Greetings from the new Space Race
So long, Russia vs. U.S. galactic rivalry: With NASA hobbled by budget cuts, the pool of nations vying for the top spot beyond the Earth has grown to dozens of countries, punctuated by China’s recent success on the moon.
It was a moment of national pride when images of the six-wheel rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were transmitted live back to Earth, showing the redand gold Chinese flag on the moon for the first time.
"Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface," the state-run Xinhua news agency said, "the whole world again marvels at China’s remarkable space capabilities."
Find out who’s looking to challenge Russia and China in the new race to space here.
Photos: Xinhua / AFP
The brave new world of…2013
You may not have a robot dog, techno-comforts or kids listening to “futura-rock.” But some of the predictions in this recently-rediscovered issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine largely hold true.
Predictions about the increased prevalence of telecommunication, smarter cars (though ours don’t look as funky as the ones seen above) and globalization all seem to be rather spot-on, considering they were made in 1988!
That said, there’s no way your morning starts out like this:
With a barely perceptible click, the Morrow house turns itself on, as it has every morning since the family had it retrofitted with the Smart House system of wiring five years ago…in the study, the family’s personalized home newspaper, featuring articles on the subjects that interest them…is being printed by laser-jet printer off the home computer – all while the family sleeps.
Photos: Los Angeles Times
Why not start your own seaborne colony?
Two Silicon valley entrepreneurs, fed up with U.S. regulations on visas granted to highly-educated workers, have turned to the sea to solve their difficulty in hiring new workers.
Currently, just 65,000 temporary work visas are granted yearly, hence the so-called project “Blueseed.” Hosted on a cruise ship 12 miles off of the coast of northern California, the goal is to create a start-up culture, workspace and living quarters independent of visa restrictions.
Keep an eye out for the spring of 2014, the planned launch time-frame for Blueseed, and hope it doesn’t turn out like another (fictional) aquatic attempt to leave governmental restrictions.
So long, drearily-designed Silicon Valley
Awash with cash, the technology companies that have come to define Silicon Valley are just coming to realize how much of an eyesore their offices can be.
Rather than complementing the lush rolling hills to the west and the expansive San Francisco Bay to the east, this high-tech hub has produced an unending line of dreary office parks full of two-story, cubicle-lined buildings whose main visual goal is to escape notice.
Pictured above, for example, is concept art for Apple’s gigantic new headquarters plan, dubbed “Apple Campus 2,” planned to occupy 175 acres.
Photo: Foster + Partners, cupertino.org
To be or not to be (at the office)
High-profile Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer may have spent her goodwill in declaring that employees may no longer work from home. The reason? As explained by Yahoo Human Resources Chief Jackie Reses in a memo sent to employees:
"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices."
Mayer’s black-and-white policy has particularly offended working mothers, a group that Mayer herself just joined - and has compensated for by using her vast personal wealth to build a nursery next to her office.
Many view telecommuting as the only way time-crunched women can care for young children and advance their careers without the pay, privilege or perks that come with being the chief executive of a Fortune 500 company.
Want Google to put a computer on your face? The technology juggernaut is currently looking for “explorers” to test out it’s new Google Glass technology. Google’s grand hope is that one day, you’ll be just as comfortable wearing fancy glasses are you are looking down at your smartphone.
But until then, you’ll have to send over a brief application, and $1,5000, to Google.
The Red (computer) Scare: Is the Chinese military behind hundreds of hacking instances since 2006? One U.S. computer security firm believes so, fanning concerns that U.S. digital infrastructure, both private and governmental, isn’t up to snuff. From reporter Michael Muskall’s look at Mandiant’s findings:
The hacking activity was likely part of the mandate of the Unit 61398 of China’s People’s Liberation Army, identified in the report as “one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors.” The unit is based in the Pudong New Area, outside of Shanghai from where the computer attacks originate.
Read the report for yourself here, and see if you agree that the recent hacking spree, which has targeted companies from Facebook and Apple to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, is being dictated by the Chinese government.
Photo: Keith Bedford / Bloomberg