Climate Reality & You

Let’s talk about climate change. 

It has been three weeks since I attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Chicago with Al Gore (Former American VP and Nobel Prize Laureate).

Ray at Climate Reality Leadership Corp Training

Ray at Climate Reality Leadership Corp Training

The messages are loud & clear.

  1. Man’s Activities are impacting Earth Climate.
  2. We have only one earth, one home planet.
  3. We can work together to tackle this global problem.
  4. Action starts with understanding.
  5. Do your part, Putting Heat on Denial, especially big oil & gas companies.

It was a three days conference, with ~1,500 participants from over 50 countries. I had pleasure of having lunch with people from various American states, New York, Colorado, California, Texas, New Mexico, … Additionally, I met researchers from Norway, Sweden, Germany, … During this time, we heard presentations from environment activists, politicians, scientists, tech gurus, Olympians, teachers, …

More than 50 Countries

More than 50 Countries

Myth Busters

On my past travels around USA, I had opportunities talking and engaging a variety of people, taxi drivers, fellow travelers, colleagues, friends. Some people said, that they are not convinced of global warming; perhaps, the greenhouse effect is just an academic theory.

Here are evidences to convince them.

  • Airplane runway melted. Plane could not take off.
  • Daily man-made global warming pollution equals to 400,000 Hiroshima Atomic bombs exploding. (yes, 365 days a year!!!)
  • Adverse weather patterns happening all around the world, – a) Flood in Parkistan, China, Indian, Germany, Brazil, Philippines, … b) Massive forest fires in California, Colorado, Russia, Spain, Australia, … c) Drought in 1,452 counties in 32 American States, d) Lakes & rivers drying out completely. e) China is suffering the hottest summer in 140 years!!!
  • The heart – Arctic Sea Ice – is on the merge of a massive heart attack. And, so is the global climate.
Melt Runway

Melt Runway

400,000 Nukes

400,000 Nukes

Fire at Brasilia National Park

Fire at Brasilia National Park

Loire River, Ancenis, France, completed dried, May, 2011

Loire River, Ancenis, France, completed dried, May, 2011

Monster Storm

Monster Storm

Deep Horizon Oil Spill

Deep Horizon Oil Spill

Passau Flood 2013

Passau Flood 2013

Lake Hughes, CA, 2013

Lake Hughes, CA, 2013

China Record Heat Wave in 140 Years History

China Record Heat Wave in 140 Years History

What You Can Do?

First, believe – There is hope.

And, it begins with you!!! Here is how.

  1. Be Conscience & Aware – Get the fact and see the truth, use Reality Drop
  2. ActPut the Heat on Denial.
  3. Tell your story - Communicate the urgency to and around your social circle. Pass the message (WhatIlove - http://whatilove.org), use Facebook & Twitter

Yes, it’s just that simple. So, act now! 

After all, if Vatican can be carbon neutral, so can we understand, work together, and clean up the Dirty Weather.

So, don’t be left behind like the statues on the Easter Island. And, preserve our precious little beautiful blue planet. :-)

Saving Koala

Saving Koala

Solar Energy at Vatican

Solar Energy at Vatican

Don't be left behind

Don’t be left behind

Earth from Outer Space

Earth from Outer Space

Why Hyperloop Design Lacks Necessary Engineering Details?

I recently read whole 57 pages of the Hyperloop design, a hyper-speed transportation system linking San Francisco & LA in ~ 30 minutes. I was appalled by its immature design and many holes which render it a gigantic taxpayer sinkhole and huge public hazard.

Below are some of the design flaw.

  1. all fluid (including air, water, oil) have viscosity, which changes per temperature, elevation, etc. Air Viscosity (stickiness, drag) at 750 degree Fahrenheit is > 4.7x than at 30 degrees (freezing point). It takes ~5 times of the energy to move at high temperature than at lower temperature. Hence, energy requirement for a high speed system will be quite high.
  2. Hyperloop is a high speed transportation system with a tube design. Per current proposed design in the Bay Area, (page 49), it has an average speed of 434 mph. With tubular design, the air particle speed at the tube wall is zero vs. around the vehicle surface ~434 mph. Due to air viscosity, there will be a lot of heat & vibration generated. How are they going to dissipate the heat? Additionally, per their document, they want 760 mph speed (which is in the transonic zone 0.8 – 1.2) Speed of sound at sea level is 762 mph. This also causes an issue with Aerodynamic Heating.
  3. Hyperloop uses a low pressure system, which is a set of tubes on raised platform. The tubes will be sealed hermitically. Normal heat dissipation methods includes a) conduction, b) radiation, 3) convection. If they use a low pressure system, convection effect will be removed. Thus, the inside joints (Those material for sealing tubes usually have low heat dissipation index.) will melt, when cruising / accelerating to high speed (near sound speed).
  4. Vibration is another significant problem with current design. Tacoma Bridge collapse incident here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw

  5. When Hyperloop vehicle reaches > 0.8 Mach speed, normal air becomes a significant compressible vs. at normal room temperature air is an incompressible fluid. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressible_flow <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
c = \sqrt{\gamma \cdot {p \over \rho}}\,<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
  At close to Mach speed, air behaves different in a tube from in the open space, like an airplane! Speed produces noise. So, talk about hearing loss prevention for passengers.
  6. Have they given any consideration to braking. How are they going to slow down the vehicle from operational speed to stopping speed? There is no discussion on the mechanical design of braking! There needs to have in-depth discussion on slowing down / stopping such a high speed vehicle quickly? Especially, without using wheels? Velocity changes produces heat, vibration! Passenger comfort is another issue as well. Let’s talk about whiplashing from emergency braking.
  7. If they are going to build the system between LA and SF, it’s several hundred miles. What kind of pumps will they be needing to maintain low pressure environment in the tube? & How will it work? What are the backup plans in case of generator / pump failure? Haha, maybe, it will be air-condoms? So thin, it feels like nothing?
  8. OK, those Tesla engineers are clever. Regular air doesn’t work. And, they will use alternative gases, because sound speed is different for different gases. See http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/SpeedofSoundOther.html   Let’s assume they are Not Hindenburg airship designers, instead, they will use Helium. But, how you produce Helium? Most cases, it is made from Natural Gas! http://www.gazprominfo.com/articles/helium/ But, methane is a greenhouse gas. 72x more potent than CO2. So, environmentally, Hyperloop is quite bad from operation POV.
  9. This raises another question. They better have top-notch sealant to keep those gas from reaching the passenger compartment. Otherwise, every passenger will talk funny like little chipmunks! So, sealant is another big issue. Need more discussion!
  10. Climate control inside the tube. As we all know, during the summer, car interior gets much hotter than outside air. How are they going to keep the temperature inside the tube down and comfortable for passengers for such a long distance while sealing the tube as a low-pressure environment? Again, the Hyperloop design document said nothing. Nada, Not a single word about climate control.

I just raised 10 simple questions. Their document had more page on finance than on engineering. What a marketing document! Elon Musk needs to do more engineering first before trying to sale an incomplete & potentially dangerous vehicle system to the government and milk tax payers money. maybe the dude has seen too many Hollywood movies, like Hunger Game, quite tube based transportation system. But, that’s a movie. Wake up!!!

Recap, points need to be considered, sealant, temperature, vibration, braking, which gas,  energy conversion & supply, climate control, …

Maybe, Solar City will be the number one energy supplier for this vehicle system!

Air Viscosity

Air Viscosity

source: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-absolute-kinematic-viscosity-d_601.html

Clouds As Business Services (CABS)

Snow is again falling in Munich. The sky is covered with real clouds. One cannot see the sun.

snow in munich

Today, cloud computing is one of the most discussed IT agendas. (Along with social, mobile, and big data.) Many of my friends are playing important roles, i.e. directors, evangelists, program managers, and helping to define new directions, … Everywhere I turn, I see and hear about it: one company offering SAAS solution, another with PAAS, another offering fusion cloud, yet another with private cloud, …

Is it spring already? If not, cloud is certainly breeding like rabbits!

I just came back from a trip to Bonn, Germany. I flew into the Köln-Bonn airport this past Monday. Because my hotel could not beforehand confirm room availability during my entire time there, I decided to rent a car at the airport, in case I needed to move. However, when I got into the hotel, the front desk told me that there is room availability for the entire week. Hence, my rental car sat in the basement garage for the entire week. All together, it accumulated 30 KMs. On my way back, I thought how nice it would have been, if I just took a cab from/back to the airport. It would have been cheaper and certainly a lot less hassle.

