Eric Knight Inventor. Entrepreneur. Author. Futurist. Business & Internet Pioneer.
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Ridiculously cool: Elon Musk will launch his Tesla into space — and the car will be blaring David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” at liftoff

December 2

“SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk tweeted Friday night that the Falcon Heavy’s first test flight, scheduled to blast off from Florida’s Space Coast next month, will have his midnight cherry Tesla Roadster on-board.  The Falcon Heavy’s payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’.   Musk tweeted, ‘Destination is Mars orbit.'”

Read the complete SPACEFLIGHT NOW article here.

 

Don’t miss the year’s biggest “Supermoon” on Sunday night. The Moon will appear 7% brighter and 16% larger than usual.

November 28

This Sunday night, December 3rd, the Moon will appear bigger and brighter than what you normally see.  It’s because, on the day after, it will make its closest approach to Earth for the month:  Just 222,443 miles.

The best view of the Supermoon will be as it rises just after sunset.  It’s a nice educational experience for the whole family.

Click here for a great article by National Geographic.

Real-time language translation now a reality with Google’s Pixel Buds

October 4

google pixel buds language translatorStar Trek’s “universal translator” is now a reality with Google’s Pixel Buds.  Paired with a Google Pixel smartphone, wearers can have real-time language translation in 40 languages.  Imagine the possibilities when traveling.  This is truly one of the year’s most-brilliant (and useful) consumer technologies.  Check out the live demo herePhoto courtesy of Engaget

 

What will YOU do with today’s extra second? “Leap second” to be added at midnight UTC.

December 31

leap-second-clockA year consists of 31,536,000 seconds (over 31.5 million seconds). But today will have one more second — a “LEAP SECOND”. Why? Because the Earth’s rotation slows about 1.8 milliseconds per day due to the braking effect of the world’s ocean waves, which messes things up over time (pun, intended). So the “International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service” (yes, there is such a thing) will tack on an extra tick to the world’s clocks at midnight UTC (7PM Eastern).  For more info: http://wapo.st/2hEx5mS

Enjoy the extra tick!

Image courtesy of EarthSky.org

 

Help launch an out-of-this-world documentary about an American rocket pioneer

March 2

ky michaelson rocketman documentaryI was honored and privileged to be part of Ky “Rocketman” Michaelson’s extraordinary quest to launch the world’s first civilian rocket into space — which we accomplished on May 17, 2004.  And I feel honored, again, to help Ky and his production team bring this amazing American story to life.

Please visit the Indiegogo link below to see how you can help launch the ROCKETMAN documentary movie.  You can receive all sorts of perks for participating — including memorabilia that flew into space on our historic mission.  Even get “co-producer” credit in the film.  Join us.  The sky is (not) the limit!

F.Y.I.:  On a personal note, it’s neat to see me in the clips that make up the Indiego intro video.  It brings back great memories of such an important part of my life.

CLICK HEREhttp://igg.me/at/rocketmandoc — or on the image above to help launch this extraordinary movie.

Freaky fun gadget: Amazon Echo

February 8

Amazon EchoMy wife Elsie & I treated ourselves to this gizmo when it was on sale a few months ago on Black Friday. And it’s ridiculously fun! It’s the first generation on the path towards a Star-Trek-like computer in every home. It goes by the name Alexa. Today I asked: “Alexa, how’s it hangin’?” It responded: “I’m great! And ready to help.” LOL! You can ask it to play any music stored in your Amazon collection. (The audio is awesome for such a small device.) You can ask it to tell you jokes. You can ask it to search for anything on the Web. You can dictate on-the-fly shopping items that get synced to your phone. It streams Pandora and other online music services. It can wake you to music. It can tell you the weather forecast. It follows you favorite sports teams — and provides updates. It streams news. Provides restaurant recommendations. Gives you traffic reports. Can read to you ANY book in your Amazon collection. AND, when you stop the audio reading and pick up your Kindle, your digital book is synced to where Alexa left off! Granted, a lot of these are just geeky fun things. And services like Siri do a few of these items. But — wow — it’s darn fun. Plus the physical engineering design and user interface are brilliant. Click on the accompanying graphic to see details of the device and some of the things it can do. And — if you can catch it on sale — it would make a really nifty gift for you or a loved one.

