Thursday, April 27, 2017

Friday Thinking 28 April 2017

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9

Kevin Kelly - The Inevitable, p.16

Reinventing the (Flavor) Wheel: Industry Collaborates to Identify Coffee Flavor Attributes

In organization theory, firms are commonly understood as entities adapting to the changing environment. The post-industrial approach is different. It associates change with becoming.

Becoming indicates that nothing exists in a final state and all entities are in a continuous movement in time, not through adaptation, but through emergence, through responsive connecting with the new. The focus is on the connecting of people and events in a game-like environment.

But we need a new concept of games. Zero-sum games were the offspring of scarcity. The players and their contributions in the real world are, and should be, too qualitatively different to be compared quantitatively. In the era of creative learning and abundance, the aim is not to have a few winners and many losers as in our corporate games today.

The meaning of becoming can only be understood through temporality as the lens to reality. Under circumstances of rapid technological change, the (management) challenge is to create openness to possibilities and plausible options. Success in the game is about recombining these options and diverse contributions in a competitive and cooperative environment. Technology and development in general are not isolated acts, but a complex storyline.

By drawing a boundary around the organization, we made the assumption that interactions within the boundary are more significant than interactions with actors outside that boundary. This way of thinking was acceptable in repetitive work where it was relatively easy to define what needed to be done and by whom as a definition of the quantity of labor and quality of capabilities, but not anymore.

The new (technological) task is to make possible easy and fast emergent formation of groups and to make it as easy as possible for the best contributions from the whole network to find the applicable events in the game.

Business Game Design

It’s worth thinking about why Socrates was unable to explain where political or moral expertise could be found and how it could be institutionalised. He failed because politics and morality are not appropriate subjects for the pronouncements of experts. Science can certainly provide facts, but not truths. It is only through the public interpretation of facts that people arrive at truths.

Truths are simply not reducible to scientific reasoning. When Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers, stated that ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident’, he was giving voice to something that was not simply a product of reasoning. As the political philosopher Hannah Arendt explained, ‘by virtue of being self-evident, these truths are pre-rational – they inform reason but are not its product – and since their self-evidence puts them beyond disclosure and argument, they are in a sense no less compelling than “despotic power” and no less absolute than the revealed truths of religion or the axiomatic verities of mathematics’. In the current climate, different attitudes towards the truth will not be decided by the ‘facts’, but by the contestation of cultural authority.


People aren’t rejecting truth – they’re rejecting the values of the elites.

But all the sharing, all the free stuff seemed too impossible to business executives. Stephen Weiswasser, a senior VP at ABC, delivered the ultimate put-down: ‘The Internet will be the CB radio of the 90s,’ he told me, a charge he later repeated to the press. Weiswasser summed up ABC’s argument for ignoring the new medium: ‘You aren’t going to turn passive consumers into active trollers on the internet.’

Kevin Kelly - The Inevitable, p.16

This is a must see 3 min video about the fact that all models are wrong but some are useful.

Models are always imperfect, and the ones we choose greatly shape our experience

Picture Jupiter’s moons orbiting the planet. Do you see small dots bouncing back and forth in straight lines as if bound to Jupiter by springs, as Galileo once did? Or an overhead view of small bodies circling the planet in elliptical orbits? Or maybe you see Jupiter and its moons in helical motion, each body careening through space and time on its own set path? None of these models is false – each one presents a truth about reality. But as this short animation from MinutePhysics demonstrates, the models that we embrace significantly shape our perspective, and can lead us to neglect other, equally valid representations of reality.

This is a great signal in the change of how we produce and share knowledge, and science work and results. This is the future of knowledge Management - which is Knowledge Governance to enable Knowledge Generation and Accountability. Anyone who has heard me speak - might find the reference that we are still making the ‘Printing Press’ the content of most of our work using computers.

