Monday, December 9, 2013


Governments are essential to preserve peace,wage war and run the country.  The private sector, with government cooperation and control, determines the economy.  

However, there is this gap between research and commercialization that remains hazy.  Japan supported  business conglomerates (this all started with the zaibatsus and morphed into keiretsus) with funds and other incentives, going back to the Edo period when Sumitomo and Mitsui began, followed by Mitsubishi during the Meiji Restoration.  You will see the same companies teaming on major projects around the world.

South Korea has a similar corporate blueprint with their chaebol, first termed, actually, in 1984.  However, the system  collapsed during the Asian financial crisis in 1997.  It was around this time that the Federal government did a very smart thing.  They targeted future technology areas to gain world leading status.  Today their smart phones, flat screen television sets and home appliances are at the top.  Swift advances are being made in biotechnology.  Their entertainment industry has gained eminence, from TV soap operas to PSY's Gangnam Style, the most popular video in the history of You Tube, now approaching 2 billion clicks.

The United States is particularly effective when threatened.  We had to do something about Hitler and his possible Atomic Bomb, so we invented the Manhattan Project, spent $30 billion (really, only $2 billion then) just on the Bomb and won the Second World War.

Twenty years later, the Cold War and the Soviet Union inspired President John F. Kennedy to support the Apollo Project.  Sending Man to the Moon cost us $100 billion ($25 billion then).

In a how dumb can you get effort, George the Younger Bush wasted $3 trillion (that's $3,000 billion)  on terrorists!  Only government can squander so much money so quickly.

All the above is backdrop to the next phase of future economic development.  The American and European governments show little interest today in doing anything inspirational.  There is a perceptible shift to the power of billionaires, who have no one to answer to than their emotions.

Forbes has an annual issue on billionaires, and on the latest cover (above) is 6' 8" Mikhail Prokorov, only #69 with a net worth of $13 billion, but he owns the NBA Brooklyn Nets and could well become the next president of Russia.  Here is their map:

Click on it to read the details.

In 1916, John Davison Rockefeller became the first American billionaire.  The top five billionaires today are:

  #1  Carlos Slim Helu          $73 billion     telecom     Mexico
  #2  Bill Gates                      $67 billion    Microsoft   U.S.
  #3  Amancio Ortega           $57 billion     Zara           Spain
  #4  Warren Buffett              $54 billion    Berkshire    U.S.
  #5  Larry Ellison                 $43 billion    Oracle         U.S.

There are 1426 billionaires worth $5.4 trillion.  The USA has the most, 422, worth $1.87 trillion, with Asia Pacific next at 386 and Europe #3 with 366.

How would they compare in history?  Inflation adjusted, not that well, actually:

  • #1 Mansa Musa I –  $400 Billion (right, he ruled West Africa's Malian Empire in the early 1300's)
  • #2 The Rothschild Family – $350 Billion
  • #3 John D. Rockefeller – $340 Billion
  • #4 Andrew Carnegie – $310 Billion
  • #5 Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov – $300 Billion
    • #6 Mir Osman Ali Khan – $230 billion (right, he ruled part of what is now India, passed away in 1967 and had 149 children)
    • #7 William The Conqueror – $229.5 Billion
    • #8 Muammar Gaddafi – $200 Billion
    • #9 Henry Ford – $199 Billion
    • #10 Cornelius Vanderbilt – $185 Billion
    • #11 Alan Rufus – $178.65 billion
    • #12 Bill Gates – $136 Billion

    However, these mega-wealthy today are, really, the only hope for out of the box monumental efforts to save Planet Earth and Humanity.

    I have a special fascination for billionaires because I see no way the state of Hawaii can overcome our handicaps without a close partnership with a few of them.  Fortunately, several have homes here, including #5, Larry Ellison, who recently purchased the island of Lanai.  Plus, there are 386 more in the Asia Pacific region.  In the past I posted on how the University of Hawaii can become great and our one chance at bootstrapping our economy into prosperity with the proposed Pacific International Ocean Station, advocated by Blue Revolution Hawaii.  As the end of the Cold War ended our need to spend billions in outer space, the ocean has become our next frontier challenge, and a few inspired billionaires can make the difference for ultimate economic/environmental progress.