Connecticut innovators shine at last night’s Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIAs) in Stamford

March 20

CTNEXT_winners_EIA_winners_3_19_15_for_blog_postEntrepreneurs rocked the house last night at Stamford’s historic Palace Theatre. The Shark Tank-style pitch competition featured Connecticut-based entrepreneurs and startups. Kudos to these creative minds that help power our State’s backbone of business innovation.

The event was sponsored and facilitated by CTNext, a core driver and resource provider of Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem. Find out more here: www.CTNext.com

A teenager’s view on social media. Insightful.

February 7

teenagers-view-on-social-mediaIn this article by Andrew Watts, posted on medium.com, a teenager describes his age group’s opinions of various social media.

Read his opinions about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+, Reddit — and more.  I learned a bunch.  I bet you might, too.

Click here to check out the article.  Enjoy.

Graphic courtesy of Andrew Watts / medium.com

Powerful and inspiring McDonald’s commercial

February 7

I don’t believe I’m admiring a McDonald’s commercial. But this one is particularly powerful. It’s one of the brand’s “refresh” spots from Leo Burnett. Check it out here:

Eric Knight — cranking out rock tunes (on guitar and harmonica) — helps raise $1,500 for local food pantry.

July 27

You know what they say about all work and no play.  So I took a little time out from business to play some classic rock with my ol’ buddy Arnold “Arnie” Aranci and his sons.  The goal:  Raise money for our hometown’s food pantry at the inaugural “Hamstock” event.  We way exceed our goal, raising $1,500.

Enjoy the following HD YouTube videos:

Last Dance With Mary Jane (Tom Petty).  Arnold “Arnie” Aranci, Eric Knight, Christopher Aranci, Anthony Aranci:  

Takin’ Care Of Business (Bachman Turner Overdrive).  Arnold “Arnie” Aranci, Eric Knight, Christopher Aranci, Anthony Aranci:  

Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry).  Arnold “Arnie” Aranci, Eric Knight, Christopher Aranci, Anthony Aranci:  

At a recent aerospace event, astronaut legend — Buzz Aldrin — and I exchanged signed copies of our books. But that’s just for starters…

July 27

Eric_Knight_with_Buzz_Aldrin_400x239_copyright_Eric_KnightBuzz and I are part of a growing team of advisors, astronauts, aerospace companies, universities, and energized students of the Time Capsule To Mars project that is designed to send your “selfies” to Mars for 99 cents each. (Yes, you read that right!)

To be working with Buzz Aldrin — one of my childhood heroes — is a tremendous experience. The student-led Time Capsule To Mars project combines my passion for student enterprise and new frontiers in aerospace. If you’d like more info, check out www.TimeCapsuleToMars.com

“Aquarids” meteor shower this Monday night / Tuesday morning; should outperform the annual favorite, Perseids.

July 26

The moonless sky and fair weather forecast throughout many parts of the U.S. means a great celestial event.  Just grab a lawn chair.  Lie down and look generally south / southeast towards the horizon.  And enjoy the show!  (No telescope or binoculars required.)  After your eyes fully adjust to the dark (give it 10 minutes), you should see up to 20 meteors per hour.  Best time should be about 1am on Tuesday morning.  The following is a great article with particulars:  http://bit.ly/1otTi2x  Watching a meteor shower is a great family event and educational experience.  Have fun!

