SUSTAIN WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
A weekly sustainable tech newsletter from a standing desk. – Oct 5, 2015
Here are the top sustainability news I found interesting this week
- Cars soon might have an inbuilt tech that can monitor drivers to pick up signs of distraction. That’s pretty awesome. A precursor to the next generation of driving or the lack of.
- World’s first underground farm (by Growing Underground) produces fresh micro greens and salad. Used to be a WWII bomb shelter. Folks in London – local food delivery company Farmdrop delivers from here. The amount of tech going in farming is amazing. In parallel, vertical farming also is gaining a lot of traction.
- Soda consumption in on the decline. That’s a great thing.
- There are shower heads that use 70% less water. Made by a company called Nebia.
- NASA found signs of liquid water on Mars. Mars is a great place to understand Biotech. In parallel, Elon Musk clarified his ‘Nuke Mars to change its climate‘ plan. That’s some great timing to release the Matt Damon movie! Spoiler: Sean Bean lives till the end in this one.
- Internet.org and Facebook – Issues with ‘Free Basics’: A Google docs spreadsheet with an analysis. Check out the excel tab comments. If you’re pro net neutrality and want to spend the time to understand ramifications, the POV article by Nikhil Pahwa (@nixxin) does a fantastic job at explaining it. Do read.
- The biggest one still is Volkswagen diesel deception (Covered in the last newsletter). The best joke to come off it is by @50NerdsofGrey: “Talk dirty to me,’ she begged. ‘Alright,’ he said, leaning closer, ‘Volkswagen diesel.”
In Tech News
- Google to bring free Wi-Fi to 500 stations in India. Plans to cover 100 of the busiest stations by the end of 2016. Google wants it to be self-sustainable in a few years. How the transition will happen will depend on how much access people will have and will have to give.
- Project Titan: Apple’s electric car. Apparently, Apple car team is functioning like a startup. But it’s not one and has 1800 people working on it.
- Evernote is either struggling badly or transitioning to win. Basically, the freemium to paid model is hard to crack. I use Evernote to prioritize my week. Its a great tool.
- Twitter launches a ‘buy’ button. Also, is considering a change to its 140 character limit. I suggest they charge 2 cents for every additional character. It might be the revenue channel they need. Try Medium if you have a lot to say.
Start you up (week’s start-up stories and insights)
- What if you are offered $5M for 60-70% equity when you need $500k in seed funding. Basically, in most cases, don’t take it. You might not be ready to know where and how to spend.
- The fireside chat with Bill Gurley on the Future of E-Commerce (50 min video).
- Why Tatentpad shutdown? Average startup failure article masked as pay it forward. The comments have more insights. Helion funded this startup.
What is Khat?
Khat is a little green leaf native to the horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Khat chewing is a 1000 year old social custom. It’s a mild stimulant.
In Yemen, 90% of men and 50% of women chew Khat. 50% of household income is spent on it. In the last few decades, Most Yemeni farmers cultivate only Khat. Yemen has gone from producing 95% of its food to importing 92% of it. 27-30% of ground water is dedicated to Khat irrigation. Sana’a, Yemen’s capital might be the World’s first capital to run out of water. The cultivation and trade of Khat in the Horn of Africa is linked to terrorist funding in Kenya and Somalia.
How to stop auto playing videos on Facebook: Top right–>Settings–> Videos –> Dropdown Menu–>Auto-Play Videos–>Off
- The pope met the Kentucky clerk who refused to sign a gay wedding. Good pragmatic Pope.
- You should get a cheaper running shoe. Apparently, you’ll be more satisfied with your run. Psychologically.
- Your shampoo has a bunch of weird stuff (plastic softeners, salt, citric acid, corn water, coal tar, paraben, silicones etc). Some carcinogenic stuff in there.
- another Permafrost virus story. In this one, a Russian injected himself with the virus and claims that he feels eternally young.
- Dogs shouldn’t be hugged. When a dog places a paw on another, it’s an act of dominance. When you do, they will clench up, look away or stop panting. From then on, it’s a safety issue.
- The Supermoon was bad for rhinos in Africa. Poachers found better light and killed 8 Rhinos in a South African park. Full moon periods are known as ‘poachers moon’. Here are some Rhino numbers: Sumatran rhino <100; Javan Rhino – 35-45; Northern White Rhino: 4 (3- Kenya; 1 – San Diego). Yes, 4.
Did you see?
- The world’s first glowing turtle. Its due to biofluorescence, an ability to reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color.
- The first all glass suspension bridge in Hunan, China.
Did you read?
- What MK Gandhi wrote about beef consumption?
- What is means to be great and Apple by Horace Dediu.
- ‘The Martian’ movie review by a real life Astronaut.
When you focus on only getting customers and not on retention, it is like leasing a car when you want to own it. The cost of ownership is tricky and gets even more expensive later. This trend is apparent in a majority of food delivery companies that are going through a high cash burn model.
Arcluster is close to the launch of its first internally funded study, as part of our research unit that also does bespoke engagements. You can also follow us on twitter @arcluster for latest news from the company.
Folks, that’s it for the week update. Good week ahead!