Author: Espresso Insight

Twitter Spaces: the future of audio content

Audio based content on the internet like podcasts are episode based series that a users can listen to at a time of their choosing.

The structure of audio content may have a number of variations, the most common being interviews, storytelling, memoir and more.

At their best, podcast conversations tend to flow more naturally than old school news or television interviews, giving people the time (normally an hour or more) to discuss topics in-depth without interruption.

This format enables people to have lengthy, thought-out conversations, exploring nuances on all sides of a given topic.

Audio consumable content is growing in popularity

According to Oberlo, over 500 million people listen to podcasts in 2022, close to double that of 2019.

Similarly, search traffic on Google for the word “podcast” has slowly trended upwards since pre-2009.

chart showing the growth in number of people searching for the word "podcast" from 2009 to 2022
Growth in interest over time, “podcast” search results via Google Trends.

While the popularity of podcasting and audio content in general is increasing, there’s a new format on the scene that is slowly grabbing large numbers of users attention.

Specifically, Twitter Spaces is the internet’s next iteration of audio consumable contact.

Twitter Spaces improves upon podcasting’s content model

Similar to podcasting, Twitter Spaces facilitates conversations, interviews, and discussions to happen and flow naturally.

However, in traditional podcasting, the conversation happens behind closed doors where a group of people record a conversation and then publish it to an audience afterwards for later listening.

On Twitter Spaces, this audio model is improved in two critical ways:

Twitter Spaces enable live, real-time conversations

Podcasts normally don’t happen live.

Twitter Spaces happen real-time, in the moment.

The candid, off the cuff, and unedited nature of Twitter Spaces makes them feel more authentic.

While Twitter spaces can also be recorded and released for future listening on Spotify or even just re-listened to on Twitter for a few days,

The fact that Twitter Spaces happens live in an open format allows for that live stream style discussion to happen between the audience and the speakers.

This includes real time feedback from the audience via Tweets, emojis, and replies.

Twitter Spaces enables open discussion where new speakers can jump in and leave freely

Podcast conversations happen between a smaller number of guests, where new individuals are not able to freely join the conversation.

However, the format of Twitter Spaces allows new members to join into the conversation in real time.

If someone in the audience has a unique perspective or hot-take on an idea being discussed, that person can request to get on stage and share their thoughts.

As new guests are invited up to the stage, this can add new insights and diverse perspectives into the conversation.

How to Host a Podcast or Twitter Space: Beginner’s Guide

After hosting a few Twitter Spaces myself, here are a few things I wish I new when I got started.

Twitter Spaces are very similar to Podcasts, however, the communication model is much newer.

The two key differences between Podcasting and Twitter Spaces is that they happen in front of a live audience, and second, is that you can have up to 10 speakers on stage contributing to the conversation.

A lot of the skills that make traditional Podcast hosts successful are likely transferrable to Twitter Spaces, however, there are a few key differences.

Starting the conversation

Have some sort of structured introduction planned out.

Ask people about stuff you see in their bio.

Thank people for jumping on.

The dead space while waiting for people to jump on during the first few minutes after going live on your spaces is a good time to talk about:

  • context / background for the conversation
  • welcoming people in
  • thanking people for joining
  • inviting speakers up
  • tweeting out the link
  • DM’ing co-hosts and speakers to remind them to jump in
  • reviewing the purpose and vision for the Space
  • reminding people of the open and inclusive nature of the conversation
  • as well as anything else you might want people to know.

Find or Build a community

Authentic community and genuine followings on social media takes work.

However, find a community that in some way feels involved in your success and actually wants to join twitter spaces that are hosted.

Find a great Co-host

In my case, after making a few posts in the community Discords, I received a few direct messages about the excitement from the community.

I don’t think I originally planned on having a co-host but it worked out well.

Two things stood out: Jrocki was taking action from the get-go, and even put together a POAP for our pilot Twitter Spaces.

Unfortunately this process is not easily repeated.

Guest Scheduling – One at a Time

One guest at a time is better than trying to have multiple unrelated people on at once.

While multiple speakers can contribute to the conversation, we can’t go from topic to topic without the conversation losing structure and focus.

When you invite a guest on, they need to be able to have time to voice their thoughts and info about their project. When you invite multiple people on, guests may feel like they are not getting their opporutnity to speak

With guests, you need to establish focus… Having many speakers is an innovative approach to podcasting, but it must feel organic and they must be on the same page.

Prepare

Be curious, be interested in other people. Cultivate curiosity for as many unique interests as possible, and let that curiosity come through when talking to other speakers.

Ask specific questions.

Do some preparation – look them up and find other stuff they have talked about. Find answers they have given, and ask about something specific.

Dig deep. Find the content your interviewee has produced or been involved with that doesn’t have tons of views. Maybe they share specific ideas on something not commonly talked about? Use this as a jumping off point.

For example, if the interviewer has had multiple podcast appearances in the past, perhaps they share different stories or anecdotes on each one.

Spend time think of questions and discussion topics but don’t be afraid to diverge if the story gets rich. Which brings up the next point…

No plans, just vibes

Research and preparation aside, it i ismportant to have time to riff and allow speakers to let the conversation flow.

Time to vibe is important.

If you find the conversations topics at the beginning naturally tend toward something silly, I believe that’s actually a good thing.

We’re all humans here, and social media should be fun and entertaining at the end of the day.

For example, at the beginning of the recent Shell Protocol space, the speakers started talking about mayonnaise of all things. Regardless of how you feel about the pale condiment, it was pretty funny and actually learned a few things – namely, that the mayonnaise in Belgium is waaay better than what we have in the United States.

This feels similar to the “ice breaker” games that some corporate jobs have employees do on their first day. However, I was never a big fan of those formalized ice breakers. Letting it flow informally feels more natural.

Inclusiveness

Encourage inclusivity and open discussion. Let conversations topics go out on tangents if the speakers are engaged and contributing to the conversation. At the end of the day, the goal is to make sure everyone enjoys the conversation.

As long as all speakers treat people with respect, everyone should feel comfortable sharing their opinions and diverse ideas.

People join Twitter spaces from all over the world

Be considerate for time zones globally. Mention the time zone you are in, show empathy to global community that some people may have to listen to the recording later or are jumping in at obscure hours for them.

Shut up and listen

As the host, be willing to stay quiet and let people talk!

If you are interviewing someone about their project or endeavors, don’t be afraid of the awkward pauses… allowing some space between words will encourage the other person to talk more, share more insights, and ultimately make for a better interview for the audience.

When someone is talking, actively listen. Don’t try to think of the next question while they are talking.

Questions and Answers

Asking good questions, along with topic selection, is the difference between a boring show and an interesting show.

When you ask a question, make sure to be as concise and direct as possible.

  • Poorly-phrased question: “what are your future plans with the OptiPunks? Do you have anything like… i don’t even know what you could do but…”
    • Again, its a bad habit ramble on unnecessarily after asking your initial question.
  • More effective and concise question: instead, just stop talking after you ask the question, something like this: “what are your future plans with the punks?”

When some one asks a question and you as the host can’t immediately think of a great answer, this is a great opportunity to open up the question to other speakers that are up on stage, as well as your co-host. This does a few things – first, it shows that you are humble enough to admit that you don’t know everything. Second, it helps get other people involved in the conversation to help have diverse perspectives, ensuring that you as the host don’t just monopolize the conversation.

After re-listening to the first two episodes from the Twitter Spaces I hosted, a few times when I gave answers, it felt like I initially rambled a bit and went slightly off topic. Even if I tried to bring what I am saying back around and relate it to the original question, going off on a tangent can be somewhat distracting and might confuse both listeners as well as other speakers

Sometimes i say something and then say a disclaimer after like “i dont know tho” – dont do this

Position statements for the perspective of listeners.

