Posts Tagged ‘Space’

The Age of Commercial Space Exploration is Near

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

I am involved in a new company that is selling a new product of Richard Branson called Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic is selling suborbital spaceflights for the price of $200.000.

Our principal aim behind this is not to make money. The principal aim is to reinvest any money we make into space exploration,” Branson said. “We expect to double, triple, quadruple the number of astronauts in the next few years that have currently experienced space,” he said.

To date, Branson said, about a 100 pioneers have been willing to pay $200,000 to be the first people to go into space via Virgin Galactic. “These are the kinds of people who are going to enable us to bring the cost of space travel down,” he stated.

Space Tourism is not the primary target of the Company. It wants to be the first commercial company involved in Space Exploration.

Space Exploration is a major theme of Science Fiction. When I was young I read all the books in this Genre I could find. Science Fiction has stimulated Science extensively. Many Scientist got their inspiration out of explorations of the Future. When the Theme was set it was only a matter of time when somebody would realize the Inspiration of the Author.

The step from Idea to Realization is mostly not the issue of a Science Fiction novel. In most cases we have realized all the technology and our just “doing it”. Most of the time the final realization takes much longer than the writer could imagine. Jules Verne put a Man on the Moon about a hundred years ago.

The major theme of Space Exploration in Science Fiction is War. We meet Extraterrestrials and they or we don’t like each other. We are part of a Federation (mostly the Good Ones) and in the end we beat the Bad Ones. Interesting enough many of the Stories related to UFO’s look a lot like the Science Fiction Stories. The only difference is that THEY are visiting US.

In the Renaissance the people in the West started to explore Earth like we want to explore Space. After The Renaissance the Age of Exploitation started, The Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution followed by the Age of Information made Space Exploration finally possible.

History repeats itself so I can imagine what will happen next. Both stages are part of a bigger cycle, the Cycle of Culture. It takes about 1250 years to turn around.

At this moment we are in a situation comparable to the year 758. The only thing that is different from that time is that we have moved to another Level, Earth.

What happened around 750?

At 750 we are in the Middle of the Middle Ages called the Dark Ages. It was the time when the Great Empire of Rome was collapsing because of a huge movement of hungry people. The world was struggling with a sudden change of the Climate. Everywhere States were fighting to expand and defend their territories. Around this time a new Spiritual Leader, Mohammed, created a new Religion. It was the start of the expansion of the Arab World and the Arab Empires..

Conditions in Western Europe slowly began to improve after 700 as Europe experienced an agricultural boom caused by a substantial increase in solar radiation. About 600 years later the Renaissance started.

The Great Empire of the West is currently collapsing because of a huge movement of hungry people. Just like the Roman Empire we are really not aware of the collapse. In the last days Romans spend all their time playing very expensive games and were enjoying life to the extremes. They forced all the other states to pay enormous amounts of taxes to keep the Entertainment Business running. In the End their stable infrastructure collapsed.

I hope you see the relationship.

Replace the Arab Expansion in the Middle Ages by the coming Chinese Expansion in you will know Who’s gone Win.

Millions of people are waiting for the Coming of the new Messiah, the new Spiritual Leader of the World. According to the Cycle He (or She!) will come soon.

In the West we are playing Games. Leslie Benzies, the producer of Grand Theft Auto IV recently revealed in an interview that the amount of money spent on the development of the game was right around $100 million. The budget of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was $300 million. The development costs of all the movies and games exceeds the budget of the World Food Organization with ease.

Why do we need to move into Space?

The first reason could be to escape Earth. We need another place to live because life on earth is not the way it was. If we do this and Science Fiction is Right at the long term we will move into a comparable situation, Competition on the Level of the Galaxy. We have to learn who are our friends and who are our enemies.

The second reason could be “Spin-Off”. Space Exploration has boosted Science and Technology.

