सरकारको एक निकायको तथ्यांक अर्को निकायको सँग मिल्दैन । तथ्यांक नै नमिलेपछि गतिलो रणनीति बन्दैन । त्यसैले, एकद्वार प्रणाली हुनुपर्छ । ..........

कोरोनाको दोस्रो लहरमा धेरैले परिवारका सदस्य र आफन्तहरू गुमायौं । त्यो घाउ अझै मुटुमा छ, तर त्यो कोरोना बिर्सिसक्यौं । मास्क लगाउन, दुरी कायम गर्न बिर्सिसक्यौं ।

............ सरकारले खोपमा एक डलर खर्च गरेको छ भने १६ डलर फिर्ता आउँछ । सरकारले मास्क, खोप, औषधि, क्वारेन्टाइनमा गरेको खर्च १६ गुणा भएर फिर्ता आउँछ । ........... राजनीतिक प्रतिवद्धता देखिएको छैन । ओमिक्रोन नियन्त्रणका लागि कुनै पार्टी बोलेका छैनन् । बरु, महादिवेशन/जुलस भइरहेका छन् । जबकि, ओमिक्रोन नआइसकेको मान्दा पनि डेल्टा त हामीबीच छँदैछ । डेल्टा नै फैलिने जोखिम रहेकै अवस्थामा ओमिक्रोन आउन लागेको छ ।

How the Extinction of Ice Age Mammals May Have Forced Us to Invent Civilization
The Biggest Brain Maps Ever Created Are Pushing the Frontiers of Neuroscience
Chasing Energy’s Holy Grail: Was 2021 Fusion Power’s Breakthrough Year?
These Robotic Factories Will Make Supermaterials in Space

Monday, December 20, 2021

December 20: Pi Phone, Metaverse, Omicron

Oxford Invited an AI to Debate Its Own Ethics—What It Said Was Startling
This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through December 18)
This 'Breakthrough' in Chipmaking Could Bring Us A Phone With One-Week Battery Life Transistor stacking is getting Samsung, Intel, and IBM excited about the future of computing.
NFTs market hits $22bn as craze turns digital images into assets
Critics of non-fungible tokens say they are symptomatic of unsustainable digital gold rush
Scientists spot water ice under the 'Grand Canyon' of Mars "We found a central part of Valles Marineris to be packed full of water — far more water than we expected."
DRONE STARTUP TO FLY PALLETS WITHOUT PILOTS Dronamics will test a radical new vision of long-range cargo transport in Europe

The Metaverse Will Need 1,000x More Computing Power, Says Intel chipmaking giant Intel, the metaverse is on its way—but it’s going to take a lot more technology than we currently have to make it a reality, and the company plans to be at the forefront of the effort. .........

And what does “a persistent 3D virtual world” even mean?

....... Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash, published in 1992, was where the term “metaverse” first appeared; there, it described a 3D virtual world people could visit as avatars; they accessed this virtual world with virtual reality headsets that connected to a “worldwide fiber-optics network.” Another well-known reference is the 2011 book or 2018 movie Ready Player One. .......... the simplest way to describe the metaverse is as a connected network of 3D virtual worlds that is always “on” and happening alongside our real-world lives. ...... we can think of the metaverse as a “quasi-successor state to the mobile internet,” which will build on and transform the internet as we currently experience it. .........

“an even more immersive and embodied internet.”

....... powering the metaverse will require a 1,000-fold improvement on the computational infrastructure we have today ......... “You need to access to petaflops [one thousand teraflops] of computing in less than a millisecond, less than ten milliseconds for real-time uses” ....... “Your PCs, your phones, your edge networks, your cell stations that have some compute, and your cloud computing need to be kind of working in conjunction like an orchestra.” .......... “We believe that the dream of providing a petaflop of compute power and a petabyte of data within a millisecond of every human on the planet is within our reach”

Omicron Is a Dress Rehearsal for the Next Pandemic America’s response to the variant highlights both how much progress we have made over the past two years — and how much work remains. ........ Omicron is one more sign that the current pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of nearly 800,000 Americans, is not over. ...........