We Need a GitHub for Academic Research

Down with the static, old-fashioned scholarly paper. Communicating the results of scientific studies remains rooted in printing presses and elegant typography.
One striking exception to this pattern is the way that academic scientists report the results of new research. As they have for centuries, scientists continue to write papers that summarize the results of their work and then submit them to scholarly journals for potential publication. Readers of these journals, for the most part, are other working scientists. The more prestigious the journal is, the better that is for the scientist’s career advancement prospects. The paper serves as the official and complete account of a given research effort, which researchers note in their curricula vitae as their chief credentials for advancement. No papers, no employment. Communicating the results of scientific studies remains rooted in printing presses and elegant typography.

This is a shame because the academic paper has some inherent limitations—chief among them that it can provide only a summary of a given research project. Even an outstanding paper cannot provide direct access to all of the research data collected or to the record of discussions among scientists that is reflected in lab notes. These windows into the messy and halting process of science, which can be extremely valuable learning objects, are not yet part of the official record of a research study.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we take advantage of the unique capabilities of the web to tell the full story of a research project—rather than merely using it as a faster printing press as we do today—we can build greater transparency into our approach to reporting science. Besides improving information-sharing among scientists, a push toward transparency could improve public trust in science and scientists. Now, when the very concepts of fact and truth under assault and many scientists feel compelled to march in response, is the perfect time to rethink our approach to scientific communication altogether.

On the other hand - here’s what the legacy of monopolistic copyright can enact.
By 2004, Google had started scanning. In just over a decade, after making deals with Michigan, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, the New York Public Library, and dozens of other library systems, the company, outpacing Page’s prediction, had scanned about 25 million books. It cost them an estimated $400 million. It was a feat not just of technology but of logistics.

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”
You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.

At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.

It was to be the realization of a long-held dream. “The universal library has been talked about for millennia,” Richard Ovenden, the head of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, has said. “It was possible to think in the Renaissance that you might be able to amass the whole of published knowledge in a single room or a single institution.” In the spring of 2011, it seemed we’d amassed it in a terminal small enough to fit on a desk.

“This is a watershed event and can serve as a catalyst for the reinvention of education, research, and intellectual life,” one eager observer wrote at the time.

On March 22 of that year, however, the legal agreement that would have unlocked a century’s worth of books and peppered the country with access terminals to a universal library was rejected under Rule 23(e)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

When the library at Alexandria burned it was said to be an “international catastrophe.” When the most significant humanities project of our time was dismantled in court, the scholars, archivists, and librarians who’d had a hand in its undoing breathed a sigh of relief, for they believed, at the time, that they had narrowly averted disaster.

This is an excellent, longish read, relevant to all of us struggling with the apparent accelerating ‘post-truth’ era and the possibility that we are in the midst of a cyber World War. While the article focuses on Russia the techniques  are not so novel as they are being scaled. Russia is not the only actor in this new domain. Another signal that the participatory ‘panopticon’ may be a serious form of security.
“The Russians have stumbled on how the nature of international contestation is changing and will be fought out in the 21st century. It’s an age when direct kinetic warfare [the military’s term of art for ‘things that go bang’] is ridiculously expensive, in political but also economic terms,” he says. “Instead, war will be fought out through a variety of other means, many which are covert, ambiguous, and so on. The Russians have, fortuitously for them, simply stumbled on a truth of the century.”
To sunlight we can now add another powerful disinfectant: global, peer-to-peer, open-source investigation.

Russian Disinformation Technology

Russia’s reinvention of war exploits old techniques for a new century. Open-source citizen investigators are fighting back.
“The single most prevalent Russian response is to attack the critic,” he says. “They use a ‘vilify and amplify’ technique.” Critics are besmirched, sometimes in an official announcement, sometimes through proxies, sometimes through anonymous sources quoted in state media; then paid trolls and highly automated networks of bots add scale. In response, an ad hoc blend of civilians, private companies, and NGOs has evolved to cast a bright, shining light on MH17 and Russian aggression in Ukraine, Syria, and the Atlantic partnership. Exemplifying the values Italo Calvino outlined in Six Memos for the Next Millennium—lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity, and consistency—their methods are in sharp contrast to the West’s generally sclerotic response to a revanchist Russia.

