Why you need a supercomputer to build a house

When the hell did building a house become so complicated? Don’t let the folks on HGTV fool you. The process of building a home nowadays is incredibly painful. Just applying for the necessary permits can be a soul-crushing undertaking that’ll have you running around the city, filling out useless forms, and waiting in motionless lines […]

Agtech startup Imago AI is using computer vision to boost crop yields

Presenting onstage today in the 2018 TC Disrupt Berlin Battlefield is Indian agtech startup Imago AI, which is applying AI to help feed the world’s growing population by increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. As startup missions go, it’s an impressively ambitious one. The team, which is based out of Gurgaon near New Delhi, […]

Tesla, GM and Nissan are all part of a new coalition aiming to extend the EV tax credit

Tesla, GM and Nissan are among a group of 15 companies that launched a new coalition aimed at reforming the electric vehicle tax credit. The group, called EV Drive Coalition, brings together a mix of automakers, industry giant ABB, climate change and energy lobbying organizations and EV infrastructure companies, including ChargePoint. The coalition, which officially […]

How issues of microtransit, congestion and parking are closing in on cities

Earlier this week in a new experimental newsletter I’ve been helping Danny Crichton on, we briefly discussed transit pundit Jarrett Walker’s article in The Atlantic arguing against the view that ridesharing and microtransit will be the future of mass transit. Instead, his thesis is that a properly operated and well-resourced bus system is much more […]

David Attenborough to voice Netflix’s nature conservation series, Our Planet

Netflix has persuaded everyone’s favorite naturalist, David Attenborough, to voice its forthcoming original nature documentary series, Our Planet, which is slated to put conservation squarely in the frame, not just offer glorious animal eye-candy. It’s a timely moment to focus on conservation, with climate change posing existential threats to global biodiversity — unless humans act to […]

National Grid unveils $250M corporate venture capital arm

National Grid, the Northeast’s natural gas and electricity company, is planting a flag in Silicon Valley with the launch of National Grid Partners. Led by former Intel Capital vice president and managing director Lisa Lambert, NGP has $250 million to invest in growth-stage technology startups over the next two to three years. Based in Las […]

The cost of energy storage has stalled adoption of renewable power. Energy Vault has a solution.

Because solar and wind power are now cheaper to produce than energy from fossil fuels, the only obstacle that remains to the mass adoption of renewable power is the amount of money utilities need to spend to store the energy those systems produce. Right now, storing 100 megawatts of renewable energy (enough to power roughly 600,000 […]

Google AI listens to 15 years of sea-bottom recordings for hidden whale songs

Google and a group of game cetologists have undertaken an AI-based investigation of years of undersea recordings, hoping to create a machine learning model that can spot humpback whale calls. It’s part of the company’s new “AI for social good” program that’s rather obviously positioned to counter the narrative that AI is mostly used for […]

Tap, a new startup from Sam Rosen, wants to be the Google of drinking water

MakeSpace founder and former CEO Samuel Rosen is ready to launch his next venture, and it has little or nothing to do with the on-demand economy. This time, Rosen is setting his sights on the world of water. Tap aims to be the world’s first public index and global search engine for drinking water. Plastic […]

This is not fine

A UN report compiled by a coalition of international climate and policy experts has warned that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required if global warming is to be limited to just 1.5°C. The report also sets out some of the dire consequences for both humanity and life on Earth […]