    THIS POSTING IS LINKED TO Blue Revolution Hawaii, a blog site dedicated to developing the Pacific International Ocean Station.


    Tuesday, September 24, 2013


    I have now identified three distinct entities capable of funding the Pacific International Ocean Station:

    • billionaires
    • China and Japan
    • Google
    The current issue of TIME magazine (30September13) has a cover article entitled, The Audacity of Google:  Larry Page and the Art of the Moonshot.  This has nothing to do with space adventures, but, instead, according to the co-founder and CEO:

    ...we should be spending a commensurate amount with what normal types of companies spend on research and development and spend it on things that are a little more long term and a little more ambitious than people normally would. More like moonshots.

    The five richest people in the world are:  

    Google has a cash stockpile of $54 billion, which would place it as #4.  

    The key to this fund is Google X, a secret facility overseen by Sergey Brin (left--most of his wealth remains in Google, but he has already sold $3.6 billion of Google stocks), one of the co-founders, currently overseeing 100 projects on future technologies.  One of them is Makani Power, a company  using tethered kites with wind turbines at 1000 feet.  Two years ago, Google invested $168  million on the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, so the firm is green in philosophy.  No nuclear or coal futures, best as I can figure out.

    How can any of these renewable projects compare to the Pacific International Ocean Station, a proposed $1.5 billion (ONE percent the cost of the International Space Station--right) open ocean platform with a mission to:
    • develop the open ocean as the next economic frontier
    • in a manner which would harmonize development with marine environmental enhancement
      • remediate global warming
      • minimize hurricanes
    • produce a cornucopia of sustainable products
      • electricity
      • freshwater
      • next generation fisheries
      • marine biomass plantation
      • future of farming (the world is nearing peak phosphate, and deep ocean effluents offer the best hope for sustaining food production)
      • green chemicals and materials
      • biofuels
      • hydrogen
    • while offering promise for Disney-at-Sea, marine industrial parks and floating cities.
    Alas, I have no connection to Larry Page nor Sergey Brin, except that we all went to Stanford University.  Captain of Moonshots at Google X is Astro (below, formerly known as Eric) Teller.  However, I also don't know him, although I  did  work for his paternal grandfather, Edward Teller, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

    Anyone of noteworthiness reading this posting, please kindly forward to your contact at Google X.  Mahalo.


      Will Google be able to Commercialize Eternal Life?


    Friday, August 16, 2013


    Last night, former astronaut, Ed Lu (here with Leighton Chong and Benny Ron), provided the third of Sheraton Waikiki's lecture series with the Institute for Astronomy at the University Hawaii in Kennedy Theatre on Astronomy Saves the World:  Protecting the Planet from Asteroid Impacts.  As a former employee of NASA at the Ames Research Center, it is no big secret about my attitude towards space:
    • NASA was absolutely essential for Project Apollo, which helped bankrupt the Soviet Union
    • The price tag was $25.4 billion, which today could well be worth up to $300 billion
    • Certainly, the cost was well worth it to help end the Cold War
    • NASA remains important to develop space-bio sciences to stimulate the imagination of the  coming generations
    • However, the end of the Cold War made NASA obsolete as a hardware/systems organization, for the expenditure of many billions on irrational attempts to reach Mars, and similar misadventures are beyond the pale--these could well someday be necessary, but probably centuries or milllennia into the future
    • One mission worthy of a full-scale effort is to detect and deflect large incoming asteroids
    However, according to Dr. Lu, NASA is just not interested in taking on this task.  He said there are two steps:
    • use a space infrared telescope to map those incoming disasters
    • design a system to deflect it
    The B612 (named after the home of the Little Prince from Le Petit Prince) Foundation has proposed to undertake the tougher mission, step one.  However, the cost should only be around half a billion dollars.  Money is regularly raised by civic organizations across the country at these sums just to add a wing to an art museum.  Surely, there must be a billionaire or two willing to provide the funds to save humanity.

