Junk. It’s everywhere. From island-sized floating masses of garbage to the thousands of tons of space debris found in low orbit, mankind has left its permanent mark on planet Earth. As junk is generated as a byproduct of consumerism, the debris left behind by satellites, or the inefficient data-grabbing of companies; we are faced with mountains of waste every day.
The question then is, how should we tackle this junk problem? Similarly, how should companies handle the acquisition and exchange of data? In the information age, the ever-increasing volume of data is proving to be a challenge within the data marketplace.
In this episode, Alexander McCaig and Jason Rigby discuss human junk and its effect on our evolution.
There are a hundred million pieces of debris found in Earth’s low orbit. Each of those are only larger than a millimeter. That may sound harmless, but the environment is different in outer space. Up there, there’s barely any friction or gravity, which allows the individual pieces to speed up at around 17,500 miles per hour.
And so, a tiny piece of junk floating around can cause large amounts of damage to any equipment unfortunate enough to get hit. A bigger yet obvious problem is the difficulty with which people can repair damages, as it’s hard to even reach the damaged equipment.
As of the year 2020, there are currently 3,372 active satellites in orbit. Now, the US Regulatory has already permitted SpaceX from launching satellites, of which they plan to launch 42,000 of them. This will only increase the risk of important satellites and instruments from being damaged.
The International Space Station has even had near-miss events because of space debris, which cements it as a real problem with real consequences. Obviously, this isn’t the problem of the ISS alone.
Junk has become such a prevalent issue around the world, and yet we don’t even consider why it exists in the first place. We create plastic and other pollutants for commercial goods, without taking into account what happens to it after it is thrown away.
Ever since humans have developed technology, we created this mentality of not caring about the aftermath of our actions. Which, in turn, has created all this junk and waste around us, which is hindering our evolution as a society.
This isn’t to say that we are unaware of our predicament. However, the way we try and solve this problem is by simply going around the junk. For example, instead of trying to get rid of space debris, they instead designed better spacecraft to withstand the high-speed debris that crashes into our satellites.
In addition to humanity’s indirect approach towards junk, our pre-existing systems are open and do not take into account the amount of waste that will inevitably get created. Because of the open systems that society has relied upon, we are continuously burying ourselves beneath our waste.
As an example of society’s indirectness towards problems, picture this scenario. A child is left in their car seat as the parents go inside the store. The parents are reliant on the car’s system, that it will provide AC and therefore keep the child cool. However, what happens when the AC malfunctions? We could design a camera to observe, but that’s simply an indirect fix.
Instead of simply going to the root of the problem and simply bringing the child along, the parents create complicated measures.
Junk is everywhere, and yet it is simply tolerated. Instead of finding roundabout ways to avoid junk, we should instead focus our efforts on it. Focusing on it gives humanity a deep understanding of the cause and effect of junk, and how we can eliminate it.
Within the data marketplace, TARTLE is cleaning up data for buyers and sellers alike, creating order and organization from piles upon piles of junk data. TARTLE is creating a closed system with no waste, making it efficient and precise.
Alexander McCaig (00:07):
Hey. Welcome back.
Alexander McCaig (00:13):
Welcome back to TARTLE Cast. Junk.
Jason Rigby (00:17):
Alexander McCaig (00:18):
Jason Rigby (00:19):
So much junk, bro.
Alexander McCaig (00:20):
I think this is an interesting-
Jason Rigby (00:21):
Alexander McCaig (00:22):
This isn't, yeah, minimalist. This is an interesting metaphor for a lot going on. So something is of a great hindrance to the space economy.
Jason Rigby (00:33):
Alexander McCaig (00:35):
Can you guess what that might be?
Jason Rigby (00:36):
The final frontier.
Alexander McCaig (00:37):
Yeah, our final frontier. The SS Enterprise, or whatever the heck it was. USS Enterprise. What would be its most debilitating roadblock preventing, I think, for even turning on its warp drives.
Jason Rigby (00:53):
Well, you have one problem.
Alexander McCaig (00:54):
Well, what's that?
Jason Rigby (00:55):
You have, even nowadays in our aircraft... I watched, I think it was a Southwest Airlines flight, or I forgot who it was, but there was somebody taking a picture because the engine was on fire and just flapping like this-
Alexander McCaig (01:07):
Jason Rigby (01:08):
... on the side of a wing. Of course, only one engine was doing that, so you're fine. But it had had a bird strike. So bird strike is debris.
