Molecular Assimilation – Is That the Future of 3-D Printing?

Now that the entire concept of 3-D printing has been introduced to the world, and mind you it's nothing new, not really – people are now considering all the possible applications. For instance, think about the future of 3-D printing at the molecular level, call it molecular assimilation if you will. Not long ago, I was discussing this with an acquaintance half way around the world. Let's talk.

You see, even if can "replicate" things, what about authenticity? Namely; "is it real or is it Memorex" as the old TV commercial used to say. My acquaintance told me the she believed; "Yes, I do think it would be good to have that replication, if or when it becomes available. People of the future will have the same need as we have, to refer to examples." Still, as an artist she also worried that the replication of great artwork from the molecular level up, it just isn't the same, is it?

Indeed, this is true and this speaks to the issue of "Authenticity" and I agree, but will humans in the future see it that way. For instance, today people are giving up their privacy, something the older generation is completely bothered by, perhaps because they know their history, with authenticity fall the wayside in a similar fashion? I don't know.

Remember the food on the Starship Enterprise, any dish you want – tastes the same, is the same, identical, duplicated, but it isn't the same is it? For instance, it lacks the real world bacterial counts, those test our immune system, keep us up to speed, living in a sterile environment might be more damaging when an invasive virus or bacteria comes along.

There were some sick Apes in the San Diego Zoo, in California. They fed them their favorite fruit but they kept getting sick – scientists went to their native land found that fruit had bugs in it, those bugs were triggering a certain enzyme that they had evolved in the rain forest to protect them from getting sick. They then flew in the fruit with the bugs in it, quarantined in a special container, and the apes got better immediately. Authenticity is real.

Nature is best with its minor flaws, who would want ever tree of a certain species to look identical? Where is the nuance, or the fun in that, who wants to live in a perfect world? Some might say that perfection sucks, and for brain waves that seems to be true, but again, I digressed, and maybe all this is a good thing. So, I leave you with that thought on the future of 3-D because, well, it's about to change everything. Please consider all this and think on it.

New Conflicting Trends in Education

There was a time when the basic needs of human beings were only food, clothing and shelter. With the rise of the industrial age, education was added as one of their basic needs. And now education is one of the major industries of the world, producing graduates to manage and run the economy, politics, and the transmission of culture. But with the information age gaining more and more ground in our society, we are seeing conflicting trends in the educational system.

The first conflicting trend is in the area of ​​cost. While the cost of formal education in colleges and universities is rising, the cost of education through the Internet is getting lower and lower. In many countries the observation of educational managers is that educational cost is rising higher than the inflation rate of a country. And yet getting information which is the raw data of education is becoming cheaper and cheaper through the Internet. Students can connect cheaply to the Internet through Internet cafes and access information that before would cost them much. They can now download ebooks, many of which are free.

In the Website Personal Money Store an article is written about Academic Earth. It says that while Academic Earth is not an organization that can provide a learner with college credit, it can give him or her nearly all the same material he or she could receive in a traditional college classroom, at a time when he or she wants it , without the hassle of transportation and dress expenses. There is an advertisement in this Website of "Great College Lectures, for FREE."

The second conflicting trend I see is in the area of ​​methodology. With more information to digest and more books to read students are getting more and more burdened with reading, memorizing and comprehending the content of the books and lectures of professors. And yet on the other hand there are so many individuals and groups trying to make learning fun and enjoyable, not a burdensome experience.

In the Website DNA Read the World there is an article entitled "New trends in teaching that make learning fun." In this article we read, "To make students enjoy and understand at the same time is the key principle on which education institutions should work on." There are also online experiments with mnemonics to make memorization fun.

The third conflicting trend is in the area of ​​results. Almost everywhere in countries with Western kind of education the complaint has been that the educational system produces unemployed or underemployed graduates. There is no assurance that upon graduation employment is there. And yet jobs are being generated through the Internet. Some get jobs by writing reviews of books, of programs, by creating websites, by programming, etc., not to mention the many scams online.

The Website Engines for Education is trying "to raise consciousness about the changes needed in our educational system." Hopefully these changes will also solve the problem of unemployment or underemployment of our college graduates.

What do these conflicting trends tell us? It seems that the following trends are possible.

As the cost of formal education goes higher and higher and the cost of non-formal education through the Web goes lower and lower, only the wealthy will be able to access formal education while the not so wealthy will be content with non-formal education through the Web.