In the case of our spaces, since we cover user-ready blockchain dapps, every statement I make sure be catered toward the perspective of a potential user of a given app, as the listeners are likely prospective users.

Relate what you are saying to how others can benefit from it.

Eliminate the Ego, Avoid talking about yourself

For example, re-listening to myself, I noticed it sounds a bit off when I talk about my own experiences using the apps without focusing on how other users might also interact with the app.

On one of the first Spaces I hosted, I said something along the lines of “maybe I’ll be eligible for the next Optimism airdrop who knows”.

This statement sounds bad because its self-seeking, as opposed to sharing statements about how a user/listener can gain value from the Optimism ecosystem.

Instead, I could talk about how users in general that were not eligible for first airdrop still have a chance for other OP token airdrops, and share a bit about the Optimism phased approach to airdrops.

This approach would increase the value that listeners get by listening to the conversation.

I talk too much about things I can do in web3 like

At one point, during episode 1, I was talking to Bodo about the voting process for public goods funding within OptiPunks. This is another opportunity to talk about how users in general that own an OptiPunk can actually vote as well. Its just a less self-centered way of speaking, and will likely create a more entertaining and educational conversation.

Showing support for project founders

Founders don’t need you to be the second pitch-person for their project.

For example, when you learn about something new such as a new project or protocol, instead if saying “I’ll have to check that out”, say something like “great to know – so anyone that has gets involved with ____ project is eligible to do ____.”

If someone talks about one of their initiatives or a project they are building, you can show support for that person by being the person jump on board and say something like “oh that’s so cool, I just followed that project and will look into minting one!”.

In this scenario, the listeners don’t need you to be the second person pitching them on the project, as the founder has just done so.

You can show support for the other speaker by taking the role of being somebody that is excited about the project, which will likely make other people want to follow your lead get involved too.

I host a weekly Twitter Space — join me on Twitter, and be a part of the next conversation!

273 quotes stacked full of life wisdom

For the last 8 to 10 years, I’ve kept a list of the best quotes I’ve seen, heard, or read. Providing little value sitting in my notes app, its time to share them with the world:

  1. Only the dead see the end of war. Plato
  2. We were born in darkness, you are summer children. — Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods
  3. Good helps others without concern for themselves. Smart helps others while also helping themselves. Evil harms others while helping themselves. Stupid harms others while also harming themselves. Balajis
  4. We live in a power law universe. Worth trying a lot of things and assuming the one or two big wins will make up for all the losses
  5. Re-reading something great is a better choice than reading new rubbish. Tren Griffin
  6. You want to be rich and anonymous, not poor and famous. Naval
  7. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless. Oscar Wilde.
  8. The best way to have a good relationship is to deserve a good relationship.
  9. Soak it all In, it’s a game you can’t win enjoy the ride
  10. Never buy a depreciating asset. If it drives, flies, or floats… lease it. – the rock.
  11. Loose lips sink ships.
  12. We are the universe experiencing itself. Alan watts
  13. We became self aware only to realize this story is not about us. Kuzgesagt
  14. Money is the gamification of life. Tim Ferriss
  15. The best way to predict the future is to invent it
  16. Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up. Chesterson
  17. Beware of people and their little fiefdoms
  18. “Everyday you have a choice to make. You can pick it up and actually play guitar, or you can theorize and talk about it, read and think about it. The way to get better is to put the damn thing in your hands and bang on it till you get a sound that comes out of it that sounds good. I’m not sure what to make of all this nonsense talk about tone and pedals and this that and the other thing. Its your practice time, you decide.”
  19. “I have this new theory where if you have to ask someone else if you should take something potentially harmful to your body, the answer is already no. That decision has to be your own, and it has to be a well educated decision, because people like bodybuilding for a few years, and they take steroids and they’ll be like ‘I don’t actually like bodybuilding.’ Then they’ll quit bodybuilding, and their body is still fucked up from the juice or whatever they took in the meantime. “So that decision, you shouldn’t ask anybody that. You should just know, and you should be fking dedicated to wanting to do it. So no, you shouldn’t if you’re asking me that.” Chris Bumstead, Mr. Olympia sharing his thoughts on steroid use.
  20. It’s nice to be able to put yourself in an environment where you can completely accept all the unconscious stuff that comes to you from the inner workings of your mind. Block yourself off to where you can control it all, take it down, that’s where true creativity comes form. — Bob Dylan
  21. “Its not too late unless you are dead.”
  22. My happiness comes from rewards that were very difficult to achieve. Joe Rogan
  23. Whats it all worth, if it’s painless? Wiz Khalifa
  24. The race is long, and in the end, it’s with yourself.
  25. The only thing holding you back is yourself
  26. You wont be successful if you aren’t interested in what you do all day. – Charlie Munger
  27. “Most geniuses—especially those who lead others—prosper not by deconstructing intricate complexities but by exploiting unrecognized simplicities.” Andy Benoid
  28. You will not find toughness in a comfortable environment. David Goggins.
  29. “Get off your ass and go sell something.” Mark Cuban
  30. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  31. Roll the dice. If youre going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. Bukowski
  32. “How much time should i spend practicing guitar? — answer: if you have to ask, don’t bother.”
  33. Some persons we see under no remarkable circumstances but whom, for some reason or another, we never forget. – Richard Henry Dana Jr.
  34. “Stevie, most important thing, the better you get, the harder you work. You can’t say “well i got it made I got enough”. Dont do that. – Albert King, to Stevie Ray Vaughan during a guitar session.
  35. Fortune favors the bold
  36. Some opportunities only come once. Seize them.
  37. I’ve already had one hell of a fun journey, so I’m ready to go when its time. Lex Fridman
  38. If you don’t have a plan, you become part of somebody else’s plan. Terence Mckenna
  39. 80% of the money, best romantic partners, and everything good in life will go to the 20% of people who deserve them most.
  40. Fame will not fix your problems. If anything, fame will magnify your insecurities and exaggerate your fears. – Tim Ferriss.
  41. I ask not for lighter burden, but broader shoulders.
  42. Rest at the end, not in the middle
  43. I don’t want to be a product of my environment, i want my environment to be a product of me – Jack Nicholson, the departed
  44. “Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but do it like you love it” – Mike Tyson
  45. Develop your communication skills because once you open your mouth, you tell the world who you are.
  46. We are all building castles in the sand soon to be erased by time.
  47. If you don’t make time for your wellness, your body will make time for illness.
  48. Founders are great at searching for a repeatable and scalable business model. -Steve Blank.
  49. Don’t overplay your hand.
  50. Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics.
  51. “I don’t need another lover hanging around trying to make me change”.
  52. “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”. Bob Dylan
  53. I’m not an expert but I try to really know what the experts think and keep up to date as the experts change their mind. – Tim Urban, talking about AI.
  54. Entertainment and distraction are the enemy of creativity and learning.
  55. Good habits are hard to form and easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with. -Mark Matteson
  56. You can’t get advice on what you should do with your life. As much as you want people to agree and to be around you supporting your dreams, its not going to be like that all the time. You gotta do it alone. – Will Smith
  57. The way of relationships will get you further.
  58. Life’s mostly just wasting time – Townes Van Zandt
  59. We don’t cancel shows. We do the show and if things go wrong, that’s just the way it is. – Jerry Seinfeld
  60. Discomfort is your friend – Joe Rogan
  61. It takes a long time to become young – Pablo Picasso
  62. First, last, and always
  63. We’ve come a long way but we’re a long way from being done – Buddy Guy
  64. I thank the lord for letting me stay around a little longer – Buddy Guy
  65. There are two ways to sell: Overcome objections, figure out what’s holding folks back, talk about the positives, or find people who need what you’re selling more than you need their money, talk about the negatives, and let them sell themselves. (#2 is better)
  66. Seest thou a man diligent in business? He will stand before kings.
  67. You can say a lot of things about me but you cant say that i dont take a risk and put it all out on the table.
  68. You might as well go for an endeavor and fail at something you think you might not be able to do. Take the risk of failing. What if you are able to do it? You would never know. Expose yourself to failure.
  69. Older people want to know how it does what it does, younger people just want to know what it can do. – Steve Jobs
  70. The really important thing in life is to really appreciate it because we only get to do this once and its not for a long time. – Jay Moriarty
  71. “No good movie is long enough and no bad movie is short enough”
  72. ‘You might as well go for an endeavor and fail at something you think you might not be able to do. Take the risk of failing. What if you are able to do it? You would never know. Expose yourself to failure.’ – Scott Kelly astronaut
  73. Ideas are what could happen, engineering is about making things happen.
  74. “Its not that i’m so smart its just that i’ve stuck with problems longer” -albert einstein
  75. “Persistence is 90% of it.” – pro blogger
  76. Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned
  77. Business is hard at the beginning, but rich at the end. Long struggle, long grind, long fight. Start early so you have time to reap the reward.
  78. Enjoy being young while you still are. It doesn’t last forever. – My friend Alex Verner
  79. On critics: they’re entitled not to like us, and we’re entitled not to have anything to do with them if we don’t want to. – John Lennon
  80. Agree with thine adversary quickly. – Jesus
  81. The lord giveth, the lord taketh. – Bible
  82. The ability to do a lot with a little – important in learning guitar as well as in life
  83. Death twitches my ear – “live”, he says, “i am coming”.
  84. Its not enough to be right, you have to be effective
  85. A ship is always safe in port, but that’s not what ships are for.
  86. You can only lose if you quit.
  87. A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
  88. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” “The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school.” – John F. Kennedy, 1962
  89. Don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wish one (single) day away. – buddy guy
  90. I must create a system or be defined by another mans. – william blake
  91. The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar instead of how little he can give for a dollar is bound to succeed. – henry ford
  92. My favorite conspiracy theory is that everything is gonna be ok.
  93. Work sucks, i know. – blink 182
  94. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
  95. Everything will kill you so choose something fun.
  96. If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, i don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry. – Satoshi Nakamoto
  97. “If you didn’t bring it with you, you ain’t gonna find it here.”
  98. Try to attack my goals like any real man should – with a persistence (absent of attachment), full well knowing they may or may not come to fruition, yet absent of any attachment. And if there’s a way to achieve it in this universe, determined (hell bent) to find it.
  99. It ain’t easy, it ain’t free, but it is a grand adventure! (Quora commenter on learning the guitar)
  100. Try my best to accept the way it is because this may be the best it ever gets. I don’t wanna be 35 and look back and go that was it. I will not appreciate this as much as I will looking back on it. – John Mayer
  101. The main reason people fail to accomplish as much as they could – in poker and in life – is that they don’t play their best game.
  102. “Prince, what you are, you are through chance and birth; what I am, I am through my own labor. There are many princes and there will continue to be thousands more, but there is only one Beethoven.”
  103. Write daily. I can write daily. And believe it or not its more possible than I initially thought
  104. Do or do not, there is no try – yoda
  105. You just have to grind. That is literally all you have to do.
  106. “A little excess fear is exactly what evolutionary principles would predict…’the cost of us getting killed even once is higher than the cost of responding to a hundred false alarms.'” ~Steve Stewart-Williams, The Ape That Understood the Universe
  107. “Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” — Bruce Lee
  108. “Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” — Leonardo DiCaprio
  109. (in life)You can do anything you want but you cant do everything you want. Choose wisely
  110. Show me your friends and I can show you the future
  111. Most things aren’t new, they’re just new to you.
  112. All things are difficult before they are easy
  113. If you have everything under control you aren’t moving fast enough.
  114. “When you put your mind to something you will find a quicker way to get there than anybody – nobody will be able to beat you”.
  115. The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing – Walt Disney
  116. When work is no longer productive, read. When reading is no longer productive, sleep
  117. All of human endeavor is just killing time – jerry seinfeld
  118. The hard part is usually finding the data – Larry Ellison
  119. Inspiration is for amateurs. The pros just show up and get to work. – Chuck Close
  120. Get it while you can
  121. “It is only by means of the sciences of life that the quality of life can be radically changed”. – Aldous Huxley
  122. “If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
  123. “Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” —Immanuel Kant
  124. Waste money don’t waste time.
  125. If you really want to succeed, double your rate of failure.
  126. “The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.” ― Brandon Mull, Fablehaven
  127. “Will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?” she asked. “Don’t you think saying goodbye to your child will make your death more painful?” “Wouldn’t it be great if it did?” I said. Lucy and I both felt that life wasn’t about avoiding suffering.” ― Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
  128. “to live life is to have desires”
  129. Take care of the man’s job first. – Coach T
  130. It’s no longer a career ladder, it’s a jungle gym.
  131. Every big win i’ve ever had has come from reaching out and connecting with people. – Jordan Harbinger
  132. I couldn’t dream it any better – Zion Williamson
  133. Choose your team wisely. Eagles don’t fly with pigeons.
  134. Successful investing is having everyone agree with you in the future.
  135. “Lasting novels don’t come from literature departments. Successful businesses don’t come from business schools. Scientific revolutions don’t come from research universities. Get your education, then get moving. Find the loners tinkering at the edge.”
  136. “Nobody knows the way. Try to figure it out. Forget school and experts. Figure it out yourself.”
  137. “It is very dangerous to have a plan B because you are cutting yourself off from the chance of really succeeding. Most people have a plan B because they are afraid of failing. But failing is OK. you have to fail in order to climb that ladder. But we all fail. Winners will fail and get up. Losers will stay up (and never fail)
