Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant

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pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Kenneth Button and Roger Stough’s analysis of technology workers’ travel habits appeared in their book Air Transport Networks. Melvin Webber’s concept of “community without propinquity” is best explained in his essay “Order in Diversity: Community Without Propinquity,” which was collected in Cities and Space: The Future Use of Urban Space. His quotation is lifted from the same. Marchetti’s Constant is derived from Cesare Marchetti’s paper “Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behavior” (Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 47, 1994). His maglev thought experiment appears in “The Evolution of Transport,” by Jesse H. Ausubel and Cesare Marchetti (Industrial Physicist, April/May 2001). The Future Forum report was published by the British travel firm Thomson in 2006. The University of California sociologist Claude Fischer wrote about Americans’ itinerancy (or increasing lack thereof) in “Ever More Rooted Americans” (City & Community, June 2002).

With Trammel Crow’s money backing him, Portman rebuilt block after block of downtown Atlanta as a series of hollow hotels, convention centers, an “AmericasMart,” and office cubicles, all connected via sky-walks and air-conditioned atria. When he finished Peachtree Center in 1976, the result was a hermetically sealed “Center” central to nothing except its clones elsewhere. He had built the urban equivalent of a hub, profitable and infinitely repeatable anywhere. And with that, his LEGO-block approach became the reigning vernacular in Airworld’s peculiar geography of nowhere. Kasarda’s Law and Marchetti’s Constant It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Technology was going to ground us by linking and shrinking the world, and in doing so set us free. The world would flatten. Road warriors would beat their platinum medallions into plowshares. It hasn’t happened. For twenty years, we’ve heard how e-mail and videoconferencing— relabeled “telepresence”—would eliminate the need for cross-country meetings.

The time we spend commuting has never changed, only our modes of transportation have. The Berlin of 1800 was a compact, walkable city. But as horse trams came along, followed by electric trams, then subways, and finally cars, the city’s periphery raced away from its Enlightenment-era core. Berlin’s diameter was effectively ten times wider in 1950 than it was 150 years earlier, yet it still took only an hour to traverse. The rule has since been dubbed Marchetti’s Constant. Marchetti contended that transportation, not communications, was the “unifying principle of the world.” Ratifying Kasarda’s Law, he attested that the “so-called explosion in communication during the last 20 years did not dent transportation expansion; on the other hand, they tend to move together.” In France, for example, the volume of messages sent and miles traveled annually since the Napoleonic Wars have grown together in a tight correlation.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work by Iain Gately

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, global pandemic, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Meta-surveys of traditional hunter-gatherer societies suggest that their way of life is a happy one. Although they work shorter hours, they spend an hour or so each day on the hoof – or about the same as the average OECD commuter. The similarity in daily travel time between such radically different lifestyles inspired Cesare Marchetti, the Venetian theoretical physicist, to suggest that there was a ‘quintessential unity of travelling instincts around the world’ and that this unity resulted in a fixed ‘travel time budget’ that he named after himself as Marchetti’s Constant. He tested his theory against a variety of cultures past and present and decided that it has shaped our behaviour since the dawn of history. The territory associated with ancient Greek villages, for instance, whose inhabitants went about on foot, was about twenty square kilometres, which was about as much as they could manage within their travel time budget, and this pedestrian limit continued to restrict the size of towns and settlements until the Industrial Revolution.

According to Carole Matlack, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, commuters at Auber station, adjacent to the Paris Opera House, have to ‘dodge chunks of falling plaster and buckets that catch water which drips through the ceiling on rainy days’ in order to board their ramshackle trains. Although the French government promised to spend 400 million euros on upgrading the network in 2013, this was still less than half the sum budgeted for TGV lines. It may be, however, that HS2 and its continental equivalents aren’t being ambitious enough. If displacing aeroplanes is the aim, then why not build an elevated Maglev, such as was imagined by Cesare Marchetti in 1994, running from the Channel tunnel to Aberdeen? It’s only 438 miles, which a Maglev travelling at conservative speeds, and stopping at London Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh en route, could manage within an hour. With a few feeder lines it might extend the ‘commuter-shed’ of all these places for dozens of miles in every direction. And since safety would be de rigueur at such high velocities – passengers would need to strap in, and trains follow split-second moving block schedules – commuters could be sure that the services would be punctual, and that they would always get a seat.

