Category Archives: Technology

No Money in antibiotics

Corp-Pharmaceuticals are waiting until the epidemics are eminent before they even consider wasting research and production on antibiotics. This is not across the board of course, but the trend is there. Actually ‘saving’ the world is a low priority for corporations. making money once it gets really bad — well, that’s a profitable mode of operation.

Corp-Pharma = Evil.

“Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”

WHO priority pathogens list for R&D of new antibiotics

Priority 1: CRITICAL

  • Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
  • Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing

Priority 2: HIGH

  • Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant
  • Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant
  • Helicobacter pylori, clarithromycin-resistant
  • Campylobacter spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Salmonellae, fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant

Priority 3: MEDIUM

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, penicillin-non-susceptible
  • Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin-resistant
  • Shigella spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant


How to cure this? (ha!)

Put a society funded (government) bounty on creating effective drugs that combat drug resistant bacteria — with a guaranteed production and delivery of N numbers of doses over X number of years, all at an agreed upon ‘society benefiting’ fixed price.

Penalize drug companies that do not participate by adding additional months of FDA approval time to any drugs on the docket.

“Hey, Drug Companies! Society needs this. You’re in the business. DO IT! Or find another means to fill your shareholder’s bank accounts.”


CMEs: Fermi Paradox solution?

One of the theoretical solutions to Fermi’s Paradox is the Rare Earth theory.

Fermi’s Paradox, if you’re unfamiliar, is the quandary that asks if intelligent life is probable in the galaxy and/or universe — why have we not seen evidence of it? (Aside from our own?)

There are so called “solutions” to this question and you can research them if you care to, but the one that I find most compelling is the one that supposes “Earth is rare.” Isaac Arthur’s Youtube channel has a Fermi’s Paradox compendium video which explains, in detail, this and the other solutions (Video).

There is one aspect of this Rare Earth solution that seems to go unexamined. And it is this: That Coronal Mass Ejections, CMEs, will have a severe and recurring negative affect on any technologically advanced society.

Humanity has experienced just one CME of a size to do it serious damage. You may or may not be familiar with the 1859 Carrington Event and the government reports on the next CME that will hit us (as well as the July 2012 CME that barely missed us), but you should.

CMEs have the potential, some think slight, but I think enormous, to disrupt electricity generation and transmission. I believe few people, if anybody, have theorized the extent to which a CME (every few hundred years — or more frequently) will have on an advanced technological society…

Or what it will have on OUR advanced technological society. Our electricity dependent civilization has never experienced a CME of Carrington level.

The solution to Fermi’s Paradox would hold that CMEs slamming electricity enabled civilizations anywhere in the galaxy or universe, over and over, each time knocking them back hundreds of years of their progress, wasting resources (like irreplaceable fossil fuels) will, in the end, suppress such civilizations from becoming electro-magnetically communicating / space-faring species.

Periodic coronal mass ejections would continually reset alien intelligence species’ societal progress. After every CME that wipes out their electricity generation and transmission capability their society will collapse. Over and over. CME’s happen again and again, in cycles.

The next massive Carrington level CME to strike Earth is going to, potentially, collapse our technological society. If a pair of massive CMEs were to hit during our summer, 10 to 16 hours apart — say goodbye to civilization in the Northern Hemisphere.

Here’s a theoretical scenario that explores this possibility:
Blue Across the Sea – Epilogue

Most experts who analyze the impact of CMEs, I think, underestimate the destructive force they pose. I believe that, specifically, the millions of miles of wire strung in every city and state, in every business building and home, in every subway, train station, in every airliner, in every container ship, in every facet of society — WILL be affected. WILL react to the magnetic plasma attack that a CME represents. And that this reality, here-to-for unexamined and unrealized, will collapse human society.

When it happens to us then it could happen to any galactic intelligent species. This, in my opinion, represents a valid solution to the Fermi Paradox.

The Problem with Star Wars

The problem with Star Wars and Star Trek and many other “Star blah blah blah” type story lines is this: where are the robots?

No, I’m not talking about the cute comic-relief characters, nor am I talking about the droid-wars robots.

Here’s the thing, Space Is Hard. Even Elon admits this. Biologically based creatures die — really easily — in space. They die if they don’t eat, don’t get liquids, don’t get enough to breathe, get squeezed or stretched or ripped. Biological creatures are fragile. A biological military force, or agents, or workers or what-have-you would be a society’s LAST resort. The first thing a sentient species would do when they start exploring space is to build up the biggest, baddest, smartest, most versatile space-force using ROBOTS they could.

