Solar Roads and Faith in Innovation

Whenever I see something a wildly create idea like the solar road idea, it renews my faith in the power of innovation and its potential to address our toughest sustainability problems. Given the number of people who sent me links to this project, the idea seems to have captured the…

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Are We Witnessing the Roots of US Data Isolationism?

If you're an American you probably don't spend much time thinking about where all of your data is stored. In reality it is probably spread across Gmail or some other email provider, Facebook, staples.com, your cell company, the Department of Motor Vehicles, etc, etc, etc. If someone you do…

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iPhone Power Revisited: Still Less Than a Fridge

In August Mark Mill's paper "The Cloud Begins with Coal" claimed that that the annual energy use of an iPhone exceeded that of a standard refrigerator. In my response I showed where his calculations were flawed, and that his claim didn't hold up (a number of others also offered critiques)…

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I'm Special And So Is My Weather

Every so often over the last decade or so I've sensed a trend that I call "temporal exceptionalism", or the view that right now is special, particularly related to weather events. This recurring idea that our storms are "historic" continues, even when data suggests the opposite, such as the recent…

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Energy, Clouds, iPhones and Refrigerators

In the last few weeks an idea has been making the rounds that, when you count all of the required networks and cloud services, your iPhone uses more electricity than your refrigerator. This idea was first presented in a publication called "The Cloud Begins with Coal" by Mark Mills, and…

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Full Circle: Patriots Day 2013

In Concord, Mass, where we live, Patriots Day dawns with Samuel Prescott crossing the Old North Bridge on horseback to announce that the British are coming. Since early in the morning minutemen from neighboring towns, Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Lincoln, and so on, have been walking towards Concord to join the…

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Running @ 50

In December I hit two milestones: turning 50, and running 1,000 miles in a year for the first time in a decade. These weren't totally unrelated - a few years earlier I'd seen 50 coming and decided I better pick up the exercise again. I'd been running regularly since…

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More on the Failure of Airports

Seth Godin had a great post today, "Eleven Things Companies Can Learn from Airports", on some of the ways and reasons that airports are a horrible customer experience. I would add number 12: the organizations involved in the airport all have a fundamentally different measure of performance than you do…

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