A Fixed-Effects Analysis of Panel Data’, Psychological Science, published online 23 April 2013, DOI:10.1177/ 0956797612464659. 229 For ‘Stall Luft’, see: http://metro.co.uk/2011/03/ 04/cow-fart-cans-offers-authentic-smell-of-countryside-642451/. 230 ‘free up sufficient equity to fund’, Sophie Chick, Savills, ‘Value in the commuter zone’, 19 February 2013: http://www.savills.co.uk/research_articles/141560/144657-0. See also Insights, Commuting Trends Review, Autumn 2010, Blue Door Media Ltd., for Savills. 231 ‘quintessential unity of travelling instincts around the world’, Cesare Marchetti, ‘Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behaviour’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 47, no. 1, 1994, p. 88. 232 For the Hadza tribe of Tanzania, see Michael Finkel, ‘The Hadza’, National Geographic magazine, December 2009. http://ngm.national geographic.com/print/2009/ 12/hadza/ finkel-text. 234 For ‘it’s worth it to me to come home’, Dave Givens talking to Andrea Seabrook of NPR, 14 June 2008, see: http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2002970862_commute04.html. 234 For ‘better option’, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25551393. 236 For ‘more than half of America’s schoolchildren’, see: http://www.americanschool buscouncil.org/issues/environmental-benefits.


pages: 472 words: 80,835

Life as a Passenger: How Driverless Cars Will Change the World by David Kerrigan

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, butterfly effect, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, commoditize, computer vision, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, edge city, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, invention of the wheel, Just-in-time delivery, loss aversion, Lyft, Marchetti’s constant, Mars Rover, megacity, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nash equilibrium, New Urbanism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Today, transport accounts for nearly a quarter of energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions. The lack of road safety also costs up to 5 percent of countries’ GDP, mostly affecting the poorest ones.[316] Most developing countries are still far from being as car-centric as the developed world. City travel is still mostly composed of walking, bicycling and public transport, much more in line with Marchetti’s constant. It is probably preferable if these cities do not replicate the urban mistakes of others, as to multiply them on the scale of Mexico City or Rio would not be feasible. The driverless car might help save developing countries from ever having to replicate the car-centric infrastructure that has emerged in most western cities. This leapfrogging has already happened with telephone systems: Developing countries that lacked land-line telephone and broadband connectivity, such as India, made the leap directly to mobile systems rather than build out their land-line infrastructures.

Going against the theory is the UK Department for Transport, which predicts that road traffic in the United Kingdom will grow by between 19 and 55% by 2040.[61] In a study examining urban car use, Jeff Kenworthy, a professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Australia, found that the pace at which people increase their use of cars has been slowing. It may be explained, at least in part, by a concept known as the "Marchetti Wall."[62] Back in 1994, the Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti observed that throughout history—going back to ancient Rome—the majority of people disliked commuting more than one hour to work. If you're faced with a longer commute, you hit the Wall and rearrange your life, finding a new, more local job or moving closer to the office. In the 1990s and early 2000s, not only did use of public transit grow, but Kenworthy found that cities worldwide were becoming denser, in part because millennials weren't decamping for the suburbs (like their boomer parents did), and because seniors were moving back to urban cores, to enjoy the walkable life.[63] The advent of driverless cars may be the biggest challenge to the strength of the Marchetti wall yet.


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

This surprising observation of the approximately one-hour invariant that communal human beings have spent traveling each day, whether they lived in ancient Rome, a medieval town, a Greek village, or twentieth-century New York, has become known as Marchetti’s constant, even though it was originally discovered by Zahavi. As a rough guide it clearly has important implications for the design and structure of cities. As planners begin to design green carless communities and as more cities ban automobiles from their centers, understanding and implementing the implied constraints of Marchetti’s constant becomes an important consideration for maintaining the functionality of the city. 4. THE INCREASING PACE OF WALKING Zahavi and Marchetti presumed that for a given mode of transportation, such as walking or driving, travel speed did not change with city size.

