The Future – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

The Future

Battery Technology

Major breakthroughs in battery technology will change the world as we know it. From electric cars to your cell phone, the limits of lithium-ion batteries have stalled out the ability to truly move away from the combustible engine. I’m watching closely for a major breakthrough in battery technology. This may be the first step:

It will still be a while before we see “holey” graphene batteries in real-world devices, said Duan, who calls this paper “a critical step, but just a starting point toward commercialization.” Looking ahead, he could easily see niobia-based batteries that charge up to five or 10 times faster than today’s lithium-ion cells. And batteries made with energy-dense materials like silicon could power laptops for 20 or 30 hours on a single charge, and triple the driving range of an electric vehicle.

“I think this really gives us a pathway toward using these high-performance materials in real-world devices,” Duan said.

Here’s one I’m watching –

Fisker patents radical ‘solid state battery’ it claims can power a car for 500 miles and recharge in a MINUTE

According to Fisker, the radical new battery would deliver 2.5 times the energy density of typical lithium ion batteries.  Solid-state batteries are known to have a number of limitations, such as low power and low rate capability as a result of the layered electrode structure, and issues arising from cold temperatures, the firm explains.
But, the new technology attempts to overcome the challenges using a three-dimensional solid-state structure.This allows the electrodes to cover 25 times more surface area than flat thin-film designs.
‘This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies,’ said Dr. Fabio Albano, VP of battery systems at Fisker Inc.

The TESLA power wall at $5500 (two needed to power a typical home) is pioneering a concept that over time will change the way we run our homes. I’m looking at an off the grid system that converts solar to home use and the current deep cycle battery technology costs a lot and has a number of sensitive variables that must be managed to make the systems run efficiently. We’ll look back one dat at this video and laugh at how complex it is to run the current systems:

The solar world is seeing prices drop and efficiency of conversion of solar power into usable electrical power. I was critical of the government incentives that were throwing money at consumer grade green energy. On the air, I lamented about foreign manufacturers pumping solar into the market just to absorb up the tax credits. What was the quality of their products? Basically, tax credits created an artificial market. I did qualify my critiques with the statements that this would all be worth it if major technology breakthroughs were created based on all the activity in the solar sector.  It looks like that’s coming to pass. Solar technology is has grown by 20% in the past few years, but it’s the battery technology that is the most promising. TESLA has started the market of consumer-based energy storage but watch for others to come into this space and drive down pricing.

Here’s a few of the technologies being created right now that could change the storage world.  HERE

10 alternatives to lithium-ion batteries

Nuclear Power

The next technology has a lot of history and was once a movement that looked like it could change the way we power the earth…nuclear.  America is way behind the nuclear power curve. With tech advancements and reuse of much of the waste we used to have to store, nuclear has real potential to change the globe. If you haven’t seen Pandora’s Promise you need to.




Inc Magazine 2025 advancements I think we’ll see come to fruition:

1. Dementia Declines
Overall, this particular report places great faith in science’s ability to prevent disease by better understanding the human genome. One of the biggest boons from that improved understanding will be a reduction in degenerative disease such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. So far, researchers have been able to identify specific chromosomes that cause different forms of the dementia. The most oft-cited research since 2011 has been about a chromosome known as 9P, which has been linked to two forms of dementia.
6. The internet of (every)things
We think we live in a connected world. A decade from now, we’ll wonder how we were ever so isolated. “Wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere,” says the report. “Imagine the day when the entire continent of Africa is completely, digitally connected,” which it predicts will occur in 2025. All this will happen thanks to improved semiconductors, changes in 5G technology, and supercapacitors that will be able to store much more energy for later release than the current generation of capacitors.
8. The cure is no longer worse than the disease
By 2025, says the report, cancer patients will no longer have to choose between living with a fatal disease and enduring treatments that can quickly become intolerable. The pharmaceutical industry has been working toward a goal of personalized medicine, developing drugs that target specific molecules. As medical tools become more targeted, they’ll engage only the molecules necessary to combat the disease, sparing healthy ones and leading to treatments with far fewer negative side effects.