  138. “Work your ass off and tell the world about it”
  139. “Do good things and tell people about them.”
  140. “You stupid bitch, you know what’s wrong with your life!”
  141. “The best part about creating technology is seeing what the world does with it” – Google Earth
  142. You are going to die. This will all be over one day. Leave it all on the table, no stone un-turned.
  143. A bad plan is better than no plan at all.
  144. If you act like you know what you’re doing everybody thinks that you do. – Joe Walsh
  145. “I just realized that she knew everything I knew, more actually, but that it was coming out of a woman’s head” – John Lennon, on his wife Yoko
  146. Tell people the secrets how not to use your business, then more people will use your business. Gary V
  147. When you love what you have you have everything you need.
  148. “The price of progress in civilization is paid in forfeiting happiness through the heightening of the sense of guilt.”
  149. Success is found in the pursuit.
  150. At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for.” – Marcus Aurealious
  151. “do you want to be a loser, or do you NOT want to be a loser?”
  152. Do the simple things first
  153. Discipline = Freedom. – Jocko Willink
  154. Bitches gon ride with who they thinks a winner. – Wiz Khalifa
  155. “AI began with an ancient wish to forge the gods.” – Pamela Mccormick
  156. It only takes one set of footprints for the world to follow.
  157. “Like every startup, this company started with one person in a 10 foot by 10 foot room, with one machine.”
  158. You want to be a writer? Well, write!
  159. “We’re not pretending to be God, we are God; God is pretending to be us.”
  160. Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
  161. “You gotta grind. that’s where a lot of comics fuck up. they do it like once a week and they take a few weeks off, and then they come back and do it again. and they’re like how do you do it all the time? I’m like, cause I know how to grind, I’m a grinder” – Joe Rogan
  162. Just grind, thats literally all you gotta do.
  163. Only a dead fish goes with the flow
  164. “My favorite part of my work is following my curiosity around the bend, over the next ridge, into the souk, hunting facts and asking questions, going where the story seems like it might be rich.” – William Finnegan
  165. “I’ve never made a record I liked” – Buddy Guy
  166. “The earth snapped and popped and rippled. It was, Goldfinger thought, like driving through rocky terrain in a vehicle with no shocks, if both the vehicle and the (ground) terrain were also on a raft in high seas.” – kathryn schulz, on the earthquake to hit the PNW.
  167. Ask not, “how to be successful”, but “how do you be useful?”
  168. If you’re not working on yourself, you’re not working.
  169. The exploration of space appears as the most hopeful feature of a dark landscape – Freeman
  170. Be smarter than the problem
  171. When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep. — Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
  172. Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride – Anthony Bourdain
  173. What a long strange trip its been
  174. By justifying your problems, you recommit to them – Russel Brand.
  175. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. – Mae Jemison
  176. Independence is happiness. – susan b. anthony
  177. If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them – jim kwik
  178. Going to the mountains is going home – john muir
  179. There’s never any guarantee. – a doctor I shadowed.
  180. hard choices -> easy life. easy choices -> hard life.
  181. We suffer more in imagination than in reality.
  182. The advantage is that you can start something without expectation. – Gary Vee
  183. The two greatest addictions in the world are heroin and a weekly salary.
  184. “scared money never wins”
  185. Slow money’s bad as gettin no money – wiz khalifa
  186. “praise by name, criticize by category”
  187. If you want to make god laugh, tell him your plans – John Chancellor
  188. “Procrastinate on resting. Put off your nap until tomorrow” – Jocko Willink
  189. “When you become blindly about the audience, you win.”-Gary V
  190. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson, Sr.
  191. You must change your life
  192. These are the days
  193. “I never found what i loved. But i did find what paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. And I love that. And i found what allowed me to not to have work anymore. And I also love that. – professor Stephen Heath
  194. September 6, 2018. Good luck remembering today 25 years from now. Chances are you wont be able to no matter how hard you try. In the grand scheme of things, today is just another day. “Yet, today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” What you do today will certainly have an impact on your days 25 years from now. 25 years ago I was taking this class and I can very much guarantee the time I spent in those days has lead me to where I am today. My equity is measured in millions. My time is spent doing what I want to, not what I have to. If you’re reading this email, you’re on the short list of people I answer too. Of all the days in my life, some of the most defining days came during this class 25 years ago. The unwielding power you have today to shape the person you will become 25 years from wont be any more significant than it is today. The ability to separate yourself from the pack is greater now than it will be 25 years from now. Those that understand the importance of today and making today count, enjoy today and enjoy tomorrow. – Yeah sure, Im stealing from Hemmingway a bit, but he has a point. Not sure he was writing about accounting, but I guess it applies nonetheless. A long way of saying, show up to class and do your work. Also a long way of saying, don’t cement yourself in mediocrity.my Financial Accounting Teacher.
  195. Go where you go and do what you do – Woody Allen
  196. “Deeds and not words are what count most”
  197. “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.” – Mary Kay Ash
  198. “It is not length of life but depth of life” – Emerson
  199. It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. – Paulo Coelho in the alchemist
  200. Once you get the message, hang up the phone. – Terence McKenna
  201. “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzky
  202. It’s fun being a human – Gary V
  203. Remember that every old person – every adult and boss and coworker you see around you – was at one time a baby. A cute little baby pooping their pants and spitting up. Feel the compassion for everyone.
  204. “People overestimate what they can get done in a day, and underestimate what they can get done in a year.”
  205. “Skepticism was warranted. Most ideas don’t survive. Most ideas don’t transform themselves.” -Larry Ellison.
  206. “I didn’t fail. I just learned 1000 ways to NOT make a light bulb” – Thomas Edison.
  207. The right way of being is attempting to continually transcend the flawed thing that you are. The meaning of life is to be found in that pursuit. – Jordan Peterson
  208. There are 7 days in a week and “some day” is not one of them.
  209. If you want to be a good writer, you can’t have a mediocre life.
  210. Incentives motivate behavior.
  211. Do your future self a favor: Learn.
  212. You can’t produce a baby in 1 month by getting 9 women pregnant.
  213. A winner is just a loser that tried one more time.
  214. We only get to do this thing once and its not for a long time – so enjoy it. – Jay Moriarty
  215. Life is short. It’s also guaranteed to end. So take a breath and relax.
  216. “Have 3 hobbies: 1 that keeps you in shape, one that keeps you creative, and one that makes you money”
  217. I have enough – Kurt Vonnegut
  218. “Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die”
  219. “Security is mostly superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Hellen Keller
  220. “You don’t move to the Bay Area because you want to pay 15000 more per rent each year over the next 5 years. You move to the Bay Area for the opportunity to make MILLIONS which dwarfs the puny amount of rent you may have paid”
  221. “Get through the bull shit so that you can afford to to do the good/fun shit.”
  222. These days will become the good ol days
  223. All that you need is in your soul – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  224. What the eyes don’t see the heart won’t reveal.
  225. “You guys have all that education and book learning, but you have no common sense.”
  226. “Someone’s gotta be the luckiest man in the world, I️t might as well be me.”-Mark Cuban
  227. “If you want total security, go to prison. There you are fed, clothed and given medical care. The only thing lacking…is freedom.” – Dwight Eisenhower
  228. “Remember: you will die one day. Live it up.”
  229. “Success is not easy. Success is a mother fucker!”
  230. “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
  231. “Now as we grow older, we remember those happy days we spent together in a happy country. A sign of genuine friendship is that I️t does not change, come what may. Once you get to know each other, you retain your friendship and help each other for the rest of your life.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  232. “All men have fears, but the brave men put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory.” – King’s Guard from Ancient Greece.
  233. “p.s. I would go back to the fraternity and college in a heartbeat. Live it up.” – An alumni in college to me, as a Freshman
  234. “The best revenge is living well”
  235. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. —Henry Ford
  236. “It starts by wanting to create a classic” – Robert Greene
  237. Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. – Austin Kleon
  238. “What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
  239. You want a seat at the table? Pull up a chair.
  240. The wealthiest person I know well, who is possibly a billionaire, gave me some advice about a decade ago, and I’ll share it with you now. He said, “Asim beta [which means son in Urdu], it doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to do it very well.” A decade on, and many startups later, I couldn’t agree with him more. – Asim Qureshi on Quora.
  241. “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” — James Allen
  242. “And I say unto you, Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” — Luke 11:9
  243. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” Proverbs 23:7
  244. “Its easier to ride the wave than to create the wave.”
  245. “The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important.” — Oliver Emberton
  246. ”Somebody once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous
  247. “The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery
  248. “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” ― Winston S. Churchill
  249. “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” — James Allen
  250. “innovators must consistently act different to think different” – HBR
  251. Shared knowledge is a rising tide lifting all ships
  252. Science is magic that works
  253. “so long as you make all those things objects of desire, you are defining yourself as lacking them”
  254. “you can make any activity into a meditation, simply by doing it just to do it”
  255. “its always good to be able to be exactly who you are in business and in life, as long as you realize that business is about making money.”
  256. “In other parts of the world, kids–even in urban areas–play barefoot soccer from the time they can walk. In America, there are travel teams and team mothers and tournaments. It’s an organization, and until we see it as a street game, we’re [USA Soccer] never going to to get where we need to be.” Tim Howard, USA and Everton Goalie, Golden Glove – 2009 Confederation Cup Tournament ESPN Magazine, June 2009
  257. Whenever you put three or more people together, politics intervene.
  258. Make your life spectacular. I know I did. – Robin Williams
  259. “You have to see the darkness to truly experience the light” – Jocko Willink
  260. There are two necessary conditions to become an entrepreneur: absolute confidence and total ignorance. – Dan Sullivan
  261. You have all the ingredients; stop trying to find a recipe, create one.
  262. Only the curious have something to find. – Nickel Creek
  263. You can see the stars and still not see the light.
  264. “Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgement” – Paul Fussel
  265. You are not like most people, you have the gift of creation. You Are one of the creators. You create the jobs you create the ideas that change the world. If you’re not pursuing your dream, somebody else doesn’t get to pursue theirs as a part of yours.
  266. Say more, with fewer words.
  267. Nobody likes you when you’re 23 so you might as well get a job
  268. Rather than generating profit, focus on generating company – surrounding yourself with good company, people who are also driven by a goal.
  269. We just really crave those good times. And it seems like every time the bad times come we just say, “at least some time in the future we’ll have another good roll”, instead of fixing the problem, which is that the whole economy is based on something volatile, and if you try to maintain control no matter what, you’re gonna lose it.
  270. If we can establish human colonies on mars, and something with earth does go wrong, then at least the light of consciousness is not distinguished – Elon Musk
  271. The minute you’re a little less attached than everybody else, you have incredible power over everybody, because you don’t want anything that everybody else wants so much. The minute you don’t want so much, suddenly you’re free, in a way that you can’t believe because you’re so used to being trapped in this network of needs and desires.
  272. Be the most engaged and least attached. Be 100% committed, 0% needy.
  273. Deeds and not words are what count most – Napoleon Hill
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How effective are solar panels in northern latitudes?

