The great economic revolutions in history occur when new communication technologies converge with new energy systems. New energy revolutions make possible more expansive and integrated trade. Accompanying communication revolutions manage the complex new commercial activities made possible by the new energy flows.
Ushering in the First Industrial Revolution during the 19th century, cheap steam-powered print technology and the introduction of public schools gave rise to a print-literate work force with the communication skills to manage the increased flow of commercial activity (which was made possible by coal and steam power technology).
That was followed by electrical forms of communication in the 20th century – mass media – and energy powered by oil and the combustion engine. And now we are at the beginning stages of the third step, with renewable energy and the internet as the drivers of change.
This week IKEA announced they plan to sell only LED bulbs by 2016, becoming the first furniture retailer in the United States to do so.
A round-up of the stories covering this:
The total annual cost saving (including purchase price and energy consumption cost) of switching one incandescent 40W bulb to a corresponding LED bulb, is about $6.25. – Earth Techling
While the high cost of non-traditional lighting may be prohibitive for some, the company says that it will “be selling the LED bulbs at the lowest price on the market” (IKEA’s cheapest LED bulb currently starts at $9.99). – The Verge
But what most Americans (about 73%) don’t know is that LED bulbs last 20 years, incandescent bulbs, by contrast, last only about a year. – Daily Finance
IKEA said the effort fits in with its phase-out of plastic bags in 2007 and incandescent bulbs in 2010. – Market Watch
To understand this map, think of Denver as the center of the universe. Created during World War II when airplanes were becoming common. It was an “air age” that shrunk the world down to flyable chunks, and new maps were created to show distance – in one tank of gas or two.
I’m an emotional person. The kind that says I love this when I find something good to eat. I have to tell everyone about it – saying I’ve found my fruit of the season. The one item I can eat every day, all day and feel perfectly content. Last month it was watermelon and this month it’s the pomegranate.
This can only happen at the farmers market where seasonal food comes and goes like travelers at an airport. At first there’s just a few of them, the farmers doing an early harvest to get a jump on their neighbors. Then the crowd rushes in and everyone is selling it. For a few weeks you’ll find it everywhere and then it’s gone.
There’s a science and a history to this. It goes back centuries and is in our genes. We are made to live off the land and follow the seasons – which until recently meant watermelons in summer and pomegranates in fall. For every month there was an ideal food, but then airplanes came along and brought us South American watermelons in February.
And here is where most would talk about food miles or unsustainable practices, but those are secondary to health. Eating out of order disrupts our natural pattern of eating with the seasons – one perfectly suited to our bodies. That allows the bacteria in our gut to squeeze every last bit of nutrients out of food. Like little factory employees working overtime. And when that food is done another shift of workers comes in for the next food item.
The biology behind this starts in our guts where the bacteria live. They break down our food into essential items, like proteins and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. And the more you feed them the more they grow, getting more efficient each time. Which means you can eat less and get more out of it.
And when I eat those watermelons and pomegranates, I get even more. They are peak of the season, so filled with nutrients that I can eat one and feel full for hours. Which prompts, “that’s all your going to eat,” or “all you had for lunch was watermelon?”.
Don’t anger PBS or they will come at you…with numbers and facts. Here is the PBS response to Mitt Romney’s threat to cut their funding during the Denver Presidential Debate:
We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation.
Two-thirds of voters oppose cuts to funding.
91% of American households watch PBS.
81% of children aged 2-8 watch PBS.
A poll shows Americans think PBS is second most important use of public funds, after national defense.
They also say PBS cost each taxpayer $1.35/year, and for every federal dollar they raise another $6 from private sources. Could that be why Mitt thinks they can do without public funds?
One year ago on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away. The previous day Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S. The company has gone on to become the most valuable in the world, but many still think about the man and his achievements.
Today Apple is paying homage to its founder with this heartfelt video and a message from Tim Cook.
A message from Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.
Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reﬂect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.
One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.
I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing, delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road. It’s a wonderful tribute to Steve’s memory and everything he stood for.
Yesterday Southern California Edison submitted plans to restart one of its two nuclear generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The other generator is being shut down permanently. Both units showed radioactive damage and required repairs.
Unit 2, the generator that will be turned on, had six tubes showing extreme decay, and 1,600 overall with some decay. Unit 3, which will remain shut down, had 381 showing extreme decay, and 1,800 with some decay. Edison reports that a team of independent experts inspected these repairs and approved the plan to turn on Unit 2. These plans were submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and are awaiting approval.
If accepted Unit 2 will run for five months at 70% power, and then turn off for “inspection of the steam generator tubes to ensure the continued structural integrity of the tubes, to measure tube wear and to confirm that the solutions are working.” At the same time, Edison plans to defuel Unit 3, which “refers to the carefully executed transfer of fuel from the reactor into the spent fuel pool in a strong, reinforced building where it is secure and constantly monitored.”
This is a “longer term outage mode” and there are no plans to bring it back online “in the near future”.
In a separate release from a review started two years ago, Edison plans to downsize the staff at SONGS by 730 employees, a 33% reduction. The press release said this was for achieving greater efficiencies like other nuclear plants. But there was also a mention of the financial losses at the plant due to the shutdown, and a reference to Unit 3 that “will not be operating for some time.”
10.3 million tweets were sent during the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. That is 114,000 tweets per minute (tpm) and shows that Americans were paying attention. Here are the moments that generated the most discussion, from the Twitter Blog:
159,000 tpm – Jim Lehrer quips – “Let’s not”
153,000 tpm – Obama – “I had five seconds”
150,000 tpm – Discussion of Medicare
140,000 tpm – Romney spars with Lehrer over rules
138,000 tpm – Obama calls Romney plan – “never mind”
And, #6 was Romney mentioning Obamacare, #7 was the Big Bird incident.
This was the most tweeted about political event in history, and there are more three debates. The Vice Presidential debate is next Thursday, October 11, 2012.
For analysis on real-time debate conversation, visit:
Dr. Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at University of Chicago has discovered a new dinosaur, from The Register:
A two-foot long dinosaur with the beak of a parrot, teeth of a vampire and covered in some sort of bristly quill stuff…the Pegomastax africanus scampered around the earth 200 million years ago.
Called Pego, and judging by the illustration, the beast was terrifying with fangs in its beak and sharp quills down it’s back. But it would have weighed less than a house cat and was a herbivore – speculation is that the fangs were for fighting during mating competitions.
The fossil was surprisingly well preserved in volcano ash, allowing Dr. Sereno to study the bristles in addition to the bones. And the reason for this discovery is the Doctor finally pulled the fossil out of his desk drawer. It had been sitting there for 50 years collecting dust. Now, he is moving on to the second drawer.