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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Interesting links: a technology story 

Regular readers know that the Clarion Content likes to send you off to the interesting links we find, but don't have time to write about at length... You can see old posts here (scroll down past this piece).

Today, we have a fresh batch of technology related links, hot off the interwebs.

The first one is about something we had never heard of, picosatellites. Picosatellites are super tiny satellites, usually not much more than 10 cm in length and 2 lbs. Yet, according to the Economist, thanks in large part to smartphone technology pushing miniaturization, the tiniest of sensors have been developed and are on-board, mini-accelerometers, mini-barometers and, of course, cameras.

These super tiny satellites have already performed biological experiments, been used as earthquake sensors and conducted propulsion tests. Launch costs are steadily dropping, from $40k last year to $20k this year. And they don't need dedicated launches, they can ride along on large satellite launches as ballast. Student teams are already building their own satellites for launch. Check out this DIY build your own personal satellite book. And read the whole picosatellites article here in the Economist.

We suppose this link is only tangentially high tech, but did you know that Honduras is selling land to private concerns to build and run their own cities.

MKG Group, a tourism and hospitality consulting company, out of France, has agreed to a three city deal. MKG will not only get to construct the city, but make the laws. The city will be governed by something similar to Texas law, popular for its laissez faire approach to business regulation. The experimental city will have no taxes on income, capital gains or sales. MKG will invest $15 million to begin building basic infrastructure.

Not everyone is happy with the planned development, Fox News quotes a petitioner to the Honduran Supreme Court as saying, "the prospect of setting up a charter city, with its own laws, [that] is sovereign to itself and doesn't have to pay taxes, is a dubious one at best. It'd be tantamount to inviting pirates to come in and have free reign to essentially raid the country's resources/riches."

Proponents, using Hong Kong as a comparison, say the city will raise Honduran income levels and bring as many as 200,000 new jobs.


How far outside the proverbial box are those two concepts? Could our third and final technology link possibly bring that level of paradigm-shattering to the table?

How about that scientists are once again debating the reality of a "warp drive?"

Harold "Sonny" White, of NASA's Johnson Space Center, said in September that the warp drive, previously seemingly requiring an impossible amount of energy, could be powered by something about the size of Voyager 1, the 1970's space probe.1

White and his colleagues have begun experimenting with a laser interferometer that instigates micro versions of space-time warps. The goal is to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light. Read the whole story here at Discovery.com.

1Voyager 1 is still kicking ass and taking names.

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