Tag Archives: China

May 17, 2020 Blumbers

 

Written Testimony
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health

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Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response

Statement of

Rick Bright, Ph.D

For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 am
May 14, 2020

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Good morning Chairwoman, Eshoo, Ranking Member Burgess and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to testify today.

I am Dr. Rick Bright, a career public servant and a scientist who has spent 25 years of my career focused on addressing pandemic outbreaks. I received my bachelor’s degree with honors in both biology and physical sciences from Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. I earned my PhD in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University in Georgia My dissertation was focused on pandemic avian influenza. I have spent my entire career leading teams of scientists in drugs, diagnostics and vaccine development — in the government with CDC and BARDA, for a global non-profit organization and also in the biotechnology industry. Regardless of my position, my job and my entire professional focus has been on saving lives. My professional background has prepared me for a moment like this – to confront and defeat a deadly virus like COVID-19 that threatens Americans and people around the globe.

I joined the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in 2010 and from November of 2016 until April 21 of this year, I had the privilege of serving our country as its Director. During the time I was Director of BARDA we successfully partnered with private industry to achieve an unprecedented number of FDA approvals for medical countermeasures against a wide variety of national health security threats. This was a major and unprecedented accomplishment and one that I and the conscientious employees of BARDA take great pride in.

On April 21, 2020, I was removed from my positions as the Director of BARDA and HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response by HHS leadership and involuntarily transferred to a more limited and less impactful position at the National Institutes of Health. I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest funding allocated to BARDA by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit. While my intention in testifying today is to be forward looking, I spoke out then and I am testifying today because science – not politics or cronyism – must lead the way to combat this deadly virus.

The world is confronting a great public health emergency which has the potential to eclipse the devastation wrought by the 1918 influenza which globally claimed over 50 million lives. We face a highly-transmissible and deadly virus which not only claims lives but is also disrupting the very foundations of our societies. The American health-care system is being taxed to the limit, our economy is spiraling downward — leading to mass unemployment — and our population is being paralyzed by fear stemming from the lack of a coordinated response and a dearth of accurate, clear communication about the path forward. Americans yearn to get back to work, to open their businesses and provide for their families. I get that. We need a national coordinated strategy to look at all of these pieces and to ensure that they fit well together. To conceive and implement this strategy, our government must draw on the guidance of the best scientific minds.

In my position as BARDA Director, I led portions of a coordinated response; development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics. In January of this year, I pushed for our government to obtain virus samples from China and to secure more funding for BARDA to be able to get started quickly on the development of critical medical countermeasures. HHS leadership was dismissive about

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my dire predictions about what I assumed would be a broader outbreak and the pressing need to act, and were therefore unwilling to act with the urgency that the situation required. Understanding that the United States had a critical shortage of necessary supplies and PPE to deal with a pandemic, in January, February and March, 2020, I pushed HHS to ramp up US production of masks, respirators and other critical supplies, such as medicine, syringes and swabs. Again, my urgency was dismissed and I was cut out of key high-level meetings to combat COVID-19. When I was nevertheless able to convey these urgent concerns by speaking directly with a senior White House advisor and with members of Congress who better understood the urgency to act, I faced hostility and marginalization from HHS officials. And finally, when I resisted efforts to promote and enable broad access to an unproven drug, chloroquine, to the American people without transparent information on the potential health risks, I was removed from BARDA.

While I am unfortunately no longer leading BARDA, I am an expert in these areas and fully understand the grave risks we are facing. I continue to believe that we must act urgently to effectively combat this deadly disease. Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. While it is terrifying to acknowledge the extent of the challenge that we currently confront, the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system. Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.

First and foremost, we need to be truthful with the American people. They want the truth. They can handle the truth. Truth, no matter how unpleasant, decreases the fear generated by uncertainty. The truth must be based on scientific evidence – and not filtered for political reasons. We must know and appreciate what we are up against. We have the world’s greatest scientists – they must be permitted to lead. Let them speak truthfully without fear of retribution. We must listen so that the government can then take the most powerful steps to save lives.

