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Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet by Varun Sivaram
addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, demand response, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, financial innovation, fixed income, global supply chain, global village, Google Earth, hive mind, hydrogen economy, index fund, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, M-Pesa, market clearing, market design, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Negawatt, off grid, oil shock, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, renewable energy transition, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, time value of money, undersea cable, wikimedia commons
Second, governments and international financial institutions should be careful to tailor their interventions to test off-grid solar business models that can eventually be self-sustaining, rather than create a dependency on public funds. Third, governments should coordinate efforts to expand central grids with entrepreneurial activity to deploy off-grid solar systems, ensuring that the grid is a complement—not a competitor—to off-grid solar. Fourth, they should use public procurement to further drive down the cost of off-grid system components, like energy-efficient appliances. And, finally, governments can help by developing a trained workforce to support a thriving off-grid solar sector. When Past Is Not Prologue Despite its recent growth, off-grid solar is not free of controversy. Some development experts argue that it is a distraction, diverting resources and attention from concerted efforts to extend a country’s central grid and encourage people to move into cities where power grids make the most economic sense.
Together, a strategy of dismantling distortionary policies and implementing enabling ones is the best way to support the nascent off-grid solar industry. The combination of supportive public policies and vibrant business-model innovation could provide hope—and a pathway toward modern energy access—for Grace’s family and countless others like it. Notes 1. “Off-Grid Electric: Overview.” Crunchbase, Inc. 2017, https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/off-grid-electric#/entity. 2. Varun Mehra, “Mobile Money: The Answer to Sustaining Revenue for Off-Grid Energy Service Providers?” The Energy Collective, November 20, 2015, http://www.theenergycollective.com/vmehra813/2286309/mobile-money-answer-sustaining-revenue-grid-energy-service-providers. 3. “Off-Grid and Mini-Grid: Q1 2017 Market Outlook,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance, January 5, 2017, https://about.bnef.com/blog/off-grid-mini-grid-q1-2017-market-outlook/. 4.
International Energy Agency (IEA), Africa Energy Outlook, 2014, https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/WEO2014_AfricaEnergyOutlook.pdf. 14. Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), “Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report Semi-Annual Sales and Impact Data,” October 2016, https://www.gogla.org/sites/default/files/recource_docs/global_off-grid_solar_market_report_jan-june_2016_public.pdf. 15. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), “Electricity Beyond the Grid,” May 2016, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/energy-utilities-mining/pdf/electricity-beyond-grid.pdf. 16. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Lighting Global, and Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, “Off-Grid Market Trends Report 2016,” February 2016, http://www.energynet.co.uk/webfm_send/1690. 17. Shahriar Chowdhury, Shakila Aziz, Sebastian Groh, Hannes Kirchhoff, and Walter Leal Filho, “Off-Grid Rural Area Electrification Through Solar-Diesel Hybrid Minigrids in Bangladesh: Resource-Efficient Design Principles in Practice,” Journal of Cleaner Production 95 (2015): 194–202, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.062. 18.
Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community by Diana Leafe Christian
While the under- E C O V I L L A G E S : F O R F U T U R E G E N E R AT I O N S 33 the-radar ecovillages are doing the best they can to live out their sustainability values (perhaps waiting for zoning regulations and building codes to become more progressive), they’re not able to serve as model demonstration sites and share what they’re learning with the public, for fear of exposure. In other examples, both Dancing Rabbit and Earthaven have off-grid power, natural buildings, and homemade composting toilets, the last of which is Šne with their local counties where most rural folk have outhouses (or at least remember them). Dancing Rabbit also encourages bicycling, operates a car-pooling car co-op which runs on biofuels, and doesn’t allow privately owned cars. However, as of 2006, Earthaven members still drive to town in individual vehicles, although there are plans afoot to change this.
. • The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times, Albert Bates, New Society Publishers, 2006. thegreatchange.com 36 F I N D I N G C O M M U N I T Y changing our culture, and not just for us, but for generations to come. At O.U.R. Ecovillage in British Columbia, you can learn permaculture and natural building. At The Farm’s Ecovillage Training Center in Tennessee, you can learn permaculture, ecovillage design, and setting up off-grid power systems. At Earthaven you can take workshops ranging from natural building to natural birth control. At Los Angeles Eco-Village you can learn how to build a bicycle from recycled parts, or set up an urban community land trust. At Lost Valley Educational Center in Oregon you can take the “Ecovillage and Permaculture CertiŠcate Program.” Ecovillages are essentially charged to be fruitful and multiply.
“They can be likened to yogurt culture,” says Jonathan Dawson, as they are “small, dense, and rich concentrations of activity whose aim is to transform the nature of that which surrounds them.” Ecovillages are also increasingly being seen as potential “lifeboat communities”during the widely predicted hard times ahead. In Powerdown (New LEARNING IN AN ECOVILLAGE SETTING Each of these organizations or individual ecovillages offers workshops and courses on subjects ranging from permaculture design to natural building, organic gardening, off-grid power, and starting your own ecovillage. • Living Routes Study Abroad in Ecovillages, Amherst, Massachusetts. Interdisciplinary academic and internship programs in Scotland, France, Senegal, India, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and the US. livingroutes.org • Gaia Education. Global Ecovillage Networksponsored and United Nations-affiliated handson courses and workshops held onsite in “living and learning centers” in ecovillages worldwide, according to a curriculum worked out by a consortium of 12 leading ecovillage founders and educators from ecovillages in Europe, Australia, and South and North America. gaiaeducation.org • Gaia University.
The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch by Lewis Dartnell
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, clean water, Dava Sobel, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, invention of movable type, invention of radio, invention of writing, iterative process, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius, low earth orbit, mass immigration, nuclear winter, off grid, Richard Feynman, technology bubble, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route
I suspect, therefore, that you’ll find it far easier to leave the cities for good and move to a more appropriate site: a rural location with fertile, cultivable ground and older buildings better suited for off-grid habitation. The sort of location that would be good for settling again would be coastal—although be mindful of the inevitable sea-level rises due to continuing climate change—allowing access to sea fishing, and near woodland. As we will see, trees have an enormous number of different uses, not just as firewood or timber for construction. You’ll be able to send foraging parties and salvage crews into the dead cities, but you’ll find it much easier living in the countryside. And once you’ve resettled, you’ll want to resurrect basic technological infrastructure as far as possible, beginning with a localized electricity network. OFF-GRID ELECTRICITY Unlike food or fuel, electricity cannot be stockpiled—it is provided as a continual flow, and so will disappear when the grid goes down within a matter of days after the apocalypse.
OFF-GRID ELECTRICITY Unlike food or fuel, electricity cannot be stockpiled—it is provided as a continual flow, and so will disappear when the grid goes down within a matter of days after the apocalypse. To retain an electricity supply, the community of survivors will need to generate their own, and we can learn a lot about what is needed by looking at those choosing to live in a self-sustaining “off-grid” way today. The simplest short-term solution will be to scavenge a bunch of mobile diesel-powered generators from roadwork or construction sites. You may also be able to jack in to any tall wind turbines dotted along nearby hills to keep a renewable power grid going as fuel runs out. Just one of these can provide over a megawatt of power, enough for around a thousand modern homes, until it requires maintenance that you are unable to perform without dedicated equipment or precision spare parts.
In fact, one of the first places you’ll probably want to head to after the apocalypse is the golf course, not for a relaxing 18-hole round to help ease the stress of the end of the world as we know it, but to gather a crucial resource. Car batteries are very reliable, but are designed to give a high-current, brief burst of power to spin the starter motor. They’re poorly suited to providing the sustained, steady supply of electrical energy that you would need for powering your new off-grid life; in fact, they are easily damaged if persistently allowed to discharge by more than about 5 percent. An alternative design of rechargeable lead-acid battery, known as a deep cycle, discharges at a much slower rate and can have almost its entire capacity repeatedly drained and recharged without problems. It’s this kind of battery that you want to forage for in the immediate aftermath. Try caravans and other RVs, motorized wheelchairs, electric forklift trucks, and golf carts—hence the recommended trip to the course.
An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson
23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, off grid, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize
A truly national grid would be prohibitively expensive, which is why the country is experimenting with rural off-grid solar, as are Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Ecuador, Tanzania, Indonesia, Kenya, Brazil, Ghana and numerous other countries. China is also forging ahead with ambitious grid-solar projects. The new world power is building a thin-film solar power plant in the Mongolian desert that’s larger than Manhattan. When completed it should power three million homes. A few months after I meet Tracy, Larry and Rick, something catches my eye. The town of Fowler, Colorado (the same state where Xcel got into trouble over its proposed solar power surcharge), announces plans to go off-grid with a combination of solar power, homegrown biofuel and gas derived from manure. ‘The primary goal is to stabilise utility costs and then to reduce them,’ says Wayne Snider, the town manager, ‘but our ultimate goal is to become our own utility.’
A major advantage is that Konarka’s films can be made thin enough to see through, which means they can be used to coat windows and turn them into power generators. It’s not a flexible application, but because the material can be put in the vacuum between double glazing it enjoys a lifetime of between fifteen and twenty years, allowing a building to generate power as long as there’s light hitting the windows. It’s one example of something your electricity supplier probably doesn’t want you to think about – going off grid.’ ‘Phones went wireless and Internet went wireless and the only thing that’s left that you have to find a wire for is power,’ says Rick. ‘You think about the developing world and what happened with communications. They skipped wires and went straight to wireless. I think for power they’re going to do the same thing.’ A few months after my visit, the company began working with one of their customers to create solar-powered lanterns for developing countries, devices which store up charge in the day and can be used at night for study or work, as well as improving personal safety.
Solarbuzz, a solar industry research and consultancy firm, estimates demand for solar energy ‘has grown at about 30 per cent per annum over the past 15 years.’ But these figures come from a world where ‘grid parity’ has yet to be achieved. What happens when solar starts to get cheaper than the alternatives? It’s not unreasonable to speculate that in a decade, solar will get much cheaper, possibly stimulating a radical shift to local off-grid energy generation, and achieve grid parity in many countries. Would we then see solar demand growing not by thirty per cent per annum, but fifty per cent? An annual growth rate like that would see solar quickly match all our needs, turning a sideshow today into the main feature tomorrow. It’s instructive to look at the growth rate in Japan – one of the countries pretty much all analysts think will see grid parity in the near future.
The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028, and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth by Jeremy Rifkin
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, borderless world, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, failed state, ghettoisation, hydrogen economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, megacity, Network effects, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, planetary scale, renewable energy credits, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, Steven Levy, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, union organizing, urban planning, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
At any given time of the day, hundreds of millions of people around the world are producing and sharing their own music, YouTube videos, social media, and research. Some are taking massive open online courses (MOOCs), taught by professors at the best universities, and often receiving college credit, for free. All one needs is a smartphone, a service provider, and an electrical outlet to power up. More and more people around the world are also generating their own solar and wind electricity for use off-grid and/or for sale back to the grid, again at near-zero marginal cost. The sun and wind have yet to send a bill. Increasing numbers of millennials are sharing homes, rides, clothes, tools, sporting equipment, and an array of other goods and services. Some of the sharing networks like Uber are capitalist provider/user networks where the marginal cost of connecting riders and drivers is nearly zero, but the providers command a price for temporary access to the service.
Microsoft and SAP have been 100 percent powered by renewable energy since 2014.22 AT&T, Intel, and Cisco, among others, are quickly integrating renewable energy into their companies’ business operations.23 Given that solar and wind are now cheaper than coal and head-to-head with oil and natural gas, and within just a few years will be far cheaper, and with the marginal cost of generating solar and wind near zero, the upfront financial commitment to decouple from fossil fuels and reinvest in renewable energies is, simply speaking, a smart business decision. Add to the equation the need to be able to secure data centers and other sensitive operations if the power grids and electricity lines go down (more likely with the increasing incidence of climate events and cyberterrorism), so that these companies’ off-grid data center facilities and other operations will remain secure. The Renewable Energy Internet Unbeknownst to most government leaders, a large swath of the business community, and a majority of the public, solar and wind energy generation have both been on a steeply declining exponential cost curve, not unlike the exponential curve experienced earlier by the computer industry. ENIAC, the first electronic computer, was invented at the University of Pennsylvania in 1945.24 Thomas Watson, then president of IBM, allegedly predicted that the world demand would not extend beyond five computers because of the potentially prohibitive cost.
There is at a minimum an agreement on one factor—that is, the key to cybersecurity rests in deepening resiliency and, that, in turn, requires an expansion of distributed power in every community. The installation of microgrids will be our nation’s frontline insurance. Were a cyberattack to happen anywhere in the country, homeowners, businesses, and entire communities would be able to quickly go off-grid, reaggregate, and share electricity neighborhood to neighborhood, which would allow society to continue functioning. It would be difficult for anyone to argue that the threat of cyber warfare against the nation’s power and electricity grid is any less a national security issue. Just as the ever-present threat of a cyberattack demands continuous vigilance, so too does the threat of catastrophic climate events that are escalating exponentially across the country, resulting in tens of billions of dollars in damage to local ecosystems and loss of property, human life, and commerce.
Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities by Diana Leafe Christian
An intentional community aspiring to become an ecovillage attempts to have a population small enough that everyone knows each other and can influence the outcome of community decisions. It hopes to provide housing, work opportunities, and social and spiritual opportunities on-site, creating as self-sufficient a community as possible. Typically, an ecovillage builds ecologically sustainable housing, grows much of its own organic food, recycles its waste products harmlessly, and, as much as possible, generates its own off-grid power. Sirius Ecovillage near Amherst, Massachusetts, grows a large percentage of its organic food, generates a portion of its own offgrid power, and offers tours and classes on sustainable living. EcoVillage at Ithaca has built the first two of its three planned ecologically oriented cohousing communities on 176 acres near Ithaca, New York, and operates its own organic Community Supported Agriculture farm for members and neighbors.
On a large sheet of easel paper that everyone can see, create a list, and, in increasing order of effort, time, or “strictness,” outline the different actions people can take to express the value or principle you’re discussing. Items at the top of a list on “ecological values,” for example, might include: “Buy organic produce,” “Recycle trash,” and “Compost kitchen scraps.” Farther down you’d find actions that take more effort or commitment, such as: “Eat vegetarian;” or “Flush the toilet rarely.” The bottom, listing the most “radical” actions, might say “Use only off-grid power,” “Build only with recycled lumber,” and “Don’t use a car unless you’re car-pooling.” When your list is complete, give everyone as many red dots each as the number of items on the list, and ask each person to put dots by the actions they are personally willing to actually do in their daily lives (not actions that they simply support theoretically). Some will have dots left over, since probably everyone won’t be willing to do everything on the list.
By the end of the next year they’d cleared an area and built an opensided pavilion for workshops and meetings, and three small huts for interns, none with electricity or running water. By the third year they had cleared more land and built a second road, a kitchen-dining room with solar electricity and running water, a composting toilet, and more huts for interns. By the fourth year they had built more roads, more huts, and increased their amount of off-grid power, but only interns and a few members lived on the land. By the sixth year they’d built more roads and a community building that was usable but not finished. More members had moved to the property, living in huts and temporary shelters. By the end of 2002, fully seven years after land-purchase, while several permanent homes were under construction, only one was finished. It’ll be years before Earthaven’s founders live in the thriving village of 150 they envisioned in the early 1990s. 101 • The development and construction phase can be exhausting and can lead to burnout, conflict, relationship break-ups, and even loss of members.
Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani
"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population
They claim to have sold more than 12 million solar light and power products across sixty-two countries, the aim being to provide cheap, solar-powered electricity to 100 million people by 2020. Another operator in the field is Off-Grid, whose model is similar to that of M-Kopa, the company providing the financing as well as the infrastructure to consumers. In Tanzania customers pay a deposit of around thirteen dollars to buy Off-Grid’s cheapest starter kit: a panel, a battery, a few LED lights, a phone charger and a radio. They proceed to pay approximately eight dollars a month for three years, after which they own the products. Off-Grid’s most popular bundle – for about twice the monthly price and a larger down payment – includes a few more lights and a flat-screen TV. As with M-Kopa, customers pay their bill by phone. All of this is made possible by the experience curve in solar cell and lithium-ion technology – as was the case with mobile phones over the last two decades – and it represents only the beginning for extreme supply in energy.
All of this is made possible by the experience curve in solar cell and lithium-ion technology – as was the case with mobile phones over the last two decades – and it represents only the beginning for extreme supply in energy. Just as solar technology has been getting cheaper, its performance has also been improving, and Off-Grid are planning for a point in the near future when their products are sufficiently powerful to have applications in industry such as pumping water for irrigation or milling cacao. This is partly thanks to the fact that solar is modular – you can simply add more capacity over time – as well as prolonged and impressive falls in its price–performance ratio. If the next decade sees change as rapid as the last, then it won’t just be household appliances that are powered by solar energy in Kenya and Nigeria.
See also resources MinION sequencer, 148 M-Kopa, 109 mode of production, 195 modern welfare state, 213 molecular assembly, 180 Monetary Policy Committee, 229 Moon Express, 124, 125–6, 127, 130 Moore, Gordon, 42–4, 46 Moore’s Law, 41, 44–5, 81, 143, 145 Moravec’s Paradox, 81, 82 Mosa Meats, 172 M-Pesa, 109 municipal protectionism, 207, 212, 213, 216 music industry, 234–5 Musk, Elon, 119–21, 135 MX1, 125 MX9, 125 Myconius, Friedrich, 240 Napster, 154 NASA, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128, 131, 137 National Energy Investment Banks (NEIBs), 219, 221 National Health Service (NHS), 210, 213 nationalisation, 213 near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), 38–9, 130–1 NEAs (near-Earth asteroids), 38–9, 130–1 NEIBs (National Energy Investment Banks), 219, 221 neoliberalism, 26–7, 228 neoliberalism, break with Carillion, 201–3 decarbonisation, 217–23 East Coast Main Line, 203–4 Grenfell Tower, 206–8 Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), 205 Preston Model, 208–11 Universal Basic Services (UBS), 213–17 worker-owned businesses and banks, 211–12 New Labour, 207 Newcomen, Thomas, 33 Newton, Isaac, 32 NHS (National Health Service), 210, 213 nickel, 118 Nigeria, 107–8 Obama, Barack, 2, 9, 21, 128 Off-Grid, 109–10 One Planet Tax, 222 Orwell, George, 19 Osborne, Michael, 87 OSIRIS-REx study, 131 ouroboros, 205 Outer Space Treaty (1967), 127, 136 outsourcing, 202–4, 207, 217 ‘Oxi’ vote, 28 Passivhaus, 114 ‘peak copper’, 118 peak horse, 72–4 peak human, 74–8 PECO engine, 125 Perfect Day Foods, 178 Peter, 5–6 PETMAN, 82–3 petrol vehicles, 105 phenylketonuria (PKU), 147, 147n Philips, 77–8 phosphorus, 118 photography, 402 photosynthesis, 168 photovoltaic (PV) cells, 47, 102–15 PKU (phenylketonuria), 147, 147n Planetary Resources, 129, 130, 132, 135, 136–7 Podemos party, 27–8, 30 political transformation, vehicles for, 194 politics of anti-austerity, 201 of energy transition, 218 green, 188–92 red, 188–92 relationship between technology and, 237 population, 139–40 The Population Bomb (Ehrlich), 166 populism, 187–8.
Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben
23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve
It’s a very different posture from being a supplicant to a government, and it comes with a certain undeniable power and dignity. And more often than not, the sale gets made, eventually. Back in the regional capital of Soubré, I watch for a few moments as Off-Grid’s champion Ivorian salesman winds up his third contract of the morning, on the way to nine for the day. He’s tall and handsome in designer jeans and a dashiki-style shirt he had made in the company’s colors. His name is Jean Anoh, but he’s decided that that name is “too old, too soft.” “Call me Stevens Ironman Never-Tired Killer,” he says—in between pitches, he’s checking his phone for the constantly updated standings in Off-Grid’s continent-wide sales championship and sending trash-talking WhatsApp messages to his Tanzanian competitors. The overnight arrival of something as profound as electricity can’t help but change communities, from how long people sleep to what they eat to the texture of village life.
While Europe, North America, and South America are pretty close to fully electrified, and Asia is heading briskly in the same direction, the absolute number of Africans without power keeps increasing as population growth beats back the (minimal) efforts of the continent’s utilities—a World Bank report that came out in May 2017 predicted that, based on current trends, there could still be half a billion Africans without power by 2040.2 That’s because conventional grids are expensive to build and maintain, and Africa is poor. “The belief was you’d eventually build the U.S. grid here,” said Xavier Helgesen, CEO of one of the most dynamic start-ups, Off-Grid Electric. “But the U.S. is the richest country on Earth and it wasn’t fully electrified till the forties, and that was in an era of cheap copper for wires, cheap timber for poles, cheap coal, and cheap capital. None of that is so cheap anymore, at least over here.” But solar—solar is suddenly cheap. And so, just as the spread of cheap cell phones a decade ago meant Africa could dispense with the need to wire landlines, so, too, solar may enable Africa to leapfrog at least some of the traditional ways of generating power.
He didn’t actually do a stint at Silicon Valley’s most famous incubator (his wife did), but that’s his lineage, the same one that produced Airbnb and also the company that wants to embalm your brain so you can be digitally scanned and reimplanted in an android. The Y Combinator T-shirt reads, “Make Something People Want,” which pretty much defines cheap solar power. Africans are desperate for electricity. * * * “This is how the solar revolution happens,” Kim Schreiber, Off-Grid’s communications director, whispers to me. “One hot sales meeting at a time.” She and I, and the company’s sales manager, Max-Marc Fossouo, are squeezed onto a bench in a courtyard outside of a hut in the Ivorian village of Grand-Zattry, which is not so grand. We’re listening in as one of the company’s newest salesmen, Seko Serge Lewis, tries his pitch. A couple of village dogs are growling and tussling nearby; a scooter rolls by with six people somehow on board.
Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community by Karen T. Litfin
active transport: walking or cycling, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative consumption, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, corporate social responsibility, glass ceiling, global village, hydraulic fracturing, megacity, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, planetary scale, publish or perish, Silicon Valley, the built environment, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, urban planning, Zipcar
While most of the world’s heat and electricity are generated by coal, oil, and natural gas, ecovillagers primarily use renewable solar, wind, wood, and micro-hydro energy. Besides technological changes, they also decrease their consumption by making changes in their behavior. Decades ago, the badge of honor for green living was “off-grid”: fully self-sufficient for energy and water. So I was surprised to find that among the ecovillages I visited, only Earthaven, with solar panels on most of its buildings and two hyper-efficient turbines in its creeks, wore that badge. The dearth of off-grid ecovillages is not a sign they’ve been co-opted, however; rather, it means the mainstream is catching up. Most of the ecovillages I visited are grid-tied because they generate more energy than they use and are selling it back to the grid. Sieben Linden, for example, was able to take advantage of Germany’s commitment to purchase renewable energy from private citizens at a premium.4 As one Sieben Linden resident put it, “We’re about self-reliance, more so than self-sufficiency.
What follows in this chapter is not so much an investigation as a glimpse of each of the fourteen communities I visited. In-depth discussions of the issues will come in later chapters. Earthhaven, USA My first stop was Earthaven, a picturesque ecovillage with earthen-plastered homes in the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour’s drive from Asheville, North Carolina. Established in 1994, Earthaven is an off-grid community and educational center with about 50 members who share an affinity for permaculture. I explore permaculture in greater depth in the next chapter. For now, suffice it to say that it is a radical ecological approach to designing settlements and agricultural systems that is thought to be permanent because it attempts to follow the functioning of nature. I was impressed by what the people at Earthaven had managed to create in less than fifteen years: an expertise in forestry, a range of natural building styles, 100 percent energy and water self-sufficiency, and several thriving farms – all in what was once 320 acres of raw forest.
What I imagine was, in the past, not an optimal environment for raising children is now beginning to attract young families. Monogamy and even celibacy have become viable options, and many residents seem to be less focused on sexuality than on spirituality. Sieben Linden, Germany Sieben Linden, which is named for seven linden trees on the land, is another ecovillage that sprouted in the fertile soil of East Germany after reunification. Founded in 1997, this off-grid community of about 150 now occupies roughly 200 acres of farmland and pine plantation. The community’s tiny ecological footprint, just over 25 percent of the German average, rests in part on its labor-intensive commitment to vegan agriculture and its “Peace Contract with Animals,” which I discuss in chapter 3. During my visit, Sieben Linden experienced the first death of one of its members. I found myself moved by the community’s response to the death: how they treated the body, shared their grief, performed the funeral, integrated the children into the process, and how at this tender time in their community they included even me – a foreigner and English speaker who was in every way an outsider.
Snowden's Box: Trust in the Age of Surveillance by Jessica Bruder, Dale Maharidge
anti-communist, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, cashless society, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, license plate recognition, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, medical malpractice, Occupy movement, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Robert Bork, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web of trust, WikiLeaks
“Because if what you’re saying was possible, it would be revolutionary, and people would have a vested interest in preventing that from happening,” the lawyer replied. His answer was matter-of-fact. “I’m too old,” he said. Binney paused, then repeated the words for emphasis. “I’m too old.” As all this unfolded, Dale was traveling. Though we were careful to avoid discussing the news by phone or online, it was clearly at the forefront of both of our minds. In one email, Dale explained he was working from his off-grid home in California, using his cellphone as an internet hotspot. “I write via Verizon (Spy-on-youzon?) from Humboldt,” he quipped. I waited until he was back in New York and we could meet in person. Then I raised the obvious question. “All that stuff was in the box?” “Yes.” “There must have been other boxes?” “No.” And so Dale rewound through the past year, describing how he’d met Laura through our mutual friend Julian.
That last night we met, I worried about going to California with a copy of the material. “Should I check it in a bag or take it as carry-on?” “Carry it,” Laura said. She gave me a withering look: to her, that was a silly question. “What about security?” “They won’t notice it.” “Do you think they know?” “If they knew, none of this would be happening.” I still worried about being busted. I wanted to get home to my off-grid place and stash the item as fast as possible. But as I flew across the continent, with a copy of everything Snowden had sent us in an overhead bin,* a crown popped off one of my molars. I spent the next few days stranded in Sacramento, waiting to see a dentist. Meanwhile, on June 6, the Washington Post broke its first Snowden story, which made me extremely anxious. Yet still I couldn’t head up north.
If Dale had warned me in 2013 that receiving the box might be dangerous, I would have done it all over again for him. Friendship is like that. The Box We used to look back with dread on the days immediately following the Snowden leaks. Over time, those memories softened around the edges, coming to feel like a long, strange dream. The tense moments were tempered by gentler days that followed — in particular, one blue-sky summer afternoon at Dale’s off-grid home in California. More than three years had passed since Dale had cached a copy of the Snowden material in a Douglas fir. For a brief window of time, we weren’t preoccupied with worry. Assange hadn’t been indicted yet. It appeared that Laura and the other players were safe. Snowden seemed to be settling into his new home in Moscow, where he’d been joined by his partner, Lindsay Mills. We walked across Prosper Ridge, where the home Dale had built nestled into an embankment below a vast, grassy meadow.
Sunfall by Jim Al-Khalili
airport security, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Carrington event, cosmological constant, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Attenborough, Fellow of the Royal Society, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, mass immigration, megacity, MITM: man-in-the-middle, off grid, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, smart cities, sorting algorithm, South China Sea, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Turing test
Besides, that would involve retrieving the files from the safe depths of the dark web and sending them across the surface web where they would certainly be tracked and intercepted by monitor AIs before they reached their destination. She couldn’t risk getting in touch with her parents herself, so she had asked Hashimi if he could do so as surreptitiously as possible, letting them know she was OK and warning them to go dark. She knew full well that they would have been watched very closely by Savak, but the one thing she was confident of was that her parents were more than capable of disappearing off-grid for a few days. She guessed they would know how to shake off Savak surveillance and head up to the mountains north of the city where they had friends they could rely on to hide them. She had begged Hashimi to share with them only the sketchiest of information – enough for them to take the matter seriously. The less they knew, the safer they would be. After a little digging, Hashimi had informed her that Majid had been released, causing fresh waves of relief and guilt to wash through her.
First came the news from the London police that Evie had gone missing from her hotel. The alarm had been raised by her school party earlier that evening when her roommate had returned to the hotel from a shopping trip to find her not there. But, as the officers were very keen to stress, she could well have just gone out for a walk without telling anyone, although they acknowledged it was strange that she had also gone off-grid. Within an hour of talking to the police he was back in his Geneva hotel making arrangements to fly to London – Sarah had insisted on accompanying him and the two of them had packed as quickly as they could. He’d clung to the hope that Evie would return, that she had just gone for a walk and got lost. But his wristpad had pinged as they were about to leave the hotel room. He’d stopped halfway out of the door to look at it.
But given the current situation so close to Ignition, they had not been able to arrange any counselling for her. Still, she was a tough kid and if they got through all this, then there’d be time to worry about any lasting psychological scars. He had to keep telling himself that this was not his fault and that at least she was safe now. It had been quickly decided that families and loved ones of all key personnel connected with the Odin Project would be taken off-grid and moved into secret protective custody until after Ignition. But he missed Evie, now more than ever. He listened to Sarah’s soft breathing in bed next to him and turned to face her. She looked even more beautiful when she was sleeping. Had they just spent the night together because they might never get another chance? Or was it the only way they had of dealing with the stress they were under?
The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game
Partly spurred by the massive R&D that companies like Tesla are investing in battery technology, fuel cells, and thermal storage models, the mobility and effectiveness of storage capacity are improving rapidly while costs are steadily falling. This could eventually allow full energy independence. One can imagine an off-grid community that collectively owns a blockchain-managed decentralized solar generation plant, creating a system for storing, transporting—via self-driving electric cars—and exchanging batteries with other off-grid communities. This spells opportunity for all sorts of communities: those off-grid Indian villages with their 300 million electricity-poor residents; sovereign indigenous communities such as Native Americans in the United States or Aboriginals in Australia who seek energy independence; or farmers and other users in low-density rural areas who are cursed by their low level of community demand and for whom the cost of installing transmission lines and relay stations can be extremely burdensome.
The blockchain can assure that only one receipt has been generated for each deposit of crops and can keep an immutable record of how much of the deposit has been pledged and to whom. It’s yet another way that blockchains prevent double-spending. And in the field of solar energy, a team that Michael’s leading is exploring a model that would capture usage rights to energy generated in a communally owned microgrid as a way to funnel collateralized financing to off-grid communities that don’t have well-established legal and property title systems. Already, a team composed of IoT startup Filament, Nasdaq, and a team from IDEO Colab has found a way to integrate signals from a smart meter device with a blockchain so as to prove that a uniquely identified photovoltaic panel has produced and delivered a verifiable, measurable amount of solar power. In effect, that proven flow of power could be registered as a kind of certified claim to solar energy, which can then be traded or collateralized.
The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett
Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator
The former would become more engaged and the latter even less so, leaving politics more open to capture from a tech elite along the lines I suggested in Chapter Five about monopolies. If this came to pass, large numbers of people would start to see machines as forces of control and repression rather than of liberation.* Are there not already signs that people are turning against technology? Witness the rise in ‘the digital detox’, off-grid communities and anti-Uber protests over the past few years. Imagine what might happen when driverless cars and Starsky trucks turn up – does anyone seriously think that drivers will passively let this happen, consoled by the fact that their great-great-great grandchildren will probably be richer and less likely to die in a car crash? And what about when Trump’s promised jobs don’t materialise, because of automation?
