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On November 20, 2016, MattGerow commented on Digitalization And Cows: A Productive Marriage. MOOOOOO :

Great post. I think that the impact of these technologies can be quickly realized and with an upfront investment, and buy in from farmers has the potential to produce almost immediate benefits. A single owner’s buy in could produce a quick investment and quick and measurable returns for the owner. While other commenters have raised interesting concerns about alternative forms of meat, I see the cattle industry maintaining a strong position in the market. Measurable increases in efficiency and better utilization of resources has the potential to begin to snowball as resistant farmers see the benefits of digitization in an ancient field and begin to adopt the technologies as well.

The aggregation of medical information through connected devices and digitization of trial data has the potential to dramatically impact the treatments of the future. I see trial data being a small percentage of the potential database to aggregate patient information. With an increasing focus on privacy, do you see patients eager to share their personal medical information with large companies? Is there a way Novartis or similar companies can encourage or incentive patients to adopt these connected devices and share their information and medical history? Hopefully these companies can establish the trust of consumers by ensuring this aggregated data could never be sold. Seeing medical treatments expand beyond reliance on exclusively trial data begin to factor in larger data sets could be revolutionary in the way diseases are diagnosed and treated.

On November 20, 2016, MattGerow commented on Here’s How to Buy Anything from Anywhere (Without Shipping Costs!) :

Interesting post, while this model has a lot of potential I would be very hesitant to invest because I this legislation will quickly close the gap on this business model, especially internationally. This model bypasses commercial import taxes and tariffs and if the market grows for Airfrov, I would worry that government organizations will want to ensure that their piece of the pie is preserved. This model is a great example of increasing the utilization of traveler’s space and is a basically risk-free model from Airfrov’s perspective since there is no major up front investment compared to any other transportation or logistics company. I look forward to seeing how this model does moving forward and how legislation reacts as it begins to gain momentum.

On November 20, 2016, MattGerow commented on Knewton: Can the Education Industry Teach Itself a New Trick? :

Technology has the potential to reinvent the way we teach and the way we learn. I see funding, especially in cash-strapped public school systems being the reason connected classrooms are slow to be adopted. While this technology has proven results and a direct impact on grades, I foresee school being resistant to adopting an expense investment in bringing this tech into every classroom. Administrators will be faced with tough trade-offs when looking at the potential benefits of connected and adaptive classrooms while they look at cutting extra-curriculars to offset rising costs. What changes could be made to this model to encourage wide spread adoption, especially in poorer school districts that struggle with grades and graduation rates?

On November 20, 2016, MattGerow commented on Illumina – Shining a Light on Your DNA :

Interesting article and perspective. I think the knowledge that could be gained from massive sequenced genome libraries would be massively beneficial to our understanding up modern diseases and genetic disorders. I personally see the largest challenge in encouraging the general population to get their genome sequenced and the data aggregated. In the modern day where privacy is hard to come by, I see many people not wanting their personal information, health history, and genetic propensity towards disease aggregated by any company or government organization. I believe that to aggregate this data, companies or organizations will have to strongly encourage the masses to submit to this testing and sequencing and until that happens, I believe these libraries will be grossly underpopulated and, to some extent, ineffective at truly mapping out genetic connections between diseases and disorders.

On November 7, 2016, MattGerow commented on Uber: Climate Change Hero, or Villain? :

I agree that Uber’s model provides financial incentives for increased vehicle utilization and therefor an increased carbon output on a per vehicle basis but expanding network of ride sharing reduces demand for vehicles and those effects propegate up the production chain. Less vehicles are needed in a sharing economy, manufacturing operations can be scaled back in assembly plants, stamping plants, and mining operations which can be notorious polluters. I believe that utilizing current resources will almost always reduce environmental impact when compared the the life cycle carbon impact of new vehicle production if everyone needs a car. There is also a financial incentive for the most fuel efficient vehicles to be used as ubers, as the margins are better for drivers if revenue is constant and fuel consumption is reduced. I believe uber’s impact on GHG emissions is beneficial on an overall scale.

As a few of the commenters above have begin to allude to, desalinization struggles with the high energy input required to actually remove the salt and mineral content from the water. While solar provides an attractive option due to San Diego’s climate, the implementation of solar panels over it’s facility cannot keep up with the power demand of the desalinization process. Until a carbon neutral power generation is adopted on a wide scale, this process will be balancing a trade off of GHG generation from power plants and through fresh water supply desalinization. While nuclear power is an attractive options, Fukushima is still fresh in the minds of the world and everyone remembers what happens when you build a nuclear plant near the ocean and an active tectonic fault zone (Southern California has been known to have a few earthquakes). How should the government prioritize incentives in this case? Should desalinization be subsidized at the expense of increased GHG emissions or should the government subsidize greener power sources first in order to make desalinization a non GHG emitting process?

On November 7, 2016, MattGerow commented on Climate change, an opportunity for high-speed train manufacturers. :

Blaine raises some very important point in his comment above. Some electric trains just shift the carbon impact responsibility upstream to the power plants that produce the electricity. While I agree that even conventional, non-electric locomotives have an incredibly low impact due to the massive load a single locomotive can transport relative to a diesel truck transporting cross country, electric high speed trains require large amounts of electricity to maintain magnetic levitation. These friction reductions due to levitation allow for incredible gains in speed but require substantial electrical input to overcome drag at high speed. While I am excited about the potential that high speed electric trains provide, I feel that the impact will not be significant until substantial investments are made in rail infrastructure as well as a carbon neutral power generation on a large scale, such as nuclear, is widely adopted.

On November 7, 2016, MattGerow commented on For NextEra, North Dakota Wind is the New Fracking :

As the energy landscape evolves, it is clear that eco-friendly options must be adopted over traditional coal-fired power plants to reduce GHG emissions as we power the increasing power demands of our modern society. Economics aside, how do you balance the ecological impact of GHG emissions from coal plants compared to the emissions heavy mining processes that are required to mine and extract the rare earth metals necessary to produce wind turbines with high enough efficiency to viably produce energy from wind driven motion? As the economy of the world evolves and power demands continue to increase, decisions will have to be made on the trade offs of different ecological impacts and the minimization of GHG emissions vs the minimization of overall environmental impact. While these eco impacts are typically localized to mining regions (currently concentrated in Asian countries), we have seen the problems with an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to consumption habits and their impacts on global resources.

Interesting information and perspective on the production and recyclability of glass and lower lifetime carbon footprint for similarly sized containers. Additional information could shed a light the feasibility of glass packaging as a sustainable solution. What are the recycling rates of glass containers compared to plastic or aluminum containers? And since glass packaging is significantly heavier than the plastic or aluminum alternatives, it would be beneficial to also consider the carbon impact of distribution and transportation of heavier, bulkier items. Trucks would burn more fuel as they bring these heavier, eco-friendly bottles to consumers and melting glass requires significantly more heat input than melting plastic so the recycling process may have inherent emissions as the grid still supplies power from mainly coal fired power plants. Fully understanding the differences glass would make in the entire life cycle of the bottle could help us understand where the trade offs lie as we work towards a greener future.