“Hi there.
My name is Jefferson LaRouche, I’m 21, from Eldorado living in Albuquerque, and I’ve been a lifelong enthusiast for finding things out in the realms of physical science, astronomy, design, engineering, and technology surrounding these areas. And I mean lifelong. Growing up, my interests were space and building (or taking apart) things. When I was 7 I was a “tiger cub” of the Eldorado Elementary cub scouts (briefly) and we went to a radio station in Santa Fe, where they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Everyone else said something fairly rational for a seven or eight-year-old, but when it was my turn, I told them I wanted to be a rocket scientist or an engineer. While plans change, I’m still fascinated by the same topics to the point where it becomes tedious to listen to, so here’s my soapbox.”

So why should you be reading this?

These days, there are too many radically amazing scientific discoveries and new innovations using those technologies in every field for the average person to consume, especially if they aren’t “plugged in” to technology every second of every day. scientific improvements to technology are definitely worth looking at, though most people don’t care enough to go searching. Essentially, instead of having to do research, I want to keep you up to date with some amazing things in the world now that make life easier for so many, and why you (or your offspring) should be interested.

October, 2016

IT’S NOT EASY BEING AN ENDANGERED SPECIES by Jefferson LaRouche

Lobsters are types of crustaceans who usually live a long time.

Some kinds of lobsters can live up to seventy years old. Due to an enzyme called telomerase in their system, they can regenerate their cells until they eventually die of exhaustion from molting, allowing them to grow to enormous sizes. (http://bit.ly/2cWCPqZ).

Once upon a time, I wrote a song about a lobster going through its “emo phase” in life, and you can listen to it here via Spotify: http://bit.ly/2dsV7ia.

The song is about how a lobster is in a tank, where it is likely that fellow lobsters would try to eat him (or vice versa), commiserating with other lobsters in the same situation. The sentiment for the poor creature is that he is destined to live a long and muscular life, cut short by grocery store sales.

Thanks to many efforts in the 2000s, climate change became the center of American attention for the first time.

(For the record, this is a bit of an Op/ ED piece)

Anti-climate change media usually smokescreens climate change with two propositions:

“Is warming real, if we occasionally have cooler years?

“Is warming caused by human activity?”

A general consensus currently between all of the best bodies of researchers, and tremendous amounts of data to support it, suggests that climate change is real, and most likely human caused.

Science is conducted by a process, to create a body of data.

The process is called the scientific method (which essentially condenses to “write down what you’re doing, when, where, and why, plus what that information could mean”). It is a list of instructions that many people do subconsciously in order to make decisions in their lives.

The bodies of research of most nations are found on-line, for free, allowing anyone willing to read through scientific papers able to fact-check anything that has been a part of an experiment.

In physics, deltas (∆) are net changes in two numbers. Suppose it’s December, and it’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit outside. You write that down, then measure the same two points of data tomorrow. The temperature has risen to 34 degrees. The delta between those numbers is 2, written as ∆2. Do that for hundreds of millions of years, and average that data over time. You now have a climate map very similar to the maps we can get based on freeze and melt temperatures we get from drilling in glaciers. From that information, we can then assess Earth’s average temperature, which as far as we know, has only fluctuated between -4 and 4 degrees Celsius (which used to only fluctuate one or two degrees over thousands of years)

Today, the average temperature is accelerating extremely quickly (According to a 2016 NOAA Media Release, the global “warming due to carbon dioxide jumped by half in 25 years”.
(http://bit.ly/2diYPHU)

The fact that CO2 is causing this warming shows that it’s a recent phenomenon and is important to pay attention to, if future generations are to inhabit this earth.

The average temperature rise is drastic for marine animals, who live in an ocean that their cells cannot support to adapt. Lobsters may become extinct in the next generation, due to young lobsters unable to survive in today’s sea temperatures.

If you happened to be a lobster or aquatic animal sensitive to heat, the average temperature of the water warming may kill your species off faster.

Then again, the process of evolution may harbor newly evolved species of lobsters who can live in the higher temperatures. As those who cannot adapt quickly die out, mutated lobsters of the future may be able to survive with different genetic code.