Image courtesy National Geographic / Starry Night Software

Would you like to fly to Mars? Here’s the next best thing…

January 19

time_capsule_to_mars_spacecraft_rendering_for_online_distributionMy company is a proud supporter of the international student team that’s planning to build and fly a small spacecraft to Mars. On board would be a two-inch-diameter titanium “time capsule of humanity” containing perhaps millions of digital photos, videos, audio files, and text messages from people all over the world — including you.

Your digital creations would be stored on new “quartz” media that, by some estimates, will survive on the surface of Mars for up to 300 million years.

This would be the world’s first interplanetary space mission led by a non-government team. Other key mission supporters include MIT and Explore Mars, Inc. Details of the mission can be viewed at this link.

While the students are working on the essential science, they are also looking for creative names for both the spacecraft and the Mars “time capsule” lander. The goal is to unleash the world’s creativity in every aspect of the program. The individuals who submit the chosen names will get special digital allocations in the time capsule’s quartz memory, as well as other unique tributes. To submit your name ideas, visit www.TimeCapuleToMars.com.

Cool. The world’s first transparent speaker!

August 31

(PHYS.ORG)  This is a photograph of the world’s first transparent speaker “…consisting of a thin sheet of rubber sandwiched between two layers of a saltwater gel, and it’s as clear as a window. A high-voltage signal that runs across the surfaces and through the layers forces the rubber to rapidly contract and vibrate, producing sounds that span the entire audible spectrum, 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. But this is not an electronic device, nor has it ever been seen before.

Published in the August 30 issue of Science, it represents the first demonstration that electrical charges carried by ions, rather than electrons, can be put to meaningful use in fast-moving, high-voltage devices. Ionic conductors can be stretched to many times their normal area without an increase in resistivity — a problem common in stretchable electronic devices. Secondly, they can be transparent, making them well suited for optical applications. Thirdly, the gels used as electrolytes are biocompatible, so it would be relatively easy to incorporate ionic devices—such as artificial muscles or skin—into biological systems. After all, signals carried by charged ions are the electricity of the human body, allowing neurons to share knowledge and spurring the heart to beat. Bioengineers would dearly love to mesh artificial organs and limbs with that system.”

For the full article, click here.  Photo courtesy Christoph Keplinger and Jeong-Yun Sun, Whitesides and Suo Research Groups, Harvard University

Crank up “Stairway to Heaven” by Ann & Nancy Wilson (HEART) and Jason Bonham — in HD and great sound!

July 5

Turn up your speakers for this full-length, unedited performance of rock’s ultra-classic “Stairway to Heaven” as performed by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Jason Bonham (son of the late drummer, John Bonham), and their combined bands HEART & Led Zeppelin Experience at the 4th of July “The Heartbreaker Tour” concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. My wife and I had the great pleasure of attending the concert, and I snapped this video with my amazing Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in HD. Enjoy!

Don’t miss the alignment of Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury at sunset on May 26th

May 21

planet-alignment-jupiter-mercury-venusHere’s something fun (and educational for the kids) on this upcoming Sunday, the 26th:  Look to the west in the evening twilight after sunset and you’ll see the triple conjunction of three planets:  Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury.  You’ll need an unobstructed view of the western sky, as the planets will be just above the horizon.  Click here for an excellent article and animation from NASA Science News.  Image courtesy of NASA.

TECH BREAKTHROUGH: High-tech marriage combines 3-D printers with 3-D scanners — lets anyone print in 3-D without design software

March 8

(CNN)  “MakerBot [has] unveiled a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects. Called a MakerBot Digitizer, it’s meant to complement the company’s Replicator printer by letting customers scan objects, then feed the resulting digital files to the Replicator to be printed. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to about 8 inches in diameter…. The process takes less than three minutes.  Once the digital scan is completed, an object can be printed right away. It’s easier and faster than using software to design a digital printing model from scratch.”  For the complete report, visit this linkImage courtesy MakerBot

Lip-shaped urinals at Rolling Stones museum raising eyebrows

March 26

Can’t get no satisfaction?  Women in the German town of Luchow are upset with design of the urinals in a men’s restroom at a Rolling Stones museum.  The urinals emulate the band’s famous red-lips logo.  But, to some, the lips look too feminine.  And that’s what has stirred the emotions.

