Advisor at Vital Vio

I have just accepted a position as an advisor at Vital Vio an exciting tech start-up.  Vital Vio designs and manufactures light-based technologies that kill germs and bacteria rapidly, while being safe for humans and animals. The Vital Vio system massively improves sanitation and safely disinfects commercial environments, including hospitals, ambulatory surgery and other healthcare sites, compounding pharmacies, cleanrooms, public bathrooms, food storage facilities, and gyms.

The young and energetic team really knows there stuff and their enthusiasm is infectious (sorry, just had to say it).

http://vitalvio.com/index.html

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First Draft of Novel

All the Stars are Suns is now in first draft form.  It is shorter than is usually recommended for SciFi books at only 75K words.  Though from what I’ve read, it is better to be on the low end for a first novel.  I am looking for beta readers to give me feedback on it.  If interested, send a note?

I intend to self-publish this as an eBook, perhaps on Amazon Kindle.

USPTO Examiner Training

It’s nice to be appreciated… I just got this note from Michelle Lee, the Director of the USPTO,

March 22, 2016

Candice H. Brown Elliott
c/o Nouvoyance, Inc.
874 Gravenstien Hwy. South, Suite 14
Sebastopol, CA 54572

RE: TC 2600 Technology Fair, Patent Examiner Training Program

Dear Candice H. Brown Elliott,

Thank you for you presentation to our patent examiners about Image Reconstruction and Color Reproduction on Subpixelated Displays on March 14, 2016 for the USPTO’s Patent Examiner Technical Training Program.

One of my top priorities is to ensure that we have a scientifically well-trained examiner workforce.  The Patent Examiner Technical Training Program is designed to achieve that priority by giving examiners direct access to technical experts like you who are willing to share their knowledge about prior art and industry standards for both emerging and established technologies.  In turn, we are able to build a world-class patent system because the information that examiners learn through the program helps to streamline patent examination, result in quicker final dispositions, and produce even higher quality patents.

Thank you again for your participation in the Patent Examiner Technical Training Program.  I very much appreciate your efforts, time, and contributions.

Sincerely,

Michelle K. Lee
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

 

Modernizing the US Treasury

During George Washington’s first term, Alexander Hamilton, serving as the Secretary of the Treasury, turned a serious liability into an asset, when he organized the first Bank of the United States.  The Continental Congress and the various states had run up debts during the War for Independence.  Hamilton recommended, and acheived, legislation to fund the debt using taxes on imports and simultaneously exchanging all of the IOUs to stock in the Bank, thus making that ‘paper’ an asset against which the bank could issue currency.  Hamilton also established the US Mint, denoting the currency as ‘dollars’ and that coinage would use a decimal system.  All in all, Mr. Hamilton brought the US Treasury into the modern 19th Century.

In the early 20th Century, the United States Federal Reserve Banks were established, modernizing our banking system.  The US Treasury still printed and minted our currency, but the Federal Reserve issues it.  Check a US paper bill.  You will see that it is labeled at the top, “Federal Reserve Note”  You will also find the seals of the Federal Reserve Bank that issued it and The Department of the Treasury.  There are also fascimilies of the signatures of the Treasurer of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury.

But the 21st Century economy is moving toward a cashless society.  Just as the Federal Reserve and the Treasury print and issue paper currency and mint coins, absorbing the cost of their production, the two together should issue Cashless Currency, with the full faith and credit of the United States backing them.

I propose that the US Federal Reserve and the Treasury, produce  cash and debit cards tied to Federal Reserve bank accounts.  A percentage of the float that results from deposits would be used to buy US Treasury securities.  The interest earned from the securities would offset the costs incured in the operation of the cash cards.

I envistion two forms of the cards, one would be anonomous cash cards with a maximum amount allowed to be associated with them.  The other form would be tied to a given individual US citizen or legal resident.  These cards may be additionally tied to other banking accounts of member banks.  These cards would have photos and up-to-date biometric security features as the technology improves.

