I would be very hesitant to continue to roll out network improvements if I were KPN. With the ruling last December that the internet should be regulated like a utility (https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/3F95E49183E6F8AF85257FD200505A3A/%24file/15-1063-1619173.pdf) , spending money on network improvements may turn out to be an expense that will never be recouped. Until the regulatory environment is settled, it may be in KPN and other internet providers best interests to slow their expansion plans and wait for clarity.
K. Caven, I disagree with your assertion that $150 is a lot to pay for renting a dress for a special event. I don’t know many people who need to wear something like a ball gown on a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly basis. Having one ready to go in one’s wardrobe with the knowledge of even how many times you could potentially wear it seems like a gross misappropriation of resources. Add in the complexity that it’s considered a fashion faux-pas to wear the same dress to multiple occasions, and the purchase seems even more frivolous.
While exclusive digital download does pose an existential threat to GameStop’s business, I believe that it would be against the best interest of the console makers to cut physical media and the used market that it enables. Because of this, I believe there will be a used market for some time that will allow GameStop to maintain the levels of traffic it has been receiving, and enable the company to survive.
Because of the shift to more social gaming, it is extremely important to game producers that people continue to play their game for a long time. Without players, these hyper social games lose their allure. A used market allows additional players access to the game universe, without the producer needing to drop the price of their game for those who want the convenience of digital downloading. Said another way, GameStop is enabling the longevity of a game by allowing price discrimination.
Interesting read Lee. I’m of the opinion that the power of middlemen in these kinds of markets is eventually going to be hollowed out. Their resilience is admirable in the face of how much effort has been made to erode their utility, but nevertheless, eventually they’ll go the way of other broker types.
I think the most likely parallel here is in insurance brokerage, an industry that shares similarities with real estate (high stable margins for brokers, information asymmetry, long term purchase), but has been significantly disrupted by the ability of a consumer to online comparison shop, gather information themselves, and make a direct purchasing decision. The IIABA Marketshare cites digitization and direct to consumer sales multiple times as a huge risk to insurance brokerages and they’re seeing the market share of brokers erode steadily over the past decade.
It sounds like the same things that are enabling the USPS to effectively automate their operations could be potentially catastrophic for our privacy. Knowing who someone is receiving mail from, at what frequency, and at what times could contain huge amounts of personal information. Effectively these “automation” programs are really mass surveillance. The NACDL has filed a lawsuit (https://www.nacdl.org/NewsReleases.aspx?id=37041) attempting to uncover potential abuses of this new information as well as generate some accountability for how it may be used in the future. I sincerely hope that if the USPS continues with harvesting information to continue to improve their efficiency, they’ll be sure to safeguard our information appropriately.
Cruise ships have always been amongst the worst offenders of respecting the environment. There have been studies that show that the impact on air quality in the Mediterranean can be significantly attributed to the impact that cruise ships have on the area.
Contini, D., 2011. The direct influence of ship traffic on atmospheric PM2.5, PM10 and PAH in Venice. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 1.
This is a fascinating read that reminded me of a similar opportunity opened up by the melting ice caps. Similar to how Dynagas is now able to pilot a ship through an area that was previously unnavigable, ships that lay the fiber optic cable that connects continents and enables worldwide internet access are able to lay cable to connect the UK to Japan across the arctic ocean. There’s also a proposed cable that could be laid between Tokyo and Alaska that is also possible because of the melting ice caps. This cable would allow high speed internet to remote communities in Alaska and Canada for the first time.
It’s interesting that while climate change is undoubtedly a huge problem, opportunities like more efficient shipping lanes and communications lines are a positive side effect.
 IEEE, 2015. Fiber Optics for the Far North. IEEE Spectrum, 1
 Pitch Interactive, 2016. A Northwest Passage for the Internet. Scientific American, June 2016, 1-2.
Could Coca Cola use the wastewater from its soda production in a more innovative way? It’s possible to produce bioethanol from wastewater that contains as little as 10-12% sugar weight by volume by adding the correct strain of yeast. By distributing this biofuel to the surrounding communities perhaps they could further mitigate their impact.
Going even further, perhaps they could aim for a more aggressive net waste goal. If they’re outputting greywater to the surrounding community, it would be proactive of them if they could further purify it and use it in their products.
 Isla, M., 2013. Wastewater from the soft drinks industry as a source for bioethanol production. Bioresource Technology, 136, 1.
I’m a big fan of the way that efficient lighting can make a big impact in the amount of energy that we use. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that LED is the correct technology. While they consume little power for the amount of light they output (current generation LEDs from Philips are outputting 94 lumens per watt), the materials and supply chain required to build them is an environmental liability. An LED bulb contains 88 times the amount of barium, 33 times the amount of copper, and 14 times the amount of gallium as a traditional light bulb. Is a product that requires so much more material the right way forward?
Home Depot. 2016. 60W Equivalent Soft White A19 LED Light Bulb (4-Pack). [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-A19-LED-Light-Bulb-4-Pack-455949-2/206766847. [Accessed 7 November 2016].
Lim, S.R., 2012. Potential Environmental Impacts from the Metals in Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL), and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs. Environmental Science & Technology, , 4.
Amazing read Kyle! Our trucking and logistics infrastructure is a huge contributor to climate change and it’s exciting to hear what PITT OHIO is doing to mitigate their impact. However, I question whether CNG is part of that correct answer. While CNG does contribute fewer greenhouse gasses to the surrounding environment, it’s questionable whether the system from the capture of CNG to consumption is better. During mining, capture, and transportation of CNG, there is a large amount of gas that escapes . Unfortunately methane (CH4), the predominant ingredient in natural gas is also one of the worst contributors to the greenhouse effect. So while it may be with the best intentions, is PITT OHIO really helping by changing their fleet to this new fuel?
 Goyal, P., 2003. Present scenario of air quality in Delhi: a case study of CNG implementation. Atmospheric Environment, 37, 6.