Primitive Energy Storage

Energy generation and storage strategy are clearly a hot topic given the global circumstances. Here in the UK we’ve gone some way to solving the renewable generation problem – but we’re a long way from solving the storage problem. In other words when the wind doesn’t blow we haven’t stored enough energy to fill the gap before the wind picks up – hence the share of hydrocarbons required goes up.

CNN explored an interesting project which is looking at how to create storage in a very basic form; effectively storing the gravitational potential of an object. That can be done either above ground, or below ground (mine shafts).

The next few years is going to see a transformation in generation and storage capability; something almost laughably simple was great to see within the mix of hyper-complex emerging technologies in this field.


9th February

Very pleased to see this news around nuclear fusion breakthrough get a good level of media coverage, it’s arguably the most important news of the year. It’s exciting to imagine a world with a steady, immense production cycle for electricity with limited environmental impact. The current forms of energy production all have significant drawbacks; whether in environmental or supply and storage terms – nuclear fusion has the potential to solve those and fundamentally change the way we create and utilise energy.

Of course the ultimate impact isn’t just around how we create energy but more importantly how we utilise it. Energy supply and energy ubiquity will accelerate innovation both for technologies we currently recognise but also those we don’t.

Exciting times.

Covid Perception

Since the start of the pandemic I’ve been surprised by how the perceived risk of Covid has differed markedly from the actual risk.

That’s not to say that concern around an infectious disease is irrational, but with the burden of serious disease and death so heavily skewed towards 60+ numbers shown in the thread below still shock me.

An interesting week to come…

As we enter a big week in British politics:

“The blood is in the water, the sky is dark with chickens coming home to roost, and — sploosh! — that sound you hear is downflooding.

I found this to be a good take on who I think will be the next Prime Minister, no doubt after seeing off a spirited challenge from Liz Truss.

My personal hope is that Rishi gets there. We need a firmer economic ideology and a more pro-business approach as we emerge from the pandemic and he’s one of the few candidates who can combine that with a relative level of popularity with the public.

Sasha in the Lab

Working from home has meant more time with music on my headphones.

I’ve been going back to some of the DJs I listened to twenty five years ago, including the Son of God – Sasha.

This set is from earlier this year and is sublime. The pacing, the mixing, the atmosphere and I love how we gets immersed in the rhythms.

Which led me to track down this, which I love.

Three Things – 26th October 2020

Something I’ve read:

I always knew the deal to have Google as the default search engine on Apple devices was a significant revenue stream for Apple, but I didn’t know how big. It’s an eye-watering $8bn – $12bn according to this article which also introduced me to ‘co-opetition‘, that’s a significant chunk of revenue for Apple.

Given the lawsuit that’s been filed on this topic it’ll be interesting to watch.

Something I’ve watched:

The debate in the UK around funding for free school meals has been pretty divisive. I’ll be frank and say I’m a centrist on this, as I am on many issues – wanting to balance short-term intent with long-term reconciliation, but given the external societal context this debate is taking place in, I think this clip of The West Wing really sums up my thoughts…

Something I’m thinking about:

One of my favourite podcasts is the BBC’s ‘More or Less’. A recent episode explored the ‘History of Probability‘. My key takeaway was just how recent the common acceptance – although more limited understanding – of probability is within our thinking and consideration of events. The fact that the British government used to pay the same annuity rate to all ages(!!) demonstrates that.

Three Things – 12th October 2020

Something I’ve read:

Why willingly let the fox in the hen house? To make your hens better at fighting the fox.

This article highlights the approach China took in welcoming Tesla into the Chinese market. It had two impacts:

  • Ensured a local supply chain was formed, which in turn could then be exploited by local auto manufacturers.
  • Drove innovation and resources into domestic competitors

Considering the race to electrification it’s hard to argue that the approach hasn’t been effective for China.

Something I’ve watched:

Can never get enough David Goggins straight-talk:

Something I’m thinking about:

I often read Brain Pickings for inspiration, interest and contemplation. It was there that I first found Art Young’s art collection, Trees at Night.

Here’s ‘Weary & Heavy Laden’…

Weary & Heavy Laden

Three Things – 21st September 2020

Something I’ve read:

I’ve been taking a keen interest in the development and progression of a COVID-19 vaccine, here’s a good summary of the current position.

Something I’ve watched:

Speed reading is a superpower…

Something I’m thinking about:

I’m close to finishing Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, one of those books I’ve had on the bookcase but never made the effort to read. Tough going in places given the antiquated language but overall an enlightening read. After doing a lot of reading around Stoicism over the last few years, this quotation resonated:

“I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted : and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them ; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have”