Monday, May 10, 2021

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On the Climate Crisis Courtesy @TED


The disarming case to act right now on climate change

In August 2018, teen activist Greta Thunberg walked out of school and organized a climate strike outside the Swedish parliament, grabbing the world's attention. "The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions," Thunberg says. "All we have to do is to wake up and change."


Not ready to be vegan? Here are 5 tweaks to make your diet more Earth-friendly

If you want to cut your carbon emissions, you don't necessarily need to cut out meat altogether. Making a few changes to your diet can have significant benefits for the environment and for your health.


Growing fruit and vegetables out of season and transporting them across the world uses a lot of energy. By eating seasonally, you can reduce your carbon pollution by as much as one tonne each year.
From Count Us In


Yes, glaciers are disappearing — but that’s far from their only story

If we want to effectively respond to climate change, we must understand the complex connections that exist between humans and ice, says glaciologist M Jackson. The ice caves of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier in Iceland, pictured above, are a draw for tourists and impact the local economy.


New US President Joe Biden cancels the Keystone XL Pipeline and rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement  •  Electric car batteries
with 5-minute charging times have been produced in a factory for the first time  •  China blows past clean energy record with wind capacity jump • 12 new books share fresh approaches to
act on climate change


Let's talk about how we can change climate change

Sign up for TED Circles and join a global community of volunteer-hosted small groups that discuss big ideas.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Notations From the Grid (W-End Edition): On America


A snapshot of America courtesy the team at the Visual Capitalist....

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Notations From the Grid (Special W-End Edition): A Blast From the Past


The Pentagon orders the military newspaper Stars and Stripes to shut down by the end of the month

“Trump has taken over VOA, Radio Free Europe, etc…planting loyalists, firing critical journalists. He can’t do that with Stripes so he’s just…zeroing out the budget.”

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Notations From the Grid (Special Month-End Edition): A Closing Thought


There is an infinite amount of things you could do today. There is an infinite amount of information you could consume. There is an infinite amount of thoughts you could think.

So as you weigh those limitless options this morning, it’s worth considering this declaration from Marcus AureliusOur worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.

Will you pursue selfishness or will you work for the common good? Will you turn to smart books or sensational news? Will you be jealous or happy for other people? Will you be kind? Will you worry about petty things?

We are what we think about. We are what we put our energy towards. If we direct ourselves well, today and every day, we will be well. If we don’t, we won’t.

It’s that simple.

P.S. In case you missed it yesterday, registration is open for our

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): Out & About On the Grid....

 Please enjoy the following Random Thoughts courtesy of the Team at the Visual Capitalist and insights on misinformation:

Sunday Digest: Last Week's Infographics

Here are all the new infographics from last week in one easy place! 
Top Smartphone Brands, By Global Sales

Worldwide smartphone sales decreased by 12% in 2020, but sales are expected to bounce back this year. Will Samsung remain on top?

Visualizing the Power Consumption of Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining requires significant amounts of energy, but what does this consumption look like when compared to countries and companies?

Mapped: The 25 Richest Countries in the World

Which countries have the highest GDP per capita? This map breaks down the top 25 richest countries in the world.

How to Invest in Change: A Guide to Thematic Investing

How do you prepare for changes caused by technological breakthroughs, shifting demographics, and climate change? Meet thematic investing.

What $1,000 Invested in Vaccine Stocks Would Be Worth Now

Ever wonder what you would have gotten if you invested $1,000 into the different vaccine stocks at the start of the pandemic?

Visualized: Potential Economic Benefits of a Green Recovery

A green recovery is projected to boost global GDP by 1.1% annually, along with saving 9 million jobs. What opportunities does this present for investors?

Visualizing the Depth of the Great Lakes

The five Great Lakes account for 21% of the world's total freshwater. This bathymetric visualization dives into just how deep they are.

Decarbonization Targets for the Largest U.S. Utilities

How are utilities decarbonizing? This infographic highlights the decarbonization targets of the largest U.S. utilities.

This Week's Flashback Favorites:

Leadership Accountability in Times of Crisis

This infographic explores five key behaviors that CEOs and executives should adopt in order to demonstrate leadership accountability in times of crisis.

Originally from April 2020

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On the Relationship Between Apes & Humans

Monday, April 19, 2021

Notations From The Grid (Weekly Edition): Out & About With #RandomThoughts


As a new week dawns, we present the following random thoughts:

CEO Daily

April 5, 2021

Good morning.