The opposite is true as well: Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die barely mentions technology at all. * Once questions of freedom and the human spirit are invoked, it’s impossible to know how far opposition can go. Between 1978 and 1995 the ‘Unabomber’, aka Ted Kaczynski, sent 16 bombs to targets that included universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23. Kaczynski, a Harvard maths prodigy who had disappeared to live off-grid in his twenties, was motivated by a belief that technological change was destroying human civilisation and would usher in a period of dehumanised tyranny and control. He set out his ideas in a 30-thousand-word anti-tech manifesto entitled Industrial Society and Its Future. Once you get past Kaczynski’s casual racism and calls for violent revolution, his writings on digital technology now seem uncomfortably prescient.
Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny
"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, inventory management, Kickstarter, Milgram experiment, off grid, open borders, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, very high income, Washington Consensus, X Prize
Specifically, the $1.5 billion commitment made by these donors is guaranteed to be used to purchase a vaccine that meets minimum effectiveness criteria under a given price ceiling, providing an incentive to pharmaceutical companies to undertake vaccine development. A similar approach might work for an advance purchase of vaccines for AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The advance purchase model might also be used to purchase new seed varieties with particular attributes designed to increase yields in Africa, for example, or to buy off-grid renewable power sources that could work reliably and cheaply in developing country settings. Another approach is that of using prizes to provide an incentive to research. Prizes played a role in the development of accurate timepieces required to measure longitude at sea; they also provided the incentive for Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic nonstop. More recently the model has been exploited by the X-Prize Foundation, which offered $10 million to the first company to launch a reusable three-passenger vehicle one hundred kilometers into space twice within two weeks.
And if these traditional methods can be replaced with electric heating and cooking systems powered by alternative energy sources such as solar or wind, both the local and global pollution costs can be reduced to near zero. There is a role for direct support to countries to roll out sustainable energy networks, then, but also for a significant level of indirect support in areas such as technology development at the global level to reduce the cost and complexity of on- or off-grid renewable power provision.16 AIDING THE RIGHT AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT We have seen that aid to promote stronger institutions has a somewhat mixed record, perhaps in part because “institutional technologies” do not flow easily across borders. At the same time, we have seen that invented technologies and ideas appear to be central both to sustaining the global escape from the Malthusian trap and to improving quality of life worldwide.
ECOVILLAGE: 1001 ways to heal the planet by Ecovillage 1001 Ways to Heal the Planet-Triarchy Press Ltd (2015)
Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Community Supported Agriculture, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Food sovereignty, land tenure, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, off grid, Ronald Reagan, young professional
One often heard the sounds of chainsaws, sawmills, table saws and power hammers, as serious home-building was continuously underway in at least one or more neighborhoods. However, despite the many homes that they built over the years, the Forestry Co-op struggled financially. After six and a half years of barely breaking even and sometimes going for weeks with no pay, they disbanded the business. While this was sad for many, it also resulted in several young members having solid income-earning skills, from carpentry and home-building to electrical work, off-grid solar design and installation, water and propane plumbing, and sustainable forestry. Andy Bosley and Julie McMahon of Yellowroot Farm, a biodynamic CSA farm at Earthaven. Differing Interests My mom and I began visiting regularly in late 2000, became members in 2002, and built a small house and moved onsite in 2003. I soon joined the Membership and Promotions committees. One of my first tasks was to help revise Earthaven’s website so that it provided the practical information visitors and potential members needed to know.
Now, in 2015, it seems our generations have come together again. Two younger members are raising money through loans from older members and friends to buy out the buildings and infrastructure of two departing members: one young member wants to revive a dormant small farm, and the other wants to create a cottage industry offering onsite lodging and dining for visitors. Younger and older members raised the money for a shared off-grid renewable power system which will improve the amount and reliability of electricity in their neighborhood. And several young parents have created two shared childcare and home-schooling programs for members’ and neighbors’ children. Earthaven Ecovillage couldn’t have existed and continued without the energy, vision, and motivation of its older members who founded the project, designed its permaculture-based site plan and innovated its EarthShares Fund.
Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger
Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K
“Climate Change in Vermont: Emissions and Goals,” State of Vermont, https://climatechange.vermont.gov/climate-pollution-goals. “Title 10: Conservation and Development, Chapter 023, Air Pollution Control,” 10 V.S.A. § 578, passed 2005, amended 2007, Vermont General Assembly, https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/10/023/00578. 33. Kristin Carlson, “Green Mountain Power Is First Utility to Help Customers Go Off-Grid with New Product Offering,” Green Mountain Power, December 20, 2016, https://greenmountainpower.com/news/green-mountain-power-first-utility-help-customers-go-off-grid-new-product-offering. 34. “ACEEE 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, October 4, 2018, https://aceee.org/press/2018/10/aceee-2018-state-energy-efficiency. 35. “Vermont Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update: Brief, 1990–2015,” Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Air Quality and Climate Division, June 2018, https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents/_Vermont_Greenhouse_Gas_Emissions_Inventory_Update_1990-2015.pdf, 3. 36.
And yet the people who say they care and worry the most about climate change tell us we don’t need nuclear. Consider the case of climate activist Bill McKibben. Along with Vermont senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he urged Vermont legislators in 2005 to commit to reducing emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, and 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2028, through the use of renewables and energy efficiency.32 Vermont’s main electric utility helped customers go “off-grid” with solar panels and batteries,33 and the state’s aggressive energy efficiency programs ranked fifth best in the nation for five years in a row.34 But instead of falling 25 percent, Vermont’s emissions actually rose 16 percent between 1990 and 2015.35 Part of the reason emissions rose in Vermont is that the state closed its nuclear power plant, something McKibben advocated. “I believe Vermont is completely capable of replacing (and far more) its power output with renewables, which is why my roof is covered with solar panels,” he wrote.36 I emailed McKibben in early 2019 to ask if he regretted advocating for Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station’s closure.
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, full employment, game design, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Mars Rover, new economy, off grid, payday loans, Pepto Bismol, precariat, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, six sigma, supply-chain management, union organizing, urban sprawl, white picket fence, Y2K
One by one, they are leaving for other places. I will see some of them again, I’m sure, but this sadness is an inevitable consequence of nomadic living. People come and go in your life. You don’t get to hang onto them forever. Here is Linda May, everyone’s surrogate mother, who fed us French toast and made us laugh. There is no one who doesn’t love Linda. She is off to find a piece of land where she plans to build a sustainable, off-grid Earthship home. I have promised to help build it (i.e., pound dirt into lots of tires), just so I can spend time with her again. AFTER LEAVING HER FRIENDS, Linda traveled 380 miles southeast to the deserts of Cochise County, Arizona, where building codes were loose and land was cheap. She hoped to find a few acres for her Earthship but, after hours of exploring, felt disappointed. The area was too isolated.
I’d spent many weeks up close with the workampers, documenting their stories across five states and then staying in a tent in Quartzsite as nighttime temperatures dropped into the thirties during their winter gatherings. Still I wasn’t understanding the story on the level I’d hoped for just yet—I hadn’t gotten close enough to truly grasp their lives. Doing that would require a fuller immersion, spending months among them, day in and day out, becoming a regular at some of their encampments. With my tent, I’d been able to live off-grid in the desert, but not out in the backcountry where most of the people I was writing about were boondocking. Tent campers were only allowed in areas near outhouses. That meant I ended up sleeping four miles away from the site of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, then commuting over to visit. To actually join the nomads I would need a more robust portable shelter—something that I could sleep, cook, and write inside, with at least a rudimentary toilet setup.
Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr
Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
You might barter for your groceries on the street, or join the “full-time scavengers living off food retrieved from supermarket bins.” As Rosen admits toward the end of his article, many of his suggestions will strike people as comical. I guess that’s the point. We have allowed our lives to become open books for marketers and snoops, so much so that resistance at this point seems ridiculous. To go “off grid” now, you pretty much have to turn yourself into a counterespionage operative, a secret agent living in a yurt and nibbling the bruised leaves of a discarded cabbage. THE SOCIAL GRAFT November 6, 2007 “ONCE EVERY HUNDRED YEARS media changes,” boy-coder turned big-thinker Mark Zuckerberg declared today at the Facebook Social Advertising Event in New York City. It’s true. Look back over the last millennium or two, and you’ll see that every century, like clockwork, there’s been a big change in media.
., 226 video games and, 94–97 Merholz, Peter, 21 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 300 Merton, Robert, 12–13 message-automation service, 167 Meyer, Stephenie, 50 Meyerowitz, Joanne, 338 microfilm, microphotography, 267 Microsoft, 108, 168, 205, 284 military technology, 331–32 Miller, Perry, xvii mindfulness, 162 Minima Moralia (Adorno), 153–54 mirrors, 138–39 Mitchell, Joni, 128 Mollie (video poker player), 218–19 monitoring: corporate control through, 163–65 of thoughts, 214–15 through wearable behavior-modification devices, 168–69 Montaigne, Michel de, 247, 249, 252, 254 Moore, Geoffrey, 209 Morlocks, 114, 186 “Morphological Basis of the Arm-to-Wing Transition, The” (Poore), 329–30 Morrison, Ewan, 288 Morrison, Jim, 126 Morse code, 34 “Most of It, The” (Frost), 145–46 motor skills, video games and, 93–94 “Mowing” (Frost), 296–300, 302, 304–5 MP3 players, 122, 123, 124, 216, 218, 293 multitasking, media, 96–97 Mumford, Lewis, 138–39, 235 Murdoch, Rupert and Wendi, 131 music: bundling of, 41–46 commercial use of, 244–45 copying and sharing technologies for, 121–26, 314 digital revolution in, 293–95 fidelity of, 124 listening vs. interface in, 216–18, 293 in participatory games, 71–72 streamed and curated, 207, 217–18 music piracy, 121–26 Musings on Human Metamorphoses (Leary), 171 Musk, Elon, 172 Musset, Alfred de, xxiii Muzak, 208, 244 MySpace, xvi, 10–11, 30–31 “Names of the Hare, The,” 201 nanotechnology, 69 Napster, 122, 123 narcissism, 138–39 Twitter and, 34–36 narrative emotions, 250 natural-language processing, 215 Negroponte, Nicholas, xx neobehavioralism, 212–13 Netflix, 92 neural networks, 136–37 neuroengineering, 332–33 New Critics, 249 News Feed, 320 news media, 318–20 newspapers: evolution of, 79, 237 online archives of, 47–48, 190–92 online vs. printed, 289 Newton, Isaac, 66 New York Public Library, 269 New York Times, 8, 71, 83, 133, 152–53, 195, 237, 283, 314, 342 erroneous information revived by, 47–48 on Twitter, 35 Nielsen Company, 80–81 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 126, 234–35, 237 Nightingale, Paul, 335 Nixon, Richard, 317 noise pollution, 243–46 Nook, 257 North of Boston (Frost), 297 nostalgia, 202, 204, 312 in music, 292–95 Now You See It (Davidson), 94 Oates, Warren, 203 Oatley, Keith, 248–50 Obama, Barack, 314 obsession, 218–19 OCLC, 276 “off grid,” 52 Olds, James, 235 O’Neill, Gerard, 171 One Infinite Loop, 76 Ong, Walter, 129 online aggregation, 192 On Photography (Sontag), xx open networks, profiteering from, 83–85 open-source projects, 5–7, 26 Oracle, 17 orchises, 305 O’Reilly, Tim, 3–5, 7 organ donation and transplantation, 115 ornithopters, 239 orphan books, 276, 277 Overture, 279–80 Owad, Tom, 256 Oxford Junior Dictionary, 201–2 Oxford University, library of, 269 Page, Larry, 23, 160, 172, 239, 268–69, 270, 279, 281–85 personal style of, 16–17, 281–82, 285 paint-by-number kits, 71–72 Paley, William, 43 Palfrey, John, 272–74, 277 Palmisano, Sam, 26 “pancake people,” 242 paper, invention and uses of, 286–89 Paper: An Elegy (Sansom), 287 Papert, Seymour, 134 Paradise within the Reach of All Men, The (Etzler), xvi–xvii paradox of time, 203–4 parenting: automation of, 181 of virtual child, 73–75 Parker, Sarah Jessica, 131 participation: “cognitive surplus” in, 59 as content and performance, 184 inclusionists vs. deletionists in, 18–20 internet, 28–29 isolation and, 35–36, 184 limits and flaws of, 5–7, 62 Paul, Rand, 314 Pendragon, Caliandras (avatar), 25 Pentland, Alex, 212–13 perception, spiritual awakening of, 300–301 personalization, 11 of ads, 168, 225, 264 isolation and, 29 loss of autonomy in, 264–66 manipulation through, 258–59 in message automation, 167 in searches, 145–46, 264–66 of streamed music, 207–9, 245 tailoring in, 92, 224 as threat to privacy, 255 Phenomenology of Perception (Merleau-Ponty), 300 Philosophical Investigations (Wittgenstein), 215 phonograph, phonograph records, 41–46, 133, 287 photography, technological advancement in, 311–12 Pichai, Sundar, 181 Pilgrims, 172 Pinterest, 119, 186 playlists, 314 PlayStation, 260 “poetic faith,” 251 poetry, 296–313 polarization, 7 politics, transformed by technology, 314–20 Politics (Aristotle), 307–8 Poore, Samuel O., 329–30 pop culture, fact-mongering in, 58–62 pop music, 44–45, 63–64, 224 copying technologies for, 121–26 dead idols of, 126 industrialization of, 208–9 as retrospective and revivalist, 292–95 positivism, 211 Potter, Dean, 341–42 power looms, 178 Presley, Elvis, 11, 126 Prim Revolution, 26 Principles of Psychology (James), 203 Principles of Scientific Management, The (Taylor), 238 printing press: consequences of, 102–3, 234, 240–41, 271 development of, 53, 286–87 privacy: devaluation of, 258 from electronic surveillance, 52 family cohesion vs., 229 free flow of information vs. right to, 190–94 internet threat to, 184, 255–59, 265, 285 safeguarding of, 258–59, 283 vanity vs., 107 proactive cognitive control, 96 Prochnik, George, 243–46 “Productivity Future Vision (2011),” 108–9 Project Gutenberg, 278 prosperity, technologies of, 118, 119–20 prosumerism, 64 protest movements, 61 Proust and the Squid (Wolf), 234 proximal clues, 303 public-domain books, 277–78 “public library,” debate over use of term, 272–74 punch-card tabulator, 188 punk music, 63–64 Quantified Self Global Conference, 163 Quantified Self (QS) movement, 163–65 Quarter-of-a-Second Rule, 205 racecars, 195, 196 radio: in education, 134 evolution of, 77, 79, 159, 288 as music medium, 45, 121–22, 207 political