Space Rockets, Public & Private

chinaspacemissionMonday, October 17, China launched its longest ever planned space mission with two Taikonauts (Chinese astronauts). The mission will dock at the space lab Tiangong-2 as China moves closer to having a manned space station (a space laboratory with people in it at all times).

The two Taikonauts will be corresponding regularly with China’s Xinhua news agency if you want to follow their activities. The Taikonauats will conduct medical and science experiments during their 30 days at Tiangong-2. They will also be preparing Tiangong-2 for future missions and development.

Here is a video of the successful launch!

There are tremendous business and innovation rewards to space travel as discussed previously in Why We Go To Outer Space.

spacex-explosion-index3Meanwhile, three billionaires are pursuing private space businesses: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. Mr. Musk’s space business – SpaceX – had a rocket explode on the launchpad in September 2016. Rockets cost a lot of money and are serious business. Since the explosion, some people feel that maybe private business does not belong being in charge of space missions (and that space is better explored by government agencies).

You can watch a video of the explosion in this article.

Would you want to risk being an astronaut?

Would you want to risk owning your own space company like Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin or Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic?

How much money do you think you would need to start your own space business?

These space businesses include everything from trying to make the first passenger rocket trip for travel (like an airplane, but faster) to helping to launch satellites to conducting scientific experiments for other private companies. Are these new space businesses examples of entrepreneurship?

The Robin Hood Army of Food

robinhoodarmyA movement that developed in India and Pakistan to help feed poor people with excess food from restaurants and other food establishment (that would otherwise be thrown out) has now spread to five countries.

In 2014, Neel Ghose in New Delhi, India, began this project to feed 150 people. His friend Sarah Afridi from Pakistan learned of the idea and began the same initiative in the major Pakistani cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

The Robin Hood Army now exists in 23 cities across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia. In all cases, the driving power behind the Robin Hood Army is youth volunteers that collect the food from businesses and distribute it to people who are homeless or food insecure. They estimate 3,000 Robin Hoods have helped provide food to nearly 500,000 people in just two years time.

One third of the world’s food production goes to waste while one out of every nine people alive goes to bed hungry each night. In Pakistan alone, it is estimated 60% of the population is food insecure.

View this article for amazing pictures of the Robin Hood Army’s work. Also see this video that is less than 2 minutes about the Robin Hood Army.

Is anyone economically hurt by the actions of the Robin Hood Army?

Is everyone a winner? If you think everyone is a winner, why aren’t things like this done more?

Do emojis have a cultural bias?

A Muslim 15-year-old girl in Berlin has led to the development of Muslim emojis. Rayon Alhumedhi wrote a note to Apple customer help about the lack of emojis with Muslim head coverings (which are a religious symbol of respect). She said, “I honestly didn’t know what to expect and kind of couldn’t believe they’d see it or even talk about it — all I wrote was a short paragraph.”


Do emojis that culturally represent who you are make a difference?

What do you think happens when you are using the emojis from a different culture? Would that impact your out look on yourself?

Imagine if all the emojis in the world were from a different culture than your own? Would that cause a subtle change in your values?

Could you create better emojis than currently exist to let people express themselves? What might Rayon Alhumedhi respond:


Beach and Ocean Clean Ups

beachcleanupwhirledviewsIn India, a 33 year-old lawyer and a retired businessman in his 80s walked down to a 2.5 kilometre stretch of beach one day and began the biggest beach clean up in history. Word spread that they were trying to clean the beach and over 500 volunteers have participated in removing more than 1.3 million kilograms of trash from this one beach.

Another article about this pair estimates that there are 13 million tonnes of plastic and other rubbish that pollutes the world’s oceans, that’s 26,000,000,000,000 kilograms!

surfersgarbagebinwhirledviewsWho is going to invent the great ideas for cleaning up the oceans?

Here’s one great idea by two young surfers in Australia. There’s a video in the article worth seeing to believe. It looks so simple.

Then there’s this idea from a then 19-year-old Boyan Slat, a student in The Netherlands. You can watch the TEDx Talk he gave when he was 20 about the ocean’s plastic problem here.

edible6packwhirledviewsA small beer brewery has invented an edible 6-pack holder for holding 6 cans that animals in the ocean can eat for food and is 100% biodegradable. There’s a short 2 minute video about it in this article. One point they make is that the cost of this product that is better the environment will go down if it becomes more widely used. Why would that be important?