As the process of education becomes more and more burdensome to students more and more educational games will be put on the web where the students will be spending more and more of their time. There are already indications that students cut their classes in order to spend their time playing games in Internet cafes.

As more and more unemployed and underemployed are produced by our formal system of education, more and more jobs will be created through the Web.

The changes in the educational area are not so clear at the present time but it seems clear that there are indications of substantial changes in the near future.

The Middle Schools of the Future

Not so long ago in America-and to this day in many parts of the world-children received their education in small schoolhouses. In isolation, they would recite their times-tables, and they learned to diagram sentences in seclusion. It is still possible, in the most rural areas, to see an entire school, from kindergarten all the way through twelfth grade, housed in the same room. In other parts of the world, however, innovative educators, architects, and social scientists are coming together to forge a new order for schools-one that is integrated with, and accelerated by, the information age.

Movers and shakers in the education world more believe that middle schools will be the proving ground for much of this cutting-edge theory. Of course, the earliest years of a person's schooling still remain vitally important, but psychoanalysts identify the mental growth that occurs between the ages of eleven and thirteen as pivotal to the development of healthy, socially functional adults.

According to Freud, middle school is the time when children's egos are just beginning to form. The ego is the part of the personality that develops as a response to external factors. It channels and tempers the innate, primitive facets of the personality (the id) and directs them toward achieving or maintaining the vision of one's self he or she wants the world to see. The ego, which is embryonic during the early stages of education, bursts forth in the adolescent years as students develop a true sense of self. Middle schools, then, are the crucibles of the ego, and ensuring that students are nurtured and enriched at this stage is a critical step.

The middle schools of the future will be designed to expand the horizons, to offer many possible versions of "self" to pre-teens and teens. The options available would not be possible without modern technology. The connectivity of the information age means that there is literally no limit to the subjects a student can dive into or the interests they can develop. Modern classrooms are outfitted with wireless internet and tablets or laptops for students to connect to others across the globe and develop their interests by cross-pollinating with a world of learners.

But it's not all about living online. The cutting-edge schoolhouse brings the outdoors to the students with abundant natural light and greenery inside the class. A generation ago, it was believed that windows would only distract students. Now, there is an increased awareness that nature can calm a pupil's restlessness and be a classroom in itself. By integrating the outdoors and providing the same aesthetic benefits that adults enjoy, educators ensure that students won't rush to get the learning experience over with as soon as possible. By nurturing students' natural curiosity, and by connecting education with enjoyment, the middle schools of the future will set children up for a life of ongoing exploration and self-education.

Future Concepts and Modern Advances in Technology; Good or Bad?

Many Humanists and Scientists argue that our technology and civilization is out pacing evolution by a huge margin. They point to our tribalistic, band and small group human history that we survived with for hundreds of thousands of years is no longer anything similar to our modern societies. Indeed to argue against this fact would be futile as it is so. However we seem to for the most part done very well as out human populations swells around the planet.

Humanists will ask and one recently did; “Doesn’t it make more sense to be who we are and develop our true, and in my view powerful abilities (i.e. to communicate with each other through the energy fields that connect us without technology, to create with our minds a reality that is truly self sustaining, to connect with each other and rid the entire human species of the negative beliefs that are undermining us all etc…)?”

Well indeed he sure has brought up a huge question worthy of discussion. However let me take a crack at this question as I answer in the negative to his assumptions;

“NO. Because why should you choose one or the other, why not both. Have the capability and develop lost skills, while simultaneously using our brains to invent better technologies to improve on the human design. We do not have time for evolution to take its sweet time. You know you are talking about talking the species back to the stoneage, yet who would that really serve. We need sewer treatment plants, fresh water and energy for things. Not that they are totally necessary, but they have certainly improved life from other civilization of the last let’s say 5000 years anyway. Perhaps ancient cultures die previously have great advances and may have been extremely well adapted civilizations without all this fluff. Yet who is to say that was better and why should we make that decision for all humanity, as humanity has spoken and voted with their consumer dollar and well, they want all this stuff.”

As far as the observations of human civilizations in the present period and the dummying down of the population base; well now that they cannot function without all these modern technologies, they very much need it and cannot feel fulfilled without out it. Myself, well I could go without many of the modern amenities.

