Minding The Planet is Nova Spivack’s weblog on emerging technologies and trends. It focuses on ways in which the Web is becoming more present, personalized and precise.
Nova Spivack is a technology futurist, entrepreneur, angel investor, and a leading voice on search, collective intelligence and the Semantic Web. More...
The nation of Myanamar (Burma) is currently ruled by a repressive and corrupt military dictatorship. Past attempts to bring about democracy have met with violent crackdowns by the government, usually against unarmed civilians. In one past incident, approximately 3000 protesters were killed by the military. Now a new situation is developing that could rapidly lead [...]
This is a really great invention — a hand held water bottle that can purify a year’s worth of water. It removes not only parasites and bacteria, but also viruses. It was just announced recently at a defense industry tradeshow and was a big hit among military commanders who need a better way to get [...]
A security researcher has figured out a novel way to compromise the security of messages traveling in the Tor anonymizer network. Messages in the Tor network are encrypted as they travel from node to node to their final destination. But the last node has to decrypt the messages before it can deliver them to their [...]
A group of physicists at MIT have come up with a new model for beaming wireless power to mobile devices, such as computers or cell phones. It promises to do for power, what wireless ethernet hubs do for network connectivity. I’ve been interested in wireless power ever since I first read the biography of Nikola [...]
Ok, here’s a very unusual news item: During his time as head of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, Nick Pope was persuaded into believing that other lifeforms may visit Earth and, more specifically, Britain. His concern is that "highly credible" sightings are simply dismissed. And he complains that the project he once ran is [...]
This is a very interesting scenario showing how China could potentially trounce US forces in a single, calculated strike. While it doesn’t consider the option that US would retaliate nonconventially, shifting the game to a new playing field, it certainly makes a compelling case for China winning in a conventional conflict in their territorial waters [...]
The head of the Russian space corporation, Energia, has been quoted as stating that Russia is planning on setting up a permanent mining base on the moon to mine Helium-3. Helium-3 is a non-radioactive isotope of helium that is rare on earth but plentiful on the moon. It is an ideal fuel for nuclear fusion. [...]
A radical new form of propulsion is being researched that may enable travel from Earth to Mars in 3 hours, and travel to nearby stars in just 80 days. The system is based on a novel quantum theory termed Heim quantum theory (HQT). The hypothetical device, which has been outlined in principle but is based [...]
The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading. The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about [...]
This just in… NASA has outlined what it could do, and in what time frame, in case a quarter-mile-wide asteroid named Apophis is on a course to slam into Earth in the year 2036. The timetable was released by the B612 Foundation, a group that is pressing NASA and other government agencies to do more [...]
The Russian air force has invented a next-generation stealth technology based on surrounding the aircraft with a plasma shield that completely disperses radar waves. This technology offers significant benefits over existing stealth technology and also enables higher-performance aircraft since the shape no longer has to be altered to achieve stealth.
I’ve been following the drama of the stranded Russian mini-sub. One of the main problems is that they have limited oxygen, which doesn’t give the rescue team much time to retrieve the sub. This got me thinking and I came up with a simple idea that could make all submarines safer: Every submarine should have [...]
This article is very interesting not only because it provides an unusually detailed scenario of what would happen if a nuke was detonated in the Washington DC area, but also because it provides counter-intuitive guidance for how to survive such a situation, as well as information about new medical treatments for helping both first-responders and [...]
A system for wireless quantum cryptography has been announced by BBN. This is curious: I wonder how they manage the key exchange? They could be using a laser, I suppose, but that would only be line of sight, or would require airborne reflectors. Another possibility would be the EPR effect, but if they actually built [...]
In a worrying development, part of a mutated human influenza virus related to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was found in a virus in pigs in South Korea. The question is, how did this happen and what does it indicate? It couldn’t have taken place naturally and may be evidence of the early-stages of a [...]
A recent article on Boing Boing reports the most recent round of Chinese cyberattacks on the Tibetan government in exile. China has increasingly aimed its sophisticated cyberwar teams at the low-tech, peace-loving Tibetans. I know dozens of Tibetan lamas and their staffs and they all use PC’s — and none of them know anything about [...]
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have proposed a new approach to making objects invisible, by tuning special materials such that they cancel the scattering of light. The technology has a few drawbacks — it only works for specific wavelengths of light at various scales — but it’s a start. Objects that are rendered "invisible" [...]
by Nova Spivack, Minding the Planet, http://www.mindingtheplanet.net This news article reports that the FBI is investigating a situation in which mobsters deliberately contaminated their drug money with a virus in order to deter in-house theft by members of their organization. Several years ago, during the days of collective paranoia following 9-11, I started thinking about [...]
A Russian academician has predicted that bird-flu will stem to humans and kill up to one billion people around the world within 6 months of an outbreak. He says it is highly probable that a pandemic could take place within the next year. There is no evidence cited for his claims however he refers to [...]
Disclaimer: I try to keep this blog non-political. I am essentially a political centrist — I tend to judge each politician, plan and party on its merits rather than by any rigid ideology or party-line. I generally find most politicans, political plans and political parties to be less intelligent and less long-term-oriented than I would [...]
This article by a former NSA/NSC and Reagan-administration official adds further credence to the “October Surprise” theory that the White House may initiate a pre-election attack on Iran. It’s interesting because of the source, who is presumably both more reliable and more connected and “in-the-know” than the usual rumor sources on the Web. Let’s hope [...]