Stalked by Unilever

Is it just me? Am I the only the one that can see them?

It started about 5 years ago, when I noticed the logo on a Linx deodorant. Only at that stage it was more like “Ah! So Unilever make deoderant.. huh! Isn’t that something”.

Fast forward to today. You can’t get through an Ad break without a creepy Unilever logo slowly sliding out the top of the screen. They don’t put it full screen, no they are just slip it in there and when I screem pointing to the screen it ghosts off the screen. I find myself looking over my shoulder. My doors are always locked.

What a strange marketing strategy – what are they expecting me to think. “Oh wow look that car company is owned by Unilever, that’ll be a good product, hey look so is that Airline, that Corner Store and that countries government”. It’s creepy and I feel like i’m being stalked.

UPDATE: http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/02/brazilian-laundry-soap-comes-with-a-gps-surprise/

IPTV – How to conquer the livingroom

It’s embarrassing watching the video entertainment products coming out at the moment. They’re all trying to come up with the winning combination, and no one is succeeding – even Apple failed with their Apple TV product. The problem is that their trying to invent some expensive lounge room swiss army knife, when what customers need is simplicity. They are failing to see the primary barrier – no one has IP enabled TVs.

Here’s my forumula to conquer the livingroom:

  1. All new TVs should be IPTV enabled with a gigabit ethernet port – this may include an OnScreen display to surf the web etc., but basically it should support “Push IPTV”
  2. IPTV Adaptor – Develop a low cost IPTV to TV device – which simply supports “Push IPTV”. Eg. Converts Packets into an HDMI signal.
    • I want a company to develop an ASIC
    • It accepts converts streamed video content (of the popular formats)
    • The chip supports outputs into HDMI,  Component, S-Video or Composite
    • The chip is implemented into 4 different products: IP-HDMI, IP-Component,IP-S-Video, IP-Composite

With that barrier clear, you don’t need to fork out to buy another gadget for you living room, you simply leverage your PC or laptop, pushing streaming video to any display in your home. When you connect your IPTV Adaptor to the network, it announces its self and all media devices and media software can then push streaming video to that display.

So now you can use your Laptop / iPad as a remote. You drag your show onto your lounge room and away you go! While everyone is watching on the TV, you can see thumbnail previews of other IPTV shows currently showing – so your channel surfing doesn’t annoy everyone else 🙂

The Web Security Emergency

We responsible users of the internet have always been wary when surfing the Web. We know that we need to make sure websites use TLS security, we need to see HTTPS and a tick next to the certificate to ensure no one is eaves dropping on information being transmitted.

How wrong we are.

The security industry has long known the weakness of RSA and ECC  – the major cryptography used on the internet –  as well as other asymmetric cryptography algorithms, against a quantum computer. And they have done little, to prepare for the advent of the first quantum computer, because it has always been a futuristic dream. But this position is quickly becoming antiquated, there have been many developments in the last few years which now have scientists projecting the first quantum computer to arrive within 5 years. 5 years isn’t that far away when you consider that your sensitive data could be being recorded by anyone today or even in the past, with a hope to decrypt it in 5 years!

There are people who think that Quantum computers will never come, but they are just burying their heads in the sand. Researchers have already developed one which implements Shor’s algorithm – the one which breaks RSA and ECC – on a chip!

So what is the security industry doing about it now? The threat won’t arrive in 5 years, the internet is insecure today. People are carrying out bank transactions today, believing that the data being transmitted will never be read by an unauthorized third party. Programs and drivers are signed with algorithms which will be broken in 5 years, what will stop malware then? There are also anonymous systems such as Tor and I2P which likely use RSA as the basis for their security, in 5 years how many citizens in politically oppressed countries will get the death penalty?

Fortunately there are asymmetric cryptography algorithms which are not known to be breakable by quantum computers, but these have not been standardised or fully researched yet. These can be found at http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/cryptographers-take-on-quantum-computers. So what it comes down to is, that the security industry doesn’t have the answer, and that’s the reason they are not telling anyone of the problem, they’re effectively covering up the truth.

UPDATE:

I’ve seen a lot of rapid developments recently, I’m still optimistic about an RSA breaking quantum computer within 5 years (from June 3, 2010)

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/04/doped-diamond-sends-single-photons-flying.ars

UPDATE:

The commercially available D-Wave (Quantum Annealling) can factorise numbers, according to some of their marketing, and this stackexchange question. The StackExchange question also describes the currently perceived limits of D-Wave or Quantum Annealling in general, estimating that N^2 qubits are required for an N bit prime. The current DWave is only 512 bits.