“We know that there are pathogens worse than SARS-CoV-2 that are emerging and re-emerging and waiting for their moment to take off”

.............. “We have this Balkanized health care system, and the system is a giant mess” ....... Just as a more equitable distribution of vaccines might help squelch the next variant of concern, preventing the next big global outbreak will require ensuring that every country has the resources to detect and respond to emerging pathogens. ........

The United States is a large and fractured country — politically polarized and burdened with glaring inequities, rampant misinformation and disinformation, and a considerable distrust of public officials.

These are enormous, thorny problems and are much harder to address than ensuring that labs have the capacity to detect Omicron or any new pathogen. ........ “I’m confident in our ability to detect the variant,” Dr. Fauver said. “What I’m not confident in is our ability to do anything about it. We’re detecting the Delta variant every single day, every time we sequence.” .......

Scientists are finding more Omicron cases every day, and the variant could soon overtake Delta.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

December 15: AI, Elon Musk

These Maps Reveal the Profound Progress and Peril of Modern Civilization Bacteria and viruses are still our greatest enemy. Humanity started winning the war on bacteria and viruses about 100 years ago with the rise of antibiotics and penicillin. But we are overusing them, giving rise to antibiotic resistance. Specialists fear we are approaching a post-antibiotic era, and this would be terrifying, costing hundreds of millions of lives and trillions of dollars in losses.

The rise of the anti-vax movement is a more dangerous threat than many fully appreciate.

............. Digital and wireless technologies are reconfiguring and rewiring our politics, economics, and sense of belonging. ........... the map on the US military footprint includes over 800 bases and 200,000 active personnel in over 177 countries ......... the map on China’s Belt and Road Initiative shows the terrestrial and marine investments that include over 2,600 projects spanning over 100 countries

How DeepMind’s AI Helped Crack Two Mathematical Puzzles That Stumped Humans for Decades With his telescope, Galileo gathered a vast trove of observations on celestial objects. With his mind, he found patterns in that universe of data, creating theories on motion and mechanics that paved the way for modern science. .........

Using AI, DeepMind just gave mathematicians a new telescope.

.......... Math isn’t just about numbers or algebra or geometry. It peeks into fundamental rules that may guide how our world works. .......... math tries to find patterns in data. Take one example: gravity. By examining how things fall—and on the shoulders of giants including Galileo—Isaac Newton took those observations, found patterns in them, and distilled those patterns into an equation. While that may sound boring, without that process we wouldn’t have flights, rockets, or space travel. ............ One thing AI is exceptionally good at is finding patterns in vast amounts of data ....... “I was just blown away by how powerful this stuff is,” said Williamson. “I think I spent basically a year in the darkness just feeling the computers knew something that I didn’t.” .......... DeepMind has been steadily proving that machine learning isn’t just for games and play, but has a multitude of practical uses From solving core biological principles to predicting gene expression with AI, and now aiding mathematicians in their quest to find new theorems, AI is increasingly bolstering advancements in science.

This Robot Tunnels Through Solid Rock by Blasting It With a Jet of Superheated Gas Petra is aiming to hollow out tunnels 20 to 60 inches in diameter to bury utilities. ......... costs five times more to bury lines as opposed to stringing them pole-to-pole above-ground and up to 20 times as much when the buried lines need to travel through hard rock. .......... Abrams said the company think their tech could reduce costs by 50 to 80 percent. ......... Swifty breaks rock into small pieces with a jet of gas heated to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and uses a vacuum to clear the shattered remains from the tunnel. ..........

besides practical and safety benefits, wouldn’t it be just lovely to hide the mess of cables electrifying the planet

Robots Evolve Bodies and Brains Like Animals in MIT’s New AI Training Simulator

Time: Elon Musk The richest man in the world does not own a house and has recently been selling off his fortune. He tosses satellites into orbit and harnesses the sun; he drives a car he created that uses no gas and barely needs a driver. With a flick of his finger, the stock market soars or swoons. An army of devotees hangs on his every utterance. He dreams of Mars as he bestrides Earth, square-jawed and indomitable. Lately, Elon Musk also likes to live-tweet his poops. ......... having previously advised that at least half his tweets were “made on a porcelain throne.” After an interval—21 minutes, if you must know—an update: “Splish splash.” .......

“But you know, not all jokes land.”

