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On November 21, 2016, Tarran commented on Evaluating New Drugs with Wearable Technology :

Thanks for your comment. They have indeed transitioned wearables to medical devices. The first example that comes to mind are insulin pumps (https://myomnipod.com/), but there are many more that exist.

On November 21, 2016, Tarran commented on Evaluating New Drugs with Wearable Technology :

Those are all great points and concerns that I also have. As the pool of data increases the hope is that data scientists are able to develop algorithms that account for the inherent error in active data collection.

On November 21, 2016, Tarran commented on Evaluating New Drugs with Wearable Technology :

That’s a great point. Not only can this technology benefit the drug makers, but also benefit the patient. I would also take a look at eross’ blog post on AdhereTech that is using smart pill bottles to help with medication adherence.

On November 21, 2016, Tarran commented on Evaluating New Drugs with Wearable Technology :

I think pharma’s involvement or investment in such technologies could persuade CROs to implement the use of this technology. QC and QA oversight from both pharma and CROs would definitely help improve confidence in the data. Great point!

On November 21, 2016, Tarran commented on Evaluating New Drugs with Wearable Technology :

Great point on the accuracy of the Fitbits and manual data entry. I believe this is a weakness that new wearable technologies will face in the health care space.

On November 19, 2016, Tarran commented on Behind Moneyball 2.0 Stands STATS :

Selene – Thanks for writing this article. I agree with you that while STATS is able to acquire statistics and analytics on teams in the NBA and other sports, the real value is in how the data is interpreted and used. It seems that STATS wasn’t able to provide that key insight and was replaced by its competitor because they were less expensive. One question I have is regarding your example about Kevin Durant’s shooting patterns. While this information is useful for training and coaching him, what if that exact data is licensed by every other NBA team? This would give other teams a competitive advantage in devising a defensive plan to block and obstruct Durant’s best shooting spots. Why would Durant’s team be okay with STATS licensing this information to their competitors? Is STATS doing anything to blind the data?

On November 19, 2016, Tarran commented on Riding the “Smart” Electric Wave at Florida Power & Light :

Lady – Really interesting topic. I was impressed with FPL’s initiative to digitize their operations and I wish Eversource, our local energy provider here in Massachusetts, would follow suit. I was particularly impressed with FPLs smart grid technology that enables them to quickly detect service disruptions and stresses to the grid in order to quickly restore power. Power outages are not only annoying, but can result in lost revenues for businesses (http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704684604575381313880000710). It seems this new smart grid technology would decrease outages that would avoid lost revenues and disgruntled customers. This is a win-win for everyone.

On another note, you recommended that FPL sell and install solar panels. Have you considered the large upfront costs that may deter consumers from adding solar panels? Would FPL or the government be willing to subsidize solar panels as a means to supporting the distribution and use of clean energy?

On November 19, 2016, Tarran commented on Can a Smart Thermometer Stop the Spread of Contagious Illnesses? :

QQ – Great article. I can definitely see the value in this medical device, but as you stated in your article, my big concern is customer distribution and engagement. What is the incentive for someone to purchase a $20 thermometer when they can use a free website or app that can tell them when and when not to see the doctor? I assume easy-of-use and FDA compliance makes this an attractive technology when considering to buy or not, but is this enough to overcome this barrier to market entry?

Another thing I am concerned about is that high consumer distribution and engagement of this technology is required to generate the large data sets in order to identify hot zones. It is for this reason that health privacy concerns could be a deterrent to consumer use. Also, how accurate will the data be if people are self-diagnosing their symptoms that are not confirmed by a doctor? How do we really know if they have a flu or have acquired some other virus? I definitely see the value in this technology, but there are some considerations that Kinesa is hopefully working through.

On November 19, 2016, Tarran commented on Battle for eyeballs: does the BBC face extinction? :

Jack – Very interesting article. I am a huge fan of the BBC and it would truly sad if they are unable to keep up with the likes of Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Amazon, etc. While it may seem that BBC and Netflix are natural competitors, where Netflix would be considered the dominating entity because of its digital reach and deep pockets, I would also like to consider BBC and Netflix as complementary services. In this scenario BBC is a source of high quality content that Netflix is continually trying to add to retain its customers. This type of partnership has already had huge success in the airing of Downton Abbey and The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I recommend that the BBC continue to grow this strategy of licensing its content. This would be an excellent source of revenue that could enable the BBC to continue to invest in the production of the great content it is know to produce.

On November 19, 2016, Tarran commented on Can Pearson shape the future of Education? :

Nico – Great post! I had a similar thought about the future of printed educational materials when I was studying for the GMAT and GRE. I recall picking up these very large study books (Pearson, Kaplan, etc) from the library only to find an online code in that book to access all the material online, making the printed book completely obsolete. It dawned on me that day that these publishers may be trouble because the purchase of these books was one of their main sources of revenue, however, these codes could be used anyone even though they didn’t purchase the book. Pearson’s should make sure that their online platform has licensing and access controls so they are not losing money from unauthorized use. My recommendation to Pearson’s is to move their emphasis away from physical study guides and books and more towards selling licenses to the online content to ensure they extract revenue from this alternative source. Not to mention that the consumer is expecting educational materials in an digital format and it is better for the environment.