If the amount of bits were to double annually, then 1024 bit SSL encryption would potentially be easily cracked by such a device in 11 years.

However, this is what is commercially available. Given enough money it would be conceivable that a Goverment / Military could possess one now. Maybe even the NSA.

UPDATE:

D-Wave cannot break today’s SSL web encryption:

The optimizer they now claim to have is restricted to problems that can be mapped to an Ising model—in other words, the computer is not universal. (This precludes Shor’s algorithm, which factors integers on a quantum computer.)

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/08/d-waves-black-box-starts-to-open-up/2/

UPDATE

I’ve got less than a year left on my 5 year prediction, but I have finally found a scientist themselves make a prediction, it would not be unreasonable to think US DoD could have this already, or within a year, but it would be most practical to simply say I was possibly out by 5 years. So effectively the warning starts today!

They hold out the possibility of a quantum computer being built in the next five to 15 years.

see http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4105988.htm

UPDATE [2015-09-30]:

Even the NSA are worried about the post-quantum computing world, see: http://hackaday.com/2015/09/29/quantum-computing-kills-encryption/

UPDATE [2015-10-14]:

Maybe my prediction was right (only out by 4 months): http://www.engineering.unsw.edu.au/news/quantum-computing-first-two-qubit-logic-gate-in-silicon

Apparently it is feasible to build a quantum computer today. One that can defeat all encryption used in internet communication today (as long as that data is wire tapped and stored). Although it may take 5 years for mass scale commercialization, I’m sure NSA, FBI and DOD of the USA would be capable of building a quantum computer now, if they didn’t already have one.

The breakthrough by UNSW, could very well have been discovered earlier in secret. So this has implications for international espionage today, broader law enforcement in years, and the whole underpinning of the internet security in 5 years.

Using WiFi and searching Google via HTTPS? In 5 years, the owner of the Access Point could very likely decrypt your searches, and other information including bank passwords.

The only secure encryption today requires a password to be entered on each end of the communication channel.

Further Reading

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computer

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17736-codebreaking-quantum-algorithm-run-on-a-silicon-chip.html

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/213800,toshiba-invention-brings-quantum-computing-closer.aspx

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7252/pdf/nature08121.pdf

http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/cryptographers-take-on-quantum-computers

Super city: Pushing the technology boundaries

In the last article I discussed the concept of Technology Development Zones. This concept can be taken all the way with what we can call a super city. I started with this idea after thinking, what could I do with $1bn. After finishing with dreams of a house on the moon or a medieval castle in the mountains, I started jotting down some points.

Why can’t we start building an entirely new, entirely futuristic city? When you start from scratch, you can benefit from having no boundaries.

Australia so happens to be the perfect place for such an idea. A good economy. A housing shortage.