.......... His car company, Tesla, controls two-thirds of the multibillion-dollar electric-vehicle market it pioneered and is valued at a cool $1 trillion. That has made Musk, with a net worth of more than $250 billion, the richest private citizen in history ........... “The way finance works now is that things are valuable not based on their cash flows but on their proximity to Elon Musk” .......... 2021 was the year of Elon Unbound ........ and amid Musk’s sale of 10% of his Tesla stock, a process that roiled markets, cost him billions and should produce enough tax revenue to fund the Commerce Department for a year ........ A few short years ago, Musk was roundly mocked as a crazy con artist on the verge of going broke. Now this shy South African with Asperger’s syndrome, who escaped a brutal childhood and overcame personal tragedy, bends governments and industry to the force of his ambition. ............. “He was raised in a tough environment and born with a very special brain,” says Antonio Gracias, Musk’s close friend of two decades, who has held seats on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people in that situation don’t come out of it. Some small percentage come out of it with the ability he has to make great decisions under extraordinary pressure and the never-ending drive to change the course of humanity.” ............. The feds are probing Tesla’s Autopilot software, which has been involved in an alarming number of crashes with parked emergency vehicles, resulting in injuries and death. The company’s expansion in China required cozying up to its repressive autocrats. ...........

Former associates have described Musk as petty, cruel and petulant, particularly when frustrated or challenged.

.......... “He is a savant when it comes to business, but his gift is not empathy with people,” says his brother and business partner Kimbal Musk. ......... The vast expanse of human misery can seem an afterthought to a man with his eyes on Mars. ....... If Tesla delivers on its pledges, it has the potential to strike a major blow against global warming. The man from the future where technology makes all things possible is a throwback to our glorious industrial past, before America stagnated and stopped producing anything but rules, restrictions, limits, obstacles and Facebook. ............ the Mars Society, who met Musk in 2001, when the young, newly minted dot-com millionaire sent a large unsolicited check to the organization .............. he is an asset to the human race because he defines a great deed as something that is great for humanity .......... This was the year we emerged from the hundred-year plague only to find there was no normal to go back to, a year that felt like the cusp of a brave or terrifying new world, with nobody in charge and everything up for renegotiation—from how we work and travel to what we find meaning in and cherish. ..........

Musk has a soft handshake and an even voice that expresses exasperation, joy and breathtaking ambition in the same quiet register.

......... “And the next really big thing is to build a self-sustaining city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of Earth there. Sort of like a futuristic Noah’s ark. We’ll bring more than two, though—it’s a little weird if there’s only two.” ........... The company proceeded to create the Falcon 9 and then the Falcon Heavy, which has three clusters of nine engines. Clustering engines was previously considered a bad idea because of the number of moving parts that can go explosively wrong—one of many assumptions Musk upended. ............. For the Dragon, Musk swept away old-school instrument panels and replaced them with three oversize touch screens. There’s no control stick; the spacecraft’s attitude, orbit and re-entry engines are all governed by the screens. Astronaut Doug Hurley, commander of the first crewed Dragon flight, worried the screens would delay reaction times, but SpaceX solved this by making Dragon an automated ship. “There’s no plans to do any more manual flying, certainly on the NASA missions,” Hurley says, “unless there’s a need for it from a systems failure kind of scenario.” ............ Over Thanksgiving,

Musk emailed employees

that Starship’s new Raptor engine was facing a “production crisis” that could bankrupt SpaceX if it did not achieve a “Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year.” ............ “If lobbying & lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto,” he tweeted. In November, the federal claims court ruled in Musk’s favor. ........... “I’ll be surprised if we’re not landing on Mars within five years” ...... We have had little use for the moon since landing there 50 years ago. ....... “I have real doubts about the viability of a large settlement on Mars,” says John Logsdon, founder of Space Policy Institute.

“What would people do there to earn a living? What would be the basis of a Mars economy?”