Most Americans want the same thing – a return to normal. The normal of 2019 is not going to return, but we all have an opportunity to shape the new normal of 2020 and beyond. With the participation and cooperation of every American, this can be achieved. We have a long history of uniting in response to adversity. Each of us can and must do our part now. However, it is critical to get this right. As my colleague Dr. Anthony Fauci testified on May 12, 2020, we must not rush blindly, or act too quickly, in returning to our daily lives. If we ignore the science, we stand a dramatically increased risk of worsening the spread of the virus in the coming months. This could lead to more widespread outbreaks and to many more lives lost throughout the remainder of this year.

To do our part, we need to hear one message in a voice that is clear, consistent, trustworthy, and backed by the best science available. In previous outbreaks, Americans listened to our public health experts at the CDC. They were the daily face and the voice guiding Americans during prior outbreaks including Ebola, Zika, and the H1N1 influenza pandemic. As an example, in 2009, the CDC, along with Elmo, taught Americans how to sneeze in a way that minimizes risk of contagion. Today, we need clear and simple messages to teach us how wear a face cover, when and how to safely go outside or back to work or back to school. It’s that simple.

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While waiting for a cure (which, I believe, will come), there is much we MUST do. With clear leadership, honest communication, and data-driven solutions. We must:

  • Increase public education regarding the basics — handwashing, social distancing, appropriate face covering, self- and dependent monitoring, and frankly, our leaders must lead by modeling the behavior.

    o These simple measures reduce the number of people exposed and can buy us valuable time.

  • Ramp up production of essential equipment and supplies, including raw materials and critical components.

o Shortages of critical supplies and protective gear increase the risk to our frontline healthcare workers; they deserve the necessary equipment to protect themselves while treating their patients. First responders must also be given protective equipment. And we now see a courageous segment of our workforce – essential workers who keep food on our tables and keep our society running. They too deserve our appreciation and support.

  • Facilitate equitable distribution of essential equipment and supplies – eliminate the state vs. state competition. Establishing a national standard of procurement and distribution increases efficiency and reduces costs.

  • Finally, we need a national testing strategy. The virus is out there, it’s everywhere. We need to be able to find it, to isolate it and to stop it from infecting more people. We need tests that are accurate, rapid, easy to use, low cost, and available to everyone who needs them. We need be able to trust the results so that we can trace contacts, isolate and quarantine appropriately while striving to develop a cure.

    As I reflect on the past few months of this outbreak, it is painfully clear that we were not as prepared as we should have been. We missed early warning signals and we forgot important pages from our pandemic playbook. There will be plenty of time to identify gaps for improvement. For now, we need to focus on getting things right going forward. We need to ensure that we have a plan to recovery and that everyone knows the plan and everyone participates in the plan. Congress has taken important steps to support the response; and we have more to do. We need your help to get us through the crisis.

    We Americans, working cooperatively with our global friends, can and will succeed in finding a cure for COVID19, but that success depends on what we do today. We must unite and use all available tools and measures we have to stem the damage this virus has wrought.

    We will either be remembered for what we did or for what we failed to do to address this crisis. I call on all of us to act – to ensure the health, safety, and prosperity of all Americans. You can count on me to continue to do my part.

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Mar. 19, 2020 Li Wenliang

On March 19, 2020 NPR’s Amy Cheng reported “Chinese Authorities Admit Improper Response To Coronavirus Whistleblower” Li Wenliang, the ophthalmologist whose early warnings of the coronavirus earned him a reprimand from Chinese authorities, is finally receiving justice — albeit posthumously. Authorities in the country are apologizing to his family and dropping their reprimand, six weeks after his death from the disease caused by the virus.  Widely known as a whistleblower who spoke up about the outbreak in the city of Wuhan, China, the 34-year-old doctor was initially punished by local authorities. They said he was “spreading rumors” in early January, after he had tried to warn others about the emergence of the novel coronavirus that has now become a global pandemic.  By the time the young doctor died of COVID-19 in early February, the virus had already claimed hundreds of lives. To date, more than 3,000 people have died of the virus in mainland China.  News of his death, coupled with accusations that the government was covering up the outbreak, triggered an avalanche of outrage from a wide cross-section of Chinese society. In response to popular demand, the central government dispatched investigators two days later to look into the circumstances surrounding his police reprimand and death.  