The Detail

I’ll try to keep it short

  • The city is a sky scraper – providing spectacular views for all residents. ie. 500m high, 500m wide, 40m deep, accommodating a little less than 50,000 people.
    • This reduces the human footprint, with all services contained within a single building. The only reason for people to leave the building is for recreation and farming.
  • It’s located at least 300km from Melbourne – reducing city sprawl
  • But it’ll only take you 30mins to travel 300km in any direction – see Transport below
  • Implements a “Base Luxury Standard”. A body corporate scheme, to operate on economies of scale.
    • Logistics – Cater for all logistics problems in one solution – Let’s call it a Transporter
      • A 3D “elevator” system
      • Elevator capsules which can carry up to 10 people and a few tonne
      • Can travel up/down, left/right, and back/forth
      • EG. Move from the first floor at the front of the building in the middle laterally, to the top floor at the back of the building on the left without “changing elevators”
      • Transporter capsules travel laterally along what would normally be the hallway for walking to your apartment
        • When travelling laterally to an apartment, the transporter doors and apartment doors open together
        • In an emergency, the apartment doors can be manually opened and occupants can walk down the lateral transporter shaft
          • Manual overrides are detected by the system and transporters for the entire floor are speed reduced and obstacle detection is activated to avoid collision with people.
      • Keep in mind that in an emergency, transporters should still be operational laterally, as there is no danger of dropping.
      • Transporters are not just used to transport people but also:
        • Food – Washable containers, transport prepared food, cutlery etc.. from kitchens, used containers are returned to be washed.
        • Heating / Cooling – Heat bricks or molten salts and LN2 packs for refrigeration, air conditioning and heating
          • No pipes = less cost, no maintenance
        • Water – A set of dedicated water transporters are used to fill small reservoir in each apartment
          • No pipes = less cost, no maintenance
          • Bathroom and commercial facilities do have pipes
        • General Deliveries – Furniture, clothing, presents, mail, dirty/washed clothes etc…
        • [Not Data] – That’s fixed line or radio wireless, can’t just transport hard disks, latency is much too slow 🙂
    • Food (Diet) – Set base cost for food every week which is pooled and food providers are then paid for. To start off with, fully automated systems are desirable to peel, slice, etc.., it’s possible to have a fully automated catering system which deals with 80% of meals. The final 20% is catered for by Chefs who still use machines for preprocessing – and are an additional cost. Eg. $5 / person per day for any basic meal and additional for specialist meals.
    • Climate – Instead of having thousands of small air conditioner compressor inverters in every apartment, have 3 very large and very efficient heat pumps and then efficiently transport the head/cold. Each apartment then has their own fan and climate control system where Liquid Nitrogen and Heat bricks are utilized, a simple refrigerator and freezer also run off the Liquid Nitrogen, removing two more compressors.
    • Data – Fibre runs to each apartment, and then inside is patched to different equipment. A fibre runs to the TV and Ethernet over Power is provisioned and isolated for the apartment so that every appliance and electrical device is controllable. Wireless systems are a feasible alternative.
    • Hygiene – Several banks of showers and toilets on each floor, the transporter takes you to the next available toilet or shower as required. So instead of having a toilet and shower taking up space in each apartment that only gets used 100th of the time in a day, you can be more efficient with a central bank of them. The showers and toilets are self cleaning, with minor cleaning cycles after every use and major clean cycles as required (eg. every half day).
    • Transport – Within the building, the transporter can take you anywhere, but what makes a remote city work well is fast transport to already established city centres. Mono rail is quite expensive and still relatively slow and inefficient when compared to air travel over long distances (about 800Km). There is plenty of scope for new transport ideas:
      • Air evacuated tunnel rail (Super sonic speeds without the risk and fuel of staying aloft)
      • Personal air craft (looking more like aeroplanes and possibly launched by ground based launcher, not those ridiculous artist impressions of cars with 4 loud, fuel guzzling turbine engines)
      • Automated Electronic Vehicle transport
      • Community car pool (basically like small automated buses which only travel along a particular route or highway)
    • Menial Tasks – Clothes/Dish washing is fully centralized and automated. Less tedious work for residents means more time to live – a higher quality of life.
    • Shelter – No one truly owns their space, they can either hold (pay around $50,000 for their entire life) or rent (interest of $50,000 over lifetime)

Conclusion

With a Super city, developed countries have an opportunity to push past the so-called “Modern” boundaries of today and exceed peoples expectations with a completely reinvented society and lifestyle. Super cities are not just technology test beds, they also offer citizens cheaper living for a greater quality of life, less stress – freedom from menial tasks, very short waits for transport and short travelling time.

But even developing countries could stand to benefit. The cost effectiveness of super cities and the efficient systems can help pull poor countries out of poverty. And various novelties could be redeployed into existing cities.

Technology Development Zones: Economic Development Zones for developed nations

How long can we say a combustion engine is modern? Or a toaster or microwave or stove or even lounge rooms? We can’t break a lot of traditions or social norms, but there are definately people out there willing to give it a go. I saw a documentary once about the Chinese Economic Development Zone (EDZ), from what I know, they are small geographical areas which are isolated from the macro economy and regulation, which are used to attract investment. China most famously uses such zones to help their economy grow – allowing western investors to leverage cheap Chinese labour but with western business practices. These EDZs are economic hot spots which eventually flow through the greater Chinese economy. The general idea is developing countries need EDZs to industrialise. I propose that such EDZs should never disappear, even in an advanced industrialised nation. An EDZ in a developed economy should have a technology focus rather than economic – so it is a Technology Development Zone (TDZ) and should be harnessed to further technology, processes, social refinement and regulation. Just like in developing countries the main barriers are culture and law.

I consider TDZs to be important for future seeking, “modernised” societies.  Such people can enter TDZs. There is often cultural resistance to change. A TDZ would attract people and families who are excited to consume new technologies and are open to change. A TDZ will help innovators commercialise, selling to a tight, first mover market. People live in a TDZ voluntarily. Residents of a TDZ are co-operative, possibly innovators themselves and should be able to find employment within a TDZ with a wide range of industries.  They are expected to try out new things, answer weekly questionnaires, contribute feedback and embrace change. People outside a TDZ are more likely to accept change if they have seen it in practice, and investors are also more likely to invest in an idea that can be implemented in a co-operative market. It’s quite possible for the progressive social norms of a TDZ to spread outside of a TDZ, and transform a nation to be more conducive to change.

