Category Leadership

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.

PRIVACY | TECHNOLOGY

Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop

Growing privacy concerns and the lack of control over data captured by smart devices has prompted a surge in new products designed to help consumers opt-out of surveillance. Among them is a wrist-worn device that jams nearby microphones. [NYT]

AVIATION

No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay In The Air

Flying is an amazing example of human ingenuity. But providing an explanation for how exactly planes are able to stay in the air is a much more difficult feat. The two prevailing theories, developed by scientists whose work long predates air travel, attempt to explain lift but neither gives a complete account of the scientific process. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]

LEADERSHIP

Don’t Demonize Employees Who Raise Problems

Problem spotters don’t especially enjoy bearing bad news, but they do it to advance the organization and help you, the leader. Maybe it’s because they have a different perspective. Maybe it’s that they are better at expressing the issue, where others struggle. Stop making it so hard on them to help you. [HBR]

BIOLOGY | ASTRONOMY

What Does It Means for a Planet to be “Habitable”

For many years scientists believed a planet needed two things to support life: a rocky surface and liquid surface water. Now the general consensus is . . . that there is no general consensus. [MIT TECH REVIEW]

EXISTENTIAL THREATS | PODCAST

The Bomb

Fred Kaplan is the author of the new book The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War. In this in-depth discussion between Sam Harris and Mr. Kaplan, they cover the history of nuclear deterrence, nuclear politics, U.S. first-strike policy, preventive war, limited nuclear war, and the details of nuclear weapon command and control. Although terrifying, all of it is worth your time. [MAKING SENSE PODCAST]

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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.

MEDICINE

Molecular Drills Tear into Superbugs’ Antibiotic Defenses

Bacteria are quickly evolving resistance to our best drugs, threatening to make the most mundane infections lethal once again. Now, researchers at Rice University have developed a new method to kill these emerging superbugs, using molecular “drills” to pierce their cell walls. The same technique has also been shown to work on cancer cells. [NEW ATLAS]

ENERGY | AUDIO

How Much the U.S. Relies on Oil From the Middle East

Helima Croft, managing director and global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, delivers an incredibly tight summary on why the U.S. remains dependent on Middle East oil despite being the top producer of oil and natural gas in the world. [NPR]

LEADERSHIP

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Want to become mentally tougher? Here’s a list of things that people with the critical hallmarks of mental strength don’t do. [LIFEHACK]

HEALTH

98.6 Degrees Fahrenheit Isn’t the Average Anymore

Nearly 150 years ago, a German physician analyzed a million temperatures from 25,000 patients and concluded that normal human-body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But at least two dozen modern studies have concluded the number is too high. [WSJ]

NATURE

A Zoo’s Jungle Cats Would Like Your Leftover Perfume, Preferably Calvin Klein

Large jungle cats have expensive taste: they are . . . well . . . obsessed with Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men. The ingredient they find irresistable is civetone, a lab-made copy of the pheromones of the civet, a cat-like mammal found in Africa and Southeast Asia. The scent is used by researchers to attract animals in the wild and used like catnip by zookeepers to keep the animals from getting bored. [WASHINGTON POST]

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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]

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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.

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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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 | ENERGY

Eliminating the Middleman Improves the Production of Clean-Burning Hydrogen

The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) relies on electrocatalysts to derive oxygen and molecular hydrogen from water. Now researchers have synthetically conjugated a water-splitting catalyst to a graphite electrode to cut out the catalytic mediator. The result: rather than having HER proceed through a step-wise path involving redox intermediates, the conjugated catalyst facilitates a direct route to the reaction. [C&EN]

AEROSPACE | BIOLOGY

A Crashed Israeli Lunar Lander Spilled Tardigrades on the Moon

The first private spacecraft to reach the moon was loaded with an archive of human knowledge, DNA, and . . . dehydrated tardigrades. On April 11, the the lunar lander crashed, ejecting the package onto the lunar surface where—presumably—it will remain for a very, very long time. [WIRED]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Identifying and Defusing Idea Bullies

Do you think you might have an idea bully in your life? Chances are you do. This short read presents ways to help you spot (or self-identify as) a potential idea bully and a discussion about how to bring them back into the fold as powerfully contributing team members. [FUTURE SHAPERS]

ECONOMICS | AUTOMATION

Who Will Own the Robots?

Could the proliferation of increasingly efficient AI provoke social upheaval by eliminating huge numbers of jobs while producing great wealth for a very few? These concerns have been around since the Industrial Revolution, but there is surprisingly little evidence regarding the impact of automation on employment. Is there a way forward that is both fair and broadly delivers benefits? [MIT TECH REVIEW]

AGRICULTURE | INNOVATION

15 Agtech Startups to Watch in 2020

The world population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. Simultaneously, the agriculture industry is facing increasing production costs, labor shortages, land management inefficiencies, food waste, and disconnected consumers demanding transparency to the origin of their food. Agtech startups worldwide are developing innovative solutions to tackle these challenges. [ROCKETSPACE]

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.