Solar panels are more effective in colder weather.

…wait, really?

Yes, really. But first, the basics…

How latitude affects efficiency of solar panels

Solar energy is not equally distributed across the Earth.

Although plenty of northern regions get a lot of sun, it would seem that in general, solar panels are less effective the further north you go.

Why is this?

Angle of solar impact

The Southern Hemisphere receives more energy during December (southern summer) than the Northern Hemisphere does in June (northern summer) because Earth’s orbit is tilted. [8]

Optimal Solar Panel Tilt Angle Calculator - SolarSena
source: SolarSena

One factor influencing solar radiation intensity is the angle of impact. For harvesting solar energy from cells, the optimal angular impact is 90 degrees perpendicular.

In northern latitudes, because because the angle of impact is less direct than it is at the equator, it is spread over a greater surface area and therefore you get a less concentrated energy output per unit area.

And unfortunately, this also means that solar panels are less effective during the months that Earth is tilted away from the Sun, during the winter months.

To make up for this, solar panels are often tilted based on the location on Earth as well as time of year.

The angular tilt of solar panels to maximize efficiency is greater the further north you go as well.

In addition to the sun’s rays being spread over a wider surface area, there is a second factor that latitude influences.

Absorption scattering of UV rays

As we see in Figure 1 below, the distance that solar radiation must travel through the atmosphere is further.

A wider band of atmosphere through which the rays pass means there is more absorption scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere.

UV rays comes into contact with the nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gases in the atmosphere over a wider area, so more is absorbed.

Figure 1: source, hong kong obervatory

Because a large amount of UV rays have been scattered and absorbed, they are less intense once they reach Earth’s surface

The combination of absorption scattering in the atmosphere as well as the angle of impact suggest that in general, we would expect solar panels to be less efficient during the winter time in each respective hemisphere.

Climate conditions affect solar cell performance more than expected
Figure 2: deltaPR on the y-axis represents change in Performance Ratio throughout the months of the year (summer, fall, winter, spring). PR measures how effectively the photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into energy. [3] photo/gift from phys.org [2].

However, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is a third factor that influences solar panel efficiency – temperature.

Solar panel efficiency in cold temperatures

Yes, cold weather does increase the efficiency of solar cells, if everything else is constant. [9]

This means that cold weather (with sunshine) are the ideal conditions for solar cells.

The reason is that low temperatures decrease the solar cells’ internal energy leakage.

In cold temperatures, electrons are less active. At higher temperatures, electrons are more active.

With lower electron activity, energy can be stored and moved across wires and batteries more efficiently. [1]

According to phys.org, solar cell efficiency decreases by 0.3% for each temperature degree increased. [1]

This means that a warmer region, while perhaps sunnier, is not necessarily going to be an optimum place for solar energy generation.

This is good news for the northern regions of Earth.

While northern latitudes may be at a disadvantage for reasons based on the first two factors mentioned the earlier section of this post, we can make the case for solar energy in cold, sunny places!

Of course, snow and ice can be a problem for solar panels, and attempting to scrape it off could damage or break the components.

If the ice is translucent, the solar panels may be able to generate a continued output of energy.

Solar in Germany

Germany is the leading country in Europe for solar deployments.

Germany is further North than most people realize. Berlin, Germany occupies the latitudinal region of 52 degrees N (Berlin).

Climate Zones Map Scheme Vector Illustration Equatorial Tropical Polar  Subtropical Stock Vector Image by ©Vector.Plus #419957486
Figure 3: Earth’s climate regions based on latitude.

By comparison, the latitude of Calgary, Canada is around 51 degrees N.

It is inspiring to see a country as far north as Germany have so much success with solar, and Germany should perhaps serve as a model for other nations.

If a northern, Temperate country like Germany can prove the viability of solar, surely countries further south can too, with even greater ease.

Still, we’re not at 100% sustainable energy yet.

In order to meet 100% of its electricity needs with solar, Germany would need to significantly increase its solar photovoltaic capacity to between 303 GW and 446 GW.

Given the three factors covered above that impact solar panel efficiency, equatorial areas are not necessarily going to be the only places (or even the best) where solar will work.

Conclusion

Eventually, the world will need to transition to 100% sustainable energy. We cannot survive off of fossil fuels and coal forever, as these reserves will eventually run out.

This post isn’t meant to provide a more realistic approach and help people understand how solar can help while supplementing other energy sources in order to maximize the amount of sustainable energy for the grid. It should be mentioned that wind, nuclear energy, hydroelectric, and more could also help transition the world to sustainable energy.

For example, as solar is added to the grid, it reduces the net demand for electricity in the middle part of the day (when the sun is most radiant).

Figure 4: Based on data over a 72 hour period, solar energy is able to account for a the largest portion of energy demand during the middle of the day, when the sun is most intense. [6]

And if we assume there is no storage of excess energy during peak hours, solar output during the night is pretty much zero.

Perhaps off-grid regions of the world, such as research bases in Antarctica or remote areas of Alaska, could fulfill their own power demands via solar systems during the summer. [7]

For now, perhaps solar energy could be a viable way to reduce diesel, at least during the daytime.

With improvements in battery technology paired with a greater number of solar panels across the globe, perhaps humans can one day capture and store enough solar energy that we can sustain our energy requirements all hours of the day and night.

And if land is abundant, as it is in the United States, perhaps the most reasonable way to increase the percentage of renewable energy that we consume is to simply build more solar panels.

Sources

  1. https://phys.org/news/2018-03-solar-cells-nordic-climate.html
  2. https://phys.org/news/2017-12-climate-conditions-affect-solar-cell.html
  3. PR aka Performance Ratio for photovoltaic performance https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/57991.pdf
  4. hong kong observatory http://www.hko.gov.hk/en/education/edu06nature/ele_srad.htm#
  5. https://renewablesnow.com/news/germany-needs-up-to-446-gw-of-solar-pv-to-achieve-100-renewables-750437/
  6. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/57582.pdf
  7. https://www.energytrend.com/news/20180411-12257.html
  8. http://www.geo.mtu.edu/KeweenawGeoheritage/MiTEP_ESI-2/Solar_energy_and_latitude.html
  9. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Solar-cell-efficiency-vs-Temperature-plotted-for-the-two-cells-with-trap-densities-of_fig7_237824433

Why platform and infrastructure products make great businesses

not investing advice, obviously…

Across every industry, investing in platforms and infrastructure is a proven area for substantial, secure returns.

Here’s what that looks like:

What to we mean by platform, infrastructure, and application?

Infrastructure: Infrastructure is like tools and equipment. Infrastructure tools are what enable more things to happen, or be built.

During westward expansion and the California gold rush, infrastructure companies – those that made the picks and the gear – were the most profitable entity.

Think about the companies building the mining gear and equipment, transportation such as railroads, and those that laid the groundwork.