Many amazing technologies could be developed if everyone had access to all IP. Patents aren’t evil, they are necessary to protect inventors so they may extract value from their inventions, blocking out competitors which didn’t have enough foresight. Unfortunately there are cases where patent holders sit on the patent and don’t commercialise it, with the potential consumers being the losers. There are even cases where companies buy out technology just to stop losing their traditional markets. A TDZ could offer a small community immunity from IP laws, offering tremendous innovation opportunities. IP holders would have priority to commercialise their IP within a TDZ, but if another company wants to build a product (say a fridge) which uses another companies IP (eg. Text to Speech) and the IP owner is not building the same product within the TDZ, then there should be no block. As a result all products which are going to be built for the TDZ should be approved by a Product Register, to avoid product overlap and to negotiate IP priority. I don’t consider such IP law exemptions to be mandatory to the success of a TDZ, however they would have significant benefits.

I have seen evidence where highly competitive markets can detract innovation. The latest craze – eg. iphone – although innovative is already successful in the regular market place and can dishearten local new innovation. The competitors in the smart phone market are super players such as Apple, Google, RIM and Microsoft. Thankfully Google created an open platform which is starting to reduce the monopolistic iPhone dominance. TDZ managers could help isolate fads from inside a TDZ, freeing up consumption capacity for new innovation. Technologies and products within a TDZ should be limited, where possible, to products and technologies not found outside the TDZ. Residents within a TDZ would never have the luxury of settling with a device such as an iPhone. New devices would supercede old ones. For example, the iPhone would have been expected, then the Google Nexus, then a Microsoft Phone 7 phone, and so on. In trials residents should receive significant discounts for such devices, after all they would also be expected to answer questionnaires quite frequently, and sustain a relatively high consumption of technology.

The electric car is a great example for illustrating the need of a TDZ. In a previous article I discussed the resistence to change from the oil and combustion automotive industries. If a TDZ was set up in a small city, a micro-economy could be tooled to demonstrate a society living with electric cars. From that micro-economy the idea could spread to the rest of a country and then the rest of the world. The changes would be gradual and the industries would be able to foresee the success in the TDZ and adapt for the eventual success in the greater community. Within the TDZ regulations would be different: the government could mandate all EV patents illegitimate and road laws would be relaxed, requiring engineer approval for reasonable vehicles. Consider the benefits, innovators would discover the best frontiers for the technology, such as logistics and cost-effective transport for the housebound elderly. Then the technology could move to be used for mainstream transportation use, where the single occupant of a car can be productive while travelling.

Imagine the super futuristic TDZ. There could be social change almost impossible to introduce today due to safety hysteria. You can redesign infrastructure and experiment with new city layouts. Citizens expect to be able to watch a movie or do some work while their travelling, groceries are automatically ordered and delivered, no one does dishes or cooks their own meals, or irons or washes clothes, Internet speeds are 10s of gigabits per second. Such a revolutionary change can only happen in a captive conductive society where change is embraced.

The most effective TDZ would be a purpose built city. It could be close to a capital city, so initial citizens can find work outside, while the local economy and infrastructure is developing. Such a move would require significant convictions by a politician, and cannot be expected of the first TDZ in a nation. A TDZ in itself could be too progressive for a politician of today to call. IP relaxation could have serious political ramifications, but a successful TDZ may significantly outweigh those risks. In any case, a TDZ is something like an invention that can be scaled up in stages. I live in Geelong. Geelong could be declared a TDZ precinct, this could start a demographic shift, seeing technology “thrill seekers” move to the region. At the same time a new suburb can be planned and developed as a micro-TDZ. Depending on the success of a TDZ precinct, a purpose built TDZ may be politically feasible.

The TDZ may very well play a significant part in our future. Leaving behind most traditions and inhibitions, we can begin to understand how society can better adapt to technology. Aside from the ideals of a more modern world, the economic benefits may shadow even the most optimistic expectations. What are the benefits of technology not merely available, but fully embraced by society?

In 1899, the U.S. Commissioner of Patents was famously quoted saying, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” We must not let ourselves become accustomed to the status quo, we have a lot to learn.

