Mars Rover

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pages: 265 words: 79,896

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, From Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity by Roger Wiens


computer age, Mars Rover, Ronald Reagan, Skype

This book was written by the JPL manager of the first Mars rover mission, which landed a toy-sized rover that lasted two months. A Traveler’s Guide to Mars, by William K. Hartmann, Workman Publishing Company, 2003, 450 pages. Hartmann gives the reader a tour of Mars, focusing on a number of diverse locations and why they are interesting. A number of sidebars provide additional human-interest details. Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet, by Steve Squyres, Hyperion, 2005, 422 pages. Steve was the project scientist for the second Mars rover mission. In this book he describes this JPL project and the first several months on Mars.

RED ROVER Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity ROGER WIENS BASIC BOOKS A MEMBER OF THE PERSEUS BOOKS GROUP NEW YORK Copyright © 2013 by Roger Wiens Published by Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address Basic Books, 250 West 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10107-1307. Books published by Basic Books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the United States by corporations, institutions, and other organizations.

Space—the final frontier—is being conquered by increasingly sophisticated robots. As you read this, some twenty such craft are trolling through interplanetary space or actively orbiting or driving on another planet or asteroid. Over the past fifteen years, robotic space exploration has enjoyed a huge renaissance, starting arguably with the first Mars rover, the puny 23-pound Sojourner. Mechanical creations from Earth are orbiting Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, the asteroid Vesta, Jupiter, and Saturn; others are on their way to Pluto and to land on a comet; and three are on their way out of the solar system. One spacecraft landed on the tiny asteroid Eros, only about 10 miles across, and a European craft landed on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.


pages: 221 words: 61,146

The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets by Alan Boss


Albert Einstein, Dava Sobel, diversified portfolio, full employment, if you build it, they will come, Kuiper Belt, Mars Rover, Pluto: dwarf planet, Silicon Valley, wikimedia commons

A letter was sent to the Mars Exploration Program office at JPL telling it to cut the budget for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), two robots that had been exploring the Martian landscape since January 2004. The Mars Rovers Mission was to be cut by $4 million in the current fiscal year, a 40% cut in the funds remaining in the fiscal year. The Mars Rovers team responded with the usual Washington Monument ploy. Cornell’s Steven Squyres, the MER principal investigator, stated that with a cut of that size, they would have to turn off one of the rovers, at least temporarily. Things might get even worse in the next fiscal year. reported the cuts with the eye-catching headline “Budget Cuts Could Shut Down Mars Rover,” something that would bring pain to nearly every sentient being who had been following the two wandering rovers for the last several years.

April 1, 2008 (April Fool’s Day)—The web site posted a link to “Today’s Video,” showing Steve Squyres in a lively appearance on The Colbert Report as if it had just occurred the night before, even though the episode dated from June 7, 2006. Stephen Colbert had been relatively merciful with Squyres, actually letting him speak at times and highlighting a model of the Mars rovers sitting on the table between them. Griffin’s instincts had been right: if Comedy Central liked the Mars rovers, it was best not to touch the third rail on their track. On the same day, the WASP team announced the discovery of 10 new hot Jupiters, found by transits and confirmed by Doppler spectroscopy. The 10 new planets, named WASP-6 b though WASP-15 b, had all been found in just six months of work. reported the cuts with the eye-catching headline “Budget Cuts Could Shut Down Mars Rover,” something that would bring pain to nearly every sentient being who had been following the two wandering rovers for the last several years. The rovers had been faithfully sniffing around Mars, looking for signs of water, and now at least one was being threatened with being put down. March 25, 2008—NASA headquarters rescinded Stern’s order to cut the funds for the Mars Rovers program. Michael Griffin personally intervened. Griffin noted that his office, which normally does not get involved at the level of individual ongoing missions, was not informed of SMD’s plan to cut the funds. He decided that both rovers were to be kept alive, which was bound to please the public.


pages: 310 words: 89,653

The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission by Jim Bell


Albert Einstein, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering,, Eratosthenes, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Mars Rover, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, polynesian navigation, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, V2 rocket

Flyby and orbiter spacecraft, and rovers on the ground, provide these essential remote-sensing capabilities for us, sending back the pictures and sensory data from remote places. It’s easy to think of spacecraft like the Voyagers as being alive, imparting to them feelings and other human attributes. They are so far away, and it is so cold and dark. They must be lonely. Some of them, like the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, are so cute with their long necks and bulging eyes! They must be plucky, intrepid, courageous, and a dozen other grand adjectives of exploration, in order to survive and thrive for so long. They are out there, working tirelessly, making discoveries and braving dangerous environments with no rest, no vacation, and no pay.

For the engineers involved, seeing their creations treated like this can be a painful experience. The Voyagers were assembled from about 65,000 separate parts in JPL’s Building 179—the famous “High Bay” Spacecraft Assembly Facility where spacecraft like the Rangers, Mariners, Vikings, Galileo, Cassini, and the Mars rovers Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity were also brought into the world. The High Bay is a Class 10,000 clean room (less than 10,000 particles of 0.5 micron or larger per cubic foot of air), making it a great place to work if you have allergies. Workers in the High Bay have to wear protective clothing (known affectionately as bunny suits) to keep bacteria and other particles (human beings generate millions of skin, hair, dirt, and dust particles every minute) from contaminating the spacecraft.

The kinds of job-related stresses that sequencers faced during the one-shot flyby missions of Voyager are somewhat different from the stresses faced by sequencers and their teammates operating orbital spacecraft, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or the Saturn orbiter Cassini (both of which Candy is currently involved with), or landed missions like the Mars rovers that I have worked on. In those cases, if an exposure time is botched or some other sequence error occurs, it’s often (though not always) possible to take a “do-over” the next day, or the next orbit, to get it right. But still, in my experience and in the experience of almost everyone I know in the business, such mistakes are rare.


pages: 265 words: 74,807

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell


Air France Flight 447, autonomous vehicles, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chris Urmson,, Erik Brynjolfsson, fudge factor, index card, Mars Rover, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, trade route

In planetary exploration, the phenomena under study are slow; the difference between a two-week human mission (cost: $100 billion) and a ten-year robotic mission (cost: $1 billion) has no relevance for rocks. Dan Lester, an astronomer at the University of Texas, argues that we need to rethink our traditional concepts of exploration. Even though the human scientists and their Mars rovers are clearly conducting exploration, he points out, NASA still uses the term “exploration” to refer to human spaceflight, while congressional legislation speaks more generally of “human presence” in space. “When Congress starts using the phrase ‘human presence’ to authorize a $17B agency,” Lester writes, “the phrase takes on some importance.”

The cognitive latency argument laudably moves beyond the old argument that remote presence is not real presence, but in doing so introduces another fallacy: that presence through a time delay is not real presence. Ask Predator pilots about the sense of presence when they operate through delays nearly ten times longer than Lester and Thronson’s cognitive horizon. Everything in Bill Clancey’s studies of the Mars rovers teams, everything in his richly empirical and systematic data, contradicts this assumption. What is it about latency that destroys presence? Why can we not feel present when our data is a few minutes or even hours old? When the thing you’re studying hasn’t changed in millions of years, why is twenty minutes too long to wait?

Anything programmed into the vehicle constituted assumptions, models about how the world worked that might not be valid in a new context. “I think it focused on the wrong aspects of autonomy, perhaps. . . . You’re requiring the vehicle to understand a lot of context that may not be available to it.” Kinsey had his own version of the surprise expressed by the Mars rover engineer as abstractions of autonomy met real applications. “One of the problems with having a vehicle that makes its own decisions,” Kinsey realized, “is there’s a certain amount of opaqueness to what it’s doing. Even if you’re monitoring it, [you say] ‘Gee, it just suddenly wandered off to the southwest.


pages: 237 words: 76,486

Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account From Curiosity's Chief Engineer by Rob Manning, William L. Simon


Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Kuiper Belt, Mars Rover

I led the flight system engineering team while also managing the development of the challenging EDL system. For the next few years, I would be focusing primarily on the twin MER projects. At the same time, I would continue to be an active part of a loose-knit group juggling ideas for landing a much larger Mars rover, something we initially called a “MegaRover” but was soon being called the “Mars Smart Lander.” Without Pathfinder and Sojourner, we couldn’t have built Spirit and Opportunity, and without those two rovers we could never have built what would become the Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity rover.

That broad-scale announcement became personal for me just after I landed in Lihue, Kauai, where my wife, daughter, and I had flown to enjoy our first vacation in years. I received a cell phone call from former JPLer Jennifer Trosper. She had worked on our small team on Mars Pathfinder in the 1990s and had led the project-level system engineering on Mars Exploration Rover with me, on which she and her team pioneered Mars rover operations concepts. By then she had become the most experienced Mars surface operations engineer within NASA. Jennifer and her husband, who was in the Air Force, had recently moved to the D.C. area so that he could continue pursuing his chosen specialty, as a test pilot. She had landed a job at NASA headquarters as what they call a “detailee,” someone from one of the NASA field centers who is loaned to headquarters.

