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On November 20, 2016, Alexandra commented on Digitizing the Diabetes Prevention Program :

Great article! While I completely agree with the above comments that this technology might not be vital in the prevention and/or management of all disease areas, I think it would be extremely valuable with mental health management. It is my understanding that medication compliance for diseases like schizophrenia is a key challenge and can, for obvious reasons, have a disastrous effect on people’s lives. The ability to track one’s health and be in touch with medical professionals to ensure medication compliance could be game-changing. One concern, however, is data security. Ensuring that PHI is not compromised (and following state and federal regulations) will always be a challenge with new, mobile technologies.

On November 20, 2016, Alexandra commented on Burberry: Digitizing the Trench :

Very interesting article! After seeing how Longchamp has struggled with both appealing to the younger market while still maintaining luxury brand perception, it is fascinating to see how Burberry has succeeded. I had no idea that the brand had invested so heavily in digital marketing and technology to enhance the customer buying experience. Perhaps this embracing of technology could lead to the combination of technology in their clothing? We have smartphones… Could we one day have a ‘smart trench coat’?

On November 20, 2016, Alexandra commented on Netflix & Chill :

Great post, Kevin! It will be very interesting to see how Netflix attempts to branch out into other areas without directly competing with large, well-known firms with deep pockets and resources. Would it be in Netflix’s best interest to collaborate with companies like Apple or Google who are already most likely dedicating resources to explore virtual reality? While infusing Netflix into the broader culture seems logical, wouldn’t a product like the “Netflix and chill” button put it directly in competition with existing products like Amazon’s “Alexa”?

On November 20, 2016, Alexandra commented on Descartes Labs: Predicting Farmer’s Fortunes from Space :

Great post! It is fascinating to see the high level of accuracy of the analysis of these detailed satellite images. In the climate change discussion earlier this month, we saw many posts of how changes in temperature and precipitation patterns are leading to significant agricultural challenges (e.g., cacao trees) and even altering entire habitats. I wonder if this technology could also be used for the detailed tracking and prediction of changes in plant productivity in unique, at-risk ecosystems like the Amazon rainforest.

On November 20, 2016, Alexandra commented on Rest Devices Inc. – Will They Deliver Nursery 2.0? :

Great post and very interesting technology! As I was reading, I also thought about how vital this could be for protecting infants against such tragedies as SIDS, as well as harm due to poorly designed bedding and cribs. However, I also have concerns about privacy, especially if video and breathing/heart monitoring data will be analyzed and stored online. I hope the company can continue to innovate to design more breakthrough technologies while keeping data security a top priority!

On November 5, 2016, Alexandra commented on Nutella, Why U No Last Forever? :

I, too, am a fellow Nutella addict and completely agree with Rachel’s comment above. I would invest in strategies #2 and #3, while looking into #1 to see if any alternative ingredients could be used without compromising taste. That being said, other agricultural products used (e.g., almonds) might also suffer from the effects of climate change and be as limited in supply as hazelnuts and cacao trees. Additionally, it seems as though the makers of Nutella could band together with companies like Mars, Nestle and Hershey who are outside of the RSPO, but who also source cacao and other ingredients from the same regions. These companies would also be interesting in advocating for CSPO (and other sustainable agricultural standards) so as to maintain their supply chain long-term.

While methane backpacks provide an amusing solution to a fascinating problems, it seems as though the best long-term option would be altering the source of the problem (i.e., the cow) rather than rerouting the dangerous chemical. Having to constantly dose thousands of cattle with a live enzyme to break down methane would be logically difficult, time-consuming and expensive to carry out. Selective breeding to find a breed with minimal methane output would be minimally invasive, but time consuming and potentially limited in effectiveness. Antibiotics might be of concern if they were passed through the milk to humans, and would certainly have to undergo regulatory testing and approval. Ideally, scientists would be able to develop and implant a gene that enabled the cows to break down the methane themselves. If done correctly, this gene could potentially be altered and adapted for other livestock that emit unwanted substances. While this solution would take a great deal of time and R&D investment, it seems the most effective and efficient long-term option.

On November 5, 2016, Alexandra commented on Under Water: The City of Miami Beach :

Although it is a huge financial investment, the retrofitting of the Miami drainage system with a value and pump system is absolutely necessary for the future of the city. One major concern that still remains, however, is the preservation of the beaches. The long, wide beach along the Atlantic coast is as much of a draw as Miami’s nightlife, restaurants and Latin culture. Additionally, many of the largest and most expensive hotel and restaurants that brings in economically-valuable tourists (e.g, Soho House, Le Fontaine Bleue) are located directly between the city streets and the beach. Even if they are protected from street flooding, rising sea levels will eventually compromise the beach and building infrastructures. I would argue that equal investment also be placed in rebuilding the beaches and installing rock/concrete barriers to reduce oceanic wave heights.

On November 5, 2016, Alexandra commented on Is Australian Wine Going the Way of the Tasmanian Tiger? :

While I am relieved that buying land in cooler areas of Australia is an option for wine makers, I wonder if the soil composition of those areas is as ideal for grape growing. Additionally, I am concerned that, since this cooler agricultural land is limited, it will result in a change of the landscape of Australian wine producers. Since this land is limited and in high demand, only very large, established and well-funded wine producers will be able to afford the steep prices. Presumably, this land will also be in demand from other agribusiness whose crops are affected by the increased heat of climate change. Unfortunately, it seems as though the cost of this land might result in the survival of only a few large wine makers who are able afford it. This would result in a reduction of Australian wine label diversity and increase costs being passed along to the consumer. It is a dark day indeed…

On November 5, 2016, Alexandra commented on Is the world running out of chocolate? :

While I agree with the idea of diversifying sourcing locations, one of the main issues with growing cacao trees is that they generally only grow 10-20 degrees north and south of the equator. This already-limited area of growth is being restricted even further by climate change. Scientist might explore genetically altering or interbreeding different cacao tree strains to produce new species that could handle these changing conditions. Additionally, Mars might look to see if climate change has converted previously non-ideal cacao growing areas into environments that the trees can now sustain.

Additionally, you mentioned how Mars could benefit from economies of supply chain scale. I completely agree that Mars should look into partnering with other chocolate companies like Nestle, who are suffering from the same climate change challenges, to reduce supply chain costs. They might even explore partnerships with companies shipping other agricultural products (e.g., coffee beans, spices). This would protect cacao farmers from revenue cuts and chocolate consumers from price hikes.