Consumption Week 17

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


  • JG: Super cool. A metal with memory: set a shape when it’s hot, deform it when it’s cold, but when it’s re-heated, it returns to its original shape. It’s also super stretchy.
  • summary: NASA has developed a metal alloy that can stretch up to 30 times its original size without deforming and can spring back to its initial size with no damage, allowing the creation of airless tires suitable for low-pressure conditions on other planets. Nitinol, the nickel and titanium alloy, has great elasticity, can endure more stress than steel and maintains its shape when heated, making it an excellent material for making wheels. Nitinol tires can stretch up to 8% of its length without causing permanent damage, and the unique properties of nitinol make it useful for creating complete suspension systems without adding weight. Nitinol is also used in medical stents and actuators that generate significant force. Furthermore, Henson Shaving produced a lifetime razor that is modeled after aerospace technology.



  • Shell had previously claimed that oil and gas production could rise for another decade, even as warming was limited to 1.5C.
  • If the world followed Shell’s pathway, it would “overshoot” the 1.5C limit for decades, before returning below that level by using largely unproven, energy-intensive machines to suck large volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere towards the end of the century.

  • “Unlike how they’re presented to travelers, offsets are not really quantified, verified tons of emissions reductions,” Instead, they’re programs that might do some environmental good but ultimately lead to “hard-to-estimate emissions reductions.” Haya said, “In today’s offset market, those reductions are dramatically overestimated.”
  • The most common type of offsets purchased by the aviation industry are forestry and nature-based offsets, which numerous studies have found are mostly worthless. In January, an investigation by the Guardian into the biggest certifier of rainforest carbon offsets found that more than 90 percent didn’t represent any carbon reductions.

  • Glass bottles have a higher environmental footprint than plastic and other bottled container materials including drinks cartons and aluminum cans.
    • Deforestation/biodiversity loss due to mining; health impacts for miners; sand shortages; processing temperatures.
  • A key problem with glass recycling is that it does not eradicate the remelting process, which is the most energy intensive part of glass production. It accounts for 75% of the energy consumption during production. Even though glass containers can be reused an average of 12-20 times, glass is often treated as single-use. Single-use glass disposed of at landfills can take up to one million years to decompose. Glass recycling rates vary significantly across the globe. The EU and the UK have an average recycling rate of 74% and 76%, while the US figure was 31.3% in 2018.
    • So reuse instead of recycle.


  • This hand-sized robot moves using electrohydraulic actuators that act as artificial muscles. “We achieved grasping objects by making four arms function as a propeller, and the other two as a gripper. Or we actuated only a subset of the arms, in order to steer the robot in different directions,”


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  • JG: Four-part series about the possible rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman in London and the journalist trying to track down the only “suspect” (spoiler: he’s almost certainly guilty), the son of a Yemeni billionaire.
  • At first it seems it may have been an “accident” - not an accidental death, but a drunken crime of passion. However, the more you hear from him, his selfish attitude starts to appear - what he says about the woman’s dad in particular made be lose any “sympathy” (I use that word loosely) for him.

  • I never knew the “right here, right now” vocal from the Fatboy Slim song was Angela Bassett saying it in the film Strange Days. I’m shook.