SUSTAIN #4: Would electrifying everything eliminate carbon emissions?

Inventor Saul Griffith has a radical proposal: electrify everything, saving energy, money, and cutting emissions almost to zero. It simultaneouisly transforms the costs of climate change into enormous opportunities. Co-host Sally Dominguez explores three amazing new battery technologies.

A must-read companion to SUSTAIN:

Saul Griffith’s forthcoming book ELECTRIFY is, well, an electrifying read that makes the clear, and obvious case that electrifying everything (coupled with renewable generation) is the win-win solution for the planet and our economy. Pre-order it here.

Sally Dominguez loves sodium-ion batteries, and here’s a report about why they may come to rival the dominant Lithium-ion batteries we use today…

Sally and I both love ‘structural batteries’ – they’ll allow us to store electricity pretty much everywhere, in pretty much everything. Read about them here.

SUSTAIN #1: Can we ‘flatten the curve’ on climate change?

The recent UN report on climate change gives us about twelve years to really reign in our carbon emissions. That means it’s time to think clearly and methodically about how to get the most benefit for the least pain. We can do this!

At nearly 4000 pages, the IPCC Sixth Report on the Physical Science of Climate Change isn’t a quick read — but the first hundred or so pages contain the condensed facts. Everything you need to know to make decisions today to keep us on SSP1 – the path toward no more than 1.5ºC warming. Grab it here.

Episode 5.08 – What stands in the way of electric vehicles?

Co-host Sally Dominguez and special correspondent Drew Smith explore the many facets of vehicle electrification with Mark. EVs are finally happening – but does that make them inevitable?

(Pictured: GMC’s new Hummer EV SUV, coming at the end of 2021)

Episode 4.07 – Should a video game simulate the whole world?

We’re rapidly erasing the boundary between the make-believe worlds of video games and the real world of sensors and visualisation. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 allows you to fly over the whole world – with all the cities and countryside presented in detail – just as they are in reality. Is it now possible to “fly” through everything we know about the world – from ground level, up to the heavens?

In this episode we’re joined once again by the amazing Dr. Mike Zyda – founder of the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. In 1997, Mike authored a hugely influential study that got the US military to adopt video game technologies for simulation.

One of his first projects was “America’s Army” – a video game that simulates the training recruits undergo on their way to becoming soldiers.

The boundaries between simulation and visualisation become very blurry when we head up into Near Earth Orbit – that’s everything below about 1000km above Earth’s surface.

Andreas Antoniades’ firm Saber Astronautics uses a mixture of observation, simulation, and visualisation to create a ‘mission control’ that looks, well, a lot like it would if you were in space (click “Login as Guest” below to see it for yourself):

Once again, big thanks to my nephew Andy for sharing with us his experiences of flying a Cessna 152 – both in simulation and for real!

Episode 4.01 – INFECTED BY BIG BROTHER

For a century, public health officials have contained pandemics by tracing outbreaks. COVIDsafe promises to do this – can we trust it?

How does contact tracking work? And did host Mark Pesce almost accidentally invent Bluetooth contact tracking during some experimenting back in 2005?

Dr. Genevieve Bell offers insights into the history of contact tracing – and how old ideas about sickness can be baked into the newest of our technologies.

Dr. Bell recently wrote a long and clear article on this topic for TECHNOLOGY REVIEW.

Toward the end of 2005, Mark Pesce did some ‘pinging’ of Bluetooth devices from his mobiles, and learned that a lot of other Bluetooth mobiles would answer his pings. He wrote it up in a paper:

The following year, working with artist John Tonkin, they created ‘Bluestates‘ – using Bluetooth contact tracking to generate ‘social graphs’ – maps of who associated with who – for ISEA 2006 in San Jose California. It got a fair bit of attention at the time, including a review in The New York Times. Here’s a short movie of how John Tonkin visualised the contact tracking data Mark Pesce gathered:

Episode 3.13 Gods & Monsters with Aaron Z. Lewis

We see superheroes on cinema screens –  but what about our technological superpowers? Naming these new powers helps to understand them, and the amazing Aaron Z. Lewis has given us a pantheon of seven ‘new gods‘ – that we seem to believe in. Now that we know the shape of these new ‘gods’, does that mean we’re not as beholden to them?

This was all sparked by Aaron’s original essay “Metaphors We Believe By: The pantheon of 2019” – it’s a great read, find it here.

Episode 3.09 The Future of the Web with Sean White

In thirty years the Web has grown into the foundation of civilisation – but can we make the Web more useful, more private – and more human? That’s a question that Sean White, Chief Research & Development Officer at browser-maker Mozilla continually considers. The answer is evolving.

Some of the answer lies with new Web technologies, like Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project. And plenty of the answer lies within ourselves, as our use of the Web evolves.

Episode 3.08 The History of the Future with Blake Harris

Virtual Reality roared back to life this decade due to the efforts of  visionary teenager Palmer Luckey. Luckey built Oculus, sold to Facebook for $3 billion – then got fired.

Blake Harris’ wonderful book The History of The Future: Oculus, Facebook and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality served as the foundation for this episode – a true life story of triumph and tragedy. It’s a rip roaring good read.  Grab a copy here.