- Who needs a car when you have your own personal eVTOL?
- A breakthrough CRISPR therapy for glioblastoma…
- ChatGPT meets its match…
January 16 to 20 mark the days of the next confab of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Every time a meeting takes place, I’m always wondering what shenanigans, or what evil, this group of unelected officials will get up to next.
I pay close attention because there are very powerful forces behind the WEF that have worked hard over the last couple of decades to reshape our world in their eyes – in ways that will ultimately benefit “them” and come at great costs to “us” and the things that are dear to our preferred way of life.
Scanning through the list of presentations, one caught my eye: “Why We Need Battery Passports,” scheduled for January 18. This isn’t a new topic for the WEF, as it’s been discussed and in the works for years.
The idea that’s being implemented now is to have digital “battery passports” for electric vehicles (EVs) to track their performance, track the battery value chain, benchmark batteries for sustainability, and track carbon emissions.
The WEF’s goal is to use this digital battery passport system to reduce overall carbon emissions from transportation by 30% by 2023, which is in line with the Paris Agreement.
According to the WEF, the battery passport: “Will strengthen indicators, including life-cycle information, governance, and environmental and social standards, aiming ultimately to change behavior toward sustainable and ethical practices and improve multiple ESG parameters.”
What does that even mean?
For those of us who have read WEF materials, it all sounds similar: fluffy, without substance, and superficially all for the greater good.
I’ve long maintained that I want nothing more than a peaceful planet that gets 100% of its energy from carbon-free power-generation sources. Ironically, the technology to accomplish that exists today in the form of nuclear fission.
Third and now fourth-generation fission technology is extremely safe and effective. Why hasn’t the developed world adopted it?
For those who don’t care for fission, nuclear fusion – the power of the sun – is right around the corner. Just last month, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory had a breakthrough in demonstrating the first net energy output fusion-energy reaction.
It was a fantastic proof of concept, a historical point in time, and a sign of incredible things to come later in this decade… Which is what makes the WEF’s battery passports so odd.
The WEF’s stated goal is to reduce the transportation emissions through the use of EVs, as if that will solve the “climate crisis” that it so often refers to. Yet the WEF says nothing about where the electricity comes from to “fuel” the EVs that it’s so keen for all of us to drive.
This position is particularly ironic considering that Western Europe relies heavily on oil, natural gas and, most recently, an increased use of coal to produce electricity.
Worse yet, Europe has been cutting down ancient forests in order to produce wood pellets, which are burned to produce electricity. I know it’s kind of hard to believe, but that’s where the electricity is coming from.
Yes, we can reduce automobile emissions if we drive an EV. But we’re still burning fossil fuels at the power generation plant to produce the electricity for the EV. How in the hell does that make the world a better place?
The WEF talks of creating a “circular economy.” So instead of “take, make, waste,” society will “take, make; take make.”
Make sense? I didn’t think so.
I’m a big proponent of recycling anything that I can. It makes sense to me. Why would I put something in a landfill that can be recycled and reused? And selfishly, I always feel good when I recycle.
Recycling is part of the idea of a circular economy.
That’s fine, but it ignores the basic fact that massive strip mines need to be built that are extremely damaging to the Earth to get resources to produce batteries for EVs. The mining equipment is all powered by fossil fuels, as the only way it gets done is with raw horsepower.
And the world hasn’t even mined a tiny fraction of what’s needed to achieve its goals for EV adoption over the next eight years. Not even close. My point is that there aren’t enough old EV batteries that we can recycle to produce enough new batteries. They’re only a drop in a bucket.
It pains me to see initiatives like this that are focused on the wrong thing. And they completely ignore these inconvenient truths.
One might argue that the effort may be foolish and misplaced, but it’s not evil. That’s an easy trap for us to fall into.
Plans like these provide cover for the “Great Reset” and the implementation of digital IDs that track everything we do. The battery passport is just one part of that, and an important part, as transportation is naturally a large driver for carbon emissions – both for EVs using electricity from fossil fuels and for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Yes, the WEF’s plans for a digital ID are very real, and openly discussed. The plan is to monitor our telecommunications, our healthcare, our financial services, our food consumption, our travel, our buying decisions, our transportation, and even what we say on social media.
