Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Technology and the Environment: An Approach to Radical Energy Efficiency

Image result for jetsons

The AppsJack group of local change agents gathered on May 22, 2018 and met with Larry Gales, technologist and former UW faculty member about energy efficiency.  Larry is passionate about the environment and shared with the group an "existence proof" he has created about a future where we have reduced our energy usage by a factor of 30x.  The problem?  Getting there.

Here's how Larry paints the future: he breaks it into two areas and this message is for the general consumer.  Area 1 is personal transportation and he has concrete proposals.  Area 2 is residential where he also has specific proposals and integration factors between the home and travel.  If we think about it, we realize that our biggest personal energy foot prints are indeed in these two areas.

Consumer Vehicles

  • First, transportation.  Larry proposes that families have three vehicles 1) a 1-person small vehicle 2) a 2-person small vehicle and 3) a larger EV such as a Tesla Model 3.  Electric bicycles are also a small aspect of Larry's vision.
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Homes and Housing

  • Second, homes.  Mr. Gales' recommendation for significantly reducing home energy consumption is through the European Passive House model. These homes are airtight and use fans and heat exchangers for efficiency.  Although their overall cost to produce is about 5-7% higher than a traditional home, the costs are typically recovered.  Larry's ideas also are predicated on much smaller homes of about 1,000 sqft.
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  • Larry also imagines an interface between the cars and the home in that the big car's battery charges and runs the home, largely. 

David Slight shared a new acronym that I had never heard: PESTLE.  Pestle stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technical, Legal, Environmental.  These are critical perspectives and views necessary to apply when considering a proposal or plan.  David's statement is there must be sufficient science and due diligence as well as leaders to lead social change.

The group shared cynicism of the USA's ability to transition into such a vision of the future.

Susan Stringer shared positive news that there is a group of scientists running for office.  The group agreed that there is such a vast disconnect between interests and perspectives that a model, resources and great leadership are needed to bridge that gap.

Someone recommended this book about corruption in the American political system.  Someone else recommended this episode of Real Time with Bill Maher that showcases Bill Nye.

The Gates Foundation has a program that focuses on changes within the USA, which is really nice to see.

Some cities are painting streets white in an attempt to combat climate change. Sad!

More From Larry

Larry discussed 3 vehicles.  The largest one is the Tesla Model 3, which you can find just by googling "Tesla Model 3" or going to Tesla's web site at:  https://www.tesla.com/ 
The two tiny vehicles don't really exist yet, but the closest vehicles are called "velomobiles" which may be human or electric powered.  You can see images here

But for the full description, you need to see his PPT at:  http://staff.washington.edu/larryg/Energy/CarHouseEff.pptx

Join us June 26, 2018 in Kirkland

Please join us on Tuesday, June 26th for our next gathering to change the world through meaningful dialog and strategic action.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Remaining Human in a Technology World

Image result for berry zimmerman

The AppsJack crew gathered to continue their discussions on causality.  This month, the topic was about humans and we talked about benefits.  Benefits accrue to entities whereas outcomes are higher level.  David talked about their being only two types of jobs: service jobs and design jobs.  Service jobs directly interface with customers and design jobs do not.  There seems to be quite a gray area between these distinctions and most jobs are probably a mix between service- and design-related tasks.

In the house we had Berry Zimmerman leading us, a new attendee named Louis Sweeny who was smart and awesome, Susan Stringer, Reba Haas, David Slight, Jean Bishop and AppsJack founder Eric Veal.

Reba recommended the Humans are Underrated book and was telling us about Amazon getting into the real estate market with a new set of services.

Someone made the claim that, "People are informed but don't care." ie they are often apathetic.

The group talked about the influence that marketing and other people's designs has on us on a daily and unconscious level.  People need to be aware and alert of their environment and recognize what kinds of messages they may be receiving from the designers of their environments. An example of this is our "feeds" online and how they may be curated and presented.  Clearly the tech services providers have a lot of power over our perceptions and what inputs we receive for processing.  We need to be conscious of what we are processing and mindful.

Louis mentioned some innovation that Uber is doing in helping its riders find drivers and vice versa.  They are releasing a flashing colored light called Beacon.  With Simbi.com, users can barter skills and services online.

Eric made the point that being 'humane' is far more easier to understand and think about than being 'human'.  Being human includes everything, whereas being humane is only a subset of the features we would value and want from an individual.

Berry shared several human-defining traits with us: choice, a belief of control, unique experiences, independent, social.  Berry also dropped big questions on us like, "What is the purpose of humanity?"  The group thought the question was perhaps a bit too broad but it definitely got them thinking.

Louis mentioned the 2016 feature film Arrival and others agreed it was a good one.  "Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world."  And he also shared that he likes the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

The movie The Perfect Human Diet was also cited as an interesting watch by Berry.  "Filmmaker C.J. Hunt searches for a solution to the obesity epidemic using dietary science, historical findings and ancestral native diets."

Also mentioned were Esther Perel's TED talks.  David is a fan of Jeremy Rifkin who stars in the 2017 film The Third Industrial Revolution and also really likes what he sees from organizations that follow the Holocracy practices of self-organization.  The group talked about Dunbar's Number which states that a human can't scale beyond 148 meaningful relationships.  Humans on BBC was recommended as was the Seattle Liberating Structures group and Crucial Conversations book.

Join us in May to contribute to the fun.