About

The blog

My goal in this blog is to distill meaning from the seemingly endless river of advances in science, technology, and business.  And in particular, to find ways to use them to address the biggest technical challenge of our lives: Climate change.

I’m of the opinion that we can invent our way to a cleaner planet through technology innovation and a dose of capitalism to help it scale.  That sort of claim should be met with some skepticism, though – it was capitalism that got us into this mess in the first place after all.  If I believe this idea enough to promote it, I owe it to everyone to show my work.

As a result, I post long, researched posts on how technology can fuel change to our society – stories that are one part science, one part economics, and a strong dollop of humanity. My hope is that by the end of each narrative, I’ll have been able to communicate the what, how, and why. And together, we can use that knowledge to invent a better tomorrow.

 

The word

Perspicacity is “the quality of having a ready insight into things; shrewdness”.  This 1966 story from the journal Science about astronaut recruitment efforts sums up its meaning in a more practical way:

To quote an Academy brochure, the quality most needed by a scientist-astronaut is “perspicacity.” He must, the brochure says, be able to quickly pick out, from among the thousands of things he sees, those that are significant, and to synthesize observations and develop and test working hypotheses.

The word has dropped in popularity in the last half-century.  It’s time for it to come back.

Perspicacity ngram

About Seth

Seth lives in Longmont, Colorado and works as a technology innovation consultant.  He has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech, which he got in order to satisfy a long-standing itch to understand how the world works.  But it’s probably just as useful to know that he has a bachelors from a really good liberal arts college, has co-founded several startups, and has over 80 issued US patents in a bunch of different fields, from energy storage to medical devices to software.  You can reach him at seth /at/ perspicacity /dot/ xyz.

15 thoughts on “About

  1. Got here via Newco Shift. Lots of very interesting pointers about interesting aspects of a changing world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thanks for reading! And please share – I am about to step up my writing commitment, so you hopefully should see more work soon.

  2. your RIP big oil piece just got shared on my FB timeline..liked what I read and jumped down the rabbit hole..here I am, your new subscriber 😉

    as a backdrop to distruptive tech it is also interesting to note the shift in the kind of comments that positive articles about renewables and electric adaptation get on social media… I’ve been in ‘the biz’ since 2008 and we have gone from having to defend our tech choices with backs-against-the-wall, to being celebrated als ‘most sustainable small company’ in our city (Amsterdam)… likewise over the years more and more positive commenters are coming out to ‘defend’ pieces such as yours from naysayers.

    Public acceptation necessarily can only follow new tech development, but is still a functional thermometer of sorts when checking what the ‘tech weather’ will be in the near future.

    interesting times ahead!

    1. Interesting that you post that; I am seeing the same thing. Back in 2009 I thought that we were close to a true boom in renewables; the hype came, but the capital was too much to bear. But we apparently just needed to wait. First the Germans, then the Chinese, and now a bunch of US VCs seem to have solved that problem for us. These will be interesting times indeed. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  3. Wonderful blog. I came here from the Big Oil story, which I read and enjoyed. I look forward to more from you.

    Somdeb

  4. Hello, Seth.

    I have a blog that has the purpose of debunking myths in the area of science (mainly in medicine). Something similar to the science-based medicine blog.

    I would like your permission to translate this article, with due reference, since my target audience is Portuguese and many people do not know how to read English 🙂

    Best Regards.

  5. THIS IS HOW BIG OIL WILL DIE was the single most important article I read in 2017. Congratulations and big thanks for your work! May I get back to you for a documentary I am working on? Best regards from Vienna, Austria.

    1. Thank you! That is wonderful to hear.

      Yes, please feel free to reach out at the email embedded in this page. I will also read comments if there are any difficulties.

  6. Not sure I agree with your conclusion. Steak consumption has fallen for numerous reasons, but still remains high. Veal was always a niche food. That said, many of the insights and details you share are fascinating. And I definitely agree that Beyond will never play more than a small role in reducing animal-based greenhouse gas emissions.

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