Nowhere is this weakness more brutally apparent than in Russia’s use of digital technology to reinforce its greatest tool of statecraft: maskirovka. The literal translation—“little masquerade”—disguises the density and importance of this elusive concept. “Military deception” misses its deep cultural roots: maskirovka involves camouflage, denial, and a deep finesse. As James Jesus Angleton, the founding counterintelligence chief of the CIA, put it, “The myriad stratagems, deceptions, artifices, and all the other devices of disinformation … confuse and split the West [with] an ever-fluid landscape, where fact and illusion merge, a kind of wilderness of mirrors.”

The most powerful weapon in the maskirovka armory is disinformation, a word acquired in the 1950s from the Russian dezinformatsiya. A generation after the Cold War, the acknowledged masters of “deza” are deploying disinformation technology against the compromised immune system of liberal democracy. “And at this point,” says Andrew Andersen, a Russian-born security analyst at the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, “the West is losing.”

In current meme-storm of ‘fake news’ this is a great 5 min video reminding us that it isn’t new and in fact our traditional mainstream media had many shortcomings when it came to the truth.

NOAM CHOMSKY - The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine

According to American linguist and political activist, Noam Chomsky, media operate through 5 filters: ownership, advertising, the media elite, flak and the common enemy.

This is a short article discussing the security properties of a few popular apps. Some of us may find this interesting.

The apps to use if you want to keep your messages private

Protect yourself from hackers.
How secure are your private messages?
At a time when data breaches are at an all-time high, that’s a question worth thinking about. Hackers, particularly state-sponsored hackers, have shown a willingness to go after big, established tech companies like Yahoo and Google. These big platforms often hold users’ personal information — or in some cases, users’ private correspondence — on their servers.

But there are ways to protect your private communications, and many consumer tech companies are starting to offer better encryption so that your personal messages won’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re concerned about your messages being read by hackers, advertisers or even the police, encryption can protect you.
What products should you be using to enhance your privacy? We took a look at more than a dozen consumer messaging services to give you a better idea.

Here’s a strong signal about the accelerating development of the Blockchain. This article also provides a very clear, simple explanation of what the blockchain is.
“Delaware is such an important state. It is the state where the foundational infrastructure of finance in the United States happens,” said Caitlin Long, president of blockchain startup Symbiont, the state’s partner in the program. When Delaware makes regulatory changes, “it’s going to have a big impact on the whole corporate industry and therefore on all of Wall Street.”

How Delaware’s Blockchain Trial Could Change Wall Street

With a population of just under a million, the small state of Delaware is nevertheless a behemoth when it comes to corporate finance law. The state carries the distinction of having the most well-developed body of corporate law in the country. As a result, two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated there and it is also where 85% of initial public offerings choose to domicile.

That is why a pilot program testing blockchain technology underway in Delaware could be a game-changer for Wall Street, according to speakers at a recent event hosted by the Mack Institute for Innovation Management and the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative. The Delaware Blockchain Initiative is applying the technology to its public archives to store, distribute, encrypt and sunset documents. Later, the blockchain could be used for notice-of-lien filings, share issuances and other official actions.

The step Delaware is taking could eventually lead to a much more efficient Wall Street, where settlements of trades and other processes would happen instantaneously and record-keeping will not only be easier but also more accurate. “This technology really is a game changer to massively simplify and streamline what’s going on in the financial sector,” Long said. “There’s no reason why we can’t settle securities transactions instantaneously. And this is the technology that I think will get us there.”

Whatever people think of Google - it has enabled a basic ‘organization’ of the world’s online information. Google had even more ambition - but incumbents of old business models have fought to preserve the problems to which they were the answer.
Books can do anything. As Franz Kafka once said, “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”

How Google Book Search Got Lost

Google Books was the company’s first moonshot. But 15 years later, the project is stuck in low-Earth orbit.
Google Book Search, the tool that magically scours the texts of millions of digitized volumes. Just find the little “more” tab at the top of the Google results page — it’s right past Images, Videos, and News. Then click on it, find “Books,” and click on that. (That’s if you’re at your desk. On mobile, good luck locating it anywhere.)