Humans need a challenge and advancement and forward progression of the species does provide that challenge. After all; why does someone climb a mountain? It is there and it is a challenge. Many including myself like challenges, creating stuff and inventing things, so why not? Using technology to help mankind along in his journey to create better, strong and better civilizations is wise. And as mankind reaches a place of heaven on Earth, with more leisure time and the Utopia we desire, who is anyone to say that technology is an evil to the human race? Think on that.

The Easiest Way to Prepare Your Child for a Bright Future: Pre-Kindergarten

Every parent wants to give their child the skills to succeed. For most, these tools include enrolling their children in school around the age of five, helping them with their homework, and emphasizing the importance of academics. However, some parents may be surprised to learn that one of the most proven ways to help their child find future academic success is an early-stage tool: prekindergarten.

Setting a Precedent

A vast and growing body of scientific research shows that enrolling in prekindergarten yields both short and long-term benefits for children and their communities. Preschool exposes young ones to numbers, letters, and shapes during a critical cognitive development stage. Preparing them to understand the concept of counting, giving them a sharper grasp of time, and engaging in fantasy play or storytelling. States that have invested in offering public education pre-k programs for all children have reported significant academic improvements across the board, for all income levels and racial groups. These educational improvements include letter identification, word identification, applied problem solving and spelling. All of which are crucial tools for students to master at a young age in order to stay abreast of their future education. Furthermore, studies that followed subjects for longer periods of time found impressive long-term results concerning educational progress, lowered delinquency, and post-high school earning power. More and more kindergarten teachers are expecting their pupils to already have a basic knowledge of the ABCs, 123s, and the primary colors. However, they now also want them to know how to spell and recognize their name, know the alphabet, name letters, count one to ten, and recognize most of the basic colors and shapes. A pupil entering kindergarten without these skills in hand may struggle to catch up or stay on the same pace as the class. Thus risking a larger and larger academic lag as their education continues.

Increase in Skills

In addition to scholastic improvement, children enrolled in school programs prior to kindergarten have greater opportunities to develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as their social and life skills. At ages 3-4, one should be able to use scissors, copy shapes, negotiate solutions to conflicts with peers, and show interest in spending time with other children. According to research, kids who have positive developmental experiences go on to have a higher vocabulary, are more apt to follow directions, and are more socially confident in their teenage years. Scientific studies show that these earlier educated children also have decreased chances of needing special education services later on in life. Not only does this obviously benefit the child and the family, but it also reduces the financial drain on schools and communities, freeing up extra dollars to be reinvested into improving and expanding other school activities and programs. Cities that invest in early public education see their dollars returned with a closing of their achievement gap, an increase in their graduation rate, and the creation of productive citizens.

In conclusion, parents should consider prekindergarten a crucial step for their children. 3 and 4-year-old brains are like sponges, ready to soak up valuable information and build a strong foundation. With prekindergarten, they will quickly learn how to navigate the academic and social world of kindergarten and beyond.

Future Concepts for Storing Massive Amounts of Data – An IARPA Strategy?

We need a new long-term information storage strategy, and if we do not find one we will not be able to enjoy the future promises before us. If we are to store everyone’s DNA, every world transaction, and all the data from all the objects connected to the Internet of things, and all the NASA data, particle physics experiments, and all the information that’s created by 7 billion plus people on the planet each and every day we are going to need a better way. Okay so, let’s talk shall we?

What if we could store data using a quantum physics strategy, encoding magnetic tape, but tape unlike the old mainframe IBM tape, a new type of nearly invincible tape that could last a 1,000 years at room temperature? Yes, I am serious.

What if we borrowed an idea by that Russian Scientist using tape to capture carbon atoms one-atom thick to get graphene? Then encode the grapheme and store it on your tape, or something like this. If we coated it with sulfur atoms on the other side of a very thin porous tap, we’d store the data even if the tape dissolved in the future, because it could hold the imperfections of the graphene, or inadvertent folds of the grapheme in place.

What about if we could store information in DNA strands?

DNA might be a better option still, as we can work with four components, Letters. How about small slivers of DNA encoded and then encapsulated in carbon nanotubes. You can store a boat load of information in DNA, even dual codes on the same, as biotech scientists have recently discovered, codes within codes.

How about adding dimensions?

How about storing and computing with information through time? How about taking a Rydberg Atom and playing with the spins of electrons and chase information through the vortex of the spin. Reading through time, on another trajectory on the walls of the vortex or inside the walls for multidimensional computing? All you have to do is be able to manipulate it precisely, and read it, as you go.