In part that was because the United States wanted to share its leadership in space by getting other countries to take part, in the spirit of “opening our knowledge to others.” In part, too, it was because countries like France were glad to untie their purse strings to help their own scientists and gain national prestige by establishing a foothold in the relatively new art of developing space hardware for a Mars rover. “Frankly,” Roger says, “I figured the chances of our instruments being selected were lousy. We had not yet proven we could build an instrument that would work on Mars. Our French partners hadn’t, either.” His hopes were dashed even further when he learned how many proposals had been submitted, and, worse, that only about six instruments would be selected.


pages: 476 words: 118,381

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Avis Lang


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, carbon-based life, centralized clearinghouse, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, Gordon Gekko, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Karl Jansky, Kuiper Belt, Louis Blériot, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Pluto: dwarf planet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, space pen, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

They could be talked to and would talk back (sounding, of course, robotic). The standard robot looked more or less like a person. The fussbudget character C3PO, from the Star Wars movies, is a perfect example. Even when a robot doesn’t look humanoid, its handlers might present it to the public as a quasi-living thing. Each of NASA’s twin Mars rovers, for instance, was described in JPL press packets as having “a body, brains, a ‘neck and head,’ eyes and other ‘senses,’ an arm, ‘legs,’ and antennas for ‘speaking’ and ‘listening.’ ” On February 5, 2004, according to the status reports, “Spirit woke up earlier than normal today . . . in order to prepare for its memory ‘surgery.’ ” On the 19th the rover remotely examined the rim and surrounding soil of a crater dubbed Bonneville, and “after all this work, Spirit took a break with a nap lasting slightly more than an hour.”

In spite of all this anthropomorphism, it’s pretty clear that a robot can have any shape at all: it’s simply an automated piece of machinery that accomplishes a task, either by repeating an action faster or more reliably than the average person can, or by performing an action that a person, relying solely on the five senses, would be unable to accomplish. Robots that paint cars on assembly lines don’t look much like people. The Mars rovers looked a bit like toy flatbed trucks, but they could grind a pit in the surface of a rock, mobilize a combination microscope-camera to examine the freshly exposed surface, and determine the rock’s chemical composition—just as a geologist might do in a laboratory on Earth. It’s worth noting, by the way, that even a human geologist doesn’t go it alone.

Field geologists on Mars would lug it around on their daily strolls across a Martian crater or outcrop, where they might take measurements of the soil, the rocks, the terrain, and the atmosphere. But if you can get a robot to haul and deploy all the same instruments, why send a field geologist to Mars at all? One good reason is the geologist’s common sense. Each Mars rover was designed to move for about ten seconds, then stop and assess its immediate surroundings for twenty seconds, then move for another ten seconds, and so on. If the rover moved any faster, or moved without stopping, it might stumble on a rock and tip over, becoming as helpless as a Galápagos tortoise on its back.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey


3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

It works well for Earth-bound humans, so why would it be hard for an astronaut to watch cat videos on the Moon or Mars? First, it takes light or radio waves anywhere from four to twenty-one minutes to reach Mars from Earth, depending on where the two planets are in their orbits. NASA engineers don’t control the Mars rovers like a video game enthusiast would, flicking a joystick as the rover careens across sand dunes. The rovers are controlled painstakingly by commands that are separated by a half hour or more to allow for the round-trip signal time. Second, planets rotate and shadow the orbiters, so there are dead times when no communication is possible.

“Metastability of Liquid Water on Mars” by M. H. Hecht 2002. Icarus, vol. 156, pp. 373–86. Also: “Ancient Oceans, Ice Sheets, and the Hydrological Cycle on Mars” by V. R. Baker et al. 1991. Nature, vol. 352, pp. 589–94. More recent discoveries are covered in “Introduction to Special Issue: Analysis of Surface Materials by the Curiosity Mars Rover” by J. Grotzinger 2013. Science, vol. 341, p. 1475, and subsequent articles in the special issue of Science magazine. 13. Water on Mars by M. H. Carr 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 14. The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must by R. M. Zubrin and R. Wagner 1996.

Synergetic Agents: From Multi-Robot Systems to Molecular Robotics by H. Haken and P. Levi 2012. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH. The book that started off the entire field was Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology by E. Drexler 1986. New York: Doubleday. 12. “The Next Generation of Mars Rovers Could Be Smaller Than Grains of Sand” by B. Ferreira 2012, in Popular Science, online at 13. Research at Goddard Space Flight Center: 14. Nanorobotics: Current Approaches and Techniques, ed. by C.


pages: 385 words: 103,561

Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Our World by Greg Milner


Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, Flash crash, friendly fire, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, land tenure, lone genius, Mars Rover, Mercator projection, place-making, polynesian navigation, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart grid, the map is not the territory

When combined with traditional seismic monitoring equipment, GPS can give a region a crucial extra few seconds or minutes of warning just as an earthquake starts. It can also, in a way that seismic tools cannot, help scientists understand how an earthquake deforms the land, long after the quake has hit. JPL is the site of some of the most sophisticated GPS research, much of it applied to tracking spacecraft, including the Mars rovers, which the facility designs and builds. But a good portion of its work for the last forty years has been in harnessing GPS to improve earthquake monitoring. Young was among the first scientists to explore the possibilities of building GPS receivers sensitive enough to detect seismic activity, never thinking that GPS would become a lifelong pursuit.

., Fourth Amendment to, 177–80, 188, 189, 191 Continental Airlines, 171–72 continental drift theory, 205–7, 216, 233 Cook, James, 7–12, 269 astronomical observations of, 24 journal of, 10 murder of, 106–7 Pacific voyages of, 7–10, 26, 27, 106–7, 263–64, 266 Tupaia and, 7–10, 21–24, 26, 263–64, 266 cooking oil, 183 Cook Islands, 4, 106 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), 154 Cornell University, 129, 149, 150 Counselman, Charles “Chuck,” 210, 211, 212–14 criminal justice system, 177–79, 194–99 see also police Croatian language, 114 Curiosity Mars rover, 258–59, 262 Currie, Malcolm, 53–54 DAGR receiver, 72 Dangermond, Jack, 239 Darwin, Charles, evolutionary theory of, 116 data collecting companies, 242–44 Datum company, 88 DC-3 aircraft, 51 dead reckoning, 16, 17, 18, 25, 82n, 121, 122 Deep Space Network (DSN), 259, 261 DEFCON hacker convention of 2015, 153 Defense Department, U.S., xviii, 28, 44–47, 53–54, 56, 60–62, 69, 75, 82–83, 91, 93–95, 97–98, 100, 140, 149, 152, 157, 212–13 Defense Mapping Agency of, 253, 254, 255; see also National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Delaware Office of Management and Budget, 184 Delaware River, 249 Delhi, 183 Delta-Differential One-Way Ranging (Delta-DOR), 260, 261, 287 democracies, 140 Denali National Park, 216–17, 218 Dennison, Lyle, 190 Denver, Colo., 75 Descartes, René, 9, 248 Detroit, Mich., 122 developmental topographical disorientation (DTD), 118 Dewey, John, 116 DGPS positioning technique, 99 Dirks, Stephen, xv Disney, Walt, 86 distance calculation, 16, 24–27 Dog of the South, The (Portis), 3 Doppler effect, 36–38, 40, 43, 44, 51, 259 Douglas Island, 138 Dover Strait, 166–67 Draper, Charles Stark “Doc,” 48 Driscoll, Ryan, 183, 184 drones, 67, 151–53, 168, 184–85 Dulles Airport, 155 Dunkirk, 246 Earth, 24, 53, 55, 262 apparent swelling (Palmdale Bulge) of, 210–11 atmosphere on, 227–30 center of, 253 compiling and sharing data on, 28 distribution of water on, 257 equatorial axis of, 246 equator of, 259 fastest circumnavigation of, 17, 126 gravitational field of, 131, 231–32, 245, 247, 250–51, 257 interior of, 206–7 latitude and longitude of, 24–27, 241, 245, 252, 253, 265 lithosphere (outer shell) of, 207 magnetism of, 27–28 measurement of, 253–54 measuring positioning, velocity, and acceleration of points on, 208–9 movement of, 202–8, 217–20 oblate spheroid shape of, 246 as only home for the human race, 209 orbiting of the sun by, 41, 228 polar regions of, 28 rotation of, 25, 43, 154, 202, 257, 261 75th meridian of, 30, 32 subduction zone of, 208 tectonic plate movement on, 3–4, 202–8, 209 topography of, 204–5 wobbling of, 257 earth-centered reference system, 253 Earth Day, 208 earthquakes, 202–4, 208–27, 232 casualties of, 215 land displacement in, 217–20, 224 magnitude of, 216–17, 219, 221–26 monitoring of, 203, 214–20, 223–24 prediction and warning of, 203, 210, 216, 224, 226 P-waves in, 223, 225 ShakeOut study of, 226–27 structural damage in, 215, 220, 221, 222, 225 S-waves in, 223 Easter Island, 4 Eastern Oblique Arc, 249 Easton, Roger, 31, 35, 39–40, 42–45, 47, 56–58, 153, 252 egalitarianism, 199 Egypt, 245 Einstein, Albert, xix, 267 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 29–30 electrical engineering, 48 electrical transmission, 158–61, 163–64 costs of, 241 disruption of, 158–59, 160 energy sources for, 160, 241 monitoring of, 159–61 electronic distance measurement (EDM), 251, 253 electronic monitoring systems, 175–77, 194–200 Electronic Route Guidance System (ERGS), 121 electronics, 85, 127 Elgin Air Force Base, 70 Elizabeth, N.J., 249 Elko County, Idaho, 136 ellipsoids, 247–49 Ellis, Roland, 63 eLoran, 166 El Segundo Air Force Base, 53 Endeavour, HMS, 7, 8–10 Enge, Per, 142, 171 England, xiv, 25–27, 104, 153 Hertfordshire County in, 197 Yorkshire County in, 113 English Channel, 166–67, 246 Enlightenment, 26 Eratosthenes, 245 Eschenbach, Ralph, 78–81, 83, 85, 87, 93 espionage, 55 Esri software company, 239 etak, 18–22, 118, 240, 262, 263, 265–66 definitions of, 18–19 Etak company, 122–23 Eurasia, 3 European Convention on Human Rights, 187 European Court of Human Rights, 187–88 European Datum 1952, 250 European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), 142 European Parliament, 104 European Space Agency, xvii European Union (EU), xvii, 144 Everest, Mount, 90 Eyjafjallajökull volcano, 230 F-4 aircraft, 59–60 Facebook, 194 Falcon Air Force Base, 62–63 Fallen Man photograph, 235–39, 235, 241–42, 248 GPS coordinates linked to, 238 location depicted in, 236, 245, 256 people and shops in, 236–38 time stamp on, 238 fascism, 177 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 140–41, 142, 151, 171 safety requirements of, 141 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 170, 178 Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 200, 201 Federal Express, 143 Federal Highway Administration, U.S., Electronic Route Guidance System (ERGS) of, 121 fertilizer, 102, 103 Fiji, 4, 10 financial services industry, 161–64 Finney, Ben, 264–65 fixed-wing gunships, 50–51 fleet management industry, 183–84, 201, 282 Florida, 30, 31, 70, 90, 195–96 Fontainebleau, 246 Forbes, 127 Forlander, Abraham, 12 Fort Carson, xiii Fort Collins, Colo., 74, 75, 101 Fort Davis, Tex., 214 Fort Walton Beach, Fla., 70–71 fossils, 205 France, 158, 252, 263 Frankenstein, Julia, 130, 132 Freiburg, University of, Center for Cognitive Science at, 130 Freundschuh, Scott, 125 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 222, 225 Fulton, Steve, 139, 279 Gable, Ralph, see Schwitzgebel, Ralph Gable, Robert, see Schwitzgebel, Robert Galileo Galilei, 29 Galileo system, xvii–xviii, 144 Gambale, Nunzio, 164–66 Garmin C550 receivers, 126 Garmin GPS Systems, 100, 126–27, 242 consumer electronics segment of, 127 Gastineau Channel, 138 Gatty, Harry, 17 General Accounting Office, 60 General Electric, 44 General Motors, 120 geochronology technologies, 207 geodesy, 245–48, 250–55, 286 geographic information systems (GIS), 239–42 GPS linked to, 239–40, 245 perception of the world shaped by, 241–42 geography, 3–4, 19, 118, 125 geoids, 247, 256 Geological Survey, U.S.