Beijing’s investigators now conclude that Wuhan authorities acted “inadequately” when they reprimanded the late doctor and failed to follow “proper law enforcement procedure.” They did not, however, explain what the correct response should be.  Investigators also characterized his efforts to sound the alarm on the coronavirus as a positive influence that aided in raising awareness.  Shortly after the official findings were published, Wuhan police announced that the two officers responsible for improperly reprimanding Li have been disciplined.

Copyright 2020 DJ Cline All rights reserved. 

Mar. 15, 2020 Blumbers

Corona Virus Covid-19

On December 21, 2018 seventeen-year-old Avi Schiffmann in Seattle started a site about the coronavirus in China called nCoV2019.live. The site tracked deaths and numbers of cases locally and globally. It talked about the number of people who have recovered. “I basically just wrote a script that every minute or so just goes to those websites and downloads the latest information.”

On January 10, 2020 NPR’s Pien Huang reported “CDC to Screen For New Strain Of Coronavirus”. Originally called 2019-nCoV, it was spreading in the Hubei province city of Wuhan. More than forty people were diagnosed with mysterious viral lung infections since early December. It may have originally spread from bats to an unknown animal and then to humans. Experts think the infection probably came from a seafood and live animal market with people touching or eating animals that carry the virus. These individuals then developed viral symptoms including fever, breathing issues and lesions on their lungs. Approximately two percent of mainly older humans die from it.

The coronavirus family includes six other strains known to infect humans. Four of those strains cause common colds, and two (SARS and MERS) have caused major pandemics. All share a signature look under a strong microscope: a circle with spikes coming off the surface, ending with small blobs — hence the “corona.” “Kind of looks like the peaks of a crown,” says Carolyn Machamer, a virologist and cell biologist at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

On January 24, 2020 NPR’s Emily Vaughan reported “Coronavirus 101: What We Do — And Don’t — Know About The Outbreak Of COVID-19” The corona virus called 2019 novel coronavirus was renamed COVID-19 by the United Nations World Health Organization. 

The virus can spread from human to human. Early symptoms include fever and dry cough. Some people also experience fatigue, headaches and, less frequently, diarrhea. Shortness of breath can develop in about 5 days. Symptoms in severe cases include pneumonia (which makes it harder to breathe) and kidney failure. People over age 40 who died had significant underlying conditions” like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Some eighty percent of cases were mild with twenty percent of more severe cases requiring hospitalization. Two percent could be fatal.

Chinese government officials temporarily shut down transportation to and from Wuhan by bus, subway, ferry, airplane and train, according to Chinese state media. At least twelve other Chinese cities have limited travel as well. The travel ban came just days before the biggest holiday on the Chinese calendar, the Lunar New Year. Despite that COVID-19 spread from China to  the U.S., Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 

On Mar. 4, 2020 NPR’s Stacey Vanek Smith reported “The Corona Bump” “Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the global economy and on businesses, disrupting manufacturing all over the world.”

That same day NPR’s Bill Chappell reported “Coronavirus Deaths In Washington State And California, Where Gov. Declares Emergency” The most recent death is connected to a cruise ship that traveled from the U.S. to Mexico. Officials in Placer County, Calif., announced that an elderly resident has become the first person to die from the illness in California. The patient, who was not identified, had underlying health conditions, according to the county. The patient tested positive for the coronavirus illness on March 3, 2020 and “was likely exposed during international travel from Feb. 11-21 on a Princess cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico.”

On Mar. 6, 2020 NPR’s Martin Kaste reported “U.S. Hospitals Prepare For A COVID-19 Wave” The  World Health Organization’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “We’re concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough or have decided there is nothing they can do. … This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.” 

Large numbers of people may overwhelm hospitals. The American Hospital Association says the total number of Intensive Care Unit beds is about 65,000. Richard Waldhorn is a pulmonary critical care physician who’s studied hospital preparedness for the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. He says government planning assumptions based on past flu pandemics suggest a surge in demand for intensive care that could range somewhere between 200,000 thousand and 2.9 million patients.