According to Spiegel Online, Rolling Stones memorabilia collector, Ulli Schroder, opened the museum last October.  Regarding the controversy, Spiegel Online reported that Schroder was “defiant and unrepentant.”  He reportedly commented:  “That’s not a man’s mouth or a woman’s mouth, that’s art. They were damned expensive and they’re staying where they are and that’s final.”

The Stones-inspired urinals were designed by female Dutch artist, Meike van Schijndel.

For the complete news report, visit http://bit.ly/GSSLSe

Image courtesy Spiegel Online

Holy hot wheels, Batman. REAL “Batmobile” for sale.

February 27

Want to own the most outrageous ride on the planet?  How about your very own, officially licensed,1966 Batmobiile, complete with functional flamethrower exhaust and double-bubble windshields.

And it’s more than just show:   A 280 horsepower, 325 ft-lbs of torque, GM350 crate engine will zoom you out of your bat cave, 0 – 60 MPH, in five seconds.

What’s the price for the ultimate cool car?  $161,000.   For more information on this Gotham City masterpiece, check out http://bit.ly/A0zVH9

Image courtesy of Firebox

 

 

West African berry causes beer to taste like sweet juice and lemons to taste like oranges. Spurs “flavor-tripping” parties.

January 1

Discovery News:  “Pop the red, cranberry-sized miracle fruit in your mouth and chew it for a while, allowing its juices to coat your mouth. It doesn’t taste like much. But what follows ‘is just a miracle or a kind of magic’ according to Keiko Abe, of the University of Tokyo, as you sample other foods. ‘Beer tastes like sweet juice. Lemon tastes like sweet orange.’

“Sour foods are perceived as trippily sweet when tasted for up to an hour after consuming the berry. This effect has led curious folks in the U.S. and elsewhere to seek the miracle fruit for ‘flavor-tripping’ parties: pop the fruit with friends, then sample a smorgasbord of sour-leaning snacks: limes, goat cheese, beer, grapefruit, vinegar, pickles and more.

“‘To me it was very exhilarating. It really is a very joyous experience,’ said writer Adam Gollner of trying the fruit. Gollner is author of The Fruit Hunters, which includes a chapter on the miracle fruit. “It’s almost like this thing that you can’t understand that is happening to you. That sense of incomprehensibility is a great feeling.'”

For the complete Discovery News article, click here: http://bit.ly/tW1qVS

Image courtesy of Keiko Abe / Science

Don’t buy a TV until you read this. New OLED technology to transform flat-panel TVs.

January 1

Until now, your options for flat-panel TVs really boiled down to LCD, LED, or plasma.  But if you’re in the market for a large flat-panel TV, and you want to future-proof your selection, you may want to switch your sights to OLED — organic light-emitting diode technology.

OLEDs provide amazing clarity, contrast, and color saturation.  In the not-to-distant future, they’ll be the technology behind the paper-thin TVs you’ll be able to affix to your wall like wall paper.  In the meantime, manufacturers are ready to roll out more-traditional flat-screen TVs made of OLEDs — such as the stunning 55-inch TV by LG Electronics.

The soon-to-be-unveiled LG Electronics 55-inch OLED flat-screen TV is just 4mm thick  (just a little more than an eighth of an inch).  And the entire TV weighs just 16.5 pounds.

The LG Electronics 55-inch OLED TV is scheduled to be revealed at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas on January 10th.  For more information, visit this link:  http://fxn.ws/tgDLlb

Image courtesy LG Electronics

“Miracle” musical Christmas ornament plays for 23 straight years on same battery!