Ideas for keeping our oceans and environment clean can come from anywhere.
Which ideas will work?
Will they make money?
Will they make the world better?
Do you have a better idea how to clean up our beaches and oceans?

Plus-size Fashion’s Undiscovered Profits

Tim Gunn is a famous fashion designer, fashion school instructor and reality TV host of Project Runway. He has complained that not enough designers are making clothes for plus-sized women despite many women being in this size range.

ashleytiptonfashionwhirledviewsAshley Neil Tipton won season 14 of Project Runway by designing for plus-sized women. She now has a line of clothing launching at a popular department store in the United States.

It is estimated that this is a 133 billion RMB market in the USA alone (20 billion USD). Is that enough money to motivate a business to focus selling clothes to plus-size women? Is that enough money that there should be more companies competing for that business?


The Parts of Success Seen and Not

Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb said of his earlier efforts: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Consider the below graphic and how it relates to that quote. We usually only think of Edison as the successful inventor, not as Edison the man of 10,000 failures.

The graphic below uses an iceberg. 90% of an iceberg is below the water line and out of sight while we see 10% above water if we are in a nearby boat or land location.

In the graphic below, can you see some relationships between business success and school success?


Our Driverless Future from City to Farm?

The first driverless public bus began operating in Lyon, France, during the first weekend of September 2016. You can read more about it and visit the website of the company – Navya – that built the bus they call Arma.

NavyaBusWhirledViewsStaying in France, the driverless subway that has operated in France since 1998 is adding 6 kilometres more of subway line to its service in the coming years.

A little over a week ago, nuTonomy (a new start-up tech business) and local partners began testing the first driverless taxis in Singapore.

Driverless isn’t just for city-life. CNH Industries unveiled two designs for driverless tractors at the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Iowa USA during the last week of August 2016. The video of their tractors, like all these vehicles, are impressive.

What happens to all of today’s taxi drivers, bus drivers and farmers if these vehicles of the future become the new normal?

The Navya bus press-kit is interesting. Without reading it, if you quickly look through all the pictures, are there things you would add to the pictures?

Businessman vs. Entrepreneur Graphic Starring Watermelon

A friend of the blog who is an entrepreneur that started her own education business posted this graphic of how an entrepreneur is different than a businessman.

What do you think the graphic is saying?

Do you agree with it?

Do you have some agreement and some disagreement with the representation?


The Minimum Age to Start a Business

This article on 9 Amazing (Very) Young Entrepreneurs features people as young as the age of 6 starting a business career. Lizzie Marie Likness developed her cooking empire because she was LizzieMarieLiknessinterested in cooking from the age of 2 and wanted to pay for horseback riding lessons at age 6. He business model to pay for horseback riding lessons became her passion: cooking. She formerly blogged at Lizzie Marie Cuisine and now blogs at Wandering the Gap.

Sport Meets Science For Health

In an article on The Superhero Genes, we learn how great athletes are helping scientists find cures for common human health problems. Scientists find high performance athletes often have special genetic coding.

Scientist Euan Ashley runs a study of Elite athletes at Stanford University. He has run studies that have found 9,200 possible genetic variants that help athletes perform above average. Among the highlights of the article, some athletes exhibit at least one of these spepa05504345 Gold medal winners China pose for photographs after the awarding ceremony of the women's Volleyball tournament for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho indoor arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 21 August 2016. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDSecial genetic benefits:

  • The amount of oxygen their body can use is higher than normal.
  • An unusual ability to keep blood pressure low under strain and recover quickly from athletic strain.
  • Very low levels of cholesterol (a leading cause of heart disease).
  • A higher ability to turn fat into energy which makes the athlete both more powerful and fitter.
  • Higher than normal cellular growth which can allow muscle mass to build faster.

ChinaWomenVolleyballZhuTingThis data could be used to find medical solutions that help people overcome disease and frailty.

A few counterpoints to these interesting advances.

  • The same gene that helps increase cellular growth can also help grow cancer in the body faster.
  • The same gene that helps an athlete keep his blood pressure lower can also cause a rare blood disease (a disease which the athlete could pass on to his children but he does not have the symptoms).
  • Discovering these genetic keys can help us help people in need. Could the same genetic discoveries be used in more negative ways?
  • Are there ethical questions to learning how to reproduce the genetic data that helps great athletes excel in their sports?