The last reason could be to see Earth as it is. A Beautiful Blue Slowly Turning Globe without any Borders. From Space Earth looks like a Paradise. I imagine the Extraterrestials are seeing this also! This could be the reason they are here!

The Cycle of Civilization is a slow cycle but there are cycles with a much longer periodicity. Many “Old Civilizations” found the Cycle of the Precession of the Equinox and “calculated” the Center of this Cycle, The Mother Goddess situated in the Pleiades.

The coming Years the Very Long Cycle and the Cycle of Civilization are coming into a Conjuction. The Effect of this Conjunction is unknown. Human Civilization has not gathered enough data to make an understandable prediction. The only thing we know is that we are living in a Very Special Time of History.

One of the people that analyzed the very Long Cycle (Terrence McKenna) predicted Time/Space-Travel as a major Novelty that would soon appear. Just like the Mayas and many other Civilizations he knew there is a very cheap alternative, DMT (a psychedelic drug).

The Old Civilizations predicted a return of the (Virgin!) Mother Goddess of the Pleiades (Ises, Mary Magdalene, The Black Madonna, Alcyone). Perhaps She is the New Spiritual Leader many religions are waiting for. I hope the Male Religions don’t mind She is a Female!

Perhaps Richard Branson should start a new Company soon, Virgin TimeTravel. She Will Love It.

Wait and See.

How to Create Human Scale Tools: About Movers, Memories and Comparators

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Humans are the most advanced toolmakers in nature. The main reason is that they are the less specialized organisms. They need tools to survive. People are also the most complex organisms in nature. This complexity makes it possible to invent new possibilities and to work with specialized tools and animals (horse, cow, hammer, car, computer).

All the time people have tried to make a better living by inventing new tools. If the basic needs were met (food, housing, health, safety), people got the time to get their emotional system into balance (love, self-esteem) and satisfy their imagination (play, explore, self-actualization).

At this moment, the amount of leisure-time to enjoy family life, relax, play and explore is going down. The number of people with heavy levels of stress is growing. The pressure on the emotions is increased by the current state of technology. The tools have overlapping functionality, take too much of the attention, do not communicate with each other and dominate the human being.  

Tools have to be integrated completely in the cognitive system of the human being. If a tool takes over a part of the sensory-motor system (glasses, hammer, car) the imagination has to learn a new way to create the outside world. In the end, after practicing, people become united with their hammer or their car. They are not aware that they are carrying their glasses. If people have to practice too long or the tool is constantly intervening in their workflow the emotions get involved. They get frustrated and angry.  

Tools were first invented to support basic human activities like talking, moving, looking,  hearing, remembering and learning.

In a later stage of development, the use of the tools generated a new space of exploration. In this space, new tools emerged.

The invention of symbols started the exploration of Mental Space. Program Languages, Telecommunication and especially the Internet has opened up a new space to explore, called Cyberspace. 

  • Advisor or Master

Advisors and masters involve the emotions. An advisor helps to make a choice or to set priorities. A master (e.g. a physician, teacher, manager) makes a choice for a person. The Cyberspace version of the master and the advisor is the Expert System. It uses advanced ways of pattern-recognition (e.g. Neural Networks).

  • Simulator

Simulators stimulate the imagination. Theaters and movies are examples of passive simulators.  Games are actively involving many people. The Cyberspace version of the active simulator is the Collaborative Computer Game. The passive form can be seen in the Movie and the Television-program.

  • Memory

A memory archives the results of an internal or external dialogue. In the beginning, human communication was only verbal. Important issues to remember were incorporated in stories that were told from one generation to the other. When people specialized their activities, they needed a method (bookkeeping) to keep track of all the transfers. People invented symbols and the external memory to do this.  The writing-symbols made it possible to share and exchange memories (letters, books) without talking. Writing enabled the movement of memories. The library was invented to store the external memories and protect them from fading away. Cyberspace is filled with the versions of static and moving memory called the Electronic Message (Email, Transaction) and the Database. 

