Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking forward to reading

Three books are on my list.  Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner (which is out) and Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson (out in October).  Anderson is the editor of Wired magazine and the author of the excellent The Long Tail.  The last is Merchant, Soldier, Sage: A New History of Power by David Priestland.

Graph of the week

Earning 44% During the Drought

This is interesting - - Impax Asset Management Group Plc and their profitability during the drought.  Extreme weather and climate change is going to produce individuals and organizations that are on both sides of the ledger.

More on Impax here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

IBM and Predictive Asset Management

This is a good example of IBM filling a need in the asset management, risk management, and predictive analytics opportunity space.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


In an effort to solve some of the world’s biggest water problems, the ImagineH20 competition rewards tech start-ups with commercially viable ways to save, clean and use water more efficiently every year. The competition revealed its 2012 winners this week in San Francisco.

The 2012 ImagineH2O prize for a pre-revenue start-up, which includes $10,500 cash and consulting services and software from PwC and Autodesk, went to Bilexys, a University of Queensland (Australia) spinout founded by serial clean-tech entrepreneur Eric Donsky, the former CEO of Applied CarboChemicals (later renamed BioAmber) and TearLab.

Bilexys works with the manufacturers of everything from paper products to beverages and dairies. Specifically, Bilexys’ technology uses bacteria to take unwanted organic matter that’s in wastewater and turn it into valuable chemicals, like food-grade cleaning agents that can be used immediately, on-site, to maintain factory equipment.

One pilot customer that Bilexys is working with is the maker of a well known Australian beer, Donsky says, but he was not authorized to release the brand’s name yet.

The company is developing a pipeline of other chemicals, and even plastics, that it can make from this process.

The serial entrepreneur reports that while his latest venture is not yet generating revenue, it attained $5 million in Australian dollars in grant financing from the government of Australia to test and install its systems at pulp and paper factories and breweries there.

Steve Kloos, a partner at True North Venture Partners who judged the ImagineH2O competition this year, noted that “harnessing wastewater as a source of valuables,” is a popular approach among water tech start-ups in the space. So is handling wastewater more cost-effectively. Bilexys systems and its business plan did both of these things, which helped put it in the winners’ circle.

Last year, five of the companies that made it to the finals in ImagineH2O signed term sheets for seed or Series A rounds."

Increasing urban water self-sufficiency: New era, new challenges

This is an excellent paper in the Journal of Environmental Management by Rygaard, Binning, and Albrechtsen - - Increasing urban water self-sufficiency: New era, new challenges.  The record drought of 2012 puts the paper (published in 2011) in the proper context.  The notion of decentralizing and self-sufficiency needs to be considered in a water resource constrained world.  The abstract - -

"Urban water supplies are traditionally based on limited freshwater resources located outside the cities.  However, a range of concepts and techniques to exploit alternative water resources has gained ground as water demands begin to exceed the freshwater available to cities.  Based on 113 cases and 15 in-depth case studies, solutions used to increase water self-sufficiency in urban areas are analyzed.  The main drivers for increased self-sufficiency were identified to be direct and indirect lack of water, constrained infrastructure, high quality water demands and commercial and institutional pressures.  Case studies demonstrate increases in self-sufficiency ratios to as much as 80% with contributions from recycled water, seawater desalination and rainwater collection.  The introduction of alternative water resources raises several challenges: energy requirements vary by more than a factor of ten amongst the alternative techniques, wastewater reclamation can lead to the appearance of trace contaminants in drinking water, and changes to the drinking water system can meet tough resistance from the public.  Public water-supply managers aim to achieve a high level of reliability and stability.  We conclude that despite the challenges, self-sufficiency concepts in combination with conventional water resources are already helping to reach this goal."

Other points in the paper - -

"Self-sufficient water supplies are driven by direct (physical) and indirect (political) water deficits, concerns of water quality, and constrained water infrastructure.  The inter disciplinary nature of the drivers emphasizes that water management is not just an engineering challenge."

And - -

"The desire for self-sufficiency is a major trend and driver for new technologies and concepts in modern water supplies.  Technologies like wastewater reclamation and desalination are attractive because of their reliability and stability, and rainwater collection can decrease pressures on other water resources.  They will become increasingly common as water utilities seek more secure solutions by diversifying their approaches to water supply."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The Michigan-based firm EcoMotors is perfecting an opposed-piston, opposed-cycle (OPOC) engine, in which a pair of pistons moving horizontally share a combustion chamber.  The added efficiency could push a compact car to 100 mpg.  Production is schedule in five to seven years.

As Richard Muller points out in Energy for Future Presidents (I would highly recommend this book - - even for non-Presidents), we are addicted to gasoline automobile for some very good reasons.  These include the following:
  • Fill rate.  When you fill up the fuel tank, you are transferring gasoline at a rate of about 2 gallons per minute.  Given the energy density of gasoline, that is equivalent to an amazing 4 megawatts.  However, an internal combustion engine is only 20-25% efficient (electric engines are 80%-90% efficient), so that means that useful energy is transferred at a rate of only 1 megawatt.  Even so, that is a huge number - enough electricity for 1,000 small homes.
  • Range.  After a 10-gallon fill-up that takes only 5 minutes, you can drive 300 miles in an average US auto.
  • Residue.  When you've used all the energy in your tank, there is no ash, no residue, nothing to clean out.
  • Cost.  At $3.50 per gallon, and 35 mpg, the cost of fuel for one mile is about 10 cents.  This is so cheap that many people choose to move to homes that are far from their workplace and commute large distances every day, suffering traffic jams and long travel times, but getting the benefit of a better choice of home.  According to a survey of car commuters made by the market research firm TNS in 2005, the average auto commute takes 26 minutes each way to travel 16 miles.  That's about a gallon of gasoline per day, or about $3.50.  That's so cheap that we spend more on luxury and comfort than we do on the fuel.  It's a bit different in Europe, where high taxes push fuel price to twice that in the United States.
  • Emissions.  The emissions from gasoline are primarily carbon dioxide and water vapor. (Soot and nitrous oxides are now largely under control in the United States.)  Those are the same gases that we breathe out.  And prior to our worries about global warming, carbon dioxide was considered benign - it helps plants grow.
The electric may be our future, but battery-auto range and battery cost have proven to be very problematic.  Climate change has the potential to change our view of the gasoline powered auto.  But look for the internal combustion engine in our future.  Two issues will be in important.  One is the continued drive for greater and greater gas mileage and efficiencies (and hopefully we will not consume these gains by just living farther from work and driving more).  The second is the understanding that we don't (and never had) have an energy crisis.  We have a transportation fuel crisis.  We don't have an energy shortage.  We have an oil shortage.  We're not running low on oil.  We're running low on liquid fuels.  The internal combustion engine of the future needs to take this into consideration.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Neil A. Armstrong 1930-2012

On the flight to the Moon - - his annual salary was $17,000 and he received the standard per diem, $8.  He could not get private life insurance.  One of the best that any school of engineering has produced. 

A Sentence to Ponder

From The Lean Startup by Eric Ries - -

". . . there has been an overemphasis on planning, prevention, and procedure, which enable organizations to achieve consistent results in a mostly static world."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

EmNet, LLC

EmNet, LLC provides decision support tools for water and wastewater utility applications.  From the EmNet website - -

EmNet, LLC is a multi-disciplinary engineering company specializing in the design and implementation of custom Real Time Decision Support Systems (RT-DSS) for wastewater collection systems. RT-DSS combine the cumulative knowledge of a hydraulic model with real-time field information to enable end users to obtain actionable insight in order to optimize key utility assets. The successful implementation of a RT-DSS enables utilities to effectively evaluate the hydraulic performance of the collection system and identify strategies that optimize conveyance and storage in the collection system. To accomplish this, a RT-DSS enables the utility to collect hydraulic, hydrological, and water quality information, analyze the data to obtain actionable information, and finally implement the most adequate strategy to optimize the utility assets effectively reducing costs and improving quality of service.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Sentence to Ponder

From the Wall Street Journal today -  a story by Paul Kix, You Are Drinking What? - -

"The U.S. could increase its water supply 27% if it recycled all the wastewater dumped into waterways."

Proficy Water Operations

GE Intelligent Platforms (a unit of GE) has developed software designed to help water and wastewater utilities  record and reuse procedural information.  Proficy Water Operations helps plant operators by guiding them through the steps of carrying out operations, maintenance, and repair activities.  The software has the capabilities to hold on to the knowledge of best practices that can be lost when veteran operators retire - - the key organization process of capturing and revising institutional plant knowledge.  Proficy Water Operations is intended to digitize manual and automated processes and make that information available throughout a facility, accessible to plant operators, maintenance teams, field crews, and managers.

This will be important to watch - - GE is developing a digitized library of standard operating procedures for water and wastewater applications.

Graph of The Week

The Limits of Convergence

From the current issue of the Economist - -

In addition to disarming critics and delighting investors, Apple has been dishing out lawsuits. As The Economist went to press, a testy court battle in America between the firm and Samsung over various patents connected with smartphones and tablet computers was drawing to a close. Like his mentor, Mr Cook is clearly not afraid of a fight. He also seems to be developing other Jobs-like traits, including a penchant for pithy put-downs. Asked on an analysts’ call whether personal computers and tablets could one day merge into a single device, Mr Cook shot back: “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Moneyball Comes to The NFL

New Moneyball metrics for football.  Very good article - - this is a sample:

Football's Pythagorean Theorem

In a Sentence: Point differential is a better indicator of future winning percentage than winning percentage itself.

How It Works: Created by Bill James for baseball and modified for football in the early '90s by current Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, the Pythagorean theorem (or "Pythagorean expectation") is a formula that translates a team's points scored and allowed into an "expected" winning percentage. That formula isn't exactly for the faint of heart:

Points For2.37 / (Points For2.37 + Points Against2.37)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Paragraph to Ponder

From the Marginal Revolution:

"Here’s the real threat. Even if the Bush tax cuts are extended and the sequester delayed, a huge amount of fiscal drag remains in place. They include the expiration of the payroll tax cut, the expiration of extended unemployment insurance benefits, imposition of a new 3.8% Medicare investment tax on the wealthy, and the bite to discretionary spending embedded in the Budget Control Act and prior continuing resolutions. ISI Group projects $220 billion of fiscal tightening in 2013, or 1.4% of GDP. JPMorgan, noting that many Recovery Act programmes are rolling off at the same time, puts the hit at a slightly higher $266 billion, or 1.7% of GDP. The IMF reckons fiscal policy will tighten more in America next year than in Spain, Italy or Portugal. Though smaller than the full fiscal cliff, the fiscal clifflet still poses a significant headwind to the economy. If enough other bad stuff is going on, it could push the economy back into recession."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Graph of The Week

Education, Recession, and Recovery - -

Red Ink

This is in my running for the best book of 2012 - - Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget by David Wessel.  You learn something on every page regarding the federal budget - - and citizenship should be about learning where the money comes from and where it goes.  Some of this is rather complex, but other parts of understanding the federal budget is extremely transparent and can be explained with a simple pie chart.

Consider this from the book - -

"This book focuses on the federal government, but Americans pay state and local taxes also, too.  For every $1 the federal raised in 2011, state and local governments collected another 58 cents from sales, property, income, and other taxes.  That measure recently has been distorted by the federal government's ability to cut taxes and run deficits during a recession; most states can't do that.  But even before the recession, the weight of state and local taxes rose from 44 cents for every $1 of federal taxes in 2011 to 49 cents in 2007.  Of course, the burden varies widely by state.  State and local governments in New York take about 15 percent of personal income, while in Missouri they take about 9 percent."

Best Book of The Summer

Without question - - Peter Heller's The Dog Stars.  Best line I have read recently - - "Can you fall in love through a rifle scope?"  Hig, Jasper, Bangley - - the tale of survival in a very uncivil world.  You might want to consider taking up flying, welding, gardening, and fly fishing.

Look for a movie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Management Word of The Week - Sabanization

From the college football issue (August 20, 2012) of Sports Illustrated - - The Sabanization of College Football by Andy Staples.  The word is "Sabanization" and is explained in the following paragraph:

"Instead of talking about wins and championships, Saban speaks about the Process.  In its most basic form, the Process is Saban's term for concentrating on the steps to success rather than worrying about the end result.  Instead of thinking about the scoreboard, think about dominating the man on the opposite of the line of scrimmage.  Instead of thinking about a conference title, think about finishing a ninth rep in the weight room.  Instead of thinking about graduating, think about writing a great paper for Intro to Psych.  Since Saban has won three of the past nine BCS titles (LSU in 2003, Alabama in '09 and '11), the phrase has morphed into the mission state for Saban's program-building philosophy.  After watching the Tide coach raise all those crystal footballs, athletic directors and coaches across the country are trying to replicate his philosophy and results.  Call it the Sabanization of college football."

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Paragraph to Ponder

From the August 16, 2012 edition of the Financial Times - - a commentary by economist Jeffrey Sachs, The US has already lost the battle over government:

"In fact, Mr. Obama's overall discretionary spending targets are essentially the same as Mr. Ryan's.  Whether Mr. Obama or Mr. Rommary wins, the "non-security" discretionary budget - for education, job skills, infrastructure, science and technology, space, environmental protection, alternative energy and climate change adaption - is on the chopping block.  Mr. Obama's budget would shrink the non-security discretionary programmes from an already insufficient 3.1 per cent of GDP in 2011 to 1.8 per cent in 2020.  That is the "liberal" alternative."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

City-Based Visas

This is very interesting - - from the Urbanization Project.

The Magic of Engineering

The power and promise of 3D printing and low cost, custom, high quality, and life changing manufacturing.  Engineering makes a huge difference in the world - - the little girl would agree.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Engineering and the Grim Reaper

If you design or construct bridges for a living the following paragraph is important.  If you develop assisted living centers it is important.  If you build hospitals it is important.  If you work on strategic planning it is important. 

It is one of those paragraphs that everyone should find important (from the New York Times, August 15, 2012 - America's Aversion To Taxes):

"The reason is not difficult to figure out: rich though we are, we can't afford the policies needed to improve our record.  The politicians in Washington all know that we face a long-term fiscal crisis.  By 2020, 70 million Americans are expected to be on Social Security, up from 45 million in 2000.  The ranks on Medicare will swell to 64 million, up form 40 million in 2000.  Virtually every economist knows that just maintaining Medicare and Medicaid benefits will require raising taxes on the middle class."

This is probably one of the biggest social, political, and economic challenges and opportunities the country faces.  How this  gets worked out will have broad ramifications for engineering.  Keep in mind we also have a technological issue that interfaces with the social/political/economic hurdles of an aging planet.  It is summed up perfectly in a headline in the current issue of Scientific American:

"How We All Will Live to Be 100"

The article, by Katherine Harmon, closes with the following paragraph:

"Even without any exceptional scientific breakthroughs in longevity and disease research, our plodding scientific progress - not to mention advances in health care and sanitation - continues to extend our life span.  Average life expectancy worldwide increases by three months every year.  That is not a bad return.  Even developed regions such as Europe continue to gain about two years every decade.  With luck - and more hard work - those living a century from now will consider our life expectancy pitifully short."

Extending the match between individuals and the Grim Reaper will fundamentally change many aspects of US society.  It will change the global community.  Engineering had better start thinking about these issues.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Digital convergence in 2012 basically means the smart phone (iPad users might differ).  The smart phone has become the platform in which video, phone, data collection, text, etc. has converged (at one point in time, the television was envisioned as the platform for convergence).

The ikeGPS, created by Surveylab, Wellington, New Zealand and distributed in the United States by Altus Positioning Systems, Torrence, Calif., has the potential to be the industry example of GPS capabilities convergence.  The ikeGPS allows for holistic collection - - digital compass, camera, laptop, and laser-range finder - - that opens the data door for utility operations.

The ikeGPS is accurate within 0.6 meters and can be coupled with a receiver to get centimeter-level accuracy.  Your local electric company can utilize the device to measure the distance between utility lines and poles from up to 1,000 meters away.  It can take a tree and collect specific data - - like height and width.  The utility can also rotate it in the software to see which way it will lean (and I lost my power this week during a storm - - leaning is important).

Digital convergence is important, but also important is the technology curve (which declines with time) and the labor curve (which typically increases with time - - especially if you factor in fringe benefits like health care).  The GPS/GIS market is huge ($3.7 billion by 2017 for the utility industry) - - allowing organizations to do more and better with fewer labor resources.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drilling More and Deeper

From NBC News - -

"He is one of more than 3,700 farmers and ranchers in Missouri who have been approved for emergency well drilling. Gov. Jay Nixon issued an executive order last month for the state to pay up to 90 percent of the cost to dig new or deeper wells for farmers severely impacted by the drought. The farmers will pay the remainder of that cost. So far, the state has set aside more than $18 million to dig these new wells."

Article on the tremendous growth in the number of water wells that have been drilled in Texas since the 2011 drought - -

Water well drilling in Austin - -

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Free Educational Opportunities

High quality and free should get people charged up.  This is a perfect example of the online educational opportunities that are available - - free.  New broadening educational opportunities, questions about old problems, critical thinking, systems thinking - - all of this requires a new way of thinking about how we educate engineers over their entire careers.  The world has gotten so complex, so interconnected, so fast, so dynamic, so daunting to understand - - continuous learning has to be part of the career playbook.  With continuous learning evolving into online high quality and free - - absolutely no excuse for not taking advantage of the opportunity.

75 Global Cities To Watch in 2025

From the September/October 2012, the magazine Foreign Policy has developed a list of the top 75 cities in world of 2025.  More than ever, cities matter.  Today, just 600 urban centers generate 60% of global GDP.  But though 600 cities will continue to account for the shame share of global GDP in 2025, the elite global 75 will have a very different membership.  Of The Most Dynamic Cities of 2025, some 40% of which will come from China.

These are the US cities and their ranking on the 2025 global dynamic cities list:
  • #7 - New York
  • #12 - Los Angeles
  • #22 - Houston
  • #23 - Dallas
  • #25 - Washington, DC
  • #38 - Chicago
  • #44 - Miami
  • #48 - Atlanta
  • #54 - Phoenix
  • #57 - San Francisco
  • #70 - San Diego
  • #71 - Philadelphia
  • #75 - Seattle

Beijing Goldenway Bio-Tech

Beijing produces 18,000 tons of garbage every day.  This is enough to fill 29 Rose Bowls each year.  Because of the tremendous waste volume and land constraints they face, China is becoming the center of rethinking and reinventing garbage management.  Chinese companies are developing cutting edge recycling technology that could soon render landfills and incinerators obsolete - - or at least much less common.

Beijing Goldenway Bio-Tech has developed a system that can transform up to 400 tons of food waste per day into fertilizer.  The odorless process uses specially manufactured enzyme that breaks down waste in just 10 hours , resulting in a brown powder Goldenway says is ideal for growing organic crops.  The company operates 10 such plants throughout China, though it encountered resistance from residents worried about health problems and foul smells when it unveiled plans for a facility in Beijing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Living Machine System

The Living Machine System provides high levels of treatment in a compact space with very little operations and maintenance required.  In a world constrainted by inadequate water resources, wastewater reuse will be critical.  With efficient performance in a variety of applications, the Living Machine System (termed a tital flow wetland system) offers an opportunity for wastewater recyling and reuse.  This is another example of the decentralizing trend in water and wastewater systems.

From the Living Machine System website:

"Water systems today are designed to use water once and flush it downstream, with less than 0.3% of water consumed in the USA being reused locally. The growing constraints on water resources mean that we have to redesign our systems for significant reuse.

In our society, the image of reusing water is often unpleasant. This image is deepened by the conventional belief that all water must be treated to a drinking water level. Consequently, we use drinking water to water our lawns, flush our toilets, cool machinery, wash cars and equipment, and so on.

In fact, a number of studies have indicated that less than 20%-30% (depending on location) of water consumed needs to be potable (drinkable). Reusing water does not have to mean drinking recycled water.

The depth of the problem we face is documented in a 2010 study by the McKinsey Water Resources Group [ref. or hot link], which considered the global water picture over the next twenty years. They found a gap of 60% between all known conventional ways to increase supply and all known conventional ways to reduce demand. They identified a handful of unconventional strategies involving water reuse as the most cost-effective strategies to fill that 60% gap.

The conventional way of thinking about water, with our current centralized infrastructure also makes it very difficult to reuse water. Even in those cities that have installed municipal reuse systems, even the majority of those are centralized - requiring more energy and infrastructure to pump water back upstream to where the reuse demand exists. Decentralized, local systems would allow greatly expanded reuse that is less expensive, and has less of an impact on the environment, while being more efficient.

Today, have redesigned that infrastructure based on a natural ecosystem model. Natural ecosystems use and reuse water, and reuse it again and again locally for a wide variety of purposes. In the model provided by nature, a diversity of plants and animals – analogous to decentralized, municipal water consumers – use and recycle wastewater of varying quality from other consumers. Rainwater falling on a forest or grassland doesn’t just soak into the ground or flow into streams. The water is also shared by the plants and animals, each taking and passing along a rich store of nutrients for the use of other species.

This use and reuse of water can happen in a similar way throughout our communities. Water used in one way can be treated and reused and integrated into an interdependent local economy."

Amazon Yesterday Shipping

This is funny - - but Amazon has had and will continue to have a profound impact on shipping and supply chain logistics in the US and around the globe.  This will be a key question for city planners and engineers - - as Amazon becomes a bigger threat to traditional bricks-and-mortar retail with their local warehousing system expansion and they execute same day deliver services.  What will replace the traditional retail that makes up so much of the American landscape?   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hitler and Climate Change

Someone needs to count the variations of this video.  At one point I thought Google had actually banned the "Hitler video" - - but from Northern Iowa beating Kansas in basketball to global warming, the production creativity and utility has no limits.

An Energy Briefing For The Next President

This is excellent - - from Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines by Richard A. Muller:
  • The disasters of Fukushima and the Gulf oil spill were not nearly as catastrophic as many people think, they should not imply any major change in energy policy.
  • Global warming, although real and caused largely by humans, can be controlled only if we find inexpensive or profitable methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in China and the developing world.
  • We have recently learned that we can exploit immense natural-gas reserves found in shale.  It's not an exaggeration to call this discovery a windfall.  Shale gas will play a central role in US energy policy over the next few decades.
  • The United States is running low not on fossil fuel, but only on transportation fuel.  The keys to the future lie in synfuel (manufactured gasoline), natural gas, shale oil reserves, and improved automobile mileage.
  • Energy productivity can be improved enormously.  Investments in efficiency and conservation can yield returns much better than those of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, and what's more, the returns are tax-free.
  • Solar energy is undergoing spectacular development, but its potential lies in solar cells, not in solar-thermal power plants.  The main competitor to solar is natural gas.
  • Wind has significant potential as a supplemental source of electricity, but it requires a better power transmission grid.  Now that wind power production is growing rapidly, there is growing opposition from environmentalists.  The main competitor to wind is natural gas.
  • Energy storage (to address this intermittency of wind and solar) is a difficult and expensive problem.  The most cost-effective approach is probably with batteries, although natural-gas backup might be cheaper.
  • Nuclear power is safe, and waste storage is not a difficult problem.  Fears are driven by unfamiliarity and misinformation.  The main competitor to nuclear power is natural gas.
  • The primary future value of biofuel will be for transportation energy security, not to prevent global warming.  Corn ethanol should not be considered a biofuel.  The main competitor to biofuel is natural gas.
  • Synfuels are practical and important and, when developed, should keep the cost of oil to $60 per barrel or less.  For automobile fuel, synfuel manufactured from natural gas is one of the few energy source that might beat out compressed natural gas.
  • There is a fast-breaking and potentially disruptive (in the good sense) new energy source: shale oil.  The US reserves are enormous, and practical means of extraction have been developed.  Shale oil appears to be cheaper to produce than synfuel, and it is likely to offer stiff competition to that industry.
  • The hydrogen economy is going nowhere.  Some of the most romantic alternative-energy sources including geothermal, tidal energy, and wave energy, also have no large-scale future.
  • Hydrid autos have a great future, but plug-in hybrids and all-electric automobiles do not; they cost much more to operate than do gasoline cars once you include battery replacement cost.  There is an exception: autos that run on lead-acid batteries with very short ranges (on the order of 40-60 miles), could achieve widespread use in China, India, and the rest of the developing world.
  • Virtually none of the publicly proposed solutions to the danger of increased carbon dioxide, if implemented, have any realistic chance of working.  "Setting an example" fails if the example is one that the developing world can't afford to follow.  Perhaps the only workable solution is to encourage coal-to-shale-gas conversion in the developing world by vigorous sharing of US know-how.

A Paragraph to Ponder

From the current issue of the Economist - - Virility Symbols:

"So it comes as something of a shock to discover that in 2011 America's fertility rate was below replacement level and below that of some large European countries.  The American rate is now 1.9 and falling.  France's is 2.0 and stable.  The rate in England is 2.0 and rising slightly."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vice President Paul Ryan and Civil Engineering

From Wonk Blog - -

Over the next decade, Ryan plans to spend about 16 percent less than the White House on “income security” programs for the poor — that’s everything from food stamps to housing assistance to the earned-income tax credit. (Ryan’s budget would authorize $4.8 trillion between 2013 and 2022; the White House’s would spend $5.7 trillion.) Compared with Obama, Ryan would spend 25 percent less on transportation. He’d spend 6 percent less on “General science, space, and basic technology.” And, compared with the White House’s proposal, he’d shell out 33 percent less for “Education, training, employment, and social services.”

A variety of think tanks and analysts have pegged the cost of repairing and upgrading our transportation networks at somewhere between $200 billion and $262 billion per year over the next decade. The White House’s budget envisions spending an average of about $104 billion per year over that time. Ryan’s budget, meanwhile, allocates $78 billion per year. In his summary, Ryan claims he can meet the country’s needs by cutting back on “imprudent, irresponsible, and downright wasteful spending,” though it’s not clear what waste Ryan has in mind, much less whether it would make up the gap.

The New Era of Localnomics

The current issue of Time magazine has an important article (Go Glocal) by Rana Foroohar on the changing face of globalization and the power localnomics.  Globalization used to be a one-way street that led away from America.  We may be entering the era of localnomics - - a world where high energy prizes, political risk, and technological shifts are bringing opportunity back home to local markets.

The article highlighted the new rules for localnomics economic model:
  1. Hometown Bankers Know Best - - Slowly but surely the world of finance and banking is changing.  Approximately 30% of US corporate profitability comes from banks - - a number likely to fall ((in 1975 the number was 11%).  Look for a world of safer, smaller, and local banks.  Moving toward localnomics will require more It's a Wonderful Life banking - - bankers that understand and are part of the local/regional economic matrix.
  2. Manufacturing Matters - - The world is on the verge of a new industrial revolution in manufacturing as a global growth driver.  Manufacturing's share of global output is 17.4%, the highest it's been in over a decade.  Look for more of this growth to come back home to the US because of three reasons.  Goods cost more to transport because of higher energy costs.  Foreign wages are going up.  Doing business abroad can be risky.
  3. Blue Collar Jobs Go High-Tech - - The good news for some workers.  By 2020, the world will have a shortage of 85 million high-and medium-skilled workers.  The bad news - - the world will have a surplus of 93 million low-skilled workers.  Localnomics will have a key challenge.  Producing the high-skilled while supporting the low-skilled will increasingly matter.  Education will be a key, which is a local responsibility and opportunity (and historically a constraint and problem).
  4. Closer is Faster, and Faster is Good - - I read recently that the online global retailer Amazon wants to offer same day delivery of items that you order.  This flips the world of complex, global supply chains on its head.  If the model become faster (much, much faster) - - faster will need the support of closer.
  5. Local Leader Must Step Up - - Count on cities to become more aggressive about protecting their economic future.  Political gridlock is out.  Local-centric approaches that combine the best of government and capitalism have to be in.


This is interesting - - IndoorAtlas is a Finnish company that combines a mobile device's internal compass with proprietary indexing of indoor magnetic fields to allow tracking of individuals indoors.  The world of location-based ad targeting comes indoors to the world of grocery stores and department stores.  Walking down aisle 16 and you get an alert that Coke is on sale.

Lost in the mall?  IndoorAtlas could be a lower cost platform to guide you to your next pair of shoes.

Graphic of the Week

Global water woes in one graphic - - 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Sentence to Ponder

From the Annals of Health Care column (article is entitled Big Med) in the August 13 and 20, 2012 issue of the New Yorker by Atul Gawande.  The article examines the combination of quality control, cost control, and innovation associated with the Cheesecake Factory (which I am eating at tonight) and wonders why those same qualities seem so difficult to embed in the health care industry.

From the article (and I will share additional material - - this is an excellent article):

"Scaling good ideas has been one of our deepest problems in medicine."

Scaling good ideas is not just a medicine problem.  The problem is an every organization and industry problem.  From education to construction - - the diffusion and institutionalization of good ideas seems very problematic and one of our greatest challenges.

Ryan Incorporated Central

The New Yorker has a profile of Representative Paul Ryan (Fuzzbudget) in the August 6, 2012 issue.  Ryan is the author of Roadmap for America's Future - - his strategic vision of tackling our nation's budget and deficit woes.  The word "Roadmap" seems very appropriate in the case of Ryan.  The Ryans were major road builders, and today Ryan, Inc., started in 1884 by Paul's great-grandfather, is a national construction firm (Ryan Incorporated Central). 

This is a quote from Ryan in the article - -

"Of course we believe in government.  We think government should do what it does well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports."

The Ryan VP nomination will probably reinforce the Era of the Trade-off.  The status quo or movement to Medicare vouchers and the privatization of Social Security that allows for greater investment opportunities in infrastructure that supports economic growth.

The Center for Retirement Research

This is an excellent source for information on public pension plans - - the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.  A recent study by the center found that annual pension payments for state and local plans more than doubled to 15.7% of payrolls in 2011 from 6.4% a decade earlier.

The front page of the Wall Street Journal today puts the era of pension tension into perspective - - "Hard Times Spread for Cities" - - rising health, pension costs top the list of municipalities struggle for recover from the recession.  This probably sums up the current municipal environment the best:

"Cities are still going to be facing very rough water for the next couple of years," sand Michale Pagano, dean of the college of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Friday, August 10, 2012

International Wastewater Heat Exchange Systems, Inc.

If you are in the mall sometime and see someone with a t-shirt that says, "Sewage - The Ultimate Renewable Energy Source" - - it will be an excellent sign regarding our progress on a more sustainable and renewal future.  The International Wastewater Heat Exchange Systems, Inc. (IWHES) mission is straight-forward:

IWHES proprietary SHT series products and systems are the result of our long-time research and development for utilization of available renewable energy sources for the purpose of providing heating, cooling and domestic hot water to both commercial and residential building from the raw sewage water.

We are excited to help you include the IWHES wastewater heat exchange systems into your next project.

Houston's Green Office Challenge

The Houston Green Office Challenge in the heart of oil country is interesting.  An energy efficiency program that harnesses the competitive spirit of the city's businesses to drive down their energy use, with recognition and the possibility of some small cash grants its only rewards.

The City of Houston is looking to commercial property managers and office tenants to demonstrate leadership in environmental performance throughout the City of Houston. Participating in the Green Office Challenge allows your business - and Houston - to get a head start on meeting these critical targets. We’ll link you to resources that will make it easy to improve the energy efficiency of your building or office space - and save you some real green.

How it works

The Houston Green Office Challenge is a friendly competition for commercial property managers and office tenants that acknowledges participants for their achievements in greening their operations through Mayoral and media recognition. The Green Office Challenge helps participants move down the path towards environmental sustainability and, in some cases, towards third-party green building certification through the ENERGY STAR and LEED™ rating systems.

For Property Managers

Property managers with commercial buildings throughout the Houston area are invited to take part in the Green Office Challenge. The City of Houston will facilitate the achievement of property manager goals by providing training and resources for reducing energy use, waste, and water use, as well as tenant engagement.
Click here for more information.

For Office Tenants

Office tenants in the City of Houston are invited to participate in the Green Office Challenge. The Challenge will evaluate the “greenness” of their operations using the innovative “Green Office Scorecard.” Tenants will be recognized for implementation of green strategies that address office energy and water use, waste, transportation, and outreach.
Click here for more information.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


From Textile World, ColorZen is a great example of innovation for a more sustainable world.  A key point - - sustainability is not an end - of - pipe process or view of the world.  Sustainability is a much more complete and systematic view of a process or organization.  It involves a deeper understanding of the root causes behind water and energy demands.  Dyeing of cloth is an ancient activity - - with a long history of water quality issues.  But regardless of its history and complexity, sustainability and innovative solutions are still available.  That message should not be lost on engineers.

ColorZen LLC — a new company formed to provide technology that eliminates the use of environmentally detrimental chemicals and significantly reduces the amount of water, energy and time needed to dye cotton — unveiled its new technology recently at The Continuum Show, a New York City-based trade show that is focused on sustainability in textile manufacturing. ColorZen™ technology involves the pretreatment of cotton using a process that renders the fiber more receptive to dye intake, does not require use of salt or other chemicals to fix the dye, and enables the desired color to be achieved using half the amount of dye, with a 97-percent exhaustion rate of the dye onto the cotton, compared to traditional cotton dyeing technologies. The company reports the treated cotton can be dyed using conventional dyeing machinery, but the dyeing process uses 90-percent less water than is required for conventional cotton because fewer rinses are required and the water is recycled. The process also consumes 75-percent less energy because color is applied at lower dyeing temperatures and the entire process is completed in one-third the time needed for conventional dyeing.

The ColorZen process, which alters the cotton fiber's molecular structure to attract the dye naturally, has been in development over a number of years and has some basis in cationic chemistry, which offers similar environmental benefits. However, according to Tony Leonard, the company's technical director, cationic chemistry has not been successful outside of a laboratory setting for reasons related to cost effectiveness, complexity of the treatment and difficulty achieving consistent results, among other factors. By contrast, said Michael Harari, president, "ColorZen cotton can be produced on a mass scale at a cost that is effective, and most of the cost can be offset by savings in water, energy, chemicals and time, all of which flow to the bottom line."

"We took a lot from cationic chemistry because of the environmental side of it, and we improved on it," Leonard added. "We're looking at supplying a treated product that is ready to use with no concern about variations because we know how to control our whole operation. If we can control the dye fixation, we can control the product."

The company points out that although chemicals are used in the process, which has received Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certification, they become inert upon application to the cotton fiber, and the treatment process produces zero discharge of toxic chemicals, or any chemicals. In addition, the minimal amount of water used in the process is recycled.

ColorZen has opened its first processing facility in China because, as Harari explained, "China is the most prolific textile export country, and most of the negative environmental effects of textile production have occurred there." In the future, the company plans to expand its operations to other locations.

The company anticipates cotton products bearing the ColorZen hangtag will be available in stores as early as next year. "We will now be able to offer brands, retailers, and manufacturers a sustainable choice for cotton dyeing that will protect the fresh waterways and reduce energy consumption," Harari said.

August 7, 2012

3C Technologies

Demonstration of 3D mapping visualization in a dense urban setting from 3C Technologies - -

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Management in 10 Words

From the book, Management in 10 Words by Terry Leahy.  Leahy is the CEO of a $97 billion supermarket chain in the UK - -
  1. Truth - Too many managers filter out what they don't want to hear and then make uninformed decisions.  Look for truth; listen to it; tell it.
  2. Loyalty - Reward the behavior that a business needs to prosper.  Rewards aren't just monetary.  Challenging people with opportunity rewards them too.
  3. Courage - "Good strategies need to be hold and daring.  People need to be stretched as they can do more than they think.  Goals have to cause excitement, and perhaps a little fear."
  4. Values - When companies lose sight of their values, they start to make decision based on short-term gains.
  5. Act - Leahy says he learned the hard way that the perfect plan doesn't exist.  Successful execution depends on clear decisions, simple processes and defined roles.
  6. Balance - Internal processes shouldn't be roadblocks to getting things done.  Think of them as a framework that fosters innovation and individual responsibility within organizations.  The silo builder is the enemy within.
  7. Simple - Business and life are complex, but keeping things simple doesn't mean doing simple things.  It means stripping out unnecessary processes.  Managers should measure what's being done against what was intended in the first place.
  8. Lean - Being lean doesn't mean cutting corners and cheapening your offerings.  Lean eliminates waste.
  9. Compete - "Competitors are great teachers."  Knowing them keeps your plans vital.  Find out why people are buying their products, not yours.
  10. Trust - Be authentic.  People can tell if you left your real personality at home.

A Sentence to Ponder

From the August 7, 2012 Dallas Morning News - - Amazing Economic Facts:

"According to Dartmouth political scientist  Dean Lacy, states that receive more federal government spending than they contribute in tax revenue tend to support Republication candidates, who typically vow to cut spending."

Texas falls into this category - - and the word "tend" seems to be an under-statement in the context of Texas.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being Green versus Making Green

What happens in San Francisco typically stays in San Francisco - - very hard to imagine this as the model for the rest of the U.S. - -

"Going green: San Francisco's plan to "go green" will likely cost the typical city consumer about $9 more a month - with most of the money going to Shell Energy, which will be providing the renewable energy.

Under the plan approved by City Hall, 50,000 to 90,000 households will automatically be enrolled in the green program, but all will have four opportunities to opt out at no cost.

Those who decide to go green can expect to see their electric bills rise by 23 percent.

But because everyone will theoretically benefit from environmental goals of going green, the controller is suggesting a tax be put on the electric bills of those who opt to stay with PG&E to help balance out the costs and get them to conserve.

Any tax like that would have to be approved by the voters."

Read more:

What Will the Global 500 Look Like in 2021?

This was a very interesting question that was raised in the July 23, 2012 issue of Fortune (The Global 500).  The article highlights four forces that  will dominate the look of the Global 500.  The four forces will also dominate the opportunities and constraints engineering will face in the next decade.  These are:
  1. Your Next Customer - - About four billion customers live at the base of the economic pyramid, earning less than $3,000 a year in local purchasing power.  As a group, they are often rural, poorly educated, and economically under served.  Yet their aggregate purchasing power is enormous, creating major opportunities for businesses that can deliver products they need at prices they can afford.
  2. Devices Talking 24/7 - - Thanks to advances in sensor technology and data analytics, the world's basic systems are becoming intelligent.  At any given time, seven billion devices are communicating with one another worldwide.  Sensors are embedded in roadways, power grids, irrigation systems, household appliances, and even clothes feeding a flood of data that can help smooth traffic flow, conserve resources, and improve health care delivery, among others.
  3. The Rise of Urbanization - - The growth of mega-cities will drive massive infrastructure spending.  The UN predicts that 69% of the global population will live in urban areas by 2050, up from 50% in 2010.  In 2007 half of global GDP came from 380 cities in the developed world.  By 2025, 136 new cities should enter the top GDP ranks.  All those cities will be in the developing world, and a full 100 of them will be in China.
  4. Scarcity: New Normal - - Three billion new people will join the global middle class in the net two decades in the next two decades.  The resulting consumption boom will drive natural-resource prices higher, opening space for companies that learn to use resources that learn to use resources more efficiently.  By 2030 resource productivity opportunities worldwide will total $2.9 trillion.  Opportunities include reducing food waste, deploying efficient irrigation systems, and improving energy efficiency of buildings.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Drought and the Water Supply

Jane Frankenberger, Purdue Extension water resources specialist, stands along a portion of the Wabash River in West Lafayette that normally is under water. The drought has lowered levels of rivers, streams and lakes across Indiana.

A Hard Fact

The satirical Onion gets at an important point for the engineering community with the following (300 Million Without Electricity In India After Restoration Of Power Grid) - -

"NEW DELHI—According to estimates, roughly one-third of a billion Indian citizens were left without power Wednesday after workers successfully repaired the nation's electrical grid and brought all of its systems back online. "Since restoring our infrastructure to 100 percent capacity following Monday and Tuesday's blackouts, vast swaths of India are now completely without access to electricity," said the country's power minister, Veerappa Moily, who confirmed that three out of every four residents lacked access to such basic amenities as lighting, food refrigeration, and the use of simple appliances now that the country's grid had fully recovered. "We are currently not monitoring the situation, as everything appears to be functioning normally again in India." Government officials also stated that the widespread power outage had in no way compromised their ability to provide adequate sanitation to 31 percent of India's citizens."

Smarter Texans

More than 5.5 million electric smart meters have been installed across Texas.  This has been driven by a 2007 law directing that such meters "be deployed as rapidly as possible to allow customers to better manage energy use and control costs."  Federal grants aimed at creating a smart grid also supported this effort.

Texas has started on their water meters.  Approximately 3.5 million electronic and automatic water meters had been installed as of 2010.  The City of Arlington has installed 17,000 meters in a pilot project.  Two important points.  The new water meters will no longer require meter readers to go from yard to yard.  The new smart water meters have transmitters that send signals to a collection hub (Lower cost).  The second point - - the new meters also make it easier to detect leaks, because a utility can see whether a household is using large amounts of water in the dead of night, when few people would normally use it (Higher water productivity).

Both the smart electric and smart meters should focus managers and engineers on an important fact - - our energy and water problems are driven more by a lack of information than a lack of energy or a lack of water.  Better information solves a host of problems and constraints.  Asset management has two parts.  The "asset" and "management" - - better information makes for much better management.

Our Municipal Bond Markets

This is an interesting (and topical, given the SEC's recent inaction in the municipal bond market) paper from the Brookings Institution - - Lowering Borrowing Costs for States and Municipalities Through CommonMuni.


States and municipalities throughout the United States depend on the municipal bond market to raise funds for important investments in America’s schools, roads and highways, hospitals, utilities, and public buildings. Additionally, many individuals rely on municipal bonds as a dependable investment. Evidence suggests, however, that state and local governments that borrow money by issuing bonds and ordinary investors who buy those bonds may pay billions of dollars each year in unnecessary fees, transactions costs, and interest expense due to the lack of both transparency and liquidity in the municipal bond market. The liquidity cost alone represents approximately $30 billion per year on the current $2.9 trillion stock of outstanding bonds. This paper proposes the establishment of CommonMuni, a not-for-profit, independent advisory firm that would reduce borrowing costs for municipalities and increase returns for investors by overcoming the difficulty individual municipalities and investors have in coordinating their actions and sharing market knowledge. CommonMuni would provide individualized advice, gather and disseminate information on bond issuers and transaction prices to increase transparency, and coordinate market participants to enhance liquidity in the municipal bond market. Importantly, CommonMuni could be started for roughly $25 million, just a tiny fraction of the potential benefits.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Evolution of Protesting Boomers

Powering your car in the future

This is an interesting study on what may (or may not) be going into the gas tank in the future - -

NPC Future Transportation Fuels Study: Advancing Technology for America's Transportation Future.


Farmers nationwide are in need of clouds and rainfall.  Hopefully we will all get a break in the weather as we approach fall.  But farmers right now have another alternative in the clouds - - cloud-based software service.  FarmLogs is one of the new companies offering cloud-based software - no software is downloaded.  A farmer only requires a web browser.  The farmer gets to store all his or her data in one place.  It can be combined with information from other sources.  If your crop insurance agent has a question - the data can be shared with him.

When you define your business as 2,500 acres, getting access to information anywhere and anytime is critical.  The key is increasingly getting the iPad in the field or tractor connected to the cloud and the power of information.  Farming is a good example (construction and engineering are others) of an industry that could be tremendously impacted by cloud-based computing services.  If your business model is bounded by "anywhere" and "anytime" - - look to the clouds for greater flexibility and productivity.

Ecosphere Technologies

Keep an eye on Ecosphere Technologies as a potential solution to cleaning up hydrofracking waste.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Engineering Death and Life

The modern drone appears the perfect product for an imperfect world.  Part killing machine, part saving lives machine.  This is a good story from the Guardian on our droning future.  The drone represents the paradoxes and complexities engineering has faced since the irrigation system in the Garden of Eden.

Droughts and Blackouts

This year's meager monsoon is reducing water levels in some of India's reservoirs, putting added stress on a system that relies on hydroelectric for one fifth of its power (coal is #1 at 56.7%).  Last week's blackouts in India point out the constraints and complexities of the combination of low water supplies and high demand for electricity adding stress to a system that already has proved to have very little resilience. 

The August 3, 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal made the following points in the article, In India, Weak Monsoon Adds to Power Crisis:

"Either way, analysts say the effect of insufficient monsoon rains is likely to mean that wide-spread outages - though not necessarily on such a scale - become more frequent in coming weeks and months, especially in bread-basket states.

More than halfway through the season, the monsoons are 19% below the long-term average.  In the worst-affected states in northern India, which are heavily agricultural, farmers are relying more than usual on electric pumps to draw groundwater."

Energy needs water and water needs energy.  Engineers will increasingly be tasked to evaluate our water and energy systems as one single system.  This will be critical with climate change and extreme weather.  To fully understand one, you need a complete understanding of both.

Buffett Knows Best

From the Wall Street Street yesterday - -

"Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. recently terminated about half of a big wager on the health of municipal debt, amid a worsening outlook for states, cities and municipalities across the country."

Social Impact Bonds

Developed in th UK, it will be interesting to see if social impact bonds catch on in the US.  Goldman Sachs is investing in the first project in the United States (the US term is Pay for Performance (POP)). 

The link to the New York Times story.

Friday, August 3, 2012

North Korean ESPN

A Sentence to Ponder

From the July 31, 2012 Financial Times, Stuck on dry land by Gregory Meyer:

"The impact of a looming crop shortfall in the US, the country with the best seed technology, first-class export infrastructure, the deepest commodity futures and plenty of capital available to farmers, also raises unsettling questions about how food supplies will keep pace with a growing population and a warming climate."

BIM for Infrastructure

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Negotiating with Heroes

Public officials are in a very tough spot - - negotiating with heroes.  But in the era of fixing the pothole or the assistant fire chief retiring at 55-years old, society has some soul searching.  Over the last 35 years, the number of fires in the US is down 40%, while the number of professional firefighters is up 40% (Note - the reason fires are down is more related to engineers, improves in material science, build codes, etc.  More firefighters are not the cause of a lower number of fires - - relationship correlation is far different than causality effects.).

Fiscal constraints will produce an era of putting public sector efficiency and productivity under the microscope.  Even the heroes - - both the police and firefighters.  Public safety must and will continue to be the #1 priority of all towns and cities.  But our collective health, safety, and welfare is much broader than just police and fire protection.  It also encompasses the structural health of our bridges, the quality of our drinking water, the economic sustainability of our cities and states.  Our collective vision must be balanced and broad.  The financial funding to support all avenues of public safety must to fair, efficient, and effective. 

Heroes will understand this.

Warming Up

From the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature research group.

City Country
Regional warming since
1960 (°C / century)
Tokyo Japan 1.70 ± 0.36
Shanghai China 1.68 ± 0.36
Bombay India 1.52 ± 0.37
Karachi Pakistan 1.68 ± 0.86
Delhi India 1.55 ± 0.44
New Delhi India 1.55 ± 0.44
Manila Philippines 1.52 ± 0.28
Moscow Russia 3.24 ± 0.36
Seoul South Korea 2.44 ± 0.45
São Paulo Brazil 1.54 ± 0.56
Istanbul Turkey 1.66 ± 0.23
Lagos Nigeria 1.80 ± 0.35
Mexico Mexico 1.26 ± 0.46
Jakarta Indonesia 1.29 ± 0.45
New York United States 2.82 ± 0.30
Kinshasa Congo (Democratic Republic of the) 1.63 ± 0.57
Cairo Egypt 2.24 ± 0.35
Lima Peru 1.22 ± 0.64
Peking China 2.84 ± 0.58
London United Kingdom 2.77 ± 0.40
Bogotá Colombia 1.66 ± 0.39
Dhaka Bangladesh 1.13 ± 0.52
Lahore Pakistan 1.87 ± 0.83
Rio de Janeiro Brazil 1.53 ± 0.60
Baghdad Iraq 2.62 ± 0.39
Bangkok Thailand 0.96 ± 0.27
Bangalore India 1.70 ± 0.27
Santiago Chile 0.95 ± 0.42
Calcutta India 1.27 ± 0.46
Toronto Canada 2.95 ± 0.33
Rangoon Burma 0.96 ± 0.25
Sydney Australia 1.99 ± 0.52
Madras India 1.57 ± 0.21
Wuhan China 1.42 ± 0.31
Saint Petersburg Russia 3.00 ± 0.29
Chongqing China 0.85 ± 0.39
Xian China 2.04 ± 0.35
Chengdu China 1.18 ± 0.25
Los Angeles United States 2.01 ± 0.63
Alexandria Egypt 2.09 ± 0.28
Tianjin China 2.84 ± 0.58
Melbourne Australia 1.34 ± 0.51
Ahmadabad India 1.36 ± 0.65
Abidjan Côte d'Ivoire 1.91 ± 0.34
Kano Nigeria 1.62 ± 0.66
Casablanca Morocco 2.67 ± 0.53
Hyderabad India 1.47 ± 0.21
Ibadan Nigeria 1.81 ± 0.39
Singapore Singapore 1.32 ± 0.24
Ankara Turkey 1.70 ± 0.35
Shenyang China 2.73 ± 0.53
Riyadh Saudi Arabia 2.28 ± 0.62
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam 0.95 ± 0.55
Cape Town South Africa 1.77 ± 0.57
Berlin Germany 2.78 ± 0.30
Montreal Canada 2.86 ± 0.50
Harbin China 3.17 ± 0.23
Guangzhou China 1.13 ± 0.28
Durban South Africa 1.38 ± 0.31
Madrid Spain 2.36 ± 0.46
Nanjing China 1.64 ± 0.27
Kabul Afghanistan 2.22 ± 0.77
Pune India 1.60 ± 0.39
Surat India 1.40 ± 0.60
Chicago United States 2.35 ± 0.42
Kanpur India 1.36 ± 0.39
Umm Durman Sudan 2.00 ± 0.25
Luanda Angola 1.95 ± 0.32
Addis Abeba Ethiopia 1.56 ± 0.50
Nairobi Kenya 1.91 ± 0.40
Taiyuan China 2.91 ± 0.35
Jaipur India 1.54 ± 0.43
Salvador Brazil 1.81 ± 0.47
Dakar Senegal 2.67 ± 0.58
Dar es Salaam Tanzania 1.89 ± 0.48
Rome Italy 2.85 ± 0.53
Mogadishu Somalia 1.76 ± 0.27
Jiddah Saudi Arabia 2.16 ± 0.50
Changchun China 3.06 ± 0.24
Taipei Taiwan 1.73 ± 0.56
Kiev Ukraine 2.87 ± 0.35
Faisalabad Pakistan 1.87 ± 0.83
Izmir Turkey 1.77 ± 0.34
Lakhnau India 1.36 ± 0.39
Gizeh Egypt 2.24 ± 0.35
Fortaleza Brazil 1.90 ± 0.34
Cali Colombia 1.64 ± 0.32
Surabaya Indonesia 1.30 ± 0.58
Belo Horizonte Brazil 1.57 ± 0.64
Mashhad Iran 3.24 ± 0.66
Nagpur India 1.39 ± 0.42
Harare Zimbabwe 1.95 ± 0.26
Brasília Brazil 1.80 ± 0.41
Santo Domingo Dominican Republic 1.37 ± 0.32
Nagoya Japan 1.83 ± 0.40
Aleppo Syria 2.00 ± 0.68
Paris France 3.09 ± 0.19
Jinan China 2.31 ± 0.66
Tangshan China 2.71 ± 0.51
Dalian China 2.96 ± 0.51