Forums  > General  > Technology Advances  
Page 2 of 4Goto to page: 1, [2], 3, 4 Prev Next
Display using:  

Founding Member

Total Posts: 8372
Joined: Mar 2004
Posted: 2009-12-02 17:34
Anyone here seen the movie "Idiocracy"? You should watch it.

The Figs Protocol.


Total Posts: 1120
Joined: Jun 2005
Posted: 2009-12-02 18:07

tristanreid: you-me would not do it... but we do not have also tattoos, right?

many people do irrevertable things, just for experience or for a possibility to talk about it during a diner (over a beer) with friends.


Total Posts: 390
Joined: Aug 2007
Posted: 2009-12-02 18:11
FDAX, in other words invest in electrolytes?

"Mathematicians are machines for turning coffee into theorems!"


Total Posts: 1074
Joined: May 2004
Posted: 2009-12-02 18:12

I would go even further and suggest that exciting new technologies are usually very poor investments: railroads, automobiles, airlines, internet,... these were all life changing technologies, but turned out to be pretty terrible investments. It is often better to invest in something that other investors find too boring, or too risky, or do not want to do for one reason or another. This leads to less supply of capital, which means higher returns in oreder to attract that capital.

But still, as tristanreid said, it's an interesting exercise.

Inflatable trader


Total Posts: 142
Joined: Feb 2009
Posted: 2009-12-02 18:42

I think we can separate things like "fusion in 2010 at the National Ignition Facility" and "stem cell cultured meat" from things that are highly investable and more immediate like smartphones or energy tech or consumer technology. In one lens, much of the successful hedge fund investing I have worked on has been "technology" driven in some format.  I'll cite a few examples:

Smartphones have been a clear dominant new paradigm since just after the internet bubble.  If you believed this, it was pretty obvious the winners were going to be RIMM and then AAPL and the losers NOK and ERIC.  On a 5-yr basis those stocks are +100%, +500%, -20%, -40%.  There are many similar stories further down into the chip infrastructure as to winners/losers on this theme.  It continues.  GOOG versus old media, phonebooks especially is a similar story.  You basically got a bankruptcy out of the phonebook companies and fllat to down performance from traditional ad media.

In the last 2 years there was a breakthrough in way natural gas is found and extracted that created a potential multiple in the amount of "proven reserves" estimated.  If you followed this technology and called it correctly it was very profitable.  I think Natural Gas is down about 90% from its peak (and at all time lows?).  GMCR is basically a technology story.  Its a modern cotton-gin for single serve office coffee.  Pretty investable.  One could view the fertilizer names as a technology story -- TRA, POT, MOS, CF.  Genetic seeds have been a good investment through MON.

So, I am a little more interested in iPhones, 30-sec battery recharging, solar cell price/watt, ocean farming, genetics, etc and a little less interested in the revolutionary jet pack we'll all be controlling with our minds.  But both are fun topics.  I find the "robot" thing horribly overstated.  There are 1.3B people in China.  The is plenty of cheap immigrant labor in NYC.  The world is not short of simple, physical labor and dexterity.  Robots are great for exacting, fast, repetitive factory applications.  They might be very useful for some hazardous work (undersea, mining, etc).  But there is little value is the "human replacement" robot. 





Total Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2008
Posted: 2009-12-02 18:52

The way I look at the Technological Advances is that you can divide these in two categories: a) need based and b) creative.

While it's hard to figure out the next cool thing/idea someone might come up with, I believe that next need based technological advances will have to be in the area of water and food. I think advances in water desalination technology could be next big thing. With current desalination technology being expensive and energy comsuming, advances in this area with goal to make it less expensive and less energy consuming be great. 


Total Posts: 124
Joined: Oct 2007
Posted: 2009-12-02 23:44
fdax is obviously pointing out the great opportunities in waste management..


Total Posts: 252
Joined: Jun 2005
Posted: 2009-12-03 02:49
Here is some cool stuff, existing technology, exciting use

Technology is probably a guessing game, but there are better ways to take on that risk, by investing in good people. Isn't that the business model for Venture Capitalist firms ?


Total Posts: 1120
Joined: Jun 2005
Posted: 2009-12-03 10:05
any significant breakthrough in rocket science which reduces costs to transport goods to the space (and back) will generate great demand in Space manufacturing and later in inter-terrestial traveling etc.