Back to the DNA concept, consider this:

You could take the DNA from a Dinosaur egg which grows 50-times faster than a chicken egg, and use a benign virus which would replicate incredibly fast and calculate on its RNA, once the calculations are complete freeze it. We can read the DNA from Dinosaur eggs now, what 450 million years of storage? See that point. I just think we need to think outside the box.

It is not that I am not against IBM tape storage – many corporation have data on tape sitting in Salt Mines, Iron Mountain facilities. But we can store better now, and once in a salt mine, you don’t have to worry about EMP for instance. Dig down, bury it, then it is only a matter of how much data you can store on the smallest known device.

If we wanted to store all the data of life on Earth, we could even send that data on light waves and someday duplicate life on Earth by sending the instructions elsewhere – like a seed, zip-file, or program (algorithmic style). Find a host planet with the proper needs for life, send the plan, a little at a time as it evolves. Terraforming + life + species level DNA + information about everything. A slower process than Star Trek transporter but within our current technology plus or minus 10-15 years of research from right now today? Think about it.

The Future of Educational Technology and Education 3.0

Thinking of what education might look like in the next decade, one quickly realizes that the trends in technology are leaving a large number of our students behind. We no longer live in an age of visible movement when it comes to progress and innovation. Today is an age of exponential change. New and ever-improving technologies are popping up every day and in every corner of society.

Educating the best and the brightest in this brave new world will take a new and improved educational paradigm. Allowing our educational tools to age in the corner of the classroom will be the mistake that may cost us our future. Throwing away masses of children to inequitable access will ensure that we languish at the bottom of the global pool of employable workers for decades to come.

The New Toolbox

I was at an auction a few years ago and noticed a few old woodworking tools that I thought I could use. For a few bucks, I was able to snag an assortment of hand tools that may have been in someone’s toolbox for a generation or more. As the next decade passed, I used these tools in my shop for a wide variety of projects until my projects outgrew these old, dull tools. My woodworking creations continued to improve as did my skills and artistry. I quickly discovered that using improved tools would translate into improved craftsmanship. As any woodworker will tell you, new tools require new skills.

Woodworking is a great metaphor for shaping and molding students. There is simply no good substitute for a sharp tool. If you want to build the best projects possible, you need to use the best tools possible. Thinking in terms of the next decade for our country, we will be sorely disappointed in our projects if we fail to improve our tools.

Within this article, I will try to paint a picture of how technology will shape the way we educate students in the next decade. I will attempt to show the amazing possibilities that lay before us if we will simply walk through the doorway of opportunity that is open to us. My focus will be this idea: Transforming the student from being a passenger to becoming a “user.” You may be wondering what I mean by this. Let me explain.

Ask yourself what it means to be a “user.” A user is not simply a person who uses. For the student, being a user should involve using the latest technology in a free and autonomous manner. This new-found freedom will allow the student to become an active participant in his/her education instead of a passive passenger. No other time in history have we been so able to make this a reality.

In our current technological society, being a user also means being tracked. Tracking has become a major part of our daily lives and is precisely the engine that should drive our educational process for the foreseeable future. Tracking a student means having the ability to target education toward weaknesses and strengths. The ability to accurately customize curriculum to the individual has been the holy grail of educational philosophy for many years. This golden age of technological development may soon enable this dream to become a reality.

Current educational curriculum and individual assessment is arbitrary at best. Being able to accurately asses a student can only be achieved by using modern tracking and database technologies. The means by which we can make this a reality is readily available and only needs to be taken off the shelf to be used. If Congress is looking for a shovel-ready project, this may be the one.

Imagine a world where every child has a tablet computer with ready access to the App of virtual photographic memory (internet). Further, imagine that every student can access all the knowledge of humankind freely at any moment in time. Continue to imagine a world where a misspelled word brings up a spelling challenge application instead of an auto correction. Try to contemplate what it would mean for a teacher to have a database of every misspelled word, every misunderstood concept or every missed equation for each of their students. Try to envision a teacher with the ability to customize the experience of the individual “user” with minimal effort. Imagine the curriculum being automatically targeted to the user through an intuitive educational platform that knows every strength and each unique weakness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The company that makes this standard available to the educational community will be the company that shapes the future of humankind. Will it be Google, Apple, Microsoft, or some other yet unknown pioneer?