use of, 315–16, 317, 319 Radosh, Daniel, 71 Rapp, Jen, 341–42 reactive cognitive control, 96 Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, 91 reading: brain function in, 247–54, 289–90 and invention of paper, 286–87 monitoring of, 257 video gaming vs., 261–62 see also books reading skills, changes in, 232–34, 240–41 Read Write Web (blog), 30 Reagan, Ronald, 315 real world: digital media intrusion in, 127–30 perceived as boring and ugly, 157–58 as source of knowledge, 313 virtual world vs., xx–xxi, 36, 62, 127–30, 303–4 reconstructive surgery, 239 record albums: copying of, 121–22 jackets for, 122, 224 technology of, 41–46 Redding, Otis, 126 Red Light Center, 39 Reichelt, Franz, 341 Reid, Rob, 122–25 relativists, 20 religion: internet perceived as, 3–4, 238 for McLuhan, 105 technology viewed as, xvi–xvii Republic of Letters, 271 reputations, tarnishing of, 47–48, 190–94 Resident Evil, 260–61 resource sharing, 148–49 resurrection, 69–70, 126 retinal implants, 332 Retromania (Reynolds), 217, 292–95 Reuters, Adam, 26 Reuters’ SL bureau, 26 revivification machine, 69–70 Reynolds, Simon, 217–18, 292–95 Rice, Isaac, 244 Rice, Julia Barnett, 243–44 Richards, Keith, 42 “right to be forgotten” lawsuit, 190–94 Ritalin, 304 robots: control of, 303 creepy quality of, 108 human beings compared to, 242 human beings replaced by, 112, 174, 176, 195, 197, 306–7, 310 limitations of, 323 predictions about, xvii, 177, 331 replaced by humans, 323 threat from, 226, 309 Rogers, Roo, 83–84 Rolling Stones, 42–43 Roosevelt, Franklin, 315 Rosen, Nick, 52 Rubio, Marco, 314 Rumsey, Abby Smith, 325–27 Ryan, Amy, 273 Sandel, Michael J., 340 Sanders, Bernie, 314, 316 Sansom, Ian, 287 Savage, Jon, 63 scatology, 147 Schachter, Joshua, 195 Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, 229 Schmidt, Eric, 13, 16, 238, 239, 257, 284 Schneier, Bruce, 258–59 Schüll, Natasha Dow, 218 science fiction, 106, 115, 116, 150, 309, 335 scientific management, 164–65, 237–38 Scrapbook in American Life, The, 185 scrapbooks, social media compared to, 185–86 “Scrapbooks as Cultural Texts” (Katriel and Farrell), 186 scythes, 302, 304–6 search-engine-optimization (SEO), 47–48 search engines: allusions sought through, 86 blogging, 66–67 in centralization of internet, 66–69 changing use of, 284 customizing by, 264–66 erroneous or outdated stories revived by, 47–48, 190–94 in filtering, 91 placement of results by, 47–48, 68 searching vs., 144–46 targeting information through, 13–14 writing tailored to, 89 see also Google searching, ontological connotations of, 144–46 Seasteading Institute, 172 Second Life, 25–27 second nature, 179 self, technologies of the, 118, 119–20 self-actualization, 120, 340 monitoring and quantification of, 163–65 selfies, 224 self-knowledge, 297–99 self-reconstruction, 339 self-tracking, 163–65 Selinger, Evan, 153 serendipity, internet as engine of, 12–15 SETI@Home, 149 sexbots, 55 Sex Pistols, 63 sex-reassignment procedures, 337–38 sexuality, 10–11 virtual, 39 Shakur, Tupac, 126 sharecropping, as metaphor for social media, 30–31 Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 88 Shirky, Clay, 59–61, 90, 241 Shop Class as Soulcraft (Crawford), 265 Shuster, Brian, 39 sickles, 302 silence, 246 Silicon Valley: American culture transformed by, xv–xxii, 148, 155–59, 171–73, 181, 241, 257, 309 commercial interests of, 162, 172, 214–15 informality eschewed by, 197–98, 215 wealthy lifestyle of, 16–17, 195 Simonite, Tom, 136–37 simulation, see virtual world Singer, Peter, 267 Singularity, Singularitarians, 69, 147 sitcoms, 59 situational overload, 90–92 skimming, 233 “Slaves to the Smartphone,” 308–9 Slee, Tom, 61, 84 SLExchange, 26 slot machines, 218–19 smart bra, 168–69 smartphones, xix, 82, 136, 145, 150, 158, 168, 170, 183–84, 219, 274, 283, 287, 308–9, 315 Smith, Adam, 175, 177 Smith, William, 204 Snapchat, 166, 205, 225, 316 social activism, 61–62 social media, 224 biases reinforced by, 319–20 as deceptively reflective, 138–39 documenting one’s children on, 74–75 economic value of content on, 20–21, 53–54, 132 emotionalism of, 316–17 evolution of, xvi language altered by, 215 loom as metaphor for, 178 maintaining one’s microcelebrity on, 166–67 paradox of, 35–36, 159 personal information collected and monitored through, 257 politics transformed by, 314–20 scrapbooks compared to, 185–86 self-validation through, 36, 73 traditional media slow to adapt to, 316–19 as ubiquitous, 205 see also specific sites social organization, technologies of, 118, 119 Social Physics (Pentland), 213 Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise, 243–44 sociology, technology and, 210–13 Socrates, 240 software: autonomous, 187–89 smart, 112–13 solitude, media intrusion on, 127–30, 253 Songza, 207 Sontag, Susan, xx SoundCloud, 217 sound-management devices, 245 soundscapes, 244–45 space travel, 115, 172 spam, 92 Sparrow, Betsy, 98 Special Operations Command, U.S., 332 speech recognition, 137 spermatic, as term applied to reading, 247, 248, 250, 254 Spinoza, Baruch, 300–301 Spotify, 293, 314 “Sprite Sips” (app), 54 Squarciafico, Hieronimo, 240–41 Srinivasan, Balaji, 172 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 68 Starr, Karla, 217–18 Star Trek, 26, 32, 313 Stengel, Rick, 28 Stephenson, Neal, 116 Sterling, Bruce, 113 Stevens, Wallace, 158 Street View, 137, 283 Stroop test, 98–99 Strummer, Joe, 63–64 Studies in Classic American Literature (Lawrence), xxiii Such Stuff as Dreams (Oatley), 248–49 suicide rate, 304 Sullenberger, Sully, 322 Sullivan, Andrew, xvi Sun Microsystems, 257 “surf cams,” 56–57 surfing, internet, 14–15 surveillance, 52, 163–65, 188–89 surveillance-personalization loop, 157 survival, technologies of, 118, 119 Swing, Edward, 95 Talking Heads, 136 talk radio, 319 Tan, Chade-Meng, 162 Tapscott, Don, 84 tattoos, 336–37, 340 Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 164, 237–38 Taylorism, 164, 238 Tebbel, John, 275 Technics and Civilization (Mumford), 138, 235 technology: agricultural, 305–6 American culture transformed by, xv–xxii, 148, 155–59, 174–77, 214–15, 229–30, 296–313, 329–42 apparatus vs. artifact in, 216–19 brain function affected by, 231–42 duality of, 240–41 election campaigns transformed by, 314–20 ethical hazards of, 304–11 evanescence and obsolescence of, 327 human aspiration and, 329–42 human beings eclipsed by, 108–9 language of, 201–2, 214–15 limits of, 341–42 master-slave metaphor for, 307–9 military, 331–32 need for critical thinking about, 311–13 opt-in society run by, 172–73 progress in, 77–78, 188–89, 229–30 risks of, 341–42 sociology and, 210–13 time perception affected by, 203–6 as tool of knowledge and perception, 299–304 as transcendent, 179–80 Technorati, 66 telegrams, 79 telegraph, Twitter compared to, 34 telephones, 103–4, 159, 288 television: age of, 60–62, 79, 93, 233 and attention disorders, 95 in education, 134 Facebook ads on, 155–56 introduction of, 103–4, 159, 288 news coverage on, 318 paying for, 224 political use of, 315–16, 317 technological adaptation of, 237 viewing habits for, 80–81 Teller, Astro, 195 textbooks, 290 texting, 34, 73, 75, 154, 186, 196, 205, 233 Thackeray, William, 318 “theory of mind,” 251–52 Thiel, Peter, 116–17, 172, 310 “Things That Connect Us, The” (ad campaign), 155–58 30 Days of Night (film), 50 Thompson, Clive, 232 thought-sharing, 214–15 “Three Princes of Serendip, The,” 12 Thurston, Baratunde, 153–54 time: memory vs., 226 perception of, 203–6 Time, covers of, 28 Time Machine, The (Wells), 114 tools: blurred line between users and, 333 ethical choice and, 305 gaining knowledge and perception through, 299–304 hand vs. computer, 306 Home and Away blurred by, 159 human agency removed from, 77 innovation in, 118 media vs., 226 slave metaphor for, 307–8 symbiosis with, 101 Tosh, Peter, 126 Toyota Motor Company, 323 Toyota Prius, 16–17 train disasters, 323–24 transhumanism, 330–40 critics of, 339–40 transparency, downside of, 56–57 transsexuals, 337–38 Travels and Adventures of Serendipity, The (Merton and Barber), 12–13 Trends in Biochemistry (Nightingale and Martin), 335 TripAdvisor, 31 trolls, 315 Trump, Donald, 314–18 “Tuft of Flowers, A” (Frost), 305 tugboats, noise restrictions on, 243–44 Tumblr, 166, 185, 186 Turing, Alan, 236 Turing Test, 55, 137 Twain, Mark, 243 tweets, tweeting, 75, 131, 315, 319 language of, 34–36 theses in form of, 223–26 “tweetstorm,” xvii 20/20, 16 Twilight Saga, The (Meyer), 50 Twitter, 34–36, 64, 91, 119, 166, 186, 197, 205, 223, 224, 257, 284 political use of, 315, 317–20 2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 231, 242 Two-Lane Blacktop (film), 203 “Two Tramps in Mud Time” (Frost), 247–48 typewriters, writing skills and, 234–35, 237 Uber, 148 Ubisoft, 261 Understanding Media (McLuhan), 102–3, 106 underwearables, 168–69 unemployment: job displacement in, 164–65, 174, 310 in traditional media, 8 universal online library, 267–78 legal, commercial, and political obstacles to, 268–71, 274–78 universe, as memory, 326 Urban Dictionary, 145 utopia, predictions of, xvii–xviii, xx, 4, 108–9, 172–73 Uzanne, Octave, 286–87, 290 Vaidhyanathan, Siva, 277 vampires, internet giants compared to, 50–51 Vampires (game), 50 Vanguardia, La, 190–91 Van Kekerix, Marvin, 134 vice, virtual, 39–40 video games, 223, 245, 303 as addictive, 260–61 cognitive effects of, 93–97 crafting of, 261–62 violent, 260–62 videos, viewing of, 80–81 virtual child, tips for raising a, 73–75 virtual world, xviii commercial aspects of, 26–27 conflict enacted in, 25–27 language of, 201–2 “playlaborers” of, 113–14 psychological and physical health affected by, 304 real world vs., xx–xxi, 36, 62, 127–30 as restrictive, 303–4 vice in, 39–40 von Furstenberg, Diane, 131 Wales, Jimmy, 192 Wallerstein, Edward, 43–44 Wall Street, automation of, 187–88 Wall Street Journal, 8, 16, 86, 122, 163, 333 Walpole, Horace, 12 Walters, Barbara, 16 Ward, Adrian, 200 Warhol, Andy, 72 Warren, Earl, 255, 257 “Waste Land, The” (Eliot), 86, 87 Watson (IBM computer), 147 Wealth of Networks, The (Benkler), xviii “We Are the Web” (Kelly), xxi, 4, 8–9 Web 1.0, 3, 5, 9 Web 2.0, xvi, xvii, xxi, 33, 58 amorality of, 3–9, 10 culturally transformative power of, 28–29 Twitter and, 34–35 “web log,” 21 Wegner, Daniel, 98, 200 Weinberger, David, 41–45, 277 Weizenbaum, Joseph, 236 Wells, H.
Do Improvise: Less push. More pause. Better results. A new approach to work (and life) (Do Books) by Poynton, Robert
It is beautiful to see how someone else uses a game and I always learn something. They will have changed, added or improved things in a way that I wouldn’t think of. So don’t be limited by what I say, don’t be shy to mess around with them and don’t be slow to get in touch and tell me what happened. I am afraid we don’t have any idea where we learned this one. About the Author Robert Poynton (www.robertpoynton.com) lives in an off-grid, solar-powered house just outside the small town of Arenas de San Pedro in the province of Avila, in rural Spain. From there he helps run On Your Feet, a small consultancy conveniently based in Portland, Oregon, that he co-founded with Gary Hirsch (see www.oyf.com). On Your Feet uses improvisational ideas, tools and experiences to help people in organisations work together more effectively and creatively.
Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett
Andrew Keen, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, brain emulation, centre right, clean water, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, gig economy, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, life extension, Occupy movement, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rosa Parks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism
Monika, who I think has persuaded herself I’m deeply impressed with Tamera, agrees to give me a final tour of the whole place before I leave later today. ‘Our applications for building permission are stuck with the authorities,’ she says, as we walk through constellations of wooden shacks and run-down caravans. ‘Therefore we still have to live very temporarily.’ Everyone is fed up with living in caravans. People have few possessions: some have battered television sets, a few books and second-hand clothes. They aren’t completely off-grid here, but everything is just a little worn out. In addition to living in temporary accommodation, the typical Tamerian day can be long and hard. It often starts with some form of meditation (although some attend God Point). Then, depending on the role, it’s on to the day job. Monika shows me the pottery workshop, with two people hard at work designing a sculpture for the community centre. In the sewing workshop, three women are repairing clothes and making new ones from scraps.
Otherwise we’ll just ship in the coal from further away and that’ll be even worse for the environment.’ ‘I’ll bet some of them used steel to bike here,’ added the second miner. ‘Hey, you know what? We could have done them a deal!’ replied the first. ‘Haha!’ Activists are always caught in this hypocrite-or-fanatic bind. It’s difficult to unplug entirely from the modern world. They want to have a holiday and also need a laptop. When they do they’re hypocrites. If they go off-grid or refuse to fly, they’re fanatics. The activists understood Merthyr Tydfil’s problems. They knew it used to be a bustling, successful centre of iron mining and that it now ranks as one of the worst places to live in the United Kingdom. They knew that Ffos-y-fran has created jobs and a community fund.13 The coal industry is dying, and the activists chanted that they want better (greener) jobs for these miners and called for more government investment in the region.
The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility by Robert Zubrin
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, battle of ideas, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gravity well, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, more computing power than Apollo, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, off grid, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, private space industry, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment
So rather than consider SPS as a competitor to one-thousand-megawatt municipal nuclear or natural-gas-fired power plants providing cheap bulk power, it might be better to think of it as a technology for supplying power on demand to remote locations, replacing the one-to-ten-megawatt-class diesel generators that are currently used to provide power to off-grid Arctic oil drilling sites or isolated military bases at great expense, logistical difficulty, and, in some cases, serious risk. Such customers might well be happy to pay the higher SPS price to get the power they need. Instead of one-thousand-megawatt SPS units with a mass of eight thousand tons trying to compete with cheap grid power, SPS designs should focus on five-megawatt systems weighing forty tons, providing premium power to off-grid customers who really need it and are willing to pay the price. Small-scale power grids in isolated developing-sector locations are also a potential market. Rapid provision of emergency backup power deliverable via field-deployable rectenna systems in the wake of disasters is another possibility.
The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution: A Quest for Sustainable Power by Keith Barnham
Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, carbon footprint, credit crunch, decarbonisation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Naomi Klein, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, wikimedia commons
In such villages, stand-alone PV and small-scale wind power can pump water to irrigate the desert, provide the electricity to cool medicines, recharge mobile phones and, in combination with cheap batteries, provide the power to illuminate school homework in the evening, all vital for development. My alternative suggestion for extending the solar revolution outside Europe and North America is to encourage the governments and international financiers to fund wind turbine and solar panel factories in the sun-rich countries. These factories can produce electricity generators that are suitable for both on-grid and off-grid applications. They can also supply the PV cells to power replica solar factories and self-sustaining greenhouses; both are technologies that deserve sections on their own below. When the artificial leaf has been developed, PV systems will be able to generate solar fuels with their excess electrical power. It makes much more sense to export energy in the form of solar fuel than electricity. The governments of the oil-rich countries should be particularly keen to support the research and development of solar fuel production, given that their oil resources are depleting.