While on vacation last week, I belatedly finished Bill Gates’s How to Avoid a Climate Disaster and now can recommend the book wholeheartedly. Gates avoids the Malthusian anti-growth instincts of most climate activists, focusing instead on innovations necessary to allow both growth and climate sanity—including electricity storage, biofuels, zero-carbon cement and steel, nuclear power, carbon capture, etc.

He also calls for a greatly expanded role for government—in research and development, standards setting and incentives. That reminded me of when I first met Gates: 25 years ago at dinner, the Microsoft CEO hosted for a group of cabinet officials, Congress members, and a few journalists on one of his very first visits to Washington, D.C. My sense, and that of everyone else in the room, was that he really didn’t want to be there.

“When I was building Microsoft, I kept my distance from policy makers in Washington, D.C., and around the world, thinking they would only keep us from doing our best work,” he admits in the book. But now he believes that “when it comes to massive undertakings—whether it’s building a national highway system, vaccinating the world’s children, or decarbonizing the global economy—we need the government to play a huge role in creating the right incentives and making sure the overall system will work for everyone.” A sign of the times.

Vacation also gave me time to read the new Georgia voter law, various analyses of that law, and numerous CEO statements on its passage. The Jim Crow rhetoric of Democratic critics clearly overshoots the mark—most of the provisions fall well within standard practice in other states.  That’s why business leaders were initially slow to respond.

But taken as a whole, the law clearly makes it more difficult for voters in dense urban counties to vote and puts increased control over elections in the hands of party leaders. Add to that three important pieces of context: 1) the rationale for the change is voter fraud for which there is no evidence; 2) the state was scene of an extraordinary effort to use raw political power to overturn the election; 3) Georgia has a dismal history of Black voter suppression—and you can understand why virtually every Black CEO and former CEO of note signed a letter denouncing the law. That, in turn, sparked strong statements from Georgia-based CEOs like Coca-Cola’s James Quincey—“It makes it harder for people to vote, not easier”—and Delta’s Ed Bastian—“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie.”

As I’ve said here before, this is not “political pandering.” Most CEOs I’ve talked with would desperately like to stay out of this no-win partisan street brawl. But in a people-centered economy, where human capital determines business success, they felt they had no choice. 

The upshot: Business is moving into the vanguard of advocating human rights as well as climate action, not because of partisan preference, but because their business depends on it.

News below. And by the way, if you missed Bill Gates’s February stint as guest editor of the Fortune web site, you can check it out now here.

Alan Murray


So what shapes your Longevity Mindset? It may seem obvious, but we regularly ignore shaping our Mindset and just accept what we have.

Let me share 6 key areas that you can impact today:

#1) What You Believe: At one end of the spectrum, you see life as short and precious -- you’ll consider yourself lucky if you make it to 75. At the other end, you’re focused on making “100 years old the new 60.” You see aging as a disease, and you actively track breakthroughs in biotech (e.g., CRISPR, cellular medicines) that have the potential to slow or even reverse aging.

#2) What You Read / Your Media Consumption: The type of media you consume (e.g., books, blogs, news, movies) directly affects your outlook on life -- for better or worse. Are you reading the obituaries to track old friends? Or reading books like David Sinclair’s “Lifespan,” blogs like this one, or news feeds like FutureLoop? Are you staying updated on the latest developments in longevity?

#3) Your Community: The people you spend time with shape who you are and what you do. At one end of the spectrum, you only hang out with older people who constantly talk and worry about death. It’s just a matter of time... But at the other end, you spend time with people who are optimistic and youthful, and who actively pursue longevity.

#4) Sleep: Sleep is fundamental, and critical. A great book that details this is “Why We Sleep” by Dr. Matt Walker. We actually, physiologically *need* 8 hours. Do you believe the motto that “There’s plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead”? Or do you prioritize sleep and use the best techniques to help you achieve 8 healthy hours of sleep?

#5) Diet: There is truth to the saying that “You are what you eat.” Do you eat whatever you want, whenever you want? Are you overweight, eating way too much sugar? Have you intentionally shaped your diet, with a no-sugar/keto or vegan diet? Or have you explored and mastered intermittent fasting to maximize your energy and longevity?