    He wasn't being sarcastic.  Once B612 finds a potential killer asteroid, he has confidence that governments will partner to build a spacecraft equipped to deflect it.  He says, while much more expensive that finding the target, there should be no technical hurdles to overcome.  Being an astronaut, he must know what he is saying.

      How serious is this threat?

    Over the next hundred years, if no precautions are taken, there will be a 30% chance that an asteroid, if it strikes a city, could wipe it out.  Of course, the odds are low that this space rock will hit a city, but it's possible.  The 1908 Tunguska event over Russia was a 200-600 foot wide asteroid (which did not actually impact our planet--it exploded at an elevation of 2-6 miles).  This is another reason why you don't actually see too many monumental craters on land.  We have detected maybe 1% of the asteroids this large.   Project Sentinel (right) will find them.

    There is a 0.001% chance that an asteroid ten times the diameter (say 2/3 of a mile) could impact Planet Earth.  This would permanently eliminate humanity.  Somewhere in between is that "medium" sized cataclysm that could kill 100 million people.  This one is at a scary 1% probability.  Most of us have fire insurance for similar probabilities.  But there is no current insurance for this killer asteroid threat.  Thus, the B612 Foundation was created.

    It was a dozen years ago that Ed Lu and Piet Hut brought together 20 space experts at the Johnson Space Center to discuss the concept.  A year later, B612 was formed.  They now have secured $20 million and have a launch date of 2018.   In many ways, Blue Revolution Hawaii is, then, well on track to gain similar funding, for our founders first met three years ago and formed this 501 c3 nonprofit organization a little more than two years ago.  If we follow their timeline, our Blue Revolution plant ship should become operational around 2025.  However, I'm impatient, and would like this monumental event to happen in the Year 2020.


    Wednesday, July 31, 2013


    My good friend from Norway, Lars Golmen, commented on my previous posting about Kon-Tiki (Thor Hyerdahl is also from Norway), and suggested I write about TROPOS, a nearly $20 million  European partnership to explore the potential of offshore multi-use platforms.  It was nearly two decades ago when I presented "Colonization of the Open Ocean" at an international oceanographic conference held in Lisbon, Portugal.  I said:

    European countries more than half a millennium ago conquered the world for their needs, and there were terrible human implications.  However, in the open ocean today is the final global frontier for economic development.  No one really owns these waters and no existing populations will be impacted.  In fact, there might even be opportunities to enhance the environment, as global climate change can be remediated and hurricane formation can be prevented.

    Already, more than half of the world population is within 200 kilometers from the sea, and these coastal areas will double by 2025.  The European Union is thus seeking an integrated approach regarding the use of the oceans.  The first three projects will be these ocean platforms.  They have further added two more projects:
    • H2Ocean:  Development of a wind-wave power system for the production of hydrogen.
    • Mermaid:  An innovative multi-purpose platform to make the best use ocean space.

    The TROPOS foci are transport, energy, aquaculture and leisure.  Jose Joaquin Hernandez Brito of Las Palmas, Canary Islands, is the Managing Director.  (This gives me a second reason for visiting this island, for my Chapter 5 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth features Las Palmas). 

    If you participated in Oceans 2013 in Bergen, you would have learned the full scope of the plans.  For now, just click on all the above links to gain a sense of how the European Union is progressing on the Blue Revolution.  An excellent PowerPoint presentation can be found by clicking on The TROPOS Project.  (IN CASE IT WASN'T OBVIOUS, THOSE COLORED ENTRIES ARE GENERALLY LINKS.)  The EU is far ahead of Japan, China and USA in advancing this final Planet Earth frontier for economic opportunity.