............... Electric cars, like homemade rockets, were a graveyard of well-intentioned investment before Musk

barreled into an industry in which he had no academic training

. ............ A $465 million federal loan in 2010 helped prop up Tesla at a crucial juncture, and its customers have benefitted from hefty tax incentives. ......... During the 2008 financial crisis, cash was so tight the company came within days of missing payroll. With a dwindling fortune, Musk borrowed $20 million from SpaceX to loan the company, cajoled another $20 million out of investors and raised the price of the company’s debut sports car to survive. ........... Musk spent much of April 2018 sleeping on the factory floor as he tried to iron out assembly-line issues ........ “He would wake up, look at the monitors on the wall and go chase the constraint” .......... For Musk’s 47th birthday that June, he briefly paused for a bite of grocery-store cake, then went back to the paint-shop tunnel. ......... Tesla sent a software update that enabled the car to make farting noises on command. (“Please put ‘invented car fart’ on my gravestone,” Musk tweeted.) ........ “We don’t spend any money on advertising,” notes Tesla board chair Robyn Denholm. “His ability to communicate with a very wide range of people globally through social media, I think, has been a huge asset to the company—you know, by and large.” .......... “I remember when he had zero followers,” Lee recalls.

“He’s probably the most viral social influencer ever.”

............. Today, thanks in large part to Musk’s pace-setting, auto companies from VW to Nissan are jostling to invest billions in electric vehicles. Their about-face is driven less by altruism than by a dawning realization that Musk is eating their lunch. “Musk and Tesla forced the change,” says Michelle Krebs, an analyst at Cox Automotive. “He proved that there was a market for EVs.” ......... That has made Musk arguably

the biggest private contributor to the fight against climate change

. Had the 800,000 Teslas sold in the last year been gas-powered cars, they would have emitted more than 40 million metric tons of CO₂ over their lifetimes—equivalent to the annual emissions of Finland. ........ The Boring Co., which Musk started in 2016, put forward a plan to alleviate urban congestion by building miles of underground tunnels to whisk cars along at more than 100 m.p.h., but critics say plain old subways would be more efficient and equitable. ......... Tesla’s Autopilot system, which has been involved in 11 crashes with parked emergency vehicles since 2018, leaving 17 people injured and one dead. ......... Musk has been accused of overstating and misrepresenting the system’s abilities, starting with the name: despite the promises of an imminent driverless future, Tesla drivers still have to keep their hands on the wheel. ...........

the new system’s name, “Full Self-Driving,” is irresponsible.

.......... Ford and GM’s combined market cap is less than a fifth of Tesla’s, even though they together sold three and a half times as many vehicles. ....... Tesla’s gains have inspired investors to pour billions of dollars into EV startups like Rivian and Fisker. One rival, Lucid Motors, is run by a former Tesla engineer who helped create the Model S. The Lucid Air sedan was recently named the MotorTrend Car of the Year. Ford and GM have pumped money into thwarting Tesla’s expansion into pickup trucks, the most profitable segment of the domestic market. .............. “If somebody makes better cars than we do, and they then sell more cars than we do, I think that’s totally fine,” he says. “Our intent with Tesla was always that we would serve as an example to the car industry and hope that they also make electric cars, so that we can accelerate the transition to sustainable technology.” ..............

Musk’s mother was a model and his father was a monster.

........... “From the time he was 3, we used to call him that—Genius Boy.” .......... In 1999, Compaq bought the company and Musk netted $22 million for his share. For his next act, Musk decided to reimagine the global banking system. His company,, eventually became part of PayPal, which was purchased by eBay in 2002. Musk came away with about $180 million. ......... If PayPal had “just executed the product plan I wrote in July 2000,” he told a podcast last year, it could have put the entire banking industry out of business. .......... A globetrotting engineer named Jim Cantrell lent Musk his college rocketry textbooks, which Musk devoured, and agreed to take him to Russia, where Musk hoped to buy an old Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile and turn it into a rocket launcher. ........

“He did not come across as credible,” Cantrell recalls. “It was, ‘Who is this charlatan? This guy’s crazy; he’s not going to make a rocket.’”

.......... Energy storage had always been the biggest stumbling block—a conventional battery would have to be so big and heavy that the car would expend most of its power hauling its own weight around. .......... A few months later, Musk pledged $6.5 million to a lithium-ion car startup called Tesla, becoming its largest investor and eventually taking it over. ........... “I saw plenty of examples of people that had enormous wealth, and were entirely cautious,” Straubel says. “In Elon, there was this complete opposite mindset.” ........... The last successful startup in the American automotive industry, Chrysler, was founded in 1925. “I said, ‘Just choose one: solar or cars or rockets,’” Maye Musk recalls. “Obviously, he didn’t listen.” ............ Tesla had taken deposits of up to $60,000 from over 1,000 EV enthusiasts but had yet to deliver more than a few sample vehicles. An automotive blog was running a regular “Tesla Death Watch” feature. ............. Kimbal Musk recalls. “I remember him calling me in October and asking me if I had any money.