  • Mover

Movers were the first tools used in human society. A mover is an extension of the muscles. The first generation was invented to help the human move in physical space. Examples are hammers, cows, horses, steam-machines, cars, bicycles and robots. The next generation supported the movement of symbols (e.g. moving numbers) in mental space. The Difference Engine of Charles Babbage was invented to automate the calculation of mathematical tables. The most advance version of the mover, the telecommunication network, enables the movement of external memory’s in cyberspace.

  • Sensor

Sensors transform and filter data. Glasses and hearing aids were invented to support people when they get old.  Humans looked at the stars and invented the telescope. In a later stage very advanced sensors were developed (Radio-telescope, MRI). They use complex statistical calculations to filter and transform the sampled data into pictures or sounds.

  • Comparator

Human survival and learning is based on comparing data and acting on the result. A comparator acts on an exception. To compare data a measurement instrument is needed and a agreement about the object of measure.

Human beings started to measure time and space a long time ago. It was needed to navigate and to predict the movement of the stars. In the first phase, the human body was used as a measure-instrument of space and the cycle of the sun and the moon as a measurement for time. The big problem with this approach was that every person and every place on earth came up with a different measurement and a different time. \

When the human networks started to connect, standardization on a global level became necessary.  The process of standardization of time and space took many ages. It needed numerous inventions in technology to support the process. The measure-instruments changed from mechanical devices (the clock) to software-devices.   

  • Servant (Operating System)

A servant coordinates the activities of sensors, comparators and memories. Servants take over repetitive patterns.  Humans find these activities boring (not imaginative). A servant has to act invisible (a black box).

When the use of a servant is prohibited, humans get frustrated. It has to be there all the time and do its job inconspicuous. With the help of the comparator and the sensor, the servant has to detect events and take appropriate action (coordinated movements, action patterns).

The big problem at this moment is the visibility and the interference of the servant in the human activity. People have to fill in the same form all the time. Processes stop in the middle of a company. The customer has to handover the data to the other processes. 

Humans do not like to be emotional involved in boring activities.  Therefore, the needs (their wishes) have to be defined in a very simple way. It must be possible to imagine the behavior of the complete system without knowing how the system is operating. 

A good example of a perfect servant is the central heating system. People define their needs (a temperature) and everything works. The temperature is a control variable that represents the performance of the total heating system. People are able to imagine the effect of adjusting the thermostat (a comparator) on the environment they live in. They do not need to know how the servant works. His behavior is hidden. The central heating system is a black box, loosely coupled with another invisible servant-system, the utility-system (gas, electricity).

The servant and its associates were in the first era of IT locked into the physical space of the general-purpose computer controlled by its general purpose operating System. The servants had to stay close together because of the speed of communication. The speed and the capacity of the telecommunication network is going up fast.  This makes it possible to distribute, specialize and connect Servants (now called Appliances).

About Memory

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

There are three types of memory very-short (sensory), short and long term memory. All the memories are indexed. Long-term memory is semantically indexed. The bridge between short- and long term memory is sleep.

When the body sleeps all the power of the Human Computer is used to index and compress the data that is gathered during the day.

Memory acts in two ways. It produces data when you want to retrieve the data and it produces data you don’t want to recall (remembering). Sometimes you remember something you don’t want to remember. It is even possible to remember something that never happened or to create memories about something that never happened.

If you read the previous lines in an observer-mode you will see that almost all the language I use is related to a “Computer Metaphor”.

Thinking about memory (and many more issues) is highly influenced by the way we build computers.

When we go back in time we find that memory was related to something called a Locus. A locus is a location or place. A beautiful example is a “Memory Palace“. You create a building and fill it with rooms and the rooms with attributes. Every room and attribute is related to something you want to remember. The technique of the Memory Palace produces spectacular results.

