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On November 20, 2016, MrNMS commented on Can retail stores also act as mini distribution centers? :

Great overview of the omnichannel challenge. Macy’s strategy is also clever because one would a large physical footprint would be a liability in a more digital retail world. However, they’ve been able to turn that footprint into an advantage. As you explain, using these stores as fulfillment centers means they can improve their use of space, and don’t have to shut down as many stores. We may see a future where Macy’s department stores are far fewer floors, and the rest of the space if storage. Makes sense to me.

On November 20, 2016, MrNMS commented on Can a 3D printer solve the world’s housing crisis? :

Super interesting! Awesome technology. It feels like this application will be limited to emerging markets for a long time. In such places, housing is typically detached from the public infrastructure, so these homes will be a considerable improvement on the status quo. However, in developed markets, the infrastructure will probably be the constraining factor.

Nice post Clemens. I wonder how body cameras for police officers will integrate into this system. My understanding is that the implementation of body cameras has been quite difficult – given the technology challenge that comes with storing vast amounts of video data. There is likely a future where an individual sitting in the command room can pull up the camera of any officer via CompSTAT, and layer it on to the existing data. The cameras will help hold cops to a higher level of accountability, and could potentially record clues and important crime scene data that a human might miss.

On November 20, 2016, MrNMS commented on Three lessons from building the digital city :

Nice post Peter! Clearly NYC is pushing the boundaries on how tech is used in an urban environment. I wonder if the digital signage is the best use of tax dollars – wouldn’t it be more effective to make WiFi more accessible, so people could access the Subway information on their phones? That way they can read their directions on the go AND you eliminate the complexity of the interactive signs. Just a thought.

On November 20, 2016, MrNMS commented on Otto and Uber: Pioneering Autonomy in the Shipping Industry :

Great post! If I’m Uber, I’m still worried about the major automakers beating me on the autonomous vehicle front. I see Uber remained the market maker between customers and self-driving vehicles, but can Uber really scale manufacturing to the level of a Ford or GM once the technology gets figured out? The retrofitting technology for trucks is a more defensive play, but in the long run I doubt they can keep up. If I’m Uber, I look for a partnership with Ford or Toyota ASAP.

On November 7, 2016, MrNMS commented on California Dreamin’: West Coast Wines in Peril? :

Protect my Pinots!

This post does a great job illustrating the impacts of the CA drought beyond just almonds. The scale of the wine industry in CA relative to the US is also a reminder that climate issues are a shared responsibility. During the recent drought CA did a lot to reduce its water consumption, but the rest of the world benefits from its produce. The rest of the US should do more to mitigate its impact on global warming (ahem coal country) and share more resources when drought conditions to affect our food supply (or our wine supply).

“sh*****y situation” indeed.

Maybe I misunderstood the science here, but it seems like an energy intensive way to deal with trash – don’t you need high levels of energy to heat the trash to temperatures similar to those found on the surface of the sun?

If that first concern has been addressed, then it sounds like this type of energy production and waste removal should have incentives similar to those of solar. Energies should be allowed to include such production in their renewable targets, and/or there should be tax credits for new construction.

Nice post. One of your proposed solutions is that you suggest meat producers shift production to developing markets where emissions standards aren’t as strict. Is that really an answer? Wouldn’t that still contribute to the underlying problem, but simply avoid the current regulatory environment? Moving production to areas with less regulation feels like a way to kick the can down the road even further.

There might be a demand side hedge here as well – perhaps investing in Soy or other high-protein substitutes for meat (if you believe consumers will shift away from meat, which is a big what if…)

On November 7, 2016, MrNMS commented on The Panama Canal: The “Bottleneck” of Global Shipping? :

You touched on an issue that I’m super interested – that of alternative shipping through the Northwest Passage. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/09/10/why-the-northwest-passage-probably-wont-be-ready-for-shipping-any-time-soon/).

The Panama canal was developed as an alternative the failure to find the Northwest Passage – which never really existed until now. While it seems that for now that shipping route isn’t a viable alternative, the pain felt by southern routes likely means that the planet is heating further, and northern routes will continue to open up more as ice melts.

In addition to business concerns, there are a number of geo-political concerns that come with this shift in global commerce. The Panama canal is one of the safer routes of transit in the world, thanks to Panama’s position as a peaceful nation, and protection from the U.S. The Northwest passage passes between Russia and Alaska, and opens potential for new conflict as Arctic nations fight to gain control over shipping routes, and Arctic oil. Something to keep an eye on…

Super interesting post! I’m curious to understand more about the structure of this industry, and how it might mimic other agricultural sectors. It seems there is a significant coordination problem – the fact that small scale farmers (e.g., the “Juans”) took 5 years to adapt their crops to a more resistant strand of coffee. Haven’t the wheat and corn industries dealt with this problem? By creating more industrialized farms, and by producing at scale, they can afford to introduce more efficient farming practices, and also invest in GMO seeds that can resist fluctuations in weather (or insects, or other issues). While such commercialization would come at the expense of the small-scale farmer, the consolidation of agriculture in the US has led to increased productivity, and allowed many would-be farmers to move on to other industries.

(we can have a separate debate about the practices of large scale farmers, and the use of GMO crops)