Update:

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/more_class_war_as_the_government_robs_business_to_pay_bureaucrats/

Looks like my idea has been picked up in some form, too bad the team captain is going to lose the game (botch this, just like everything else)

The Combustion Automotive Industry : Efficiency vs Jobs

I’ve been pondering on the benefits of electric cars. Why don’t we build those? They’re so efficient, they use a tiny fraction of the number of parts of a combustion engine (no: radiator, oil, pistons, valves, injectors, fuel pump, filter, diff., …). But I quickly realised, that apart from Oil companies buying out the patents, the car companies are as much to blame for keeping us in the stone age, and more so governments.

You see, it’s all of those parts which keep people in jobs. The automotive industry is huge. What happens when your car breaks down? You give a mechanic work, who makes you pay for a replacement part (one that’ll just break down in another few thousand Ks). It’s this inefficient system that creates economy. Now what politician in their right mind would fire an entire industry and not have a huge backlash?

So the question comes down to Efficiency vs Jobs. Can the efficiencies of an electric car, pay for the lost jobs? I believe that serious thought needs to be made into how such changes can be made. I believe that such jobs will be antiques in the coming years. We do need to find new jobs for these people, so obviously the change has to be gradual.

But what if a new competitor enters the scene with a shiny electric car. Who could that be you say? How about China. Their government has actually announced that they want the country to make electric cars. And they can do it, their communist – it will happen. Now china’s market weakness is their quality control, but the electric cars strength is it’s reliability, a perfect combination.

Soon we may have no choice, and be forced to abandon our combustion ways and embrace the electric car. My next article will actually touch on a possible way to transform the automotive industry without hurting jobs.

PS: If you’re reading this thinking that Hydrogen cars or technology X cars are going to be the winners, you right – they’re all electric.

Personally though, I think battery swap will be the best combination.

Moores Law – Technology or Economy?

This law has always been puzzling me. You seem to see it everywhere, everywhere someone wants to make themselves look more intelligent – it’s sort of cliche. But then it occurred to me, maybe this law isn’t really much of a law or prediction, but more of a self fulfilling statement.

What I intend to demonstrate, is that this law is something which marketing people are pedaling. I’m not saying the law is fundamentally flawed by any degree, I’m simply pointing out its’ true meaning and other factors operating behind the law and as a result of the law, and its’ misuse in the context of technology.

First of all, Moore’s law states “in which the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years”. Now the market is quite happy with that, and in fact they have found ways to bend this statement, like by saying that speed doubles every two years.

Now consider the CPU product cycles. They are quite short – around two years. And the market – they like to keep upgrading.  But now consider that Moore’s law implies dependence on two things, transistor count and cost. I’ve seen plenty of articles over the years of new technologies which could obliterate the two year cycle and more than double the transister count. But that’s not the problem isn’t it.

My thoughts are that, CPU manufacturers could build inexpensive CPUs which obliterate the law’s boundaries, but such technology is best saved for when they need it to keep up with the law and specifically a market which is ready to consume it.

Pretend Intel today, released 16 core CPUs, the market would love to fork out the usual premium at the start of the product life cycle, which would then be left to the higher volume lower cost market at the end of the product cycle. But then what would Intel do? Now all of a sudden the consumers don’t need to upgrade for longer, meaning Intel’s next jump won’t be so successful. The “market” from the vendors perspective needs steady increments.

So in summary, CPU manufacturers hide behind Moores law, to make customers buy up regularly. Journalists love to commentate on the latest technology and point out that it’s following Moore’s law. It’s because Moore stated the law that the CPU manufacturers didn’t feel obliged to commercialize all of the IP all at once. And it’s because of Moore’s law that customers don’t expect anything more, they just continue to fork out the money every 5-7 years for their new you-beaut server of the day. So I believe the law is less about technology and more about describing an approximation of a an industries financial capacity for a product cycle.

I guess it’s not so much a conspiracy – the system does work after all. But more of an insight of MHO – words can be powerful.

Co-Operative LTE

Introduction

Australia’s on the way to getting “seperate” LTE networks, by Telstra, Optus and others. Each taking about 20Mhz of spectrum each. Each of these networks will overlap, representing a poor allocation of resources.

Why not build a government or industry body organisation to build a single network which will reach further and be able to provide faster speeds than any of the smaller individuals.

Imagine if a single wholesale network had all 100Mhz of spectrum! You could achieve gigabit speeds and would be very cost effective for customers.