But who knows if the future will end there? Not to be too Terminator 3 about it, but with AI technology at the state it is, lobsters may one day become autonomous cybernetic organisms with the help of attached learning brains. (More about cybernetic organisms later. . .)

Either way, I think our planet is changing at an alarming rate, and measures should probably be taken appropriately if we don’t want to die as a species.

Just putting it out there.

September, 2016

A Bunch of Fl*pp*ng Crystals Deliver Better Solar than Silicon by Jefferson LaRouche

I’m really excited to hear about how far Los Alamos has come on its research to develop better and cheaper solar panels.

To understand what’s so exciting about it, you need to understand how silicon circuits work.

A regular DC circuit, like one that powers a flashlight, flows from the negative end of the battery to the lightbulb component, through a switch, into the positive end. The battery supplies the chemical energy that converts to electrical current when you turn the switch “on”.

Transistors make it possible to essentially make a flowchart of where electrical current goes, depending on the value (YES or NO) of the input signal.

Transistors are simply two chemicals treating different areas of a plate of a semiconductor (which is usually silicon). When the value is 1 (or the input is YES), the electrical current flows through one chemical (that corresponds to the output of 1). when it’s 0 (or an input of NO), it does not (corresponding to 0).

Millions of these paired together create microprocessors, which, paired with stored instructions (from hard disks and flash media), change the values of trillions of 1’s and 0’s to correspond with the programs the processors are told to run.

Computer chips are printed on silicon using 3-D printing technology and CAD schematics. Paired with computer-aided machining of electronic components at the atomic scale, entire computers (that actually work) can be written on a semiconductor chip the size of a quarter.

Silicon factories cause a great deal of pollution, because the chemical processes of treating silicon to become semiconductors are highly toxic. This is a counter-intuitive way to make solar panels, which are designed to make a more eco-friendly power solution. Because of this, Los Alamos is researching more cost effective materials to print circuits onto.

They are currently using a semiconductor called a perovskite, which the video showcasing their research describes as a “Flipping crystal” which can be produced with greater efficiency and lower cost.

To learn more, check out Los Alamos National Labs’ video here: http://bit.ly/2cpts2v

August, 2016

The Latest in High-Tech by Jefferson LaRouche

On a train ride down from Santa Fe, I came across a fellow who was trying to get in touch with senator Tom Udall in order to extend the Rail Runner to Las Cruces (it was originally planned to go from there to Cheyenne, WY).

He was intrigued by my vague explanation of the Hyperloop One, which is yet another of one of Elon Musks’ endeavours that make us question if this is real life or a Marvel comic.

One thing he asked that I wasn’t able to tell him at the time was how fast it was going to be (which turns out to be quite fast – ideally supersonic speeds of over 700 MPH), so I figured it’d be a good idea to share some words from the creators of one of the fastest, most efficient and most cost-effective modes of travel for the future (the first of which is being built today from LA to San Francisco).

What is Hyperloop?  (from Hyperloop One website http://bit.ly/hloopcorr)

“Hyperloop is a new way to move people or things anywhere in the world quickly, safely, efficiently, on-demand and with minimal impact to the environment. The system uses electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger or cargo vehicle through a tube in a low pressure environment. The autonomous vehicle levitates slightly above the track and glides at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances. We eliminate direct emissions, noise, delay, weather concerns and pilot error. It’s the next mode of transportation.”

Human sized Vacuum Tubes

“When the California ‘high speed’ rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?”

“If we are to make a massive investment in a new transportation system, then the return should by rights be equally massive. Compared to the alternatives, it should ideally be:

Safer
Faster
Lower cost
More convenient
Immune to weather
Sustainably self-powering
Resistant to Earthquakes
Not disruptive to those along the route

“The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper. With a high enough altitude and the right geometry, the sonic boom noise on the ground would be no louder than current airliners, so that isn’t a showstopper. Also, a quiet supersonic plane immediately solves every long distance city pair without the need for a vast new worldwide infrastructure.”