Alexander McCaig (01:20):
Jason Rigby (01:20):
I mean, unfortunately that's what they call it. Sod, foreign object damage.
Alexander McCaig (01:24):
If we look at the data of junk in space, all right, there is a hundred million pieces of debris, around that number, larger than a millimeter. People think, "A millimeter? Big whoop. What's the big deal? A millimeter of space trash?" Well, you got to understand here. It's a low friction environment. It's a low gravity environment. So once that thing starts to accelerate at pace, that thing's hauling. That little millimeter piece of trash is going to rip through the thin, thin walls of whatever space instrumentation, observation, or life sustaining cocoon that's floating around in our low gravity orbit around the earth. So in order for us to start sending more things up there, Starlink satellites, to afford more data to be passed through earth and better understanding of space, and getting ourselves up there, we have trash in the way. Trash, junk. And the lack of understanding of junk is hindering our evolution. So can you give me a little bit about some of the data points here on the junk itself?
Jason Rigby (02:35):
Well, the object's average speed is 17,500.
Alexander McCaig (02:39):
Miles per hour?
Jason Rigby (02:39):
Miles per an hour, yeah. So think about that.
Alexander McCaig (02:41):
Last I checked, that's much faster than a lot of bullets, and bullets tear through stuff here.
Jason Rigby (02:48):
Yeah. In 2020, there are 3,372 active satellites. Now, SpaceX alone, they have approval from the US Regulatory to launch 42,000 satellites. He wants to launch 42,000 satellites. So there's 3,000 up there now. SpaceX is going to do 42,000, not counting, China's launching them like crazy, because, of course, they want to use their satellites for what? Remember we did a whole episode? Wasn't it for just watching traffic or something?
Alexander McCaig (03:15):
Oh, spying. Spying.
Jason Rigby (03:20):
3,000. Yeah. It's not called that. It's something else.
Alexander McCaig (03:23):
Yeah. Viasat's all upset because Starlink's sending stuff up and they're their competitor. Everybody wants their space in space.
Jason Rigby (03:29):
Yeah. There's 3000 new pieces of space junk created by Chinese anti-satellite weapon that was tested in 2017.
Alexander McCaig (03:37):
Oh yeah. Blew up.
Jason Rigby (03:38):
They were... yeah. 8,000 estimated tons of space junk in orbit.
Alexander McCaig (03:42):
Jason Rigby (03:43):
That's tons. 8,000 tons floating around at 17,500 miles per hour.
Alexander McCaig (03:49):
No, thank you.
Jason Rigby (03:50):
That's not floating.
Alexander McCaig (03:51):
Yeah, that's not floating. That's like-
Jason Rigby (03:52):
High-velocity. What does a nine millimeter go?
Alexander McCaig (03:55):
How fast is a nine millimeter bullet?
Jason Rigby (03:57):
How fast does a nine millimeter bullet go?
Alexander McCaig (03:58):
What grain? 115 or 145? 9 millimeter...
Jason Rigby (04:02):
We'll do the standard average 115 grain.
Alexander McCaig (04:05):
Yeah, 115 grain. All right. Let's see here. Ballistics chart.
Jason Rigby (04:13):
Is it converted to miles per hour?
Alexander McCaig (04:14):
That's what I'm trying to find out. Everybody just bear-
Jason Rigby (04:17):
Well, if it's kilometers, it's 28,000, same as 17,500 miles per hour.
Alexander McCaig (04:23):
It's in feet per second.
Jason Rigby (04:24):
Alexander McCaig (04:25):
So at 300 yards, it's moving at 800 feet per second.
Jason Rigby (04:31):
So 800 feet per second is how many miles per hour?
Alexander McCaig (04:34):
I know. I'm going.
Jason Rigby (04:35):
It's not very fast.
Alexander McCaig (04:37):
I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I can only go so fast. Okay.
Jason Rigby (04:42):
This is interesting, guys. This is on the fly, live. Oh, we don't have T Cast live.
Alexander McCaig (04:47):
No, I know. We're idiots.
Jason Rigby (04:49):
We'll have to go on the next one.
Alexander McCaig (04:51):
Can somebody just do the damn conversion here?
