Smart shoes

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I heard a bloke on BBC Radio 4 say that, in 10 years, you won't be able to buy a pair of shoes that don't have an IP address.  Smart in more senses than one, then.

I suppose the advantage of this is that you will never again lose that flash pair of trainers, and that you might be able to use your shoe as a phone to connect to your smart meter and turn off the fridge. What a prospect.  A boon for parents, perhaps, who will know where their children are and whether they really are doing all that exercise they promised.

I thought about this as I listened to John Loughhead at Bath the other week talk about UK energy and industrial strategy from his vantage point as Chief Scientist at the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [BEIS] – pronounced "baize", apparently.  Loughhead was surprisingly up-beat about about international collaboration and said that the UK would be making a big announcement at COP22 in Marrakech.  If we did, it got drowned out by trumpeting about Trumpism.  He was positive about battery storage, carbon capture, small modular nuclear reactors that you could order from IKEA (well, sort of), and smart metres.  A new role for chief scientists, I thought: being sent out of London to enthuse for your country.

Mind you, I'm still waiting to hear what the UK's big idea was – some 2 weeks after the event.  Of course, there were few fireworks at Marrakech, just a lot of promises from a lot of countries about what they'll be doing (and not doing) in relation to emissions.  It looked like very necessary tedium.  Over-shadowing it all was what President-elect Trump has said about climate change.  However, given that he seems to have taken up every possible stance, perhaps we should just wait to see and not worry overmuch in the meanwhile.  Apart from the money, that is.  Maybe we should worry about the money as many of the promises that economically developing countries are making are contingent on a flow of cash from rich countries to ease the transition – some $100bn a year, I think.  Much of that was set to come from the USA, and turning off a money spigot may well prove much easier than, for example, building a wall.




Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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