Posts

Showing posts from February, 2019

Why Giant Airships Could Be a Trillion Dollar Industry

Image
WELCOME MARGINAL REVOLUTION READERS! And thank you for your thoughtful comments. I've written responses to them at the bottom of this post. Scroll down.

One thing I plan to do a lot of on this blog is speculative quantification. I want to post a lot of best guess numbers that are subject to so much uncertainty that it verges on irresponsible to post them at all. Not biased, I hope, except inasmuch as the evidence itself is biased, as often happens; but very uncertain. Experts and aspiring experts tends to avoid saying numbers that are wildly uncertain, for good reasons. While one can surround a number with a bodyguard of disclaimers and caveats, if the number gets noticed at all, such evidential throat clearing is the first thing to vanish in references and quotations. Methodology is boring. And so, as your number circulates, it will sound more and more like a factual claim rather than a guess, and there's not much you can do to prevent it, other than to refuse to publish spec…

Ryan Cooper on "The Return of Airships"

Ryan Cooper of The Week recently wrote about "The return of the airship," and it seemed like a good occasion on which to launch this... well, effort. For now, it's a blog. I hope it will turn out to be a lot more than a blog. It's an effort to catalyze the emergence of a giant airship industry, by getting first a critical mass of thought and brainpower together, then mobilizing a critical mass of money. I know something about airships, because years ago, I was part of a nascent airship company called Loft Aeronautics. See here a blog that spun off from that endeavor. But more on my goals and strategy later. Cooper's article is a good introduction to giant airships.

Cooper starts with carbon emissions.
Transportation is now the biggest single source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, having recently passed electricity generation. Worse, zero-carbon transportation technology is only in its early stages — especially for air travel and shipping, which accounts for…