Jason Rigby (04:55):
Yeah, feet per second per mile per hour.
Alexander McCaig (04:58):
Jason Rigby (04:59):
Because one's a second, one's an hour.
Alexander McCaig (05:02):
Hold on, FPS.
Jason Rigby (05:04):
Two MPH. Just give me the damn thing.
Alexander McCaig (05:09):
Do they even have that calculation?
Jason Rigby (05:10):
Okay. 545 miles an hour. I had to do a calculation.
Alexander McCaig (05:14):
It was like, "What's the ratio?"
Jason Rigby (05:17):
It's going as fast as a jet in the sky.
Alexander McCaig (05:20):
Jason Rigby (05:22):
So think about that. This is going 17,500 miles per hour.
Alexander McCaig (05:27):
And how heavy is it?
Jason Rigby (05:28):
Yeah. What is weight in space?
Alexander McCaig (05:32):
That's like getting all the world's biggest Mack Trucks all together in tandem and then making them travel at ridiculously mach speeds.
Jason Rigby (05:44):
So the mega constellations that are launched, these mega constellation satellites that are launched, like SpaceX has them where they're all hooked together and then they just launch them?
Alexander McCaig (05:55):
Jason Rigby (05:55):
They're anticipating 3,200 tons of spacecraft is going to burn up in the atmosphere each year.
Alexander McCaig (06:02):
Okay. It burns up.
Jason Rigby (06:04):
A hundred tons now. So it does burn up. But Times International, there was three times the International Space Station had super close calls last year with this space debris. So this is a problem.
Alexander McCaig (06:22):
Yeah. But what is the problem? It's not the problem of the space station.
Jason Rigby (06:26):
Are we going to be throwing out philosophical metaphors right now?
Alexander McCaig (06:29):
Yeah, here it comes.
Jason Rigby (06:30):
Alexander McCaig (06:32):
Here it comes.
Jason Rigby (06:32):
Alexander McCaig (06:33):
The data is in the junk.
Jason Rigby (06:35):
Alexander McCaig (06:37):
Why is there junk? We were not thinking about the full cause and effect of launching things into space. Think a bit like the plastic water bottle. Did anyone consider the cause and effect of creating plastic water bottles and then making them so prevalent all over the world? No. But where are they now? Floating around in the ocean. Fishing nets, it's a very commercial item. Where are they? Floating around in the ocean. So we have this junk that pollutes our planet. And then we carry that same mentality of pollution on our planet, which is hindering our evolution down here.
Jason Rigby (07:14):
Well, even eat food. It's called junk food.
Alexander McCaig (07:17):
It's called junk food. So-
Jason Rigby (07:19):
We put it in our bodies.
Alexander McCaig (07:19):
We slow our evolution, right?
Jason Rigby (07:21):
Alexander McCaig (07:22):
We can really understand human nature through junk. Junk is hindering our evolution and our growth through space, and it's hindering our evolution here on earth, and actually cutting back on the probability of our race's existence, the human race's existence on this planet.
Jason Rigby (07:39):
Well, we have 8,000 tons of all this debris and stuff. And it's the same with data.
Alexander McCaig (07:43):
We do a bad job with wasting.
Jason Rigby (07:44):
We just collect so much data, junk data. Is this date even... where did you get this data from? How has it taken?
Alexander McCaig (07:52):
Here's another thing. The brain, right? Essentially in 90% of the gray matter, junk, but we don't understand it. DNA. Most of it's junk DNA, 80 plus percent, but we don't understand it. There are answers to junk, and physical junk itself floating around in space is a function of human behavior. We need-
Jason Rigby (08:17):
We've created the junk.
Alexander McCaig (08:18):
We've created the junk. Why? What is it in the data?
Jason Rigby (08:21):
No, no. Don't ask that. So here's what they've done.
Alexander McCaig (08:23):
Jason Rigby (08:24):
This is interesting.
Alexander McCaig (08:24):
Jason Rigby (08:25):
This plays right into it. So they said, "Okay, we have the junk. So we need to have situational awareness for it." Here's their solve to the junk. "We need to have traffic management, and we need to have better spacecraft design." We're not a... This is system [crosstalk 00:08:39].
Alexander McCaig (08:40):
Jason Rigby (08:40):
We're not addressing junk.
