This category contains 12 posts

Black Swans and why History, Future. Now is not bleak

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is famous for his 2008 book, The Black Swan, in which he came up with a very simple idea: that big changes can suddenly happen, apparently out of nowhere.  He uses the Wall Street crash, Pompei and the internet as examples. The reality, is actually closer to Malcom Gladwell’s 2002 book, The Tipping Point: … Continue reading

Transcript: Schmidt and Thiel smackdown – Fortune Tech

Very interesting, wide ranging discussion between Eric Scmidt and Peter Theil on 16 July 2012 about the past, present and future of technology and its impacts on society and government. Peter’s views on education are pretty similar to those expressed by History, Future. Now. here: We have a bubble in education.  If there’s anything in … Continue reading

China’s 12th Five Year Plan has clean energy at its heart. Why dont we even have a plan?

China has now a year into its 12th 5 Year Plan (2011-2015), which has low carbon growth as the heart of its economic, political and social strategy in a way that no other major country has done to date.  China now has more wind energy installed and produces more solar photovoltaic panels than any other … Continue reading

Still Confused About the Higgs Boson? Read This – The Atlantic

Another attempt to try to explain what the Higgs Boson is, from the senior editor at The Atlantic: Part of why it’s been hard to figure out from the news stories what the Higgs boson is is there are actually three Higgs things under discussion: 1) the Higgs field, 2) the Higgs boson and 3) the … Continue reading

Rare earth metals, China and the transfer of power

Rare earth metals are not exactly a typical dinner party topic of conversation.  But perhaps they should be:  they combine high technology and the global balance of power, with an interesting discussion about electron shells thrown in for extra points. Without neodymium a huge part of the modern world would not be possible: imagine a … Continue reading

Has the Higgs Boson particle been discovered?

Those of you who are interested in the Standard Model and particle physics (or just wonder why billions of euros were spent on buildilng the CERN Large Hadron Collider) will be excited by the prospect that the Higgs Boson particle, predicted to exist in the 1960s, may have been discovered.  If confirmed tomorrow, as expected, … Continue reading

The implications of solar power reaching grid parity

As many of you know, I am the CEO of Lumicity, a renewable energy development company, focusing on solar, wind and biomass energy. I am a director of a wave energy company, Aquamarine Power. I previously worked with Shell, where I was exposed to the oil and gas sectors and set up a solar panel … Continue reading

Shale Gas: cheap domestically produced natural gas or nothing but hot air?

Shale gas has been seen as the saviour of the US energy market, delivering large volumes of cheap natural gas.  This has upset many of the incumbents, including coal power stations and wind energy farms.  There are a number of environmental issues with shale gas, including the large amount of water needed and chemicals that … Continue reading

New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years – ProPublica

Natural gas extracted from shale rocks has had a significant impact on the US energy market, significantly reducing the price of natural gas which has helped many businesses and caused terrible problems for others.  This extraction process, “fracking”, is for bizarre reasons, exempt from normal environmental controls. A new study shows that this environmental free … Continue reading

Energy as a proxy for power: renewables vs fossil fuels

Renewable energy frequently gets a bad press because it explicitly and publicly is the recipient of subsidies, whether in the form of feed in tariffs, as in the case of solar and wind energy,  or capital grants, as in the case of newer technologies such as wave energy. In an era of austerity, where different … Continue reading

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