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Musk to Release Hyperloop Plans in August

17/Jul/2013 Comments off

Enough already with the monetary policy right? Print money. Keep NGDP growing at a predictable rate. Look at the markets and tell everyone you’re going to. There, another monetary policy blog need never be written.

While we wait for central banks to stabilize the world economy and for politicians to undo that stability with wrongheaded policies, a handful of geniuses are making the world worth living in. These folks are only reason I get out of bed in the morning.

Check out this news clip:

I’ve had a reasonably excessive mancrush on Elon Musk since reading about Tesla Motors back in…2006? Since that time he’s blown past all expectations; replacing NASA, making the 2012 car of the year, founding a solar energy firm, and none of these daring firms have gone bankrupt yet! For the past year he has lead the thinking public on with hints of a an electric airplane and the Hyperloop. Unlike people like me, who have lots of good ideas but are too lazy and dull to carry through on the execution, Musk has already proven himself in a big way. Four times.

I look forward to hearing the details.

BTW. I’ve been chipping away at Nikola Tesla’s autobiography in the last week. Highly recommended, if you’re interested in getting a glimpse at how the mind of this monumental genius worked.

Don’t worry so much

15/Feb/2013 Comments off

If you’re plugged into the world of lawmakers, central bankers and economic journalists, its easy to get a bit depressed. However, things are well in the world of science and engineering.

Surely it would be better if more of our best and brightest found their way into the lab instead of the investment bank (alas there is path dependency). However, there are enough big brains working on the big problems to give me boundless hope for the future. Let the politicians tinker with the societal parameters, while technology and entrepreneurship tear the rug out from under them.

The following interview is with Dr. Doris Taylor. You may have heard of her work before. A few years ago, her team at the University of Minnesota grew a beating rat heart from stem cells. Think about that.

Tissue engineering, Google glasses, 3D printing and driverless cars. All these technologies work today, and they’ll only get better. Throw in the still-speculative, but well funded asteroid mining industry and the staggering volume of newly found oil in 2011/2012, and it becomes clear that we’re in for some serious aggregate supply in the next ten or twenty years. Stay long my friends.

How they work it at Netflix

9/Feb/2013 3 comments

Apparently Netflix (an American movie and TV show distributor) has a remarkably forward thinking corporate philosophy. If you’re an entrepreneur or work for someone, you owe it to yourself and underlings to read every slide. I can’t say I have a strong opinion on each point they make, but I recommend it without reservation:

Classical liberal types like myself tend to overstate the virtues of big corporations. However, unless they are subject to ruthless competition (cars, some electronics) and blessed with bold leaders, corporations become higher efficiency DMVs.

Disruptive companies like Netflix do God’s work. The agglomeration of similarly minded companies in Boston and San Francisco make me hopeful that technology and smart, driven people will more than offset the shortcomings of the median voter.

Is The Singularity Near?

24/Mar/2012 Comments off

I have found myself worrying more and more over the last two years that the singularity will not happen in my lifetime. It is hard to see man solving or even containing the worlds biggest problems with only 1-3% yearly growth in the productivity of mean IQ 100 workforces. And problems we have.  Global warming and various demographic complications standing out. Though, these issues would be quickly forgotten should Kruzweil’s story prove mostly right.

Here are some hints that Peter Thiel an may be overstating the grimness of the innovation shortage.

1.IBM’s latest supercomputer is actually really helpful in solving problems which have traditionally been in the human domain.

2. Solar power is now competitive in sunny places. This is a key part of Kurzweil’s thesis. Should the downward move in solar prices be grounded on technology, rather than government subsidy, this would have huge implications.  If solar power asymptoted toward ‘free’ in sunny places, factories could flock to Arizona and Spain, lowering land, fuel and knickknack prices for those of us who abide in proper climes. One wonders what the scope would be for major desalination (as in making small inland freshwater seas) in backward but sunny Egypt and Saudi Arabia. But is it just subsidies…?

3.Automated cars are increasingly in the news.

4. One can now have food brought by a robotic helicopter. Actually, I can’t tell if this is joke or not but this could be done with existing technology.

These are just anecdotes I found this week. But they are what we would expect to see if we were on the path to the singularity. I remain hopefully but am not building my life around the singularity, though I am 100% long 3D printing.

Categories: The Singularity
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