 

July, 2016

By the time you read this, the Fourth of July would have already occurred this year. After the pancake breakfast and parades, many of you may have watched one of the many firework celebrations. You (or the younger ones) would have been in awe of all the controlled explosions that, coupled with a cookout, make a great family outing.

Technically, fireworks are the oldest rockets of human creation. While they don’t operate in the same way as the ones SpaceX makes, they are similar in composition to solid rocket motors.

The Solid Rocket Motors that flew on the Shuttle’s Boosters were made of ignitors and a large amount of propellant that provided the 1 – 2 G’s (factors of earth’s gravitational pull) of force required to burn into orbit. The motors were made of heavy-duty components that were made to last re-entry and be refilled and used for later missions.

Fireworks are instead shot up in a cannon to reach the desired altitude, and then explode to create patterns of light. The materials are largely paper, gunpowder, and chemicals that react upon combustion emitting the colors of light we see.

Here’s a diagram of a firework (the part that is in the mortar) based on one I found from www.theverge.com. The flame from the fuse in tbe bottom slowly follows up the firework itself (the white cylinder) after being shot up by the mortar (red cylinder)

As a matter of fact, it is rocket science by Jefferson LaRouche

June, 2016

Better Metamaterials and Eyes for the Blind: Looking Into Current Research in Los Alamos          by Jefferson LaRouche

As one of the first of many world-recognized newsworthy locations in New Mexico, Los Alamos certainly has its history in the world of science and technology. In 1943, the Valles Caldera became the founding area of Los Alamos, the city that would be the engineering center for nuclear research, highly coveted by US national security efforts, energy companies, and NASA. As of 2013, the public scientific research from Las Alamos National Labs is geared towards several fields in modern science and technology, such as bringing down the cost of metamaterials by using machine-learning-aided research.

According to Turab Lookman, making better metamaterials is classically a trial and error process fed by intuition. As a LANL physicist and materials scientist, he shared about the process in an article from May 9th this year:

“What we’ve done is show that, starting with a relatively small data set of well-controlled experiments, it is possible to iteratively guide subsequent experiments toward finding the material with the desired target…“

The materials they are looking for are complex alloys, usually similar to carbon nanofiber.
This makes a perfect example of how machine learning can be implemented. Because of the nature of computer processors, they cannot inherently understand reality in the way that we do. Something they can do far better than humans, however, is process large quantities of similar data (e.g. from a database). When applied to machine-learning algorithms, optimal solutions can be found from a large set of complex hypothetical possibilities. Article referenced: http://goo.gl/79RDCz

The Bionic Eye Article referenced:  http://goo.gl/CJAnCe

Along with several other research labs, LANL helped create the first FDA-approved bionic eye.
How does it work?

According to LANL’s website, “The Argus II operates by using a miniature camera mounted in eyeglasses that captures images and wirelessly sends the information to a microprocessor (worn on a belt) that converts the data to an electronic signal. Pulses from an electrode array against the patient’s retina in the back of the eye stimulate the optic nerve and, ultimately, the brain, which perceives patterns of light corresponding to the electrodes stimulated. Blind individuals can learn to interpret these visual patterns.”
(http://goo.gl/MQWSCv)

While these devices don’t yet run in 1080p, electronics technology only tends to get more refined. As more research is conducted with patient trials, there can be vastly improved technology. While it may be a ways off, integrating these eyes with augmented reality devices could soon serve as a futuristic next-gen computer when they are more accessible as consumer electronics (e.g. the new iPhones).

May, 2016

Quick, somebody get Will Smith! We have an AI on the loose. by Jefferson LaRouche

So, what do neural networks do?

With brain cells, there is an input signal that recieves, and based on feedback, such as learned behavior or sensory information, it processes the input and creates an output signal.