This will be used to assign a carbon footprint score, and a social score that will either enable us to do certain things in life or prohibit us from doing the things we want.
By way of simple example, if our carbon footprint is too high one month, our digital wallet will prohibit us from purchasing any airline tickets or buying meat of any kind. We may or may not be given the option of buying carbon credits to offset our carbon score that would allow us to travel again.
This isn’t just a crazy idea. This is a plan that’s been in the works for more than a decade, and it’s nearing implementation in many countries.
The WEF openly states that it’s inserted its graduates in powerful positions in countries around the world. Looking at the list of individuals who have been through the WEF reeducation program over the last 20 years should make anyone’s jaw drop.
I raise these issues for awareness of what the “master plan” looks like.
It’s not magnanimous; it’s nefarious. And it’s a world that would feel claustrophobic to most of us who relish not only our own freedom, but the freedom of others, and who feel strongly that freedom is worth both living and dying for.
Personal eVTOL travel may be less than 2 years away…
We’ve been closely tracking the rise of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial aviation. As a reminder, these vehicles are basically a large version of battery-powered drones that can carry cargo or passengers.
The primary use case we’ve discussed thus far has been eVTOLs for passenger travel.
In fact, United Airlines just announced the first eVTOL air taxi route in the U.S. back in November. The route will shuttle passengers from Newark airport in New Jersey to downtown Manhattan.
And get this: Those flights will take just under 10 minutes. Meanwhile, driving from Newark to Manhattan would take over an hour.
So eVTOLs are perfect for commercial passenger transportation. But they won’t be limited to that.
An Israeli company called AIR ONE is developing an eVTOL for personal travel. And it just completed its first full transition flight. Check this out:
AIR ONE’s First Cruise Mission
Here we can see AIR ONE’s first full transition flight in action.
For context, the aircraft is roughly the size of a large SUV. It has a wingspan of 25 feet. And it can carry up to 550 pounds.
The eVTOL can reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour. And it can fly up to 110 miles on a single charge.
And if we look closely, we’ll notice that there’s only one seat in the aircraft. That’s because this eVTOL is designed for just one person to fly themselves from Point A to Point B. There’s no room for passengers.
At first, that may seem odd. But if we think about this in terms of the future of transportation – to me, it makes perfect sense.
For one, the eVTOL is simple to fly. And since it’s not a helicopter, the regulations should be much less stringent on personal use.
And if we look at the initial price tag, it’s only $150,000. That’s not exactly cheap… but it’s not outrageous, either. With financing, the aircraft will be affordable to a lot of people.
This could also be a great asset to small businesses.
I can imagine how useful something like this would be for farmers and ranchers with large acreage. Just hop in and monitor your crops or herds daily in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise. And you might also be able to use it for delivering agricultural products to local markets quickly and efficiently.
The same goes for people living in rural areas. This eVTOL would allow them to cover long distances in short periods of time. I can envision rural households using this to reduce the time it takes to get to the nearest town for groceries or other essentials.
So I think this craft will find a very useful market segment with many different use cases.
AIR ONE’s plan is to start the first full-scale flights this quarter. And the company expects to have certification by the third quarter of this year. Things are moving quickly.
That means we can expect some big developments around personalized eVTOL travel later this year.
For CRISPR’s next act – curing brain cancer…
Well, we’ve only scratched the surface so far. Today, we’ve got research showing that CRISPR may also be able to cure a dangerous form of brain cancer. It comes from scientists at the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory in New York State.
The industry has long known that the human body uses a protein called ‘p53’ to fight cancerous tumors in the brain.
However, the scientists at Cold Springs discovered that there’s a protein called ‘BRD8’ that suppresses the production of p53. Thus, the production of BRD8 effectively stifles the body’s ability to fight cancer.