Why do we need the the Fed bank cards?  Because far too many people are ‘bankless’, as the conventional banks have abandoned the poor.  They are ‘ripped-off’ by unscrupulous “check cashing” businesses.  With federal bank cards in universal use, employers would directly deposit pay into individual debit accounts instead of issuing paychecks.  Senator Warren has suggested that US Post Offices provide some banking services to this population.  This concept could be tied into the Fed cash cards and debit cards.  Government services such as Social Security and welfare / food assistance can also be directly deposited into these accounts.  The modern cashless society is creating two classes of people, the “banked” and “unbanked”.  The governent can and must address this urgent and growing problem.

Another benefit of the Fed issuing these cards and accounts is that a universal electronic funds transfer system would be available for all transactions on the internet, including micro-payments.  Given that all transactions are “free”, this will reduce transaction costs, reducing friction in the economy, helping everyone.

Finally, I recommend that the cash card carry the image of Elinor Roosevelt, who tirelessly endeavored to lift our nation, especially the poorest, out of poverty during the Great Depression,while the debit card carry the image of Alexander Hamilton.  The cards should be the same color and design scheme as our present currency to foster trust through brand recognition.

This is an idea whose time has come.  It’s time that the US Department of the Treasury join the rest of us in the 21st Century.

Please forward this link to your US Senator and Congressmen.

Representitive Government

In a republic, the people are supposed to elect those among them to represent them in legislative bodies.  In the United States, much of the form of our government was crafted by people who understood the practicalities of travel and transportation in the late 18th Century, when people, goods, and even news all travelled at the same speed, a horse at a walk.  Perhaps its time to rethink how we elect our representitives?

Consider also that our representitives were elected for two legislative bodies that were in theory to provide some checks and balances even within the legislative branch by using differing methods.  Our Senate was to be selected by the States to represent the State as whole, often by that State’s government, rather than by direct vote of the citizens of that State.  But that has changed to direct vote, and now those Senators are subject to the same political forces that select the Representitives.

Or do they?

In many House districts, political party machines have been able to adjust the boundaries, ‘gerrymander’, the districts to rig the districts to favor one political party over another.  Within each district, a simply majority, or even a plurality, gives that seat in a ‘winner-takes-all’ manner, thus reducing the real value and meaning of “representitive government”.

Every “crank” has an idea to fix the problem… so why not me too?

Here’s my personal crack-pot idea:  Eliminate districts and allow citizens to chose their representive directly using proxies.  Each two years, candidates for the House of Representitives (and the lower houses in State legislatures) may canvas citizens across the country (or State for State legislatures) to secure a minimum required number of proxies to hold a seat in Congress.  There would also be a maximum number of proxies that any given Congress Member may hold, to limit the power of any given Member.  In session, during floor votes, the Member votes their proxies.  Obviously, those who hold more proxies wield more votes in Congress, as I believe they should.  On the flip side, this means that smaller minorities may select a Congress Member whose voice is at least heard during debates and as members of committees.  I would suggest that committee votes are one member, one vote, unlike floor votes.

The canvasing period would be divided into two phases, the first to select the Members, the second to allow those citizens who had proffered their proxies to candidates that had failed to gather enough proxies to qualify as a Member, to proffer their proxy to another who had, to ensure that they still have real representation.

This new system gives a voice to even the smallest group, as they find and support their representive with their proxies, unlike our present system which gives inordinate and very undemocratic advantage to the majority, or even to just a united plurality.

During the troubles that led to the War for Independence, forward thinking citizens put forth the notion of “No Taxation without Representation”.  I believe the new mantra should be “No Legislation without REAL Representation”.  It is time for a rethink of our electorial processes.  Please join me in calling for reform in both State and Federal Constitutions giving a REAL voice and REAL Representation in our government.