Artificial Neural Networks mimic the activities in brain cells, and are structurally set up the same way. This can be used by computers in many machine-learning scenarios, such as image and speech recognition, autopilot controls in vehicles, security, spam detection in email programs, and there’s bound to be many more applications once the freely-available technology grows and improves.
Learn more here:  http://goo.gl/EeO1vl

“Google has spent the last few years teaching computers how to see, understand, and appreciate our world. It’s an important goal that the search giant hopes will allow programs to classify images just by “looking” at them. And this is where Google’s deep dream ideas originate. With simple words you give to an AI program a couple of images and let it know what those images contain (what objects- dogs, cats, mountains, bicycles, … ) and give it a random image and ask it what objects it can find in this image. Then the program start transforming the image till it can find something similar to what it already knows and thus you see strange artifacts morphing in the dreamed image ( like eyes or human faces morphing in image of a pyramid ).” – http://goo.gl/KXAcxu

Google, in addtion to many research labs, has been using AI algorithms to make their products better. For example, in Google Inbox, there are smart “auto-replies” that uses the text in an email and your typical responses to create a human-like reply, such as “Count us in!” in response to an email asking if you can make it somewhere.

A great part about Google’s philosophy is that most everything they create that people can work with is free for individuals – which means the latest technology being developed and utilized by medical, science, engineering and research teams across the world is freely accessible to everyone with an internet-capable device.

April, 2016

Smart Car, Meet Smarter Cars by Jefferson LaRouche

Though it still feels difficult to believe for many, we now live in a world where electric self-driving cars are available to all who can afford them. Ever since the 1939 Worlds’ Fair, we’ve been wanting a car that could drive itself. Thanks to the advances in silicon technology, we can do more with computers than the world has ever been able to. The advanced sensors on self-driving vehicles in production have yet to be the cause of an injury-causing auto accident.

As the demand for self-driving vehicles increases with the advances of technology that live on the road today, self-driving cars are likely only a few years away from taking over the auto industry.
Plus, as more vehicles become autonomous, vehicle safety increases exponentially. This could lead to a future where intoxicated driving crashes would drop significantly, and your car could be, depending on legislation, deemed a designated driver.

With the many capabilities of autonomous driving, we have a bright future ahead for cars, transit buses and motorhomes, redefining what a road vehicle could, and therefore will, be integrated in future models of vehicles in production. As technology continues to improve, our trust goes to the self-driving car. Based on current concepts, they will no longer need a drivers’ seat, giving a lot more room for more functional spaces. This bodes well for a mobile home future where many can end up living in self-sustaining vehicles meant for the road.

Tesla Motors’ autopilot in action

When Elon Musk isn’t working with SpaceX, he works with his other Fortune 500 company. Tesla Motors’ goal is to produce ultra-efficient completely automated electric vehicles. The models now have an Autopilot feature in beta, which allows Tesla vehicles to drive completely autonomously for short periods of time.

Anywhere a Tesla vehicle has driven, every other Tesla Vehicle can drive there with increasing precision. Driving data is shared with all other Tesla vehicles. Paired with a long-range battery and several charging stations, this bodes well for an emission-free transportation option. To learn more about Tesla ‘s vehicles and features at www.teslamotors.com

Google’s self-driving taxi prototype

Since 2009, Google has been working on an autonomous vehicle that is designed to drive itself. After much development which is still ongoing, Google hopes to give everyone a ride to where they need to go, regardless of driving experience. There are currently prototypes in Kirtland, WA, Mountain View, CA and Austin, TX.

This may not be the safest option in the event of a technical malfunction or mis-predicting traffic. On the 9th of last month, one of Google’s test cars caused a small collision with a bus while the car was travelling two miles per hour. More information can be found here: http://goo.gl/HwXwTA
Still, Google’s technology is still improving every day, To learn more about Google’s self-driving endeavors, check out:  www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

Mercedes’ F-015 Research Vehicle

Mercedes has developed an autonomous vehicle that shows how car interiors need to be looked at in completely different ways once a drivers’ seat isn’t a requirement. While this is a luxury car, the interior shows an example of what car interior design of the future will be. The cabin is full of interactive panels that adjust the interior experience.