David Grove is a very innovative therapist. He discovered that the best way to help his patients was to ask 9 questions that would least influence the patient in their metaphorical journey. His technique was called Clean Language.

David has since developed his work through Clean Space (moving clients on by literally moving them around in space) and Clean Worlds (which explores the boundaries between spaces). When you use Clean Space you just map your Journey on a (Psycho-) Landscape and visit the LOCI you Feel you Have to Visit. When you feel you are at the Right Location you ask “what do you know now, from that space there? And the answer comes immediately.

The Sanskrit word Akasha means “Space”. According to a very old Indian theory we, the Humans, are not the carryers of memory att all. Everything that happens and will happen is stored in Space.

With the current knowlegde of Science we would say that Memory is stored in an Electro-Magnetic Field. The method of Storage is comparable to a Hologram. Almost nobody believes this is possible. I think they don’t believe it is possible because they don’t know “How it Works”.

Holographic datastorage is recently introduced in the Market. Everybody believes it will work. Almost nobody knows “How it Works”.

Humans are Funny Creatures. We are always looking for NEW LOCI and forget what we have stored at the OLD LOCUS until somebody asks us to stop and look around.

The Wordwide Carnival: A Short Introduction into the World of Mikhail Bakhtin

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

The work of Bakhtin was disclosed to me by Will McWhinney. He used Bahktin in one of the many versions of his never published book Grammars of Engagement.

The discovery of Bahktin started with a book about Bahktin by Saul Morson & Caryl Emerson. Later I also read many other books and articles like “The dialogical imagination”, “Towards a philosophy of the act”, “Discourse in the Novel”, “Rabelais and His World”, “Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics” and “Speech Genres and Other Late Essays”.

Bahktin invented the term Chronotope, “The place where the knots of narrative are tied” or “the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature“.

A Chronotope is a Topological Concept

knotSpace (Place) and Time (the narrative) are connected by a Knot. A knot is a complicated twist in a rope. The twist is needed when you want to close a system in itself. The simplest topological structure that visualizes twisted space/time is the Moebius Ring.

The Chronotope is the Centre out of which every narrative that we are able to tell is enfolding and unfolding. It produces narratives and absorbs narratives. Bahktin places Folk-Lore, Myth, the Language of the People, in the Centre.

Every narrative contains a twist, a moment where the expansion of the beginning turns to the contraction of the end. It is the moment where the narrative is balanced. The reader holds his breath. It is also the moment where the narrative is aware of itself. It observes the whole.

Sometimes the twist is in the end. You know “who done it”. Sometimes the narrative starts with the twist. There are even narratives without a twist. You know all the time what will happen.

Scientists don’t realize that a scientific article is also a narrative. They use citation to prove they are telling a true story. Funny enough scientific citation has created the Internet. A hypertext is nothing but a citation-structure.

Old narratives produce new narratives. This is always accomplished by Citation. “The word in language is half someone else’s. It becomes “one’s own” only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language. . . but rather it exists in other people’s mouths, in other people’s contexts, serving other people’s intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one’s own“”. The cursive sentence between brackets is a citation of Bahktin.

New narratives also oppose old narratives. They are Dialogic. “The entire life of language, in any area of its use . . . is permeated with dialogic relationships“.

Dialogues are converging (Socratic dialogue), diverging and conflicting (Menippian Dialogue) or one sided (the Magisterial Monologue). “Thus at any given moment of its historical existence, language is heteroglot from top to bottom: it represents the co-existence of socio-ideological contradictions between the present and the past, between differing epochs of the past, between different socio-ideological groups in the present, between tendencies, schools, circles and so forth

The Centre generates new narratives all the time. They are a mix of the old and the new. The centre is the Centrifugal Force and this force is powered by Contradiction.

Roller_CoasterThe Institutions, the Ruling Power, are constantly trying to standardize (the Centripetal force). They formulate rules and try to transform the dialogue into a monologue.

