TransLeadership! By (c9 Copyright 2009 Andres Agostini (Andy) - Arlington, Virginia, USA at

Lieutenant Raymond Foster has graciously invited me to make some comments on leadership. I highly appreciated Raymond’s gesture and sophistication in dealing with the increasingly relevant subject. I attended a “LIVE” forum as Raymond was being interviewed I found his words of wisdom very original and useful.

Lieutenant Raymond Foster has graciously invited me to make some comments on leadership. I highly appreciated Raymond’s gesture and sophistication in dealing with the increasingly relevant subject. I attended a “LIVE” forum as Raymond was being interviewed I found his words of wisdom very original and useful.

Taking an item, he makes it a point that it is important to be thorough and excellent when you follow as well as you lead. Clearly, every lucid leader knows that he must follow anyone on the “crew,” depending on the dynamics and the contexts of such dynamics. Very many experts and authors don’t make the sufficient emphasis as to being a helpful follower with getting into handling “ego” or “self-esteem” issues while criticalities are dealt with.

In dealing with complex and grave risks – much more beyond those covered by insurance companies – I must need to assess the human factor. The personal cosmology in every person is quite an undertaking. This is one reason why I consider that everyone’s leadership function is crucial.

Many authors and prominent writers and historians keep saying that people like Ike or Churchill had the traits for the Century-21 Leadership. I have, for years, a huge admiration for both of these two great statesmen. In fact, we must need to remember what they did as per my opinion. They were extraordinary people indeed.

Also, as managing risks attempting to think in unthinkables – given the huge and immensely growing pace of technology and demographics  –, I have been involved with the rate of change. Change has an UPSIDE (benefit) or DOWNSIDE (disruption potential), clearly you get the better facet when dealing with womb-to-tomb management and with actionable “Systems Methodology” and applied omniscience (  ).

Subsequently – and as Mr. Robert Kennedy said, “ The future is not a script of the past … The future is not a privilege but a daily conquest…” – managers, and good managers are not so if they are not leaders as well – need to have the daring capacity to work on the foresight and far-sight without ruling out the data already into history.

Since the 1950’s we, in the West, have been making quantum leaps in both scientific knowledge and the technology development and application stemming from said scientific knowledge. We have all have heard that technology is not the hard-core issue and the proponents of such a statement take us to the recalling of the telegraph, the telephone, and others.  I grant my accordance to the latter. My problem is that I have lavish and abundant evidence that new methods are being used and coherently compiled – turbo-propelled by the IT infrastructure – that accelerated, for instance, the Genome Project.

In many ways, the thinking methodologies of humans are not taking actionable science to new frontiers, but ascertaining that science is thoroughly unconstrained. I do a great deal of research among other professional occupations that get all mutually-reinforcing.  Many prominent authors cite that DARPA’s scientists unofficially claim that they “break” the “laws of classic physics” nearly daily. Couple this with the practical concept of the “Society of Knowledge.” Unfortunately, there are many people with sophisticated advanced education that decided to play it supinely ignorant. It makes me remind of Bertrand Russell, “ I know more people who rather die THAN THINK.”

Where do all these trends come from? To begin with, let’s remember – I say this with great respect – that trends are a function of (a) dramatic forces, (b) subtle forces, and (c) dramatically subtle forces. The three of them at times superposes and at other times intertwines and interacts, regardless of any other consideration.

We continue to create new ideas (as well as UPSIDES and DOWNSIDES) that add to the world's 'Three Of Knowledge'. Humans have been adding to their total knowledge steadfastly over centuries, and the amount of knowledge we create is multiplying at an incredible rate. Beginning with the amount of knowledge in the known world (having always existed an unknown or "discrete" world) at the time of Christ, studies have estimated that the first KNOWLEDGE DOUBLING took place about 1700 A.D. The second KNOWLEDGE DOUBLING occurred around the year 1900. It is estimated today that the foundations of the world's knowledge repository will DOUBLE AGAIN by 2010 and AGAIN after that by 2013.

Just imagine how existential risks (such as geological and societal) are getting while the technological progression is increasingly speeding up at an ever-augmenting gargantuan rate. The question I asked myself all of the time is how this affects – if it affects it at all – the practical role of leadership. There is no intellectual dispute by the most advanced minds that even CHANGE in itself has changed. Some thinkers – closer to exact science disciplines – assert that the scientific properties of known change has been and are being (by the yoctosecond) altered as the human race has never eye-witnessed it before. Yes, this I know because I am into great pondering, reflecting, studying, surveying, and researching.

This amorphous and ubiquitous change is tsunami-ed with the most leading-edge knowledge imaginable. By far, facts have surpassed the greatest Sci Fi. In my case – because I am also a manager – I know that to exercise great leadership the prerequisites menu has now some new indispensable entries. Chiefly, there is this enormous challenge for possessing and updating state-of-the-art knowledge, as well as new skills and talents for Life.

As many institutions are advancing the use of Artificial Intelligence, many scientists’ and science-driven managers (always leaders) are not only capturing “rot knowledge” but amplifying their own mind potentials through many approaches and techniques. In this case, the knowledge content is very important. But how a person manages his discernment processes (the intangibles) are much more important. And as per noted San Diego University Math Professor, Vernor Vinge, this is what he calls “Intelligence Amplification.” That is, expanding your radiant thinking without implanting a “chip” in your brain.