    Monday, July 1, 2013


    Fox News has a list of 10 greatest ocean adventure movies.  Most were fictitious, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and there was one real disaster (Titanic), which returned this year in 3D.

    I was thus inspired by the latest movie on Kon-Tiki, which covers the real-life dream of Thor Heyerdahl, when in 1947 he overcame huge doubts and challenges to sail for 101 days a distance of 5,000 miles on a balsa raft with a dedicated crew of four Norwegians and one Swede from Peru to French Polynesia, constantly being followed by sharks, which served as food.  Only the President of Peru, Jose Luis Bustamente y Rivero, was particularly helpful.  The U.S. Navy predicted he would never get there.  The Norwegian documentary, Kon-Tiki (1950), won the 1951 Oscar for documentary films, the only such award to any movie product from Norway.  By clicking on it, you watch the entire nearly hour-long movie, an excellent background piece before seeing the current version.

    Rotten Tomatoes gave an 83% reviewers rating and 78% from the audience.  The film was entertaining, but not particularly suspenseful, as you knew they would make it.  There was an encounter with a 25 foot Whale Shark (actual photo to the left), which one of the crew stupidly harpooned, almost scuttling the expedition.

    Heyerdahl's contention that Polynesia was populated by settlers from South America never gained anthropological acceptance.  More recently, mitochondrial DNA indicated that the migration was mostly from the West (Asia).  However, there are elements of Polynesian culture that no doubt were influenced from the East and there is now added genetic testing that suggests there certainly were some Eastern input.  Kon-Tiki was an Incan Sun-God, who might have been white, and left Peru only to avoid a total massacre. 

    Over 87 years, Heyerdahl lived quite a life, with three wives, selling 100 million copies of his book on this adventure, widely representing the United Nations, and sailing in a papyrus reed boat across the Atlantic.  Maybe more than anything else, he inspired countless youths about the ocean.  Including me.


    Thursday, June 6, 2013


    iBlue Revolution, is an internet support group to promote the development of multi-purpose marine industrial platforms to initiate the Blue Revolution (Shimuzu's concept to the right).  The "i" is symbolic of the virtual reality characterizing this organization.  We will not:
    • be incorporated,
    • handle any finances and
    • have any legal status.

    iBlue Revolution has one purpose:  spur the creation of a billion dollar fund to design, construct and operate the first pre-commercial open ocean complex.  We will steer potential sponsors to key organizations capable of meeting this mission.  Global information exchange is sought to help form world-wide partnerships.

    For the present, I, Patrick Takahashi, will serve as the coordinator, and have formed an informal discussion group of advisors.  Let me know if you wish to be added to this list by commenting below.  As some of you know, I have had a daily blog for the past five years now:

    I will continue this service, and in addition, sporadically insert articles at this site focused on the Blue Revolution.

    The International Space Station is a $150 billion attempt to create industries in space.  The Blue Revolution can be initiated with less than one percent of that amount for our next economic prospect, the ocean.  At one time the Cold War made necessary ventures like Project Apollo.  It is now no longer necessary for a Mission to Mars, or even again to the Moon.  Efforts like the B612 Foundation, led by former astronaut Ed Lu, to track and neutralize potentially deadly asteroids, make sense, but the real business opportunity for the next century remains on Planet Earth, and the final frontier is the ocean.

    The seas around us are ideally conformed to provide next generation fisheries, marine biomass plantations, green chemicals, sustainable energy resources, exciting habitats for floating cities and industrial parks, while providing options for remediating global warming and preventing the formation of deadly hurricanes.  A series of articles I published in the Huffington Post provides background information:
    There is a non-profit organization called Blue Revolution Hawaii, which has proposed the Pacific International Ocean Station for this purpose.  Their Board (which I am on, but I would resign if my dual role becomes a conflict of interest) has blessed my effort to independently and in parallel carry out this informational attempt to spur major funding for the actual station itself.  A second organization, the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, has been contacted to  gain their possible involvement in this adventure.