People? We’re not gonna use PEOPLE — hell no!

Look, Humans suck at space. Right now about 1 out of 20 rockets we launch BLOW UP! And that’s good. That’s the best we’ve gotten so far. Imagine if 1 out of every 20 commercial flights that took off from airports just today BLEW UP!  About 100k flights occur everyday. Imagine if 5000 of them exploded in the last 24 hour. Hell No!

So, between our really really bad track record for sending rockets into space and our super-duper track record for flying airplanes, we have a long way to go.

Now, let’s examine our robotic and computer track record. We’ve got some amazing technology there. Robots are going to be replacing humans for most manual labor, and most complex logistics and management in the next 20 years.

Let’s think about this. Humanity will have an amazing robotic work force and superior artificial intelligences in just another generation.

But we won’t have a reliable means of space travel for at least two or three generations.

By the time we can blast around the solar system (or galaxy) in a Millennium Falcon humans will have constructed an incredible robotic space-force. And with that space-force we would be sending ROBOTS out with vast AIs in our space craft to do our exploring, and our patrolling and our space war fighting. We wouldn’t send frail, easy to puncture organic HUMANS! Hell No!

Extraterrestrial Sentient Species in our galaxy would be even smarter than us. They would have even better robots and artilects. They would never use their biological selves to do the work robots would do so much more effectively.

That’s the problem with Star Wars and Star Trek. Their story lines rely on bags of animated organic chemicals and not robots; which is just — implausible.


Humanity is a mushroom

You’re all aware of the kingdom that is fungi which, in many cases, reveals itself as mushrooms. But mushrooms are just the last step in the growth stage that is mycelium. It’s mycelium that is the true creature, the organism that is a fungus. Mushrooms are the small fruiting nodes of a vast and long lived mycelium.

Mushrooms popup, often overnight, using the fuel and structure that the mycelium may have been building for months if not years.

Humanity, like mushrooms, are the fruit of animal evolution that has popped up, seemingly overnight (evolutionary speaking).

Here’s why this is an important analogy. Without the multi-billion year establishment of an immense base of evolutionary progress and of a multi-billion year process of oxygen generation and just as importantly, the deposition of enormous caches of easily harvested energy (fossil fuels), humanity, like mushrooms, would not have had the vast body, like mycelium, from which to spring forth.

Imagine an abbreviated story of humanity.

  • At 500my after accretion, cyanobacteria evolves and starts producing oxygen.
  • 500my later, life emerges from the sea and begins to evolve.
  • 500my later, life has evolved into all the myriad species we see today.
  • None of the extinctions occurred. All of the most efficient paths to evolving a sentient, environment manipulating being (humans) were taken and approximately one and a half billions years after Earth formed, humans evolved to where our own species (us) were about 100,000 years ago on our own planet.

Then what? Then humanity bumbles along as we did for 80,000 years.

If a Holocene equivalent period doesn’t show up, if ice ages, and volcanism continue to limit humanity’s expanse. If they don’t get a really-nice-window-of-pleasant-weather, they might never progress past a primitive but intelligent species.

But let’s say on this other Earth, a Holocene does arise. Humanity discovers and optimizes farming using grasses and draft animals. They figure out chemical reactions (soda, potash, lime) and build cities and sailing vessels. They progress, as a species and a society, up to about our own 1600ce. This agricultural based mushroom of humanity is small, low and not that impressive.

Then things change. There is no access to vast, nearly free energy sources. There is no coal, oil or natural gas. The technologically funded agricultural based population explosion never happens. No coal for textile mills or steam engines or steamships. No oil for autos, trucks, airplanes, ships, fertilizers. The mushroom that our human species spawned — through the leveraging of the massive quantities of fossil fuels — never happens for this other humanity.

BUT! Humanity is resilient, tenacious and creative. This other human set keeps at the growth of technology that we had, say, between 1400 and 1700. Within a few thousand years, this other humanity eventually discovers nuclear power, the silicon circuit, space travel, artificial intelligence, advanced medicine. It takes them much longer to do so but, if they survive all the plagues that will continue to befall them for the duration of their societal evolution, then they will get to where we are today — eventually.