I had no money—everything was gone, except for about $1 million I was saving to survive the recession. I wired it to him to put into Tesla. I told him, If everything goes to hell, at least we’ll be in hell together.”

............... Then, finally, the fourth rocket made a successful launch. And two days before Christmas, NASA made the shocking decision to award SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 flights to the ISS. ................. Musk has been known to discuss his emotions as frankly and analytically as he does thrust-to-payload ratios .............

and announced on Saturday Night Live that he has Asperger’s, an autism-spectrum disorder. Musk uttered this intimate disclosure so awkwardly that many viewers took it as a joke

. ............... As Justine later told it, Elon abandoned her to tend to his companies as she spiraled into depression inside an L.A. mansion that became a gilded cage. ......... He and Riley were married, then divorced, then remarried, then divorced again in 2016. ............ Grimes recently released a new song, “Player of Games”: “Sail away to the cold expanse of space,” she sings. “Even love couldn’t keep you in your place/ But can’t you love me like that?” .................. Musk explains the split as a matter of logistics. “Grimes and I are, I’d say, probably semi-separated,” Musk tells TIME in Texas. “We weren’t seeing each other that much, and I think this is to some degree a long-term thing, because what she needs to do is mostly in L.A. or touring, and my work is mostly in remote locations like this.” He says they are still good friends and he does not have a new girlfriend.

“This place is basically like a technology monastery, you know. There are some women here, but not many. And it’s remote.”

................ “He would be happier with a partner,” says Kimbal.

“But he’s also a very hard person to be partnered with.”

............ Having pledged on Twitter this year that he would no longer own a residence, Musk has sold off his seven houses and considers his primary home a rental near the Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas. ........... In the future Musk envisions, no one tells you what to do. Robots perform all the labor, and goods and services are abundant, so people only work because they want to. “There’s, like, plenty for everyone, essentially,” he says. ............ So you have the freedom to do whatever you’d like to do, provided it does not cause harm to others.” ........ He has an ardent following in some of the nastier precincts of the far right, but Musk claims that when he tweeted “Take the red pill” last year, he had no idea that “red-pilling” was a right-wing dog whistle: “I was just referring to The Matrix,” the movie from which the meme derives. .............. he rejects the idea that the size of his fortune constitutes a policy problem in and of itself, or that he is morally obligated to pay some share of it in taxes .......... Musk and many others in his tax bracket paid no individual federal taxes as recently as 2018 because they had no income, only assets ............ In October, Senate Democrats considered imposing a “billionaires’ tax” on wealth. When Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon tweeted in support of it, Musk responded with a vulgar insult of Wyden’s appearance in his profile photo. ............ You want those who are managing capital to be good stewards of capital. And I think the government is inherently not a good steward of capital.” ............. “Great leaders become incapable of hearing criticism,” he says. “Why did Napoleon fail in Russia? Because every time before, he had succeeded. Plenty of French generals were saying, ‘Why don’t we just take Poland and be good?’ But every time in the past, the people who urged caution had been wrong.”

Monday, December 13, 2021

Poetry As NFT

NFT Poetry — Is now the start of a new era for poems? NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens that are unique in the blockchain world, meaning that ownership of a single digital art piece on the blockchain (NFT) is retained by one user, as opposed to copies of the same art piece. This form of tokenisation has spread from a few pixels to fields such as digital art, gaming, and photography. ........

NFT writing seems to be at its conception.

........ NFT writing does seem to be knocking on the door, and the current feeling is when, not if, will the cyber world open it.


How to Create NFT Poetry and Art It costs money (technically Ethereum) in order to list your NFTs for sale. Smart contracts (the brilliant medium of exchange for NFTs) cost money. Yes, it’s frustrating to pay in order to sell something as it smacks of a MLM type scheme—but in this case we are getting to list as many NFTs as we want in a searchable, easy to use interface. Plus, it means we don’t have to learn code in order to sell our art! .........