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Perovskites: Moving from Solar Cells to X-ray Sensors to LEDs

Their ability to absorb light makes perovskites, a compound matching the structure of naturally-occurring perovskite, an excellent material for solar cells. But they’re also being explored as X-ray sensors and may become the next-generation material of choice for LED displays. [HACKADAY | SCIENCE MAG]

PHYSIOLOGY

Mobile Device Usage May be Changing Our Bodies

Examining X-ray images of Australians between the ages of 18 and 30, scientists have noticed an uptick in the number of people with bony growths at the base of their skulls. They believe these growths may be the result of our bodies compensating for poor posture caused by constantly looking down at hand-held mobile devices. [SCIENCE ALERT]

LEADERSHIP

What Silicon Valley Can Learn From Bill Walsh’s The Score Takes Care of Itself

In a review of the late Bill Walsh’s book, The Score Takes Care of Itself, Notejoy CEO Sachin Rekhi highlights the leadership philosophy of the former (great) San Francisco 49ers head coach. A key element of success for any team: focusing on process instead of outcome. [SACHIN REKHI]

ELECTRIC VEHICLES | AVIATION | VIDEO

Eviation Unveils Electric Airplane

The world’s first all-electric commercial aircraft was unveiled by startup Eviation at the International Paris Air Show last week. The nine-passenger plane is designed to serve short regional routes, will be able to fly 650 miles on a charge, and is set to begin testing soon in central Washington state. Massachusetts-based Cape Air is the first customer for the new craft and expects to begin flying it in 2022. You can find a video walk-through of the plane here. [GEEK WIRE | TPG]

SCIENCE

These are the Countries that Trust Scientist the Most—and the Least

An interesting look at a first-of-its-kind study surveying the thoughts and feelings about science and health of people around the world. Findings show that attitudes vary by gender, nationality, education, and income. And that people in the United State overestimate their understanding of science more than in any other country. [SCIENCE MAG]

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.

PHYSICS

Confirmed: New Phase of Matter is Solid and Liquid at the Same Time

A team of physicists at the University of Edinburgh has confirmed a new fourth state of matter. Potassium atoms, studied via a neural network that learned quantum mechanics, appear to be both a solid and a liquid simultaneously when subjected to tremendous pressure. Existing in this state is unusual and such matter would be found only in extreme environments, such as Earth’s mantle. [NAT GEO]

TECHNOLOGY

Your Car Knows When You Gain Weight

As your car collect information about its own systems, it’s also collecting massive amounts of data about you. It knows where you live, who you call and text, your finances, and even how much weight you gain. Who owns this data? Unclear. What are the car companies doing with it? Also unclear, but plans have been announced by at least one manufacturer to begin monetizing it. [NYT]

LEADERSHIP | INNOVATION

How to Manage Misfits And Not Kill Your Company

Identifying the right kind of “troublemakers” in your organization—the driven, talented, smart, and impatient-for-results people who can sometimes drive you a little crazy—is a key to reaching your innovation goals, but it’s not always easy to lead them effectively. This short piece can help. If you want a deeper dive into the subject, read this NASA case study about the renegades who brought real-time data systems to the Johnson Space Center despite opposition from an entrenched bureaucracy. [GAME-CHANGER | MITSLOAN]

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Self-Driving Trucks Begin Mail Delivery Test for U.S. Postal Service

The USPS is partnering with the startup TuSimple to test autonomous trucks over five routes in the Southwestern US. With each round-trip totaling more than 2100 miles and 45 hours of driving—a distance that requires multiple human drivers for maximum efficiency—they’re hoping these trucks will be a solution for an industry bogged down by safety constraints and an aging workforce. [REUTERS]

3D PRINTING | BIOENGINEERING | VIDEO

Watch A 3D-Printed Lung Air Sac Breathe

Earlier this year, bioengineers debuted the first 3D-printed heart made from human tissue and now they’ve developed the first 3D-printed lung air sac. While these organs are a long way from being implanted into living creatures, continued study could lead to a future where printed organs for human use is the norm. [CNET | QUARTZ]

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.

ENGINEERING

Mimicking the Structure and Function of Ant Bridges in a Reconfigurable Microswarm for Electronic Applications

A short read on how engineers are emulating the collective behavior of self-organizing social insects and applying what they’ve learned to artificial robotics systems in electronics. [ACS NANO]

ASTROPHYSICS

Sneaky Meteor Evades Earthling Detection, Explodes with Force of 10 Atomic Bombs

In mid-December 2018, a meteor—with an impact energy of about 10 atomic bombs—shattered over Earth. Aside from systems designed to enforce international nuclear testing treaties, the second largest meteor event of the last 30 years went almost completely unnoticed because it happened over the Bering Sea. Thankfully, NASA’s Planetary Defense Conference Exercise spent time this week running a doomsday drill to figure out what to do when we learn of a pending strike that is more serious. [POPSCI and INVERSE]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Behind the Black Hole Image: One Giant Leap for Teamwork

