(See my other Space related Blog posts) – I came across the article Three Chinese astronauts arrive at space station yesterday. The three, the second crew for the Tiangong-3 Space Station, are expected to remain aboard for six months. Their mission will be to complete the assembly and construction of the station. I am of two minds on this achievement.
On the one hand, establishing a second space station beyond the ISS is a step forward. Space is becoming the next frontier for humans to conquer. The zero gravity manufacturing techniques and abundant raw materials found in space offer substantial commercial opportunities. The use of space for terrestrial communications is already being harnessed. As is the use of space based platforms to provide rich data on the Earth’s ecosystem and geography. Likewise, it is the perfect place to observe distant star systems.
The Chinese have longer term plans to send manned missions to the Moon and to eventually establish a base there. These are steps towards spreading humanity out over more than a single vulnerable location.
On the other hand, I think too few realize that China has begun to catch up and could soon challenge the US. I suspect that if you polled average people on the street about Tiangong-3 few would have heard of it. The ISS is scheduled for retirement in 2024. There is currently no replacement. Tiangong-3 is expected to have at least a decade of life ahead. Given the political challenges that China has made, the US must at least maintain equivalence in space.
You would think from the name “Morning Brew” that I was talking about coffee again. Not so this time.
Morning Brew is a free service that provides you with a daily dose of news and information by email. Per their website Morning Brew is:
the most informative (and wittiest) daily business newsletter around.
Here’s how it works: We’ll send all the need-to-know and some of the fun-to-know business news straight to you every morning. We’ll learn, we’ll laugh, and we’ll do our best to keep up with Elon Musk.
What we’re all about: We’re here to convene the best and the brightest interested in business (that’s you…or it will be after a little time with us) and form a community—both online and off.
I have been a subscriber for a few days now and I have to say that I am enjoying their morning email. You only get the one message per day so it won’t be flooding your inbox. This is something that you might want to try. If you decide to subscribe, I would appreciate your using my referral link: morningbrew.com/emtech/?kid=21c1bb
The idea of hardware being secretly hijacked during the manufacturing process has been around for a while. This allegation, if true, is significant! On the other hand, Apple has denied finding altered hardware in their official statement “What Businessweek got wrong about Apple“.
Since this article was just published October 4, I think there will be a lot of fallout over the next few days, weeks and months. It could have a significant impact on the cost of electronic products as supply chains reconsider off-shore manufacturing.
Well, Hurricane Season (nominally defined as June 1 to November 30) is back. The first major storm of the season is Beryl. If you live in the US, particularly the eastern portion of the country or are traveling there or have family there, you will want to keep up with hurricanes.
A while back I published reviews on three good websites for keeping track of hurricanes. I thought it was a good time to bring them back to peoples attention. These are:
I finished putting together the June issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week. It contains information of interest to engineers and those interested in technology in the Central Texas Area. Included are a list of the scheduled technical meetings to be held in the area. All of the IEEE technical meetings are open to the public.
I think we have all seen footage from Star Wars VI: The Return of
the Jedi, where the Imperial Storm Troopers are riding their 74-Z
Speeder bikes through the forests of the moon Endor.
Hungarian engineers have taken a step towards giving us that same
experience with their prototype ‘Flike‘ – a flying bike personal transportation craft. The engineers are from Bay-Zoltan which is one of the leading applied research institutions in Hungary.
The video of the first flight didn’t last long, but then neither did the Wright brother’s first flight. Certainly the Flike with it’s Y6 layout and all electric drive has possibilities. The current design’s lithium polymer batteries sustain only 20 minutes of flight, but the concept is interesting. The engineers hope to spin this project off into a for-profit startup in the near future.
Apple released a security update to Safari on March 17 which applied to versions of Safari running not only on Yosemite, but Mavericks and Mountain Lion as well. Apple did not release any details on the vulnerabilities being patched, other than to say that:
Multiple memory corruption issues existed in WebKit. These issues were addressed through improved memory handling.
A user interface inconsistency existed in Safari that allowed an attacker to misrepresent the URL. This issue was addressed through improved user interface consistency checks.
The memory corruption issues allowed a malicious web site to cause an unexpected application termination or the execution of malicious code, while the user interface inconsistencies opened a door to possible phishing attacks.
As always, the best practice is to keep up-to-date with security related patches.
About a week ago Apple updated the iTunes Store with a selection of ‘Free’ items. The selections is not large. I checked a few minutes ago and found 10 songs listed as ‘Free’ and 23 TV episode titles. The TV episodes seem to be the first episode of the series for a season, just to give you a taste of the program. The remaining episodes are all at a fee.
Is this a big deal? I don’t think so, at least not as it stands today. However, it may be worth your time to check what is available each week to see if something has been added that you want
On Thursday January 29, 2015 the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set new standards for the
classification of “broadband”. To qualify as “broadband” a service
provider must provide download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. This was done because the FCC felt that the US was not keeping up with available speeds in much of the rest of the world. By the FCC’s estimates, 17% or 55 million Americans do not have access to the newly defined “broadband” capability. Are you one of the few who has “broadband” per the new standard?
There are many sites that you can use to test your connection. One
I used the FCC app on my iPad connected to my home network over Wi-Fi and the results were 7.61Mbps down and 1.44 Mbps up. To verify that the Wi-Fi connection was not limiting my bandwidth, I duplicated the test from my Mac Mini which has a cat 5 hard wired connection to my ATT Uverse router. I visited the SpeedTest URL mentioned above in the Google Chrome browser. That test gave nearly the same results: 7.61 Mbps down and 1.43 Mbps up.
Clearly my home internet connection is FAR from the new “broadband” standard. That hardly surprises me when the US shows up ranked number 26 on a list compiled by OOKLA of countries by network speed (the US is rated at 32.65Mbps, we are tied with Bulgaria). The speeds that I measured actually puts me with the same connectivity as Bangladesh, which is ranked number 112 on the list.