Continuing from the thoughts in my last post, I would like to elaborate on the idea of the student as a user of a new standardized educational platform. It is obvious to me that the future of education will always mirror our everyday lives in one way or another. If you examine how technology has influenced your daily life already, you begin to put together a snapshot of what it will mean to be educated in the next decade.

In the last few hundred years, most individuals would consider an education as something you receive. You often hear the question asked, “Where did you receive your education?” As we proceed through the next decade, education will slowly move away from reception and toward being custom designed for the individual user. New technology will not only allow us to receive an education, but also develop an education. The question we might ask in 10 years is, “How did you develop your education?” The question of where will still be important, but the how of the matter will be the focus that defines the individual.

To make this a reality we will need a standardized platform from which to develop a student’s unique education. This standardized platform will allow us to tailor a custom curriculum that will be matched to talents, interests and life goals. For the educator, a standardized platform will create a way to assist the student in discovering a true purpose in life through a unique educational experience. The basics of reading, writing and arithmetic will not be taught as much as they will be discovered and used. Learning will become a reciprocal experience between the teacher, the student and the machine.

Under a standardized platform, each of these three participants will have a role to play. The teacher will be the facilitator, assisting the development of the curriculum and inspiring the direction the student takes. The student will be the user, gathering resources, skills and knowledge in an efficient and measured sequence. The machine will do the work of data gathering and analysis, which will assist the teacher and student in refining the curriculum. This data gathering work of the machine will also free the teacher from the burden of record-keeping and tedious tasks that currently distract from the real job of teaching and learning.

Under a standardized system, grade level will be far less important. Achievement and progression will be measured by accomplishment and intelligence as a benchmark for success. The question of failure or success will be irrelevant and replaced with a standard and consistent measurement of potential and overall intelligence. Information will no longer be missed but continually rehearsed and monitored for retention by the machine.

In our current educational paradigm, the teacher is in charge of arbitrarily constructing curriculum. This approach to curriculum development is based on inexperience in some cases, outdated materials, inadequate funding and a shortage of time. Measuring the success of a specific curriculum is currently impossible. With a standardized system, comparisons of curricular success can be made across the entire spectrum of education and then continually reformulated and enhanced by the machine.

Sadly, teachers today are bogged down with an assortment of mind-numbing tasks that would be better suited to an off-the-shelf automated system. Tasks such as data tracking, reporting and record keeping are currently accomplished manually. These tasks could easily be delegated to an intuitive database. Developing a standard to follow would eliminate these tasks and free the teacher to do their main job of teaching students.

Education 3.0

Throughout history, man has sought to pass on knowledge to the next generation. This process started with oral tradition, storytelling and writing. With the advent of the printing press, knowledge and information slowly became available to the masses. The amount of information that could be gained by one human in a lifetime was severely limited by his access to printed materials and wealth. The majority of learning was gained through observation and imitation. We can call this Education 1.0.

Education 2.0 starts around the late eighteen hundreds with universal literacy movements throughout newly industrialized regions of the world. Improvements in education slowly transitioned from apprenticeship to formal education and training. Despite our movements toward universal education, access to knowledge and opportunity continues to be inequitable throughout the world. Even with the arrival of the computer revolution, access to the tools of learning continues to define the learner.

The next decade may mark the moment in history when all men are granted equal access to the greatest treasure a soul can possess. I use the word may in the last sentence because there is the chance that we will miss this golden opportunity. Access to Education 3.0 will only be gained through investment and universal standardization. If we continue to divert wealth toward fruitless goals and corporate greed, this opportunity will be lost or hopelessly delayed.

Education 3.0, when it arrives, will be the age of universal enlightenment. Platforms for education and learning will slowly standardize and become globally accessible and affordable. The poorest to the wealthiest will have access to the machine that runs the platform.

The thought on your mind at this point is most likely wondering what machine I keep referring to. The machine in question is the one we have been so busy teaching and training since roughly 1969. You’ve probably guessed it by now that I am referring to the internet. The great cloud of knowledge that we call the internet is precisely the mechanism that we will use to build the platform of Education 3.0. When the platform is finally in place, the decade to follow will see the greatest amount of wealth, discoveries and use of human potential that we have witnessed during our time on this earth. The only question that remains to be answered is the point at which I will leave this article.

When will we allow the user to use the machine to its potential?