The first ever picture of a black hole was unveiled with much fanfare last month, but buried beneath the excitement was the story of how it came to be. And there was nothing easy about it. This article provides insight into how a group of scientists, across various countries and disciplines, debated, interrogated, and collaborated to make what many thought was a far-fetched dream, into reality. [WSJ]

NEUROSCIENCE

People Can Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field, Brain Waves Suggest

We’ve long been aware that birds and fish use magnetoreception for navigating the Earth. By exposing humans to an Earth-like magnetic field pointed in different directions, scientists now have evidence that people subconsciously respond to Earth’s magnetic field as well. Why we have this ability and how our brains use the information remains an open question. [SCIENCE NEWS]

GEOLOGY | VIDEO | INFOGRAPHIC

Watch 100 Years of Earthquakes Rock the World in this Incredible Animation

Earth is an incredibly dynamic planet. Now, thanks to improved seismometer technology and the dedicated work of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, we can see just how active it is and has been. The graphic embedded in the linked article is flat, but you can find the global view of the same data here. [FORBES and NOAA]

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.

GEOLOGY

Earth’s Magnetic Field is Acting Up and Geologists Don’t Know Why

Driven by a fast moving jet of liquid iron beneath Canada, Earth’s north magnetic pole is traveling away from North America, has crossed the International Date Line, and is headed towards Siberia. It is changing so rapidly that experts have to update the World Magnetic Model, which governs all modern navigation, a year earlier than scheduled. [NATURE]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | MATERIALS SCIENCE

Artificial Intelligence Meets Materials Science

Developing and launching new advanced materials can take decades, but an engineering research team at Texas A&M is employing machine learning, data science, and a wealth of expert knowledge to accelerate the process. Their autonomous program uses an algorithm that—while working with very little initial data—adaptively picks the best machine learning models to find the optimal material to fit any given criteria. [PHYS ORG]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Hiring Intrapreneurs: A Practical Guide

If you can ignore the goofy graphics and the too-cute analogies, there is a wealth of good information in here about the nature of intrapreneurs and what it takes to support their work, an effort that can be richly rewarding for any company. [BOARD OF INNOVATION]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

19 Workplace Predictions for 2019

A quick, sarcastic look at some of the biggest challenges facing employers and employees in the coming year. [LINKEDIN]

PHYSICS | CHEMISTRY

The Periodic Table is an Icon. But Chemists Still Can’t Agree on How to Arrange It

The at-once recognizable shape and patterns of the 150 year-old periodic table may one day be not so recognizable. While new elements have been discovered and added to the table over the years and have changed its look slightly, there are many scientists who believe its current iteration is not its best configuration. Some think the question comes down to whether the table is shaped by physics or chemistry. As the debate rages on, we may just end up with more than one table hanging in our labs and classrooms to tell a more complete picture of chemistry. [C&EN]

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.

AERONAUTICS | POWER ELECTRONICS | VIDEO

MIT Engineers Fly First Ever Plane With No Moving Parts

Inspired by Star Trek shuttles, researchers have developed the first plane with no moving parts. It’s powered by ionic wind, a silent but mighty flow of ions that generates enough thrust to propel the plan over a sustained, steady flight. Achieving this silent flight milestone required a number of breakthroughs including a power system that can generate 40,000 volts in a light-weight package. [MIT]

INNOVATION | MANAGEMENT

Who Are My Stakeholders? A Quick Innovation Manager’s Guide


Managing stakeholders and their expectations is an important aspect of any business’s success. This informative guide identifies the different types of stakeholders and their attributes to help managers govern business and stakeholder relationships accordingly. [HYPE INNOVATION]

INNOVATION | LEADERSHIP

Innovation Dies When Fear Rules

When mistakes are made, it’s important to own up to them and learn from them. But employees cannot do so if they are afraid to speak up. Changing the culture of fear in a business will help to ensure there is space for innovation to thrive. [GAME CHANGER]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | TRAFFIC

AI in China: How Uber Rival Didi Chuxing Uses Machine Learning to Revolutionize Transport

Didi Chuxing, the world’s largest ride-sharing service is heralding the use of artificial intelligence to change how traffic works in large cities. Advancing technology in everything from autonomous cars, cloud-based traffic management, app-based augmented reality services for drivers, and more, Didi is looking to tackle all our transportation woes. [FORBES]

NEUROSCIENCE

‘Social Network’ BrainNet Lets People Communicate Mentally

A team from the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon have developed BrainNet, a system which detects brain waves with EEGs and communicates this information to another person via transcranial stimulation. Using this brain-to-brain interface (BBI), various volunteer groups played a Tetris-like game with 80% accuracy even though the person manipulating the pieces could not see them, instead getting the information needed directly from the brain of a person in another room. [GEEK]

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