., 48–49 life expectancy (life span), 6, 11–12, 183–94, 457n estimated gain in, if given disease was cured, 193, 193–94 human mortality curve, 189–90, 192, 192–94, 193 human survivorship curves, 189–94, 191, 192 maximum, 6, 24, 188–94, 202–3 temperature dependence of, 175, 176, 177, 203–4 life extension, 6, 183–94, 203–7 body temperature and, 203–4 caloric restriction and, 205–7, 206 heartbeats and pace of life, 204–5 Limehouse (London), 224–26 Limits to Growth, The (Meadows), 231–32 linear thinking, 17–18, 44–45, 72, 157 links and social networks, 297–98, 298, 319–20 Liverpool, walking lanes, 335–36, 336 Living Earth Simulator, 271 Lobo, José, 274–75, 356, 364, 386 logarithms, 26, 47–48, 49 London, 222–26, 267–68 garden cities, 255 growth curve, 376 Longevity Prize, 184 Los Alamos National Laboratory, 83–84, 106, 274, 405, 434, 435 Los Angeles, 17–18, 251, 310 growth curve, 377 infrastructure networks, 252 Lösch, August, 290 Lower Manhattan Expressway, 260 LSD, 52–54 MacBook Air, 439, 445 machine learning, 443–44 macroecology, 105 magic number four, 6, 117 self-similarity and origin of, 126–30 universality and, 93–99 maintenance expenses, 391–93 Malthus, Thomas Robert, 227–30, 287, 414–15, 416, 423 Malthusians, 227–30, 414–15 mammals. See animals Manchester, England, 223–24 Mandelbrot, Benoit, 130–31, 132, 138–45, 152, 364 Mandelbrot set, 143–44 manufacturing, 211 Marchetti, Cesare, 333–35 Marchetti’s constant, 334–35 market capitalization, 379, 389–90 market share, 408–9 Marx, Karl, 228, 332 Masdar (Abu Dhabi), 256, 258, 299 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Newton), 181 mathematics, 8 biology and, 85–86, 87 Euclidean geometry, 130–31, 141–42 matryoshka, 128 maximal Krogh radius, 160 maximum life span, 6, 188–94, 202–3 maximum size of animals, 158–63 Maxwell, James Clerk, 109, 115, 428 McCarthy, Cormac, 425 McKinsey & Company, 404, 405 McMahon, Thomas, 198 Mead, Margaret, 239 Meadows, Dennis, 231–32 measurement process, 135–41 mechanical constraints, 122, 158–63 mechanistic theory, 12, 85, 111–12, 144, 145, 182, 408 Medawar, Peter, 86 medical research, 52–55 Medical Research Council Unit (MRCU), 437 medicine, scaling in, 16, 51–57 megacities, 7, 215, 223–24, 267–68 Meier, Paul, 403 mergers and acquisitions, 33, 403–4 survivorship curves, 396–97, 399 metabolic energy emergent laws and hierarchy of life, 99–103 growth and, 165–66 metabolic rate, 13, 18–19, 124–26, 201, 234 of animals, 2, 2n, 3, 13, 18–19, 25–26, 91–92, 285–86 of average human, 88–89 of bacteria and cells, 93, 94, 96 of companies, 391–92 definition of, 13 Kleiber’s law and, 26–27, 90–93, 117, 145 in mammals, plants, and trees, 18–19, 118–22 natural selection and, 88–90, 151 scaling of, 90–91, 173 metabolic theory of ecology (MTE), 115–16, 173–78, 203–4 metabolism of cities, 371–78 energy, and entropy, 12–15 social, 13, 373–74, 415 Metabolism (architecture), 247–48 metaphysics, 179–80 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), 356, 462n Mexico City, growth curve, 375 mice, 6, 12, 16, 52, 114 caloric restriction and survival curves, 205, 206 Milgram, Stanley, 296–97, 301–4 Milgram experiment, 301–2 Milky Way, 79 Millennium Bridge (London), 298–300 minimum size of animals, 155–58 mitochondria, 100–102, 101, 113 mobile phone data, as detector of human behavior, 337–45, 351–52, 439 modeling, 62–63 modeling theory, 35, 71–75 Modena, Italy, 249 momentum, 20–21 Moore, James, 249 mortality.

