Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Paradox of Technology - New Science & Hyperpectral Sensors

Here I am at 1:30 a.m., Sept. 10, in Colombia, South America paralyzed. Why? Because the Internet is down, I can't sleep, I want to tell the story about an amazing technology that I worked with last year at Texas A&M University that we´re adding to the Solomon Source "Toolbox" of Services. It's called a hyperspectral sensor. I was laying in bed thinking, is this what blogging does to a person? Laying there thinking about what I wanted to write, numerous other ideas flowing through my head. I've been a "blogger-holdout", but now I realize I've have too many ideas that I want to share, much I have already written - this is going to be fun!

Well anyway, what about this title "Paradox of Technology". I remember thinking many years ago, as I began to wear my "environmentalist" hat, that the mindless pursuit of technological advancement was the cause of many of our environmental dilemmas.

By the way, a little digression, I don't really call myself an environmentalist anymore, mainly because I don't think the tactics, or mindset contributes to solutions. I think it causes more "separation" and conflict, and the participants tend to have victim mind-set. I have learned through much self examination and observation that victims are really at the center of problems - "wherever I go, there I am". And the traditional environmentalist approach operates from an "us" versus "them" mentality. This will never solve the problems ultimately, but this is a topic for another blog.

So, one side of the paradox is the pursuit of technology and "advancement", (whatever advancement means), causing incredible problems. It is the "evil" driver of so many issues, to numerous to cite. The scope of these problems today are so vast that it boggles the mind. Scientists as they look at the complexity of just the weather, are discovering that mini micro-climates, down to potentially neighborhood sized areas are heavily influential into the making of our weather patterns. Or take any other scientific problem that we are confronted with. Everything that we pick apart with the scientific approach (a discussion for a future blog) becomes so complex and cumbersome that the human mind cannot manage the quantity of data, processes, or analysis.

This is the paradox. I would contend that computers are probably the pinnacle of technological advancement. And without them we cannot solve the problems we have created. The scales and quantities of information that needs to be processed for the various models of natural systems, can only be dealt with by a computer. So paradoxically, technology becomes our apparent worst enemy, because the pursuit of industrialization has been the cause of most of these problems, but it is also the solution to our problems.

So what about this hyperspectral sensor? In simple terms a hyperspectral sensor is a very large camera that can take a picture of all that we can and cannot see. Typically the device is flown in an airplane or satellite, and is aimed at the surface of the planet, at least in the applications we are interested in. The device captures reflected light - many bands of data across the light spectrum that can be used to understand the characteristics of the objects and substances captured in the image based on their spectral signature. The device I was working with at Texas A&M was built by Texaco in the mid-90's, called the Texaco Energy and Environmental Multi-spectral Spectrometer (TEEMS). The device captured about 250 bands (sections of light wavelenth) across the ultraviolet, visible and infrared spectrum. The bands are critical for seeing the various "substances" that you are looking for. The amazing thing is that these spectral signatures are like "finger prints" for everything. Every substance, including your hair, or my hair, or whatever, each has a unique spectral signature.

So what's the big deal? It's a huge deal! This device can help us see all kinds of phenomena that is invisible to the naked eye, pollutants floating on water, insect infestation in crop fields, fault lines showing up in avalanche prone areas, leachate seeps from landfills polluting a river, etc. etc. In fact, since we haven't even looked very much at what we can see with these devices (except for military applications), the potential is unlimited. The opportunities exist in the questions that we ask, and our willingness and capability to break the data down and analyze it. The more I looked at this device and its potential last year, the more astounded I became.

My imagination was even further fired after listening to the new Albert Einstein biography (by Isaacson). 18 CDs - the whole set as I drove from College Station, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico and back. I learned emphatically that Einstein's contribution to the world came from his study of light. And here I am looking at a device that tells us, who knows what, and it all is from light.

I began to imagine that the light was even intelligent. Trying to communicate with us. Or that it is like DNA, carrying whole new sets of knowledge, asking/inviting us to decipher the puzzle to help save us from our self imposed crises. Embedded in the light, is information waiting to be discovered that will tell us the core issues of our misguided ways. Then I concluded that "light is life" - we wouldn't be here if the sun wasn't producing it. To scientists who study this, or spiritually enlightened individuals, this is probably like "duh", so what else. But to me, it was a huge awakening, and epiphany.

Then amazingly enough a friend, whom I had confided in about my realization, showed me a book that sychronistically validated my thoughts - this quote has been just the first validation of many over the last year.

"He looked at his hands, he felt his body, and heard his own voice say "I am made of light; I am made of stars."

He looked at the stars again, and he realized that it's not the stars that create light, but rather light that creates the stars. "Everything is made of light" he said, " and the space in -between isn't empty." And he knew that everything that exists is one living being, and that light is the messenger of life, because it is alive and contains all information.

Then he realized that although he was made of stars, he was not of those stars. "I am in-between the stars," he thought. So he called the stars the tonal and light between the stars the nagual, and he knew that what created the harmony and space between the two is Life or Intent. Without Life, the tonal and the nagual could not exist. Life is the force of the absolute, the supreme, the Creator who creates everything.

This is what he discovered: Everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call God. Everything is God. And he came to the conclusion that human perception is merely light perceiving light. He also saw that matter is a mirror that reflects light and creates images of that light--and the world of illusion, the Dream, is just like smoke which doesn't allow us to see what we really are. "The real us is pure love, pure light," he said.

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

Working with the TEEMS device, I had the great fortune to work with Robert Moss. Robert is our fearless leader when it comes to hyperspectral. He has worked with it for most of his life: builds the devices, writes the software, understands the science. I would suspect that Robert knows more about hyperspectral sensors that any other person in the world.

I called him as these thoughts haunted my mind last summer - I was ranting on the phone, going on and on. And then I said, "you know Robert, after hearing about Einstein's discoveries, I have realized with this hyperspectral sensor - it's like a 'New Science'". Robert's response was ... "Andy, you're preaching to the choir!"

So why hyperspectral sensors with Solomon Source? - well if you happened to read my last blog I told the story of the foundations of our endeavors - the environment - protecting Mother Nature. And now, we are going to add to the mix of our services, environmental assessments, prediction, etc. utilizing these exciting new technologies. I had worked to build teams and strategy at Texas A&M, and ran in to some challenges. Now we're going to do it in the private sector where we have no obstacles.

Well, I suppose this blog has gone on long enough. I can guarantee you'll hear more about hyperspectral, and paradoxes too. It has been my conclusion that behind every great, spiritual truth, that there will be a paradox.

All the Best,

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