What is mud?

Mud!

The flag at the finish line is so close I can see it ripple in the breeze. I just need to zip, zap, and zag to get there. OK, well to “zip” I first need to zoop, swoop, and zam. Every step I take closer it slips far far away in the distance. I look up and my sight is filled with miles and miles of MUD in between me and where I want to be. How did I get here?

I turn so many things into mud. I make mud when I turn moments, connections, and the present into “gotta get THIS out of the way to get to THAT”. I churn up even more mud when I yell “Get out of the way, mud, get out of the way!”. I’ve lost in YEARS in the mud.

What do you know about mud?

I know this guy is onto something:

Mud dancing

Climate Labs Update #1

Thank you all for inspiring me this past month and beyond as I started working in the climate change/sustainable energy field. I wanted to give an update on the past month, and share with you the fascinating stuff going on.

2 big wins from this month:

– I’ve been accepted as a Fellow at Manylabs, an open science skunkworks funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Moore co-founded Intel and coined Moore’s Law). Thanks to all of you who talked the app over with me and helped me get it together! The application pushed me to make a “project” out of this, so now there’s a plan (here’s my application). So what does all this mean? The big value is recognition — a “thumbs up” from Manylabs and the Moore Foundation that this idea is worth pursuing. In addition Manylabs offers a desk to work and a venue to host events
– 15 others and I are now part of the “Climate Change + Tech” Meetup in SF, check it out here: http://www.meetup.com/Climate-Change-plus-tech/ Thanks to Dan for help designing it and marketing it. This is a great way to meet more people in the space and learn about the big factors shaping the industry.
6 climate change terms that I’ve found from discussions and reading:
detect-analyze-attribute-1Detect, Analyze, Attribute: 3 types of climate change research studies. Detect and analyze is about gathering data ie temperature, sea level, to answer the question “is the earth heating up?”. Attribution studies are about figuring out the cause, “why?”, is the changing climate because of a hotter sun, zombies, or carbon dioxide from human causes?
Sustainable, Sequester, Adapt: this is where the action is — Sustainable is tech to speed the transition from the fossil fuels era to the sustainable era (for example, Telsa or Solar City), Sequester is about sucking CO2 out of the environment, and Adapt is about building seawalls, raising up houses
I’ve included 2 sketches that helped my understanding, thanks to Matt Inouye for the suggestion on drawing it out.

 

sustainable-sequester-adaptRecommended Book and Project:
Book: Sustainability Without the Hot Air, all the details behind what our future “Sustainable Era” will look like. Thanks to Bill for the recommendation!: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0954452933/tag=davidmackayca-20 (or free legal PDF on http://withouthotair.com)
Project: Marin Carbon Project, incredible tech to pull atmospheric carbon deep into the soil/clay where it is effectively removed from the carbon cycle for millenia. Using cow pastures and compost, which could generate $$ for farmers through carbon credits. Shova organized this SF Zero Waste Youth event I went to, and MCP was the keynote http://www.marincarbonproject.org
Thanks!
Many thanks to Eri for connecting me with a bunch of cool people in the climate change/sustainability field. Discovering neat topics like biotechnology to turn the ocean into a giant carbon sequestration machine, biological air filtering systems, and startup accelerators working on sustainability tech. Meeting new ideas and talking with others is essential because it fights my “gollum” tendency to take an idea and hide it away :B
I would love to have more chats with people working on sustainable energy or climate change. Do you know people working in climate change or sustainable energy who I should talk to?

How to Take Advantage of Apple’s Marketing Budget

Thanks to Matt Inouye and Distrosnack:

Leverage relevant big brands’ existing marketing spend, tailgate off their ride:

1. Bid on their branded AND longtail keywords

2. Write content about them: the ultimate integration guide to [ BIGASS BRAND NAME HERE ]

I’ve seen Apple used a lot for this. Check out these 2 great examples from Yahoo Finance I found. They’re not about Apple but adding Apple to the headline makes them interesting. I’ve edited out “Apple” for comparison.

Are Emojis The Fastest Growing Language In History?
Apple’s Middle Finger: Are Emojis The Fastest Growing Language In History?

Big Tech Companies Are Next After EU Starbucks Tax Ruling
Apple, Amazon Are Next After EU Starbucks Tax Ruling

Dissatisfied Customers Become Your Most Vocal Advocates?

In 2009, Ellen Brasse launched coop@home, a grocery shopping app for Coop, a Switzerland-based grocer. After the app took off, Brasse actively began seeking feedback from customers to better meet their needs. Through consistent surveys, Brasse realized that the most loyal customers were those who had voiced a complaint and had their problem resolved, not those who had never had a problem with Coop’s services. Although it may be tempting to ignore customers’ negative feedback, this case study shows that dissatisfied customers provide a means for process improvement and can become a company’s most loyal and vocal advocates.
Quote and emphasis courtesy of the esteemable Dan Walsh (source)

BioCurious Heads to the White House

President Obama is hosting the first ever White House Demo Day, tomorrow August 4th. The focus is around American entrepreneurship, showcasing innovators from all around the country showing off their success and discoveries.