People have taken advantage of these advancements to live farther away and simply travel longer distances to work. The conclusion is clear: the size of cities has to some degree been determined by the efficiency of their transportation systems for delivering people to their workplaces in not much more than half an hour’s time. Zahavi’s fascinating observations made a powerful impression on the Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, who was a senior scientist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna. IIASA has been a major player in questions of global climate change, environmental impact, and economic sustainability, and this is where Marchetti’s interests and contributions have mostly been. He became intrigued by Zahavi’s work and in 1994 published an extensive paper elaborating on the approximate invariance of daily commute times and promoted the idea that the true invariant is actually overall daily travel time, which he called exposure time.3 So even if an individual’s daily commute time is less than an hour, then he or she instinctively makes up for it by other activities such as a daily constitutional walk or jog.


Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K

Pry, “A Simple Substitution Model of Technological Change,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 3 (1971–72): 75–88, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0040-1625(71)80005-7. 41. Cesare Marchetti, “A Personal Memoir: From Terawatts to Witches,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 37, no. 4 (1990): 409–414, https://doi.org/10.1016/0040-1625(90)90049-2. 42. Ibid. 43. C. Marchetti and N. Nakićenović, The Dynamics of Energy Systems and the Logistic Substitution Model, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, December 1979, http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/id/eprint/1024/1/RR-79-013.pdf. 44. Marchetti, “A Personal Memoir: From Terawatts to Witches.” 45. Cesare Marchetti, “Primary Energy Substitution Models: On the Interaction Between Energy and Society,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 10, no. 4 (1977): 345–56, https://doi.org/10.1016/0040-1625(77)90031-2. 46.

Nations harvest fewer than two thousand whales annually, an amount that is 97 percent less than the nearly seventy-five thousand whales killed in 1960.38 The moral of the story, for the economists who studied how vegetable oil saved the whales, was that, “to some extent, economies can ‘outgrow’ severe environmental exploitation.”39 4. A System Without a Schedule While consulting for General Electric in the early 1970s, a playful, forty-something-year-old Italian nuclear physicist named Cesare Marchetti became friendly with one of GE’s in-house economists. The man had recently coauthored a paper, “A Simple Substitution Model of Technological Change.”40 The model calculated how quickly new products become suitable replacements for older ones in order to predict how quickly new products would saturate the market. For a company like GE, with many different technology products, having such a model could be valuable.

“But there’s nothing in this fish that would last more than a single generation because of its low fitness.”92 As for Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, former AquaBounty CEO Ron Stotish was optimistic that he could change their minds. “We are hopeful that over time, they will embrace our product.”93 But five years later, neither the environmental groups supposedly worried about the future of wild fish, nor Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, and Target, had changed their minds.94 8. Class War Today, Cesare Marchetti is in his early nineties and lives as a “gentleman farmer near Florence,” says his friend and coauthor, Jesse Ausubel, “with olive groves, grapevines, goats, black cats,” and his typewriter collection.95 Ausubel, who works at Woods Hole Research Institute and Rockefeller University, has been friends with Marchetti since they met in the 1970s at IIASA. Today, the two men are trying to sequence the genome of Leonardo da Vinci out of trace DNA they’ve been able to gather from the books and other items that belonged to the great Renaissance artist.


pages: 653 words: 155,847

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, California gold rush, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Copley Medal, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Dmitri Mendeleev, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, flex fuel, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, nuclear winter, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Simon Kuznets, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Vanguard fund, working poor, young professional

