Investment Tip

During my involuntary freelance exploration (unemployment) period last year I was engaged to do some research into 3D Printing/Rapid Manufacturing. I did research and developed a set of future technology scenarios that included:

  • A peer-to-peer design revolution where Etsy beomes the ITunes of design and art.
  • A type of nano-engineered cardboard (I love cardboard) with intelligent electronics conformally-printed so that it can be folded to create emergency housing. The cardboard would be smart enough to know which surfaces were exposed to sun and use solar cells to gather energy that could power lighting units on the surfaces turned inward.
  • A steak cultured from meat and fat cells printed onto a 3-D collagen lattice that won the James Beard award, thus passing the “Turing Test” for cruelty-free, artificial meat.
  • A large machine that can “print” entire homes, complete with plumbing and electricity.
  • And a machine that can print spare human parts for transplants.

And I’ll be damned if that last one, the least imaginative of my scenarios in my opinion, isn’t on the verge of coming true. At least there’s the promise within five years.

One faint advantage of being a futurist is that every once in a while you get one of those, “Hey! I anticipated that back in…” moments. Faint because, without action, those moments are kind of impotent. Either the client didn’t listen to you or you personally don’t have the money to invest in these “next big things” you keep seeing years in advance.

But hey if you have the money, look into Rapid Manufacturing as an investment. If you’re going to college to study anything connected to engineering, take classes that give you knowledge and skills with these machines. They will enable many “meat world” objects to be digitized and shared. Manufacturing and design will be revolutionized. Business models will be overturned. New industries will be created.

3 Most Effective Steps To Help Women

I completely agree with this NYT Op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof on International Women’s Day. He lists three things that would be most effective in helping women around the world. Not one of them calls on women to alter or deny their own fertility. Instead, educate them, provide the most basic nutrients, and help get them started in businesses. Brilliant. They are relatively simple, systemically effective, and are things a Catholic could love (and get directly involved in.)

Pork Can Kill You

Check out the infographic here. The familiar nutrition pyramid sits next to a similar pyramid showing subsidy payments to the providers of the same nutrition categories.

With all due respect to the Other White Meat, Pork, in the form of agricultural subsidies, is killing us. It is what makes a hamburger less expensive and more convenient to buy than a salad. Our government’s practice on agriculture spending does not match up with what it preaches to us and our kids on nutrition.

“Why Uncle Sam, you tell us to eat veggies, but you keep buying us beef and butter!” This is your government on Pork, any questions?

Sippin' Tea in a Toast to Texas

So it’s about that time. I am sipping some tea in honor of Texas Independence Day and the state I love.

Apparently they don’t do this anymore, but way back when I was a student at the University of Texas, we gathered on the Main Mall, unfurled APO’s Largest Texas Flag in the World, had some speechifying, then toasted Texas’ Independence. Every March 2nd at noon. (With tea, of course. The Aggies had us figured out, alright.)

This is significant time of the year for Texas history. We declared our indepenence on March 2nd, were recognized by the United States as independent on March 1st, and were also admitted by the US as a state on March 1st. That’s good enough reason to have some barbecue and sing “Texas, Our Texas” tonight, right?