I see Apple is about to pour some new iPhones, literally. The company has been working with liquid metal components since it acquired technology to the material in 2010. Now rumor has it that the actual body of the next iteration of the iPhone will be "metallic glass". That is, the metal casing will have the properties of glass - smooth, hard, pourable, an integrated whole - rather than the properties of metal, brittle, susceptible to scratching, and made by stamping, bending and screwing parts together.
That's pretty slick, if you are into the aesthetics of the phone, as well as how it works.
Smaller, faster, slicker. Bigger memory. Better software. Lighter. Those are the trend lines in computer devices, eh? Those are the trend lines on functionality, here on earth.
Then we have the technology going the other direction, looking out. I remember as a kid in Colorado, we could sit on the front lawn, a mile above sea level, and look up through the clean, crisp air to see a sheet of white above us, the Milky Way. Stars as thick as the cream from Bossy the Cow's udder. Well, man is one curious animal, and the space probes are as astounding as Apple's mind-bending miniaturization projects.
We wait patiently for years as a chunk of metal with technology so far out of date as to be clunky speeds ever outward. Poking at the moons of Saturn, going to the edge of our solar system and beyond. One effort is to identify planets that might be inhabitable; that is, in the temperate zone about a sun, like our earth. There are billions.
Gadzooks, can you imagine all the creepy-crawly things out there? Green, black, brown. Big teeth, ravenous vegetables. Stinky scum bubbling new life forms.
Certainly somewhere out there some one, or some thing, is looking back at us.
Cameras with something like 8 billion pixel power are being prepared for launch. To bring details never before seen right to your computer. This is Hubble updated, with improvements many multiples of power over that ground-breaking big space telescope. Ground-breaking! Ha. Space breaking!
You are undoubtedly familiar with Google Earth and the satellite views of our planet provided there. I can zero in on the red roof of our house on Biliran Island and see the walls around the place, the tree clumps, the out buildings. I can spy on Iran's nuke projects almost as well as the government spy agencies. The last time I tried to spy on U.S. bases, my screen went dead.
The new toys the military is working with would scare the beJesus out of Beelzebub. Lasers and miniature drones and bot-technology that can walk a robotic camera and microphone down the halls of the Chinese embassy and rest it in a convenient flower pot. I don't even want to think about it.
|Google Earth Screen Shot|
You want to know why North Korea and Iran can't get successful rocket launches off? I suspect that somewhere in the basement of a non-descript building near Washington DC is a team of the most capable hackers ever hatched. I'm convinced these guys can put an electronic worm up your ass if they want.
I have given up on the principle of personal privacy. It does not exist. I figure it is better to concede and keep my blood pressure down than try fruitlessly to keep the prying eyes and software cookies of Google and other commercial spy agencies from tracking me around and drawing up an accurate psycho-profile that knows me better than I do. I tell ya, what they will do for profit and amusement . . .
I recognized they had me when, one day on my news roll, where stories get tailored to my liking based on my clicking patterns, my old Alma Mater came up. The Colorado State University basketball team had defeated Nevada Las Vegas, an astounding upset of a nationally ranked team. The Google computer, knowing I graduated from Colorado State, figured out that I would like to know of that achievement and popped it onto the news roll. So of all the universities on the planet, of all the games being played, it matched me to that game. Next time, it will probably add "Go Rams" to make sure that I know what it knows, my allegiance.
Cr e e e e e py.
But I digress. Have you checked out Microsoft's telescope project?
You can download the operating software or run it as a browser program. If you want to feel small and insignificant and totally awestruck with where our explorations are taking us, load it up. It has a special Mars project that lets you get onto and into that planet like you never imagined. You and I have put a bazillion tax dollars into satellites and probes, and it is a fine, fine return when we can sit down at our desk at home and prowl the craters of Mars or the moons of Saturn.
Like, I'm old enough to remember getting a black and white television in 19** (censored as age-obscene) and thinking,"wow, cool". Or my trusty Osborne computer in 1980 with its whopping 64,000 bytes of memory.
Now computers are getting atomic in scale. Cadillac will have a self-driving car out in a few months. We are digging into and under the ice of Antarctica and into the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. Scientists have created a genetic product called XNA that is completely artificial, but works just like living DNA, growing and adapting to pressure.
I tell you, knowledge is exploding. The world I knew as a school boy is gone. Dead. Socially, scientifically, psychologically. It is gone.
Only in the Philippines is life pretty much the same as it was in 1900. Here, people fight progress as if they would lose themselves if they gained new skills and disciplines and knowledge. Getting rid of the old ways is blasphemy here.
"We are fine the way we are, Joe. We don't need no stinkin' Western ways. Go away."