Future, Imperfect…

Some predictions for the coming years

I often joke, due to the nature of the work I do in display R&D and how long it takes for new ideas to reach the market in sufficient numbers to be relevant, that I live fifteen years in the future.  So, in the spirit of living in the year 2031, let me share what I see around me with those of you still living in 2016.

Television as you know it is dead.  No one watches “channels” anymore.  If you like a particular show, you subscribe to that show for a modest fee, unless you are willing to to sit through intolerable number of commercials and onscreen ads.  But the good news is, you can watch anything you want, when you want it, instantly.  Oh, and you won’t need a remote.  You just talk to your TV, or wave your hand to turn up or down the volume.  You can even ask your TV what your friends are watching, so that you can too.

That TV will be really impressive as well.  It will seem more ‘real than real’, with really vivid colors you can’t see today, like asure blue and emerald green, instead of the sickly yellowish green TVs of 2015.  And the dynamic range will be amazing, blacks will be black, not dark grey… and sparkling reflections from objects will be so bright you will want to wear sunglasses at night.  And that pesky digital ‘banding’ artifact of 2015, gone!  Oh and the resolution will be so high, you will think of HDTV as “low res”.

You may not own a car in 2031… I mean, why should you, when a driverless car will be waiting for you as you step out to go to work and all of your groceries are delivered by an automated van.  If you order something special delivery online, it will be there in under an hour, delivered right to your doorstep by a drone.  But if you do have your own car, it will be all electric.  Seriously, with the Carbon Tax on automotive fuel, who could afford an internal combustion engined car?  Most people don’t bother with car ownership anymore, which has meant great business for home remodeling businesses as people convert their garages to living spaces.  Driveways are being torn up to make gardens and patios.  In some suburban neighborhoods, they have even started to tear up the paving to make parks and playgrounds.

The air in most of the world’s cities is finally begining to clear, as more cars and buses are electric.  Most of the new power plants being built are nuclear, using either recycled “spent” fuel or thorium.  Electricity generation is safer and less expensive than ever.

More people are taking college online than on campus, as the cost of going to college became uneconomical.  Fortunately, the Federal Dept. of Education stepped in to create a formal standard degree and examination system that is free for all to use.

Life expenctancy in most of the world continues to climb, especially since malaria and other mosquito borne diseases have been eliminated using genetically modified mosquitos.  The population growth of most of the world is nearing zero, given greater access to low cost birth control and greater economic opportunities.  Obesity, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases are on the decline due to bioengineered microbiome innoculations.  Sadly there is still no cure for migraine or most cancers.

The long range option price of gold, platinum, and palladium have dropped dramatically as the first asteroid prospecting probes have identified rich deposits.  There is already talk of automated ore processing and space based industry.  The space tourism industry is booming, in spite of a spectacular accident.

The Middle East is still a mess.  But the players have changed, again.  Taiwan still fears reunification with China.  China is the most important global power, with growing influence in Africa.  Africa’s economy is booming, but governments are still corrupt and unstable.  Europe has moved further toward becoming one polity, but still has not convinced the U.K. to fully join.

Personal aviation is entering a new golden age, as economic prosperity, electric aircraft, and pilotless navigation allow a new class of user to enjoy the skies.  Traditional piston aircraft enjoy low cost fuel with an exemption from the carbon tax and falling automotive fuel use, but there is talk of taxing new piston aircraft to encourage electric aircraft.

Yes, 2031 doesn’t look all that different from 2015… but here and there, one can see the differences.

Gravitic Engineering: The Next Technological Frontier?

Is it “anti-gravity”?  Ummm… No!  There’s no such thing, and given our present understanding of general relativity, there never will be.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t develop technologies that use gravitational gradients in a loosely analogous manner to the way that we use the electromagnetic force gradients.