Ice Viking

Total Posts: 239
Joined: Aug 2007
Posted: 2009-12-03 16:00
In a different direction; I think utilizing algae to produce fine/commodity chemicals will be successfull. Increasing the photosynthetic efficiency of these suckers through "optknocking" is promising and maybe one day producing biofuels via algae could be a huge advancement. A lot of potential there at least. My $0.02.

"i am a shark, the ground is my ocean and most people can't even swim"


Total Posts: 142
Joined: Feb 2009
Posted: 2009-12-03 19:20

BioFuel small caps have had a nice move up recently.  I noticed that.

The sheer amount of venture capital investment going into biotech, clean tech, energy tech since 2006/07 seems to be reaping some solid gains (price per watt in solar, rechargable batteries, fuel cels).  I think Bloomberg had an article today citing $200B will be spent next year on solar and wind power investments.  All this has the potential (even likelihood) to produce a self-reinforcing cycle of applied intellectual talent, available capital, and immediate end product/clients (prius, moble devices, solar panels, govt subsidies, China).

This probably ranks #1 in terms of potential focal points for the next 5 years.  High potential for bubble-style price action.

Ice Viking

Total Posts: 239
Joined: Aug 2007
Posted: 2009-12-03 20:01
"High potential for bubble-style price action".
Couldn't agree with you more. If I had to bet, that's where I'd say the next bubble will be.
//disclaimer - I don't own any stocks but I am working on an algae project//

"i am a shark, the ground is my ocean and most people can't even swim"


Total Posts: 279
Joined: Aug 2007
Posted: 2009-12-04 03:09
back to robots


Total Posts: 1233
Joined: Jun 2007
Posted: 2009-12-04 15:03
posted it before in the off topic section..anyway....look

Ich kam hierher und sah dich und deine Leute lächeln, und sagte mir: Maggette, scheiss auf den small talk, lass lieber deine Fäuste sprechen...


Total Posts: 92
Joined: Jul 2009
Posted: 2009-12-07 06:14
I don't think that solar-electric (photovoltaic, etc...) will deliver decent return on investment. (Laws of nature just don't add up.) So, might be good for a speculative run, but get out before everyone realizes it is a house of cards.

The US Sec of Energy, Chu, used to speak of his hope for GMO'd plants to produce good biofuels. Took me a long time to see why, but now that I've learned a bit about solar energy, I can see the wisdom. Chu spoke of decades of research. But, a wise person (not me) might find the right play sooner.

National Academy of Sciences has a report on "external" costs of energy,, which may give you insight into which energy technologies have an interesting expected future. Personally, I got some specifics (sort of), but nothing totally new. (There were a few surprises, but they served to keep me away from stuff I wasn't interested in anyway.)

I like the new technology in nat gas. Also, as alternative energies become more popular I expect natural gas to become more important. (Nat gas power plants are quick to spin up - I'm told - so are nice to fill in the dips of solar-electric & wind systems, and they are quick to build, which will be good when people realize their investments in solar-electric plants don't turn on the lights.) Fracking (which may be important for yield) is under attack, but if carbon capture/sequestration catches on, the combo of nat gas and CCS could have some legs. I'm not sure this is a technology investment - for me it's more hold for 10 years (or longer). (The CCS stuff, like so much in energy, is so dependent on political winds, but the Joules in nat gas under the ground will be looking fine no matter what.)

An old fusion hand told me years ago to forget about fusion power in my life time - if it happens it will be because of some totally unforeseen breakthrough. I hope he's wrong. OTOH, fission is likely to soar in the next few decades, since it's proven, and the need is clear. The storage issue is a red-herring, construction cost is a much bigger deal. If you have the inclination, some folks tell me there is new technology which is the best thing since sliced bread. I'd look to China (not because I know anything about their program, only because they have huge energy needs, nukes will have to be part of their solution, and their "environmental reviews" can be more streamlined than in other, developed, countries.)

For those who think tech may not have much in the wings, I'd be astounded if the next decade didn't bring something significant out of the confluence of genetics research and health care politics. A friend of mine's involved in a start up, and he thinks soon my doctor will be able to tell me all the ways I might die, while I wait. (His business plan has other benefits listed.)

Of course, the most important stuff for the future will never be on my list of "the most important stuff for the future".


Total Posts: 1677
Joined: Aug 2005
Posted: 2009-12-07 06:51
I remember reading an article about Titanium refinement, in the Economist about a decade ago. The implication was that Ti would be about as cheap to build with as aluminum.

