VR At Sundance

Referencing his own limitations of perspective, Einstein once wrote of grief, “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Through V.R., we now have a chance to do just that.

NY Times: Where Virtual Reality Takes Us



Baltimore and The Permanent Underclass Problem

It was good to see conservatives and liberals agreeing on Morning Joe  and elsewhere that decades of systemic economic failure are creating a permanent underclass in Baltimore and throughout America.  At the same time there’s a need to recognize that people have been not only saying this for some time, but also acting to prevent the present crisis. One participant in CNN’s Black In America Part 4 Silicon Valley documentary in  2011 noted:

As I said in the documentary, not fixing this problem ultimately leads to a permanent underclass. And if you think Occupy Wall Street is a troubling signal regarding dissatisfaction around wealth distribution, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I fear the growing wealth disparity, particularly along racial and ethnic lines, will be catalyst for significant civil unrest.
 Hank Williams

Commenting in 1982 on the 1965 Watts riots, the late community pioneer and founder of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Ted Watkins said:

If we continue in the direction that we are heading in cutting out all of the support a community like this is getting. Not only Watts but New York, Washington D.C. and Detroit MI, possibly, people will be at war.

A Practical Man

Perhaps what’s needed most is a sense of urgency and the will to move beyond relying primarily on protests and government programs. We don’t have all of the science, technology, engineering and math resources we need but we have enough to start making an impact right now today. We can’t “buy black” if there’s no  black company making the product, but we can choose how we spend our money so that we can invest in ourselves, our past and present knowledge of how to make products.

Bold Entrepreneurship and Social Consciousness


As technology advances, it becomes cheaper and more powerful. Companies such as Google and Facebook become worth billions by reaching billions. That is the key point that Bold makes: “the best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion person problem.”

Entrepreneurs can, I am certain, make all of these advances happen and profoundly affect billions. We just need an exponential advance in humanity’s social consciousness so that technologies find roles in bettering humankind, not just in creating wealth for their founders and owners in the way that some Silicon Valley technologies do.

Washington Post review of Bold(emphasis mine)



Black History Month 2015 Theme: Making History In Space


Martin Luther King Jr. and Nichelle Nichols had a very fortuitous encounter at an NAACP fund raising event in Beverly Hills after the first year of the Star Trek television show which changed not only her life but countless others.  MLK was a very expansive thinker, well aware of the benefits of space exploration even at a time when African-Americans made up only a percent or two of U.S. engineering workforce. Earlier that week Nichelle had decided to leave the show and return to her roots in musical theatre. When she mentioned that to Dr. King, she says he insisted that she stay, that her role was of historical importance(see other accounts by Wall Street Journal and CNN). He convinced her to stay and millions of people of all ethnicities were exposed to the notion that a woman of color could be fourth in command of an intergalactic starship. He understood that it was more than a television show. I suppose we can speculate how clearly he envisioned from the mountain top that Nichelle would inspire people like former astronauts Mae Jemison and Charles Bolden, that Dr. Jemison would bring Star Trek into space:

A quarter of a century after Lt. Uhura boldly went where no African American had gone before, her protegee returned the favor. Before blasting into orbit aboard the Endeavour in 1992, Jemison, the first woman of color in space, called actress Nichelle Nichols to thank her for the inspiration. And then she made a promise: Despite NASA’s rigid protocol, Jemison would begin each shift with a salute that only a Trekkie could appreciate. “Hailing frequencies open,

Stanford Today

and appear in an episode of the Star Trek The Next Generation tv show,


that Charles Bolden would become the director of NASA. However, one thing we know for certain is that for just about two more years, the Director of NASA and his boss are African-American. During this time every historic accomplishment at NASA happens under their our watch. During Black History Month this year, I’ll be tracking those historical events along with other aspects of African-American historical endeavors in both physical and virtual space.

See also:

Innovative Transportation

Transportation matters. Experts say finding smarter ways to travel will generate more business and improve more people’s quality of life.

More and more people are expected to live in cities in the coming decades. More people equals more traffic jams. More traffic equals more air pollution from vehicle exhaust.

These things are pushing experts to rethink how we use cars to get around town. In the near future, the “automobile will be more of a service than it is today,” says Maggie Hendrie of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. “The car can come pick you up. It will be customized to your preferences. The vehicle is interconnected to an ecosystem of digital devices.”

CNN: The Future of Travel


Why Travel Restrictions Cannot Contain Ebola

It is impossible to absolutely seal every border and as long as there’s a growing number of ebola infected people the virus will spread. Stopping the outbreak where it is and improving healthcare infrastructure everywhere else is the answer.

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are already economically isolated because this epidemic has spread far wider and lasted much longer than any other Ebola outbreak in history. What those countries need most now is assistance from the world.

More flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for life-saving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa. The restrictions already in place have proved so problematic that U.S. military forces are building an “air bridge” to get health workers and medical supplies to affected areas.

“Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses and human resources entering the country, the transfer of biological sampling and equipment for hospitals,” Daniel Menucci, a representative for the World Health Organization Travel and Transport Task Force, said in August. “All of this needs international transporting, international airlines. This will create more problems in helping the countries most affected.”

Washington Post





From Sojourner To The Mountain Top

The Mars Curiosity Rover has reached Mount Sharp its primary destination for exploring Martian geology. 17 years ago, Curiosity’s ancestor Sojourner became the first rover to land on another planet. A decade before Sojourner’s launch, NASA’s current leader and interplanetary history maker Charles Bolden was commanding a Shuttle mission. Congratulations are in order for both Bolden and Sojourner Truth!



How To Make STEM Interesting To Everyone

I didn’t like school. But if you look at it differently… This is the way I looked at it. When I was in a classroom, and the teacher was talking, I looked at it like [I was] training my mind to be sharper, more focused for when I play basketball. I just flipped it.

“So I’d be training for basketball even when I was sitting in the classroom. When I’m organizing my thoughts and notes and learning about history, let’s say Napoleon or Julius Caesar, [I’m thinking] what can I learn from that that’s going to help me over here [he motions to an imaginary basketball court], because this is what you’re passionate about? So if you take whatever you’re doing and you just kind of converge it into what you’re passionate about, then all of a sudden everything becomes f—ing interesting.”

Kobe On Education – Sports Illustrated