As I deal with ominous risks, I have been involved with new forms of conceiving breakthrough ideas. The habit, by way of determined disciplined through a number of years, has place me and my mind into cohesive ways of thinking through so daring unknowns and knowns, making it usual and almost effortless to create many “futures practiced” by way of indeed “unthinkable thinking.” Counterintuitive thinking – à la quantum mechanics’ logic (of illogicality) – is part of what I have described in this paragraph. Evidently, you try to seize in your forward-thinking effort new toolkits to resolve complex challenges in THE PRESENT. If one likes to read about my method, please go to

I really don’t think, respectful of everyone’s wiser opinion, that – as of today – the perpetual exercise of leadership has precedent in a world in which many fundamentals, including the Universe, is 97% proven to be the “MultiVerse” with many dimensions.

I tried to assemble some of my thoughts as how the manager, the strategist, the technologist, the futurist, and the leader come together. I made my attempt at this at the following presentation at

I am not an ethicist or a moralist. But I am extremely moved and concerned by this global crisis. I am talking about the EXISTENTIAL GLOBAL CRISIS AGAINST MORALITY AND ETHICS. As a “systems risk manager” with the applied omniscience perspective and as a professional futurologist, on the forensics risk management, I found the appalling and universal violation of principles, integrity, morality, and ethics. These are SETEP ONE for a true leader, today more so than any time before. If the human race does not improve and expand its value substantially and sustainably, every effort to solve the global crises of extremism, finance, energy, climate, geology will be – at its best – a sub-optimal effort.

- Andy

(Andres Agostini)


Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

Surprising Science
  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points

Want to go to Mars? It will cost you. In 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk estimated that manned missions to the planet may cost approximately $10 billion per person. As with any expensive endeavor, it is inevitable that sufficient returns on investment will be needed in order to sustain human presence on Mars. So, what's underneath all that red dust?

Mining Technology reported in 2017 that "there are areas [on Mars], especially large igneous provinces, volcanoes and impact craters that hold significant potential for nickel, copper, iron, titanium, platinum group elements and more."

Were a SpaceX-like company to establish a commercial mining presence on the planet, digging up these materials will be sure to provoke a fraught debate over environmental preservation in space, Martian land rights, and the slew of microbial unknowns which Martian soil may bring.

In National Geographic Channel's genre-bending narrative-docuseries, MARS, (the second season premieres tonight, November 12th, 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT) this dynamic is explored as astronauts from an international scientific coalition go head-to-head with industrial miners looking to exploit the planet's resources.

Given the rate of consumption of minerals on Earth, there is plenty of reason to believe that there will be demand for such an operation.

"Almost all of the easily mined gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, antimony, and phosphorus we can mine on Earth may be gone within one hundred years" writes Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars, which Nat Geo's MARS is based on. That grim scenario will require either a massive rethinking of how we consume metals on earth, or supplementation from another source.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, told Petranek that it's unlikely that even if all of Earth's metals were exhausted, it is unlikely that Martian materials could become an economically feasible supplement due to the high cost of fuel required to return the materials to Earth. "Anything transported with atoms would have to be incredibly valuable on a weight basis."

Actually, we've already done some of this kind of resource extraction. During NASA's Apollo missions to the Moon, astronauts used simple steel tools to collect about 842 pounds of moon rocks over six missions. Due to the high cost of those missions, the Moon rocks are now highly valuable on Earth.

Moon rock on display at US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL (Big Think/Matt Carlstrom)

In 1973, NASA valuated moon rocks at $50,800 per gram –– or over $300,000 today when adjusted for inflation. That figure doesn't reflect the value of the natural resources within the rock, but rather the cost of their extraction.

Assuming that Martian mining would be done with the purpose of bringing materials back to Earth, the cost of any materials mined from Mars would need to include both the cost of the extraction and the value of the materials themselves. Factoring in the price of fuel and the difficulties of returning a Martian lander to Earth, this figure may be entirely cost prohibitive.

What seems more likely, says Musk, is for the Martian resources to stay on the Red Planet to be used for construction and manufacturing within manned colonies, or to be used to support further mining missions of the mineral-rich asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

At the very least, mining on Mars has already produced great entertainment value on Earth: tune into Season 2 of MARS on National Geographic Channel.

Harvard scientists suggest 'Oumuamua is an alien device

It's an asteroid, it's a comet, it's actually a spacecraft?

(ESO/M. Kornmesser)
Surprising Science
  • 'Oumuamua is an oddly shaped, puzzling celestial object because it doesn't act like anything naturally occurring.
  • The issue? The unexpected way it accelerated near the Sun. Is this our first sign of extraterrestrials?
  • It's pronounced: oh MOO-uh MOO-uh.
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Study: The effects of online trolling on authors, publications

A study started out trying to see the effect of sexist attacks on women authors, but it found something deeper.

Surprising Science
  • It's well known that abusive comments online happen to women more than men
  • Such comments caused a "significant effect for the abusive comment on author credibility and intention to seek news from the author and outlet in the future"
  • Some news organizations already heavily moderate or even ban comments entirely; this should underscore that effort
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