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The Lede: New Energy at Oil Confab and Getting Good at Treating Gun Shot Wounds. Also, Four Thumbs Up for a New Invention

The Lede, Monday, March 5,, 2018
By David Royse

Good Day,


CERAWeek, a week-long confab of top officials in the energy industry, starts today in Houston. It’s the center of the energy world this week – some call it the Davos of Energy.

But while the conference has typically been dominated by titans of the oil and gas industry discussing the oil and gas markets, OPEC output, crude import projections and the like  – and there will be plenty of that this year, it seems – the annual conference is changing a bit.

Slowly, “alternative” energy sources are showing up more and more in the discussions at what is one of the “traditional” energy industry’s biggest events. And of particular interest at LedeTree, new technologies that aim to improve how we power our world, are now a real part of the agenda at the confab.

Here’s a bit of the preview from Katherine Blunt in the conference’s hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle:

“Oil and gas, however, will share the CERAWeek spotlight with renewable technologies and discussions about the role wind and solar power will play as governments around the world enact policies to lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to meet targets under the United Nations climate accord ratified last year. Meanwhile, fuel-efficient and electric vehicles are lessening the transportation industry’s reliance on oil.’

In addition to climate requirements, and meeting them with new sources of energy, like wind and solar, the conference is likely to include a few mentions of other technology, including carbon capture.

If early Monday reports from the conference are an indicator, however, the old economy aspects of the energy industry are still at the top of the agenda, with much of the Twitter traffic and first-day press coverage about the tension between OPEC producers and the shale industry.

But, the tech world’s entrance into the space is happening – if “sharing the spotlight” may be overselling it a bit, it’s certainly expected to be a discussion in the corridors and in some of the sessions.

Axios’ Amy Harder makes that point in her Harder Line column today, mentioning a new infusion of Silicon Valley thinking, in what is essentially an old economy industry conference, and quoting one official talking about how the inclusion of people from the tech industry will bring down the average age at the conference this year by 10 years.

The Follow:


Since the latest eruption of anger about gun violence I’ve written a couple of times about how, that until we can actually reduce gun violence, we should also endeavor to make it less deadly. I’ve mostly suggested at looking at ways to thwart shooters, either by figuring out smart ways to disable their guns, keep them out of safe rooms, or stop their bullets.

Another defense against gun violence that I haven’t yet written much about is on the medical front.

CityLab recently had a good story about this aspect of the battle against violence (bad metaphor, admittedly).  Chicago, which has had an infamous problem with gun violence, especially in certain parts of the city, has actually reduced deaths from gun violence fairly notably.

As the story points out, Chicago is nowhere near the nation’s murder capital – it’s seen a pretty big reduction in murders. But it hasn’t done it by reducing shootings, (as boosters of the city’s police might try to have you believe).

What’s happened is the city has adapted to the problem with a world-class trauma system. The city’s paramedics and ER doctors are getting really good at saving the lives of shooting victims. (Sadly, they’re so good at it, in part because they get lots of practice. So much so, that the story points out that Army medics and Navy medical corpsmen actually train by riding along with Chicago medics.)

The medical technology actually in the ERs is also very good in a city with six Level 1 Trauma centers.

“People that would have died are now surviving with disabilities, and people who would have survived with disabilities are now surviving with a full recovery,” John Barrett, former director of the trauma unit at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, says in the story.

It’s not a good substitute for actually reducing the number of people shot, but, in the interim, it’s better than not getting better at saving these lives.

READ the City Lab story

Also, in Volusia County, Florida, they don’t mess around in this arena. Don’t even joke about shooting at a school, you will pay for it. Miami Herald

Several districts around the country are taking new approaches to discouraging threats, including those that aren’t acted on. Some are trying to hold parents responsible. McClatchy

And one interesting take on gun control – this Army officer says guns could be regulated, like they are in the military. The Atlantic


When we colonize Mars, we won’t be able to take a whole lot of materials with us to build our new environment. We’ll have to make good use of what we have.

Including our own bodily fluids.

This story was published last year in a slightly obscure European plastic industry magazine, but only recently caught my eye. There was discussion last year at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting about how we might be able to use urine to make plastic. Awesome.

The magazine outdid itself with the headline too. 


Harley Davidson
Who? What is this very old company doing in this section about disruptive companies? Well check it out: they’re building an electric motorcycle. LedeTree

Has a new app to help the blind navigate cities. SmartCitiesDive

Is nearing completion of its overhaul of its in-house navigation and maps system. Electrek

Also, Richard Branson needs an assistant. You’d have to move to a small Caribbean island. Here’s the job ad

And your social media story of the day:

This guy hacked his Twitter account (hacked in a DIY-sense, not in a hacking sense) so that he no longer sees Retweets. And he feels better about the world. “Retweets Are Trash.” The Atlantic

And if you watched Frances McDormand’s speech at the Oscars last night, and like me, you were like, “What did she say? Inclusion Rider? Is that like Winona Ryder’s brother?” What is she talking about?” The Hollywood Reporter has us covered

We’d love it if you’d follow us on Twitter and on Facebook for LedeTree news throughout the day.

Let’s go out with an interesting new prosthetic, designed by a British woman to add an extra thumb – with the idea not of replacing a missing thumb, but adding to the wearer’s capabilities.

I give this invention two thumbs up. And with my other hand, I give it two more thumbs up.

We can improve on human design. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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