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Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Some called it a modern Renaissance. Others called it a new Gilded Age. There had been no single war with 100 000 or more casualties in decades. Yet, there were more wars being fought than ever before—proxy wars, wars of ideologies, wars on terror, wars of oppression, and wars of misinformation. How did the world get here? Was it doomed to continue its path toward violence, disease, and death? Or was there still hope for change?

A paradoxical Loneliness created by Social Media

Social Media has been one of the most significant trends created by the open Internet. Though I was an early participant and it influenced my entry in the technology field, after coming to Silicon Valley and getting an inside look, I realized the psychological toll it takes on your mind, uninstalled every social media app except Reddit, and never looked back. …


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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

The US Department of Justice led by Attorney General Bill Barr on Oct. 20, 2020 filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google accusing it of monopolistic practices. What is interesting about this lawsuit is that it defines a very specific market of “search advertising” (as opposed to “Internet advertising” or “digital advertising” ) in which Google holds over 80% market share.

These monopolistic practices seem to revolve around Google’s agreements with device manufacturers (like Apple) and telecom carriers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T (who are long overdue for an antitrust investigation of their own). Google wasted no time in crafting a response of its own effectively arguing how paying for placement is a competitive practice similar to paying for shelf space. It also wrote this response in a user-friendly way with images, animations, and other media elements. …


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Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Clean energy is the first step in achieving carbon neutrality. This means energy from wind, solar, hydroelectric, and even nuclear power. Without clean energy transitioning our grid to renewable energy, humankind’s efforts at climate mitigation would be in vain. This transition has to be rapid and massive. All of the dirty sources of energy — coal, natural gas, and oil — have to be replaced with solar, wind, and/or nuclear energy.

For mountainous regions, hydroelectric power already provides a cheap and efficient alternative energy source. …


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Photo by Gustavo Quepón on Unsplash

A slew of Fortune 500 companies and large corporations worldwide has pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2030, including Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Nike. They are joined by other corporations that have promised the same thing (and failed to deliver) like Unilever, Nestlé, Qantas, Duke Energy, ThyssenKrupp, HeidelbergCement, and even unlikely candidates like Vale, Repsol, Shell, BP, and Total.

Why now?

What has changed now that these companies are doubling down on their previous promises (and sometimes acknowledge their previous failings) of net zero carbon emissions? The pandemic, for one. Economic benefits, the other. Green energy is finally competitive in cost and flexibility. Solar panels can be installed in small communities or at the roofs of buildings without much of a recurring cost. …


statues of ancient figures in front of bookshelves
statues of ancient figures in front of bookshelves
Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

A law of nature is final. It is absolute. It is always true. Writers and public speakers are told to not use “always” and “never” because using them implies there is a lie in the statement (it’s also a good test-taking strategy for eliminating wrong answers) or the statement is an exaggeration. Yet, laws of nature are different. They are not theories. They make no exceptions. They are ruthlessly fair. It is as though they are written by God into the fabric of the universe. …


Note: This article is released under a creative commons attribution 2.0 generic license. You are free to share and remix the contents of this article. Just give credit where it’s due :)

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Photo by Mael BALLAND on Unsplash

Data Science is one of the hottest topics today in both Computer Science and product development. Entire companies have been built around using data to provide valuable insight to their customers that is more unique and helpful than any other product in the market. Targeted advertising, self-driving cars, and conversational assistants are just some of the earliest examples that are advancing right now by making use of data in new and interesting ways. Just by looking at the market cap of data-centered public companies and comparing it to their non-data intensive counterparts shows there is a noticeable premium given to the data driven ones (Tesla vs. …


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Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

It is no coincidence that climate change deniers who enforce their ideology on lawmakers are tied to “old money” — tycoons of the oil and gas booms of the past few decades. The oil and gas industry spent over $300 million dollars in 2018 buying out lawmakers and supporting corrupt governments through lobbying and extortion. They’ve been doing this for the past twenty years totaling over $6 Billion dollars just in the United States. Adjusting for inflation, that’s the same as giving every American baby, child, and adult around $100 to vote on an issue. Most people would listen. …


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Image source

The beginning of the Third Millennium started off with fear and excitement. Fear — from the apparent ending of the world from a Y2K bug that threatened to take down our entire digital infrastructure because of some obscure number conversion. Yet, the excitement was much larger than the fear. The streets were full of people across the world drinking and celebrating the turn of the millennium. I was too young to drink but probably celebrated somehow. Maybe with ice cream.

Now, writing this almost 20 years later, I realize that in retrospect that was perhaps one of the most significant moments of history that I lived through, not because of the three zeros at the end — but rather what that moment represented in the scale of human progress. Even before the age of 10, I had started to take for granted many of the early trends that would define the first few decades of the new millennium — namely globalization and the spread of the Internet. I had learned to type on a computer around that time. I had started playing Japanese games like Mario, eating European chocolates, and watching American cartoons. Ironically, my life would become almost too perfect a representation of these trends that I didn’t see unfolding before my eyes. …


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Image source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1514735

You’ve probably heard the expression that some things are learned from experience dozens of times. But what does that mean? And what are these things? Some college friends and I caught up recently and one of them brought up that we have now spent more time in “the real world” than we did in college (which is only 4 years for Bachelor’s degree holders). It happens sometime around the age of 26–29 unless you are pursuing a doctoral degree. Since this is a good point to reflect on what skills are important in getting your “real life” degree, here are a few that stand out that I wish I had known about when I started working. …


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image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/dawn-nature-tree-romania-56875/

Last year in 2018, the world emitted an estimated 37 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide. If you compressed all that back into coal or graphite, you’d have about 6 semi-trucks full of coal for each person in the world. That’s tons of carbon. How many trees would we need to grow to offset that for both current and future carbon emissions? Let’s dive into the numbers.

Trees have this amazing ability of being almost entirely made up of carbon atoms. They need very few nutrients relative to their size so they don’t deplete the topsoil, get most of their water from deep underground, and their mass from the air they breathe. This means that the lifetime carbon value of a tree, the total amount of carbon it will absorb, is about the same as its mass. Again, this is Carbon the atom. …

About

Yatit Thakker

Renaissance Engineer. Entrepreneur. Passionate about technology, education, and the environment.

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