I suspect that many autocratic southern governments in sun-rich countries were keen to see mobile phone infrastructure installed because their internal security people need to communicate. They are not so keen on PV because their urban elite prefer central power generation in cities. Ironically, the mobile networks, often powered by PV are now facilitating democracy movements in many of these countries. This is introducing the mass of the population living far from a grid to the benefits of solar power. CPV will be even more suitable for these off-grid power applications. The sunlight concentrators and three times higher cell efficiency will eventually make CPV cheaper than PV in sun-rich areas. CPV provides more electric power for a given area. Also the CPV system, mounted on a pillar, can track the sun throughout the day, unlike a fixed PV system. Another irony is that GaAs technology, on which the mobile infrastructure and the mobile phones depend, is similar to that in CPV, as we saw in Chapter 6.
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke
addicted to oil, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, demand response, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, full employment, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Menlo Park, Negawatt, new economy, off grid, post-oil, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, the built environment, too big to fail, washing machines reduced drudgery, Whole Earth Catalog
These activities, the tinkering as much as more formal constructions, are collectively known as grid edge, a term that encompasses everything from hooking up a generator to a house or adding some solar panels to the garage roof or using a 50-MW acronymically named S.P.I.D.E.R.S. microgrid for your base, to building a wind farm, a substation, and private lines into your corporate headquarters. It is here, at the thick black border between being on-grid (and thus reliant upon an infrastructure that belonged solely to the electric company) and being off-grid (and thus having no power, as my own father did during the 1970s), that alternative visions and structures for power production are taking root. It is here, at the grid’s edge, that microgrids blossom and grow. It is here that unstable environments are reworked into stable ones and that brittle is being remade in the idiom of resiliency. In the case of the military, this means standardized electric power regardless of the circumstances.
any piece of it: A couple of the Straws’ neighbors to the south, the Yoxulls, have been off the grid since they built their house eighteen years ago because they didn’t want to pay the utility $20,000 to extend the existing system of lines to a new pole. “of a typical tactical operations center”: Adams III et al. (2010), 46. “meet power requirements”: According to Adams III et al., “[the] inherent advantage of [renewables for deployed off-grid operations] over conventional petroleum-fueled systems is that combined with demand reduction, they greatly reduce and even eliminate the need to provide fuel logistic to remote sites, saving manpower, funds, and most importantly decreasing the risk to forces delivering supplies over contested lines of communication.” They go on: “In addition, solar-PV and wind technologies offer significant inherent security features in that they are quiet and have low thermal signatures” (2010), 44–45.
Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson
different worldview, dumpster diving, energy security, full employment, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), McMansion, megacity, mutually assured destruction, off grid, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, urban decay, Works Progress Administration
Or—could it be stopped? Could they go to Phil Chase and lay out the whole story, and get him to root out Caroline’s ex and his whole operation, whatever it was? Root it out from the top down? Were the spy agencies so imbricated into the fabric of the government (and the military) that they were beyond presidential control, or even presidential knowledge? Or inquiry? If it weren’t for his going-off-grid status, he would have called up Edgardo to ask his opinion on this. As it was he could only continue to think, and worry, and drive. Somewhere in New Jersey it occurred to him that as he was on the road north, he must therefore have decided to go. He had decided something! And without even trying. Maybe decisions now had to occur without one really noticing them happening, or wondering how. It was so hard to say.
Show up to work, work, disappear, then show up again the next day. This was important, given the things that were happening. What would happen if he got Edgardo’s help to take all the transponders out of his van? But that would alert Cooper that Frank knew the chips were there and had removed them. It was better the way it was, perhaps, so that he could find them and remove them when he really had to, and then travel off-grid. He might need the van if Caroline went back to Mount Desert Island and he wanted to drive up to see her. In general it was an advantage. That was what Edgardo had meant. He didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t figure it out, and he had no place to stay. What to do, how to live. Always a question, but never more so than now. He could do this, he could do that. Anyone could; no one had to. Do the duty of the day.
The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar
Unfortunately, the United States is playing directly into the hands of cyberterrorists by championing a centralized smart grid. The European Union and other governments, by contrast, are deploying a distributed smart grid—or Energy Internet—that lessens the potential threat and damage that can be inflicted by a massive cyberattack. Even if the electrical transformers were to flame out, if a fully functioning Energy Internet were operational across every region of the country, local communities could go off-grid and continue to generate their own green electricity, sharing it with their neighbors and businesses on microgrids, keeping the power and lights on, at least long enough to keep society functioning. Interestingly, a similar concern about the vulnerability of America’s communications network inspired, at least in part, the creation of the Internet. In the 1960s, Paul Baran and other researchers at the Rand Corporation began to ponder the question of how to ensure the continued operability of the nation’s communications network in the event of a nuclear attack.
The reason this is done is so power and utility operators can control how the power is dispersed along the grid. They worry that with dynamic pricing monitoring meters available at every micropower site—alerting the owner about moment-to-moment changes in the price of electricity—small generators of electricity might program their system to only sell to the main grid when the price is high and go off-grid and use their electricity when they choose. The shortcomings of this system became apparent in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when electrical power on Long Island and in the New Jersey coastal towns went out. Many homes and offices with installed solar panels on their roofs were unable to deploy them. Ed Antonio, a homeowner in Queens, equipped his home with a $70,000 solar system powered by 42 solar panels; it went unused, as did similar green micropower systems in the region.
Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made by Gaia Vince
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, bank run, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mars Rover, Masdar, megacity, mobile money, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, supervolcano, sustainable-tourism
Indeed, solar power proves far more reliable than grid power in many developing countries. During India’s frequent blackouts, it is often the poorest off-grid villages with recently installed solar panels that have uninterrupted power, enabling them to continue to pump water for crop irrigation, for example. The sun supplies our planet with a constant flow of 120,000 terawatts of energy, which powers our entire world from bacteria to plants and animals, to weather systems and chemical cycles. Humanity uses around the same amount of energy in a year as the sun provides in an hour. The problem is that the sun’s energy is dispersed, whereas we need to use it in a concentrated form. Desert solar power is one way of doing that. Companies have been quick to see the market in off-grid homes that need phone juice, and a variety of pay-as-you-go solar options have sprung up across Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler
basic income, big-box store, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial independence, gender pay gap, global supply chain, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Nash: game theory, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, medical bankruptcy, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, white flight
Most of these value-based choices are morally rooted, but not all of them. Teams shooting three-pointers aren’t trying to right some wrong. They’re looking for a better way to win. Bentoism doesn’t force any specific values beyond a greater awareness of what’s going on. You can be a fast-food chain and make a Bentoist choice. You can be an environmentalist and make a Bentoist choice. You can live off-grid or you can be a pop star. You can be a Christian or a Muslim. Bentoism doesn’t tell you who to be. It helps you see how your own values line up with the situation at hand, and empowers you to make more self-coherent, values-based choices. This way of thinking is growing. As I write this, the country-turned-pop star Taylor Swift has signed a new major label record deal. In her negotiations, she got the label to make a fascinating concession.
Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley
assortative mating, call centre, clean water, commoditize, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, off grid, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War
The next ruling class for our time is probably not at the bottom of our economic pyramid but rather off to the side somewhere. No-border activists? Wikipedia contributors? Perhaps we should look to who inhabits the abandoned spaces (social or physical) of the information economy once it starts to recede. Or, following the logic of the Coal Era and the Oil Century, maybe we should look to the next energy source for our clues. Increasingly, many individuals will be looking to move “off grid”—providing as much as possible of their own, self-sufficient power through wind, solar, and other means. So, the pendulum from our networked society may swing back from intravidualism to individualism once again. But who knows? It is hard enough trying to divine what is happening now, without making predictions about an economy yet to come. Author’s Note It’s the job of the sociologist to show us how, in the words of C.
Notes From an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back by Mark O'Connell
Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Carrington event, clean water, Colonization of Mars, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Donner party, Elon Musk, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, life extension, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-work, Sam Altman, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the built environment, yield curve
It was the future domain, in other words, of the postapocalyptic petit bourgeoisie. The place was, I read on the company’s website, “strategically and centrally located in one of the safest areas of North America,” at an altitude of about 3,800 feet and some one hundred miles from the nearest known military nuclear targets. “Vivos security team can spot anyone approaching the property from 3 miles away. Massive. Safe. Secure. Isolated. Private. Defensible. Off-Grid. Centrally located.” (It was not intuitively clear to me how a place could be both isolated and centrally located, but then such claims were no more lavishly contradictory than the sort of thing you’d come across in even the most mundanely pre-apocalyptic of property listings. At any rate, if pretty much the entire rest of the world had perished—nuclear attacks, cannibalism, paroxysms of miscellaneous savagery—any settlement of living humans would have legitimate grounds to proclaim itself centrally located.)
Work in the Future The Automation Revolution-Palgrave MacMillan (2019) by Robert Skidelsky Nan Craig
3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, anti-work, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, collective bargaining, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, data is the new oil, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, post-work, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, working poor
In the 3000 years predating the agrarian revolution, new cities and towns emerged and often failed after a time, as if people were struggling to stabilise settled centres of population. It seems that all too often, without the necessary anchors of society, people were prepared to walk away (Scott 2017). Scott is fascinated by anarchistic societies challenging the power of the state. Today we’re witnessing an emerging movement for living “off grid” as people choose to pursue less complicated, often less connected lives away from resource-hungry power sources. This movement is tiny but its ability to influence has been magnified among the global audience of the internet. In our more recent past, the role of religion in the underpinning of working patterns has been crucial. The protestant work ethic, so lauded in capitalism today, was at the very least identified and, in some senses, defined by Victorian thinkers such as Thomas Carlyle, who wrote of “the altar of work”.
The Quantum Curators and the Fabergé Egg: A Fast Paced Portal Adventure by Eva St. John
Got to run. Sit still and don’t try to follow me.’ #30 Neith – Beta Earth I was running across the bridge now and almost at Julius’ last known location. It was the same place where Paul’s wrist brace had switched off its geo-tag. I carried on talking to Ramin. ‘This is madness, but I’m going to play along. You can explain later, but I’m alerting Clio. She needs to know that Paul has gone off grid.’ Opening up a direct channel to Clio, I told her what Ramin had just said, leaving off the bit that he wasn’t currently trusting her either. ‘I think Ramin’s right. Why else would Paul have switched his comms off? And it would explain who’s been running interference.’ It explained nothing as far as I was concerned. I liked Paul. A lot. He was my friend, and sometimes a very enthusiastic bedfellow.
How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna
Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize
Berlin has contracted companies to green fifteen hundred buildings, reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 25 percent. The greening of the Empire State Building presently under way in New York City is self-financing through savings in utility bills and will achieve the emissions reduction equivalent of taking nineteen thousand cars off the street. Even poor cities can change citizen and consumer behavior, leapfrogging to low-carbon, off-grid solutions such as distributed power networks that draw from multiple sources of energy. In Mexico City, the World Resources Institute ran a program mostly funded by the Shell Foundation to retrofit diesel metro buses with catalytic converters. All the efforts under way to control Western emissions will be a quaint sideshow if they aren’t copied in China, where hundreds of state-owned companies shun environmental regulations and are impervious to external scrutiny and shame as each year they build enough coal-fired plants to power Italy.
The Switch: How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power for All by Chris Goodall
3D printing, additive manufacturing, decarbonisation, demand response, Elon Musk, energy transition, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Haber-Bosch Process, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, M-Pesa, Negawatt, off grid, Peter Thiel, smart meter, standardized shipping container, Tim Cook: Apple, wikimedia commons
Lithium ion may be best at addressing needs for batteries that can discharge very rapidly, giving a surge of power when needed. They can deliver, when required, a large number of kilowatts compared to the total number of kilowatt hours in store: like a bath of water that cannot hold very much but which has a large plug hole. Cars need this sort of power. Other types of battery will be required to provide a consistent power level for many hours, perhaps during the night hours in order to power an off-grid village. It’s my guess that a completely different type called a ‘flow’ battery will meet this need. Flow batteries can hold a lot of energy but only dispense a relatively small amount each hour. By contrast to the lithium ion batteries, this is a large bath with a smaller outlet. Lithium ion We can thank the car manufacturers for much of the recent progress in lithium ion electricity storage.
The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations by David Pilling
Airbnb, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Branko Milanovic, call centre, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Hangouts, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mortgage debt, off grid, old-boy network, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peak oil, performance metric, pez dispenser, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, science of happiness, shareholder value, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, World Values Survey
The night-light method has been used to gain a better understanding of the massive informal economy in India, a country of 1.3 billion people where more than 90 percent of the working population toils outside the formal sector. One could theoretically ask electricity companies how much power they sell in each district. But satellite imagery provides a more accurate picture, since official figures don’t count small off-grid schemes powered by solar or hydro. Nor do electricity companies properly account for the power that trickles away via inefficient grids or is stolen by poor communities adept at tapping power from overhead cables. Light-intensity data has another advantage: it tells you more about economic activity at a local level than conventional data. Because of the high cost and practical constraints of conducting detailed surveys, poor countries rely on national extrapolations compiled from thin samples.
A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh
A. Roger Ekirch, big-box store, card file, dark matter, game design, index card, megacity, megastructure, Minecraft, off grid, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, smart cities, statistical model, the built environment, urban planning
He had driven up from Philadelphia that morning with his partner, who goes by the nickname Lady Merlin. Dev is on the board of directors of TOOOL. He was dressed in a black polo shirt, a TOOOL logo prominently displayed on his chest, with dozens of laser-printed “love picking” leaflets slipped neatly into the pockets of his cargo shorts. Wrapped on one wrist was a magnetic bracelet to which he could affix his picks, swapping one tool out for another in an instant, a performative mix of off-grid survivalist gear wed with the quirks of urban maker culture. “Love picking,” as I was shortly to learn, is by no means universally sanctioned among the lockpicking crowd. A vigorous and far from polite discussion had been developing on the social news website Reddit for the past month. The event on the Brooklyn Bridge had initially been proposed as a kind of antigraffiti gesture by an otherwise anonymous Redditor called Bobcat; Bobcat is a get-off-my-lawn, gun-rights type who had been roused to anger by what he considers a blatant misuse of city infrastructure.
Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan
3D printing, augmented reality, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, friendly fire, global supply chain, Internet of things, Mason jar, off grid, Panamax, post-Panamax, ransomware, RFID, security theater, self-driving car, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, the built environment, urban decay, urban planning
I hope it’s worth all this shit.” “Yeah,” she says. “Yeah. So do I.” 4. BEFORE Dumb City: The Neighbourhood That Logged Off 7 July 2021 Neeta Singh BBC News magazine In a hip neighbourhood in Bristol, a controversial group of anarchists are rebelling against the smart city by blocking out the internet. Neeta Singh visits the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft to find out what life off-grid looks like in the centre of one of the UK’s most connected cities. The whole world around me is cycling with colours—every building down this busy Bristol street is covered with animated patterns: flocks of birds scroll across their surfaces; intricate, alien-looking plants burst forth from the architecture; and stylised faces look down on me with cool disdain. And I can’t share or tell anyone about it: my timelines aren’t working.
Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline by Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson
affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global reserve currency, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kibera, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, off grid, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, urban planning, working-age population, young professional, zero-sum game
(There were fears it would reach 1.5 billion tons by 2020.)437 As for the United States, the second-largest emitter, here is one encouraging statistic: electricity use in that country has been flat since 2007, even though the economy has grown substantially. One reason, depressingly, might be manufacturing plants closing their doors as jobs shift overseas. But another, more encouragingly, could be off-grid electricity generation—people heating their homes with solar panels, for instance—and energy conservation.438 For all three of these highest-emitting countries, and the rest of the world, major advances in battery storage capacity to preserve energy generated by solar and wind could lessen the need for fossil fuels overall. Nonetheless, the world isn’t expected to reach peak fossil fuel until around 2040, because of growing demand in the developing world.439 China’s coal-generated electrical capacity is still three times that of the United States, India still has plans for 370 new coal-fired generating stations on its books,440 and in 2017 Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord (though many state governments plan to meet their commitments anyway).
Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner
23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day
‘Asserting the interests of the Indo-European (Aryan) people through the cultivation of unity on grounds of race, language, culture, religion, tradition and tribal structure’. 123 members. Breed Them Out. ‘You are 9% of the world’s population, this group is for people to discuss and meet with people whom [sic] want to reverse this trend, this group is anti-birth control, pro-polygamy’. 7 members. Others include ‘Christian Identity’ and ‘GamerGate Veterans’. Some users appear to be bored, others lonely. One messages me, ‘I want a family too, I live off grid in Canada on 120 acres,’ and gives me his exact ancestry. ‘I am English Acadian French, Scottish, Belgian, Irish and Norwegian.’ Others are more straightforward with their political goals: ‘My dream is to create a social movement for the formation of a “European Israel”. I would love to see it grow from secret society to social club, to political party, to nation.’ Lucas from southern California is in his mid-thirties, likes sailing and bluegrass music, hates football and techno beats.
Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are Thekeys to Sustainability by David Owen
A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, delayed gratification, distributed generation, drive until you qualify, East Village, food miles, garden city movement, hydrogen economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, linear programming, McMansion, Murano, Venice glass, Negawatt, New Urbanism, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, placebo effect, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, unemployed young men, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city, zero-sum game
Indeed, this second transition is already well under way all over the world, with environmental, economic, and geopolitical consequences yet to be fully reckoned. Supplies of those fuels are finite, too, and they are subject to the same peak effects as oil, but their current relative abundance will allow the party to go on for some time. A full transition to renewables will have to take place at some point, but we have a very long way to go. As of the end of 2007, the installed generating capacity of all the photovoltaics in the United States, both off-grid and grid-connected, added up to less than half of the generating capacity of the Hoover Dam. Some economists dismiss the notion of catastrophic energy peaks. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, in the revised and expanded (2006) edition of their best-selling book Freakonomics , write:What most of these doomsday scenarios have gotten wrong is the fundamental idea of economics: people respond to incentives.
There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee
air freight, autonomous vehicles, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, food miles, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Hans Rosling, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, neoliberal agenda, off grid, performance metric, profit motive, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, urban planning
Thanks especially to everyone in the Institute for Social Futures and all those who chipped in their thoughts at the Global Futures events, where nearly all the themes in this book have had an airing. Thanks to Matt Lloyd and all at CUP for conﬁdence in the concept, patience, and of course great edits. All the mistakes are mine. Three sheds let me escape from the noise and haste, and were critical for perspective. One is at the end of my garden. One is an off-grid metal box on Colonsay, my favourite Scottish island. The third is the unforgettable Sunrise on the Cumbrian West Coast, to which Chris and Elaine Lane very kindly lent me the key. Most of all, as always, thanks to Liz, Bill and Rosie for putting up with the whole process and dad’s grumpy pre-occupation. INTRODUCTION Welcome to a new era Almost every year since records began, our species has had more energy at its disposal than it had the year before.
The Cohousing Handbook: Building a Place for Community by Chris Scotthanson, Kelly Scotthanson
• Conditional use requirements ✦ daycare, for instance • Development permit requirements ✦ site plan review ✦ design review Utilities If we expect to use local utilities, what utilities are available at what cost and what schedule? • Sewer • Municipal system timing and/or requirements • Individual or site specific system requirements • Potential for neighborhood collaboration • Water • Municipal system timing and/or requirements • Individual or site specific system requirements • Power • Local system • Off grid • Communications ☞ 87 THE COHOUSING HANDBOOK 88 You wouldn’t want to do a full Feasibility Analysis on land you have not yet tied up (completed an agreement to purchase) because it can be both time consuming and costly. If you do enough of them, and they don’t result in land that works, it will also get frustrating. The Feasibility Analysis is a way of reducing risk. The more you know about the land, and the sooner you know it, the lower the risk that you will waste your time and money, or that you will fail.
Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman
3D printing, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, game design, global supply chain, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, lifelogging, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, Minecraft, new economy, off grid, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, the market place
Josh Harker, an independent artist and designer, describes himself as a classically trained artist and sculptor who “uses bits, ones and zeros, to express himself in a human way, to make something new.” I stumbled upon Josh’s artwork on crowdfunding site Kickstarter where he raised a record amount of funds for a sculpture project called Crania Anatomica Filigre, a white, plastic ornately filigreed 3D printed skull. When we spoke on the phone, I learned that he grew up in the Mississippi River valley in Illinois. He described his bohemian childhood as one that “included post ‘60s off-grid communal living, Hell’s Angels babysitters, complete artistic immersion, and family tragedy.” Today he’s a full-time artist and a leading digital sculptor. Josh explained, “Most of what I do is digital.” Josh learned how to use design software and 3D printers several years ago when he owned and managed a boutique design firm. “I don’t know how a designer could stay in the marketplace these days without knowing how to use the tools,” he said.
Net Zero: How We Stop Causing Climate Change by Dieter Helm
3D printing, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demand response, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, fixed income, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haber-Bosch Process, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, market design, means of production, North Sea oil, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, remote working, reshoring, Ronald Reagan, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Thomas Malthus
In the battery-swapping case, the time of the day or night when the batteries are charged makes no difference to the driver. The batteries can be recharged whenever there is a system surplus, and in particular at night. The charging process exploits the variance in the other electricity system demands. In theory, no new power stations might be needed for the system. It would just use the existing power stations more of the time. It gets even better. In theory, the charging could be ‘off grid’ altogether. Since it does not matter when the batteries are charged, the intermittency of renewables would not matter. The batteries could be charged when the wind blows and during the day for solar panels. The point is that the overall system costs might be remarkably low compared with the instant fast charging. The key obstacle is the classic one of getting agreement to pursue the public system good, rather than the narrow interests of each car company considered in isolation.
The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa by Calestous Juma
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, business climate, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, conceptual framework, creative destruction, double helix, energy security, energy transition, global value chain, income per capita, industrial cluster, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land tenure, M-Pesa, microcredit, mobile money, non-tariff barriers, off grid, out of africa, precision agriculture, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, total factor productivity, undersea cable
To effectively capitalize on the potential of this technology in Africa, proponents advise broadening the dissemination of innovations beyond those developed by the traditional research and extension systems to include localized farmer innovations as well.39 Mobile phone apps represent another cost-effective and efficient way for smallholder farmers to access up-to-date information.40 Kenya first developed an information portal called Infonet that aimed to provide farmers and extension agents with data from Kenya’s agricultural research ecosystem. However, a majority of farmers lacked Internet access. In 2010, an innovative platform called “iCow” sought to use increasingly popular and accessible mobile technology to bridge the gap. iCow started out as “Mkulima F.I.S.H,” or Farmer Information Service Helpline, as a way to educate farmers over the phone. Mkulima F.I.S.H. was designed to be an off-grid agricultural wiki for mobile phone users. One component of the platform was the cow calendar, which eventually won an Apps4Africa competition. Subsequently, a team of developers and a customer service team worked closely with farmers on the ground so that farmer challenges were prioritized, and smart solutions were designed and 204 THE NEW HARVEST developed to address these problems. Today, iCow offers a variety of products.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I want to be normal Darcy A lot has happened to you, Queenie. It’s a huge amount to process. But you’ll get there! Queenie I guess Kyazike Ah, fam. I know it’s mad, still, but you’ll be back to yourself in no time. Trust me. In the meantime, you ain’t missing out on anything. I haven’t even been on any dates I can entertain you with Queenie Ha Queenie I think I’m going to go off-grid for a bit, if that’s all right. Talking to you just reminds me that I’m a shell of the Queenie you were friends with Darcy You’re Queenie! You don’t have to be one way or another for us to love you. But you take your time. We’ll always be here. Xxxxxx Kyazike Exactly. What Darcy said. Love, fam That night and the night after, I lay awake, thinking about how best to approach the introduction of counseling to my grandparents.
Free Money for All: A Basic Income Guarantee Solution for the Twenty-First Century by Mark Walker
3D printing, 8-hour work day, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, commoditize, financial independence, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, intangible asset, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, market clearing, means of production, new economy, obamacare, off grid, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, working poor
We are approaching the crossover point where installing solar panels is more cost advantageous for many homeowners: the MOP (electricity generation equipment) is being commoditized by huge robotic solar panel factories building cheap solar panels. The process is not complete, since most home solar installations simply feed into the central grid. However, the price of batteries continues to drop, 22 so before too long, consumers will be able to go “off grid”—producing all their own electrical energy needs. Individual home owners will own the MOP to produce their own electricity. That is, we will see the rise of millions of “energy factory owners”: people producing their own energy from their solar MOP. Again, my neighbors will have little incentive to buy electricity from me when they can buy cheap solar cells and produce their own electricity. We can foresee too the demise of many fast-food restaurants.
The new village green: living light, living local, living large by Stephen Morris
back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cleantech, collective bargaining, Columbine, Community Supported Agriculture, computer age, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Firefox, index card, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, McMansion, Menlo Park, Negawatt, off grid, peak oil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review
It could also go a long way towards meeting a greater portion of the state’s energy needs from local resources while simultaneously strengthening the local economy. It’s a win-win proposition. Almost every city and town in Vermont has the potential for one or more Community Supported Energy projects. Perhaps you can get one started in your community. 134 chapter 6 : Small is Beautiful Dave Smith, the “Smith” in Smith & Hawken, presently runs an independent bookstore and lives off-grid. Friends Meeting by Dave Smith W hile the Vietnam War was still in its infancy, two little old ladies arrived at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California, every Saturday morning at 11:00 and stood silently at the entrance for an hour protesting the war. They were there every Saturday without fail, and they were alone in their protest for months. But as the war became an issue in the press, others began joining them, and in 1968, the year Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam had exposed the futility of the war, hundreds stood with them in protest.
Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class Crisis by David Boyle
anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, housing crisis, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, mortgage debt, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, precariat, quantitative easing, school choice, Slavoj Žižek, social intelligence, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working poor
And not just by the broad American definition (average income) either, but by the specific British definitions which are harder to pin down, but which seem to be about attitudes and upbringing, culture and prejudices. But there are many kinds of middle class, even in the UK, and I hope this book will strike a chord with all of them. From the first-generation middle classes who followed the entrepreneurial path set out by Margaret Thatcher right through to the crustiest scion of the landed gentry. From the brand-new estate outside Bishop’s Stortford to the tumbledown off-grid eco-cottage outside Totnes. I mention Little Venice because anyone reading this book deserves to know about the niche in the class system I am writing from, but I am only too aware that there is more than one way of being middle-class. In my case, I am also middle-class because my parents are. Both my grandfathers were in the services, one rising to be a colonel in the army and the other to be a captain in the navy.
Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King
23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks
(Credit: Tesla) Nine days after Telsa’s announcement, the company had already received 85,000 orders, worth more than US$800 million,15 for its new home battery, leading Tesla to announce that the battery is already sold out until mid-2016. The essential problem here is clear. With the adoption of solar energy and the deployment of the Tesla Powerwall or similar products, many homes will soon attempt to go off-grid. If enough homes do so over the next 20 to 30 years, existing utility companies will lose money and will certainly be unable to maintain or service the grid, leading more homes to rely on newer technologies as the grid fails. The two decades-long transition away from fossil fuel-based generation has already started. A brief written for the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) by the University of Cambridge and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) stated that solar photovoltaic power is expected to reach grid parity in 80 per cent of countries within the next two years.16 Surely much cheaper, cleaner solar energy for all is better than pulling coal out of the ground and converting it to run across wires laid over 120 million wooden poles?
The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World by Jeremy Rifkin
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, American ideology, barriers to entry, borderless world, carbon footprint, centre right, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, decarbonisation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, global supply chain, hydrogen economy, income inequality, industrial cluster, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, manufacturing employment, marginal employment, Martin Wolf, Masdar, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar
Green mortgages could also help facilitate the building conversions. Banks and other lending companies could provide lower interest rates for businesses and homeowners that install solar panels. Assuming an average of eight to nine years for payback on the energy savings from the installation, businesses and homeowners holding a twenty-year mortgage would be generating all of their own electricity off grid for the last eleven to twelve years of their loan. The monthly savings on the electricity bills could be leveraged against the monthly mortgage payment and be the basis for a reduced interest rate. The reconfiguration of the building as a power plant, in turn, appreciates the assessed value of the real estate holding. Some banks are already beginning to offer special green mortgages. In the years ahead, green mortgages are likely to restructure the mortgage lending business and help create a building boom in countries around the world.
The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos
Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Markoff, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, off grid, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, scientific worldview, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, zero-sum game
Far from banning drones—the precursors of tomorrow’s warbots—countries large and small are busy developing them, presumably because in their estimation the benefits outweigh the risks. As with any weapon, it’s safer to have robots than to trust the other side not to. If in future wars millions of kamikaze drones will destroy conventional armies in minutes, they’d better be our drones. If World War III will be over in seconds, as one side takes control of the other’s systems, we’d better have the smarter, faster, more resilient network. (Off-grid systems are not the answer: systems that aren’t networked can’t be hacked, but they can’t compete with networked systems, either.) And, on balance, a robot arms race may be a good thing, if it hastens the day when the Fifth Geneva Convention bans humans in combat. War will always be with us, but the casualties of war need not be. Google + Master Algorithm = Skynet? Of course, robot armies also raise a whole different specter.
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons
His idea soon grew into the Global Village Construction Set, which aims to demonstrate step-by-step how to build from scratch 50 universally useful machines, from tractors, brick makers and 3D printers to sawmills, bread ovens and wind turbines. The designs have so far been recreated by innovators in India, China, the US, Canada, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Italy and France. Based on these successes, Jakubowski and his collaborators have since launched the Open Building Institute, which aims to make open-source designs for ecological, off-grid, affordable housing available to all.81 ‘Our goal is decentralized production,’ he explains. ‘I’m talking about a business case for efficient enterprise where the traditional concept of scale becomes irrelevant. Our new concept of scale is about distributing economic power far and wide.’82 Open-source design also promises large social benefits and vast cost savings for state-funded institutions in every country, says Joshua Pearce, a leading academic and engineer in free open-source hardware.
The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet
"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, colonial rule, creative destruction, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, off grid, oil shock, out of africa, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, women in the workforce, working poor
Global freshwater requirements could increase by as much as 50 percent, creating the need for new technologies to conserve water, tap new sources where feasible, and make large-scale desalinization cost-effective. Energy requirements in developing countries will more than double over the next thirty years, and meeting this demand will be central to raising incomes and reducing poverty. Developing countries need to find cleaner, more abundant, and cost-effective energy sources, including technologies aimed specifically at their particular circumstances (such as small-scale off-grid hydro, solar, or wind sources for remote regions). New advancements in health will be needed to continue to fight disease and halt the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Climate change adds to the urgency and complexity of each of these issues. Technology alone will not solve these problems. New technologies will bring progress only in conjunction with strong global leadership and effective institutions and governance within developing countries.
In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis
3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, animal electricity, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K
These are questions that will increasingly become pertinent to the debate about our future, and which I will discuss at the end of the book. But what about the technology itself? If the increased complexity of computer systems means increased insecurity and unwanted interdependency, what can we do about that? There are two ways to deal with the problem of computers running human affairs. One is to make things simpler. Some of us may aspire to go ‘off grid’, simplifying our lives by going back to nature, throwing away our smartphones or unplugging from the Internet. I suspect, however, that only a few would choose that path, and those who did would soon discover the huge challenges of practically cutting themselves off from the civilised world. For better or for worse, humanity can only move forward and deal with such complexities by using the only realistic means available.
