Hitch a Ride on the Next Near-miss Asteroid, Anyone?

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 05/22/2007

I’ve been using the Mike-Levin.com blog as a sort of receptacle for my daily blog-reading activities, but I have to be sure to spice it up with my own original blog posts. Most of my blog posts have been going into HitTail these days, but as it achieves some fame, I have to make sure people who discover me through this long-standing website don’t discover yet another content syndication thief. I do these posts, not only to grab a little traffic, but also to document what I thought were important events in the news day-to-day. Often when I’m in discussion with people, I say, “did you hear about this, or did you hear about that?” And this gives me the perfect place to compile those stories for quick review.

I’m looking for the perfect RSS-reading mobile phone that will let me browse the RSS feeds, show the pictures when available (EnGadget), and let me forward the articles along with the original publisher credits, links and headlines in tact. This is surprisingly more difficult than one would think these days. But I’m waiting, because I’m totally addicted to RSS feeds on my phone as my primary news venue. Imagine that. I can’t wait until ePaper fully hits. It’s one of my favorite themes.

Some of my other favorite themes include:

Processing power and storage space functionally approaching infinite, while broadband remains ridiculously monopolized, expensive and in short supply. Corollary to this story is the story of Mesh Networking of the OLPC, and how Verizon, Time Warner and the powers that be will probably fight to their dying breath before they let a viable mesh networking device enter the U.S. Market.

Another favorite topic is the entrepreneurial dream, and how with every passing decade, we will probably be pursuing it the same way we pursue “working for the man” today. The formula by which people invent, get funding, and bring ideas to market will be part of the standard education, so that an overall quality of living improvement can sweep across the world.

And that discussion always leads to some of the kookier, but inevitable discussions of what happens next? There are countless discussions that end with global annihilation, either by our own hand, or by the cosmic lottery giant reset button of gamma ray bursts. Any way you slice it, we’re going to have to be involved in some pretty proactive shit to keep the human race from going extinct. Even if we stabilize the planet’s weather patterns, there’s always the fact that our sun’s going to use up its fuel eventually. No matter how you slice it, it comes up transforming the state of human existence into something else.

But this reasoning never gets me down. Quite the contrary, I find the amount of difference a single individual can make quite uplifting. I’ve always elevated simple out-of-the-box design engineer people like Burt Rutan and Graham Hawkes as modern-day heroes in my mind, much in the vein of Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci before them. I shiver to think what would have become of the world if either BJ or LDV had the type of goo-powered prototyping equipment that’s available today for $5000. The only thing separating a person with a good idea from island-owning tycoon status is the formulaic entrepreneurial process, which should be part of elementary school text books.

Now, with my new-found concept of the long tail (thanks, Chris Anderson), I can evaluate heroes based on where they fall on this long tail. The vertical axis is not actually the amount of money they make, but is actually how they improved the state of human existence, and perhaps even helped protect human existence. So scientists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawkins are high on the curve, as are the sci-fi visionaries like Gene Roddenberry and Arthur C. Clarke. The wacky know-no-bounds engineers like Graham Hawke and Burt Rutan are definitely on this list, and I find myself begrudgingly letting serial inventors, businessmen and island-buyers of the likes of Richard Branson and Dean Kamen onto the list.

Dean Kamen is easy to understand, because his serial inventiveness clusters around mobile medical equipment, which clearly connects to bettering the human condition. But what about the mega media mogul behind Virgin Records? Why should he be looked up to? What has this British tycoon done to help the human race survive? Well, as it turns out, he’s the billionaire behind the X-Prize–the race for the first commercially funded spaceship, and ultimately SpaceShipOne, designed by… Burt Rutan! That’s right. The X-Prize, funded by Richard Branson resulted in SpaceShipOne, which resulted in the creation of Virgin Galactic, which will result in civilians in space. Ultimately, this puts us (humanity) in a mindset, where the colony ships, or perhaps hopping onto the next near-miss asteroid, doesn’t seem so far fetched.