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Author Archives: Michael Barnard

EWF’s Blockchain For Electricity Is Building Its Foundation

October 20th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

EWF appears to be positioning itself wisely and carefully in the emerging blockchain-for-energy space. It's not trying to boil the ocean, it's aligning itself with the regulated marketplace for electricity and it's partnering with serious organizations.


Smart Contract Business Drivers: Herstatt Risk (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 20th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Herstatt risk or settlement risk is the risk that a foreign exchange rate will change after a contract is locked in at a specified amount of a specified currency. Obviously this is a two-way risk, as if the exchange rate goes up, the buyer will pay more; and if the exchange rate goes down, the seller will receive less. The more volatile the currency and the longer the time until settlement, the greater the risk


Smart Contract Business Underpinning (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 13th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

A smart contract that involves contracting a payment for services to be rendered or a product to be delivered involves three separate accounts: a purchaser, a seller, and an escrow account. Escrow is a means of creating trust in a contract where there is none. In an escrow situation, a third party holds something of value from the purchaser until a certain condition is met by the seller, at which time they deliver the thing of value to the purchaser


What Is Consensus? (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 6th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

The entire blockchain concept is a solution to a computer science problem from the 1970s that was formalized in 1982 as the Byzantine Generals’ Problem. At heart, it’s a question of how a bunch of systems can collaborate with trust when malicious actors are trying to disrupt the system. Proof-of-work and proof-of-stake are different solutions on top of blockchain to that problem


Want To Be A Techno-Optimist? Here Are Some Basic Guidelines

October 5th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

We have the solutions to solve the problems facing us. It doesn't take new tech, it takes deploying the tech we have and innovating around it, much more than inventing new gizmos. That's the techno-optimist utopia that makes sense for the coming decades, not a laboratory experiment or insolation geoengineering pipedream. We don't have to fix every problem, just the pressing ones without creating too many new ones


Want To Buy A New Car For Free In 10 Years? Buy An Electric Car Today

September 30th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

The report is another data point showing that a family's total cost of ownership of electric cars is better than for gasoline or diesel vehicles. And with all of the other benefits — including health, much lower greenhouse gas emissions and typically greater safety — it's not hard to see that the shift to electric cars will only accelerate


What Is Blockchain? (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

September 30th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Blockchain is just an accounting system at heart. It keeps track of transactions, just like a list of purchases in a spreadsheet. And it makes those transactions available over the internet. It actually doesn’t add much in the way of new functionality. Pretty much anything you can do with blockchain you can do with a database and basic web technology. Non-functional features are where blockchain starts getting interesting.


Blockchain Is A Clean Tech Innovation Catalyst (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

September 29th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Blockchain is probably most widely known to the public as "having something to do with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, right?," which is partially correct, but the technology itself has a wide range of applications, some of which will be crucial in the fields of distributed renewable energy, grid management and energy storage, and smart contracts, among others


Ignore Bob Lutz When He Talks About Tesla

September 24th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Bob Lutz is ignoring all of the announcements by people still in the car business about the electric vehicles that they will be building. He's now yesterday's man (more like last century's man, actually) and is shaking his fist at the newfangled gadgets that are replacing the things he built


Ocean Plastic Cleanup Project Is Better News Than You Might Think

September 18th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Boyan's vision could have fallen apart at multiple points over the past five years. Reisser's study or someone else's could have shown a much more even distribution of plastics through dozens of meters of water column. Plastics could have degraded more quickly in ocean water and sunlight. He could have failed to capture many people's imaginations


Miami’s Existence Is Threatened With As Little As 18″ Of Sea Level Rise

September 18th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

The cost of maintaining Miami as a modern, well-serviced city with great beaches will skyrocket while the economy of the state and the city will be massively challenged and possibly collapsing. More major hurricanes of greater severity will likely hit it, causing damage that owners and insurers decide not to repair. More people, mostly poorer, will leave never to return


Collectible Car Craziness: Which Electrics Will Inspire It?

September 16th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

In the electric car category, there is one that stands out, if anyone can actually ever get it. The low VIN, original Tesla Roadster that was shot into space. If anyone ever snags that and brings it back, only billionaires need show up at the auction


Hurricane Florence Is Part Of What Al Gore Got Right In An Inconvenient Truth

September 14th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

As Hurricane Florence surges ashore in the Carolinas, it's worth casting our minds back a dozen years to An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore and his documentary crew attempted to mobilize the world around the imminent and pressing challenge of global warming then and since. His messages included the threat of increased severity and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes, something which is looking more and more prescient over the past few years of unusual storms


Post-Modernism Helps Explain The Post-Factual World Of Conservatives

August 28th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Post-modernism is just art criticism, but conservative intellectuals are constantly attacking it these days. And conservatives are saying remarkably post-modernist things from Giuliani's "Truth isn't truth" to Donald Trump's constant stream of post-factual Tweets, including those on global warming and coal


Capturing CO2 From Exhaust Pipes Is A Bad Idea That Won’t Die

August 27th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Saudi Aramco is full of STEM types and I'm sure that they realize capturing carbon from car emissions is actually nonsense, but they keep trotting their prototypes out to conferences and journalists, and people keep reporting on it as if it's a real thing


Lidar Not Necessary For Autonomy, But Let’s At Least Spell It Correctly

August 26th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Lidar is a sensor that's used for a variety of purposes. Almost every autonomous vehicle program in the world except for Tesla's uses lidar sensors. This article isn't about the uses or qualities of the sensors, however, it's about how to spell the word. I’ve been struggling with it for years, personally, but had never looked it up in a style book



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