Three Mile Island radiation: Samuel J. Walker, Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 204–8. 15. Fukushima accident: “Fukushima Accident,” World Nuclear Association Information Library (online). 16. Anil Markandya and Paul Wilkinson, “Electricity Generation and Health,” Lancet 370 (2007): 982. 17. Cesare Marchetti, “My CV as a Personal Story,” Cesare Marchetti Web Archive online, 2003, 4–5. 18. Cesare Marchetti and N. Nakicenovic, “The Dynamics of Energy Systems and the Logistic Substitution Model,” pt. 1, pt. 2, RR-79-13, IIASA, 1979, 1 (online). Italics in original. 19. Luis de Sousa, “Marchetti’s Curves,” The Oil Drum: Europe, 2007 (online). 20. W. Brian Arthur, The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves (New York: Free Press, 2009), 131. 21.

And given the scale of global warming and human development, we will need them all if we are to finish the centuries-long process of decarbonizing our energy supply—wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, natural gas. As a harbinger of what’s coming, the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshar suffered a heat index—a measure of temperature and humidity combined—of 165°F (74°C) in August 2015. Temperatures in the Middle East in recent years have frequently exceeded 125°F. Energy: A Human History originated in my encountering the work of an Italian physicist named Cesare Marchetti. Born in 1927, Marchetti has been based for many years at an institute in Laxenburg, Austria, outside Vienna—IIASA, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. IIASA is one productive outcome of the ill-fated Club of Rome, founded in 1968 as a loose organization of European business leaders, scientists, and high-level government officials concerned (again) with overpopulation and resource depletion.

Many more are proposed.22 These developments reflect the increasing economic expansion toward prosperity of the most populous nations in the world, which have been choking on their fossil-fuel pollution much as Europe and the United States choked on their pollution a hundred years ago. The prosperous West can—barely—afford to produce all its power with renewables if it decides to do so. The rest of the world doesn’t have that option. Cesare Marchetti’s graph, assuming its vectors unfreeze themselves as conditions change, predicts a future energy supply dominated by nuclear and natural gas. We will need all that and renewables as well to sustain a world population of ten billion in anything like reasonable prosperity. The boats are lining up. There’s room aboard for everyone. Another book that has been one of my touchstone references since it was first published in 1985 is the scholar and philosopher Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.


pages: 520 words: 129,887

Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future by Robert Bryce

addicted to oil, Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, flex fuel, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Menlo Park, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

That’s the equivalent of about 30.7 billion barrels—or one cubic mile—of oil.14 The surging use of natural gas and nuclear power demonstrates and reinforces one of the most important energy megatrends of the modern era: decarbonization. Decarbonization is the ongoing global trend toward consumption of fuels that contain less carbon. This megatrend was first identified by a group of scientists that included Nebosa Nakicenovic, Arnulf Grübler, Jesse Ausubel, and Cesare Marchetti,15 who found that over the past two centuries, the process of decarbonization has been taking place in nearly every country around the world. Because consumers always want the cleanest, densest forms of energy and power that they can find, the trend will surely continue. The ratio of carbon to hydrogen atoms in the most common fuels tells the story. From prehistory through, say, the 1700s and early 1800s, wood was the world’s most common fuel.

In 2008, Mexico had about 54,000 megawatts of installed capacity. 9 World Nuclear Association, “World Nuclear Power Reactors and Uranium Requirements.” 10 BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2009. 11 World Nuclear Association, “World Nuclear Power Reactors and Uranium Requirements.” 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid., BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2009. 14 Hewitt Crane, Edwin Kinderman, and Ripudaman Malhotra, A Cubic Mile of Oil: Realities and Options for Averting the Looming Global Energy Crisis (New York: Oxford University Press), prepublication copy, 188. 15 See, for example, Cesare Marchetti, “On Decarbonization: Historically and Perspectively,” International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, January 2005, http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Admin/PUB/Documents/IR-05-005.pdf. 16 Ibid. 17 International Energy Agency, “IEA Executive Director: The Climate Challenge Is Immense but We Have the Clean Technology,” November 25, 2008, http://www.iea.org/Textbase/press/pressdetail.asp?PRESS_REL_ID=277. 18 Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “History of Kyoto Protocol,” n.d., http://www.pewclimate.org/history_of_kyoto.cfm. 19 Nicole Winfield and Alessandra Rizzo, “UN Chief Rebukes G8 over Climate Failures,” Associated Press, July 9, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jd7k_fE2R4LuS8q9w0fglmjvKlBgD99B03085. 20 Environmental Protection Agency, “Clean Air Interstate Rule,” http://www.epa.gov/interstateairquality/. 21 Roberto F.


