Monday, November 20, 2017

Old time doctoring

Whenever I read or watch something historical, I’ll often wonder what I’d do if while going to work one day a time portal opened and zapped me back to then.  (As if the things you think about to pass the time make sense.)  Anyway, I recently watched some YouTube videos on old time pirates.  One point they made was that if you were a man of learning who was a doctor, it was unlikely you’d choose to sail with pirates.  Unless you were a drunkard or in trouble with the law or something.  So pirate doctors weren’t always the best, and sometimes the “doctor” was just a crewman who could read a pamphlet on how to do amputations and had the stomach to do it.

So I was wondering if I were transported back a few centuries, could I cut it as a doctor.  And I realized that by not bleeding my patients for every little ailment like a stomachache, I might have more of them survive.  This got me wondering if – because I didn’t sleep through eighth grade health class – I’d be a better doctor than a doctor from 1800?  I wouldn’t bleed my patients, I definitely wouldn’t blow smoke up their ass, and if I called in a surgeon I’d make them put their instruments in some boiling water first to cut down on infection.  I mean, I’d even do the weird thing – for the time – of washing my hands. 

Of course, this also got me wondering which of today’s professional knowledge – medical, economic, political, etc. – will seem so stupid to the “common knowledge” of a century or two hence.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Jedi training

Did Jedi have to learn how to do the Jedi Mind Trick?  If so, who do they practice on?  Was there a non-Jedi janitor at the Temple the younglings tried to top one another with what they could make him do?  Or would a Master take their Padawan out to eat and say, "Can make the waitress give us free coffee?"

Monday, July 17, 2017

Grab a free copy of “The Moon Before Mars”

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. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The end of gasoline cars?

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.