Monthly Archives November 2019

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

PHYSICS

The X17 Particle: Scientists May Have Discovered the Fifth Force of Nature

Physicists have long known of four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. Now evidence is growing for a fifth. Building on experimentally-reproduced work from 2016, a team at Hungary’s Institute for Nuclear Research observed the X17 particle—a “protophobic X boson”—being emitted from the decay of a helium isotope rather than the original experiment’s beryllium-8. If confirmed, the existence of a fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe. [BIG THINK]

HEALTH

Humans Placed in Suspended Animation for the First Time

As part of a trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, doctors are using a technique in which a patient suffering from acute trauma is rapidly cooled to the point where all heart and brain function is stopped. They are, essentially, dead. The surgical team then has two hours to operate before the patient is warmed and their heart restarted. [NEW SCIENTIST]

INNOVATION

Why Constraints Are Good for Innovation

After reviewing 145 empirical studies, the authors conclude that innovation thrives when individuals, teams, and organizations are working with a healthy dose of constraints. But striking the right balance is hard, and they suggest guidelines for picking the constraints that will foster innovation rather than creating frustration and suppressing creativity. [HBR]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The Blogger Behind “AI Weirdness” Thinks Today’s AI is Dumb and Dangerous

In her recently released book You Look Like A Thing and I Love You, blogger Janelle Shane discusses and highlights the absurdly funny—but also quite serious—limitations of today’s AI. [IEEE SPECTRUM]

LIFE

The Saga of The Cannibal Ants in a Soviet Nuclear Bunker

This is the weird, but true, story of an extraordinarily resilient group of ants, who after falling into the darkness of an underground bunker, resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. It has a happy ending. [ATLAS OBSCURA]

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In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

An Energy Breakthrough Could Store Power for Decades

For decades, scientists have sought an affordable and effective way of capturing, storing, and releasing solar energy. Researchers in Sweden say they have a solution that would allow the power of the sun’s rays to be used across a range of consumer applications—heating everything from homes to vehicles. [BLOOMBERG]

HYDROGEN ECONOMY

New Catalyst Efficiently Produces Hydrogen from Seawater

In work described in Nature Communications , researchers from the University of Houston reported a significant breakthrough this week: alkaline seawater electrolysis using inexpensive oxygen and hydrogen evolution catalysts that achieves industrially-required current densities at record low voltages. [UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

If You Can Manage a Waffle House, You Can Manage Anything

Running a 24-hour budget diner isn’t glamorous, but it forces leaders to serve others with speed, stamina and zero entitlement. Here’s how an unpretentious management training program offers those who can take it a crash course in leadership. [WSJ]

DRONES

Drones Make First Home Prescription Deliveries

Partnering with competing drone companies and pharmacies, UPS (Flight Forward – CVS) and FedEx (Google’s Wing Aviation – Walgreens) recently completed drone delivery of medications to private residences. The deliveries in North Carolina and Virginia were the first of their kind under a pilot program approved by U.S. regulators; commercial drone rules for U.S. airspace are expected in 2021. [REUTERS | FEDEX]

VIDEO

Wildlife Using Florida’s Wildlife Crossings

When the Florida Department of Transportation decided to build wildlife passageways under major highways, they included wildlife cameras which have now captured rare Florida panthers, bears, alligators, fox, bobcats, and other animals making use of the throughways. [FDOT]

Read More

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

CHEMISTRY

‘Artificial Leaf’ Successfully Produces Clean Gas

Using only sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, an ‘artificial leaf’ produces syngas, a molecule used in a wide variety of commodities and traditionally produced by fossil fuels. Scientists inspired by natural photosynthesis, are researching ways for this carbon neutral device to provide sustainable chemical and liquid fuel alternatives. [NANO MAG]

NUCLEAR POWER | ENERGY

Green, Nuclear, and Crowdfunded: One Startup’s Unconventional Route to Building a Novel Reactor

With three highly publicized accidents at nuclear power plants over the last few decades, public opinion has decidedly been against nuclear energy. But with the success of a crowdfunded campaign for its stable salt reactor, Moltex Energy is at the forefront of a changing attitude toward nuclear power that promises to be a more sustainable and safe alternative to traditional power sources. [FORTUNE]

LEADERSHIP

Team-Building Lessons from the British Army

Whether working on an internal start-up at a large company or building a new firm from scratch, entrepreneurship is a team sport. When it comes to managing teams and getting people to perform at their best, entrepreneurs can learn a lot from the British Army, which has almost 400 years of history to draw from and a personnel system designed to scale up and scale back teams quickly. [ENTREPRENEUR]

BUSINESS MODEL

Digital Transformation Should Start With Customers

The evidence is piling up that organization-wide digital transformation is challenging for many organizations. So where to start? If the three major options are operations, business models, and customer experience, why should companies address internal processes if they are at least adequate? And while changing business models can lead to substantial improvements in company valuations, it’s a heavy lift. That leaves the customer experience; here’s the case for starting there. [MIT SLOAN]

QUANTUM COMPUTING

Google Claims Quantum Computing Breakthrough

Google announced last week that their quantum processor, Sycamore, achieved “quantum supremacy,” a term-of-art which means quickly completing a calculation that a traditional supercomputer would need 10,000 years to solve. Google claims that Sycamore finished such a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds. IBM, however, doesn’t think the calculation was all that challenging. [LA TIMES]

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