AND, if they survive, might actually be wiser, more tolerant, more homogeneous a species than we will ever be.

Maybe our mushroom like explosion of technology and population is our down fall.

OR, maybe that is the ONLY WAY that a species like us can ever hope to evolve. To take the long road, without fossil fuels to spring us quickly from wood burning homesteads to colonizing Mars, would doom any species to extinction due to calamity.

Maybe intelligent sentience can only arise like we did, like a mushroom.

Social messages = cocaine


“Deedle, deedle, deedle”


Oh goody! I just got a text, sms, email, voicemail, facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, flashvote… ANNDDDDD I got a tiny shot of endorphin too! Or maybe a itty bitty boost of dopamine, or serotonin. Yummy! Do it again! Do it again!


Won’t SOMEBODY pay attention to me?


Oh, yeay!

Is social messaging delivering our chemical highs these days? Instead of smoking crack, snorting coke, poppin’ pills, going for a long run, or diving into some great sex, are we all addicted to the tiny boosts of pleasure hormones we get when we see or hear our phones signal “hey, somebody reached out and touched you,”metaphorically speaking?

I posit that that is indeed the case. I bet we get a little boost of happy brain juice every time we see the numbers on our retweets or facebook notifications climb ever upward. They might be nothing but bots or trolls, but just to see those little red flags, dink, dink, dink up the number scale is enough to lift us out of our funk and twist the drip knob on our digital morphine IV ever the more open.

Turn that thing off and put that phone in a drawer!

What? Are you crazy? I’ll go into a detox fit!

No you won’t. Just try it. Just put it away for a weekend. I assure you, when you turn it back on Monday morning, you will have found you didn’t miss all those deedle dees at all.

Computer Art?

There are many beautiful, intriguing, curious, mesmerizing displays of color, shapes, terrains and entities that we see everyday: sunsets, the full moon, the Milky Way, a landfill, a bucket of Legos spilled down the steps, a bamboo forest, etc. These exist. They are not art. The just “are”.

When a computer,
• on its own,
• with programming (neural network) that it has created,
• that has been established to be a fully standalone, conscious, sentient being,
• and that computer deigns to photograph, paint, sculpt, describe or capture in anyway
• a scene as mentioned above or extracted from its own internal or external vision of existence,
• that expresses some reflection or nuance of itself –
• then that computer will have made art.

Until then? What a computer might create is just an extension of its creator. Or, is, like a sunset, a thing that contains beauty or strangeness – but is not art.

Hey Intel – telecommute!

I know this guy, see…

He just had an interview with Intel. Well, he almost had an interview with Intel.

He drove out to the Hillsboro, OR campus, a huge place covered with blacktop which, in turn, is covered by cars. It took him nearly an hour to drive there from his home, in not quite rush-hour traffic. This guy see, he’s used to telecommuting. Been doing it for a decade; like it’s the 21st century way to program right?

So he gets there and he’s like, burnt out by the travel, already he’s burnt out. He’s dressed like no one there, you know, like an interviewee, and he politely meets and follows the interviewer up to where he’s supposed to be interrogated. Only, when he gets there, he balks.

Oh sure, he’s congenial about the interview, but when they ask him about his in depth business intelligence experience? Yeah, he just goes, “what about telecommuting?”

They go, “sure if you, like, break your leg…”

(Intel. Fricking INTEL doesn’t, like, LEAD the nation in telecommuting as an option for their employees? WTF!)

Well, my guy, he goes, “I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m spending nearly two hours in the car commuting to and from this job.”

The Intel people are stunned. “What?” they’re thinking? “This guy doesn’t want to kowtow to Intel?” (my words — not theirs.)

So they pretty much go, “Welp, I guess this interview is over.”

And my guy, he goes, “Yup, sorry to waste your time (but, like, I wasted WAY more of my time getting to and leaving from here — anyway.)”


What is wrong with this country’s technological corporations that they cannot seem to trust their employees enough to allow them to forego the arduous, unproductive, stressful commutes in cars — and just let them work from home? Home, where every damn one of them has a high speed internet connection that could serve just-fine-thank-you for getting their work (namely bits) to and from said corporations servers.

It’s time we revolt!

Bit Bucketeers Revolt, BBR, BBR, BBR!

Face it – if you’re not bitching about the fact that your job could just as well be done from the privacy, security, and comfort of your own damn home, you sir, you madam, are part of the problem.