The good news is that I found a way to list all the NFTs I ever want to create for around $100.

......... In case you’re brand new to the crypoverse, a wallet is just what it sounds like—a digital version of the one you carry around in your pocket or purse.

This NFT project is literally putting poetry on the blockchain So far, the project has released two collections of poetry NFTs.

Turning my latest poem into a non-fungible token (NFT) on the blockchain I have just launched one of my latest poems as a NFT. This is also art, although in written form, so I decided to mint it as an NFT among my other visual artworks. ........

I mean if you can mint a Tweet as an NFT – something with zero literary or artistic value – and sell it for a fortune on top of that

– then I can certainly tokenize my original written poem, which has artistic merit in its own right. ........ I don’t expect it to sell really. You could simply copy the poem anyway so who would want to buy it? .......

I’m nobody important so I can’t expect my poem to sell like a random Tweet by someone famous.

........ In future I might even be able to put my poem to music and make a song out of it, which can also be tokenized as an NFT.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

December 12: Metaverse, Moon, Maps

Virtual Land in the Metaverse Is Selling for Millions of Dollars The trading volume of NFTs reached $10.67 billion in the third quarter of this year, with more people apparently willing to shell out huge sums of money for art that will never actually hang on their walls or adorn their homes in any way (with the exception of artist Beeple’s newest piece, which lives in a 3D box the buyer can put wherever he chooses). Now there’s a related, equally bizarre item selling for millions of dollars online: virtual land. It’s like real land, sort of, except you’ll never set foot on it because it only exists in the metaverse. ........

virtual land is becoming as much of an investment as physical land

........ Facebook, now Meta, aims to rule the metaverse of the future, but it seems likely that people will gravitate towards platforms like Decentraland precisely because they’re not owned or controlled by a centralized authority. ....... we’re in for a future where more of the things that populate our lives start to have digital counterparts

Scientists Model What Would Happen if a Mini Black Hole Punched Through the Moon The lunar surface is a record of the solar system’s violent origins. But look closely enough and we may find something even more exotic there—the cratered remains of an impact with a black hole the size of an atom, birthed in the first moments of the universe. ...... Stars orbit their galaxies much too fast given all the matter we can see. This invisible component, whose gravity can clearly be observed in stellar orbits, is called dark matter. To this day, no one knows what it is. ........ Star-sized black holes commonly form when a giant star, many times the size of our sun, exhausts its internal fuel and collapses in on itself. The star’s outer shell is blasted away in a brilliant explosion called a supernova, while the core, unable to resist gravity, implodes into a point of extreme density. Gravity becomes so strong near the center of a black hole that, beyond a threshold called the event horizon, nothing, not even light, can escape. ........ the very smallest black holes—those with masses below your average asteroid—would have evaporated by now .......... Hawking famously established that black holes radiate energy away, and given a long enough time, they disappear in a flash. But primordial black holes with slightly larger masses, yet still not much larger than atoms, would have lifespans longer than the current age of the universe and wouldn’t otherwise be detectable. ........ “They’re going at incredible speeds, 200 kilometers a second,” Caplan told New Scientist.

“It’s like a bullet punching through cotton candy.”

....... primordial black hole craters ought to be at least a meter across, within the resolution of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. ...... training a machine learning algorithm to scour orbiter images of the moon’s surface for just the right ones. ......... Even if all dark matter were explained by mini primordial black holes, Caplan and Yalinewich calculate the odds of a lunar impact at 10 percent. So, the real likelihood is lower than that.

PEOPLE HAVE SOME WILD THEORIES ABOUT THE CUBE CHINA FOUND ON THE MOON “By the time Elon shows up he’ll find a Tim Hortons every two kilometers”

These Maps Reveal the Profound Progress and Peril of Modern Civilization The growing demand for energy and meat helps explain the steady rise in carbon and methane emissions. Coal-belching factories and burning forests are in turn speeding up global warming, increasing the frequency of storms, deepening food insecurity, and imperiling flood-prone cities. The interdependent nature of our biggest challenges and most promising solutions is hard to conceive.

Maps can help bring clarity to complexity.