The centripetal and the centrifugal force create a huge tension. This tension moves the Wheel of Creation. The wheel always moves through the stages of Order and Chaos. In the middle of the Tornado of Creation is the Centre, the Chronotope. In the centre you will always find rest and inspiration.

The monologue (the magisterial dialogue) is the dialogue of the Magister, the scientist, the manager, the judge, the physician and the teacher. They use science, the law, books or other Magisters to enforce their power. By formulating rules they try to destroy the creative centre (the context).

A context is potentially unfinalized; a code must be finalized. A code is only a technical means of transmitting information; it does not have cognitive, creative significance. Code is deliberately killed context“.

At this moment the Centripetal force is implemented in the Search Engine. Narratives are found by typing codes. This makes it very difficult to find a context. Companies like Google are manipulating the coding. They are paid by the Centripetal Force of the Commercial Companies.

The centrifugal force is never at rest. It always generates new alternatives. The creation of new literature is not bounded by rules. Every time a new structure is defined the Centre starts to play with the rules and generates a new combination. The Centre is not only combining rules it even invents new rules. The Centre is the inventor of new Games to Play.

Producing literature is a process of spiralling out. It follows a cycle but at a certain point in time a new Centre appears and the Cycle starts a new process of Folk-lore. The new centre is always connected to the old Centre. New myths and new fairy tales are created that are a representation of the Spirit of the Time.

Every cycle is governed by a Clock. The periodicity of the Clocks is determinated by the number five. It runs at a frequency of 1250, 250, 50, 10 or 2 years. There are frequencies that are moving faster (the Atom) and much slower (the Universe).

I will tell the Tale of Bahktin on the level of the Cycle of Culture (1250 years, 250 years per stage).

HunsBetween 450 and 700 the Roman Empire is destroyed by the Huns. It is the time of the Great Deportations. People out of Asia move to the West. They are the ancestors of the Ostrogotes, the Visigotes, the Franks, the Gauls, the Germans and the Celts. 1250 years later they are integrated in what we now call Europe. Between 700 and 2000 the Europeans explore and conquer the World.

Around 1200 the new powers have created many Kingdoms and have organized the Crusades to conquer the Holy Land. To show their power they build the Cathedrals. The Cathedrals are the instrument of the Education of the Masses. The old folk-lore is transformed to the new of the Christian Faith. The old-folklore is not destroyed. Many symbols and important events are preserved. They are cited. The transition of the Sun in Winter is transformed in Christmas. The new apostles are connected to the old animals of the old Wheel of Fortune.

Tristan IsoldeBetween 1200 and 1450 the Chronotope of the Greek Romance (Tristan and Isolde, Arthur and The Grail) appears. It is the Chronotope of Being and Destiny. “There are a lot of suddenly’s”. Everything happens. The actor in this Chronotope is without identity. He is tested by destiny. When he has passed the test he is not changed. There is no time and space. Time (“adventure-time”) is reversible. The actors are public figures and space is public space. In the narratives we are able to see and hear everything.

We are in the Middle Ages. In the outside world destiny is also playing its evil game. Western Civilization is almost destroyed by the plague, feminine and wars between the Kingdoms. Even the Christian Empire of Rome is divided by a schism (Byzantium). At the end only a few Kingdoms survive. These Kings become Emperors. They represent God on Earth.

copernicusThis (1450-1700) is the time of the Chronotope of the Adventure. It is the Chronotope of Becoming. The identity of the actor is transforming. He is responsible for his own actions. Life is full of turning points (twists). The actor wants to take control of the outside world. Space becomes “private space”.

To give the reader insight in what is happening the Observer is introduced. He is a voyeur, a prostitute, a rambler, a rover, a tramp, a spy, a servant or an animal. The observer is not influencing the story at all. He is just watching. Objectivity is also introduced in space (court).