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The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Elon Musk, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, renewable energy transition, Scramble for Africa, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus

Roger Revelle, the man who had first drawn attention to the ‘geophysical experiment’ of increasing carbon-dioxide levels, included a mention of the effects that experiment was expected to have on the climate in a 1965 report on environmental pollution drafted for President Johnson – the first greenhouse-warming alert ever presented to a head of state. But Revelle made no suggestion that carbon-dioxide emissions should be reduced as a way of dealing with the problem. Instead he described a technical fix – floating ping-pong balls on the surface of the ocean to make it more reflective. A decade later an Italian physicist, Cesare Marchetti, outlined a scheme in which much of the world’s industrial carbon dioxide would be piped directly from power plants to the ocean depths, rather than released into the atmosphere. Under the pressures of the abyss the carbon dioxide would become a liquid, denser than water, which would pool harmlessly in depressions in the sea floor. Marchetti’s 1977 paper on this scheme was the first to use the term ‘geoengineering’.

Various systems have been designed to pull the carbon dioxide out of this flue gas, and as thermodynamics would predict, they do so with much greater ease than systems designed to pull much more dilute carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at large. Yet even these systems have yet to make much progress in the fight to cut emissions, a failure which should – and does – give pause to direct-air-capture enthusiasts. The idea of scrubbing the carbon out of power-station smoke stacks was first mooted in the 1970s. Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (an international think tank outside Vienna; as it happens, Harrison Brown was one of the people who set it up) first used the term ‘geoengineering’ in the climate context to describe a system in which carbon dioxide from power stations would be stored away in deep ocean waters. In the 1990s, with carbon control the main issue in climate politics, the idea re-emerged – now mostly favouring saline aquifers and depleted gas fields, rather than the deep oceans, as possible receptacles, and no longer known, for the most part, as geoengineering, but instead as ‘carbon capture and sequestration’ (CCS).* In climate-policy circles CCS is widely seen as a necessary technology.


pages: 512 words: 165,704

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, call centre, cellular automata, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, congestion charging, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, DARPA: Urban Challenge, endowment effect, extreme commuting, fundamental attribution error, Google Earth, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, Induced demand, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, megacity, Milgram experiment, Nash equilibrium, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, statistical model, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, traffic fines, ultimatum game, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor

The small English city of Kingston-upon-Hull’s physical area was only 4.4 percent the size of London; nevertheless, Zahavi found, car drivers in both places averaged three-quarters of an hour each day. The only difference was that London drivers made fewer, longer trips, while Kingston-upon-Hull drivers made more frequent, shorter trips. In any case, the time spent driving was about the same. The noted Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti has taken this idea one step further and pointed out that throughout history, well before the car, humans have sought to keep their commute at about one hour. This “cave instinct,” as he calls it, reflects a balance between our desires for mobility (the more territory, the more resources one can acquire, the more mates one can meet, etc.) and domesticity (we tend to feel safer and more comfortable at home than on the road).