Raw Materials 

Cobalt is a metal that few investors know much about – it is critical to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution because it makes up some 35% of the lithium-ion battery mix.

That’s 30% of batteries that are the backbone of EVs, EVs that are now mainstream. To meet the demand for EVs, billion-dollar battery Giga factories have been built and continue to be built. Consumer electronics are contributing to the demand and resulting shortage of supply.

And, unlike lithium, which is a fairly common commodity… we can’t source enough of cobalt as things stand today – and demand is increasing quickly.

Crypto Currency

I had a good friend try to explain to me what Bitcoin was and how it worked. I didn’t get it…..I get it now.  Central banks are printing money like it’s going out of style. Since we left the gold standard, under Nixon (see above, why he’s my second least favorite President),  there has been no intrinsic value behind the American Dollar.  Basically, printed money gets its value based on confidence in the underlying government. Once the confidence that the government can and will do the right things erodes, so does the value of its currency.  Assets like gold, land, raw materials will be wear value is stored as paper money become worthless.  Crypto Currencies like Bitcoin are another form of wealth storage.  In the hyper-debt environment, we find ourselves in globally a lot of wealth has been created.  If you watch Bitcoin, you’ll see that it’s steadily been climbing as central banks keep printing. The latest run-up has been caused by Chinese investors desperately looking to get capital out of their economy.  The Chinese government has clamped down on outflows to the foreign real estate (London, Toronto, New York, Hawaii have all seen a massive run-up from foreign investors), so Bitcoin is the new store of wealth.

Thorium Nuclear Power and Nuclear Alternatives

As energy becomes more and more expensive look for technological advances to leap the supply of energy forward. I’ve done a lot of research on Thorium Power and I can’t believe it hasn’t become part of our societal discussion. I can’t help but think that the disruptive nature to the economy has kept the technology sidelined.

Thorium Power Is the Safer Future of Nuclear Energy

By David Warmflash | January 16, 2015 10:57 am

nuclear plant

Nuclear power has long been a contentious topic. It generates huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon emissions, and thus is held up as a solution to global energy woes. But it also entails several risks, including weapons development, meltdown, and the hazards of disposing of its waste products.

But those risks and benefits all pertain to a very specific kind of nuclear energy: nuclear fission of uranium or plutonium isotopes. There’s another kind of nuclear energy that’s been waiting in the wings for decades – and it may just demand a re-calibration of our thoughts on nuclear power.

Speaking of alternative energy – still a big fan of nuclear – check out Pandora’s Promise.  This documentary covers an environmental activist and writers mind shift from anti-nuke to pro-nuclear energy.  If we want clean power at a low cost, nuclear is the answer.

Combustible Engine Technology and Self-Driving Cars

The invention from Israeli-based Aquarius Engines is currently being discussed by France’s Peugeot, the firm said. Aquarius says the cost of the engine will be as low as $100 (92 euros). According to the firm, the engine can allow cars to travel more than 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) on a single tank of fuel, more than double current distances.

Such efficiency is vital as countries seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions—a main cause of climate change. Car engines are a major source of CO2 emissions.
Read more at:

Imagine a form of nuclear energy with greater output and virtually no safety issues.

Such is the promise of liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), and we’ve had several past interviews with thorium expert Kirk Sorensen to discuss their potential:

  • Much safer – No risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g., Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island)
  • Much more efficient at producing energy – Over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy, vs. <1% in today’s reactors
  • Less waste-generating – Most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs. decades/centuries
  • Much cheaper – Reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller and could be constructed in modular fashion
  • More plentiful – LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
  • Less controversial – The byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
  • Longer-lived – Thorium
    is much more plentiful than uranium and is treated as valueless today.
    There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant

Finally, Thorium is getting it’s day. First major experiment in 45 years on a Thorium reaction is moving forward.

Why is graphene so important?