Men Who Hate Women: From Incels to Pickup Artists, the Truth About Extreme Misogyny and How It Affects Us All by Laura Bates
4chan, Ada Lovelace, Boris Johnson, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, off grid, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Snapchat, young professional
Level 4 is described as ‘social rejection’. As one MGTOW blogger, calling himself ‘The Observer Watches’, summarises: The MGTOW drops out of society altogether. He minimises contact with the blue-pill world and seeks to further his own ends on his own terms. For all intents and purposes, he does not exist. A urbanite might keep to his own apartment, while someone further out may simply head into the wilderness and go off-grid. Those who achieve this ultimate isolation are known as ‘ghosts’ and treated as legends within the community. But they appear to be in a minority, and most MGTOW seem happy hovering somewhere around level 2. The majority of MGTOW discussions online tend to centre more on classic manosphere complaints, like the various evils of women and ‘misandry’ (hatred of men). Most of all, they discuss the dangers inherent in interacting with women – dangers apparently so great that the only possible means of self-preservation is total isolation.
Tcl/Tk in a Nutshell by Paul Raines, Jeff Tranter
If newGeometry is omitted, window's current geometry is returned. wm grid window [baseWidth baseHeight widthInc heightInc] Request that window be managed as a gridded window. BaseWidth and baseHeight specify the number of grid units that the current requested size of window represents. WidthInc and heightInc specify the number of pixels in each horizontal and vertical grid unit. Specifying all values as empty strings turns off gridded management for window. If the arguments are omitted, their current values are returned (or an empty string if window is not gridded). wm group window [pathName] Add window to the group of related windows led by window pathname. The window manager may use this information to unmap the entire group of windows when the leader window is iconified. If pathname is the empty string, window is removed from any group with which it is associated.
The Great Lakes Water Wars by Peter Annin
The low-water period lasted so long that many scientists, policymakers, and property owners began to wonder: Is this what climate change looks like on the Great Lakes? Some of the most alarmed stakeholders were cottage owners on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, a stunningly beautiful section of the Great Lakes Basin that is home to some 30,000 islands, numerous parks, gin-clear waters, and thousands of venerable off-grid cottages, many of which have been in families for generations. By definition, island properties are only accessible by boat. When low water levels render docks useless, getting to the family cottage with a boatload of summer supplies suddenly becomes a major logistical operation. Many cottagers spent thousands of dollars on dredging to access their docks. But Georgian Bay’s geology meant dredging was not an option for everyone; in many areas, the lakebed is solid rock.
The Routes of Man: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today by Ted Conover
airport security, Atahualpa, carbon footprint, Deng Xiaoping, East Village, financial independence, Google Earth, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, off grid, Ronald Reagan, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, urban renewal
Fifteen years later, for reasons involving a girlfriend named Margot, my work as a writer, and perhaps a strain of counterphobia in my personality, I became a resident of Brooklyn. One cold weekend in January, my friend Seth came to town and, to get some fresh air, we decided to walk the length of Manhattan. Broadway seemed the logical route. On a sunny Sunday morning, we rode the subway to the financial district downtown. Its off-grid, short streets would have been more congenial to pedestrians 150 or 200 years earlier; on this frigid morning, the high-rise office buildings channeled the wind and blocked the sun. The most imposing of these, of course, were the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. They stood a block west of Broadway between Liberty and Vesey streets, just about ten minutes into our fourteen-mile walk. Around City Hall Park, the open space and trees provided a respite from all the giant buildings, as well as a good view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower's Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again by Brittany Kaiser
Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, centre right, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crony capitalism, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Etonian, haute couture, illegal immigration, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, off grid, open borders, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, rolodex, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, the High Line, the scientific method, WikiLeaks, young professional
Even though I was finished at the company myself, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss, that this was how a company whose future had been so bright might finally come to an end—not through governmental hearings and oversight, but through the power of Facebook. The next day, Saturday, March 17, I headed out early with others from Restart to help with the recovery effort in rural areas of the island. I had no connectivity through most of the day as we worked with a group called Off Grid Relief to set up retractable solar panels in the countryside. For months upon months, people there had lived without electricity, and therefore no refrigeration or lights, let alone internet and phone service. It felt good to get my hands dirty again, to put my shoulder to an effort that directly helped others. It was gratifying to watch as families turned on the lights and appliances in their homes and began the business of establishing a new normal after the disaster.
Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons From the World’s Limits by Richard Davies
agricultural Revolution, air freight, Anton Chekhov, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, clean water, complexity theory, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial innovation, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, large denomination, Livingstone, I presume, Malacca Straits, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, school choice, school vouchers, Scramble for Africa, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, the payments system, trade route, Travis Kalanick, uranium enrichment, urban planning, wealth creators, white picket fence, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional
Next to this communal bathroom there is a pile of rubbish, perhaps 8 feet high. In the far distance the Gran Torre glows like a shining platinum ingot. Everything here is strung together, recycled or borrowed, and this makeshift approach to life, together with the shared communal space and the rotas setting out chores, gives the community the feel of a New Age hippie encampment. But the people of the Nuevo 14 dump are not economic outsiders seeking a new way of living off-grid: all the men and women here work, holding down full-time jobs in rich neighbourhoods such as Las Condes and Vitacura. SANTIAGO’S NEW MIDDLE CLASS ‘We live here because it is our best option to be close to work,’ says 24-year-old Melissa Neira. Santiago is a sprawling commuter city and travelling to jobs in the central districts takes around 90 minutes by bus (Nuevo 14 takes its name from stop number 14 on a ‘new’ bus route launched many years ago).
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin
"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War
Maycock had already become enamored with photovoltaics while working at Texas Instruments. He now quickly built up the government’s program, which for the first time funded substantial amounts of solar research. It was Maycock who, out of his DOE budget, paid for the solar water heater that adorned the roof of Jimmy Carter’s White House. But solar cells were the main focus. “It was proved beyond a doubt that PV could be a very reliable, cost-effective, off-grid source of electricity,” recalled Maycock. The challenge was to bring the cost of PV down and the efficiencies up, so that they could compete with the grid. “We put in place a structured program for cost reduction,” said Maycock. Spurred on by grants, companies large and small charged into the field, exploring different ways to increase efficiency. But in the early 1980s, the Reagan administration came into office and sliced the solar budget by two thirds.
When he was governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger launched with much fanfare a network of hydrogen-fueling stations that he dubbed “California’s Hydrogen Highway to the Environmental Future.” But that particular highway did not get all that far. By 2010 there were fewer than two dozen stations in the entire state selling hydrogen fuel.28 Another possibility is a fuel cell powered by natural gas rather than hydrogen—so-called solid oxide fuel cells. Some think, however, that natural gas fuel cells are better suited for stationary uses, such as off-grid power generation, rather than as power sources for automobiles. WHAT ABOUT NATURAL GAS? A potential rival to the EV would be the NGV—otherwise known as the natural gas vehicle. This is a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine but that uses natural gas, instead of gasoline or diesel, as fuel. Despite the fact that natural gas often costs significantly less than gasoline on an energy basis, natural gas vehicles make up only 1 percent of the total light vehicles in the world.
What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K
He then quickly added that he worked for the local volunteer fire department, which was why he had one. (Sure!) But, his dad chimed in, if cell phones are accepted, “there won’t be wires running down the street to our homes.” In pursuit of their goal to remain off the grid yet modernize, some Amish have installed inverters on their diesel generators linked to batteries to provide them with 110 off-grid volts. They power specialty appliances at first, such as an electric coffeepot. I saw one home with an electric copier in the home office part of the living room. Will the slow acceptance of modern appliances creep along until, 100 years hence, the Amish have what we have now (but will by then have left behind)? What about cars? Will the Old Order ever drive old-fashioned internal combustion clunkers, say, when the rest of the world is using personal jet packs?
Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail
In my travels, firstly my inward journeying and then as a speaker and writer, I have oft encountered a deep anguish and helplessness borne of the ubiquity of the world-devouring machine and of the near-impossibility of avoiding participation in it. To give one example among millions, people who rage against Wal-Mart still shop there, or at other stores equally a part of the global predation chain, because they feel they cannot afford to pay double the price or to do without. And what of the electricity that powers my house—coal ripped out of the tops of mountains? What of the gas that gets me places and gets deliveries to me if I go “off-grid”? I can minimize my participation in the world-devouring machine, but I cannot avoid it entirely. As people become aware that merely living in society means contributing to the evils of the world, they often go through a phase of desiring to find a completely isolated and self-sufficient intentional community—but what good does that do, while Rome burns? So what, if you are not contributing your little part to the pollution that is overwhelming the earth?
The Future Is Asian by Parag Khanna
3D printing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Basel III, blockchain, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, colonial rule, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, energy security, European colonialism, factory automation, failed state, falling living standards, family office, fixed income, flex fuel, gig economy, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Parag Khanna, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Washington Consensus, working-age population, Yom Kippur War
One by one, Asian cities are making their way toward the virtuous circle of public-private financing for clean energy and transport, lower electricity costs and reduced government subsidization, and job creation in erecting eco-efficient buildings and deploying smart sensors and meters. China’s Suning is building new low-energy data centers in all its business hubs. Hanoi, the city where today you are most likely to get hit by a motorcycle, plans to ban motorcycles and build a subway by 2030. The Philippines has begun to install tidal-power plants to harness oceanic wave energy that will allow entire islands such as Capul to be powered entirely off grid. And Adelaide, Australia, which over the past decade has transitioned to generating more than half its energy supply from renewables while promoting local agriculture through wastewater irrigation, has much to teach the rest of Asia about maximizing urban resources. Asia is the world’s largest food-producing and -consuming region, but few Asian countries use the modern machinery, irrigation techniques, and fertilizers required to get the most out of their farms.
Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend
1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar
During peak use, over two hundred transactions per second and 20 percent of Kenya’s GDP streams through the M-Pesa network.23 It is being rolled out across India, where it could eventually bring banking to hundreds of millions of poor people. Most of the world’s cities are now lit up by some kind of wireless service. But as Ericsson, a leading supplier of network equipment, points out, “Reaching the next billion subscribers means expanding to rural off-grid areas.”24 The company has developed highly efficient solar-powered cell towers for use in outlying areas where there is no electric-power infrastructure. On the consumer side, in 2010 Vodafone launched a $32 solar-powered phone in India.25 Presumably, the arrival of modern telecommunications in the countryside might provide new local economic opportunities and slow migration to cities. But it could just as likely accelerate migration by plugging ever-larger rural areas into the social and economic life of the city.
The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain by Brett Christophers
Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Corn Laws, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, Diane Coyle, estate planning, ghettoisation, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, late capitalism, market clearing, Martin Wolf, New Journalism, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, price stability, profit motive, Right to Buy, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, wealth creators
In 2011, Wightman estimated that, although around 60 per cent of Scottish land titles were in the register, the proportion of land area that was registered was far lower, because registration rates were much higher for small urban sites than for larger rural ones: ‘Since most of the 1,500 estates that dominate rural Scotland are not yet on the Land Register, the extent of land registered is only around 18 per cent.’3 New land registration legislation, introduced the following year, tried to hurry things along.4 But it has not been effective. For many owners, registration remains voluntary, and hence most of the large estates mentioned by Wightman remain ‘off grid’. At mid 2017, the estimated proportion of land registered in Scotland had inched up to only 29 per cent.5 Furthermore, gaps in title registration are only part of the visibility problem where British private landownership is concerned – and perhaps not the biggest part. Even where ownership is recorded, the identity of the ultimate, ‘real’ owner often remains obscure. Owners have long enjoyed considerable scope not to enter their true names on the registers, but instead to use the name of a private company or trust, or even a pseudonym.
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott
Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social intelligence, social software, standardized shipping container, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar
Triple-Entry Accounting: Privacy Is for Individuals, Not Corporations Triple-entry accounting is not without skeptics. Izabella Kaminska, a Financial Times reporter, believes mandating triple-entry accounting will lead to an increasing number of transactions moving off balance sheets. “There will always be those who refuse to follow the protocol, who abscond and hide secret value in parallel off-grid networks, what we call the black market, off balance sheet, shadow banking.”69 How does one reconcile non-transaction-based accounting measures, particularly the recognition of intangible assets? How are we going to track intellectual property rights, brand value, or even celebrity status—think Tom Hanks? How many bad films must this Oscar winner make before the blockchain impairs the Hanks brand value?
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac
"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, call centre, Chris Urmson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, family office, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, money market fund, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, off grid, peer-to-peer, pets.com, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, software as a service, software is eating the world, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Y Combinator
He was always game for a hot tub hang, enjoyed theme parties that obliged one to rent a tux. As he grew further from his Canadian roots and became a Californian, Camp grew his hair past his shoulders, affecting a kind of neo-hippie vibe. He looked as if he’d be just as comfortable hanging out with a surfboard in Long Beach as he would hunched in front of a MacBook Pro at the Creamery. Camp later became an annual regular at Burning Man, the weeks long off-grid bacchanal in the Nevada desert attended by thousands of techies and hippies from all across the West Coast. StumbleUpon was his claim to fame, a kind of early social network conceived back when he was in college in Calgary, long before the rise of Facebook. The site was perfect for the days of the desktop web; StumbleUpon flicked users between different websites at random, promising to offer surprising and delightful suggestions for users to “stumble upon” and enjoy.
Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence by Jacob Turner
Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Basel III, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, friendly fire, future of work, hive mind, Internet of things, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Loebner Prize, medical malpractice, Nate Silver, natural language processing, nudge unit, obamacare, off grid, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge
If AI is to hold substantive economic rights, such as the ability to own property or hold funds, then there would need to be some way in which to link the given AI system to the method of ownership. This is one of the reasons why many countries require companies to be registered so that their identity can be verified and thereby linked to certain rights. A bank account containing money would need to be in the name of someone or something. To this extent, some form of registry for AI may be an inescapable requirement for AI to hold rights. A human may be able to just about survive “off-grid”, without a social security number and outside of the knowledge of authorities, but in developed economies this is increasingly difficult. In order to access many basic goods and services, some form of local, federal or national identity verification is required. The same bottlenecking principles could be applied to AI. Thus, though not every AI entity would need to be registered, this could be made an essential prerequisite in order for that AI system to avail itself of certain pieces of legal and economic infrastructure, such as insurance, the banking system or even perhaps the Internet.
Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation by Michael Chabon
airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Fellow of the Royal Society, glass ceiling, land tenure, mental accounting, Nelson Mandela, off grid, Right to Buy, Skype, traveling salesman, WikiLeaks
The festive mood swelled in the countdown to nightfall. The cool air was perfumed by the lavender shrubs growing beyond the veranda where the table was set. Our shadows grew elongated like figures in an El Greco painting, and then our shadows were gone. Twilight, the magic hour. “Is it time yet? Can we eat now?” asked twelve-year-old Yusef. He sat at the table next to his father, Ali A., a shepherd from one of the off-grid communities Comet services, a place called Tuba. Ahmad S. consulted his watch, and then the slip of the moon in the indigo sky. He clapped his hands. He looked so much more energized than he had on our depressing day in Susiya. His eyes twinkled like the stars that were starting to show. It was time. Ahmad uncovered the dishes of mouthwatering Arabic salad with tahini, grape leaves, soup, kibbe, and roasted chicken.