Although individual applications may fail, infrastructure create economies and positive feedback loops, lowering costs of those tools so that more people can do the thing or embark on the journey and hence enable them to thrive.

Infrastructure doesn’t go away in the near-term.

Although it may become less popular (and can be quite un-sexy), infrastructure continues to exist long after the applications taken root.

Infrastructure continues to thrive, as well as evolve with the industry.

Platform: the platform is the base of which something is built.

In software, this hardware and software architecture that acts as foundation or base upon which other applications, processes, or technologies are developed. [1]

Similar to infrastructure, platforms tend to survive for the long term.

Think about it – the foundation of buildings like those at Gobekli Tepe from over 11,000 years ago still exist.

While the remains of everything else is gone, the platforms on which buildings, homes, and churches were built has not been demolished.

Application: applications are businesses that use both tools and existing foundations. Whereas platforms and infrastructure serves application developers, applications serve the end consumer, the individual.

Application businesses can be wildly successful too, no doubt.

The best and most long-term successful application businesses transition into being a platform and infrastructure business.

Because applications are more risky, the most successful companies search for any opportunity to pivot and become a long-term monolithic, ossified entity in the industry.

Infrastructure can be compared with the analogy of a garden. The dirt, the fertilizer, the water, all the tools and equipment used to build, grow, and maintain a garden.

The applications are like seeds… in an ideal world, every seed will grow to become a mature plant or a bush or a tree.

And as we know, not all seeds will grow to become flowers.

Some seedlings will die, just like some applications never make it big time. This is why applications are riskier than infrastructure… just look at how many apps there are in the iOS app store.

The apps we hear about are the successful ones – but there are millions that never survive and their story is all but forgotten.

As the few seedlings become flowers, the garden grows stronger and more valuable.

WHY platform and infrastructure products make great businesses:

As we covered, infrastructure is the tools that enable future products to be created.

These tools can often be sold or licensed to other businesses.

Businesses that sell products or services business products tend to make great companies because their customers (other successful businesses) typically have a large budget and are willing to pay a lot for a good product or service.

As more products are created, the infrastructure becomes fine tuned and improves over time to better need the needs of application developers, gardeners, etc.

The infrastructure is what leads the direction of the industry as it evolves into the future. New types of infrastructure allow innovation to happen.

The infrastructure defines what can be done, how cheap it will be, etc. It is the launchpad and defines the starting point for future apps.

Sooner or later, many companies and projects depend upon this infrastructure to meet their needs. In the best case, people simply can’t survive without it.

Examples of Platforms and Infrastructure in Businesses

Platforms for Mobile Apps:

We’ve talked about the Apple App Store so let’s dive deeper.

Apple knows and understand that what they built was first and foremost a tool and a platform.

Apple fights tooth and nail to try to maintain their position as the defacto industry platform for apps.

Apple makes a significant portion of revenue from its App Store serving as the platform from which iOS apps are built.

Google Play exhibits a similar model, as does Facebook with their robust suite of apps built into their website.

Regardless of the debates on whether or not this is an ethical practice (yes, debates exist, and result in many lawsuits).

The fact that developers are willing to build applications in these places is telling of the value that platforms bring.

Programming Language

Another example of infrastructure is a programming language.

Oracle owns the open-source programming language called Java. Although its old today, at one time it was the hottest thing.

But Oracle couldn’t directly sell the rights to use the programming language… aside from being counter productive, it would also

What Oracle did was build on top of Java. Oracle built platforms and tools that use Java so that developers and businesspeople that are already familiar with the Java language would be more likely to want to purchase Oracle software.

Marketplaces

Marketplace platforms enable thousands of people with products or service to reach prospective customers.

However, these platforms are more profitable and generate more revenue than even the highest earning individual on any given marketplace.

Take OpenSea, for example.

NFTs are the hottest thing recently in the world of Blockchain and web3. But the companies and individuals making the real money are the ones that power the NFT craze.

OpenSea is the #1 website where people can buy and list NFTs for sale. The owners of OpenSea make a percentage of every single NFT that sells.

And given that any single product could have up to hundreds of ETH worth of NFTs traded over the span of a few days, OpenSea is likely SUPER profitable.

We can also look at more traditional internet companies to use as examples.

Etsy enables artists to list their creations online and sell them.

Ebay lets people sell used goods and collectible items (usually non-new stuff or collectibles).

Amazon started out as a book marketplace, but now anyone can sell pretty much anything.

Airbnb lets people list their house or apartment for rent.

Do you think the users on these platforms are making a lot of money? Perhaps some of them are.

But I guarantee you that Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and Airbnb make way more money than any individual seller makes.

This is the platform effect.

While these platforms likely sustain hundreds and thousands of individual sells and allow them to make a respectable income, the platform that is the marketplace itself is the single most profitable entity in the entire picture.

Tesla:

The robotic factories that build the cars are infrastructure that the company will one day be able to license out to others manufacturing companies.

The manufacturing platform that Tesla has built is arguably their most valuable asset. The tools and technology and the skillset needed to build electric cars at scale are more difficult to build than the car itself.

But the value of building this infrastructure around the product itself means that the company doesn’t have to focus as much on every single car that it makes… the robots do 80% of it for them.

The company can then dedicate resources to working ON the business, instead of IN the business. This enables Tesla to focus on the end-to-end electrical power grid.

This includes installing charging stations across the world so that future customers have a way to easily charge their car in any city or town.

It includes developing the dojo supercomputer to enable artificial intelligence and neural network training and data costs to drop dramatically.

sources:

  1. Software platforms https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/types-of-software-platforms/
  2. Transportation during the gold rush https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft758007r3&chunk.id=d0e10615&toc.id=d0e10615&brand=ucpress
  3. Ruins and Remains of Gobekli Tepe https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gobekli-tepe-the-worlds-first-temple-83613665/

What is Cellular Senescence

Where do senescent cells come from, and why does our body create them?

As over time and as you get older, you accumulate DNA damage in your cells.

DNA damage can happen in a number of different ways, such as radiation and environmental factors, but can also happen naturally through normal cell growth and division.

This DNA damage accumulates and causes what’s known as senescent cells. Senescence means that the cells are old and have undergone aging at the cellular level.

But some cells don’t experience senescence and seem to be able to undergo healthy division almost indefinitely.

Let’s examine the differences between cells that experience senescence and those that don’t.

Somatic Cells: telomere shortening and cell division

In human bodies, our cells divide 2 trillion times per day.. that’s 2,000,000,000,000. [4]

As somatic cells divide, the caps at the end of our cells (called telomeres) slowly lose information after each subsequent cell division.

source: Khan Academy YouTube Channel [3]

When telomeres become too short, the cells stops dividing.

Telomere shortening and other types of DNA damage results in these cells becoming senescent – which means they autonomously stop dividing.

Doing so helps prevent DNA damage from continuing to happen, and being carried over into future child cells. [3]

Our somatic cells can divide between 60-70 times before the telomeres get too short (called the Hayflick limit).

Stem cells: telomerase and DNA repair

Although somatic cells undergo this natural progression towards cellular senescence after a certain number of divisions, not all cells in the body go through these stages.

Stem cells are special – they don’t experience cellular senscence.

Stem cells are able to maintain their mitotic capacity (ability to divide) and avoid senescence because they have a special enzyme called telomerase.

Telomerase helps cells “stay young” and avoid the Hayflick limit because it is able to rejuvenate the lost ends of telomeres after dividing. [4]

Humans have stem cells in all different types of tissue and organs throughout our bodies.

Why don’t somatic cells produce telomerase?

In regular cell function, telomerase is specific to stem cells, and somatic cells are not supposed to produce telomerase.

However, because our body creates 100 billion new cells every single day, mutations can happen where a somatic cell will produce telomerase. This is actually a BAD mutation!

