“Earlier this year the Netherlands announced that their electric trains are 100% wind powered, meeting their target a year earlier than planned. And India has a “solar-powered train,” except in that case it’s still being pulled by a diesel locomotive and the solar panels only power comfort systems like air conditioning and lights. This is the first train which we’re aware of which is actually fully powered by solar power, down to the wheels.” See: World’s first solar-powered train to begin operations in Australia.
As I dread driving in the traffic of Washington, DC next week, I dream of when traffic congestion will be a thing of the past. The transport revolution now underway will mean a lot less vehicles, a lot less pollution and a whole host of better uses for parking spaces. See Why Downtown parking garages may be headed for extinction:
“Urban parking lots are dead or dying, and how we use the curb is changing,” said Rich Barone, vice president of transportation for the Regional Plan Association of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The RPA released a report in October urging cities to “get ready” for autonomous vehicles. It predicts that by 2045, 70 to 90 percent of all cars in major urban areas could be autonomous.
Parking in downtowns is going to “morph from being big massive surface lots and garages to much smaller areas configured for pickup and drop-off of autonomous vehicles,” Barone said. “Cities will be more walkable, more people-friendly, and there will be more space for parks and other amenities.”
Joe Schwieterman, a professor of transportation at DePaul University in Chicago, agrees. “The whole view of the function of streets has had a metamorphosis,” Schwieterman said. “It’s made us rethink the opportunity cost of plopping a parking garage in prime downtown property.”
Whatever will we do with all of these? Many have already figured that out.
See: Vertical farming offers solutions to food scarcity. Now we are thinking.
Hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller believes the overly easy monetary policies by global central banks will have disastrous consequences: “The way you create deflation is you create an asset bubble. If I was ‘Darth Vader’ of the financial world and decided I’m going to do this nasty thing and create deflation, I would do exactly what the central banks are doing now, misallocate resources [with low interest rates], create an asset bubble and then deal with the consequences down the road.” Here is a direct video link.
Druckenmiller: Central banks are financial world’s ‘Darth Vader’ from CNBC.
Here is a second longer segment.
Billionaire investor Druckenmiller: Fed’s 2-percent inflation target needs to go from CNBC.
Footnote: while I think it is entirely appropriate to note the intense energy consumed in mining Bitcoin and question the utility, an intelligent comparison on this point would need to quantify the energy and water usage, as well as environmental costs, of mining, minting and management of government issued and precious metal bullion currencies, as well. While no one seems to be quoting those figures–they would be huge no doubt.
The digital age has brought new opportunity and possibility for learning, communication and advancement of civilization. At the same time, more than ever, personal discipline and critical thought are too-scarce commodities and this brings new challenges needing thoughtful response.
Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital founder and Golden State Warriors co-owner, speaks about his comments on the societal issues of social media that have gone viral. Here is a direct video link.
Ex-Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya: Social media is ‘ripping apart’ society from CNBC.
In related topics: smart phone use (mostly to access social media) is also helping to make workers less productive (shown lower left).
And all of us more likely to kill each other while driving: fatalities versus texts per month, shown here since 1999.