A better picture

Consider the status quo:
+ provider A use 10 towers to cover a town with 95% coverage, 20Mhz of spectrum and up to 300Mbps at a cost of $2bn, and;
+ provider B use 10 towers to cover the same town with 95% coverage a seperate 20Mhz slice and up to 300Mbps at a cost of $2bn, and;
+ provider C use 10 towers to cover the same town with 95% coverage, another 20Mhz of spectrum and up to 300Mbps at a cost of $2bn.

In total you will have 30 towers, 95% coverage, top speeds of 300Mbps and a total cost of $6bn. The customers are the losers here.

If instead a wholesaler uses 15 towers to cover a town with 99% coverage, 60Mhz of spectrum and up to 900Mbps of speed at a cost of $3bn. Then there is:
+ a big saving of $3bn dollars.
+ lower cost for service
+ an improvement in coverage
+ an improvement in speed

A possible business plan

Remember this is only #one way# of acheiving this. Let’s call the wholesale company (WholeMobile):
+ Each of the providers (A-C) would invest $1bn
+ Each of the providers would provide information of their currently owned mobile tower sites and current backhaul arrangements WholeMobile.
+ WholeMobile would pay the appropriate providers to upgrade the best sites to LTE (selecting from sites from all three providers)
+ WholeMobile would receive free access to the LTE services and ownership of the LTE components.
+ The tower property could remain property of the providers.
+ Co-located equipment would remain property of the respective owners.
+ The spectrum would be owned by WholeMobile.
+ WholeMobile would pay the relevent providers to upgrade backhaul to the various sites, with all the additional bandwidth belonging to WholeMobile.
++ Where upgrading backhaul does not suffice, new links will be commissioned by WholeMobile and fully owned by WholeMobile.
+ Profit from WholeMobile is saved for future network upgrades. Any excess profit is returned as a profit to investors.
+ The government may make a small investment to help inspire the process.

Operationally:
+ WholeMobile represents the full $3bn investment, with ownership of the use of the LTE network
+ Only a few sites should be required, where coverage is to be improved
+ Rural customers now can have premier coverage and speed (no need for satellite), in fact coverage can potentially be 99.9999% of the population and roads.
+ All providers and retailers regardless of investment pay for access (No need for ACCC to regulate prices).
+ Example of access business model: Use a [per KB weighted model]. Traffic on a congested tower results in penalty accounting. Eg. 1KB from a maxed out tower accounts to 10KB for the customer instead. This ensures customers don’t try to use all 900Mb of bandwidth all the time.

The approaching revolution

By the way 300Mbps * 11.5 is 3.5Gbps not 3.5Tbps (my mistake). But keep in mind that the digital dividend is just the beginning. Take into consideration the 403-520Mhz spectrum, and existing licensed spectrum.

Digital technology has been exploding in the wireless domain {Digital TV, Digital Radio, 4G etc}. It is obvious that digital encoding is much more efficient than analog. If the whole spectrum was re-assessed and applied with mostly digital technology, most government, military, navel and air services could be greatly condensed, leaving huge chunks of spectrum for commercial purposes. We are only seeing the beginning of a wireless revolution.

Cool Down Global Warming

My Position on Global Warming:

Reference information: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

Warming Likely. I have my doubts, and maybe it’s not to the extent they’re making out to be, but it looks quite likely. It appears it’s happened in the past.

Man Cause Unlikely. I’ve seen plenty of evidence that it’s not the cause – especially when you go back millions of years and see there is no hard link between CO2 and temperature. But who cares, even if it is caused by CO2 how much of that is man made? If we eliminated all our CO2 now would it stop the permafrost in Russia from thawing and releasing yet more CO2?

Overall – Not a huge problem. If the Earth avg. temperature is normally much higher, then what are we afraid of? Life has existed through these times before, and if it has happened previously in a natural cycle, who we to stop it? Life has survived in the past. I think we just don’t like change, we don’t want to move our houses.

Solutions – Direct. If we want to solve the problem at all, we should take a direct approach and cool down the Earth.

I’m getting frustrated with the politics, media induced popularity and hype around global warming. Sure it could be happening – but to ram it down our throats and try to tell us, that it’s caused by CO2 is ridiculous. Especially given the scientific facts. But even if it was caused by CO2, according to the alarmists, changing our polluting habits will not make any difference for the next 100 years! So why spend billions of dollars which will have no effect?  To me the answer is simple. If the Earth is warming up, if we attempt anything, cool it down directly.

Let’s look at the current popular equation.

Global Warming > Caused by CO2 > Reduce CO2 > Find technologies to reduce CO2.

My formula is:

Global Warming > Find technologies to cool it down.

