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To See The Future Of The Western Canadian Economy Look To Texas


UPDATE: May 21, 2015.  Goldman Sachs has just released an oil price forecast suggesting that North Sea Brent crude will still be $55 in 2020, five years from now.  As Alberta’s Western Canadian Select (WCS) bitumen is valued lower on commodity markets this is extremely bad news for Canada. Further, the well-known Canadian economic forecasting firm, […]

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Norway Deals With Its “Natural Resource Curse” While Canada Does Nothing


CBC’s The National has tonight broadcast a public debate titled “The Politics of Oil” on the current oil economy crisis in Canada. A key issue exposed tonight was the contrast between Canada’s national policies on oil wealth and Norway’s. In the 1990’s both Canada and Norway debated how to manage oil wealth and created funds to invest for future economic development. Today, Norway’s national saving fund is worth $1.03 Trillion while Canada’s, actually Alberta’s fund, is worth only $17 Billion, and has barely increased since the late 1990’s.

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Canada’s Economy Battered Like A 3rd World Country By Forces Entirely Out Of Its Control


Ironically, in the now numerous accounts of how the current oil market came to collapse over the last few years and months, there are almost no references to Canada despite the importance of the oil economy to the nation. We have been mere bystanders in all of the complex series of events, and yet the […]

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Canada’s “Natural Resource Curse” Will Wreak Economic Havoc For A Decade


Those following international events have probably already seen the stories on Putin’s Russia, and the combined impact international economic sanctions, and now, the unexpected and unwelcome plummet in World oil prices. The Russian economy in 2015 will likely see a budget deficit of $20 Billion or more as the ruble collapses and oil prices plummet. The problem is global and expected by analysts to persist for the foreseeable future. Lesser developed countries like Venezuela and Nigeria, which are more dependent on their oil economies, are expected to see even greater impacts. Economists commonly refer to this as the “natural resource curse.”

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Energy Aware Riding Wave of Innovation and Investment in Energy Efficiency


In October of 2013, I first met Energy Aware’s management team, led by UBC alumni founders Janice Cheam and VP of Software, Ali Kashani in their modest East Vancouver offices. I had encountered Ali commenting on the Internet of Things (IoT) on LinkedIn, and I challenged his arguments, as the skeptic that I am. Ali very graciously invited me to meet with him to discuss it further. Home automation and its new iteration, IoT, has been around for at least twenty years and had been going absolutely nowhere. Added to that was what I termed “the Tower of Babble,” a term now also used by Qualcomm to describe the data communication hairball in the IoT space. Indeed, Energy Aware had struggled for quite awhile in this immature market. What I learned in that first meeting with Ali and Janice turned this skeptic into a believer, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Al and Janice since that time providing them with tidbits of advice here and there. My gut told me that Energy Aware was on to something with significant potential, as IoT was finally achieving technological “convergence,” and the Big Dogs in Silicon Valley were now gearing up their own IoT efforts. There is a Tsunami coming, and Energy Aware is well-positioned to ride it.

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A new push for fusion power here in Burnaby: General Fusion’s Michel Laberge at TED2014


Originally posted on TED Blog:
Michel Laberge. Photo: James Duncan Davidson “The whole planet needs a lot of energy,” begins Michel Laberge, in an understatement. So far, he says, we’ve been running on fossil fuels, and it’s been difficult to find something as cost-effective to replace them. Laberge is a fan of nuclear power, which…

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Neil Young Confronts Canada’s “Natural Resource Curse” Head On


Years ago, when Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia, on May 1, 1970, four students demonstrating against the war were essentially murdered by the Ohio National Guard. David Crosby, Graham Nash, Steven Stills and Canadian Neil Young were driven to record the song “Ohio,” in a rushed recording session. The song went viral before “viral” was even a concept. The Internet did not exist. In less than 24 hours “Ohio” was being played on FM radio stations all across the United States. That CSNY song, IMHO played a crucial role in Nixon’s demise, and accelerated the end of the Vietnam War. I see Yogi Berra’s “deja vu happening all over again” with Neil Young and the tar sands.

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Vancouver company Energy Aware making Big Waves in Internet of Things


I met today with Ali Kashani and Janice (pronounced “Janeece”) Cheam of Energy Aware in their offices in Chinatown, East Vancouver. Ali is a UBC Vancouver Engineering Ph.D, and Janice is a Sauder “BComm” graduate. Together, they are the brains behind Energy Aware’s novel approach to the “hairball” of the Internet of Things. I began our meeting as a skeptic, and came away impressed with their approach, their market savvy, their chemistry as a team, and the big name partners they have already attracted.

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Much Better Battery Technology As A Big Idea


Recently there have been a number of reports that Apple’s release of its new operating system, iO7, had caused unexpected problems for battery life in most older iPhones. Another way of saying this, is what a mobile phone salesman at The Waterfront, in downtown Vancouver said to me, “Everybody wants there phones to do too much stuff!” His comment came after I had bought one of the new external batter boosters for my smartphone. An entirely new accessory market has opened up, selling extended battery life for you phone, when you are not able to use your charger. This is not a real or long term solution. As many of my students know, battery life and heat dissipation on the microchips are among the most important areas of technology research today. It is also worth noting that this problem has also led to advances in the Universal Serial Bus (USB) architecture which are also likely to help address the problem of power and energy efficiency technology devices..

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New Global Mega Industry Battle Developing in the Internet of Everything


It has dawned on me that an entirely new Mega Multidimensional War of Titans is developing, entirely separate and distinct from the mobile smartphone Multidimensional Mega War of Titans. In many ways this new industry war may be more strategic, larger and more valuable than the smart phone war. The emerging new battleground is the Mega Global War of the Internet of Everything. The global players in this newly developing war are well known names in high technology: ARM, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Intel, and Qualcomm, not to mention a new class of players like The Zigbee Alliance, Honeywell and a host of others. A number of small Canadian companies are also in the thick of this.

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