Around the world, people suspected of being infected were being quarantined on ships, military bases and their own homes for at least two weeks. The public was advised to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet apart.  Sporting events and other large gatherings like conventions are being cancelled and hurting local economies. People are losing their jobs and causing a downturn.

Mar. 6, 2020 NPR Kelsey Snell, Domenico Montanaro, Scott Horsley, and Asma Khalid reported “Stock Market Slide Could Reshape Election; Biden Faces Test In South Carolina Primary” the stock markets around the world began to fall thousands of points because of disruption by COVID-19.

On March 9, 2020 MSNBC’s Steve Benen reported “Trump struggles to explain why he disbanded his global health team”. “It was two years ago when Trump ordered the shutdown of the White House National Security Council’s entire global health security unit. NBC News had a good report on this recently, noting that the president’s decision “to downsize the White House national security staff — and eliminate jobs addressing global pandemics — is likely to hamper the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus.”

On March 11, 2020 NPR’s Jason Beaubien reported COVID-19 Is Officially A Pandemic, Declares World Health Organization. The head of the WHO Tedros, Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today he said that the WHO is making this designation because they expect that things are going to get worse.

On Mar. 13, 2020 NPR’s Avie Schneider reported US President Donald Trump belatedly declared a state emergency. Stock markets fell around the world. Trading was halted as the Dow plunged 2300 points. The bull market became a bear market. “Just on Monday, the stock market had its worst drop since 2008 amid fears that the growing spread of coronavirus would push the global economy into recession.”

On Mar. 14, 2020 NPR’s Maria Godoy reported “Flattening A Pandemic’s Curve: Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives”. As the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., more and more businesses are sending employees off to work from home. Public schools are closing, universities are holding classes online, major events are getting canceled and cultural institutions are shutting their doors. Even Disney World and Disneyland closed. The disruption of daily life for many Americans is real and significant — but so are the potential life-saving benefits of isolation.

It’s all part of an effort to do what epidemiologists call flattening the curve of the pandemic. The idea is to increase social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus, so that you don’t get a huge spike in the number of people getting sick all at once. If that were to happen, there wouldn’t be enough hospital beds or mechanical ventilators for everyone who needs them, and the U.S. hospital system would be overwhelmed. That’s already happening in Italy.

Hope all this helps figure out what happened.

Copyright 2020 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 1, 2020 Top Ten Surprising things about 2020

  1. People still smoke. Fifty years ago there was an ashtray for every carseat. Twenty five years ago there was a cupholder. Now every seat has a phone charger. I wonder what other  health hazards await us?
  2. We are still fighting China. We have always been at war with Eastasia.
  3. We are still fighting Russia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.
  4. A robot vacuum can clean your entire house, unless there are stairs.
  5. A robot car can take you to work, unless there are other cars (or people or squirrels) on the road.
  6. A phone can tell you anything you want to know. It can also tell anyone else anything they want to know about you.
  7. You have to pay to watch Gilligan’s Island but it is on a TV the size of billiard table.
  8. Because of global warming, you can wear white after Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  9. Because of global warming, you can sail from Tokyo to London through the Arctic Ocean and still eat too much on the cruise.
  10. Grown adults are driving around in bicycles, scooters and skateboard like children in a1950s cul de sac.

Copyright 2020  DJ Cline All rights reserved.

 

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

David Wallace-Wells, deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine has a new book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. It talks about the severity of climate change. “Russia could play a bigger, more dynamic role of rival in the future. And the same is true of China.” Regarding green technology “We could save $26 trillion in the global economy just by 2030, which is a very fast return, if we decarbonize quickly.” Regarding sea levels “So, we could see at least a hundred feet of sea level rise, possibly as much as 260 feet of sea level rise, if we melt all of the ice.” Regarding heat waves “You see, you know, projections that many of the biggest cities in India and the Middle East will be lethally hot in summer as soon as 2050, which means you really won’t be able to go outside during the summer without incurring some risk of heat stroke.”

Increasingly there are youth movements calling for action like the Green New Deal in America or the Extinction Rebellion in Europe. On February 21, 2019, sixteen year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden addressed the European Union: “We need to focus every inch of our being on climate change, because if we fail to do so, then all our achievements and progress have been for nothing. And all that will remain of our political leaders’ legacy will be the greatest failure of human history. And they will be remembered as the greatest villains of all time, because they have chosen not to listen and not to act. … And if you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction. And since our time is running out, we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess, and we will not stop until we are done.”