Before I launch into my own speculative “inventions” in gravitics, it is incumbent upon me to tell you about the man who was likely the true father of gravitics, Robert L. Forward.  He invented the rotating cruciform gravity gradiometer or ‘Forward Mass Detector’, for Lunar Mascon (mass concentration) measurements.  This device is so sensitive that it can detect the gravitational gradient of an object as small as a fist held near it.  His 1965 physics doctoral thesis was Detectors for Dynamic Gravitational Fields, for the development of a bar antenna for the detection of gravitational radiation.  He was an inventor with eighteen patents.  Learning of his ideas by reading his science fiction novels shaped my own.

So, can we build something that looks like antigravity (but isn’t)?  Yes we can, in theory.  First, imagine, if you will, finding a mountain of solid heavy metal, uranium will do.  If you dig a tunnel under it, the gravity there will be lower than on the surface because of the huge mass above.  But only by a tiny fraction.  Sorry, no antigravity hoverboard.

Anything else?  Why yes.  Here’s my idea for a gravitically propelled orbtal transport ship.  I apoligize in advance, the explanation of how it works gets a bit technical and requires a good grounding in basic physics and orbital mechanics.  But bear with me.

First, lets imagine a space station that is built like two Eiffel towers stuck together by their feet.  Such a huge structure, built in orbit, would experience tidal forces that would tend to tidally lock its rotation to match its orbital period.  (I did warn you that this would take some understanding of orbital mechanics, right?).  That is to say, that it, like the moon which is also tidally locked, will always point toward the center of the Earth unless something is done to change that.  Oh, and just for fun, and to make it even more likely to become tidally locked, we put big masses on each end of this long structure.

Now imagine putting a set of huge gyros on this structure.  It’s placement probably wouldn’t matter, but for simplicity, lets place it at the center of the structure.  Once spun up, gyros have the convenient property of resisting a force that would change its axis of rotation.  Satellites often have gyros to aid in pointing them where we want them to point.  Now imagine what would happen if, after they have been spun up, the gyros were to be locked to the structure so that it resisted the tidally locked rotation.  That is to say, we attempted to make it point at a single star in the far distance, instead of rotating to always point to the center of the Earth?

Can you guess?  Well first, the rotation would have to be stopped… so lets just assume that we did that.  OK, now what?

Well, that tidal force isn’t going to go away.  As the structure continues in its orbit, the angular difference between where the structure is pointed and where it “wants” to be pointed to reduce the tidal stress will grow.  Now, imagine we suddenly let the structure free.  It would relax the tidal stress and start to rotate, exchanging potential energy for kinetic energy.  Where did that energy come from?  Can you guess?

It came from the potential and kinetic energy of the orbit.  We caused the structure to “drop” into a lower orbit, all without propellent!

The reverse can be done as well.  Consider what would happen if we use motors between the gyros and the structure to force the structure to “lean forward”, as though it was already pointing to a direction that tidally speaking, it will in the future when its orbit brings it to that position.  Now, when we “lean” the structure, we are putting energy into its energy of potential.  But when the structure gets to the point where its tidal forces are gone, as it points to the center of the Earth… oops, the potential energy is gone!  Where did it go?  Can you guess?

Yes, it is in the potential and kinetic energy of the orbit.  We caused the structure to “climb” into a higher orbit, all without propellent!

We can also use this same concept to shift orbits laterally.  So, we can go up, down, and sideways in orbit, all without propellent!

The downside of this technique?  The gravitic forces are very weak, so the change in orbits will be very slow.  Further, the limit to how much angular mementum that can be pre-stored in the gyros to allow a climb limits the orbital altitude that may be gained.   (Angular momentum is still conserved in this scheme, of course.)  The concept might work for station keeping though.  But still, as an excersize in thinking creatively and big, its a great idea.

So, your turn.  Think about gravitics.

(Addendum 1/8/2016:  Exciting new paper, “How current loops and selenoids curve space-time” regarding generating artificial gravity fields using magnetic energy stored inside of electromagnets.  Yes, its real physics, based on Einstein’s General Relativity and the Equivilance Principle.  The effect is REALLY tiny, but may allow us to generate controlled gravity pulses someday:  http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.00333 )