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day
Telecom companies spent $2 trillion on mobile infrastructure between 2009 and 2014 and will deploy another $4 trillion by 2020 to expand access and raise connectivity speeds worldwide.1 Connective infrastructure companies are expanding into digital empires. Google began as a Web browser but has become a global data utility. In the race to provide pervasive and low-cost connectivity, Internet service providers are effectively becoming telecoms themselves, with Google launching Wi-Fi Zeppelin blimps to connect off-grid populations to its services; meanwhile, Internet-based telephony such as Skype or WhatsApp has all but eliminated calling charges; there is no “roaming” on the Internet. No matter how much they compete for eyeballs and data, Google and Facebook agree that there is no higher virtue than expanding connectivity, hence their partnership to launch more satellites to serve the “Other Three Billion.”*1 In the most remote corners of the world where there are neither hospitals nor electricity people have solar or motion-powered mobile phones.
The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin
3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce
Over the following three decades, other ventures were launched, mainly by oil companies, hedging against an uncertain energy future, and by Japanese tech companies, sparked by Japan’s alarming lack of natural resources. The appeal of solar has been enormous ever since. As Professor Martin Green, a leader in solar research for decades, puts it, “The whole photovoltaic technology itself is a bit magical. Sunlight just falls on this inert material and you get electricity straight out of it.” But for many years the markets for PVs remained niche for off-grid uses—to bring electricity to isolated homes or remote locations or, for that matter, to marijuana growers, who did not want oversized utility bills to call the attention of law enforcement to their illicit businesses. The first introduction to solar power for many people was the solar-powered pocket calculator.1 What catapulted solar into the mainstream was the marriage of Germany’s environmental politics with Chinese manufacturing prowess.
Lonely Planet Nicaragua (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Alex Egerton, Greg Benchwick
agricultural Revolution, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, land reform, liberation theology, off grid, place-making, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, sustainable-tourism, traveling salesman
During the day it is a busy international port filled with herds of travelers in transit, which explains the bustling and festive malecón (waterfront) lined with restaurants. But when night falls, and the magnificent views disappear with the setting sun, it reverts to a rather lackluster small town where gossiping is the main form of entertainment. Most travelers burn their San Carlos hours by exploring the old Spanish fortress, planning river and island adventures, stocking up on córdoba and checking emails one last time before they drop off-grid for a while. San Carlos Sights 1 Fortaleza de San Carlos B2 Sleeping 2 Gran Lago Hotel A3 3 Hospedaje Peña B3 4 Hotel Carelhys B2 5 Hotel-Cabinas Leyko A1 Eating 6 Comedor Alondra C1 7 Restaurant Mirador B3 8 Restaurante Kaoma B3 9 Soda La Fortaleza B3 Sights & Activities San Carlos is less a tourist destination and more a place to wait for your ship, or panga (small motorboat), to come in, but there is beauty here – particularly on the grounds of Centro Cultural Jose Coronel Urtecho , which is set within the crumbling walls of Fortaleza de San Carlos OFFLINE MAP ( 9am-5pm) .
Smart Grid Standards by Takuro Sato
business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, data acquisition, decarbonisation, demand response, distributed generation, energy security, factory automation, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Iridium satellite, iterative process, knowledge economy, life extension, linear programming, low earth orbit, market design, MITM: man-in-the-middle, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, performance metric, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, smart transportation, Thomas Davenport
In order to bring renewable material, construction, and maintain costs to a reasonable level, further improvement is required in renewable research and development and the Smart Grid Standards 74 commercialization of these technologies. Owing to the increasing interest of various countries in renewable energy technologies, it is expected that the overall cost will be very competitive in the coming years. 2.3.2 Integrating Renewable to the On-Grid The off-grid system is simple as it does not require integration with the existing power grid. However, most of the renewable technologies, such as small-scale wind and solar PV systems are connected with the existing grid (on-grid system), which has the ability to add thousands of power units to the nation’s power system. In order to maintain the balance between demand and response, smart metering is required, which will keep proper record of both demand and response and thus ensure the reliability and integrity of the power system.
Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman
23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
Uploading a virus into the space station as it flies 220 miles above our planet seems a bit akin to the scene from Independence Day where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum transfer a virus into the aliens’ space network to save earth, but when asked about computer malware infecting the ISS spacecraft, a NASA spokesman replied, “It’s not a frequent occurrence, but this is not the first time either.” Soon criminals, terrorists, hacktivists, and rogue governments will no longer need to commandeer the satellites of others; they will be able to just launch their own. New technologies, such as miniature CubeSats, are about the size of a shoe box and don’t cost billions or millions of dollars but rather can be built and launched for under $100,000. These devices could be operated “off grid,” meaning that they could be launched and controlled outside the purview of government, opening up channels for private encrypted satellite communications. Already the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin has announced its plan to take the Internet “beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit.” While it is clear that the future of space exploration holds great potential for humanity as well as some risks, back down on earth there are other emerging technologies that demand a closer review.
Self Build Simplified by Barry Sutcliffe
Telecoms: With all the mobile technology now available, we are getting less dependent on having a permanent telecoms connection. You may be able to use your phones and other devices to give you everything you need. If not, as far as I am aware at the time of writing (unless you have a poor credit rating, or there could be fraud involved), BT have an obligation to provide a service to any property that requests it, no matter how far off grid it is. 2) Drainage and Drainage connections: There are three common types of mains drainage: Foul water (for all the nasty stuff). Surface water (for rainwater and the cleaner stuff). Combined foul and surface water. If any of these are available close to your project, you will usually be looking to connect to them. The process involves making an application to your local drainage authority, getting and accepting a quote and programming in the work.
The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hedonic treadmill, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, off grid, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, scientific worldview, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social intelligence, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey
The fourth pillar, the reconfiguration of the power grid along the lines of the Internet, allowing businesses and homeowners to produce their own energy and share it with each other, is just now being tested by power companies in Europe, the United States, Japan, China, and other countries. The smart intergrid is made up of three critical components. Mini-grids allow homeowners, small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), and large-scale economic enterprises to produce renewable energy locally—through solar cells, wind power, small hydropower, animal and agricultural waste, and garbage—and use it off-grid for their own electricity needs. Smart metering technology allows local producers to more effectively sell their energy back to the main power grid, as well as accept electricity from the grid, making the flow of electricity bidirectional. The next phase in smart grid technology is embedding sensing devices and chips throughout the grid system, connecting every electrical appliance. Software allows the entire power grid to know how much energy is being used, at any time, anywhere on the grid.
Western USA by Lonely Planet
airport security, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Donner party, East Village, edge city, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Frank Gehry, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, intermodal, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, Maui Hawaii, off grid, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, starchitect, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supervolcano, trade route, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar
Taos Ski Valley SKIING ( 866-968-7386; www.skitaos.org; lift ticket adult/teen 13-17 & senior/child $71/60/42) With a peak elevation of 11,819ft and a 2612ft vertical drop, Taos Ski Valley offers some of the most challenging skiing in the US and yet remains low-key and relaxed. The resort now allows snowboarders on its slopes. Sleeping Earthship Rentals BUNGALOW $$ ( 575-751-0462; www.earthship.net; Hwy 64; r $120-160) Experience an off-grid overnight in a boutique-chic, solar-powered dwelling. A cross between organic Gaudí architecture and space-age fantasy, these sustainable dwellings are put together using recycled tires, aluminum cans and sand, with rain catchment and gray-water systems to minimize their footprint. Half-buried in a valley surrounded by mountains, they could be hastily camouflaged alien vessels – you never know.
Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Carolyn McCarthy, Kevin Raub
California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, Colonization of Mars, East Village, haute cuisine, Kickstarter, land reform, low cost airline, mass immigration, New Urbanism, off grid, place-making, QR code, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, white picket fence
He offers horseback riding, glacier trips with hiking (CH$48,000 per person) and hikes to a beautiful fossil bed (CH$20,000 per person plus guide fees). Try to make contact in advance, as the office may be closed for outings. With rave reviews, ecocamp and hostel Un Destino No Turistico ( 098-756-7545; www.destino-noturistico.com; Camino Laguna La Manga Km1; campsites per person CH$4500, dm/d CH$9000/22,000) provides a lovely countryside getaway. Owners Rocio and Manuel are active educators, teaching off-grid living and sharing their useful innovations. The hostel is impeccable, with comfortable beds, each with its own reading lamp, in addition to solar showers and composting toilets. It’s situated 1.5km from town, but all downhill when you leave. Cars should park outside the entrance gate. Lakeside adventure lodge Terra Luna ( 067-431-263; www.terra-luna.cl; campsites per person CH$5000, 2-person huts CH$30,000, d/tr/q CH$80,000/90,000/110,000; ) presents the option of perfect repose or an adrenaline rush.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, book scanning, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Ford paid five dollars a day, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, impulse control, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, linked data, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, multi-sided market, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, off grid, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, precision agriculture, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Mercer, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, structural adjustment programs, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, union organizing, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck
He calls his effort “an organized artistic intervention.”35 Perhaps most poignant is the Backslash Tool Kit: “a series of functional devices designed for protests and riots of the future,” including a smart bandana for embedding hidden messages and public keys, independently networked wearable devices, personal black-box devices to register abuse of law enforcement, and fast deployment routers for off-grid communication.36 Backslash was created as part of a master’s thesis project at New York University, and it perfectly reflects the contest for the third modernity that this generation faces. The designer writes that for young, digitally native protesters, “connectivity is a basic human right.” Yet, he laments, “the future of technology in protests looks dark” because of overwhelming surveillance.
Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson
Ada Lovelace, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, bitcoin, blockchain, cloud computing, coherent worldview, computer vision, crossover SUV, cryptocurrency, defense in depth, demographic transition, distributed ledger, drone strike, easy for humans, difficult for computers, game design, index fund, Jaron Lanier, life extension, microbiome, Network effects, off grid, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, planetary scale, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, short selling, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, The Hackers Conference, Turing test, Works Progress Administration
The very idea of it had led first to blank stares, then to head scratching, and finally to outright concern among Sophia’s traveling companions. The conversation had stalled entirely, and the plan for their summer adventure had been at risk of collapse, until a solution had taken shape in the agile brain, and sprung from the perfectly sculpted lips, of Sophia’s boyfriend Phil: “Look. I’m just not going to tell my parents—or anyone—that we are temporarily going off grid.” This had led to a pause as they admired the audacity of it. Sophia decided on the spot not to dump Phil for at least another few weeks. Julian and Anne-Solenne, who had been draped over each other on a couch opposite, disentangled and put their brains in gear. “Well,” said Anne-Solenne, probing the idea for weaknesses, “you’d pretty much have to tell your editor—unless you’re truly shutting everything off.
Southwest USA Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Columbine, Donner party, El Camino Real, friendly fire, G4S, haute couture, haute cuisine, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), low earth orbit, off grid, place-making, supervolcano, trade route, transcontinental railway, walkable city, Works Progress Administration, X Prize
Rates can fluctuate wildly depending on what week it is, though June to September and December to February are usually considered high season, with a major spike around Christmas. Reservation services include the Taos Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (www.taos-bandb-inns.com) and Taos Vacation Rentals (800-788-8267; www.taosvacationrentals.com). Earthship Rentals QUIRKY $$ (505-751-0462; www.earthship.net; US Hwy 64; r $120-160) Experience an off-grid night in a boutique-chic, solar-powered dwelling. A cross between organic Gaudí architecture and space-age fantasy, these sustainable dwellings are put together from recycled tires, aluminum cans and sand, with rain-catching and gray-water systems to minimize their footprint. Half-buried in a valley surrounding by mountains, they could be hastily camouflaged alien vessels – you never know… Mabel Dodge Luhan House HISTORIC HOTEL $$ (505-751-9686; www.mabeldodgeluhan.com; 240 Morada Lane; r $100-195; ) Every inch of this place exudes elegant-meets-rustic beauty.
Lonely Planet Mexico by John Noble, Kate Armstrong, Greg Benchwick, Nate Cavalieri, Gregor Clark, John Hecht, Beth Kohn, Emily Matchar, Freda Moon, Ellee Thalheimer
AltaVista, Bartolomé de las Casas, Burning Man, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, New Urbanism, off grid, place-making, Rosa Parks, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, traffic fines, urban sprawl, wage slave
Minimalist rooms are done up in cherry red and ebony, with silken hammocks hanging in the shower area. Xochimilco There’s no better way to appreciate the natural wonders of Xochimilco’s canals than camping in the middle of it all. Michmani (off Map; 5489-7773; firstname.lastname@example.org; Embarcadero Cuemanco, off Anillo Periférico Sur; campsites per person M$120, cabin M$650) Ecotourism center Michmani arranges stays at La Llorona camping ground, which sits on a gorgeous off-grid chinampa (garden). The center rents tents, but you’ll have to bring a sleeping bag, or you can stay in a tiny rustic cabin with two beds. Also available are barbecue grills, kayak rentals (M$50 per hour) and temascal steam baths (M$200). To get there, go to metro General Anaya and exit the station on the east side of Calzada de Tlalpan, then walk 50m north to catch a ‘Tláhuac Paradero’ pesero.
Programming Python by Mark Lutz
Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Build a better mousetrap, business process, cloud computing, Firefox, general-purpose programming language, Google Chrome, Guido van Rossum, iterative process, linear programming, loose coupling, MVC pattern, natural language processing, off grid, slashdot, sorting algorithm, web application
Comparing grid and pack Time for some compare-and-contrast: Example 9-19 implements the same sort of colorized input form with both grid and pack, to make it easy to see the differences between the two approaches. Example 9-19. PP4E\Gui\Tour\Grid\grid2.py """ add equivalent pack window using row frames and fixed-width labels; Labels and Entrys in packed column frames may not line up horizontally; same length code, though enumerate built-in could trim 2 lines off grid; """ from tkinter import * colors = ['red', 'green', 'orange', 'white', 'yellow', 'blue'] def gridbox(parent): "grid by row/column numbers" row = 0 for color in colors: lab = Label(parent, text=color, relief=RIDGE, width=25) ent = Entry(parent, bg=color, relief=SUNKEN, width=50) lab.grid(row=row, column=0) ent.grid(row=row, column=1) ent.insert(0, 'grid') row += 1 def packbox(parent): "row frames with fixed-width labels" for color in colors: row = Frame(parent) lab = Label(row, text=color, relief=RIDGE, width=25) ent = Entry(row, bg=color, relief=SUNKEN, width=50) row.pack(side=TOP) lab.pack(side=LEFT) ent.pack(side=RIGHT) ent.insert(0, 'pack') if __name__ == '__main__': root = Tk() gridbox(Toplevel()) packbox(Toplevel()) Button(root, text='Quit', command=root.quit).pack() mainloop() The pack version here uses row frames with fixed-width labels (again, column frames can skew rows).
USA Travel Guide by Lonely, Planet
1960s counterculture, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big-box store, bike sharing scheme, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, edge city, El Camino Real, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, global village, Golden Gate Park, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, immigration reform, information trail, interchangeable parts, intermodal, jitney, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mars Rover, Mason jar, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, Menlo Park, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, off grid, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, starchitect, stealth mode startup, stem cell, supervolcano, the built environment, The Chicago School, the High Line, the payments system, trade route, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar
Taos Ski Valley SKIING ( 866-968-7386; www.skitaos.org; lift ticket adult/teen 13-17 & senior/child $71/60/42) With a peak elevation of 11,819ft and a 2612ft vertical drop, Taos Ski Valley offers some of the most challenging skiing in the US and yet remains low-key and relaxed. The resort now allows snowboarders on its slopes. Sleeping Earthship Rentals BUNGALOW $$ ( 575-751-0462; www.earthship.net; Hwy 64; r $120-160) Experience an off-grid overnight in a boutique-chic, solar-powered dwelling. A cross between organic Gaudí architecture and space-age fantasy, these sustainable dwellings are put together using recycled tires, aluminum cans and sand, with rain catchment and gray-water systems to minimize their footprint. Half-buried in a valley surrounded by mountains, they could be hastily camouflaged alien vessels – you never know.