Another rambling post…
Lots of talk about a GOP landslide with the last election (man I was getting tired of those damn ads!), but I believe the reality is that if the GOP can’t make something positive happen for the bulk of the American voters, they will be wiped out in the next election. Since the Presidential elections heavily favor Democratic turnout (with midterms favoring GOP turnout) I am willing to put a few bucks on the line that if we have yet another 2 years of dysfunction in our government that the Republicans will take a beating that will be decades in the repair. They already have massive deficits in women and minorities and old white men are on the verge of becoming minorities themselves, so the GOP only has a few years left to recruit new converts before they become a fringe group (or rather more fringe than the Tea Party is now). I doubt that Obama will be any less effective (really, can he be less effective than the last 2 years?) with a GOP controlled congress and in any case, the Democrats in the Senate have 6 years of education on how to be a minority and still gum up the works. My expectation is that if the GOP can muzzle their Tea Party wing they might have a chance at the Presidency in ’16, if not, they will for sure continue their loss streak on the White House and will probably lose both houses of Congress to boot. Not that Obama did a damn thing when Democrats had control for two years, maybe Hillary will be different, though I am hoping that Elizabeth Warren will run, she will have my vote.
I have been suffering from some strange ‘creeping malaise’ for the last several months. After a whole lot of tests the doctors think I had Epstein-Barr virus. Fortunately it allows me to work without any real impact, I am fine as long as I sit in a chair. It has, though, had an impact on our construction efforts. I am probably at half speed or a bit slower. I often have to take naps after several hours of relatively light-duty work. I have been Xray-ed, CAT scanned, stress tested and echo-ed in my chest as well as lots of blood tests. Except for barely being able to walk up stairs or hills, I am fine.
I got my first feedback from the USPTO regarding my vanity patent, the reviewer rejected every one of my claims. I am not sure I want to bother fighting with the reviewer (my lawyer thinks the reviewer is conflating my application with existing IP, despite our efforts to address that in the application), particularly given the $675/hr rate I have to pay. The main issue is the unwillingness I have been finding in getting anyone to fund the research. Since patent applications to most of the relevant countries world-wide would cost around $100K (and that money needs to be paid by Sept 15 of next year) and I can’t get less than that to do the research to prove the concept, what chance I will get the green to cover the global patents. I am meeting with my investor tomorrow to discuss it, but unless he wants to fight I may just fuggedaboutit.
I have actually been enjoying work these last few months (a significant reason for my quiet on TFOUI), lots of interesting, intricate programming, though the flaws I am discovering in the program that I am testing are not being addressed because the developers are ‘too busy’ right now to take a look. Oh well, such is life. It isn’t without frustration though, I discovered today that a bug I had been beating my head over for the last couple of days was getting two symbols backwards (variable =+ value instead of variable += value). I hope tomorrow will be a better day now that I think I got that one solved. The day sure does go by a lot faster when you enjoy your work!
Just a few days ago I revived an idea from over a decade ago: the atmospheric satellite. It is a plane that flies at around 100K ft where the winds are very stable and thus appears stationary from the ground, just like a geostationary satellite, but with much faster turnaround times. A decade ago I wanted to fly them over the continental US, but the politics was just too much for me to consider fighting the powers-that-be. What changed? The realization that there is a significant market for cruise ships and air planes. Of course, it is almost certainly going to go the way of all my other ideas, meaning nowhere, but at least it keeps my brain active.
I have been working on an idea for fabricating my own laser tag systems because the prices for the ones we have been finding run around $200 a pop. Interestingly, as we move along in the process, I am developing the thought that the price point for such a system has to be in that range even though the parts would probably total to under $50. I have been enjoying thinking about how I could use ASICs to make the parts cheaper, but naturally with higher startup cost. We might wind up spending a few thousand to save a few hundred, but such is life. At least we should wind up with something I understand and can repair/enhance as needed.
BTW, as a totally unrelated matter, if you are interested in intellectual comics there is this interesting online strip that details how AIs interacts with humans as they becomes self-aware:
It has a squid-faced alien that is a compulsive thief, an engineered dog who is also an engineer and a planet with 450 million robots all becoming self-aware with only 20K adults. I find it amusing as well as thought provoking, perhaps you will as well if you are into that sort of thing (it was a sad day when Calvin and Hobbes ended!).