Google Book Search is amazing that way. When it started almost 15 years ago, it also seemed impossibly ambitious: An upstart tech company that had just tamed and organized the vast informational jungle of the web would now extend the reach of its search box into the offline world. By scanning millions of printed books from the libraries with which it partnered, it would import the entire body of pre-internet writing into its database.

“You have thousands of years of human knowledge, and probably the highest-quality knowledge is captured in books,” Google cofounder Sergey Brin told The New Yorker at the time. “So not having that — it’s just too big an omission.”

Today, Google is known for its moonshot culture, its willingness to take on gigantic challenges at global scale. Books was, by general agreement of veteran Googlers, the company’s first lunar mission. Scan All The Books!

Two things happened to Google Books on the way from moonshot vision to mundane reality. Soon after launch, it quickly fell from the idealistic ether into a legal bog, as authors fought Google’s right to index copyrighted works and publishers maneuvered to protect their industry from being Napsterized. A decade-long legal battle followed — one that finally ended last year, when the US Supreme Court turned down an appeal by the Authors Guild and definitively lifted the legal cloud that had so long hovered over Google’s book-related ambitions.

But in that time, another change had come over Google Books, one that’s not all that unusual for institutions and people who get caught up in decade-long legal battles: It lost its drive and ambition.

In a world where a great deal of science research is publically funded so much research remains behind paywalls - here’s some help in finding legal versions of scholarly work free.

Announcing Unpaywall: unlocking #openaccess versions of paywalled research articles as you browse

Today we’re launching a new tool to help people read research literature, instead of getting stuck behind paywalls. It’s an extension for Chrome and Firefox that links you to free full-text as you browse research articles. Hit a paywall? No problem: click the green tab and read it free!

The extension is called Unpaywall, and it’s powered by an open index of more than ten million legally-uploaded, open access resources. Reports from our pre-release are great: “Unpaywall found a full-text copy 53% of the time,” reports librarian, Lydia Thorne. Fisheries researcher Lachlan Fetterplace used Unpaywall to find “about 60% of the articles I tested. This one is a great tool and I suspect it will only get better.” And indeed it has! We’re now getting full-text on 85% of 2016’s most-covered research papers.

Unpaywall doesn’t just help researchers, but also people outside academia who don’t enjoy the expensive subscription benefits of institutional libraries. “As someone who runs a non-profit organisation in a developing country this extension is GOLD!” says Nikita Shiel-Rolle. It helps journalists, high school students, practitioners, and, crucially, policymakers, who don’t usually have subscription access to the fact-based research literature. There has never been a time when unlocking facts has been so important. So we’re thrilled that more than 10,000 people from 143 countries have installed the extension already.

The best part is it’s powered by fully legal, free, open access uploads by the authors themselves. More and more funders and universities are requiring authors to upload copies of their papers to institutional and subject repositories. This has created a deep resource of legal open access papers, ripe for building upon.

This may be a weak signal of a dramatic change toward a new economic platform - as well as harkening the need to re-imagine the design of our urban landscapes. The graphs are worth the view.

'The dominoes are starting to fall': Retailers are going bankrupt at a staggering rate

Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at an alarming rate that's quickly approaching recessionary levels.
It's only April, and nine retailers have already filed for bankruptcy since the start of the year — as many as all of last year.

"2017 will be the year of retail bankruptcies," Corali Lopez-Castro, a bankruptcy lawyer, told Business Insider after she attended a recent distressed-investing conference in Palm Beach, Florida. "Retailers are running out of cash, and the dominoes are starting to fall."

Payless ShoeSource, hhgregg, The Limited, RadioShack, BCBG, Wet Seal, Gormans, Eastern Outfitters, and Gander Mountain are among the retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far this year, and most are closing hundreds of stores as a result. On top of those closures, retailers that are staying in business — at least for now — are shutting down a record number of stores.

More than 3,500 stores are expected to close over the next several months.
Annual retail bankruptcies peaked at a total of 20 in 2008 — a level that the US could reach by September if the current rate of filings continues, according to CNBC.