......... Satellite images, especially when layered with additional data, offer insight into how we are changing the planet and paths to a more sustainable future. .......... In 1950, less than half of humanity had a formal education. By 2050, a century later, most of the world will have acquired at least secondary education. ......... Maps show how just a handful of countries are responsible for most emissions. In the 1980s, the US and Western Europe were the biggest culprits. Today, China releases more greenhouse gases than the US, EU, and Russia combined. There are other culprits too, including Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile,

just 100 companies extract, process, sell, and use the fossil fuels behind roughly 70 percent of global emissions.

............ there are signs of real action on achieving zero carbon and zero deforestation in the coming decades ........ Investors with assets of trillions are demanding that governments speed up action on decarbonization, and not a moment too soon. ......... The sheer dimensions of today’s cities are unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed. In 1950, there were just three cities with ten million residents or more. Today, there are over 30 and another 500 cities with one million people or more. ....... Just a few hundred of them account for over two thirds of global GDP. ....... When fully recognized nation states emerged in the 17th century, less than one percent of the world lived in a city. Today, more than 55 percent of people are urban, and by 2050, the proportion will rise to almost 70 percent. Cities are exerting diplomatic overtures and forging alliances—over 300 of them—to channel their interests ......... Cities, companies, and citizens are also increasingly digitized. Today, there are over 4.6 billion active internet users, up from 3.9 billion in 2019. Over 60 percent of all inhabitants on Earth are connected to some digital device. The Covid-19 pandemic underlined the critical importance of connectivity and the fact that

data, more than ever, is the most important strategic asset of the 21st century

. ............ The internet is the world’s digital nervous system: download and upload speeds have increased tenfold every five years since the early 1990s. ...........

The internet, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and 5G are giving rise to highly integrated networks and connected systems crisscrossing the planet.

......... almost half of jobs in the US and up to two thirds of jobs in some developing countries could be automated in the coming decades. ............ Inequality within countries and globally has increased as the wealth of the top one percent has soared, while nearly 125 million people around the world have fallen into extreme poverty (having to live with incomes of below $1.90 per day). ..........

New York state alone consumes more energy than 48 countries in Africa.

......... New York consumes 392 gigawatts of electricity a day compared to just 5 gigawatts for all of Nigeria, a country of 200 million. ........... For about 150,000 years, average human life expectancy averaged between 20 and 25 years. Then something extraordinary happened. Between the 19th and 21st centuries, life expectancy almost quadrupled. This is due to better diets, medicine, reproductive health, and education. ..........

How DeepMind’s AI Helped Crack Two Mathematical Puzzles That Stumped Humans for Decades

Robots Evolve Bodies and Brains Like Animals in MIT’s New AI Training Simulator

Why It’s Still a Scientific Mystery How Some Live Past 100—and How to Crack It

A Plane Powered by Cooking Oil Just Flew Across the US the global fleet of aircraft could nearly double by 2039, from 25,900 in 2019 to 49,405. .......... The flight’s fuel was made by World Energy and Virent Inc., and was composed of cooking oil and fat mixed with synthetic compounds made from the sugar in plants like corn, beets, and sugar cane. This fuel reportedly creates 80 percent less carbon emissions than regular jet fuel. ........... The existing jet fuel industry didn’t spring up overnight; it’s taken decades to reach its current state, with oil companies, airlines, aircraft makers, regulators, and others all acting as pieces of a finely-tuned machine.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

News: November 11

New Spiking Neuromorphic Chip Could Usher in an Era of Highly Efficient AI The field of neuromorphic computing looks to recreate the brain’s architecture and data processing abilities with novel hardware chips and software algorithms. It may be a pathway towards true artificial intelligence. ......... ­the timing of when an electrical burst occurs carries a wealth of data. It’s the basis for neurons wiring up into circuits and hierarchies, allowing highly energy-efficient processing. ........ The goal? Build machines that are as flexible and adaptive as our own brains while using just a fraction of the energy required for our current silicon-based chips. ........ important information can be encoded with a flexible but simple metric, and generalized to enrich brain- and AI-based data processing with a fraction of the traditional energy costs.