Alexander McCaig (08:42):
Jason Rigby (08:43):
We're just becoming more efficient to deal with the junk.
Alexander McCaig (08:45):
"I got an idea. Let's make a more bulletproof spacecraft." No, no, no, no. Clean the junk up.
Jason Rigby (08:49):
Alexander McCaig (08:49):
Focus on the junk. The junk is your answer. I don't get why we don't look at that. If we're trying to solve a lot of our climate issues, look at junk.
Jason Rigby (08:59):
Because we're way out on the limb of the tree.
Alexander McCaig (09:00):
Jason Rigby (09:02):
Alexander McCaig (09:02):
Where we lack in our human evolution and ingenuity is just making everything a completely open system with so much waste. That's where we do not take the upper part of the crust here. We are just screwing ourselves with our own junk, with our own waste.
Jason Rigby (09:19):
But instead we want to build systems to say, "We don't want to address the junk, but we're going to build systems around it to be able to handle the junk."
Alexander McCaig (09:26):
You know what it reminds me of? "Let's put out sea drones to analyze how much junk there is." Why are we looking at how much there is? Why don't we just stop it from going to where it is?
Jason Rigby (09:36):
It reminds me back in the day, and this isn't as big of a problem now, it still is with dogs. People used to leave the kids in the car.
Alexander McCaig (09:43):
Jason Rigby (09:44):
And then, unfortunately, some bad things happened, because you're totally reliant... When you think about this. So you take an infant or a child that's three or four, you keep them in a car seat. You put them in the car, you have the car running, so the AC is working.
Alexander McCaig (09:57):
Jason Rigby (09:58):
But what happens? You're relying on your... and this used to be a pretty common occurrence where people just rolled the windows up. I remember as a kid, I would sit in a locked car-
Alexander McCaig (10:09):
All the time.
Jason Rigby (10:09):
... with the windows rolled down while my parents would go-
Alexander McCaig (10:12):
I used to do it.
Jason Rigby (10:13):
Yeah. We always did it. So don't think that is crazy.
Alexander McCaig (10:15):
I'd be sweating it out.
Jason Rigby (10:15):
You'd be sweating. Yeah. But the window was cracked.
Alexander McCaig (10:19):
Jason Rigby (10:19):
But they had no idea.
Alexander McCaig (10:21):
Jason Rigby (10:21):
They didn't have the data to say, "Oh, okay. It's 90 degrees outside. It's going to be 120 in the car. When does Jason pass out?" They don't know any of that.
Alexander McCaig (10:30):
Jason Rigby (10:30):
"He can handle sweating, but how long?"
Alexander McCaig (10:32):
Jason Rigby (10:32):
Am I going to be stuck in here for two hours? What happens if the place, there's a fire alarm and the place shuts down and they lock the doors?
Alexander McCaig (10:40):
Jason Rigby (10:40):
Well, how long can I last in the car? What happens if the AC goes out, and that kid's buckled up in a back of a car seat? Too many variables. You're not dealing with the problem. Now, I could design fail safe systems around the air conditioning. I can design.... I could put cameras in the car where I could watch my kid while I'm in the store. But that's not the problem. The problem is you left your fucking kid in a car.
Alexander McCaig (11:00):
Bring the kid in the store.
Jason Rigby (11:02):
Alexander McCaig (11:03):
Okay. If the problem's junk in space, stop putting junk in space. If you're screwing your earth with waste, stop putting waste on the earth.
Jason Rigby (11:11):
Alexander McCaig (11:11):
Your systems suck because you haven't thought about it. Why? You're wasteful in your thought, and you're wasteful with material items.
Jason Rigby (11:17):
Alexander McCaig (11:17):
That's just what it is.
Jason Rigby (11:19):
That's what it is.
Alexander McCaig (11:21):
You are so limited in your understanding of your effect on the earth, in its closed system, that you create this open system, like an open sore, and you just let it fester everywhere.
Jason Rigby (11:35):
Yeah. And instead of dealing with the infection, you're just putting a band-aid on it.
Alexander McCaig (11:39):
We need to focus on junk, whether it's our junk DNA, it's our chunk brain matter, or if it's junk in the ocean, or junk in space. Focusing on this tells us about cause and effect and gives us deeper understanding and insights to our own behavior and can unlock a revolution. The data around how much junk we create needs more focus. Your junk thoughts need more focus.
