This week, to mark the forty-eighth anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, you can grab a free copy of my Kindle ebook “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” from now through Friday, July 21. I see returning to the moon and setting up a permanent base/colony as our best bet for a foundation to build on making humanity a spacefaring civilization.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Thursday, July 6, 2017
About a month ago, I was thinking about the future – as I usually do – when I had an interesting question. There are hundreds of companies around the world that make cars. The ten biggest – according to this Wikipedia page – are: Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, GM, Ford, Nissan, Fiat, Honda, Suzuki, and Rennault. My question was: how soon until one of these announce that they will no longer produce gasoline powered cars? They’ll still make some hybrids, maybe some fuel cell cars or ones that run on compressed natural gas, but mainly they’ll be switching over to electric cars. My bet was in ten to fifteen years.
At first, that seemed rather optimistic. But I live in America where half the government thinks climate change is a hoax because otherwise it would hurt the profits of their fossil fuel benefactors. Companies in Japan or Europe where they see climate change as a problem would be more likely to want to move things over.
Anyway, I had this idea and started writing this post, but then other things came up and I just kept putting it off. Then yesterday I saw this headline “Volvo Plans to Go Electric, to Abandon Conventional Car Engine by 2019.” Now Volvo isn’t in the top ten, or the top twenty, but it now makes me think that five to ten years is a more realistic timeframe. We’ll just have to see who of the top ten goes first.
Thinking about this led to a second question, once the first one goes, how long until the rest of the top ten do? My original thought was twenty to thirty years, but I’m going to bump that down to ten to fifteen.
Of course, related to all of this is a third question, which is which company on that list will be the first to switch over entirely to making autonomously controlled vehicles? I’d say that the first one will be in ten to fifteen years, but then the rest will switch over within five to ten after that.
So I’m predicting that the car of today – that you drive and that runs on gasoline – could very well be an outdated relic in about twenty years.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
In the olden days, everyone was either a him or a her. If you were something else, you hid that. But times have changed – a bit – and more and more people are breaking out of the old, societal boxes they had been placed in. This has led to people wanting new pronouns. My personal opinion is that no matter what stand you take on this issue, some will call you a slave to the status quo, while others will claim you are using language to promote radical ideas.
I’m not here to promote or condemn using per, ve, zie, or whatever. I’m just pointing out that the matter is only going to get more complicated. A century from now – thanks to genetic engineering and nanorobotics – humans will be able to modify their bodies in ways we can barely imagine. Some will modify themselves so that they can live on the surface of Mars without needing a spacesuit, some will upload their consciousness to a virtual world, some will form hive minds with other people, or even AIs. Will all these groups earn unique pronouns? Will you say something about a glathnex, and someone will ask, “Are those the walrus people?” “No, the pronoun for the walrus people is glathnox. Glathnex refers to the lesbian hive mind.”
Instead of creating a pronoun for every subcategory of human, could we just use one for everyone? After some thought I came up with huen, which is short for human entity, be that a single, physical body, a virtual body, or a hive mind. But won’t that make things less informative, you ask? Well then, you could just use the huen’s name: Joe, Blathen417, Ϣ.