If the problem really is that alarming, bypass the CO2, and get a world-wide protocol on such a direct solution.

Every day we are heated by the Sun. In the end it’s the Sun that’s warming the Earth – sure CO2 may be keeping more warmth in, but what we need to do is get rid of the heat. Take a look at this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy. The Earth is constantly being bombarded by 174 petawatts (PW) of thermal energy. This diagram (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Breakdown_of_the_incoming_solar_energy.svg) shows how the energy is absorbed and emitted. 89 PW is absorbed by land and sea and that’s good, our plants bathe in the light – all living organisms (except a few) depend on the light and heat from the Sun, but it seems that at the moment it’s too much.

Idea 1 – Terrestrial Reflectors

The greenies are pleading with us to build solar thermal power plants in deserts – makes sense, but they’re enormously expensive. We can indeed benefit from this free energy, but I suggest we take an intermediary step which will cost less, cool the Earth and prepare us for future expansion of solar thermal power.

And we definitely don’t need that heat in the deserts. The solution…

Mirrors… glorious mirrors… actually solar thermal reflectors – there’s a difference… and lots of them. On average for every sq. m of Earth there is 1KwH of solar energy bombarding the earth – of course the average is higher near the equator and in deserts (where there’s less moisture in the air). Solar Mirrors can (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_mirror) reflect 93% of heat back into space. By reflecting enough heat back through the atmosphere and back into space, less is absorbed in the ground – where the heat is most absorbed into the lower atmosphere. Think about those hot days, when the bitumen is radiating heat, this is what makes it a hot day. If the Sun didn’t shine on the ground and the wind didn’t pick up the heat, you’d be fine. Now of course, we still need light and heat – let’s not go overboard…

The idea is to install and arrange fixed solar mirrors in the desert, but in a constellation best used for future Solar Thermal power generation. For power, one needs to track the sun to keep the light on a central solar tower, but we don’t need that to cool down the earth, just ensure the heat reflects up back into space. So the mirrors would be fixed – no tracking electronics or mechanics required, but they can still be mounted on stands which have the dual axis movement, they’re just locked until you upgrade them for power generation.

With a Solar Thermal Power plant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloncurry_solar_power_station) you want to generate electricity, there’s much more complexity and cost in this endevour. You need the tower, power transmission, tracking mechanics, and all the people to make that happen, then maintenence etc…  A 10MW power plant costs about $31M and consists of about 54 towers, with mirrors covering 60,000 sq. metres (http://www.lloydenergy.com/presentations/Cloncurry%20Solar%20Thermal%20Storage%20Project.pdf)

How much would it cost to just have the mirrors? If the mirrors cost $25 / sq. metre (including installation), it represents $1.5M or 1/30th of the cost of the whole plant. (We’re not including land cost – which shouldn’t be a problem in the desert if it’s a Government backed initiative. Also remember, the mirrors don’t have the tracking mechanics which would cost a lot to install and calibrate). But if you spend a bit more you get electricity – you say? Well let me assure you that, even Nuclear (considered expensive) is cheaper to consume that Solar Thermal. And aren’t we trying to combat global warming?

Now in Equatorial and Australian Deserts the average is more like 2200Kw / M2 (http://www.off-grid.net/2004/07/10/how-much-solar-energy-is-there/). Those 60,000 mirrors would reflect around 132MW of solar energy back into space in an hour during the day (that must mean the solar thermal plant is only converting less than a 10th of the energy?). In a day (8hr peak) would reflect a whopping 1056MW of solar energy – that’s over 1GW! All for $1.5 million dollars.

So by pointing the panels into space, we can actually solve the problem. They want to spend billions to reduce carbon and tax many citizens at the same time. For $100 billion you could have 4 billion sq. meters of reflectors (For solar thermal the reflectors are spaced out – we’ll say one reflector in every 3Mx3M block – x9. This means it would cover ~60x60KM), sending back 88TW of energy per hour or 704TW back into space. That might be enough to tip the global warming scales in the other direction, pretty good considering they’re pouring in all that money which will have no effect (at least for 50-100years).

Also, imagine the environmental implications. The deserts could be cooled and in fact re vegetated… Or if the Earth cools enough, put in Solar Towers (over a longer time, as there’s no rush now) and reap the energy, pointing the mirrors back to the sky if Global Warming becomes a problem again.

Idea 2 – Space Reflectors [Best Option]

Only 89PW of the total 174PW of energy pounding Earth hits the ground. This means the terrestrial reflectors are about half as effective as if they were in space, and the energy still passes through the atmosphere twice, where it can be absorbed.

