Getting Over Car Culture
Felix Kramer is the Founder of the non-profit, California Cars Initiative (Cal Cars), where he leads a team of entrepreneurs, environmentalists, engineers that focuses on developing "plug-in hybrid" technologies. He has been a founding or active member of World Wide Web Artists Consortium, New York New Media Association, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. A graduate of Cornell, he lives in California.
Question: Can cars ever be fully sustainable?
Felix Kramer: When we talk about cars and making cars cleaner, cheaper and so forth we don’t forget about the fact that we also want to reduce the use of cars. Every solution that involves alternative fuels, alternative energy has to start with conservation, using less, so in the United States we’re the only country whose freight is mostly delivered by truck instead of by rail and we can change that. People… Many people own big vehicles because for a week or two a year they need to bring a… tow a boat or something. They can rent the car. I’m really encouraged about the growth or car sharing and that whole idea. Many people don’t need to own two or three cars. They can own one car and the second and third car can be rented. There are a lot of solutions like that and in the long term smart communities and planning growth so that people can walk to work or take public transit to work. We need a much better public transit system than we have, but right now Americans are wedded to their cars and we have a responsibility to make those cars much better.
It’s one of America’s longest and most iconic love affairs, but even our most innovative approaches to sustainable transportation are futile if we can’t forget our irrational obsession with the open road.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
As tempting as it may be to run away from emotionally-difficult situations, it's important we confront them head-on.
- Impossible-sounding things are possible in hospitals — however, there are times when we hit dead ends. In these moments, it's important to not run away, but to confront what's happening head-on.
- For a lot of us, one of the ways to give meaning to terrible moments is to see what you can learn from them.
- Sometimes certain information can "flood" us in ways that aren't helpful, and it's important to figure out what types of data you are able to take in — process — at certain times.