#6) Exercise: Along with your mindset, sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet, exercise is fundamental to longevity. The latest research on longevity makes it clear that increasing muscle mass is critical. At one end of the spectrum, you don’t exercise at all. But at the other end, you consider exercise a must. You exercise at least three times each week, for example interval training and weightlifting. Perhaps you even take peptides to manipulate your growth hormones to increase muscle mass.

Do you desire a Longevity Mindset? Where can you improve? What would it take to improve?

Ultimately, science is going to continue to extend human life. Our job is not to die from something stupid in the interim...

Monday, April 12, 2021

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): While Out & About This Week

 Please enjoy the following courtesy Bill Gates and the team at Fortune: 

What you need to know about variants
Here’s what you need to know about variants
By Bill Gates
This month marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic upended lives around the world. It’s been a long, difficult year, but now that more and more people are getting vaccinated against the virus, I’m starting to feel optimistic that the worst parts of the pandemic will soon be behind us.
We still have a number of challenges to address before we get there. The virus that causes COVID-19 is mutating, and that’s complicating efforts to end the pandemic. I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions about variants lately, so I wrote a post about the subject. You can read it here.
If there’s only one thing people learn about variants, it should be this: The best way to prevent new strains of the coronavirus from emerging is by stopping transmission of the virus altogether. We will bring an end to the pandemic much sooner if everyone remains vigilant about social distancing, wears a mask, and gets vaccinated when it’s their turn.
Thank you for being an Insider!

Bill signature
Data Sheet

April 2, 2021

From a certain point of view, Uber is a brilliant idea to offer transportation services in a new way enabled by the proliferation of smartphone technology. In another view, Uber is more of a brilliant idea to arbitrage loopholes in existing employment law, taxi regulation, and other societal mores that had built up over decades.

Uber cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick’s take-no-prisoners attitude helped the company grow quickly and become the market leader. But it also led to his eventual downfall in 2017, as complaints and investigations of Uber’s conduct under his tenure mounted. 

All that ancient history in startup land came rushing back to me this week as I read Emilie Friedlander’s detailed and devastating investigation for Vice of Kalanick’s new new thing, CloudKitchens, and its parent company, City Storage Systems. It’s really a masterclass in investigative journalism.

Kalanick’s new business offers take-out food in an original way, cooking everything at large, centralized facilities with delivery handled via GrubHub, Uber Eats and the like. To attract customers, these so-called ghost kitchens create virtual online restaurants listed in GrubHub and similar apps, listings that look just like real restaurants.

Friedlander first got suspicious when weirdly named restaurants like F*cking Good Pizza, Pimp My Pasta, and OMG BBQ LOL turned up in local DoorDash listings:

“Suddenly, I was seized by a need to get to the bottom of a matter that felt like a glitch in the fabric of my humdrum pandemic existence: Where did these clickbait restaurant brands come from, even if they didn’t seem to technically exist? And why did delivery marketplaces across the U.S., and countries around the world, suddenly seem to be flooded with them?”

Turned out they were all non-existent in the real world, just different faces of the same local outpost of Kalanick’s CloudKitchens. The startup has even gone a step further and helped real restaurants diversify into the ghost kitchen market by creating multiple online identities for them in the delivery service apps.

In theory, there’s nothing really wrong with a ghost kitchen or single restaurant creating several online storefronts, just like an avid video gamer might create different personas best suited for different games. If an Italian restaurant that serves pizza, pasta, and seafood can triple its delivery orders by adding specialized yet fictional online restaurants each focused on one category, it could be a win-win. The restaurant gets more business and customers get a clearer search experience.

But when Kalanick is involved, you have to be on the lookout for further “arbitrage” of rules, laws, and social mores. Already Friedlander’s detailed reporting turned up tales of unhappy customers whose food didn’t resemble the pictures or quality they saw online (I asked CloudKitchens for comment yesterday and they declined).

Those customers could leave negative reviews, but what’s to stop a ghost kitchen from opening and closing new virtual restaurants all the time to avoid bad ratings? And with the trouble we already have with fake reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, what’s to stop a ghost kitchen from enhancing its reputation with some ratings-gaming service? And the ease with which a ghost kitchen can flood the market with numerous virtual offerings in a category could overwhelm all the physical restaurants in the same category and put them out of business. How long until we see academic studies that the net economic effect of ghost kitchens is negative?

As ghost kitchens expand their haunts across the country, stay tuned for more strangeness, more controversy and, perhaps, more frights.

Aaron Pressman

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