In the outside world we are in the Time of Renaissance (the Era of Discovery). It is the time of new inventions in Science (Copernicus), Art (Leonard Da Vinci) and Religion (Reformation, Luther, Calvin). The Bible is translated in the language of the people. It is also the time of the Great Explorations (Columbus) of the world outside the West. Western Culture starts his quest to control Nature and eventually the World.

munchThe next Chronotope is the Biography (1700-1950), the praise of a public figure who has accomplished something in life. We are moving from the outside world to the inside world of the actor.

Inner space is closed. “This offers a new relationship to one’s own self, one’s own particular “I”- with no witnesses, without any concessions to the voice of a “third person“.

Outside events affect the inner world. The actor is not showing this. In the outside world the actor is judged by his actions and not by his inner space (his essence). “The essence of man is realized not by his condition but by his activity“.

To give the reader a view on the inner space the outsider is introduced. His outside actions are governed by a distorted inner space. The outsider (the fool, the eccentric) acts as a reference.

The actor is a pretender. He is constantly in doubt, grumbling, cynical and sarcastic. He is also passive. He is watching from a distance. Everything is Relative (Bahktin was a fan of Einstein). The only time when the actor is able to show himself is at the carnival. During this short period he is allowed to choose his own mask.

This the time of the Industrial Revolution. It is the era of mechanization. It starts with the invention of the Mill and the Factory. It ends with the mechanized Consumer watching Television.

star warsStarting in 1950 we are again in the phase of Folk-lore. Western Civilization is moving to a new Centre, Earth.

New myths and legends will be created. They have to be based on all the tales, myths and legends that are available on Earth. Some of them will be a citation. Others will be an opposition.

All kinds of dialogues will take and have to take place. We will experience many conflicts (Mennipian Dialogue). We will also have to listen and ask questions to understand the other cultures (Socratic Dialogue). We have to stop our Western Magisterial Monologue.

In the beginning it will be a Heteroglossia (a many voicedness), a very complicated Knot we have to untie. When we have found the tread we will be able to weave a new web of narratives that will start the phase of the Greek Romance again.

Between now and 2100 “We must make the new by our own effort”.“We have to face problems of reality and human potential, problems of freedom and necessity, and the problem of creative initiative“. We have to become persons “who emerge along with the world and reflect the historical emergence of the world itself”.

In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding — in time, in space, in culture. . . . Our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space and because they are others

We have to write our own Novel. “There is no causality in novels, no genesis, no explanations based on the past, on the influences of the environment or of upbringing and so forth. Every act a character commits is in the present, and in this sense is not predetermined”.

We have to act without hesitation and leave history behind. There is no experience we can reuse. The future is unfinalized (open).

The Magisters are not able to tell us what to do. They are out of tricks. We have to put off our own masks and take responsibility for what we are doing. “There is no alibi for being”. We have to stop pretending and use citations of others to prove we are right.

carnival of fools

We are now part of the Worldwide Carnival of Fools. Choose your mask out of the many masks that are available all over the world. Listen to the stories of other cultures and be surprised about the beauty and the experience they are containing. Give the Fools and the Eccentrics, the Outsiders, a chance to help you.


It will be fun.

I want to close with a citation of Paul Feyerabend (Killing Time (1995)): “People, intellectuals especially, seem unable to be content with a little more freedom, a little more happiness, a little more light. Perceiving a small advantage, they seize it, circumscribe it, nail it down, and in this way prepare a New Age of ignorance, darkness and slavery. It is rather surprising that there are still people who want to help others for personal reasons, because they are kindhearted and because they have not been intimidated by principles. It is even more surprising that some of the people can work in institutions despite the greed, the incompetence, the power struggles that seem to surround the noblest cause.”

Do you want to know more about Feyerabend read The Act of Creation: About Fusion and Con-fusion


About the Cathedrals

About the Fool in African Myths

About Fools, Pyramids and Bubbles

Why Fools always Lose

About Very Long Cycles

About the Cycle of Culture