Why Coffee (Might Have) Caused the Industrial Revolution

Displaying the impact of a drink that is a stimulant, coffee history relates to how human capital became more innovative and productive.

The Unexpected Consequences of More Efficient Lighting

Like 19th century English coal, more efficient and cheap LED lights can mean people and businesses use it more because of the lower opportunity cost.

Production Possibility Frontiers: Entering (and Exiting) a Discovery Void

After technological innovation multiplies, might the pace of discovery slow down? Think of the history of antibiotics. Starting with the Sulfa drugs that were first discovered during the 1930s, the new antibiotic timeline is congested until 1962. Yes, recently, new antibiotics classes were introduced.…

In Many Ways Sriracha is a Hot Sauce

Hot sauce production was #8 in IBISWorld’s April 2012 list of the fastest growing US industries. Looking at actual revenue, the numbers were not huge compared to Generic Drugs or Green & Sustainable Building Production. Even compared to #4 on the…

GDP: The Brooklyn Bridge

The story of the Brooklyn Bridge is really about cheap steel. Used to iron that tended to be brittle, 19th century bridge builders had little experience with steel. And yet, the dimensions of the Brooklyn Bridge required what steel could…

Coin Matters

Hearing that Zimbabweans had a limited supply of coins, I recalled one person’s response to Starbucks’ price hike to $2.01 for a tall coffee in NYC: “I can’t believe it. Now I need to walk around with pennies?” I guess…