., 117–18 see also Google Maps marine biology, 15 Marine Corps, U.S., 46 Mark, David, 124, 125 Marquesas, 4, 9, 265 Mars, 20 atmosphere on, 258, 262 exploration of, 258–62 Mars Climate orbiter, 259 Marseille, 263 Marshall Islands, 251, 265 Mars Odyssey mission, 259–60 Mars Polar Lander, 259 Mars rovers, 203, 258–59 Mars Science Laboratory, 258, 262 Marston, Glenn, 237 Martin Company, 34 Martinez, Bob, 196 Martínez de Zúñiga, Joaquín, 12 Martin-Mur, Tomas, 258 Maryland, 30, 44, 188 Maskelyne, Nigel, 26 Massachusetts, 184, 208 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 48, 209–10, 212–14, 246 MIT Media Lab, 239 mathematics, 205, 246, 255 “Mau,” see Piailug, Pius McClure, Frank, 37–38, 39 McDonald, Larry, 82 McDonald’s, 123 McGranaghan, Matthew, 124, 125 McHugh, Tom, 142 McNamara, Timothy, 131–32 McNeff, Jules, 47, 97, 99 Meades Ranch, 249 Mediterranean Sea, 113–14 Melanesia, 11 Melville, Herman, ix memory, human, 125, 128–29, 130, 237, 238 memory, solid-state, 126 Memphis, Tenn., 143 Mercator, Gerardus, 240 meteorology, 15, 27–28, 204, 227–28 GPS-enabled, 228 methamphetamine, 179 Mexico, 31, 161, 249 microchips, 87 Micronesia, 265 microprocessors, 79, 84 microwaves, 36–37, 41, 78 Milky Way, 257 Minitrack, 30–32, 35, 39, 57 Minnesota, 155 missiles, 47, 209, 250 Atlas ballistic, 43 CALCM, 69 cruise, 62, 69 guided, 37, 62 Hellfire, 66 long-range, 69–70 nuclear, 62, 69 Russian, 81 Scud, 66 tracking of, 37 Missouri, 71, 89 Missouri, USS, 48 Mitchell, Donald, 88 Mitford, Jessica, 177 Mitre, 139 Moby-Dick (Melville), ix modems, 195 Mojave Desert, 215, 259 Molyneaux, Robert, 9 Monaco, 168 Mona Lisa (Leonardo), 99 moon, 24, 26, 252 craters on, 210 landing of Apollo 11 on, 208 landing of Apollo 15 on, 210 moon rover, 210 Moorman, Thomas, 68 Moscow, 251 Moser, Edvard, 129 Moser, May-Britt, 129 Mosul, 69 Mountain City, Nev., 112, 135, 136 MTSAT Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS), 142 Murray, Sara, 197–98 napalm, 51 National Academy of Science, 31, 256 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 212, 257 Ames Research Center of, 96 Apollo missions of, 208, 210 Communications, Tracking, and Radar Division of, 261 Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of, 203, 210, 213, 214, 222, 231–32, 258, 261 Mars program of, 258–62 space shuttle program of, 61, 88 National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), 255–56, 261 see also Defense Mapping Agency National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 154–55, 166 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory of, 227 National Research Council, 99–100 National Space Policy, 101, 144 Naval Academy, 48 Naval Observatory, U.S., 44, 155 Master Clock at, xv, 154 Naverus, 139 navigation, 6–22, 48, 119–20 Carolinian, 18–21, 118 of carriages, 120 commercial shipping, 38 determining routes in, 17 Doppler-aided, 36–38, 40, 43, 44, 51, 259 estimating distance, speed and time in, 16–17, 19, 22–26, 31, 39, 40, 130 etak compared to, 18–19 experiments in, 127–29 home-centering vs. self-centering systems of, 17, 20, 21–22, 27 improving skills of, 133 inertial, 48, 82 local-reference system of, 17, 20, 21, 22 loss of environmental engagement in, 119, 129, 134 modern technologies of, 27 orientation in, 130–33 passive ranging in, 40–42, 44, 45, 53, 101–2 Polynesian, 6, 8–18 space, 30–45 by sun and stars, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 86 tools of, 5, 6, 13, 25, 26–27, 38–39 see also GPS auto navigation units NAVSPASUR (Navy Space Surveillance System), 39–40 Navstar Global Positioning System, 54 Navy, U.S., 37, 40, 42, 46, 56, 251 Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) of, 29, 30, 31, 39, 42–43, 47, 57, 252 Ordnance Bureau of, 38 Navy Navigation Satellite System, 38 Navy Seals, 93 Nellis, Mike, 195, 197, 283 nervous system, 118 Netherlands, 166 neurological pathologies, 118 neutrinos, 155–56 Nevada, 111 Newark Liberty International Airport, 170, 171–72, 181–82 GPS jamming incident at, 200–201, 283–84 Newell, Homer, 29, 35 New England Datum, 249 New Guinea, 4, 86 New Haven, Conn., 184 New Jersey, 170–72, 249 New Jersey Turnpike, 170–71, 172, 181–82, 200, 281 New Mexico, 44, 146, 151 New Mexico penitentiary, 195 New Orleans, La., 192, 249 Newton, Isaac, 246 New York, N.Y., xv, 81, 164, 239–40, 245, 251 Coney Island, 249 distinguishing uptown from downtown in, 17 Greenwich Village, 17 Kips Bay, 236 Manhattan, 236 Queens, 243 Staten Island, 220 Times Square, 167 traffic patterns in, 192 transportation in, 17, 145, 192 World Trade Center in, 17, 170 New York City Marathon, 220–21 New York Herald Tribune, 34 New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 34 New York Times, 173 New York Times Magazine, 86 New York World-Telegram and Sun, 35 New Zealand, 4, 12 NextGen, 142 NextNav company, 192 Nighthawk stealth aircraft, 66 NIMCOS company, 195 Nimer, Richard, 195 Nixon, Richard M., 51 North America, 25, 142, 215, 230, 242, 250, 254 electrical grid of, 158, 160 North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), xiii North American Datum of 1927 (NAD27), 249–51 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 71 North Korea, 166 North Stradbroke Island, Australia, 113 North Vietnam, bombing of, 51, 70 Norway, 251 NTS-2 satellite, 58–59 nuclear waste, 146 Oakland, Calif., 203 Obama, Barack, 255 oceanography, 15, 38 oceans: positional awareness on, 24–27 shipwrecks on, 26 see also specific oceans Odishaw, Hugh, 29 odometers, 120, 121, 243 Oetting, Valerie, 90 O’Hare Airport, 141 Ohio, 158, 164 Ohio State University, Mapping and Charting Research Laboratory of, 250–51 O’Keefe, John, 129, 252 Omega, 27 Omnitracs system, 182 Operation Allied Force, 71 Operation Desert Storm, see Gulf War Operation Eagle Claw, 77 Operation El Dorado Canyon, 61–62 Oregon, 111, 112, 202, 225 Origin of Continents and Oceans, The (Wegener), 205, 206 O-rings, 92–93 ornithology, 15 Oro worship, 7–8 Ortelius, Abraham, 204 Orwell, George, 177 oscillators, 41, 43, 77 oscilloscopes, 59, 79 Owens Valley, 214 Pace, Scott, 46, 68, 97–98 Pacific Ocean, xiv, 18–20, 26, 106–8, 122, 183, 218, 221–22, 229, 249 canoe travel on, 5, 9, 11, 14–15, 18–19, 264, 268 currents and winds of, 13, 14–15 exploration of, 4–10, 26, 27, 106–7 first detailed map of, 7 islands of, 4–13, 22, 27, 106–8, 251 maps of, 10, 13, 14, 263–64 ring of fire in, 221, 229 seismic disturbances in, 202 shipping charts of, 27 swell patterns of, 13, 14 Pacific Plate, 208 Pacific Rim, 4, 12 Palatucci, Joe, 242–43 Palo Alto, Calif., 77 Pangea, 3–4, 205 Pangea Ultima, 3 Papeete, 265 Paris, xv, 24, 154, 155, 167, 246 Eiffel Tower in, 167 Park Avenue Audio, 236–38 Parkinson, Brad, 45, 48, 50, 52–54, 56–58, 60–61, 65, 70, 81, 100, 140, 153, 165–66, 185, 230, 250, 272 particle accelerators, xix Pasadena, Calif., 203, 226 passive positioning systems, satellite-based, 40 passive ranging, 40–42, 44, 45, 53, 101–2 Pattabiraman, Ganesh, 192–93 Pave Low III helicopters, 65–66 PCM signals, 156 Pearl Harbor, bombing of, 34 Penn Station (New York City), 237 Penticton, 111 peregrine falcons, 237 Permanent GPS Geodetic Array, 214, 215 Permilab particle physics facility, 155 Persian Gulf, 63, 96 Peru, 12 Peterson Air Force Base, xiii Phasor measurement units (PMU), 159–61 Philippines, 12 photogrammetry, 251 photography, 235–39, 243 physics, 15, 28, 155, 204 Piailug, Pius “Mau,” 265–66 Picard, Jean, 245–46 pigeons, 174 PlaceMe, 193 planets, 24–27, 259 Plate Boundary Observatory, 215, 218 plates, tectonic, 215, 253, 258 continental, 207–8 movement of, 3–4, 202–8, 209, 214, 216, 232, 255 North American, 208, 221, 222 oceanic, 207, 208 Okhotsk, 221n Pacific, 208, 215, 221 Philippine Sea, 221 Point Arena, Calif., 249 Poland, 244 Polaris nuclear submarines, 37 police, 178–79, 181–82 British, 187–88, 197–98 German, 185–87 Irish, 187–88 Polynesia, 18, 21, 106, 264 Polynesians, 4–18 migration of, 11, 12–13, 21, 106, 264, 268 navigation of, 6, 8–18 origins of, 12 Polynesian Triangle, 264 Pong (video game), 121 Port Elizabeth, N.J., 170 Portis, Charles, 3 Precision Market Insights, 192 prime meridian, 25 prisons, 195, 197 privacy, xx, 177, 186–87, 190–91, 192–94, 200 Probation (magazine), 177 Project Moonbeam, 31 Project Moonwatch, 31 Project Vanguard, 29–35, 252 Pro Tech company, 196 proximity beacons, 121 psilocybin, 173 psychology, 116–18, 119, 131–32, 172–77 experiments in, 125, 127–29, 173–77, 277 psychotherapy, 173 Puea, 8 Pueblo, Colo., 75 Pullen, Sam, 181 Pyrenees Mountains, 246 Qihoo 360, 153 quadrants, 13 Qualcomm, 182 quasars, 209, 257, 261 radar, 27, 51, 66–67, 122, 142, 168, 229 GPS-assisted, 67 radiation, 43, 214, 258 radioactive materials, 146, 207 radio signals, xviii, 27, 30–31, 39, 54, 71, 91, 138, 171, 195 of celestial objects, 209 ham, 31 software vs. hardware components of, 149 transmission of, 210 Ra’iatea, 7, 9, 106 range measuring, 40 Rapa Nui, 4 rat experiments, 115–17, 118–19, 129, 133 Rea, Don, 90 Reagan, Ronald, 82, 140 Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM), 139–40 Red Army, 250 Red Army Faction, 185 Redoubt, Mount, 229–30 Regensburg, 49 Rehnquist, William, 180 relativity, xix, 267 Remote Oceania, 4 Resolution, HMS, 106–7 Rhodes, 168 Richmond Times, 34 Ring of Fire, 4 Rio Grande Valley, 40 Riyadh, 63–64 rockets, 28–29, 32–35 failure of, 33–35 Rockwell Collins, 58–60, 72, 78–79, 92, 93, 97 Rocky Mountains, 73 Rome, 55, 158–59, 164 Rosen, Milt, 252 Rotuma, 10 route discs, 120 Royal Institute of Navigation, 166 Royal Observatory, 25, 44 Royal Society, 7 Russia, xvii, 144, 166 Russian space agency, 88 Rutan 76 Voyager aircraft, 126 Saarbrücken, 127 Sahul, 4 Saigon, 64 St.


pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur


Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, double helix, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Either way, the collectives of technology and of known phenomena advance in tandem. None of this should be taken to mean that technologies always proceed directly from phenomena. Most technologies are created from building-block components that are several steps removed from any direct harnessing of an effect. The Mars Rover is put together from drive motors, digital circuits, communication systems, steering servos, cameras, and wheels without any direct awareness of the effects that lie behind these. The same is true for most technologies. Still, it is good to remember that all technologies, even planetary vehicles, derive ultimately from phenomena.

., 185, 202 electric, 150 from stars, 48–49, 50 limbs, mechanical, 9 logic circuits, 168, 171, 182–85 Los Alamos Historical Museum, 75 lubrication systems, 52, 137 lunar space program, 93 machinery, 1, 16, 75, 139, 157–58, 168, 171, 192, 196, 197, 209 nature enhanced by, 9, 11–12 see also specific machines Macintosh: computer, 88–89 Toolbox, 88 magnetic fields, 58, 59, 61, 83, 113–15, 121 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 22, 56, 57, 174 Mahler, Gustav, 54, 56 Maillart, Robert, 99–100, 109 Malthus, Thomas Robert, 127–28 Manhattan Project, 75 manufacturing, 24, 37, 124, 152, 161, 168, 169, 175–76 maps, 75 Marcy, Geoffrey, 47–48, 49–50 maritime container transportation, 83–84 markets, 37, 111, 154, 157, 192, 201 collapse of, 149 financial, 10, 149, 193 see also products Marshall, Alfred, 160–61 Mars Rover, 66 Marx, Karl, 192, 202 masers, 80, 115–16, 118, 123 mass production, 10, 37, 152, 155, 176 mathematics, 5, 33, 38, 55, 63, 74, 81, 91, 155 invention in, 126–29 Maturana, Humberto, 2, 170 Mauchly, John, 87 measurement technology, 47–50, 52, 61–64, 88, 116 mechanical arts, 16, 27, 28 mechanical kingdom, 16 Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices, 101–2 medical technologies, 9, 12, 85, 192 memes, 102 memory systems, 146 Mersenne, Marin, 208 metal, 9, 10, 49, 66, 171 see also specific metals microprocessors, 12–13, 156 microscopes, 61, 62, 63, 64 microwave technology, 65, 80, 113–14, 123 Middle Ages, 10, 105–6 Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 99 Millikan, Robert, 62–63 oil-drop experiment, 62–63 mills: textile, 139, 196, 197 water, 10 mining, 176 mirrors, 118 acoustic, 73 mobile phones, 42, 98 modules, 35–37, 50, 78, 96, 102, 192 Mokyr, Joel, 65, 124 Moll, Gerrit, 58 momentum, 22, 46 monetary systems, 54, 55, 56, 105 monkeys, 9, 14, 187 mountain climbing, 112–13 Mullis, Kary, 123–24 Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago), 16 music, 98 composition and orchestra in, 54, 56, 72, 80, 116 pitch and rhythm in, 48, 54 recording of, 81 see also orchestras; symphonies nanotechnology, 162, 163, 172, 207, 208 Napoleon, 60 National University of Ireland, 2000 Cairnes Lectures at, 4 natural selection, 16, 17, 18, 107, 128 nature, 62, 64, 66, 213–15 clash of technology with, 11–12, 215 enhancement of, 9, 11–12, 215 laws of, 46 phenomena available in, 171 reliance on, 11 technological organization of, 203 Naval Reconnaissance Office satellites, 41 Navy, U.S., 104 Newcomb, James, 78 Newcomen, Thomas, 109 Newton, Isaac, 34, 61, 63, 112, 211–12 New York Stock Exchange, 193 nuclear technology, 22, 40, 57, 103–5 see also atomic power obsidian, 22 Ogburn, William Fielding, 20–21, 172–73 oil, 209 crude, 24, 46, 176 refining of, 24, 28, 30–31, 46, 176 optical systems, 52, 57, 66, 69, 83, 117–18, 171 orchestras, 72, 80, 81, 116 organizations, 56, 90, 192, 195, 205 business, 54, 148, 149, 153, 210–11 organs, 32, 187 Origin of Species (Darwin), 16 Ørsted, Hans Christian, 58 oscillation, 47–50, 72, 101–2, 118, 121, 130 oxcarts, 10 Oxford English Dictionary (OED), 27–28 Oxford University Dunn School of Pathology, 120 painting, 77, 79 PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), 233 pencils, 5–6, 47 pendulums, 47, 49 penicillin (Penicillium notatum), 119–20, 169, 174 penstock, 33 Perez, Carlota, 149 phenomena, 29, 45–67 as basis of technology, 3, 29, 43, 46–67, 110, 111, 119–21, 125, 130, 145, 146 behavioral, 55 capture and use of, 3, 22, 23, 24, 46, 47–59, 60, 65–66, 69, 170–72, 186, 203, 204, 215 clustering of, 50–53, 57–59, 60, 69, 146 definition of, 49 hidden, 57, 60 mechanical, 51–52 natural, 22, 29, 46 novel, 57–59, 60, 66, 188–89, 205 physical, 55, 56 principles vs., 49 programming of, 51–54, 56 replication of, 52 philosophy, 4, 14, 61, 97, 158, 170 photography, 66, 80–81 photonics, 69, 83 physics, 38, 202 atomic, 10, 24, 80, 114–15, 160 puzzles of, 47–50 quantum, 159 pilots, 72–73, 92 Pirsig, Robert, 216 Pittsburgh, University of, 9 Planck, Max, 57 planets, 47–49, 50, 65, 67 orbiting of, 47, 63 plastic injection molding, 25, 156 poetry, 32, 78, 79 Polak, Wolfgang, 182–83 politics, 61, 212 polymerase chain reaction, 123 Pont de Normandie, 31 potassium-argon dating, 46 pottery firing, 22, 171 power, 51, 52, 71, 73, 171, 200 see also energy; specific power sources Pratt & Whitney, 40, 93 JT9D jet engine, 93–94 pressure-measuring devices, 50, 52 printing press, 10, 75 products, 71, 210 barter and exchange of, 55 distribution and transport of, 81–84, 192, 193, 194 domination of markets by, 2, 152 prices and availability of, 152, 154, 177, 179, 192, 202 see also markets propulsion systems, 52, 108, 111–12, 120 proteins, 53, 147, 148, 208 psychology, 36, 97, 107, 212 purposed systems, 54–56, 105–6, 138, 142, 192–93 quantum phenomena, 57, 59, 66, 69 quantum theory, 123, 159, 161 quartz crystals, 49 “Question Concerning Technology, The” (Heidegger), 213–14 Quicksort computer algorithm, 17, 98 radar, 15, 17, 18, 22, 33, 39, 41, 49, 55, 56, 70, 72, 73–74, 113–14, 132, 135, 184 radiation: black-body, 57 electromagnetic, 59, 121 radio, 7, 15, 18, 74, 75, 184 components of, 30, 50, 167–68 signals processed by, 30, 33, 49, 50, 122, 167–68, 171 radiocarbon dating, 45 radiolabeling, 70 railroads, 14, 75, 107, 147, 149–50, 152, 153, 155, 192 locomotives for, 17, 145–47 Randall, John, 113–14, 122 random events, 2 raw materials, 19, 24–25 recursiveness, 37–39, 42, 46, 91, 113 resonant cavities, 113–14, 122 Ribet, Kenneth, 129 Ricardo, David, 202 Rickover, Hyman, 104 riveting machines, 29 rivets, 33 robotics, 9 rocket technology, 113, 175 roller bearings, 28 Röntgen, Wilhelm Conrad, 57 Rosati, Robert, 94 Rosenberg, Nathan, 14, 101 Santa Fe Institute, Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lectures, 4 satellites, 41, 206 Savery, Thomas, 176 Scholes, Myron, 154 Schumpeter, Joseph, 6, 19–20, 90, 107, 180, 185, 199, 200, 202 Schwandbach bridge, 99–100 science, 7, 14 application of, 1, 27, 57–58, 60–61, 91, 162–63, 171 beauty of, 64 definitions of, 64 experiment and insight in, 57–64 Greek thought-based, 64 invention in, 126–29 investment in, 162, 170 modern, 57–58, 61–63 technology and, 29, 59–65 theoretical, 141–42 see also specific scientific disciplines science fiction, 74–75, 207, 215–16 seismic analysis, 75 semiconductors, 71 sensing systems, 52, 72–74, 150 sewer systems, 