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On November 17, 2016, AJ commented on Defeating Terrorism With Big Data :

This software can be a real game changer, but it depends entirely on organizational discipline in entering data over time. Often times, the ground forces (Soldiers, police, FBI field agents) see entering the data into these systems after a mission or patrol as a burden and don’t realize the value of the information for everyone else in the network. No technology will ever be invented to fix this problem, but engaged leaders can ensure that their junior leaders see the value in compiling the information and enter it routinely.

On November 17, 2016, AJ commented on Recreating the Harvard Book Store :

Great post- the Espresso concept is very interesting. I’d like to see a player that does the opposite by allowing you to trade in physical copies of books for digital versions. Vudu, a company now owned by Walmart, essentially provides this service by converting DVDs to digital copies for a nominal fee.

The great drawback of a digital copy is you almost always have to pay full price and the book has zero resale value. There would also be value in somehow creating a secondary market for digital books, although I think that is prohibited now based on licensing. Maybe over time as the market matures we’ll see the ability to trade digital copies.

On November 17, 2016, AJ commented on The Profit…is Out There :

I love this technology. I saw a demo of Google’s version this summer and was very impressed, especially by the fact that the computer can actually measure the quantity of oil in a tank, for example. You mentioned the parking lot example, which I think is hugely valuable for an investor betting around earnings announcements. This technology is also used by militaries to determine enemy equipment type/location and monitor potential nuclear activity. Most notably, we have been using it to watch China as it builds military bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea.

With all this said, I also worry about the privacy implications of cameras this powerful looking at my back yard while I sunbathe or looking through people’s sunroofs. It’s impossible to imagine a world in 50 years where we enjoy half of the privacy we have now.

I worry about Type II errors here where kountable incorrectly allocates capital based on flawed reasoning behind its algorithm. The world is rife with businesses that appear popular on social media but consistently fail to turn a profit (ex. Twitter, Snapchat, Blackberry) and may never be able to repay its debt holders. The same problem would exist if one were to measure an individual’s creditworthiness based on number of Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections. There are people out there who appear to have over 500 connections, but in reality fall well short of that number in real life (see Section B Facebook stalker).

On November 17, 2016, AJ commented on There ain’t no such thing as free Internet :

Great post Sid! I don’t think “zero rating” should fall under the rules of net neutrality in general. Regardless of Facebook’s intent, the company was willing to provide free internet access to poor Indians so they could join the platform. The company is not discriminating against other web traffic, it’s simply providing its own services for free. The same can be said for what AT&T is doing by allowing its DirectTV subscribers to stream that service for free. Yes… this practice does put startups at a disadvantage and further strengthens the incumbent’s brand, but at the end of the day the customer benefits. If I were an Indian consumer, I’d rather get just Facebook for free than have no internet at all.

On November 6, 2016, AJ commented on Hawaii Leads the March Towards 100% Renewable Energy :

Jina… mahalo for the compliment. It looks like we share a mutual affection for the aina as I enjoyed reading your post as well.

I do think the New Era deal would have been good for the state. It could have allowed HEI to accelerate its capital expenditures, but I feel like there were some sensitivities to allowing a non-Hawaiian company buy the utility.

I’m glad you pointed out the concern for the AES coal plant. I didn’t realize until I just looked it up that burning coal creates more emissions than burning oil (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=73&t=11). My hope is that AES will realize that they will have to change to compete long-term and modify its behavior.

On November 6, 2016, AJ commented on Clean Tech VC: A Decade of Failure :

As you pointed out, low oil prices are one of the biggest barriers to clean tech and sustainability in general. When a budget conscious individual conducts a net present value analysis of the hybrid version of a car and its conventional equivalent, the analysis still resoundly points towards the conventional vehicle. I used to think that the free market would solve this problem by pushing up the cost of oil as supply continued to decrease (before the fracking boom) until alternatives became viable economic solutions, but now I see that there may be a need for governments to intervene to slow the pace of climate change.

On November 6, 2016, AJ R commented on Do you like beer? Then save the climate! :

This posted reminded me of an event held in Cambridge this past September where six local breweries were challenged to brew beer using water from the Charles River. Desalitech, a local company specializing in water treatment and purification systems, hosted the challenge and offered a prize to the best tasting beer. Doesn’t sound scalable at the moment, but it could be a peek into future ideas to solve this pressing problem.

On November 6, 2016, AJ R commented on SolarCity – Climate Change Winner or a Dud? :

Your post led me to thinking about government incentives v. requirements. On the climate change subject, the US government takes both approaches. Vehicle manufacturers must produce cars that yield a minimum average miles per gallon and produce no more than a certain level of emissions. At the same time, the government incentivizes consumers to take climate friendly actions, such as installing solar panels or buying electric vehicles. The Affordable Care Act, by penalizing those who don’t secure health insurance, was one of the first laws that penalized citizens for not taking a certain action. While I am in no way an advocate of forcing builders to install solar panels on all future construction projects, it is a potential course of action that the government could consider as climate change becomes an even larger threat.

On November 6, 2016, AJ R commented on Walmart: Save Money. Live Worse? :

Fairly or not, large successful corporations bear a larger burden for solving issues effecting society as a whole. It seems like Walmart in particular is always in the cross-hairs for not doing enough for corporate responsibility. The gains for others will be significant and Walmart is not likely to be subsidized for its efforts.

If Walmart continues down the path to 100% sustainability and starts to stumble, perhaps suffering from paying increased wages and competition with Amazon, will society apply less pressure on the company to lead change? In other words, if Walmart finds itself in a fight for survival and is struggling to stay profitable, would society allow the company to abandon its initiative and do whatever it takes to survive? We assume that these companies will stay on top forever, but there have been so many big companies that fell from the top over time.

You pointed out an important link between climate change awareness and the denseness of climate change reports. Philanthropists worried about climate change should consider hiring advertising firms to translate these academic studies (181 page reports) and create materials that are succinct and easy to understand.

One of the reasons for subdued concern about the sinking of Miami must be the common belief that if cities are sinking, we will have much bigger problems than just the value of our properties. I think most people believe that others will solve this problem and they will never have to worry about it.