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 23, 2015 The New Yorker

On Mar. 16, 2015 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “In Praise of Short Sellers” about activist short selling investors. They shorted Lumber Liquidators stock based on reports that they were selling carcinogenic formaldehyde laminate wood products made in China. “stock prices are more accurate when short sellers are active.

Louis Menand wrote “A Friend Of The Devil” Soviet and American involvement in student organizations during the Cold War.

Note: 11-5-17 Beaverton OR Yahoo!

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 12, 2015 Wall Street Journal

On Jan. 12, 2015 the Wall Street Journal’s Mike Ramsey wrote “Electric-Car Pioneer Musk Charges Head-On at Detroit” about the way Tesla founder Elon Musk’s runs his car company. “During the launch of Model S production in 2012, Mr. Musk set up an office in the middle of the factory floor in Fremont Calif., and took over when hiccups emerged. He told workers to buy USB cables at nearby Fry’s Electronics Inc. stores after a snarl delayed a shipment from China.”

Gotta love the way Musk solves a problem. I wonder what kind of commission the salesperson at Fry’s got?

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 15, 2013 GABA Hardware Startups

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On Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 in Palo Alto at WilmerHale, GABA presented “The Rise of the Hardware Startup.” Steffen Bartschat of Hill88 moderated panelists Scott Bowie of Zao Technology Innovations, Mike Pierce of LUMO BodyTech, Ken Raab of Sonic Manufacturing and Sven Strohband of Khosla Ventures. They discussed KPCB technology expert Mary Meeker’s recognition of the Wearable/Everywhere Computing trend. After years of startups focusing on software they are now developing devices to run it on. Many of these devices are plastic boxes with batteries powering sensing and networking technology. The rise of additive manufacturing and 3D printing helps lower the barrier of entry, but designing and getting these devices to market is much more complicated than uploading an app. There are financial, physical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, logistical, legal and retail hurdles to overcome. Startups turn to experienced manufacturing contractors to get them through the prototyping and early manufacturing process. While making something in China seems like a foregone conclusion, there are capable contract manufacturing contractors in Silicon Valley who can work closely and quickly with a startup to get them to customers without a copy going out the back door. Making hardware is hard, but for a growing number if startups it is worth the risk.

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Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 23, 2013 AAMA Gavin Ni China VC And PE

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On July 23, 2013 in Santa Clara at Silicon Valley Bank, the AAMA hosted Gavin Ni’s presentation “Is Venture Capital and Private Equity still a ‘Fashion’ Business in China?”  Catharina Min, Managing Partner at ReedSmith moderated panelists Gavin Ni, CEO and Founder of Zero2IPO, Andy Tsao, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Bank, Jay Yan, Partner at ReedSmith, Raymond Yang, Co-Founder and Managing Director of WestSummit Capital. They talked about the current state and future trends of cross border investment between China and the United States. Also attending were China’s leading fund executives to meet with members of the Tsinghua University China Entrepreneurs Training Camp in Silicon Valley.

Min Catharina Ni Gavin Tsao Andy 1 Yan Jay Yang Raymond

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Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 24, 2012 SVC-W Hainan IT Development

On Monday, Sept 24, 2012, in Mountain View at Fenwick & West LLP, SVC-W held a cocktail party for the Hainan Province Governor. The island of Hainan is not only a tourist destination, but also a place for IT development as well. The speakers were:

  • Laurel Barsotti, Business Development Manager at City and County of San Francisco
  • Shangqing Ding, Director of the Department of Industry and Information Technology, Hainan Province, China
  • Guoliang Li, Deputy Governor of the Hainan Province, China
  • Man Lin, General Manager, HaiNan HengXin Telecom Engineering Co.Ltd
  • Peng Lu, Chairman, Sanya Huike International Information Industry Park Co.Ltd
  • Keqiang Wang, Deputy Director, Department of Commerce, Hainan Province, China
  • Chunzhi Yang, GM, Hainan Ecological Software Park Investment Co.Ltd

Note: Ridgefield WA?