Jason Rigby (12:03):
Let me ask you one last question before we close. This is very important.
Alexander McCaig (12:06):
I'm going to throw my laptop into space.
Jason Rigby (12:09):
This is really important question. How is TARTLE single-handedly cleaning up data?
Alexander McCaig (12:17):
Companies grabbed everything that they could. Didn't matter what it was. Didn't matter if it had value or no value, we're just going to grab it all. What you've done is you've created this huge pile of junk that you've never looked at, you've never truly understood, whatever it might've been. And it's chaotic. It's all over the place. Well, what happens if we slow down that open system you have and we create a nice closed system with no waste? We can find out directly, efficiently, economically what we need to know straight forward without creating all this external stuff that has to happen and can give us the answers to better understand data.
Alexander McCaig (12:58):
That's what TARTLE is doing. It cleans up that open sore mess that's going around, and people are just abusing and creating more waste out of it and making bad decisions, like re-inventing a stronger type of rocket to deal with junk. We're saying, "Let's go to the source of all this stuff. Let's look at the data." Data doesn't have to get crazy. You don't need a bigger volume of it. You just need more precision.
Jason Rigby (13:22):
Alexander McCaig (13:23):
You need more accuracy around what you're trying to analyze. You don't need a whole bunch of stuff to come up with a picture. Just go directly to the thing that creates it. Wouldn't that make the most sense? So that's what we're doing in that context. And a little fun fact, first object to go into space. What is it? In our-
Jason Rigby (13:40):
It's Russian, right?
Alexander McCaig (13:41):
No. In our understanding of human history, no, it's not Sputnik.
Jason Rigby (13:45):
Well, it wasn't Sputnik, but didn't the Russians release something into space?
Alexander McCaig (13:48):
They tried, yeah.
Jason Rigby (13:49):
Alexander McCaig (13:50):
There was another guy who built these big super cannons.
Jason Rigby (13:53):
There was no human in it. It was just... and then they put... What was the dog? The Russian dog?
Alexander McCaig (13:58):
Yeah, it wasn't the dog.
Jason Rigby (13:59):
They put a Russian dog in it.
Alexander McCaig (14:00):
It wasn't the dog. This is great. First manmade object to go into space. You ready for this?
Jason Rigby (14:03):
Alexander McCaig (14:04):
Jason Rigby (14:06):
Alexander McCaig (14:06):
How does a manhole cover get into space? Underground nuclear testing.
Jason Rigby (14:12):
Alexander McCaig (14:12):
Pressure. They were analyzing a nuclear test out here and blew something up underground.
Jason Rigby (14:19):
That's some heavy space-
Alexander McCaig (14:21):
They're like, "Hole smokes."
Jason Rigby (14:22):
[crosstalk 00:14:22] right there. Can you imagine that manhole cover going through the International Space Station?
Alexander McCaig (14:26):
Could you imagine how much force was required to launch a manhole cover-
Jason Rigby (14:29):
Alexander McCaig (14:30):
... with enough terminal velocity to get it out of our gravitational pull and put it into space?
Jason Rigby (14:34):
Why aren't we using nuclear rockets?
Alexander McCaig (14:36):
Don't say obvious things. I don't know.
Jason Rigby (14:42):
We have nuclear carriers.
Alexander McCaig (14:44):
Why do you say these inherently obvious things?
Jason Rigby (14:47):
We need to ask Elon. I bet he's been asked that before.
Alexander McCaig (14:49):
Jason Rigby (14:50):
So how would I go as a company... I said that was the last question, but this is a good one. How would I go as a company and clean up my junk data?
Alexander McCaig (14:59):
Oh, clean up your junk data. First of all, you need a tool to help you sift through your nonsense, or figure out what's even worth looking at. So you're going to go to TARTLE, you're going to sign up, you're going to buy some data that will help you understand all your junk, and you're going to get it from the people that are creating the junk. Does that make sense? Because if you can understand the behaviors, the nuances, the specifics of this one thing in a very acute precise format, you can then figure out where to start to sift through your junk and find your answers.
Speaker 3 (15:45):
Thank you for listening to TARTLE Cast with your hosts Alexander McCaig and Jason Rigby, where humanities steps into the future and source data defines the path. What's your data worth?