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I enjoyed reading your post, but I’m well aware of the risks. For example, in Brazil, companies have used big data to legitimize the fact that they refuse to serve poor neighborhoods where they would lose money… just find (or even worse, develop) a (safety) statistic and you’re set.

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


To be honest, I’m very skeptical towards this idea for several practical reasons
1/ Houses made of mud easily wash away, wouldn’t it be better to give people durable brick houses?
2/ I don’t see the benefit of this technology over prefab structures. Transport cost might be one if you can do local sourcing but you don’t find the right clay everywhere.
3/ You’re limited to certain shapes (narrower towards the top)

Is it truly a viable innovation?



On November 20, 2016, pgoedertier commented on The new Thanksgiving weekend activity … “Spying Saturday” :

I believe that traditional shops will slowly go extinct; There’s no reason to have a showroom AND inventory at the same time. I think we’ll evolve towards a world in which there are showrooms (so people can test out the product) and order it immediately online.

Some companies have already embraced this concept, e.g., The Groomsman came to campus in order to have male students try out their tuxedo’s and then send it through mail. Convenient and cost-efficient.

On November 20, 2016, pgoedertier commented on Where Art Meets Engineering: Google Art Project :


I enjoyed reading this blog post!

Besides the fact that it makes art available to everyone, it forces art owners (churches, museums, etc.) or governments to take care of its cultural heritage. For example, when the Ghent altarpiece made by the brothers Van Eyck was digitized (, the public was able to see the bad state of the paintings, which has led to an expensive but necessary restoration.

On November 20, 2016, pgoedertier commented on Chilecompra: Using Technology to Deliver Better Value for Public Money :


I really like this system, but I have some questions:

Do you think similar effect are achievable in other countries?
1/ Chile has only 18 million inhabitants, hence making a platform uniform is relatively easy.
2/ Chile has “natural protection” against foreign companies (the sea, the Andes, the Atacama desert); I don’t know whether similar job creation is possible in open markets

If the government pay less, the suppliers make less profit. Has this system led to a “race to the bottom” which might eventually fire back?


In most countries the energy production priority scheme is

1/ Alternative energy – most countries have established rules that alternative energy has absolute priority
2/ Nuclear energy – nuclear installations are safest when they operate at full capacity, have a low variable cost and are therefore second priority
3/ Thermal energy – Thermal energy is the plug to make supply meet demand

As such, one could argue that incremental (with the focus on incremental) energy use always comes from thermal energy. What’s the difference between fuel being burnt in your car versus fuel being burnt in a thermal power plant?

On November 6, 2016, pgoedertier commented on Come As You Are – Lithium, Cobalt, and Tesla’s Battery Problem :


I enjoyed reading this post.

Given the above, I was wondering why Tesla is not investing in a proper Cobalt mine in Congo? With Codelco in Chile and large proven reserves in North Argentina / South Bolivia, the Lithium supply will not be an issue. Cobalt on the other hand is difficult to source in large quantities from ‘reliable’ sources.

On a more fundamental note, why is Tesla not looking at Hydrogen as an energy carrier? Hydrogen is made out of water, and when burnt, it turns back into water…


I assume MOSE was used because there is no visual pollution? The Delta Works are very impressive engineering constructions but would not fit in a historic context…

You mention that “Venice sits in a lagoon, separated from the Adriatic Sea by a series of barrier islands. Centuries of human intervention — including the diversion of rivers, widening of the lagoon’s entrances and dredging of channels to accommodate shipping, and the draining of mudflats for construction and agriculture — have disrupted the lagoon’s equilibrium with the sea”. Would it be a good idea to restore the historic coastline to better protect the city?

On November 6, 2016, pgoedertier commented on Learning from Disaster: NYC After Hurricane Sandy :


I liked reading your post and I could not agree more that NYC should set an example in the overall combat against climate change. That being said, New York should also prepare itself to withstand such storms. I see you mentioned a USD 19bn loss due to Sandy. Assuming that a similar future storm would also cause a USD 19bn loss, one could argue that we have to “borrow from the future” and invest today in shore protection. What is your view on what New York should do to protect itself?

On November 6, 2016, pgoedertier commented on Amazon Web Services: Greenhouse Gases in the Cloud :


Very interesting piece, I enjoyed reading it. I have two questions that came to mind:

1/ A large part of the energy consumption is for server cooling. Are Amazon’s servers located near Northern cities where the heat could be used to heat buildings?

2/ What makes you believe that Amazon can operate wind mill farms more efficient than companies that only operate wind mill farms? Wouldn’t it be better to go into a long term purchasing agreement with a company that has already experience in this field?

BTW: I love the fact that you use SI units (MW, kWh) and not foot-pounds 😉