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Thursday, 2 May 2019

Weekend Reading - Some Interesting Stuff


Here are the top 5 articles I found interesting this week. 

1) A look at BYD, the world's largest electric vehicle manufacturer
Founded in Shenzhen in the mid-1990s as a manufacturer of batteries for brick-size cellphones and digital cameras, BYD now has about a quarter-million employees and sells as many as 30,000 pure EVs or plug-in hybrids in China every month, most of them anything but status symbols. Its cheapest model, the e1, starts at 60,000 yuan ($8,950) after subsidies.
Last year, BYD opened one of the world’s largest battery plants, a 10 million-square-foot facility in Qinghai province, and in February it broke ground on another of similar size.
China has adopted EVs at a stunning pace. Thanks to generous government subsidies and municipal regulations that make owning an internal combustion vehicle in many cities inconvenient, expensive, or both, China accounts for more than half the world’s purchases of electric cars. More EVs were sold in Shanghai last year than in Germany, France, or the U.K.; the city of Hangzhou, smallish by Chinese standards, had higher sales than all of Japan. Virtually all of Shenzhen’s 20,000 taxis are electric BYDs, compared with fewer than 20 of any make in New York. More than 500,000 electric buses ply Chinese roads, compared with fewer than 1,000 in the U.S.


2) Amazon is helping Indians take their products global
Indian sellers exporting their wares on Amazon’s global marketplace rose to more than 50,000 in 2018, and together sold goods worth over $1 billion. By 2023, Amazon expects this volume to rise to $5 billion. Launched with just a few hundred sellers in May 2015, more than 50,000 Indian exporters are now part of the Amazon Global Selling programme, offering more than 140 million made-in-India products to Amazon customers in the US, UK, Australia, China, south-east Asia and other overseas markets.


3) Can we use technology to break the vicious cycle of airconditioners and atmospheric heat 
Use of the energy-intensive air-conditioner causes emissions that contribute to higher global temperatures, which means we’re all using AC more, producing more emissions and more warming.
“If you cool something, you heat something, and that heat goes into the cities.” Their use exacerbates the heat island effect of cities—lots of concrete soaks up lots of heat, which a city releases well after the sun sets.
Using technology currently in development, AC units in skyscrapers and homes could get turned into machines that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

4) Water crisis and climate change are becoming scary, but is anyone looking to solve these issues
More than 600 million Indians face “acute water shortages,” according to a report last summer by NITI Aayog. Seventy percent of the nation’s water supply is contaminated, causing an estimated 200,000 deaths a year. Some 21 cities could run out of groundwater as early as next year, including Bangalore and New Delhi, the report found. Forty percent of the population, or more than 500 million people, will have “no access to drinking water” by 2030. Climate change will surely make the problem worse.

5) How Satya Nadella has led the transformation of Microsoft to regain its formal glory
Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has more subscribers than Netflix, more cloud computing revenue than Google, and a near-trillion-dollar market cap. Microsoft cut funding to Windows and built an enormous cloud computing business—with about $34 billion in revenue over the past year—putting it ahead of Google and making progress in key areas against the dominant player, Amazon Web Services.
Microsoft’s Office collection of productivity software, formerly a one-off purchase is now a cloud-based service boasting more than 214 million subscribers who pay around $99 a year; it has more subscribers than Spotify and Amazon Prime combined.


For those on the path of the cycle "Fani", please stay safe.

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