150 Shannon, Claude, 125 Shimura, Goro, 128 ships: evolution of, 16 navigation of, 25 sailing, 16, 177 see also specific ships silicon, 9, 71, 179 Silicon Valley, 28, 151, 162 Simon, Herbert, 36 “smart” systems, 12, 207, 215 Smith, Adam, 37, 202 society, 106 ideas and culture of, 10, 16, 88 influence of technology on, 4, 6, 10–12, 13 primitive, 21 sociology, 4, 6, 14, 16, 21, 106 software, 31, 50, 56, 79 Solvay process, 177 space, 47–50, 74–75, 175 see also planets; stars species, 17, 18, 31, 66, 89 evolution of, 13, 16, 107, 127–28, 188, 204 interrelatedness of, 13, 14, 32 origin of, 14, 127–28 spectroscopy, 50, 61, 80 Stanford University, 3, 162 staphylococci bacteria, 119 Starkweather, Gary, 117–18 stars, 47–50 light spectra of, 48–49, 50 oscillation of, 47–50 Star Wars, 215–16 steam engines, 10, 14, 16, 29, 73, 75, 87, 109, 147, 156, 174, 176 steam technology, 21, 74, 159 steel, 10 basic oxygen processing of, 42 open-hearth processing of, 24 see also Bessemer process stemcell regeneration, 11 Stockton and Darlington Express, 147 stoves, 10 street cars, 21 structural deepening, 3, 131–43, 163 superchargers, 140 surveying methods, 25, 30, 88 Sutter, Joseph, 92 symphonies, 54, 55, 56 systems theory, 170 tailrace, 33 Taniyama, Yutaka, 128 Tatara Bridge, 91 techniques, 5, 6, 27, 65, 169, 212 laboratory, 6, 37 modern, 57–58 refinement of, 48 sophisticated, 10 see also specific techniques technium, 28 technologies, 1–7 abstract vs. particular view of, 31–32, 39, 170 adoption, use, and diffusion of, 2, 4, 6, 9, 11–12, 13, 17, 59, 89, 152–53 assemblies and subassemblies of, 2, 3, 24, 28, 32–40, 43, 50, 53, 87, 90–94, 116, 134–35, 136–37, 139, 169, 172, 204 beauty of, 5, 78–79 changing or switching elements of, 15, 24, 29, 36, 42, 81, 87–88, 132–34, 138, 209 collapse and replacement of, 147, 177, 180, 181, 185, 192, 195 collective, 28–29, 69–85, 88, 167–89, 205 combinations of, 2–3, 15–26, 29, 32–43, 46, 51–52, 81, 89, 91, 107, 167–89 competition of, 2, 117, 138–39, 149, 159–63 complexity and sophistication of, 10, 21, 28, 34, 46, 132, 135, 159, 168 components of, 14, 18–19, 21, 23–25, 28, 29–43, 50, 54, 63, 66, 69, 70, 72–73, 79–80, 87, 96–98, 130, 133–34, 157, 169, 181, 204 conflicting definitions of, 5, 27 constraints within, 35 conventional vs. non-conventional, 55–56 core mechanism of, 51, 176–78 creation of, 2–3, 6, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 23, 26, 27, 43, 57, 66, 87, 90, 98–99, 106–30 current shift in character of, 24–26, 209–11 definitions of, 1, 5, 27–30, 38, 50–51, 53, 54, 60, 203 design of, 4, 12, 13, 17, 36, 39, 50, 91–95, 99–100 emergence of the world from, 4, 10, 11, 12, 171–72 evolution of, 1–6, 12–26, 29, 43, 64–70, 87–90, 105–43, 145–65, 167–89, 191–202, 203, 204–5 familiar, 6, 46 fear of, 215–16 feedback from, 2, 91, 103–4, 161 hidden, 98, 216 hierarchy of, 37–41, 92 higher vs. lower levels in, 42 history of, 4, 6, 13, 16, 75 hope in, 11, 28, 215 humanity and, 216 improvement and modification of, 2, 3, 4, 15, 16, 17, 24, 29, 36, 42, 73, 81, 87–88, 89–90, 93, 131–43, 146, 160–61, 185, 196 increasing returns and, 2 individual, 29, 70–71, 75, 78, 85, 87, 107–43, 145, 153, 163, 203 inside view of, 14–15, 18–19, 24, 87–88 interrelatedness of, 2–3, 14, 15–26, 29, 32–43 literature of, 3–4, 6, 13 lock-in and adaptive stretch of, 103, 138–41 magic and wonder of, 7, 9–10, 52 maintenance of, 175 manual, 73, 74 mature, 138, 149–50, 165, 177 mechanics and methods of, 3, 12, 18, 19, 21–24, 27–28, 30–31, 51, 55, 90, 172–89, 207–8 medieval, 10 as metabolism, 52–53, 189 miniature, 23, 24, 71 modern, 10, 12, 21, 22, 25, 65, 207, 213 nature and essence of, 4, 12, 13, 43, 50–54, 56, 87 nonphysical, 55–56 nontechnology-like, 54–56 novel, 2, 5, 6, 15, 17–19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 66, 105, 106–30, 143, 145, 163–64, 168, 193, 196, 203–4 opportunity niches for, 170, 174–76, 177–79, 180–81, 183, 187, 195, 199 organization and structure of, 1, 2, 14, 17, 22–23, 32–43 outside view of, 51, 87 overall theory lacking on, 4, 12–15, 21 partitioning of, 36–37, 54 phenomena, as products of, 3, 22, 24, 29, 43, 45–67, 69, 77, 85, 88, 122, 123, 124, 125, 133, 141, 145, 146, 157, 160, 162, 163, 170, 171–172, 177, 186, 188–189, 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 215 primitive, 16, 21, 22, 171, 176, 180–81 principles and logic of, 4, 5–6, 12–15, 23–24, 25–26, 29, 32, 33, 46, 49, 55, 87 problems posed by, 11–12, 176, 197–201, 204 production and distribution of, 175 promises and threats of, 6, 9, 12 purposes and functions of, 17, 24–25, 28–31, 37–39, 40–41, 43, 54, 71, 88–89 questions about, 1–3, 9–12, 15, 43, 59–60, 107–8 radical novelty in, 17–18, 19, 107–11 real-world, 38, 41–42, 47, 50 recursive patterns of, 3, 37, 38–43, 46, 91, 110, 113, 129–30, 135, 204 revolutions in, 65, 149, 157 self-creation of, 2–3, 21, 24, 59, 167–170, 188 signature of, 55 simple, 30, 33, 36, 47, 185 skepticism and suspicion of, 7, 8, 11–12 specialized, 171–72 study of, 14–15, 18–19 supply and demand of, 172, 174–76, 196–98 support, 175–76 terminology of, 4–5 testing and analysis of, 36, 93, 112, 117, 118, 120, 131 theory of, 2, 4, 13, 14, 16, 21, 23, 25, 107, 109, 172, 203 versions of, 17, 18, 88, 89, 92–93, 95, 100, 105, 131–34, 145, 161 tectonic plates, 11 telecommunications, 150–51, 171, 206 telegraphy, 59, 60, 74, 162 telephones, 42, 59, 98 telescopes, 47, 48, 61, 64 textile technology, 65, 139, 159, 171, 192, 193, 196, 197 theater-of-war systems, 39–42 theorems, 128–129 thermodynamics, 171 thermoluminescence dating, 46 tire industry, 162 toilets, 10 tools, 20, 46, 171 Townes, Charles, 80, 115, 118, 123 trade, 160–61, 192 derivatives, 154–55, 209 foreign, 19 see also economy; markets; products trade unions, 105–6, 197 transformers, 33, 59 transistors, 69, 174, 179 transmission networks, 79 transportation, 21, 85, 200 container, 83–84 horse, 82, 147, 180 see also aircraft; automobiles; ships tree-ring dating, 45 tricycles, 73 triode vacuum tube, 168 trucks, 46, 75, 99 trust, 55 Truxal, John G., 60 turbines, 19, 33, 34, 52, 65, 93, 103–4, 115, 134–35, 168 turbojets, 22, 108–9, 137 Tyndall, John, 119 typesetting, 76 Usher, Abbott Payson, 20 vacuums, 83 vacuum tubes, 59, 146, 150, 167–68, 169, 179 Varela, Francisco, 2, 170 variation and selection, 17, 18, 127, 128, 132, 188 Vaughan, Diane, 139–40 Venturi, Robert, 212–13 Verne, Jules, 74–75 vertebrates, 32 Vincenti, Walter, 15 von Ohain, Hans, 20, 111–12 watchmaking, 36, 38 water, 67, 171 flow of, 33, 147, 176 heavy (D2O), 104 light (H2O), 104–5 storage of, 29, 33 Waterloo, Battle of, 125 waterwheels, 10, 73, 147, 177 Watson, James, 58, 61 Watt, James, 109, 156 wavelength division multiplexer, 28 waves, 22, 33, 40, 80, 122, 146, 168, 171 WD-40, 93 wealth, 10, 11, 71, 197, 210, 214 weapons, 171 Westinghouse, 104 wheels, 46, 66, 73 whisky, 43 Whittle, Frank, 20, 111, 113, 115–16, 136–37 Wideröe, Rolf, 114–15, 121 Wiles, Andrew, 128–29 Williams, Michael, 126 wood, 45, 57 World War I, 119, 202 World War II, 36–37, 73, 75, 113 Wright brothers, 120 Wright Brothers’ Flyer, 96, 132 Xenopus laevis frog, 148 xerography, 33, 108, 117–18 Xerox, 117 X-rays, 57, 61, 122, 171 ABOUT THE AUTHOR W.