Robotics and algorithmic intelligence aren’t only taking jobs away from humans - they are also enabling us to do different work and even different forms of creative value creation. Some of these efforts are aimed at improving a sense of active wellness and autonomy. The Japanese are at the forefront of preparing for a vast demographic change in conditions of change as Elders arise as a new force.
Toyota's system follows the release by Honda Motor Co of its own walking assist "robotic legs" in 2015, which was based on technology developed for its ASIMO dancing robot.
"If there's a way that we can enable more elderly people to stay mobile after they can no longer drive, we have to look beyond just cars and evolve into a maker of robots," Toshiyuki Isobe, chief officer of Toyota's Frontier Research Center, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Japan automakers look to robots to keep elderly on the move

Japanese automakers are looking beyond the industry trend to develop self-driving cars and turning their attention to robots to help keep the country's rapidly graying society on the move.

Toyota Motor Corp said it saw the possibility of becoming a mass producer of robots to help the elderly in a country whose population is ageing faster than the rest of the world as the birthrate decreases.

The country's changing demographics place its automakers in a unique situation. Along with the issues usually associated with falling populations such as labor shortages and pension squeezes, Japan also faces dwindling domestic demand for cars.

Toyota, the world's second largest automaker, made its first foray into commercializing rehabilitation robots on Wednesday, launching a rental service for its walk assist system, which helps patients to learn how to walk again after suffering strokes and other conditions.

Here’s another signal toward the domestication of DNA and personalized medicine - maybe more.

Personalized tumor vaccines keep cancer in check

For half a century, researchers have dreamed of giving cancer patients a vaccine that helps the immune system detect the tumors as foreign tissue and wipe them out. But hundreds of attempts helped few patients. Now, a new approach that tailors a personalized vaccine to the mutated proteins in an individual’s tumor appears to have prevented early relapses in 12 people with skin cancer. It also may have helped several others by boosting the power of a new type of cancer drug that uses a different mechanism to unleash an immune attack on the tumor.

“We’re in this very exciting, new moment” for personalized cancer vaccines, says Catherine Wu of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, whose team presented results last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Washington, D.C. A second team has similarly encouraging data. The two small studies, mainly designed to test safety and immune responses, are indeed “promising,” says Drew Pardoll of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. But, he cautions, it is “way too early” to draw firm conclusions about whether the vaccines will extend the lives of cancer patients.

This is a fascinating piece discussing recent findings of neuro-imaging and concepts of self and the future.

Our Puny Human Brains Are Terrible at Thinking About the Future

And that has consequences.
Our future selves are strangers to us.
This isn’t some poetic metaphor; it’s a neurological fact. FMRI studies suggest that when you imagine your future self, your brain does something weird: It stops acting as if you’re thinking about yourself. Instead, it starts acting as if you’re thinking about a completely different person.

Here’s how it works: Typically, when you think about yourself, a region of the brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, powers up. When you think about other people, it powers down. And if you feel like you don’t have anything in common with the people you’re thinking about? The MPFC activates even less.

More than 100 brain-imaging studies have reported this effect. (Here’s a helpful meta-analysis—while some fMRI studies have been called into question recently for statistical errors and false positives, this particular finding is robust.) But there’s one major exception to this rule: The further out in time you try to imagine your own life, the less activation you show in the MPFC. In other words, your brain acts as if your future self is someone you don’t know very well and, frankly, someone you don’t care about.

This glitchy brain behavior may make it harder for us to take actions that benefit our future selves both as individuals and as a society. Studies show that the more your brain treats your future self like a stranger, the less self-control you exhibit today, and the less likely you are to make pro-social choices, choices that will probably help the world in the long run. You’re less able to resist temptations, you procrastinate more, you exercise less, you put away less money for your retirement, you give up sooner in the face of frustration or temporary pain, and you’re less likely to care about or try to prevent long-term challenges like climate change.

This may be very good news in terms of the future of energy geopolitics. The graphs tell the story very well.

The De-Electrification of the U.S. Economy

For more than a century after the advent of commercial electrical power in the late 1800s, electricity use in the U.S. rose and rose and rose. Sure, there were pauses during recessions, but the general trajectory was up. Until 2007, it appears.

The initial drop in electricity use in 2008 and 2009 could be attributed partly to the economic downturn. But the economy grew again in 2010, and every year since. Electricity use in the U.S., meanwhile, is still below its 2007 level, and seemingly flatlining.