The exterior of the car and its safety features are quite impressive as well. There are LEDs that interact with its surroundings, giving better communication with pedestrians. To learn more about what Mercedes has in store, visit the webpage at https://goo.gl/6j3Tvm

March, 2016

The Grammy’s of Innovation – by Jefferson LaRouche

“Inspired by the Orteig Prize, the original XPRIZE was announced in 1996, offering a $10 million prize to the first privately financed team that could build and fly a three-passenger vehicle 100 kilometers into space twice within two weeks. The prize, later titled the Ansari XPRIZE for suborbital spaceflight, motivated 26 teams from seven nations to invest more than $100 million in pursuit of the $10 million purse. On October 4, 2004, the Ansari XPRIZE was awarded to Mojave Aerospace Ventures, marking the dawn of the personal spaceflight revolution and signifying a radical breakthrough in prize philanthropy.” from http://www.xprize.org/sites/default/files/xprize_backgrounder.pdf

Ten years ago, Governor Bill Richardson made Spaceport America, a . It was created in order to build public interest in commercial space travel.

This was not the first time New Mexico was made famous for commercial spaceflight, though. In 2004, the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team won the Ansari Xprize with SpaceshipOne. This was part of the first Xprize Cup – a private space expo that lasted in New Mexico until 2007.

My parents and I were fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to Las Cruces in 2006 (and Alamogordo the next year), upon which we got to see quite the well-recieved Hollywood-style event fit for VIP guest to the event and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

For an event in New Mexico, this expo was massive. The campus of the event, built on an airport, was definitely a portable civil engineering masterpiece of spacecraft artifacts, inflatable earths and moons, robots, shipping containers, and many air and spacecraft tests necessary to continue for the $2.2 million Google Lunar Xprize Competition (which is still underway).

One of my favorite games for PC growing up was RollerCoaster Tycoon (available at www.rollercoastertycoon.com). In the game, you are in charge of building and maintaining a theme park. This event looked exactly like something someone would have built in that game. Former relics from the Apollo and Shuttle Program, along with a replica of SpaceShipOne. airplanes flying, rockets launching for various prizes, space elevator solar panel concepts being tested, and many aircraft on display parked right on the walkway.

The event was built around the shipping containers used to transport everything there, which doubled both as indoor spaces and advertising space outside, the insides full of various booths, dioramas, and the lunar module assent stage.

Unfortunately, they only had one more event in Alamagordo the next year due to the economy for private space exploration not yet ready for New Mexico.

Ten years later, the private space industry is making quantum leaps of innovation; for the first time ever both private companies SpaceX and Blue Origin have created launch vehicle rockets that have landed from space.

Also, due to astronomical advances in speed with many computer components (e.g. processors are getting faster at exponential rates), the Xprize foundation has recently announced (among many other competitions) the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, which they describe on their website as “…a $5 million competition challenging teams from around the world to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges”. You can read more about the new challenge here:
www.xprize.org/ai

January, 2016

“Hi there.
My name is Jefferson LaRouche, I’m 21, from Eldorado living in Albuquerque, and I’ve been a lifelong enthusiast for finding things out in the realms of physical science, astronomy, design, engineering, and technology surrounding these areas. And I mean lifelong. Growing up, my interests were space and building (or taking apart) things. When I was 7 I was a “tiger cub” of the Eldorado Elementary cub scouts (briefly) and we went to a radio station in Santa Fe, where they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Everyone else said something fairly rational for a seven or eight-year-old, but when it was my turn, I told them I wanted to be a rocket scientist or an engineer. While plans change, I’m still fascinated by the same topics to the point where it becomes tedious to listen to, so here’s my soapbox.”

So why should you be reading this?

These days, there are too many radically amazing scientific discoveries and new innovations using those technologies in every field for the average person to consume, especially if they aren’t “plugged in” to technology every second of every day. scientific improvements to technology are definitely worth looking at, though most people don’t care enough to go searching. Essentially, instead of having to do research, I want to keep you up to date with some amazing things in the world now that make life easier for so many, and why you (or your offspring) should be interested. For this January / February issue, we’re talking about a fairly new technology that we’ve wanted for a long time and is finally here: 3D printing.