December 19

My brother-in-law, Larry, gave my wife, Elsie, a musical Christmas ornament 23 years ago — when he was just 8 years old.  23 years later, the Christmas ornament still plays its song — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — with the ORIGINAL BATTERYIt would seem technically impossible.  But, for some unexplained reason, the ornament keeps working.

Not even today’s advanced lithium batteries would function for 23 years.  (Their shelf life is approx. 10 years.)  And back 23 years ago, the battery that was glued into the ornament was the cheapest possible — as the entire ornament only cost Larry a few dollars.  The battery should have lasted four or five years, at most.  But now we’re just two years short of a QUARTER CENTURY.

Would you like to see and hear the ornament for yourself?  Here’s a link to a YouTube video of Elsie and Larry playing the ornament on December 12, 2010.  And here’s a link to a YouTube video of Elsie, Larry, and other family members playing the ornament just a couple of days ago — on December 18, 2011.

You can also scroll down and click on the images below — to immediately play our 2010 and 2011 family YouTube videos.

None of my engineer buddies (in fact, no one who I’ve talked to) has been able to suggest a plausible reason why this ornament continues to play, year after year.  Hence it’s why our family has named it our “miracle Christmas ornament.”

Now, I’m not saying that this ornament is divinely powered.  For us, the phrase  is simply a fun way to talk about our annual family tradition regarding this amazing, never-quit, holiday gift.

How long will it keep going?  Will it make a full quarter of a century?  Impossible to predict.  We’re in uncharted territory.  I’ll keep you posted through the next couple of years.

Let me take this moment to wish a heartfelt “Happy Holidays” to all of my readers — of all faiths — around the globe.  Thank you for letting me be part of your world each week.

— Eric

From December 12, 2010:

From December 18, 2011:

Perhaps the coolest gadget for anyone with an iPad

December 11

I come across all sorts of gizmos and gadgets.  One that struck me as truly brilliant is the “iCADE” iPad arcade cabinet.  Just pop in an iPad and — presto! — you’ve transformed it into a classic arcade (see picture) capable of playing dozens of your Atari favorites, like Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe, Centipede, Missile Command, Battlezone, Super Breakout, and (one of my personal favorites) Tempest.  (I spent way too many hours playing Tempest in the arcade at UConn.  But I digress…)

I found the iCADE on sale at ThinkGeek for $69.99 (about 30 bucks less than other online stores).  Here’s the link:  http://bit.ly/s56vbe

And, yes, I bought one.  Couldn’t resist.

NOTE:  To complete the iPad-to-iCADE metamorphosis, you’ll also need to download the games from the Apple App Store.  Some are free (like Missile Command), some are 99 cents, and you can download the full collection of 100 Atari games for $14.99.  Enjoy!

The 50 funniest “autocorrect” text messages of 2011

December 11

Has your cell phone’s autocorrect feature ever made a really screwy suggestion for the word you intended to type?  Worse, have you accidentally sent the text with the nutty word, only to then have an OMG moment — wishing you could take it back?

The editors of “Damn You Auto Correct” have compiled what they believe are the 50 funniest messed-up text messages, as determined by Facebook shares, tweets, comments, and pageviews.  Check out the LOL selection of text messages here:   http://bit.ly/vxU90b

Warning: Your brain may melt

November 24

I’ve come across one of the most bizarre music videos that I’ve ever seen.  It is a group of Chinese senior citizens performing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”  Picture scantily clad women musicians playing clear-plastic fiddles with seniors gyrating to the music in a life-size dollhouse.  I’m not making this up.

If you dare to unlock a weird and freaky place in your brain, turn up your speakers and click on this article’s image and link.  You’ve been warned…

You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us.  Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired.

Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.  It’s a global tightrope without a net.

Lots of new features are coming online.  They’re all in various stages of development.  You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.

This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.

Hang on tight.  We may achieve orbit.  Or we may sail off a cliff.  But the ride will be exhilarating.

— Eric

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