The 100 most important inventions of 2008

November 21, 2008


TIME magazine recently released their 100 most important inventions of 2008. Here is a quick snippet of the list:

1. The Retail DNA Test *Check* (See image above)
2. The Tesla Roadster *Check*
3. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter *Check*
4. *WTF*
5. The Large Hadron Collider *Check* (Tough I might bump it higher than the Lunar Orbiter)

Seriously TIME? is a more important invention than The Large Hadron Collider? So I site that basically copied YouTube and lets you watch such ‘quality programming’ as SNL and 30 Rock is more important than unlocking the secrets of the universe? Don’t get me wrong I love to watch the Daily Show on Hulu and that keeps me from having cable TV in my apartment, but that doesn’t really compare to what the LHC can tell us about who we are. Seriously half of the things on this list are not even inventions! Seems like, whatever company owns TIME must own Hulu too.

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Less Than 20 Years Until First Contact?

November 13, 2008


The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) has come online with its initial configuration of 42 antennas. The project, led by the SETI Institute, is a non-governmental project funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in which eventually 350 small radio antennas will scan the sky for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. Senior SETI scientist Seth Shostak said that the array could become strong enough by 2025 to look deep enough into space to find extraterrestrial signals. “We’ll find E.T. within two dozen years,” he said. That’s, of course, assuming the distance we can look into space will be increased with new instruments yet to be built, and that the projected computing power under Moore’s Law actually happens. Shostak estimated that if the assumptions about computing power and the strength of forthcoming research instruments are correct, we should be able to search as far out as 500 light years into space by 2025, a distance he predicted would be enough–based on scientist Frank Drake’s estimate of there being 10,000 civilizations in our galaxy alone capable of creating radio transmitters–to find evidence of intelligent life that is broadcasting its existence.

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Asian nations vie for stake in moon

November 10, 2008


When India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter reaches its destination on 8 November, it will join two others – and neither is American, Russian or European. For the first time, probes from China, Japan and India will be orbiting the moon. This signals the latest stage in a new space race in which Asian nations are seeking a place alongside the established space powers. Both China and India are looking for helium-3 in the lunar crust as a possible fuel for nuclear fission reactors on Earth. The moon is estimated to have a millions tonnes of the stuff, the result of billions of years of bombardment by the solar winds.

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Internetting every thing, everywhere, all the time

November 3, 2008

It’s called “The Internet of Things” — at least for now. It refers to an imminent world where physical objects and beings, as well as virtual data and environments, all live and interact with each other in the same space and time. In short, everything is interconnected.  “If we can imagine it, there’s a good chance it can be programmed,” wrote Vint Cerf, the original Internet evangelist, on the official Google blog.  “The Internet of the future will be suffused with software, information, data archives, and populated with devices, appliances, and people who are interacting with and through this rich fabric.”  At the nodes of this all-encompassing web of objects is RFID technology.  The reason why RFID is often called next-generation bar code is that the technology is more accurate, scanners can read more objects with less directional contact, and smaller chips can contain a larger quantity of information.  Bruce Sterling, one of the pioneers of cyberpunk literature in the 1980s and an active sci-fi guru, neologized the term “spime” in 2004 to refer to any object that can define itself in terms of both space and time, i.e. using GPS to locate itself and RFID to trace its own history.

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