Weekend Thoughts - 5.12.18


Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. The sunny state of California may soon become the first U.S. state to require solar panels on nearly all new homes built after 2020. However, not all newly constructed homes would be affected—those that aren't big enough to fit solar panels and properties featuring taller buildings or trees that would throw shade would be exempt from the mandate. This (along with some additional proposed energy standards) would significantly increase the cost of building new homes, hiking it up by an estimated $25,000 to $30,000 per home. On the bright side, the energy savings is estimated to save homeowners between $50,000 to $60,000 over the lifespan of the solar system. Solar may be an effective type of renewable energy for California, but it might not perform as well in places like the midwest because of the less sun and lower home prices. Still, this is an exciting experiment—maybe it'll end up lowering prices in the solar market, enabling even more people to install solar power on their properties. Just maybe. Only time will tell.

2. Uber announced plans to bring a flying taxi service to the market in 2023. The images of the "skyports"—the launchpads and landing sites that the flying taxis would use—are truly stunning. Imagining a world with flying taxis is quite a fun exercise; I invite you to try it.

3. Now that you're done with that daydream, check this out: the bipedal robot that Boston Dynamics has been developing can totally run and jump now. It's also able to maintain its balance when pushed and can pick itself up when it falls over. I'm not sure about this robot in particular, but judging from the other Boston Dynamics robots that I've seen, I imagine this bipedal robot is one tough cookie, too. I imagine that at some point in the relatively near future these robots will be virtually indefatigable, capable of outrunning and overpowering a human being with no problem at all. So if you want to try another mental exercise, try to imagine the fully polished 3.0 version of this robot working on the beat as a cop. 

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.

Image by GenesJourney, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.