3D Printing? by Jefferson LaRouche

Anything made in the last couple years has, somewhere in the process, been influenced by 3D printing. This has led to the creation of plastic sculptures all the way to precisely-des­­igned auto bodies, houses, whole human organs, computer chips, spacecraft parts, and even pizza.

3D printing is an additive fabrication process, meaning after creating a model in a computer-aided-drafting software, a cube-shaped 3D printer takes some raw material, which can be anything from plastic to cell tissue, and prints the object layer by layer, just like an inkjet printer (but 3D).  Older techniques involved shaping a block of material, then using a CNC machine and similar processes to subtract from the original substance, and were usually only done by companies who could afford heavy and expensive technology.

Not only is this new way of making things ridiculously flexible in terms of the finished product, it’s very cheap compared to other manufacturing methods.  3D printer systems start in the $300 range, making it especially useful for students and tech startups.  If you only need to print one part, many companies (like Sketchfab, www.sketchfab.com) allow you to upload a CAD model, then they print the model, and then ship it to you.

Due to the accessibility of this technology, many people are creating tech startups with ideas that couldn’t have otherwise been manifested. Recently, a company called 3D PhotoWorks made a set of 3D prints of famous paintings contoured like an elevation map, so blind people can for the first time experience a huge part of human culture that we take for granted. It’s definitely a project worth visiting (online at www.3dphotoworks.com).

Find Out More
If you’re interested in the 3D printing technology, and want to learn more, or eve n be a part of the impeding industrial revolution that this technology is creating, check the Blinded with Science page online at http://thecorridornm.com/blinded-with-science. I’ll be posting a lot of resources on how to get started with this fascinating technology, and some 3D models to look at (and print, if you’re so inclined).

September, 2015

“Science & History – Supermoon Solar Eclipse” by Jefferson LaRouche

Starting on the night of
September 27th, a supermoon lunar eclipse will occur.
“What is a supermoon?
It’s a new or full moon closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be an accepted term only in the past few years.”

What is a supermoon?


“[The lunar eclipse] will be visible from most of North America, South America, Europe, west Asia and parts of Africa …In the Americas, the eclipse will begin on the evening of September 27, 2015.
The eclipse will last for 3 hours and 20 minutes. The Moon will be totally eclipsed for about 1 hour and 12 minutes.”

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2015-september-28

Observing in Albuquerque
The moon may be easy to spot, but due to the light pollution in Albuquerque,
the skies only show a few stars without heading up to the Sandias. Luckily, resources
like The Albuquerque Astronomy Society and the UNM Campus Observatory make it
easier to stargaze in the city.

Since 1959, The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) has been viewing New Mexico’s night skies and sharing its features through public education.

“The GNTO is our TAAS owned and operated observatory near Belen, NM. Located under beautiful dark skies, this facility is available to TAAS members and their guests. You don’t even need to own a telescope. Regular TAAS members can use both observatory domes, operate telescopes in a variety of sizes and styles, and produce your own digital pictures of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters!

This observatory facility includes: several telescopes; individual drive-up observing pads; a kitchenette; and the Robert Ortega

Building (ROOst), which is a combination classroom, bunkhouse, and warm-up area, allowing for year-round observing comfort.”

Need a telescope?
Try the TAAS Telescope Loan Program!
The Telescope Loan Program provides telescopes and other observing equipment to TAAS members free of charge. The program maintains a number of telescopes ranging from 3-inch portable scopes perfect for observing the Moon and planets to 13-inch “light buckets” for serious deep sky use. The loan period is one month and any TAAS member is eligible to borrow any scope.

The UNM Campus Observatory, just two blocks north of Lomas on Yale, offers the opportunity to the public to observe from their dome with their Meade 14″ telescope. TAAS members are regulars on site with their telescopes to show the sights of the evening and answer questions.

Check the UNM Observatory website http://physics.unm.edu/pandaweb/observatory/index.php or call their Hotline number at 505-277-1446 after 3:00pm on Friday to check for closures or for more information. Parking and admission are both free.

Check the TAAS website http://www.taas.org/Calendar/calendar.html for date and time of the Oak Flat Star party in September.