Daily Archives: April 15, 2013

NASA technology (40)


Artist’s Concept of a Solar Electric Propulsion System
NASA – Using advanced Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) technologies is an essential part of future missions into deep space with larger payloads. The use of robotics and advanced SEP technologies like this concept of an SEP-based spacecraft during NASA mission to find, rendezvous, capture and relocate an asteroid to a stable point in the lunar vicinity offers more mission flexibility than would be possible if a crewed mission went all the way to the asteroid.

NASA’s asteroid initiative, announced as part of the President’s FY2014 budget request, integrates the best of NASA’s science, technology, and human exploration capabilities and draws on the innovation of America’s brightest scientists and engineers. It uses current and developing capabilities to find both large asteroids that pose a hazard to Earth and small asteroids that could be candidates for the initiative, accelerates our technology development activities in high-powered SEP and takes advantage of our hard work on the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, helping to keep NASA on target to reach the President’s goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s Image Credit: Analytical Mechanics Associates

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The ‘laws of economics’ don’t exist


By Zachary Karabell – This is just a smattering of examples over the past few weeks. Increasingly, our debates about – and our solutions to – pressing issues such as immigration, budgets and debt are framed in the context of all-powerful economic laws that dictate what is and is not possible. There’s just one slight problem:

There are no laws of economics.

For sure, many economists and large parts of society believe there are. The high levels of anxiety about deficits and government debt, not just in the United States but throughout the euro zone and much of the world, stem from the belief that if central banks create too much money, it will inevitably lead to inflation. Why? Because the “laws of economics” say the supply of money will cause inflation if overall output stays the same. more> http://tinyurl.com/ckx2xkp

Russia after Cyprus: Bringing the money home


By William E. Pomeranz – The Kremlin’s initial outrage over developments in Cyprus – and the island’s shocking expropriation of billions of dollars held by Russian companies and citizens – has given way to mild indifference. “If somebody gets caught and loses money at the two largest [Cypriot] banks, it’s a shame,” First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov recently stated, “but the Russian government isn’t going to do anything about it.”

It turns out that the European Union settlement that left Cyprus’s banking sector in shambles has done Moscow a big favor. Not only did the EU take down a major offshore banking center, it helped President Vladimir Putin’s campaign to return to Russia any money stashed away in offshore bank accounts. more> http://tinyurl.com/d3rzv2h

How Hardware/Software Co-Development Fuels “Product Creation”


By Richard Goering – At CDNLive,  Frank Schirrmeister,  group director of product marketing for the System and Software Group at Cadence, talked about how Verizon came up with a new app to get National Football League (NFL) video on cell phones. This created requirements that rippled through the network and the design value “stack.” The network needed more bandwidth and the devices needed more capabilities. One result of such developments: “anybody in the supply stack needs to supply more.”

As a result of the demand to “supply more,” IP developers are now building integrated subsystems. This is, in part, what the recent Cadence agreement to acquire Tensilica is about. And chipmakers have become responsible for providing much of the software stack, including drivers, OS, and middleware. As Schirrmeister noted, no longer is it enough to just partner with a provider like Symbian or Palm for an operating system, as it was back in the 1990s. Now, semiconductor companies must provide the chip with the OS up and running, and the trend towards open source operating systems like Android and Linux is amplifying this trend even further. more> http://tinyurl.com/c468w2f

Today’s Bitcoin Crash Shows Why It’s Not Really a Currency


By Rebecca Greenfield – After enjoying a week or so of increasing value, Bitcoin took a huge dive today (Apr 10), which explains why the “virtual currency” is not a currency at all, but more of a stock people have invested in to get rich. The coins started out at a high of $266 today, and have fallen to around $150, as this dramatic chart from Business Insider shows.

The system encourages hoarding, which is not a great thing for an economy. This is happening for a couple of reasons. First, there will one day be a finite number of coins. The system will cap out around 21 million, currently there are something like 11 million in circulation. When there is only a certain number of a valuable commodity, people don’t want to spend it. This hoarding causes instability, as Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explained over at Forbes. He compares it to a babysitting co-op Paul Krugman once wrote a column about in The New York Times: more> http://tinyurl.com/ceffzzj

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