Monday, April 13, 2015

Making Conflict Work

Harvard Law
Peter Coleman, Columbia

Making Conflict Work ( book talk

Self assessment available at
30 minute set of questions

Not outcomes but patterns and relationships over time
Hierarchical power conflicts - over power differences
3 aspects of a situation in conflict: how important is this, are they with me or against me, are they more or less powerful than me (or equal) 

these interact to create 7 situations - compassionate responsibility, partnership, cooperative dependence, command and control, enemy territory, unhappy tolerance, independence 

basic mindsets:  benevolence, cooperation, support, dominance, competition, appeasement, autonomy
People tend to get stuck in the orientation which is most common in their experience

Strategies - pragmatic benevolence, collaboration, negotiated support, constructive dominance, 3 F (firm fair and friendly) competition, strategic appeasement, selective autonomy, adaptivity, revolution

Adaptivity, the ability to use different strategies, has better outcomes than sticking to one strategy
We tend not to adapt about a third of the time
However sometimes principled rebellion is necessary

1 - step 1 is to have a goal
3 - ask the 3 questions 
7 - seven conflict situations
7 - seven strategies
10 - ten tactics

Q: - the press of time?
Less consensual and cooperative under time constraints.  People move to their dominant response.

30-40% of management time is spent on managing interpersonal conflict

Q:  relationship between adaptivity and ability to change the situation?
Both and

Monday, March 30, 2015

Notes on Mario Livio's book, The Golden Ratio

_The Golden Ratio:  The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number_ by Mario Livio
NY:  Random House, 2002
ISBN 978-0-7679-0815-3

(6)  Roger Herz-Fischler, _A Mathematical History of the Golden Number_

(26)  Pythagoras emphasized the importance of learning above all other activities, because, in his words, "most men and women, by birth or nature, lack the means to advance in wealth and power, but all have the ability to advance in knowledge."

(67)  The key figure and driving force behind the geometrical theorems concerning the Golden Ratio was probably Theaetetus (ca. 417 BC - ca. 369 BC), who according to the Byzantine collection _Suidas_ "was the first to construct the five so-called solids."
NB:  Which actually go back to at least the Neolithic

(79)  In other words, in a regular pentagon, the ratio of the diagonal to the side is equal to ø.  This fact illustrates that the ability to construct a line divided in a Golden Ratio provides at the same time a simple means of constructing the regular pentagon.  The construction of the pentagon was the main reason for the Greek interest in the Golden Ratio. The triangle in the middle of Figure 25a, with a ratio of side to base of ø, is known as a Golden Triangle;  the two triangles on the sides, with a ratio of side to base of 1/ø, are sometimes called Golden Gnomons.

(81)  The Golden Ratio has the unique properties that we produce its square by simply adding the number 1 and its reciprocal by subtracting the number 1.  Incidentally, the negative solution of the equation x sub 2=(1-√5/2) is equal precisely to the negative of 1/ø.

(85)  The Golden Rectangle is the _only_ rectangle with the property that cutting a square from it produces a similar rectangle.
NB:  Successive cutting results in the ability to trace a logarithmic spiral converging on one point, the so-called Eye of God

(101)  As we go farther and farther down the Fibonacci sequence, the ratio of two successive Fibonacci numbers oscillates about (being alternatively greater and smaller) but comes closer and closer to the Golden Ratio.

(111-112)  One of the discoveries of the Bravais brothers in 1837 was that new leaves advance roughly by the same angle around the circle and that this angle (known as the divergence angle) is usually close to 137.5 degrees.  Are you shocked to hear that this value is determined by the the Golden Ratio?  The angle that divides a complete turn in a Golden Ration is 360º/ø=222.5 degrees.  Since this is more than half a circle (180 degrees), we should measure it going in the opposite direction around the circle.  In other words, we should subtract 222.5 from 360, giving us the observed angle of 137.5 degrees (sometimes called the Golden Angle).

(126)  Three of Piero's [della Francesca] mathematical works have survived:  _De Prospective pingendi (On perspective in painting), _Libellus de quinque Corporibus Regularibus (Short book on the five regular solids), and _Trattato d'Abaco (Treatise on the abacus).

(140)  Dürer's polyhedron in Melancolia I:

(146-147)  Kepler:  The Earth's sphere is the measure of all other orbits.  Circumscribe a dodecahedron around it.  The sphere surrounding it will be that of Mars. Circumscribe a tetrahedron around Mars.  The sphere surrounding it will be that of Jupiter.  Circumscribe a cube around Jupiter.  The surrounding sphere will be that of Saturn.  Now, inscribe an icosahedron inside the orbit of the Earth.  The sphere inscribed in it will be that of Venus.  Inscribe an octahedron inside Venus.  The sphere inscribed in it will be that of Mercury. There you have the basis for the number of the planets.

(155)  Kepler's songs of the planets: and in modern notation at

(171)  Another art theorist who had great interest in the Golden Ratio at the beginning of the twentieth century was the American Jay Hambidge (1867-1924).  In a series of articles and books, Hambidge defined two types of symmetry in classical and modern art.  One, which he called "static symmetry," was based on regular figures like the square and equilateral triangle, and was supposed to produce lifeless art.  The other, which he dubbed "dynamic symmetry," had the Golden Ratio and the logarithmic spiral in leading roles. Hambidge's basic thesis was that the use of "dynamic symmetry" in design leads to vibrant and moving art.  Few today take his ideas seriously.

(193)  [Joseph] Schillinger was  a great believer in the mathematical basis of music, and, in particular, he developed a System of Musical Composition in which successive notes in the melody followed Fibonacci intervals when counted in units of half-steps.

(205)  One of the most startling properties of any Penrose kite-dart tiling design is that the number of kites is about 1.618 times the number of darts.  That is, if we denote by Nkites the number of kites and Ndarts the number of darts, then Nkites/Ndarts approaches ø the larger the area we take in....

Another pair of Penrose tiles that can fill the entire plane (nonperiodically) is composed of two diamonds (rhombi), one fat (obtuse) and one thin (acute).  As in the kite-dart pair, each of the rhombi is composed of two Golden Triangles or Golden Gnomons, and special matching rules have to be obeyed (in this case described by decorating the appropriate sides or angles of the rhombi) to obtain a plane-filling pattern.  Again, in large areas there are 1.618 times more fat rhombi than thin ones, Nfat/Nthin=ø.

(206)  Penrose's work on tiling has been expanded to three dimensions.  In the same way that two-dimensional tiles can be used to fill the plane, three-dimensional "blocks" can be used to fill up space.  IN 1976, mathematician Robert Ammann discovered a pair of "cubes", one "squashed" and one "stretched," known as rhombohedra, that can fill up space with no gaps.  Ammann was further abel to show that given a set of face-matching rules, the pattern that emerges is nonperiodic and has the symmetry properties of the icosahedron; this is the equivalent of fivefold symmetry in three dimensions, since five symmetric edges meet at every vertex).  Not surprisingly, the two rhombohedra are Golden Rhombohedra - their faces actually are identical to the rhombi of the Penrose tiles.

(212)  Consider the following simple algorithm for the creation of a sequence known as the Golden Sequence.  Start with the number 1, and then replace 1 by 10.  From then on, replace each 1 by 10 and each 0 by 1.
NB:  What is this in binary?
181 181 21
181 22

(216)  These musings have turned into the by now-famous question:  "How long is the coast of Britain?"  Mandelbrot's surprising answer is that the length of the coastline depends on the length of your ruler.
NB:  Zeno's paradox

(219)  Clearly, for many systems (eg, a drainage system or a blood circulatory system), we may be interested in finding out at what reduction factor precisely do the branches just touch and start to overlap.  Surprisingly (or maybe not, by now), this happens for a reduction factor that is equal precisely to _one over the Golden Ratio_, 1/ø=0.618...  This is known as a Golden Tree, and its fractal dimension turns out to be about 1.4404.
NB:  Constructal theory

(224) Elliot's basic idea was relatively simple.  He claimed that market variations can be characterized by a fundamental pattern consisting of five waves during an upward ("optimistic") trend and three waves during a downward ("pessimistic") trend.

(233)  Newcomb... came up with an actual formula that was supposed to give the probability that a random number begins with a particular digit.  That formula gives for 1 a probability of 30%;  for 2, about 17.6%;  for 3, about 12.5%;  for 4, about 9.7%;  for 5, about 8 %;  for 6, about 6.7%;  for 7, about 5.8%;  for 8, about 5%; and for 9, about 4.6%.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BCSEA Webinar: Full Charge on Electric Cars!

webinar:  British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association
webinar video at

John Stonier, VeloMetro

Up to 1915, about half of the cars on the road were electric
Edison's nickel steel batteries in at least one electric vehicle have lasted until 1990
300,000 electric vehicles in USA, mostly in WA, OR, CA
The market has recently switched to buying all electric rather than hybrid
8 states have zero emission vehicle mandates:  CA MA CT OR Maryland RI NY and VT
Electricity is about 20¢ per liter equivalence to gasoline [in British Columbia]
Range is now sufficient for in-city but not quite yet for between cities driving but 300 kilometer [186 mile] batteries are in the pipeline
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are more expensive and more expensive to operate than electric 
An electric car is by definition a luxury vehicle and will last longer with lower operation costs:  1/6 operating costs, 1/6 maintenance, 1/3 depreciation, 3-5x life expectancy of gasoline vehicels
Batteries for Nissan Leaf should last 15-20 years
20% less total costs than internal combustion (his calculation is more like 40% over 10 years)
Tipping points:  condo charging for urban drivers (load sharing), access to HOV lanes, higher incentives, inter-city charging strategy, public charging for hospitality industry - EV tourism in BC, distance based auto insurance
Three DC fast charge standards:  CHAdeMO, SAE Combo, Tesla - SAE may be best
More light truck options:  Nissan NV200EV, Smith Electric, EV Fleet makes pickup sized vehicles, Via Motors makes the VTrux
Autonomous vehicles have all been electric
Vehicle to grid - decentralize storage and demand response

Q: battery upgrades?  Tesla is offering one for earlier Roadsters.
Yes but Nissan has changed the size of the battery bay which may require chemistry advances and may be some aftermarket suppliers too.
Q:  Critical business models?
Tesla did it right - start with luxury for quicker returns, attracting influencers and early adopters, corporate sales and direct marketing
Q:  Five person car?
Nissan and Tesla both have family sized cars and utility vans (Nissan).  Not yet light trucks.
Q:  Pull a trailer?
Hybrids also don't pull trailers.  Not sure why
Q:  Coal burning for electricity?
Electric cars use 1/4 of the energy to do the same thing and the grid is getting greener.  Coal is more costly than alternatives.

VeloMetro trial is happening in Vancouver this summer.  Human power, solar electric hybrid vehicle, less than 200 pounds.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

City to City: Mobility - Iceland to Boston


Over 60 communities in Iceland district heated, moving to electrification of transportation rather than hydrogen economy now.

Vern Global:  100% renewably powered data center. Iceland geothermal and with wind at 40% efficiency as opposed to 7% in EU, the second most reliable grid in the world (after Germany?)

Dagur Eggertsson, mayor of Reykjavik:  first public school connected to district heating in 1930 and whole city by the 1970s, now also producing electricity.  Coal phased out by 1967.  23% of energy use in transportation and produces most of their ghgs.  As much a car culture as US.

David Keith, Sloan School, studying adoption of alternative fuel vehicles.  Turnover of vehicle fleet is painfully slow, each vehicle lasts about 16 years in Iceland. New tech adoption is socially contagious - the more sold, the more will be sold.

Vineet Gupta, Boston city transportation:  1/3 of the city is 18-45, 60% of all trips are by foot or bike.  4000 electric vehicles in MA. Half of the public land in Boston are streets and sidewalks.  Infrastructure for on-demand transportation.

Ryan Chin:  electrification, sharing systems, autonomy for transportation.  Singapore is a case study. 300,000 cars could provide the whole 5.4 million people with transport within 20 minutes as shared vehicles.
Bjorgvon Sigurdsson, national electric company of Iceland, Landsvirkjun - all of the electricity produced in Iceland 100% renewable and largest producer of electricity per capita (Norway is second).  Producing methanol as green fuel.

Wolfgang Gruel, Daimler:  car2go - easy car sharing system, now in 29 cities in 8 countries.  Moovel - a platform to simplify mobility, map your trip and buy tickets for the journey.

Einar Gudmundsson, Arion Bank:  business accelerators - Startup Reykjavik and Startup Energy, 54 startups so far.

Q: how to manage the transition?
Small experiments that can fail until something works.

RC: energy will be more distributed and microgrids
DE:  competitiveness is all about the quality of life

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Envisioning the Energy Future

Envisioning the Energy Future was an event held from 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at the conference center of the Federal Reserve Bank across from South Station in Boston.  The conference was hosted by the Acadia Center, formerly ENE, Energy Northeast and brought together practitioners from Denmark and all over NE to share their expertise.

The morning panel was on  "Utility in the future," moderated by Abigail Anthony, Acadia Center 

Nathan Adams, Green Mountain Power
Tim Woolf, Synapse Energy Economics, Inc
Jonathan Schrag, Guarini Center (NY)
Peter Rothstein, New England Clean Energy Council

Jonathan Schrag - will distributed generation be as green as RGGI?  Market-based initiatives are driving the marketplace. They are looking at things like Priceline for an open marketplace structure, at least in NY.  Brooklyn doing an innovative demand management project.

Current state microgrid projects can drive grid and regulatory modernization.  Focus on what you want the grid to do rather than particular technologies.

Peter Rothstein - more than 10% of the largest cleantech companies in the world in MA, over 80,000 soon to be 100,000 people employed in the state in this sector.  More than 10% of ARPA-E grants in MA, many in storage. How do you get utilities to invest in new technologies, in an environment where they now spend .2% on R & D, about a tenth of what industry in general spends. RD&D - demonstrations to develop workable business models.  Third parties are going to be a major party to future developments.  Change the model to one more like telecom which anticipates the customers' next needs.  The innovations will need to serve both customers and provide value for the grid.

Tim Woolf - it may be harder to get the regulators to change than the utilities.  Performance based rate making - UK's RIO (sp?) is one example and require strict performance standards.  Demonstrates a shift to outcomes.  Performance based mechanisms are a way to proceed - track and report, target setting, rewards and penalties.  Each of these measures can stand alone or combined.  There are pitfalls in terms of uncertainty of outcomes and unintended consequences as well as gaming and manipulation.  Collecting data is a no regrets policy that can be implemented now.

Nathan Adams - changing grid model, customer value, use local resources.  Moving to a network leveraging distributed marginal pricing.  Most people don't want to deal with real time pricing but technology can do it for them.  Third parties to create value for utility, customers, and the third parties.  NY, CA, MA are now leading in policy reform.  Pilot microgrid project in Rutland to build the model - frequency regulation, solar ramp smoothing , islanding with automation to follow by Fall after summer installation.  Storage through a solar/battery -  battery 4MW - 2.5 MW solar.  Over 200 controllable water heaters.  Hardest challenge is to engage customer appliances without inconveniencing customers.  Change the utility capital model - cap revenue to drive efficiency;  turn grid into platform business so that the market creates prices not regulators.  Frequency regulation market ISO-NE is initiating is a good step forward.

Over lunch, Klaus Veslov, of Oestkraft (, the municipal utility on the Danish island of Bornholm spoke about "The Ecogrid EU Project in a Strategic Perspective" (

Danish is wind first with solar and biomass and a full electrification of infrastructure, exchanging energy with Sweden, Norway, and UK (UK connecting with Iceland).  Storage is a problem and they can't make a business case for hydrogen on any terms.  Danish political and social consensus is going to renewables quickly.

Bornholm - bright green island, 100% fossil free by 2025, as a business case.  80% renewables now with a lot of problems with solar intermittence balanced by coal and diesel.  Population is 45,000 and has become the national test site for new energy systems with municipalities, companies, and universities participating.  2000 households in the Ecogrid, about 4000 people, with lots of green building, energy efficiency, geothermal, and electric vehicles.  From consumers to prosumers.  First stage from 2011-2015 with a proposal for Ecogrid 2.0. Now there is overproduction of wind. Household investments in air to water heat pumps with district heating.  Reversing market system for peak shaving and educating customers to use energy when it is being produced, running demand backward - grid demands energy from distributed resources. Participants are not being motivated by money because there isn't much economic benefit yet.  Automating about 1200 households with energy controls. 2 hours of training per participant at their demonstration Villa Smart house but voluntary demand response lasts for only about 30 days.

Leveling the Playing Field for Distributed Energy Resources

Scudder Parker, VT Energy Investment Corp
Amy Boyd, Acadia Center
Fran Cummings, Peregrine Energy
Jim Grevatt, Energy Futures Group
Kerrick Johnson, VELCO

Amy Boyd - skyrocketing transmission costs in NE, higher than the rest of the US.  Define reliability needs rather than transmission needs to bring non-wire alternatives into the picture earlier.  Regional entities don't pay for non-wires, the states pay for it on their own.

Jim Grevatt -  NY case study for ConEd on energy efficiency as an alternative to transmission and distribution costs.  They realized they did not have to build the projects that were deferred through efficiency.  2013 heat wave spurred them to greater action.  Brooklyn Queens project is $200 (?) million, 85% residential.

Fran Cummings - RI National Grid on solar PV as a distributed resource in Tiverton and Little Compton.  Found that orienting solar to the west rather than due south for more value to the grid in peak shaving and distribution.  Solar is a better distribution resource than expected.

Pecan Street project in Austin, TX - a neighborhood energy initiative.

Kerrick Johnson - VT case study, a transmission company, 2010-2013 deferred $400 million transmission through alternatives. Only 4% of that benefit was to VT ratepayers as opposed to regional ratepayers. Transmission returns on a state by state level can benefit the state's ratepayers to the detriment of regional ratepayers.

NB:  IBM came up often in terms of data and controls both here and on Denmark.  Energy smart cities are halfway to smart cities.

The Role of Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Resources to Reduce Price Pressures in the Energy System

James Howland, Acadia Center
Jeremy Newberger, national Grid
Jeff Schlegel, Schlegel and Associates
Michael Stoddard, Efficiency Maine Trust
Eric Wilkinson, ISO-NE

Jeff Schlegel -  Energy efficiency as demand reduction, lowering price volatility but the multiple values of the efficiencies are disaggregated based upon the regulations and pricing. Adjust peak times closer to reality, now 11am to 3pm.  No longer any winter peak capacity numbers in ISO-NE.

NB:  Different peaks for different flows:  peak demand, peak solar and renewables supply, peak system efficiency

Eric Wilkinson - the vast majority of energy efficiency has been in lighting.  ISO-NE wants to see new interconnection standards so that a blip in transmission does not result in taking a large chunk of PV offline due to automatic shutdown.

Jeremy Newberger -  RI has an energy efficiency focus.

Michael Stoddard - ME energy efficiency through Efficiency Maine Trust statewide, about 2.7 cents per kWh (?) to save energy.  Boothbay project replaced about $16 million of transmission with $6 million of non transmission resources within six months. Boothbay is using some of the fishery industry freezers as energy storage.

Even MA, most efficient in the US for the last 5 years, lags in terms of energy efficiency compared to Europe.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Creating Renewables Micro-Utiliies

Justin Buck, Cambrian Innovation

Modular, turn-key waste water to energy systems using electrically active microbes.  The amount of energy in waste water is proportional to the BOD level. 

Uses exo-electrogenic organisms like geobacter and shewanella.  Geobacter is efficient and shewanella can operate in a wider variety of circumstances (a generalist).
They can build microbial fuel cells using waste water as a fuel.

Cambrian is looking at water treatment, electricity generation, and information from the flow through the system.

Ecovolt - world's first bioelectrically enhanced waste water treatment system, a biogas producer which can remove more BOD from water than traditional methods and produce more biogas.  Does not yet deal with heavy metals and pollutants like benzene.  A primary treatment system that removes soluble BOD, provides heat through hot water, biogas, and electricity.  Payback from less than a year to three years.  20,000 gallons per day per module.  Working on a WEPA - water energy power agreement.  The electricity comes from burning methane.

Scaling is the most difficult thing.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pollster Peter Hart at Harvard 2/3/15

Pollster Peter Hart spoke at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on February 3, 2015 to a small group of people in the regular Tuesday noon conversation.  He brought slides from the recent NBC/WallStreetJournal poll done just prior to State of the Union

The major point was that the Michigan consumer index is well up over 85% and his own polling shows that people are more satisfied with the economy (45% to 55%) than they have been before. The recovery is still not complete but people seem to be feeling better about their economic future.

Creating jobs, defeating ISIS, reducing the deficit are the top three issues, in different order, for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents but people, in general, hate the government and, in particular, loathe Congress.

Hart related how in one a focus group, a Republican woman, Jenny, said the politician she'd most like to spend an hour with is Elizabeth Warren.  She was mad at Boehner because he said everyone who needs a job has one.  As her husband has been out of work and looking for 18 months, she knows that's not true.  She also feels caught since she went back to school for more training and to advance in her job.  Now she has student loans that amount to about $1300 a month, nearly twice her monthly rent.

He spent most of the hour answering questions.  Asked about polling now, he said it has nothing to do with what will happen in 2016.  One Republican candidate who stood out in his polling and focus groups is Rand Paul.  All the other Republican candidates had problems.  Hart advised us to look at who has a theme, who has something to say to the country.  He believed that Jeb Bush at least has a vision as does Paul.

As to what to run on, Hart said that candidates should run on safety and economic security, as always;  but it's no longer war, it's radical terrorism and how we get our sense of confidence back. Immigration remains a hot button issue while gay marriage seems to be settled and something the Republicans should avoid.

Hart's company now break out Republicans into Tea Party and not in all their polls.  I asked him about this after the session and he agreed that there are a number of different constituencies in the party today which may result in the Republican party becoming more like the Democratic party, a collection of competing interests.

When asked, he refused to name who were his picks for 2016 but gave betting odds that it would be Clinton and Bush.  The advantage goes to the Republicans given that the 6 year election results have been a historic indicator.

One major difference from previous years is that anger is closer to the surface now and there is a disconnect within the population with many not realizing how much of a struggle it is to get ahead or simply live now.

In discussing the idea of "voters voting against their own interests," he talked a little about West Virginia which voted for Dukakis in 1988 but is now a solid Republican state although there has been no real demographic changes within the population.  West Virginia changed from economic to social value voters over time.

On the issue of income equality, Hart says the debate is no longer supply side versus fairness but economic security.   He has not done any polling on the issue of inequality of opportunity.

He believes that Senatorial and Congressional choices are made from the head but Mayors, Governors, and Presidents are chosen on more intangible measures.  Who would you like to be in a car in the HOV lane with?

People are getting their information more and more from the Internet.  Fox and MSNBC viewers are like the fans of different teams.  But younger people follow a wider range of news sources than their elders.

He believes that voter participation will be up in 2016 but the African-American vote will be down unless there is someone on the ticket to energize them.  Voters under 30 have been turning out and their cohort will probably keep growing.

Both he and his Republican partner, Bob McInturff, felt that in 2012 there was a potential for a double digit third party and there still is potential for a Broom Party, clean sweep of the bums. (Obviously, he doesn't understand how difficult it is to get a third party on the ballot state by every 50 states.  It is probably too late already for such an enterprise to be successful for 2016.)

Asked whether the economy is as predictive an indicator as it was, he replied that the consumer index looks like it will go up but there may be "Democratic fatigue" as Obama builds his legacy, something that will be perceived as pushing the country to the left.

"Hillary's campaign will be bigger than life," Hart says but Elizabeth Warren is perfect on one issue for a lot of people.  She has the potentiality to be the Robert Kennedy of 2016.

I asked him about the concern about the deficit, whether he had done reality testing with the issue, letting people know that the deficit has decreasing rather than growing, cut in about a half since Obama took office.  Hart replied that people do not understand the economy and that he has not done any of what I would call reality polling, asking people their opinions on the deficit and then polling them again after they've seen what the numbers actually are.