And while telomerase might sound like the key to keep our cells young, unfortunately, its more complicated than that.

Telomerase production in somatic cells results in uncontrollable cell division and growth, which causes cancer.

Even at an extremely low rate of mutation, the high number of cells means more opportunities for cancer to form.

Problems caused by senescent cells

Similar to brain neurons and heart muscle cells, senescent cells don’t divide. They shut down and stop copying DNA and dividing.

Somatic cells undergo senescence to stop dividing and to avoid becoming cancerous. And as humans age, we have more senescent cells in our bodies.

Although good for the prevention of cancer, too many senescent cells is a detriment to human health.

Senescent cells secrete proteins and molecules that cause inflammation. (senescence associated secretory phenotype, or SASP).

Remember, inflammation is BAD. Due to the SASP factors from senescent cells increasing inflammation in our bodies, we experience debilitation and disease at increased rates.

So although we want our somatic cells to avoid growing uncontrollably and causing cancer, we also want to avoid the presence of senescent cells if at all possible.

The future of cellular aging

Scientists are looking into ways to remove senescent cells to improve health. Senolytic drugs, for example, are built to kill these cells.

How do you think the future of cellular aging will look?

Tweet @espressoinsight and let us know what ideas you have.

Sources:

  1. The Hallmarks of Aging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836174/
  2. SENS Overview of Cell Senescence https://www.sens.org/overview-of-cell-senescence/
  3. Telomeres and cellular senescence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5YiO6rKr-w
  4. Cell division https://askabiologist.asu.edu/cell-division#:~:text=Organisms%20grow%20because%20cells%20are,trillion%20cells%20divide%20every%20day.

Why Humans Need to Cure Aging

During a conversation with a friend, the topic of longevity research came up, which I expressed my longstanding support for.

My friend came back expressing his idea that death is actually important, and questions of why we shouldn’t die, concerned about how life will be special if we don’t die.

The argument of whether or not we should extend longevity has and will be continued to be had over and over and over again. The points and arguments may be disagreed upon, but it is important to lay them out in writing once and for all:

First of all, we should be so lucky to be able to worry about living forever.

At this stage, we aren’t even sure if curing aging is possible.

We’re pretty far from discovering the cure for aging.

The proclamation that “we shouldn’t cure aging” is silly if we don’t even know for sure that it is possible.

What we do know is that people suffer unnecessarily due to age related illnesses.

While some of us with longevity genes live healthy and active well into our 90s, many of our loved ones get older and face cancer, obesity, dementia and alzeimers, and more.

The issue is that these debilitating aging illnesses consume a large number of years towards the end of a persons life.

By solving aging, first and foremost we must allow people to live healthy, active lives up until the end.

Its unlikely we’ll be able to extend life indefinitely (at least as far as we know).

But what if humans could live healthy lives into their twelfth decade, reaching 120+ years of age?

I believe this is absolutely possible and achievable at the current pace of scientific research.

We want to find a way to end diseases. No one is saying you have to live forever.

You can still die. But wouldn’t it be great to extend our lives a little longer?

Why is extending human lifespan important?

As a person finishes school and gets their start in the “real world”, their lives are likely already 1/3 to 1/4 of the way over.

As disappointing as this may be, it is a fact – and the sooner you come to terms with mortality, the easier it will be to focus and commit to the truly important things in life – that which gives your life meaning, whatever that may be for you as an individual.

Reason #1 – more productive years for skilled professionals

Take an example of the career of a doctor.

If you decide to become a doctor, you’re going to have to spend another 8-ish years in school on top of college.

By the time you make it out of medical school and residency as a practicing physician, if you’re lucky, you will be about 30 years old.

On the other hand, many students don’t get into medical school the first time around due to grades, preparedness, slow decision making, and other reasons. Its not uncommon to see medical students enter their M1 year of school after taking a 3-4 year gap between undergrad and medical school.

Because of this, a career doctor can expect to spend between 30-35 years as a practicing physician, assuming an average retirement age of 65.

There is a shortage of primary care physicians globally, and a shortage of specialists in the US.

Its too bad that after all that school and training, one of the most valuable professions in our society gets so few years of productive work out in the real world.

The skills that a doctor possesses are important and benefit society. Becoming a doctor is no easy task. Wouldn’t it be better if a doctor was able to practice medicine for more years, allowing society to benefit more from their hard earned skillset?

How much better would surgeons be if they were able to put that much more time under their belt? Why can’t people live to be 200, 500, or even 1000 years old?

The same can be said of other skilled professions as well. How much would human society benefit from having elders with decades upon centuries of experience to help us run our seemingly broken society?

It is unfortunate that humans have to have this upper-limit to their age of productivity.

As soon as you really start to get your life figured out – by the time you get your finances under control, have learned quite a lot about the world, have developed a strong network of friendships, and built a solid career, the effects of aging start to creep up on you and slowly compound and get worse over the next several decades of life.

Reason #2 – aging is expensive

As you reach old age, the numeric age of a person is quite insignificant.

What really matters is the quality of life, health, and prevalence of disease – or ideally lack thereof.

But one thing is for sure – as people get older, they tend to develop more age related illnesses.

These illnesses unfortunately cost a lot.

Medicare in the United States spends about $35 billion per year on kidney failure alone. [1]

At age 65 and older people spend over $11,000 on average per year on healthcare.

Imagine a futuristic society where people don’t have to get sick and debilitated as they get old.

Imagine that instead of spending $35 billion on treating kidney failure (which, by the way, is almost always incurable), we spent far less money on re-programming cells and turn back the aging clock.

The large healthcare costs could be more efficiently put towards other endeavors such as infrastructure, education, providing clean access to drinking water, advancing space travel – anything we can think of to make life more enjoyable for everyone on planet Earth.

Reason #3 – death is scary

No matter what they say, no one wants to die.

Yet, when bringing up the idea of living forever, so many people start acting squirrely and say something along the line of “but without death, we won’t have meaning in our lives”.

The thing is, we’ll always die. But the goal here is to stop the body from breaking down.

Let’s not worry so much about they unknown negative effects of living forever, and instead, let’s first focus on finding a cure for aging and age related diseases, enabling people to live healthy lifespans for longer.

A special thank you to David Sinclair and his inspiring book “Lifespan”.

  1. Kidney Project Statistics

Self-Driving Autonomous Boats to Clean the Ocean and Waterways

“There’s no one cleaning up after the party…”

Thesis: In addition to reducing pollution, we need to build and deploy floating clean-up robots in waterways and canals across the globe.

Plastic bottles are thought to take about 450 years to break down [1]. Leaving plastic waste in landfills is a less than ideal solution.

And besides, a lot of plastic never makes it to the landfill. Over years, large plastic bottles are broken down into tiny and even microscopic “microplastics” that are so embedded within the ocean, sand, dirt and topsoil of our world that they will never be removed.

Microplastics threaten Great Lakes, and not just the water
Micropplastics [4]

There are a few questions to consider before jumping in:

What should we really do with plastics, styrofoams, and other non-decomposable garbage?

How will we identify, collect, and transport these plastics to a safe and environmentally friendly final resting place?

From the landfill and back again:

Answering these questions is simple in theory, but more challenging in practice.

Plastics are made from petroleum, which comes from deep underground. Petroleum is like natural gas, crude oil, etc. At a chemical level, these petroleum resources are made of hydrocarbon polymers that can be used to make plastic.

Given that plastics are made from petroleum, which comes from underground, the logical place to put plastic waste is back where they came from – deep underground, between 3000 and 6000 feet. (That’s around 1 mile underground) [2]

It only makes sense that we should put them back where they came from. And perhaps the heat and pressure of Earth’s crust could accelerate the speed to which these waste products are transitioned back to crude petroleum.

But pulling petroleum out of the ground is a challenging business. Humans leverage advanced petroleum engineering technologies to extract these hydrocarbons. Imagine how much complicated engineering and drilling would be required to replace tons of plastic garbage materials back where they came from.