This unassuming material could change the future of electronics and engineering as we know it. Recent research has unearthed extraordinary properties, including graphene sheets being ten times tougher than steel and exceptionally effective electrical conductors. Amazingly, they are also transparent to visible light – meaning they can be used for conveying information between optical fibres. Although the theoretical study of graphene started in the 1950s, the experimental study of graphene had not been realized until the recent discovery and characterization of exfoliated graphene by Novoselov et al. (2004) and epitaxial graphene by Berger et al. (2004). Because of its fundamental importance in physics as a realization of a relativistic condensed-matter system (i.e. a non-quantum mechanical description of a system of particles), as well as its application potentials in next-generation electronics, research interest in graphene has been rising rapidly. Even though it might take a long time before graphene’s full application potentials can be fully realized, graphene is an incredibly intriguing system with a lot more to be explored.

I loved this break down from John Mauldin – Here’s his blog and the items that jumped out at me:

MAULDIN: 20 Positive Trends That Will Make You Feel Good About the World in 2018


I ran across a great list from the Future Crunch website recently: “99 Reasons 2017 Was a Great Year.”  Here, I’ll list some of the best things that happened this year and add my own comments.

Breakthroughs in Medicine

  1. This year, the World Health Organization unveiled a new vaccine that’s cheap and effective enough to end cholera, one of humanity’s greatest-ever killers. New York Times
  2. Cancer deaths have dropped by 25% in the United States since 1991, saving more than two million lives. Breast cancer deaths have fallen by 39%, saving the lives of 322,600 women. Time
  3. And on November 17, WHOannounced that global deaths from tuberculosis have fallen by 37% since 2000, saving an estimated 53 million lives.

I’m bullish on all kinds of life-extension technologies. I really expect to live well beyond age 100 with all my faculties intact.

One by one, killer diseases like cholera are giving way to humanity’s fast-growing medical knowledge. Some of the greatest threats to human beings will be essentially under control within 10 years: Heart disease, arteriosclerosis, cirrhosis, you name it, will have mainstream cures.

And don’t even get me started on induced tissue regeneration, which has the potential to reverse your body’s aging to the point where you will be—oh, pick an age—let’s say, 25 again, but with all of the experience you have today.

All these developments are wonderful news from a human standpoint, but also economically. Think of all the potential genius and innovation the world never sees because disease robs it from us. By preserving these lives, we enhance everyone’s life.

Up from Poverty

  1. The International Energy Agencyannounced that nearly 1.2 billion people around the world have gained access to electricity in the last 16 years.
  2. In the last three years, the number of people in China living below the poverty line decreased from 99 million to 43.4 million. And since 2010, Chinese income inequality has been falling steadily. Quartz
  3. The United States’ official poverty rate is now 12.7%, the lowest level since the end of the global financial crisis. And the child-poverty rate has reached an all-time low, dropping to 15.6%. The Atlantic

Since the turn of the century some 1.2 billion people have gained access to electricity. That’s one of the first steps out of poverty. All the modern technologies that enrich our lives and wallets need electricity to work.

It may be surprising that 12.7% of Americans live below the poverty line. Of course, we define poverty differently than much of the rest of the world does, but we still leave too many people behind through no fault of their own.

Much remains to be done, but I think we’ve at least noticed the problem now. That’s the first step to fixing it.

The rich are also getting richer. The number of households with a net worth of $1 million (measured in 1995 dollars) grew from 2.4 million in 1983 to 10.8 million in the latest survey in 2017, far outpacing average household income growth.

As a nation, I know we worry a great deal about wealth and income inequality, but in general, we are all getting better.

Endless Energy

  1. The cost of solar and wind power plummeted by more than 25% in 2017, shifting the global clean energy industry on its axis. Think Progress

The cost of solar has been plummeting 20–25% a year for years now. By 2030, at the latest, we will not be building any natural gas power plants, other than in areas that receive very little solar energy. There are many places in the world where this is possible now with our current technology. But with the improvements that are coming down the pike? Oh my.

Better Life

  1. Global deaths from terrorism dropped by 22% from their peak in 2014, thanks to significant declines in four of the five countries most impacted: Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. ReliefWeb

  2. Rates of violent crime and property crime have dropped by around 50% in the United States since 1990, yet a majority of people still believe they have gotten worse. Pew Research


Want to know what the richest man in the world worries about? Sure the one in a million astroid impact or volcano…but with a 50% chance of happening…..that’s something to think about;