BioCurious is home to amazing innovations in biotechnology. Launched as a hackerspace for biotechnology in Sunnyvale, California in 2010, BioCurious is a complete working laboratory, training center, and meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students.

BioCurious is a membership based lab where anyone can come an learn how to use biotechnology tools, make friends, and even start companies. This new model resulted in some amazing collaborations between people from many different disciplines, similar to how electronics and computer science were opened up to innovation with the launch of personal computers.

Home to Biotech Innovations

Executive Directory Eri Gentry is flying to the White House to show off 5 Community Projects from BioCurious. Community Projects at BioCurious are open to the public and developed by people just like you who come to work at BioCurious:

Real Vegan Cheese: making cheese using synthetic biology. This started as an summer project for the iGEM competition. Members of Counter Culture Labs in Oakland and BioCurious in Sunnyvale collaborate on the project, which has now spun off into its own company. You can learn more about Real Vegan Cheese at realvegancheese.org

3D Bioprinter project – Printing with biological materials. Similar to 3D printing, but using actual living cells. The group is working now to print a living leaf that’s able to to photosynthetisis. The printer is based on the open source Rep-Rap 3D printer.

2015 Bay Area iGEM Team – In 2014, the Bay Area iGEM Team won the “Best Community Labs Project”. Following the success of the Real Vegan Cheese team, this years team is working to create . They are launching a crowd funding campaign in the coming weeks. For more information, sign up for the BioCurious mailing list here.

Plant Bio Project – enabling plant biotechnology in the Bay Area, including discussion on GMO vs non-GMO (genetically modified oragnisms), lab techniques, and working with plants.

Microscope Project – working to build an open-source fluorescence microscope, starting with parts hacked together from a older Illumina DNA Sequencer donated to the project.

Learn More Online:

Tune in: Anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship can watch White House Demo Day live from start to finish at http://wh.gov/demo-day.

There’s 3 ways to learn more about BioCurious:

Learn More About BioCurious: Sign up for email updates about upcoming classes and workshop and announcements from BioCurious here (Email signup form)

Upcoming Classes and Community Projects: See upcoming events and sign up at http://meetup.com/biocurious

Visit BioCurious online at http://biocurious.org

About BioCurious:

BioCurious is a volunteer run, 501c3 non-Profit, started in 2010 by a group of 6 co-founders and $35,319 from Kickstarter. BioCurious believes that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. We’re building a community biology lab for amateurs, inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to experiment with friends. Based in Sunnyvale, California, it is the place to be if you are interested in biotechnology:

– a complete working laboratory and technical library for entrepreneurs to cheaply access equipment, materials, and co-working space
– a training center for biotechniques, with an emphasis on safety
– a meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students

To learn more, visit http://biocurious.org

BioCurious Cookbook: Ivory Tower Crumble

ivory_tower_crumblePaywalls for academic research, expensive reagents, million dollar DNA sequencers. Modern science is often called an ivory tower, high up in the sky where the secrets to truth lay inaccessible to everyday curiosity.

Today, the ivory tower is beginning to change, with low cost open source biotech equipment, biotech hackerspaces like BioCurious, and more scientists publishing their research in open-access journals like PLOS.

Now, like Godzilla, dash the Ivory Tower with your spoon and put it in your belly.

Read the rest of this entry

Launching a Biotech Lab in a Library

Congrats to Cameron Clarke and everyone involved on launching the first biotech lab within a public library, the La Jolla Library in southern California.

If you’re in SD, check out the meetup group for The Wet Lab.

The Wet Lab at La Jolla Library

The Wet Lab at La Jolla Library

From La Jolla Light: http://www.lajollalight.com/news/2015/apr/22/lj-library-launches-3-d-printing-and-biotech-labs/

Wet Lab director Cameron Clarke said at one time, the equipment used by the La Jolla Library’s biotech lab cost thousands of dollars and was only available to labs and universities. “By putting a Wet Lab in a library, you give the public access to tools they would never have access to,” he said. “But this is not going to be full-blown lab, it’s designed to allow folks to come in and get their feet wet. It’s an exciting opportunity and we are going to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run.”

To introduce the scientific concepts available for exploration in the biotech lab, the Wet Lab will host a monthly workshop for all ages and a monthly lecture for adults. The workshop will be 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 and will demonstrate how scientists extract DNA from living things, in this case, a strawberry. The lecture, called Citizen Science, will be 6 p.m. May 5, and continue the first Tuesday of the month, and focus on biological concepts.