New Optical Switch Is Up to 1,000 Times Faster Than Silicon Transistors A new optical switch up to 1,000 times faster than normal transistors could one day form the basis of new computers that use light rather than electricity. ........... Unlike the electrons that modern computers rely on, photons travel at the speed of light, and a computer that uses them to process information could theoretically be much faster than one that uses electronics. ........ It consists of a 35-nanometer-wide film made out of an organic semiconductor sandwiched between two mirrors that create a microcavity, which keeps light trapped inside. When a bright “pump” laser is shone onto the device, photons from its beam couple with the material to create a conglomeration of quasiparticles known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, a collection of particles that behaves like a single atom. ............

it can be switched between its two states a trillion times a second

........ “It took 40 years for the first electronic transistor to enter a personal computer,” he said. “It is often misunderstood how long before a discovery in fundamental physics research takes to enter the market.” .......... they could find nearer-term applications in optical accelerators that perform specialized operations far faster than conventional chips, or as ultra-sensitive light detectors for the LIDAR scanners used by self-driving cars and drones.

Japan Sets New Record for Internet Speed at 319 Terabits per Second each year we’re duly notified of a new eye-watering, why-would-we-need-that speed record .......... In August of last year, a University College London (UCL) team, set the top mark at 178 terabits per second. Now, a year later, researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) say they’ve nearly doubled the record with speeds of 319 terabits per second. ......... When the UCL team announced their results last year, they said you

could download Netflix’s entire catalog in a second

with their tech. The NICT team has doubled that Netflix-library-per-second speed. .......... Millions of miles of fiber now crisscross continents and traverse oceans. This is the web in its most literal sense. ......... The internet runs on infrared pulses of light that are a bit longer that those in the visible band. ......... The team split data into 552 channels (or “colors”), each channel transmitting an average 580 gigabits per second over the four cores. .........

the total diameter of the cable is the same as today’s widely used single-core cabling, so it could be plugged into existing infrastructure.

........... But don’t expect hundred-terabit speeds to enable your gaming habits anytime soon. These kinds of speeds are for high-capacity connections between networks across countries, continents, and oceans, as opposed to the last few feet to your router. ....... Hopefully, they’ll ensure the internet can handle whatever we throw at it in the future: New data-hungry applications we’re only beginning to glimpse (or can’t yet imagine), a billion new users, or both at the same time.

These Houses Are Affordable, Carbon Neutral, and Assembled Like IKEA Furniture houses take a long time to build, require all sorts of permissions and inspections and approvals, and are, of course, expensive. .......... The new company’s goal is to offer accessible, green housing options at scale. ........ “It’s a giant industry that has been losing productivity over decades and is not meeting our most crucial demands for housing.” ....... the company was “developing a component technology in which the walls, floors and ceilings are in separate pieces, as well as all of the things needed to make it a complete house: kitchens, baths, heating systems, etc. These houses can be packed more efficiently, then easily assembled on site.” ......... NODE homes come in flat-pack kits that fit in standard shipping containers, and they don’t require specialists to assemble; they’re essentially the IKEA furniture of houses ........ Their assembly is guided by software and can be done by generalist construction workers, or even by homeowners themselves. ......... buildings account for 47 percent of carbon emissions, yet

all of the technology exists for buildings to be carbon negative

........... they’re ultra energy-efficient and they use non-toxic materials. Their insulation, for example, is made of recycled denim, glass, and sand instead of fiberglass ........ The homes can also be outfitted with solar panels or mini wind turbines, and thus could end up generating more energy than they consume, enabling homeowners to sell power back to the grid.

This Tiny Personal Aircraft Costs Under $100K and Can Take Off From Your Driveway a flying all-terrain vehicle ....... All sorts of technology that used to exist only in cartoon form has made its way into being since the show launched in 1962, from jet packs to 3D printed food to smartwatches. .......... The vehicle runs on battery power, with eight electric motors, and is like a helicopter in that it takes off and lands vertically (though the fact that it has eight propellers makes it a “multicopter”). The fastest it goes is 63 miles per hour (102 kilometers per hour), so about the same as highway driving in or near an urban area. ........... In the US the aircraft is classified as “ultralight,” meaning you don’t need a pilot’s license to fly it. ......... the Jetson One goes for $92,000, which actually isn’t outrageous given that it’s basically a personal mini plane ........... The company has already sold its entire 2022 production run (which, to be fair, was only 12 units) and is now taking orders for delivery in 2023.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Attended Foreign Policy Seminar On Crypto