Chapter Five: Why Women Cause More Congestion Than Men 1.1 hours: Andreas Schafer and David Victor, “The Past and Future of Global Mobility,” Scientific American, October 1997, pp. 58–63. made more frequent, shorter trips: Vacov Zahavi, “The ‘UMOT’ Project,” August 1979, prepared for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Ministry of Transport, Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn. in one hour: Cesare Marchetti, “Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behavior,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 47 (1994), pp. 75–88. thirty minutes each way: M. Wachs, B. D. Taylor, N. Levine, and P. Ong, “The Changing Commute: A Case-study of the Jobs-Housing Relationship over Time,” Urban Studies, vol. 30, no. 10 (1993), pp. 1711–29. jobs were located: See David Levinson and Ajay Kumar, “The Rational Locator,” Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 60, no. 3 (1994), pp. 319–43.


pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

Increases in average distance of daily travel in France over time, using all modes of transportation. Note that the distance traveled is on a logarithmic axis, meaning that the distances capable of being traveled increases exponentially over time. The thick black line shows the general exponential trend. Data from Grübler, Technology and Global Change (Cambridge University Press, 2003). These transportation speeds have clear implications for how the world around us changes. Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist and systems analyst, examined the city of Berlin in great detail and showed that the city has grown in tandem with technological developments. From its early dimensions, when it was hemmed in by the limits of pedestrians and coaches, to later times, when its size ballooned alongside the electric trams and subways, Berlin’s general shape was dictated by the development of ever more powerful technologies.


pages: 279 words: 87,875

Underwater: How Our American Dream of Homeownership Became a Nightmare by Ryan Dezember

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, business cycle, call centre, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, coronavirus, corporate raider, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, interest rate swap, margin call, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, rent control, rolodex, sharing economy, sovereign wealth fund, transaction costs

. _______, “Project Puts Focus on What Is ‘Affordable,’” Press-Register, April 7, 2006. Countrywide Financial, which had recently eclipsed Wells Fargo James R. Hagerty, “Countrywide Pulls on the Reins,” Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2006. The agency created by Congress amid the Great Depression Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, “In Focus This Quarter: The U.S. Consumer Sector,” December 7, 2004. In doing so, they were bucking thousands of years of habit Cesare Marchetti, “Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behavior,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 47 (1994): 75–88. 9. WANNA BUY A BRIDGE? Bob Shallow wound up selling $173.3 million Kathy Jumper, “Bob Shallow Is RE/MAX’s Top Agent on Earth,” Press-Register, March 26, 2006. He was making more than $20,000 a day Ibid. By the end of 2005, more than twenty-six hundred condos Kathy Jumper, “Developers Holding Back,” Press-Register, February 19, 2006.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

In fact, using the IMF’s definition of recession (six months during which global growth dips below 3 per cent), they calculate that, while there were no recessions for the period 1945–73, there have been six recessions since 1973. They are confident that the Kondratieff wave is present in world GDP figures after 1870, and observable in Western economies before that. There is more evidence for the existence of long cycles in the work of Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist who analysed historical data on energy consumption and infrastructure projects. The result, he concluded in 1986, ‘very clearly reveals cyclic or pulsed behaviour’ in many areas of economic life, with cycles lasting roughly fifty-five years.21 Marchetti rejects the idea that these are waves, or primarily economic – preferring to call them long-term ‘pulses’ in social behaviour.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Better kinds of nuclear power will include small, disposable, limited-life nuclear batteries for powering individual towns for limited periods and fast-breeder, pebble-bed, inherent-safe atomic reactors capable of extracting 99 per cent of uranium’s energy, instead of 1 per cent as at present, and generating even smaller quantities of short-lived waste while doing so. Modern nuclear reactors are already as different from the inherently unstable, uncontained Chernobyl ones as a jetliner is from a biplane. Perhaps one day fusion will contribute, too, but do not hold your breath. The Italian engineer Cesare Marchetti once drew a graph of human energy use over the past 150 years as it migrated from wood to coal to oil to gas. In each case, the ratio of carbon atoms to hydrogen atoms fell, from ten in wood to one in coal to a half in oil to a quarter in methane. In 1800 carbon atoms did 90 per cent of combustion, but by 1935 it was 50:50 carbon and hydrogen, and by 2100, 90 per cent of combustion may come from hydrogen – made with nuclear electricity, most probably.