Impact Lab


Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter
August 23rd, 2019 at 11:30 am

Acclaimed Israeli astrophysicist suggests the sun drives Earth’s climate, not CO2

DD88F5AC-6284-4C5E-A699-724344ECE3FF

Nir Shaviv is an Israeli astrophysicist and chairman of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University’s physics department. He says that his research, and that of colleagues, suggests that rising CO2 levels play only a minor role in earth’s climate compared to the influence of the sun and cosmic radiation.

“Global warming clearly is a problem, though not in the catastrophic terms of Al Gore’s movies or environmental alarmists,” said Shaviv. “Climate change has existed forever and is unlikely to go away. But CO2 emissions don’t play the major role. Periodic solar activity does.”

But I thought that 97% of climate scientists agreed that human activity is the main driver of climate change?

“Only people who don’t understand science take the 97% statistic seriously,” said Shaviv. “Survey results depend on who you ask, who answers and how the questions are worded. In any case, science is not a democracy. Even if 100% of scientists believe something, one person with good evidence can still be right.”

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
August 23rd, 2019 at 11:25 am

This startup wants to put a free tiny house in your backyard

33054220-8147-4C74-84C3-9E234F13D8A2

Rent the Backyard will get a tiny house into your backyard in a matter of weeks—and hopes it can add some cheaper apartments in cities to help alleviate the housing crisis.

In cities with housing shortages, little room to build, and opposition to new construction, building small cottages in backyards can be one way to add new apartments quickly. One new startup wants to help it happen even faster: The company handles the cost and construction process for homeowners in exchange for a cut of the rent when a tenant moves in.

“Right now, to build an accessory dwelling unit is a huge process,” says Spencer Burleigh, cofounder of Rent the Backyard, a Bay Area-based startup in the current cohort at the tech accelerator Y Combinator. “You have to talk with the city and deal with the permits. And even if you can find a great builder that is able to do a lot of those steps for you, you’re still fronting a whole lot of money.”

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
August 23rd, 2019 at 11:22 am

Why you should try micro mastery

DE539B4B-DD46-4012-A8D8-D02AB9DDAC4D

The wellness case for learning new skills

In the summer of 2016 I was very unhappy. I was coming up on my year anniversary of living in London, where we had moved from Brooklyn for my husband’s job, but I still felt pitifully lonely and poorly adjusted to the culture. I reentered therapy, tried to socialize often, started volunteering, and focused on doing things for pleasure rather than out of obligation.

But there was one thing that alleviated my sadness more than others: I learned to drive a stick shift.

In Europe, automatics were more expensive to rent, so it was in my best interest to try to overcome any manual driving anxiety head-on. My husband and I decided to spend two weeks in France, and I spent much of that vacation stalling out on country roads, navigating dreaded traffic circles, and ultimately speeding down the highways. When I returned to London I told people about the beaches and baguettes in France, but I mostly wanted to talk about how I could now officially drive stick.

I had discovered the beauty of “micromastery”: working to develop competence in a single, concrete skill. The term was coined by the writers Tahir Shah and Robert Twigger; Twigger later published his 2017 book, Micromastery: Learn Small, Learn Fast, and Unlock Your Potential to Achieve Anything, which contains instructions for laying a brick wall, making sushi, and brewing beer. In the introduction, Twigger writes that he was stymied by the idea that he had to work for years to acquire any truly valuable skill, but that he still wanted to learn and create, so he decided to focus on making the perfect omelet: his first micromastery.

Continue Reading »

IL-Header-Communicating-with-the-Future

comments Comments Off
August 22nd, 2019 at 11:44 am

“This may be the single biggest business opportunity in human history”

Dr. Jonathan Foley, 50, executive director for Project Drawdown, joined me for a discussion about climate change (watch in the video player above). His statement, “This may be the single biggest business opportunity in human history,” sounds like hyperbole but there may be no one better qualified to make that statement correctly.

With a PhD in atmospheric sciences from the University of Wisconsin and having spent three decades doing and managing research into climate change, he is certainly qualified on the science. His case that the business opportunity is there hinges on this key premise:

We literally have to reinvent our energy systems, our food systems, our manufacturing, our cities. Everything! You can look at that is like, ‘Crap, that’s a really big problem.’ I think we have to look at as “Wow, what a great opportunity!” especially if we do it right. We can improve lives. We can reduce inequity. We could solve some of our other social ills if we do it wisely. And we could build a better world for future generations and for ourselves.

If we’re going to have to reinvent so much of our modern world, the investment opportunity does begin to be interesting. Clearly, the need for investment capital is there. What about getting a return on that capital?

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
August 22nd, 2019 at 11:42 am

Baby Boomers on a drinking binge

CE24C73D-374C-47C7-ADDC-3F8A43291611

New research shows that one in 10 of them over 65 engages in college-style drinking behavior

Binge drinking is often portrayed as a college thing. But this risky form of imbibing actually declined among U.S. university students from 2005 to 2014. It is now most prevalent among people from 25 to 34 and is increasing among people over 50. And new research finds that 10.6% of seniors 65 and older are binge drinkers — though the actual total is almost surely higher.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
The Coming Era of AI enhanced Super Humans