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 6, 2011 SVForum Solar Trade War China

On Tuesday, December 6, 2011 in San Francisco at Nixon Peabody, SVForum held a Clean Tech Breakfast on “Solar Energy: Competition from China and the Solyndra Aftermath.” Mavis L. Yee of Nixon Peabody moderated panelists Troy Dalbey of Upsolar, Mark Domine of Enfinity , Kevin Gibson of Solaria, Mark Perutz of DBL Investors and Eric Wesoff of Greentech Media.

China now controls two thirds of the $39 billion photovoltaic (PV) solar production global market. China’s flood of cheap subsidized solar materials is at the expense of US manufacturers like Solyndra, despite substantial federal, state and local support. People in the solar industry are now worried that a trade war may break out just as the industry becomes competitive with old energy. Experts think that the money can be made in adding value to the basic systems with installation, monitoring and service. In other words, don’t try to make money from making an iPhone but from the apps.

Greg Smestad Ph.D., Associate Editor of Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells was on hand with a number of links to detailed stories on the state of the solar industry. There was so much information it will have to be a separate posting.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 22, 2011 SDF Electric Cars

On March 22, 2011 in San Francisco at Nixon Peabody, SDForum held a Clean Tech Breakfast on “Electric Vehicles – What’s Under the Hood?” Robert Ebe of Nixon Peabody moderated panelists Matt Boyle of Sevcon, Rob Ferber of ElectronVault, Gerd Goette of Siemens, Mark Platshon of VantagePoint and Ryan Popple of Kleiner Perkins (KPCB).

Under the hood, electric vehicles can be simpler than internal combustion engines. Their basic components are motors,  controllers (inverters), gauges, steering, DC converters, batteries, chargers, and accelerators.

The principles and design of the electric motor were worked out over a hundred and fifty years ago. They are ninety percent efficient and well understood. Batteries, on the other hand, tend to lose their energy density over time. Their efficiencies continue to improve with better materials and software but only with high oil prices are they competitive. Plan for evolution rather than revolution. If you can design your vehicle to be agnostic about what kind of battery it uses, it can extend its lifetime flexibility.

As fuel prices rise in America, electric cars like the Tesla, Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf are becoming available. But the most popular electric vehicle in China is not a car but a scooter. People in developing countries do not have to worry as much about older, existing, competing, subsidized legacy infrastructure. The new large cities cannot support the old ways. People just start buying small electric vehicles and are gradually creating a transportation infrastructure around it. Regardless of what other resources a country may have, any country that can generate electricity can build and drive a fleet of electric vehicles. Opportunities for investment and jobs are not only in the building of batteries but recycling them. Technology developed in the West will be scaled for manufacturing in the East and will create a global infrastructure of mass marketed vehicles.

In the West, the question is whether they will be adopted first by consumers or as fleet vehicles. Some believe that government incentives will drive purchasing decisions. Investors should not depend on constantly changing government policies. Your business model should be based on real market costs and demand.

New technology creates new headaches. One concern is about safety for first responders to an accident. How do you extract a person from a vehicle with a damaged and possibly ungrounded power supply? Another caveat is compressed natural gas (CNG). If it becomes cheaper than oil, it may be adapted for large trucks. The details will have to be worked out.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 20, 2010 The New Yorker

On Dec. 20, 2010 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Groupon Clipping” about Internet companies trying remain relevant or part of the next big thing like Google trying to buy Groupon.

Michael Specter wrote “The Doomsday Strain” about scientist Nathan Wolfe’s searching the world for new diseases and cures.

David Owen wrote “The Efficiency Dilemma” about US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and the idea that increasing energy efficiency might mean we just use more energy.

Pankaj Mishra wrote “Staying Power” about Mao Zedong’s rise in China.

Caleb Crain wrote “Tea And Antipathy” about the real Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 1, 2008 SDF China Wuxi

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On December 1, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, SDForum with the CSPA, Global Sourcing Alliance and Municipality of Wuxi, China presented “A Symposium on Software and Outsourcing”. Top government officials and executives were on hand to talk about China’s IT outsourcing market and investment opportunities. Continue reading Dec. 1, 2008 SDF China Wuxi