On November 8, 2016, Tarran commented on Bye-Bye Beautiful Bivalves :

I like where this conversation is going!

On November 7, 2016, Tarran commented on Bye-Bye Beautiful Bivalves :

Michelle – As the 17th-century Irish writer Jonathan Swift once said, “it was a bold man that first ate an oyster,” but as your blog has suggested it may take even bolder action to save oysters for the enjoyment of future generations. Living near the Chesapeake Bay for the last ten years I have grown accustomed to eating oysters on a weekly basis and became quite familiar with the struggles the oyster (and crab) industry has faced over the past 50 years due to over-harvesting, pollution, and a changing aquatic environment. However, the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay is now rebounding, but it still represents a fraction of the original oyster population. One reason this population has rebounded is because of the development of a hardy strain of the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica, by scientists that is able to survive in the changing ecosystem. Is this a strategy that Hog Island Oyster Company could try to replicate?

Also, with ocean levels rising, I wonder how changes in the amount of freshwater vs. saltwater will affect salt concentrations in brackish waters and therefore the growth and taste of oysters from these waters.

As a disclaimer I personally prefer the taste of Atlantic oyster species to those produced on the Pacific, so I would be more likely to order California oysters at happy hour knowing they were actually derived from East Coast species. I was curious on your preference, East Coast or West Coast oysters?


Eunji – Very interesting article on how low-cost, high-frequency satellite imaging will provide useful data to help farmers adapt to the changing environment. But what is the environmental impact of placing these satellites into orbit? Planet Labs has lost dozens of satellites in recent launch explosions such as the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket explosion in Virginia and a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch failure. Even when the launch is successful these rockets use fuels such as kerosene that produce greenhouse gases that deplete the ozone layer. While rocket launches currently account for a small percentage of human emitted greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, an increase in launches combined with the phase-out of CFCs and HFCs may result in a higher relative proportion of atmosphere damaging pollution in the future. For example, Planet Labs has announced that it will be using Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket for upcoming launches and Rocket Labs intends to provide hundreds of launches per year for its customers using its kerosene-fueled Electron rocket. From a climate change perspective one hopes the environmental benefit of these satellites will offset the environmental impact of launching a satellite into space.


On November 6, 2016, Tarran commented on What, No More Wine? :

Colleen – Great blog. As a lover of wine I am unhappy to hear that climate change is having a negative impact on California wines from Napa Valley and Sonoma that if not monitored appropriately can result in decreased supply, increased demand, and ultimately increased prices. I agree with KS’s comment above that I am impressed that winemakers are taking advantage of new technologies to better harvest and tend to their crop. I, however, think it would be difficult for winemakers to move their farms to more Northern areas without a substantial capital investment and a huge lag in harvest time.

One other observation I have is that winemakers in France are facing the same climate change impacts on grape harvest and wine making. An article from NPR suggests that winemakers have welcomed this increase in temperature because it allows grapes to mature faster often resulting in a higher rated wine. I am curious, from your research, do you know if farmers in France are also implementing such technologies as drones to better understand how their grapes are maturing and when to harvest? If not, do you think these regions in France that are entrenched in strong and classical roots to wine making would adopt such a practice?


On November 4, 2016, Tarran commented on When Climate Bites | Controlling the Spread of Dengue Fever :

Since Dengue and Zika viruses are members of the flavivirus family, it makes perfect sense that Sanofi’s is planning to use their yellow fever viral backbone as a platform to develop a Zika virus vaccine. Other companies such as Merck, the US government, and handful of small biotech companies are following a similar strategy, therefore, it is promising that one of these companies will develop an efficacious vaccine. One concern I have are timelines for the drug approval process. Even though Sanofi’s Dengvaxia has been approved in five countries to date (Mexico, Brazil, Philippines, Costa Rica, and El Salvador), the Zika virus variation of the yellow fever viral backbone platform will require genetic modifications that create a new biologic that will require process development, manufacturing, and Phase I-III clinical trials, and its own separate BLA (Biologics License Application). While it is likely that there will be process redundancies, my big concern are the timelines it takes to perform each of these activities. While I am not a regulatory expert, Sanofi may be able to bypass or combine Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials as bridging studies to the Dengvaxia clinical trials. Even if this is possible, I still would estimate the process taking at 4-5 years before commercial launch. If this is the case, do you Sanofi (or some other company) will be able to distribute the vaccine in time to prevent Zika transmission of epidemic size to other parts of the world? Do you think the FDA should give Sanofi (or some other company) fast-track approval like the do for orphan diseases?

On November 4, 2016, Tarran commented on Chemours: How Chemicals are Helping to Cool Climate Change :

I agree with you that several corporate entities anticipated the new regulation and proactively developed environmentally friendly alternatives to HFCs. However, there is no evidence that Chemours and other chemical manufacturers such as Dupont and Honeywell are masking a significant downside to HFOs. It would be important for these manufacturers to conduct studies ensuring that HFOs are safe and effective. The research shows that HFOs have a global warming potential of less than one as compared to 1,300 for HFCs. HFOs are better for the environment than HFCs. In addition, other non-HFO chemical alternatives will likely be used (e.g. propane) or developed in response to the new regulations resulting in a hodgepodge of various chemical substitutes that will not only be HFO-based.