So the team used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to suppress the production of BRD8 in patients with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. The hope was that this would enable the patients to produce enough p53 to destroy the cancerous tumors in their brain.
And the early data is quite positive. It shows that CRISPR can be used to suppress BRD8 production. And that, in turn, does lead to increased p53 production in the body.
We don’t have enough data yet to know if this is enough to cure glioblastoma entirely. But the team is confident that this will at the very least extend patient life expectancy. And that alone is huge.
Glioblastoma is one of the deadliest brain cancers there is. The median survival rate for patients is just 12 to 14 months. And the five-year survival rate is abysmal. It’s less than 5%.
So this CRISPR therapy is the first treatment that looks like it will be effective in combatting the deadly brain cancer. That’s incredibly exciting.
And aside from the hope that this can provide glioblastoma patients and their families, there’s one other nuance that I really like.
Notice that the genetic editing technology is CRISPR-Cas9. This is first-generation CRISPR technology.
So even though the industry has developed second-generation CRISPR technology – such as the base-editing technique we looked at last week – that doesn’t mean the first-generation tech is outdated or defunct. Quite the opposite.
When we look at the universe of diseases out there, it’s all about finding the right approach for each specific disease.
For some diseases, that’s base-editing. But for others, as this research demonstrates, CRISPR-Cas9 is the best approach.
As investors, sometimes we’re tempted to focus only on the newest technology. This is a great reminder that new developments don’t automatically make the older tech obsolete.
And bigger-picture, it’s shaping up to be a huge year for CRISPR genetic-editing technology. I expect we’ll see all kinds of breakthroughs before 2023 is out.
GPTZero – ChatGPT’s new nemesis…
We’ve also been enjoying the topic of generative artificial intelligence (AI) recently – especially with the release of ChatGPT, which happened only a few weeks ago.
For the sake of newer readers, ChatGPT is a remarkably powerful generative AI. It can answer complex questions and inquiries. It can write essays about any given topic. It can compare and contrast different philosophies and opinions. And it can write software code upon command.
And ChatGPT has absolutely taken the internet by storm. Everyone is talking about it right now. That’s a testament to just how functional it is.
However, ChatGPT has caused some concern that students will slack off on their studies and instead use the AI to do their homework for them. After all, it will answer questions and write essays around any subject upon command.
It turns out academia has a solution for this. It’s called GPTZero. And it was designed by a student at Princeton University.
GPTZero is software that can identify if a block of text was likely written by an AI. It’s a tool to help us figure out if what we’re reading came from a human or an AI.
Teachers and professors can use this tool to verify that their students are doing original work. And GPTZero could also be useful to the rest of us to determine if something we’re reading online was actually written by an AI.
That is, if it works well enough. To find out, I put GPTZero to the test.
When we first profiled ChatGPT last month, I asked it to write an essay on stoicism. For my first test, I pasted the AI’s answer into GPTZero. Here’s the verdict:
Putting GPTZero to the Test
There we have it. GPTZero got it right.
Next, I input text that I wrote from a previous issue of The Bleeding Edge. Let’s see what GPTZero has to say about it…
GPTZero Analyzes a Past Bleeding Edge Article
Again, GPTZero got it right. While I recognize that these are only two examples, GPTZero gave very clear results. It appears the tool is well-designed.
Perhaps this is bad news for all those students who got excited about the prospects of having an AI do their homework. Consider this fair warning the next time you considering using ChatGPT for school.
This reminds me of CliffNotes 20 years ago. Rather than reading their assigned books, students could read the CliffNotes version and use that information to write their essays.
But then teachers wised up to what was going on. And they learned to identify papers that likely came from CliffNotes.
Well, it’s the same thing here. ChatGPT is like CliffNotes for students today… except far better. Students don’t even need to read anything. The AI can do all the work for them.
But with GPTZero, teachers and professors now have a tool to analyze any work submitted. I suspect there will be a lot of disappointed students as this tool gets out.
That said, GPTZero will come in handy for all of us when we need to assess whether something was written by a human or an AI. Anyone who wants to experiment with it can find the software right here.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge