Posts from October 2022

Direct Air Carbon Capture

There are many efforts underway to reduce carbon emissions in order to get to “net zero”. But most climate scientists believe that reducing emissions won’t be enough and we will also need to engage in removing carbon from the atmosphere.

There are natural ways to do this like reforestation, soil carbon, biochar, etc but there are also “engineered” approaches to removing carbon from the atmosphere.

One of the most promising of the engineered approaches to removing carbon from the atmosphere is direct air carbon capture (DAC).

In DAC, air is run through a device which captures C02 and air is returned from the device with less CO2. The captured CO2 is then sequestered underground or used for fuel or something else.

DAC facilities exist and are removing carbon from the atmosphere but the total carbon removal rate from DAC is currently only around 100,000 tons of CO2. It is estimated that by 2030, DAC facilities around the world will be removing 1.5bn tons of CO2. And that number will grow in the decades to come as our planet works to get to net zero and beyond in this century.

I remember hearing that “we’ve spent hundreds of years taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into our atmosphere and we are going to spend hundreds of years taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the ground”. I believe DAC will be a big part of how we do that.

#climate crisis

NFT Screens

I have enjoyed collecting NFT art over the last few years and I have very much wanted to display it in a physical space vs just having it online on a profile, like this one.

So when we started designing the new USV offices last year we started thinking about NFT screens. We were inspired by these amazing NFT screens in the Bright Moments NFT Gallery in Venice Beach California.

So we bought six large displays for the new USV office, three portrait orientation like the photo above and three landscape orientation and hung them around the new USV office. Here are a few photos I’ve taken of the USV NFT screens over the last few months:

Here is how we manage the screens:

We bought Yodecks, one for each screen. A Yodeck is a raspberry pi-based inexpensive device made for the digital signage market but works great as an NFT player.

There is a web app to manage the Yodecks and you can put all kinds of media onto the device. We chose to make a simple web app that runs a playlist of NFTs on each screen and shows the artist, title, and owner on the bottom left and a QR code to view/buy/etc the NFT on the bottom right.

We curate NFTs into a Google Sheet, we use a script to construct a web page playlist from that curated list, and the Yodeck runs the playlist.

It is really simple and works great.

I recommend the larger (4GB) memory Yodecks for displaying rich media NFTs. I also recommend auto refreshing the web app in the Yodeck interface with some frequency to avoid crashed web pages blanking the screens.

My partner Nick wrote the simple web app and we’ve had a lot of fun getting it working well in our office and curating the playlists. Anyone who can fill out a Google Sheet can curate a playlist in our office. So everyone can and does.

Here is the GitHub repository for the web app that Nick wrote.

If you collect NFTs and want to display them in your home, office, gallery, store, or somewhere else, I highly recommend doing some version of what we’ve done. It’s great to showcase digital art on large format screens.

#art#blockchain#digital collectibles


I’ve always been a fan of preventive medicine. I like the idea of medicine that stops us from getting sick.

As a child, I was vaccinated for all of the normal things, polio, whooping cough, etc in order to be able to go to school.

Growing up I was vaccinated for tetanus and a few other things.

As an adult, I have gotten a flu vaccine every year for almost forty years. And as a result, I have avoided the flu almost every season.

Last Friday, I biked over to CVS and got my annual flu shot and the new bivalent Covid vaccine.

That Covid shot is my sixth. I started with a J&J in March 2021 when I was skiing in Utah. I got the Pfizer double shot in the summer of 2021, I got a Moderna booster in Jan 2022 a few weeks after I got a mild case of Covid. I got another Moderna booster this past summer, and on Friday I got the new bivalent Moderna vaccine.

I think it is safe to say that I am a believer in vaccine technology and I avail myself of it when it is recommended. I got the double shingles shot a few years ago on my doctor’s recommendation. I had shingles once, in my early 30s, and hope I never get it again. It is painful.

I know that many people don’t trust vaccines. They believe they cause bad side effects. Or they believe they don’t work. Or both.

But I am in the other camp. I am a vaccine enthusiast. I like the idea that we have a technology for instructing our immune systems on how to react to a pathogen. I would like to instruct my immune system as much as possible.

#hacking healthcare

Is It A Computer Or A Car?

In the spring of 2014, I walked across the street from our apartment building to our parking garage to get our car and drive somewhere. I can’t recall where I was headed that morning. But as I walked into the garage, I saw two EV charging kiosks had been installed in our parking garage. I turned around and ran back to our apartment building, went back upstairs to our apartment, and told The Gotham Gal that we were getting a Tesla. I had long wanted an EV but the “how do we charge it in the city” problem had been the blocker. Now that was solved.

Maybe a month later, the Tesla arrived and I drove it into the parking garage to show the garage attendant how to drive and charge the car. He sat behind the wheel while I described the features of the car and when I was done he said to me “Mr. Wilson, they have combined an iPhone with a car!

I love that story because never a truer word has been spoken.

I was thinking about that when I was recently describing how my new Rivian Truck handles off-road driving. It isn’t four-wheel drive, it isn’t all-wheel drive, it is any-wheel drive. There are four electric motors, one on each wheel, and depending on how the truck is performing, different amounts of power are delivered to each and every wheel. The software determines which wheels need what power and supplies it to that wheel in real-time.

Is the Tesla a car or a computer? Neither and a bit of both. Is the Rivian a truck or a computer? Neither and a bit of both.

When you rethink a system, like a car or a truck, as a computer first and foremost, amazing things become possible. Like over-the-air software upgrades which continue to add new features to our Tesla eight years after I drove it into the parking garage for the first time.

We have seen this story play out across many devices in our lives; phones, TVs, watches, thermostats, smoke alarms, light switches, etc, etc. It is an enormous shift in how things are designed and made and it is playing out right in front of us.

#VC & Technology