That (or some other material-science advancements) plus sustainable & cheap energy plus long-term fix for solid waste management, plus making sushi safe again. Too much to hope for?


the only reason it would be easier to program in C is that you can't easily express complex problems in C, so you don't. -comp.lang.lisp


Total Posts: 1599
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2009-12-07 06:57
Cold fusion Hammertime

Dynamic Turtle

Total Posts: 165
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2009-12-07 11:08

Anyone read much about graphane? Yet another allotrope of carbon with miracle properties that was only discovered a few years ago. Seems like it has a lot of potential for materials engineering, specifically semiconductors....



Total Posts: 1209
Joined: Feb 2007
Posted: 2009-12-07 11:14
TR: Titanium is horrible for making things. It's hard to cut, it melts at an absurdly high temperature, and the chips it makes when you cut it on a lathe spontaneously combust like magnesium does (which probably makes it difficult to weld). It also costs more than brass or tool steel, at least in small quantities. While it rules the school for strength to weight and corrosion resistance, there are only a few apps where it beats steel. I know Russia has a lot of it; maybe they were claiming something over there.

Fun fusion technology recently getting some press: Polywell fusion. If it works, it will only require a few more impossible technology breakthroughs to become a practical source of energy, unlike, say, Tokomaks which are just plain impossible.

Robots. I never thought of that. The hobbyist crowd is fairly active right now, that's for sure. Might be analogous to 1970s PC's. Seems like they need some kind of better OS ideas to make them do stuff.

"Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious."


Total Posts: 149
Joined: Oct 2004
Posted: 2009-12-07 18:24
Speaking about polywell fusion, there are also pyroelectric fusion and solid state x-ray sources based on the same pyroelectric accelerator principle. I read somewhere that it should be possible to build tiny solid state pyro-fusion devices.


Total Posts: 1120
Joined: Jun 2005
Posted: 2009-12-07 23:48

another energy of fusion

guys here have long experience with the effect:

Sonoluminescence (SL), the necessity of search of which followed from the Rayleigh's equations, after experiments Frenzel H. and Schultes H., till now remains as an effect complex and partly not deprived to mystery. In the certain conditions of experiment realization a short-wave x-ray site was found out. A thermonuclear model of SL was offered in 1973 on the basis of the experiments, and an output of neutrons was observed during cavitation in heavy water in presence of titanium D-germs in 1990.

this theory is more recent.

unfortunately, i think, the locally boiling liquid destabilises environment making any chain-type (self-maintaining) reaction difficult, and maybe impossible.

the effect itself is beautiful.


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Dec 2009
Posted: 2009-12-14 04:35
The technology I'm really excited about is neuroengineering and brain-machine interfaces. Such technology has a likely time horizon of 30-40 years although the current state-of-the-art is progressing rapidly. The ability to request and digest information at a faster rate than our current auditory and visual systems would be game changing. Imagine being able to search google by thinking.

HPlus and Wired have great articles here and here about the current state of play in neuroengineering. Scientists have modified in vivo rat neurons, using modified retro viruses, to inhibit under yellow light, excite under blue light and fluoresce green on activation. Thus with a bundle of optic fibres into a brain you can read and write the state of neurons.

There is still an enormous amount of work to be done before we can Rx/Tx arbitrary data between a computer and a brain but at least the core technology has been demonstrated functioning in living tissue.


Total Posts: 89
Joined: Feb 2008
Posted: 2009-12-14 07:41
Re. genetics and biotech research i would hold off hope for meaningful advances for more than 10 years out, given our current understanding.


Total Posts: 92
Joined: Jul 2009
Posted: 2009-12-14 19:35
@gnarsed: Re. genetics and biotech research i would hold off hope for meaningful advances for more than 10 years out, given our current understanding.

What about all the stuff going on with silicon (h1n1 test chips) and "fast" dna sequencing? Is that still pie-in-the-sky? It pops onto the radar more these days, but I haven't dug below the hype.

Of course, betting on most of the tech advances mentioned would be quite different from anticipating the iPod would be a winner, or going long AAPL and RIM. Those were incremental jumps in consumer appeal, not fundamental breakthroughs.


Total Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2010
Posted: 2010-01-02 06:54
Nice post! You have worked hard on jotting down the essential information. Keep sharing the good work in future too.

Essay Writing Service
Previous Thread :: Next Thread 
Page 2 of 4Goto to page: 1, [2], 3, 4 Prev Next