24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Prescience of Genetic Engineering

As a matter of fact it was not until 1940 that Selkovski invented the purple alga Porpbyrococcus fixator which was to have so great an effect on the world's history. . . . Porpbyrococcus is an enormously efficient nitrogen-fixer and will grow in almost any climate where there are water and traces of potash and phosphates in the soil, obtaining its nitrogen from the air. It has about the effect in four days that a crop of vetches would have had in a year. . . . The enormous fall in food prices...
Folksonomies: futurism science fiction
Folksonomies: futurism science fiction
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A science fiction vision.

26 FEB 2014 by ideonexus

 The Problem of Energy

As a child, I read Friday by Robert A Heinlein, which portrayed a future in which energy needs are addressed by energy storage devices called "Shipstones", which are described as a way to pack more kilowatt-hours into a smaller space and a smaller mass than any other engineer had ever dreamed of. To call it an "improved storage battery" (as some early accounts did) is like calling an H-bomb an "improved firecracker." In the novel, the Shipstone's eponymous inventor realised "that the problem...
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Isn't that is isn't plentiful. The sky is raining energy. It's that we have to collect it into buckets for use.

These are partial direct quotes, the direct quote is from a hacker news comment.

13 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Mathematics in Seafaring

Before there was an accurate seafaring clock, the sailor seeking his bearings had to be a trained mathematician. The accepted way to find longitude at sea was by precise observations of the moon, which required refined instruments and subtle calculations. An error as small as 5' in observing the moon meant an error of 2V2. degrees of longitude, which on the ocean could be as much as 150 miles—enough to wreck a ship on treacherous shoals. Fatal miscalculation might come from a crude instrume...
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Sailors had to be mathematicians in order to keep their bearings on the ocean.

03 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 There are Many Leonardo's Today

Many persons wonder why we do not have such men today. It is a mistake to think we cannot. What happened at the time of Leonardo and Galileo was that mathematics was so improved by the advent of the zero that not only was much more scientific shipbuilding made possible but also much more reliable navigation. Immediately thereafter truly large-scale venturing on the world's oceans commenced, and the strong sword-leader patrons as admirals put their Leonardos to work, first in designing their n...
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A great observation, that Leonardo was an anomaly for his time, but he did solve problems that allow other to become Leonardos. A great example of this today would be the field of computer programming, where geniuses are commonplace, but so common and their work so unknown that they go unrecognized by our culture.