Pure Product Strategy is heading toward a dead end

Similar situation applies to enterprise computing. Despite all the fluffs around utility computing, what companies really need are solutions that address their needs. The problems with cloud computing nowadays are:

  1. Every IT vendor wants to be the cool kid and offers one or more cloud PRODUCT(s).
  2. Hence, there are too many cloud PRODUCTs out there.
  3. A lot of efforts are required to adapt existing business processes to fit PRODUCTs.
  4. Many times, those PRODUCTs overpromise and under deliver.
  5. Hard to measure if one PRODUCT really produces better ROI than another.
  6. No formal PRODUCT standards & portability. Vendors prepares nice labels; but, they are apples and oranges apart.
  7. Since your data lives in the vendor cloud, it’s pretty hard to swap PRODUCTs.

Yes, I have capitalized the word PRODUCT in every sentence. Vendors want to appear savvy. Hence, all their marketing departments are marching in the same direction. Maybe, the font is different, the marketing logo is bigger, and the punch line is sexier. Yet, they all want a piece of your IT budget.

Debunking Gossips

When all rushing to the door, funny things happen. I remember people telling me following myths:

  1. Freemium product is the best business model.
  2. Being Lean will reshape the product innovation process.
  3. Product companies have higher valuation than service companies.

Let’s check the facts.

  1. Oracle bought Eloqua last year for $871 million. Both offer pretty expensive softwares and are doing quite well without having freemium. SAP, Microsoft, Apple. Somehow, big names live pretty well without freemium.
  2. Apollo program took the man to the moon. Was it cheap? Definitely not. It was one of the most expensive endeavors in the human history, costing $23.9 billions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program#Program_cost). Even the SpaceX Dragon costs a cool $800 millions – $1 billion. Being fat works pretty well.
  3. Google won because they provided one of the best searching experience / services. Even their website reads it. (About Google Product & Services)

Obviously, grapevines have been debunked.

  1. The markets are willing to pay for premium quality – iPhone, iPod, iMac, …
  2. Complex engineering requires extensive planning & design – BMWs, airlines, yachts, …
  3. Winning services company really pays attention to user experience – Lexus, Mövenpick hotels, Tiffany, …

Better Services Excel over Lame Products

When companies take a pure product orientation, they become really very inward looking. (Just read Steve Blank’s blogs – http://steveblank.com ) People sitting in black rooms would spend a lot of efforts (money, time, and resources) guessing what the market will look like in 1 – 5 years from now. Then, the marketing department would go on blitzkrieg advertising campaigns. 9 out of 10 times, those efforts would fail and products would be shelved. Bunch of $$$s needed to be written off.

I was in LA a few years ago and saw lots of impersonators on the Hollywood Boulevard. It’s hilarious to have photos taken with the fake Bruce Willis, who never died in any action films & only getting senile slower and slower (Stirb Langsam). There are lots of starving movie-star-wannabes who are getting nowhere. Meanwhile, on NYC streets, the demand for cab drivers remains high. Some of those drivers may one day become famous, as in the case of Chevy Chase. Cab drivers were talkative & seemed pretty content on my trips.

stirb langsam

The point is: The market always demands better solutions. When IT companies think in term of providing superior services, they will look at one customer’s problem at a time and provides services people need; in contrast to product companies, who maybe too ambitious and forgot about the details.

Successful companies share common DNAs.

  1. They really know what people want, down to SERVING the need of a single customer. (Detail oriented)
  2. They are extremely focused on providing SERVICEs where the customer will use once, love, and come back for more – customer loyalty. (Focused)
  3. It’s better to SERVE one client really well than making garbage products where none of the 100 customers like. (Process-driven)
  4. Value creation through understanding and SERVING customers’ decision-making process. To SERVE, one must know how something makes sense to the customer. (Know-how)
  5. A good SERVICE is useful and provided only at the right moment. Otherwise, it would be a luxury. (Timing.)

Closing Thoughts

While cloud computing is already here and will becoming increasing important. The winners will be the ones who understand the value creation process and deliver solutions from customers’ point of view. This is what I call CABS (Clouds As Business Services).

Next time, I go back to Bonn, I will definitely hail a cab than driving in the snow on AutoBahn!