Benefits of Membership
Please see our weekly newsletter collection below. Our own staff and members contribute bits and bytes of interesting news and articles. They say that futurists make funny historians but we do our best to bridge that divide by illustrating our past themes and speakers as they develop and evolve. We hope that you enjoy reading these communications as much as we enjoy creating them for you. And if you have any news to share, please contact any member of our staff.
We had a wonderful time with many of you last week at Hyperconnected in Boston. The summary materials (Highlights, Citations, and Bob's Bytes) and presentations from our meeting last week are available in the TTI/Vanguard archive.
While we were heading to Boston last week, Tesla (field trip, May 2016) passed GM in terms of market valuation (Tom Nicholas, Berlin, July 2004). The week before, it had passed Ford (K. Venkatesh Prasad, Bill Coughlin, Detroit, May 2015). By comparison, at $700B, Apple is 14 laps ahead of that pack.
…And yet, Apple is chasing Tesla in at least one regard: It just received approval from the State of California to test self-driving cars (Jeff Legault, Brooklyn, Jul 2016; Tim Landgraf, Washington, D.C., Sep 2015).
Apple is looks to lead environmentally, though, with a pledge to “end its reliance" on mining and one day make its products from only renewable resources or recycled material” (Gene Giacomelli, Scott Sklar, and the entire All Systems Green conference, St. Louis, Sep 2008).
Speaking of the environment, we missed by a month the 100th anniversary of the March 1917 National Geographic article in which Alexander Graham Bell warned of the greenhouse effect (Michael Mastrandrea and Noah Diffenbaugh, San Francisco, Dec 2014); worried about peak oil (Amory Lovins, Washington, D.C., October 2011); and extolled the use of renewable energy, especially solar (Shani Keysar, Vienna, Jul 2013; Alyssa Newman, Jersey City, Oct 2009; John O'Donnell, St. Louis, Sep 2008).
On the latest episode of TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board member Z Holly’s podcast, The Art of Manufacturing, she and Nick Pinkston (Detroit, May 2015) “nerd out about automation, digital fabrication, tools, and how they impact the future of work.”
“If you can start to understand the shoelace, then you can apply it to other things, like DNA or microstructures, that fail under dynamic forces.”
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine warns that If science doesn’t police itself, the government might have to (Lindsey Dillon and Matt Price, San Francisco, Feb 2017; Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Jersey City, Oct 2009). It calls for a new, independent, nongovernmental “Research Integrity Advisory Board.”
Two weeks ago we noted that nanotech, specifically graphene, can turn saltwater into drinking water. Research published last week uses metal-organic frameworks (organic molecules stitched together with metal atoms) and sunlight to capture and condense water vapor, literally pulling water out of even the driest of desert air (Thomas Harmon, Washington, D.C., May, 2007).
Remember when Peter Thiel started paying students $100,000 to drop out of school? Looks like he might have at least one success story: 22-year-old Austin Russell, who four years ago began building a better Lidar, one that is now “able to see seven seconds out instead of one second” (Alex Kendall, San Francisco, May 2016; Ian Oppermann, Paris, July 2011).
Oddly enough, the generation (2–11 year olds) that has never known a time when television content wasn’t available anytime, anywhere, on any device (Curtis Wong, Seattle, Dec 2006), is still mostly watching it on TVs.
Time magazine published its “100 Most Influential People” of 2017 this week. George Church (regional meeting, Boston, June 2015) made the list but we were disappointed not to see more scientists represented.
Speaking of scientists representing, the March for Science is taking place in Washington, D.C., and many other cities tomorrow, April 22, 2017. We know a number of TTI/V members and Advisory Board Members who plan to march, so look out for each other in the crowd.
“The nations may be divided in everything else, but they all share a single body of science”—Isaac Asimov