It would be next to impossible, and absolutely unaffordable. Its not going to happen.

Great pacific garbage patch. Source: B.parsons.edu.

Analogous to setting up for a party, when you set up and get ready for a party, you go buy food and drinks for your guests, setup decorations, plan games and activities, send out invitations and logistic information, etc.

Preparing for a party is fun and requires a bit of planning and effort.

After the party is over, however, there is a similar amount of un-fun effort required to clean up. There are dirty dishes and trash to be cleaned and disposed of. There may be spilled drinks on carpet or furniture, and you have to use something like Resolve carpet cleaner to restore them to their original condition.

The work required to clean up after the party is significantly more difficult than setting up for the party.

The problem with pollution in our world is that there is no one cleaning up after the party. And understandably so. Its a difficult, challenging, dirty, and expensive task.

Besides that, there’s no incentive to do so. Humans don’t want to clean up after other people all the time, yet everyone knows that all of us contribute to pollution.

This predicament is called the “Tragedy of the Commons”.

When you have a party at your house, you live in the direct vicinity of the mess that is left after a party. In the environment and world, however, people are able to artificially remove themselves from the mess created by society (aka pollution).

Although we have some vague perception that the great pacific garbage patch exists, because we don’t encounter it day to day as individuals, we are able to go on living our lives without feeling too bad about it.

Despite the complex, energy intensive manufacturing processes that are performed to make gasoline for cars and plastic goods, the vehicle exhaust, garbage and microplastics that enter our atmosphere and ocean have nowhere to go except accumulate in the environment.

Humans seem to have accepted the fact that these are are just left there.

But this is changing in some areas.

Some states like California and Hawaii have taken measures to prevent new plastic and garbage from entering the environment. Some popular prevention measures include smog inspections, no plastic grocery bags, no plastic straws, etc.

Prevention is good, but cleaning up is still needed.

We need an efficient and scalable way to clean up the Earth.

In order to relieve humans of the burden, perhaps we can leverage machines to take on the majority of plastic and garbage collection tasks associated with removing pollution from the environment.

There is good news. Humans have started doing this already. In Xi’an, China, there is a machine the size of a skyscraper whose sole purpose is to filter and purify the air.

Xi’an tower in China [3]

Its extremely exciting to see humans embarking on these types of developments. Although, as there is no natural incentive to build these (due to the Tragedy of the Commons), perhaps governments can create artificial incentives, offering contracts to engineering and development contractors to build similar skyscrapers.

But how about plastic waste? How might we begin to remove plastics from the environment?

To make any meaningful change, we must start somewhere. China began with the noble mission of reducing air pollution, and has built air filtration skyscrapers.

To focus on removing plastics from the environment, targeting the ocean is a great place to start.

Cleaning the oceans with autonomous boats.

To remove pollution from the oceans, we need solar-powered autonomous boats whose sole purpose is dragging filtration systems through the ocean, and collecting plastic pollution.

Identifying plastic material from organic material and avoiding biological life will be important. Perhaps some sort of artificial intelligence image recognition could help identify plastic waste in the water.

Where to begin? Logically, the best places to deploy these robots are in near the areas of primary pollution – harbors, water ways, sewage outputs, etc.

An inland stretch of the Ala Wai canal.

Take the Ala Wai boat harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The harbor connects the ocean to the Ala Wai canal.

A walk along the Ala Wai canal and a glance into the water will provide the onlooker with a glance at dirty water, old chairs, plastic bags, floating bottles, and more.

In a place as beautiful as Hawaii, its very sad to see any amount of garbage floating around.

And unfortunately, that water unfortunately carries bacteria, sewage, garbage, and more into the gorgeous turquoise waters surrounding the island of Oahu, and is ultimately dispersed across the entire world.

Remember, all the oceans are connected… despite different areas having different names, there is truly only one ocean on Earth. I saw a comedian on Instagram talk about the fact that there is truly only 1 ocean, and it made me think of this.

In terms of next steps, we need to find someone to build the robotic floating garbage collectors. It won’t be an easy task, but it is 100% possible.

Using an autonomy infrastructure tool such as Applied Intuition might help with the development of the software.

How much water can be filtered?

We should take a small area of the global water system like the Ala Wai canal, and deploy robotic cleaning ships here as a test. By measuring length * width we can calculate surface area, then performing various depth-measurements, we can take average depth and use this to calculate an estimate of total volume.

The throughput of each robotic boats will have an estimate of gallons per hour, or gallons per day etc.

In a perfect system, the boats will charge via some sort of docking station, or even run on solar power. They will need to be incredibly energy efficient, with no need to propel themselves too fast, they can remain largely stationary.

These may then be scaled up to larger ships that cruise across the ocean autonomously collecting garbage from the great pacific garbage patch and more.

To remove plastic from the ocean, it is only logical that we have water-filtration boats.

Final Thoughts

The white-paper presented above simply contains ideas. I am not doing these, I am just an idea maker.

And if you’ve made it to the end of this post, good news! These robots already do exist.

But if they already exist, why is there still so much plastic in the ocean? How much of an impact to these autonomous boats actually have on the reduction of plastic in the ocean?

And then of course a few follow up questions inevitably arise:

After collecting a large amount of the garbage, the important question then becomes what do we do with the plastic? It will be great to remove it from the ocean, but where do we put it as a final resting place?

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Sources:

  1. Pelacase.com
  2. Where does crude oil come from
  3. Xi’an tower in China
  4. Microplastics

Make Your Own Paintings with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has many applications – artwork is just one of them.

In the future, will artists might rely on artificial intelligence tools in the creation process?

With an easy to use text-to-image generation process, anyone in the world can create original masterpieces regardless of technical know how or skill level.

Did you know? You can trade and sell your art as NFTs on OpenSea.

You don’t even have to know what artificial intelligence is to use tools like this.

It just goes to show you the exciting power that AI is bringing to our lives… user friendly, non-technical.

Creating AI Artwork is as easy as typing down a few words

All you have to do is type a few words, and optionally upload a starting image.

Here is a link to the website: https://creator.nightcafe.studio/create

The website itself is actually fun to use as well – it includes a list of top posts, so you can see which creations have been most popular and most liked by others in the community.

Currently, the most liked post is a picture that resembles a strawberry grenade:

Strawberry hand grenade just started to explode ai artwork
created by Alex_Heart_Sun

The process of creating the artworks is satisfying.

You get to express just a bit of creativity, while the AI handles most of the work involved in creating an piece of art that would normally be tedious and monotonous.

All you have to do is come up with words that might fit together to create something unique, finding a starting point image on Google, and then letting artificial intelligence do the rest.

These exceptional levels of complexity that can arise from such simplistic inputs is quite astonishing.

Write simple words, such as “A mess yet magical” and you might end up with something like the below:

ai artwork by celeste
Created by @celeste

To be honest, this isn’t the first website that allows you to create art with artificial intelligence, but it is one of the most fun, in my opinion.

Say what you will about robots taking over, or artificial intelligence tools replacing human labor in the workforce – the company’s website states that AI is here “to make art creation accessible to the masses”.

And to be frank, the creation process couldn’t be simpler or more intuitive – literally anyone can create something.

Here’s one below that I made, and even added a saccharine title.

This website uses artificial intelligence to enable people to create artwork without any skill, practice, or knowledge.
“Utopian Scarface 1 Million Years Into the Future” by Espresso Insight

Is AI Adoption Accelerating?

The ability to build applications that leverage AI as features yet can be used by the layperson even if they are non-technical means that the adoption of AI might end up happening faster that you might expect.

One can only imagine what artificial intelligence generated music might be like as AI applications expand.

I can’t wait for someone to build a way to create your own music using a process and technique that is as simple and easy as this one.

Let me know what you thought of this post. Tweet at me!