Consumption Week 12

My notes from some of the media I consumed this week.

  • A new study in Nature Sustainability has now provided a comprehensive assessment of the global potential of floating solar power, finding that it could provide between a fifth and half of the world’s electricity needs while saving 26 trillion gallons of water from evaporating.
  • The analysis showed that as many as 6,256 cities could theoretically meet all of their electricity demands with floating solar power. Most have a population below 50,000, but as many as 150 are cities with more than a million people.

  • JG: And this was from back in 2017.

  • JG: Nice summary article, and as it states, all are needed.
  • Trees and Forests; Farms and Soils; Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage; Direct Air Capture; Carbon Mineralization; Ocean-based Approaches

  • Foxconn is counting on its Mobility in Harmony EV platform, which it calls its “Android system for EVs.” The thinking is that if it is able to standardize the primary systems needed to manufacture electric automobiles, it will be able to quickly and cheaply adapt them to build a wide range of models for a variety of customers. This is similar to the plan hatched by Canoo to make “skateboards” that contain all the components necessary for an electric vehicle and then plunk a completed body — which Canoo calls a “top hat” — on top of of it.
  • “We want to create that kind of ecosystem so anyone — for example, like United Airlines — can say, ‘I want to make a car,’”
  • Initially, it is targeting five percent of the global EV market and the equivalent of $33 billion in revenue from manufacturing EVs and components by 2025. It’s longer term goal is to make nearly half the world’s EVs. Five percent of the market, assuming an EV adoption rate of 20% by 2025, would be about 900,000 vehicles.

  • Italian electric motorcycle manufacturer Energica is integrating its EV technology package into small airplanes and seaplanes (ULM) for training and recreational purposes.
  • It’s part of the company’s “Energica Inside” program, which uses Energica’s current powertrain solutions to assist other manufacturers of light electric vehicles in accelerating their R&D.

  • They were surprised to find that the biomolecular glass based on derivatives of amino acids or peptides showed a unique combination of functional properties and eco-friendly features, including excellent optical characteristics, good mechanical properties, and flexible processability, as well as the desired biodegradability and biorecyclability.

  • The Swiss rail network has a total length of 5,317 kilometers, and theoretically, all of it could be covered with solar panels. The system could generate 1 Terawatt-hour (TWh) of solar energy annually, or around 2 percent of Switzerland’s total electricity needs.
  • “There are over a million kilometers of railway lines in the world. We believe that 50 percent of the world’s railways could be equipped with our system.”

  • “They know that Silicon Valley investors won’t invest in a farm, but they’ll invest in a tech company. These companies overspend on R&D by crazy amounts, and then say, ‘Oh, shit, that didn’t work.’”
  • Its farm proved that automation could run its operations. But it also had to pay the high salaries of a team of robotics and software engineers.
  • Even a small, 10,000-square-foot farm might have a lighting bill over $100,000 or even $200,000 a year.
  • “Is it worth spending $20 million on a cutting-edge system when you’re producing objects that might get $1 or $2 in the marketplace? That’s the problem,”

  • Dysrationalia, Opinion Shopping, Grice’s Razor (aka Principle of Charity), The Opinion Pageant, Godwin’s Law, Limbic Capitalism, Audience Capture, Ragebait, Deferred Happiness Syndrome, Path Dependence, Golden Mean, Danth’s Law, Idiocy Saturation, Weber–Fechner Law, Scoreboard Principle, Bandwidth Tax, Bullshit Jobs, Anna Karenina Principle, Shaker’s Law, Pretty Privilege, Purposeful Stupidity, Deep Time, Longevity Risk, Oppression Olympics, Tarzwell’s Razor, Dark Forest Theory, Presentism, Cylindrical Perspective, Teletransportation Paradox, Firehosing, The Fourth Turning (aka Strauss-Howe generational theory), Enthymeme, Purva Paksha, Arrival Fallacy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Russell’s Teapot, Gurwinder’s Defibrillator, Focusing Illusion, The Spyglass Self, Feynman’s Razor
  • JG: Gurwinder obviously spends too much time on the internet, as a lot of these are focussed on anonymous online comments. You can’t judge humanity and human nature by the internet presence of a few, although he does try to. Although some of these concepts are still pretty interesting - my favourites are in bold.
  • I wrote about The Fourth Turning a few weeks ago; Gurwinder has a related quote from G. Michael Hopf which I didn’t know at the time, but I like a lot:

“Hard times create strong men,

Strong men create good times,

Good times create weak men,

Weak men create hard times.”


  • 100% bonds: best year +33%, worst year -8%, average year +5%.
  • 100% stocks: best year +54%, worst year -43%, average year +10%.
  • Fairly linear between the two extremes.

  • A low unemployment rate is a classic sign of a strong economy. However, as this visualization shows, unemployment often reaches a cyclical low point right before a recession materializes.
  • A theory: Low unemployment → higher wages → inflation → rising interest rates → recession.
  • Banks should be run like utilities, with small profits.
  • Solutions to their continual economy-destroying actions:
    • Pure free market, no government support/bail outs
      • Not a good idea, too much damage potential
    • More regulations
      • Good idea
    • Banks forced to hold more capital/reduce leverage (currently 20:1, change to 3:1)
      • The obvious and best solution… makes you wonder why it’s not already enacted (greed/corruption?)
    • Something more radical
      • Explained in the podcast, a little over my head

  • Trading Period: 1 January to 31 December 2022 (trading 50 weeks, 5 days per week)
  • Total Revenue: GBP £144,560
  • Net Profit: 40% (versus a more typical net profit of 5-10% for brick & mortar cafés)
  • Debt level: GBP £0


  • The charity guide says that words like “headquarters”, “local” and even “people” have colonial implications and should be avoided.
  • Staff were warned that “people who become pregnant” was preferable to “expectant mothers”, while “parent” is better than “mother” or “father”.
  • “However, we recognise that the dominance of English is one of the key issues that must be addressed in order to decolonise our ways of working and shift power.”
  • Meanwhile even the word “people” should be used cautious, as it “is often misunderstood as only referring to men”.

  • Conventional paints contain pigments that rely on the light absorption properties of molecules to determine their colors. The light that is not absorbed is reflected back and seen by the observer, creating the object’s color. In contrast, the plasmonic paint created by Chanda’s team relies on both light absorption and reflection to create a full-color palette. The paint’s nanostructures scatter and reflect light in such a way that it creates a vibrant range of colors.
  • Plasmonic paint reflects a significant amount of sunlight and reduces the amount of heat absorbed by the building’s surface.


Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.

Sebastian Junger

Avoid boring people

Double meaning - don’t spend time with boring people, and don’t bore people yourself