The idea is to put a sail in between the Earth and the Sun. Initially, I thought that you could just have a huge inflatable object floating in space. But then I remembered the solar winds (and Earth’s gravity – which is more of a problem because the object isn’t orbiting the Earth) – they would blow the object back to Earth. For this to work, you either need to place it closer to the Sun (where the Suns gravity over-powers the winds), or have many smaller stream lined objects – the latter seems more likely. For this to work, you would need to send a rocket up and then break out of Earths orbit, travelling to a place which maximizes the shading objects cover of Earth, while requiring no propulsion to maintain position. Then jettison the objects (likely near-vacuum “ballons”, which expand in space (vacuum)).

There would be no problem regarding having hard shaded spots on the Earth, as the Suns’ rays are not parellel. The objects would practically dim the sun very slightly.

To match Idea 1’s target of 704TW / day reduction = 24.4GW / sec. This would require a sail size of (8x 174*1000*1000ths of 127800490km2 =) 5.8km2 (compared to 4000km2 terrestrially). This size sounds achievable with one launch. If the sail was close to moons orbit (the sail would need to be slightly bigger – as the sun spot size increases as you approach the Sun – right near the sun is the size of the Sun’s cross sectional area), a 47,000KG payload can be delivered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payload_(air_and_space_craft)) (perhaps you can go just inbetween the Earth and the Moon – the Moon would attract meteors etc.. preventing damage to the sail and if placed correctly, the moon’s periodical passing may pull the sail back away from the Earth, enough to counter the winds?). So a sail of 5.8km2 would need to weigh less than 47T. The sail would have to weigh 8g / m2 – (so you’d probably need a bigger rocket than the Saturn V). Not very comforting (@ 6.35 µm foil weighs 17.2g/m2). So let’s use multiple launches to have 100g / m2 material – therefore 13 launches @$150million ea. Therefore in total, with a cost of $1 / m2 for the material + launches, it would cost: $5.8Million (materials) + $1.95bn = ~ $2bn. (That’s compared to $100bn for terrestrial solution).

Now with the same $100bn you could have 50x the coverage = 1.2TW / sec (and because it’s in space you have 24hr effectiveness, so it’s 4 times as effective as the terrestrial idea = 29.3PW / day!). I would think very effective for the purposes of reversing Global Warming, in fact I think this is dangerous – you’re at risk of creating an Ice Age!

Costs (Comparison of Idea1 and Idea2 with 1PW reduction):

Terrestrial: To stop 1PW of energy hitting the Earth’s surface, it would cost about $573,032 trillion @ $25 / m2 for reflectors. (I’m not saying you need to stop 1PW – but this is good for comparison).

Terrestrial Workings: Surface Area of Earth = 510000000km2. Sun affect = 1/2 of Earth = 255000000000000m2. 1 / 89th of 1/2 earth’s surface = 5,730,337km2. @$25 / m2 = $143258Trillion. Must x4 because the mirrors are only effective 1/4 of the day(all in one spot) or 1/4 as effective all the time (spread over the earth – near equator). So, $573,032 Trillion.

Space Sail: To stop 1PW of energy hitting the Earth (remember you would need 1/4 less material because it’s always in effect – unlike the terrestrial solution (8hrs / day)), it would cost about $800bn. So if the sail was thin enough and you could launch it in one rocket, stopping 1PW of energy is feasible – and overkill i’m sure. But certainly looks like the best option, with extra thought needed into the sail material (thinner is better – lighter – cheaper)

Space Sail Workings: Diameter of Earth = 12 756.2km . Sun spot on Earth = 127800490 km2. To reduce 174PW by 1PW, you would need to block 1/174 of the Sun Spot = 734,485km2 of blocking (compare that to 5,730,337km2 of reflectors required on Earth (7.8x), plus in Space they don’t necessarily need to reflect – space is cold – they can absorb and cool, and the sail can potentially be one big thin sail (with holes to prevent it moving)). Because you’re building one huge sail, and only “install” once, you can get a much lower per-m2 price + install costs. (We will put aside the fact that for this scale you would need thousands of launches – that doesn’t scale well – so let’s pretend it only needs one massive launch ~ $65bn special purpose delivery). At $1 / m2 it would cost $734,485,000,000 or $735bn + $65bn (with one super launch). If 5.8km2 requires 13 Saturn V launches, then this requires 126,635 launches = ~ $19,000 trillion.

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