Can the Apple Watch Dominate?

Peanut Butter & Agility

Early 2015 will see the launch of the Apple Watch, which is Apple’s first significant entry into a new product category since the iPad in 2010 and will mark the first new push by Apple under Tim Cook’s tenure. Apple is saying its product represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology, and although the product will not find itself in consumers’ hands for several months to come, the initial response is positive as Apple does appear to have developed a product that is cleaner and more intuitive than any of the main competitors on the market. We already know that people will line up to buy the Apple Watch on its release—the question is whether Apple developed a product that can disrupt a product category in the same fashion their iPods, iPhones, and iPads were able to.

Although in my recent blog I speculate whether Apple…

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Could this rock save the planet?

Grist

Meet olivine, a greenish rock that is basically the Clark Kent of the mineral world: It may look boring, but it has a secret superpower. Specifically, it can pull CO2 from the air and sequester it — nothing to sniff at when facing down the supervillain of our age: anthropogenic climate change.

Retired geochemist Olaf Schuiling has spent decades advocating for using the abundant mineral as a solution to our climate change woes — by carpeting as many surfaces as possible in the stuff, from playgrounds to roads to beaches, we could allegedly remove enough carbon from the atmosphere to slow the rate of climate change. According to one analysis, one ton of olivine can dispose of approximately two-thirds of a ton of CO2 — impressive, but that’s still a LOT of rock when we’re talking billions of tons of CO2 a year.

“Let the earth help us to save the earth,” Schuiling says, which makes for…

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Rich countries are still wasting billions on subsidies for fossil fuels

Grist

Five years ago, at one of their annual meetings, the G20 countries — the biggest economies in the world — pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

So naturally, today, the G20 countries are spending $88 billion a year subsidizing exploration for new fossil fuels. Sigh.

That’s the I-wish-it-were-more-shocking conclusion of a new report from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International.

Keep in mind, that isn’t all the fossil fuel subsidies — not even close. “Globally, subsidies for the production and use of fossil fuels were estimated at $775 billion in 2012,” says the report. (“By contrast, subsidies for renewable energy amounted to just $101 billion in 2013.”) The new report is specifically about subsidies devoted to finding new fossil fuels, beyond the stuff we already have, which is enough to fry the planet thrice over.

Those subsidies come in three basic forms: investment by state-owned enterprises, direct…

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This poo-powered bus runs on the regular as long as you do

Grist

A bus that runs on gas made from feces and food scraps makes its maiden voyage today. Bath Bus Company’s new crapmobile delivers passengers along the No. 2 line between Bath and Bristol Airport.

Here’s The Guardian, on what it calls the U.K.’s first poo bus:

Engineers believe the bus could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport while improving urban air quality.

Hold up. Burning turds and rotting foodstuffs will improve air quality in cities?

The 40-seat “Bio-Bus” runs on biomethane gas, generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste. It can travel up to 186 miles on one tank of gas, which takes the annual waste of around five people to produce.

OK, so they’re not filling up the tank with actual turds. 

The gas is generated at Bristol sewage treatment works, run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water. It produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines and is both…

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Whatever, Tesla, this guy just invented a real flying car

Grist

Mark this day in your calendar, for today is the day that you learned that the flying car — humanity’s second noblest pursuit* — is coming soon! Possibly! Again!

Bloomberg reports that 37-year-old inventor Carl Dietrich has already driven and flown prototypes of his Terrafugia Transition, and now the only thing standing in his way is approval by both the FAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Yup, just two federal bureaucracies between Dietrich and his dreams. And maybe a few other issues, according to Bloomberg:

Critics say flying cars are unlikely to be both great airplanes and great automobiles. But that misses the point, says Dietrich, who explains the Transition is intended to expand the definition of an airplane, solving a number of persistent problems in the process.

First and foremost is that small planes are virtually useless in inclement weather. If a storm rolls in while you’re flying…

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What Insight Underpins Your Business

Michael Spivey's Blog

What insight underpins your business? Eric Schmidt says breakout products need a technical insight which is, “[a] new way of applying technology or design that either drives down the cost or increases the functions and usability of a product by a significant factor.” Google now simplifies this description even further with its 10x mantra, where they are looking at ways to make the product 10x cheaper or 10x more powerful. With technology and the context of the world today, if you are downplaying the need for a technical insight to help customers 10x more then you are far from realizing the potential of what your business could be doing for customers.

Are non-technical insights also needed? Yes. You can have business model insights or non-technological operational insights, but digitizing your business and technical insights will help enable execution of those other insights. For example, Netflix business model is supported by its…

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NASA is headed for Mars. What, is there something wrong with Earth?

Grist

Maybe you’re skeptical of whether or not the U.N. Climate Summit in Lima will actually do anything. That’s OK! In terms of humans actually moving to turn around carbon emissions and take a last stab at saving the planet, things look a bit dicey. From The New York Times, earlier this week:

While a breach of the 3.6 degree threshold appears inevitable, scientists say that United Nations negotiators should not give up on their efforts to cut emissions. At stake now, they say, is the difference between a newly unpleasant world and an uninhabitable one.

“Newly unpleasant world” sure does sound rough, not least for its ominous vagueness. What form will that unpleasantness take, exactly? Will herds of small shih-tzus bite your ankles every time you leave your house, until you slowly hemorrhage to death in the street? Will all sandwich options be reduced to watercress and cucumber? Will…

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Why I’m breaking up with Uber

Grist

I have decided to break up with Uber.

While visiting my hometown of Pittsburgh over Thanksgiving, I made plans to go out to a bar with some high school friends. I wasn’t going to take my parents’ car because, well, vodka and Priuses don’t really mix! My dad asked me how I would be getting home later, and I told him that I’d just call an Uber.

“How can you call yourself a feminist and use Uber? That company doesn’t care about women at all,” my brother-in-law interjected.

I was kind of taken aback, because since moving to Seattle and spending a lot of time getting to and from parts of the city alone, I have become a relentless user of the app. I am physically cringing at this very moment, conceptualizing the hundreds of dollars that have effortlessly flowed from my PayPal account to the vast Uber coffers in…

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