pages: 220 words: 66,518

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton


Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

Humans are not yet able to go physically to Mars, but we really want to know what it would be like to land on Mars. So we send up the equivalent of a human explorer. Although the Mars rovers don’t physically resemble a human, they have functions of humans. These vehicles have cameras, which are the “eyes” that see the planet. They have vibration detectors, which are “ears” that hear the planet. They have chemical sensors, which “taste” the planet, etc. So the lander is designed with sensors that can experience Mars somewhat as a human would experience it. But let’s look a little more closely at how the Mars rovers work. The rovers have antennas (“receptors”) that are tuned to receive information broadcasts by a human being in the form of a NASA controller.


pages: 338 words: 112,127

Leaving Orbit: Notes From the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean


affirmative action, Elon Musk, helicopter parent, index card, Mars Rover, New Journalism, operation paperclip, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, sensible shoes, V2 rocket

A sign posted on the wall in the News Center reminds us that we aren’t to go anywhere other than the Press Site or the Launch Control cafeteria without an escort. After passing this sign a few times, it occurs to me that the implication is that we are allowed to go to the Launch Control cafeteria without an escort. I ask a journalist wearing a Mars rover T-shirt whether we can really cross the street to go to the cafeteria, and he answers “of course,” with a look as though I am crazy for asking. “The food’s not great, though,” he warns me, as if I came here for the cuisine. Walking to the cafeteria, I stop at a crosswalk on VAB Road to let a tour bus go by.

—Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1911 There can be no thought of finishing [work on rockets], for “aiming at the stars,” both literally and figuratively, is a problem to occupy generations, so that no matter how much progress one makes, there is always the thrill of just beginning. —Robert Goddard, 1932 EPILOGUE On August 6, 2012, the Mars rover Curiosity approached the surface of Mars after a nine-month journey through interplanetary space. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a room full of flight controllers and engineers bit their nails and paced the floor while Curiosity went through its complicated and daring entry sequence, nicknamed the “seven minutes of terror.”


pages: 340 words: 96,242

Mars Crossing by Geoffrey A. Landis


affirmative action, experimental subject, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover

The Jesus do Sul was their only chance, and if they could only save three, it would be best to just not mention that fact until they actually made it to the pole. If they got to the pole. Two, he wrote. Valles Marineris. The enormous Valles Marineris stretched like a huge barrier across their path. They would have to cross it to get to the northern hemisphere. But the key to the expedition would be the rockhopper, the six-wheeled, pressurized Mars rover, and how would they carry the rockhopper up and down a vertical cliff two miles high? They'd have to deal with it somehow. Three, he wrote. Can we carry enough consumables? Oxygen would come from the zirconia cells in their suits and the larger zirconia electrolyzer built into the rockhopper; as long as they had power, they would be able to break down carbon dioxide for oxygen to breathe.

He would look at the inertial guidance readout on the rockhopper's console, and think, That's wrong. We're going the wrong way. But then he would look at the sun, and realize, no we're going the right way. And then the entire planet would seem to spin around him for a moment until he was reoriented. Mars confused his sense of direction. Three of them in the cabin of a Mars rover designed for two was one too many. They were crammed together so tight that Trevor could barely move without hitting one of the others with his elbow. After a while watching Mars was almost hypnotic. It didn't really change. One ridge of yellowish stone would dwindle down to a wall no higher than his waist and then disappear, and be replaced by another just like it.


pages: 118 words: 35,663

Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing (Columbia Business School Publishing) by John E. Kelly Iii


AI winter, call centre, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, demand response, discovery of DNA, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, global supply chain, Internet of things, John von Neumann, Mars Rover, natural language processing, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, smart grid, smart meter, speech recognition, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The technology represents an advance in the field of computation creativity. It’s the first time that chemistry has been combined with cultural artifacts (recipes) and psychological principles to create something that’s brand new. Today, robots with rudimentary sensing abilities generate a lot of excitement in the popular media. The Mars rover Curiosity operates on the surface of the Red Planet semiautonomously and “sniffs” the air for methane gas searching for signs of life. Experimental self-driving vehicles are capable of using vision and other senses to navigate through cities without colliding with buses, running over pedestrians, or getting speeding tickets.


Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff


Mars Rover, New Journalism

The final member of the North South Polar team will join us before takeoff: Alberto Behar, the expedition’s chief scientist, a man whose résumé can make almost anyone feel inadequate: PhD in electrical engineering; two-decade career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including oversight of an experiment on the Mars rover Curiosity; robotics expert; rescue scuba diver; helicopter and fixed-wing pilot; emergency medical technician; faculty member at Arizona State University. Forty-five years old, married with three children, Alberto has been designated “highly qualified” to become a NASA astronaut and is awaiting word on an interview.

