Just a quick note to let everyone know that 60 Minutes is running a story tonight called “March of the Machines” about “technological advances, especially robotics, that are revolutionizing the workplace, but not necessarily creating jobs.”
The show will air Sunday, January 13 after the Patriots – Texans playoff game is over; between 7 and 8 pm EST. I’d tell you what to look for, but I haven’t seen the piece yet. I’ll report back here with my impresssions of it, and I’d love to hear yours. So leave a comment after it airs, please…
When I’m trying to understand something, I start drawing graphs using whatever data’s available; pictures help me more than tables of numbers or regression coefficients. So here’s a picture I drew to see recent trends in US labor productivity — how much more output the American economy gets from its workers over time.
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If we could help plants turn CO2 into sugar at a faster rate we could revolutionize agriculture. That's what researchers have in mind in trying to make C3 plants act like C4s. Confused?
The date today reinforces that we are well into autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet and it shouldn't be a surprise then that the words "glacier" and "ice" are starting to appear in some headlines. The latest, however, are not of this world but our neighbor Mars.
The investment doesn't amount to a lot of dollars, a mere $1 billion, a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of billions and trillions that are the numbers associated with the fossil fuel industry, but New York State is on a path to increase solar capacity by 68%. This amounts to 214 Megawatts of new installations.
Energy storage prices are dropping fast. If you follow me, you’ve seen me write about this before. Energy storage prices have in fact been dropping exponentially for at least 25 years. Here’s a new piece of analysis – a model that uses a 20% learning curve per doubling to that project Li-ion batteries dropping to 5 cents per kwh round-tripped through them by ~2030.
The beleaguered nuclear power industry may soon have a good story to tell post-Fukushima. Lightbridge, a nuclear engineering company based in Virginia, is about to test a literal "twist" for fuel rods that can increase power yield by 10% in existing nuclear power plants with only minor modifications. And if the plants replace existing turbines with larger ones it would mean as much as a 17% increase in power output and incurring only an incremental investment without a major build.
The carbon capture and storage project at the Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan is about to go live as reported in the press today. The project goal has been to eliminate 90% of the CO2 generated by the coal-fired power plant. Additions have cost $1.4 billion CDN, $115 million over budget, and represent what is believed to be the world's first commercial-scale CCS project to go live.
I occasionally do talks on future TV and I generally ignore current companies and their recent developments because people can read about them anywhere. If it is already out there, it isn’t the future.
Surely gardens are a place to get back to nature, to escape from technology? Well, when journalists ask to see really advanced technology, I take them to the garden. Humans still have a long way to go to catch up with what nature does all the time.