TTI/Vanguard: Member news! Newsletter Sept 18, 2020

We remain in the midst of our fall conference: The Game Has Changed: 2020. Join us for the upcoming installments on the remaining Tuesdays of September, with talks related to health, healthcare, and medicine dominating the coming-week’s agenda. If you have yet to do so, register here. The Highlights summary, video, and some presentations from this past Tuesday’s edition will be available in the TTI/Vanguard archive today.

Member firm Hyundai has graciously invited members of the TTI/Vanguard community, as well as their colleagues, to virtually attend its upcoming fifth annual Mobility Innovators Forum. Leaders from the industry will come together to discuss economics, public–private partnerships, ethics and human values, sustainability, and innovations on automotive and the future of mobility. Please register at the MIF 2020 website and share with your network to support Hyundai’s Mobility Innovators Forum 2020.

More great member news ... Hearty congratulations to longtime member Takayuki Inagawa and NTT Docomo Ventures for earning a spot on Global Corporate Venturing’s 2020 Powerlist. A few other community members have been honored – take a look:

So, here’s the paradox: Global warming is increasing the demand for ways to cool down, but conventional air conditioning relies on hydrofluorocarbons, which are potent greenhouse gases. Currently, the world’s 2B air conditioners account for a whopping 9% of electricity usage. An international team of researchers, spanning the United States, Canada, and Singapore, have demonstrated the comfort provided by the radiant cooling of a Cold Tube—a pavilion or overhead shelter composed of large panels encasing chilled water. These have been shown to provide cool comfort, even in Singapore’s heat and humidity, requiring half the electricity and none of the offending chemicals associated with dehumidifying air conditioners.

Riding atop the existing fiber network, researchers at the University of Bristol have multiplexed the distribution of quantum keys to achieve simultaneous communication among all 28 possible pairings of eight participants distributed across the city in what they tout as an important proof-of-concept step in the development of affordable, secure, multiparty quantum communication. (John Preskill, virtual The Game Has Changed: 2020 conference, Sep 2020; Prem Kumar, San Francisco, Dec 2018; Hideo Mabuchi, San Diego, Nov 2002)

The fires in California, Oregon, and Washington are not only devastating, they’re also unprecedented in terms of plume height, fire tornado activity, and more. This commentary isn’t hyperbole; there’s data to back up these dire claims. (Michael Mastrandrea and Noah Diffenbaugh, San Francisco, Dec 2014; James Strittholt, Pittsburgh, Oct 2012)

For the first time in its long and storied history, Scientific American is taking the extraordinary step of endorsing a candidate for U.S. president: Joe Biden. This explicitly nonpartisan move is rooted in the publication’s dedication to fact-based reasoning, as its editor-in-chief Laura Helmuth stated: “This year, we need to tell what we know about the consequences the Trump administration has had for science, health, the environment, for using evidence, for really understanding and accepting reality, and show that this time the choice is just so important for science. ... We hope that people who've historically been Republicans or who may be voting for Republicans in other races this year will feel included in this endorsement. ... We hope that anybody who's concerned about using science and using the best evidence will feel comfortable voting for Joe Biden this time.” 

Former TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board member Hermann Hauser (Berlin, Jul 2004; London, Jul 1999) has spoken out against Nvidia’s purchase of the ARM Holdings—the 1990 outgrowth of Acorn Computers, the firm he cofounded in 1978—which has been a subsidiary of Softbank since 2016. Given Nvidia’s focus on GPUs and SoCs, Hauser has expressed extreme concern, about a negative impact on “UK jobs, ARM’s business model, and even the future of the country’s economic sovereignty independent of the United States and U.S. interests,” were Nvidia to export ARM’s RISC-based chip operations to the USA, according to this article. (David Patterson, San Francisco, Dec 2017)

With the presence of phosphine (PH3) in the atmospheres of exoplanets being considered a powerful signature for life, its discovery—and at surprisingly high-concentrations—in Venus’s atmosphere is catapulting this nearby and rather overlooked hot-house planet to the forefront of renewed scientific interest.

People might be landing in the hospital from severe respiratory consequences of COVID-19 and complaining of loss of smell, but googling gastrointestinal symptoms weeks prior is proving a statistically meaningful early-warning signal for local outbreaks. (Chris Gilbert and Eric Haseltine, San Francisco, Feb 2017; Menlo Park, Nov 2016; Hal Varian, San Francisco, Feb 2010) .

William Haseltine (San Diego, Feb 2015; San Jose, Feb 2012; Phoenix, Dec 2008) makes the case for massive-scale, self-administered, inexpensive antigen testing, coupled with government-subsidized self-isolation for infected individuals and quarantining for their contacts, to stem the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks. He anticipates such a regimen to cost just $50B.

Adopting a mindset akin to that of Robert Poor (virtual The Game Has Changed: 2020 conference, Sep 2020), the founder of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, decided to repurpose prior infrastructure toward new ends. In Dalio’s case, the infrastructure is a “lightly used oil drilling ship” that has been rechristened OceanXplorer and is ready to sail as a (literal) “vessel for big science, big technology, and big science,” according to this NY Times article. His dual purpose is to explore the depths with its submersible crafts and to inspire a new generation of oceanic scientists and explorers (Scripps Institute of Oceanography, field trip, San Diego, Feb 2015; Michael Wright, London, Jul 2014; Ellen Prager, Miami, Dec 2011; John Delaney, Seattle Dec 2006 and Dec 2001). Just another example of billionaires making a difference by turning their passion into philanthropic endeavors.

“The ocean’s bottom is at least as important to us as the moon’s behind.”—Gordon Lill