Army’s Greenland bases and took part in overseeing the rescue efforts. MODERN ALBERTO BEHAR—A member of the Duck Hunt expedition of 2012, Behar holds a PhD in electrical engineering and a degree in robotics. He designed the down-hole camera that played a pivotal role in the expedition. Behar also oversees one of the experiments aboard the NASA Mars rover Curiosity. AARON BENNET—An independent television producer, Bennet served as Lou Sapienza’s de facto business partner, handling financial, media, and other duties while he pitched a show based on the exploits of Lou and his exploration company. JAMES “JIM” BLOW—A U.S. Coast Guard commander, Blow serves in the Office of Aviation Forces and was the service’s liaison and mission leader for the Duck Hunt.


pages: 508 words: 120,339

Working Effectively With Legacy Code by Michael Feathers

Amazon:, computer age, index card, Mars Rover, Silicon Valley, web application

If understanding is a big issue on your project, take a look at Chapter 16, I Don’t Understand the Code Well Enough to Change It, and Chapter 17, My Application Has No Structure, to get some ideas about how to proceed. Lag Time Changes often take a long time for another very common reason: lag time. Lag time is the amount of time that passes between a change that you make and the moment that you get real feedback about the change. At the time of this writing, the Mars rover Spirit is crawling across the surface of Mars taking pictures. It takes about seven minutes for signals to get from Earth to Mars. Luckily, Spirit has some onboard guidance software that helps it move around on its own. Imagine what it would be like to drive it manually from Earth. You operate the controls and find out 14 minutes later how far the rover moved.

Unfortunately, we don’t have software that knows how to navigate around obstacles in the build, things such as test failures. What we try to do instead is bundle a bunch of changes and make them all at once so that we don’t have to build too often. If our changes are good, we move along, albeit as slow as the Mars rover. If we hit an obstacle, we go even slower. The sad thing about this way of working is that, in most languages, it is completely unnecessary. It’s a complete waste of time. In most mainstream languages, you can always break dependencies in a way that lets you recompile and run tests against whatever code you are working on in less than 10 seconds.


pages: 409 words: 138,088

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith


British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cuban missile crisis, full employment, game design, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket

I’ll come to see him as one of Apollo’s greatest mysteries, somehow representative of the ambiguity at its core: of the tension between this towering act of creativity and the avarice, fear and intolerance that enabled it; of the way all that is best in humanity appears to have been driven by everything that is worst. On the way out of the hangar, I walk past a corral of remote-controlled mini Mars Rover robot vehicles, where a recorded voice is pleading “Ladies and gentlemen, please do not drive the Rovers into each other!” Poor NASA: they give us these wonderful machines and our first impulse is still to see what they look like when they crash. Ballard would shake with joy. I get back on the bus, anoint my experience with some “memorabilia” from the shop, where the childrens’ T-shirts read “I need my space,” and head for Cocoa Beach.

Cernan knows there has to be more. He retrenches. “But it seems to be a step we need to take in order to answer some of the questions human beings have always had. Who are we? What are we? What is the significance of time? It takes on a whole new perspective in space. It’s never going to be enough just to send a Mars Rover. Mankind has always followed.” As I gather up my stuff, I’m astonished to realize that he got me, that I’m feeling inspired all over again by what Cernan and the others did, and the prospect of others following one day – though it will never be the same as the first time, because we know the dragons aren’t there.


pages: 202 words: 59,883

Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy by Robert Scoble, Shel Israel


Albert Einstein, Apple II, augmented reality, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, connected car, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, factory automation, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Internet of things, job automation, Kickstarter, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, PageRank, pattern recognition, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, Zipcar

Half of the conversations on the internet involve sensor-enabled machines that, more often than not, talk with other machines. Sensors exist everywhere on Earth, as well as above and below it. Instead of killing canaries in mines, we now use sensors to detect problems and alert people. They enable the Mars rover Curiosity to search for water and life and report what they find to people on Earth. Jet engines on commercial planes talk in a social network with technicians to increase fuel economy. Sensors keep health officials informed if you are epileptic, have heart problems or suffer from vertigo.


Toast by Stross, Charles


anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

But nothing bolted together in the past ten years will even break wind, so to speak. Excuse me, break stride. And real-time systems won’t even notice it; they mostly run on millisecond timers and leave the nonsense about dates to external conversion routines, if they understand the concept of dates at all, thank you very much, like a Mars Rover running on mission elapsed time in seconds. Good, much better, thank you.” The harried waiter made a break for the other diners and I began to dig myself out of the hole in my chair I’d unconsciously tried to retreat into. “It’s just an artifact of the datum,” she continued implacably, ignoring the coffee cut placed apologetically before her.


pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

If one accepts that liquid water is synonymous with life, Mars should be inhabited by similar organisms. Evidence is increasing that Mars had oceans three billion years ago and again perhaps as recently as one billion years ago, when the polar ice caps melted following a meteor impact. Evidence from the many Mars rovers and probes suggests that, though habitable environments once existed on the planet, they probably dried up several billion years ago. Radiation levels are much higher on Mars than they are on Earth, because the atmosphere is one hundred times thinner than our planet’s, and Mars does not have a global magnetic field.


pages: 624 words: 104,923

QI: The Book of General Ignorance - The Noticeably Stouter Edition by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John


Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, British Empire, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Fellow of the Royal Society, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, trade route, V2 rocket, Vesna Vulović

In a similar spirit, he regarded wine, the sea and sheep as all being the same colour – purply red. Aristotle identified seven shades of colour, all of which he thought derived from black and white, but these were really grades of brightness, not colour. It’s interesting that an ancient Greek from almost 2,500 years ago and NASA’s Mars rovers of 2006 both approach colour in the same way. In the wake of Darwin, the theory was advanced that the early Greeks’ retinas had not evolved the ability to perceive colours, but it is now thought they grouped objects in terms of qualities other than colour, so that a word which seems to indicate ‘yellow’ or ‘light green’ really meant fluid, fresh and living, and so was appropriately used to describe blood, the human sap.


pages: 329 words: 106,831

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg


Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, cellular automata, Columbine, Conway's Game of Life, game design, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Oldenburg, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning

MazeWar’s graphics looked like a black-and-white pen-and-ink drawing come to life. It was, though rudimentary, a 3-D-ish game where you played as a Chien Andalou–style eyeball. The goal was straightforward: shoot from your eyeball to hit other eyeballs. MazeWar’s inventiveness helped Colley land a job at NASA, where he worked for a while on the Mars rover. Then, in 1997, Richard Garriott made an admirable foray into the MMO genre with Ultima Online. Within months of its debut, Ultima Online had 100,000 subscribers who paid monthly fees to play in a world that, except for more primitive artwork, was not unlike EverQuest. The financial success of Ultima Online allowed Garriott, whose father was a NASA astronaut, to take a $30 million ride to the Russian space station and to create a remarkable collection of space-related memorabilia—including a Lunokhod 2 lunar rover from the USSR that still is parked on the moon.


pages: 385 words: 99,985

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson


carbon-based life, Frank Gehry, Mars Rover, Maui Hawaii, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition

"I'd rather not tell you. I might start to cry. But never mind. You're on. He wants to meet you in a bar in Roppongi. I think it's a bar. Says there's no name in English, just red lanterns." "A nomiya." "This guy's got me feeling like I live there, and I'm tired of it already. Darryl and I, we're like those Mars Rover jockeys: virtual jet lag. Tokyo time and we're trying to hold down paying jobs in two different time zones back here. So Taki's sent Keiko a map, right? And I've sent it to you, and he says six thirty." "Will I recognize him?" "What we've seen of him, he's not Ryuichi Sakamoto. Mind you, that's not what Keiko thinks.


pages: 292 words: 81,699

More Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky


barriers to entry, Black Swan, Build a better mousetrap, business process, call centre, Danny Hillis, failed state, Firefox, George Gilder, low cost carrier, Mars Rover, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, price discrimination, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Oldenburg, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, The Great Good Place, type inference, unpaid internship, wage slave, web application, Y Combinator

For example, “After you turn the light on, you can see your shoes” plus “The light went on in the past” implies “You can see your shoes.” Dynamic logic is appealing to brilliant theoreticians like Professor Zuck because it holds up the hope that you might be able to formally prove things about computer programs, which could be very useful, if, for example, you could formally prove that the Mars Rover’s flash card Advice for Computer Science College Students 79 wouldn’t overflow and cause itself to be rebooted again and again all day long when it’s supposed to be driving around the red planet looking for Marvin the Martian. So in the first day of that class, Dr. Zuck filled up two entire whiteboards and quite a lot of the wall next to the whiteboards proving that if you have a light switch, and the light was off, and you flip the switch, the light will then be on.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk,, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

We needed to assemble a team that people would intuitively trust to execute this vision. Chris Lewicki—who had run three different billion-dollar Mars missions at NASA’s fabled Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—was our first stop. With him as our president and chief engineer, we went on to recruit many of the top engineers who built, designed, and operated Mars rover Curiosity (we knew we were on the right track when Eric received a call from the head of JPL asking us to kindly stop recruiting his best people). And had we stopped there, we might have launched in a credible fashion. We were certainly believable. Both Eric and myself are respected members of the space community.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee


2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage,, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Claudine Zap, “3D Printer Could Build a House in 20 Hours,” August 10, 2012,; see also Samantha Murphy, “Woman Gets Jawbone Made By 3D Printer,” February 6, 2012,; “Great Ideas Soar Even Higher with 3D Printing,” 2013, Chapter 3 MOORE’S LAW AND THE SECOND HALF OF THE CHESSBOARD 1. G. E. Moore, “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits,” Electronics 38, no. 8 (April 19, 1965): 114–17, doi:10.1109/jproc.1998.658762. 2. Ibid. 3. Michael Kanellos, “Moore’s Law to Roll on for Another Decade,” CNET, (accessed June 26, 2013). 4.


pages: 410 words: 103,421

The Martian by Andy Weir


8-hour work day, Colonization of Mars, Mars Rover, side project

“But we’re way off-script now. Just keep it from interfering with your duties, and I’m happy.” “Million-mile-high club,” Martinez said. “Nice!” Johanssen blushed deeper and buried her face in her hands. LOG ENTRY: SOL 444 I’m getting pretty good at this. Maybe when all this is over I could be a product tester for Mars rovers. Things went well. I spent five sols driving in circles; I averaged 93 kilometers per sol. That’s a little better than I’d expected. The terrain here is flat and smooth, so it’s pretty much a best-case scenario. Once I’m going up hills and around boulders, it won’t be nearly that good. The bedroom is awesome.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog

This is just like the child trying to figure out whether or not a message has been corrupted by talking only to her neighbors. In principle, the Internet can make it possible to connect people directly to information sources, to avoid the illusions of the game of Telephone. Indeed, this happens. Millions of people had, for example, a remarkable direct experience of the Mars rovers. The economy of the Internet as it has evolved incentivizes aggregators, however. Thus we all take seats in a new game of Telephone, in which you tell the blogger, who tells the aggregator of blogs, who tells the social network, who tells the advertiser, who tells the political action committee, and so on.


pages: 445 words: 105,255

Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization by K. Eric Drexler


3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Bill Joy: nanobots, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, double helix, failed state, global supply chain, industrial robot, iterative process, Mars Rover, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, performance metric, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas Malthus, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush

Whether the leaders call themselves engineers doesn’t matter (and leadership may at first be diffuse); what matters is that the leadership community knows how to coordinate multiple groups to produce, first a comprehensive set of compatible technologies, and then working systems. This is true in high-energy physics, with its billion-dollar–scale accelerators, detectors, and data processing systems. This is true in space science, with its billion-dollar–scale spacecraft and Mars rovers. This is likewise true of the ten-million-dollar–scale research that yields advanced DNA sequencing systems. All these systems are products of science-intensive engineering in the service of science. Today, AP molecular systems engineering needs this kind of focused effort along with the precursor developments necessary to make it effective.


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

Instead, he built nimble “insectoids” or “bugbots” that had almost no programming at all but would quickly learn to walk and navigate around obstacles by trial and error. He envisioned the day that his robots would explore the solar system, bumping into things along the way. It was an outlandish idea, proposed in his essay “Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control,” but his approach eventually led to an array of new avenues. One by-product of his idea is the Mars Rovers now scurrying over the surface of the Red Planet. Not surprisingly, he was also the chairman of iRobot, the company that markets buglike vacuum cleaners to households across the country. One problem, he feels, is that workers in artificial intelligence follow fads, adopting the paradigm of the moment, rather than thinking in fresh ways.


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber


AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman,, experimental economics, financial innovation, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Khan Academy, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra

With this in mind, it’s informative to ask how people work with other algorithms, such as physical robots. Some of the real robots work largely on their own. They have stimulus/response rules and internal representations of their tasks. There are two million iRobot Roomba vacuums sucking up dirt solo. The Mars rovers—Spirit and Opportunity—have significant control over their actions. They have an autonomous mobility system.20 Humans set the goals; the rover takes care of the rest. Other robots are on an extremely short leash. The iRobot PackBot Explosive Ordinance Disposal robot21 comes with a substantial remote control.


pages: 404 words: 131,034

Cosmos by Carl Sagan


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, spice trade, Tunguska event

At parties, when I meet people who do not know I am a scientist, I am sometimes asked, “Are you a Gemini?” (chances of success, one in twelve), or “What sign are you?” Much more rarely am I asked, “Have you heard that gold is made in supernova explosions?” or “When do you think Congress will approve a Mars Rover?” Astrology contends that which constellation the planets are in at the moment of your birth profoundly influences your future. A few thousand years ago, the idea developed that the motions of the planets determined the fates of kings, dynasties, empires. Astrologers studied the motions of the planets and asked themselves what had happened the last time that, say, Venus was rising in the Constellation of the Goat; perhaps something similar would happen this time as well.


pages: 377 words: 21,687

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell


1960s counterculture, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

Such rhetoric has arguably produced more heat than light in recent decades, although the stakes are high as NASA determines new policy directions. Yet the advocates for either side usually neglect or misunderstand the mixings and combinations of manual and automated, especially experiences made possible by communications links and remote controls. The Mars rovers named Spirit and Opportunity that captured public imagination in recent years, for example, are less ‘‘robots’’ acting as autonomous agents than ‘‘telerobots’’ responding to commands from the earth and providing data for ground controllers, scientists, and the public to experience a foreign world from afar.


pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini


Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

In Olympiad years, we are told precisely the official hair sprays and facial tissue of our Olympic teams.7 During the 1970s, when the magic cultural concept appeared to be “naturalness,” the “natural” bandwagon was crowded to capacity. Sometimes the connections to naturalness didn’t even make sense: “Change your hair color naturally” urged one popular TV commercial. Similarly, although it made great sense that sales of Mars Rover toys would jump after a U.S. Pathfinder rocket landed the real thing on the red planet in 1997, it made little sense that the same would happen for the sales of Mars Candy Bars, which have nothing to do with the space project but are named after the candy company’s founder, Franklin Mars (White, 1997).


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman


23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

(To be fair, Klout did later update its algorithm, moving Obama past Bieber.) Klout also has rated some Twitter bots as quite influential, despite the fact that its algorithm is supposed to account for people’s fake followers. It also tends to mistake which topics users are influential on—if I made some jokes about NASA’s Mars rover (always a crowd pleaser) that got a lot of retweets, Klout might suddenly decide I’m influential about planets, but a few tweets on the subject don’t make me an astrophysicist. And of course, the very idea of being “influential” on certain subjects is a rather vague claim. What does that mean? That I’m knowledgable?


pages: 496 words: 174,084

Masterminds of Programming: Conversations With the Creators of Major Programming Languages by Federico Biancuzzi, Shane Warden


business intelligence, business process, cellular automata, cloud computing, complexity theory, conceptual framework, continuous integration, data acquisition, domain-specific language, Douglas Hofstadter, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, Firefox, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, general-purpose programming language, HyperCard, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, linear programming, loose coupling, Mars Rover, millennium bug, NP-complete, Paul Graham, performance metric, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software as a service, software patent, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, Turing complete, type inference, Valgrind, Von Neumann architecture, web application

You may not be particularly keen on military planes, but there is nothing particularly military about the way C++ is used and well over 100,000 copies of the JSF++ coding rules have been downloaded from my home pages in less than a year, mostly by nonmilitary embedded systems developers, as far as I can tell. C++ has been used for embedded systems since 1984, many useful gadgets have been programmed in C++, and its use appears to be rapidly increasing. Examples are mobile phones using Symbian or Motorola, the iPods, and GPS systems. I particularly like the use of C++ on the Mars rovers: the scene analysis and autonomous driving subsystems, much of the earth-based communication systems, and the image processing. People who are convinced that C is necessarily more efficient than C++ might like to have a look at my paper entitled “Learning Standard C++ as a New Language” [C/C++ Users Journal, May 1999], which describes a bit of design philosophy and shows the result of a few simple experiments.


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis,, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

There are difficult technologic problems to be overcome and each one of these is a paper or a thesis.” And what happened to Stanley? After its win, Stanley was declared the number one robot of all time by Wired magazine, beating out a list of fifty other real and fictional robots that ranged from Spirit, NASA’s Mars rover, to Optimus Prime from Transformers. Stanley is now at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, sharing the stage with such other important historical artifacts as the “Star-Spangled Banner” that flew over Fort McHenry and the jacket that Fonzie wore on Happy Days. THERE IS NO EUREKA In the world of science fiction, research usually takes place in super-secret government labs or mysterious places like “Area 51,” the Nevada desert setting of more than sixty movies, TV shows, and video games.


pages: 834 words: 180,700

The Architecture of Open Source Applications by Amy Brown, Greg Wilson


8-hour work day, anti-pattern, bioinformatics,, cloud computing, collaborative editing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, continuous integration, create, read, update, delete, Debian, domain-specific language,, fault tolerance, finite state, Firefox, friendly fire, linked data, load shedding, locality of reference, loose coupling, Mars Rover, MVC pattern, premature optimization, recommendation engine, revision control, side project, Skype, slashdot, social web, speech recognition, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, WebSocket

Since Eclipse was initially constructed with an IDE-centric focus, there had to be some refactoring of the bundles to allow this use case to be more easily adopted by the user community. RCP applications didn't require all the functionality in the IDE, so several bundles were split into smaller ones that could be consumed by the community for building RCP applications. Examples of RCP applications in the wild include the use of RCP to monitor the Mars Rover robots developed by NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bioclipse for data visualization of bioinformatics and Dutch Railway for monitoring train performance. The common thread that ran through many of these applications was that these teams decided that they could take the utility provided by the RCP platform and concentrate on building their specialized tools on top of it.