Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for April, 2017

More thoughts on Drones / Flying Cars

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Yesterday I posted about an NPR article about flying cars, and my opinion that the best way to make these a reality is to have them become laser powered.  It is interesting that this week’s Economist also has an article about flying cars.  If you thought this idea was far fetched, NASA has done some experiments of a proof of concept.  But getting power to a drone/flying car alone is not enough, because there is still a need to have enough energy stored in the drone/flying car to stay aloft for s sufficient period of time if the incoming power stops working.

So, we also need a breakthrough in power storage, where more energy can be stored with less weight in a given space.  Battery technology is not the long term answer.  They weigh too much,  charge too slowly, and have too short of an effective lifespan.  This is why nanotube supercapacitors are what will be needed to have ubiquitous flying transportation become a reality.

Written by Jacob Walker

April 28th, 2017 at 11:59 am

Thought: Laser Powered Drones / Flying Cars

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I have a tendency to be interested in a lot of different things, and try to think of solutions to problems.  With a recent article I read about flying cars, it is clear that the biggest challenge is storing energy.  But this could be solved in many places by having ground stations that used lasers to send energy to drones or even flying cars. In the countryside these could be attached to existing cell phone towers.  They could also employ a safety system, where the main power beam is surrounded by smaller low power beams, and if those lose contact with a sensor in the drone, they will know something isn’t right, and shut down the main power beam.

If we did this, electric flying cars could become a reality fairly quickly….

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April 27th, 2017 at 5:44 pm

The Early Archaeologist Hypothesis

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I just read the NPR article: New Evidence Suggests Humans Arrived In The Americas Far Earlier Than Thought.  And in the article it suggests that because cut bones were found in what is now Southern California, of a mastodon that is 130,000 years old, along with sharp rocks, that humans were on the American continent that long ago, instead of only 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.  And while I think this hypothesis could be true, I want to advance another potential hypothesis: the early archaeologist / paleontologist hypothesis…

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Written by Jacob Walker

April 26th, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Scholarly Papers

Thoughts from the California Information Communication Technologies Industry Advisory Committee

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I flew down to San Diego last night to participate in the Statewide Information Communication Technologies (ICT) Industry Advisory Committee.  It helped me to remember how important ICT education is.  We had a great group of folks at the meeting, with a lot of passion and experience in supporting the students of California to becoming our next generation of “computer nerds”.

But it also brought back to me, about how our education system isn’t keeping up and changing for the needs of our next generation.  Technology is our future, and of any industry sector (other than potentially energy), it is the use or abuse of technology will make the biggest difference to the future of human kind. And educational content standards, and the related curriculum, can either be what will give our students the knowledge that will be needed when they graduate; or force irrelevant content on them, leading to more disillusion with our education system; and at the same time lead to more unemployment.

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Written by Jacob Walker

April 20th, 2017 at 7:01 pm

The Secret PowerSchool Technical Manual: Unintended Consequences of Plugins

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PowerSchool LogoOne of the reasons our school chose to go with PowerSchool, is that it has a higher degree of customization than many other SIS products.  And when we first started with PowerSchool, we had a great consultant come out and help train our techs on how do much of this customization, and at the same time, he helped us do some of the initial customizations we needed.  And in the end, to help us implement these customizations, he wrapped them up in to a plugin, and we were able to easily install them.  And we thought that it would be easy for us to continue to customize things….

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April 18th, 2017 at 11:59 am

My Comment on an Economist Article

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The Economist has an excellent article this week about African universities.  I have thought for some time that an African nation could “leap frog” part of its economic development by “virtual onshoring” intellectual goods to more developed economies, such as the United States.  I wrote about this in 2008, in an open letter to Paul Kagame.  And one of the areas that I think is most ripe for virtual onshoring, is that of having an online university from Africa enter into the U.S. market.   Unisa would be the most poised to do this, but I am afraid that their bureaucracy would hinder them, so when I found out about Gossy Ukanwoke from the article, I posted the following:

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Written by Jacob Walker

April 13th, 2017 at 11:59 am

Posted in Virtual Onshoring