The change is even more dramatic if you measure on a per-capita basis:
Per-capita electricity use has fallen for six years in a row. We're now back to the levels of the mid-1990s, and seemingly headed lower.

This is a really big deal! For one thing, it's yet another explanation -- along with tighter federal emissions rules, the natural gas fracking boom, and the rise of solar and wind power -- for why the past few years have been so tough on coal miners. It means that even a big pro-coal policy shift from Washington may not result in higher demand for thermal coal.

For another, it seems to settle a turn-of-the-millennium debate about the electricity demands of the digital economy.
some of that decline is surely due to efficiency gains. The corporate focus on costs has increasingly come to include energy costs, and parts of the corporate world have also reorganized themselves in ways that make saving energy more of a priority.

And the world’s energy geopolitics continues its sprint to a global phase transition.
Britain has set a trade as its goal: all coal power for green energy by 2025. Costa Rica runs entirely on green energy, setting an example for the rest of the world. China, one of the biggest greenhouse gas offenders in the world, is also making some of the most impressive strides to correct its behavior; it has decreased its use of fossil fuels as its overall energy use has increased, and is now the world’s biggest producer of solar energy.

The UAE Expects to Save $192 Billion by Switching to Renewable Energy

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has determined that trading natural gas for clean energy is best both for the environment and the budget. Forecasts show that switching half of the country’s power needs to renewables by 2050 will generate savings that outweigh the costs of investment. In fact, as the UAE invests $150 billion into renewable power between now and 2050, it will save $192 billion as it reduces its dependency on subsidized natural gas power.

Minister of Energy Suhail Al-Mazrouei announced the UAE’s clean energy plans, expressing the nation’s “bullish” enthusiasm about the project. Following through with the plan will “save the environment and at the same time save us lots of money,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

As solar power makes the news as the cheapest source of new energy, countries in sunny regions are reassessing their power strategies. Most of these nations rely on liquid natural gas — for now. Al-Mazrouei explained that Middle East states need to break free from their dependence on subsidized gas power, which is incredibly inefficient.

This is still far from ready for commercialization - but it’s a good signal of the progress in ‘photonics’ a shift to using light (photons instead of electrons) to build computers and other related stuff.
“You’ll be able to store a lot more data on a cellphone, on a computer, it will be a lot thinner,”

'Super computer': B.C. scientist creates energy-efficient computer memory

A Vancouver Island chemist has invented a breakthrough material that will make computers and smartphones faster, more durable and more energy-efficient.
The new material, made from technology known as light induced magnetoresistive random-access memory (LI-RAM), uses light instead of electricity to store and process data.
Overheating won't be an issue with the LI-RAM because the light system could produce almost no heat.

I began to roast my own coffee (from green beans) a few years ago. By joining a group of coffee lovers we can buy in bulk, so I’ve never paid more than $6 a pound (ave around $5/lb). And I’ve never had better coffee at home. For coffee lovers, here’s a blog from OLAM coffee an ethical coffee wholesaler about the future of coffee.

A Commitment to the Future of Coffee

When you visit the website for World Coffee Research (WCR) you’ll find a map showing every country in which they have an active project. The map looks very familiar to everyone at Olam because Olam has offices in most of the countries currently hosting WCR projects. But the commonalities between Olam and WCR go beyond our neighborly geography.

The Whole Supply Chain
Similar to Olam’s integrated supply chain approach, which allows us to control aspects of quality and sustainability from farm to table, WCR conducts research on coffee from seed to cup. Growing, processing, roasting, marketing, consumption, and the economics of coffee are all areas where WRC has focused its attention.

Here’s a link to the updated ‘coffee flavor wheel’ - to get a sense of all the possible flavors good coffee can offer.

Reinventing the (Flavor) Wheel: Industry Collaborates to Identify Coffee Flavor Attributes

One of the most iconic resources in the coffee industry, the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel has been updated for the first time in its 21-year history. The foundation of this work, the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon, is the product of dozens of professional sensory panelists, scientists, coffee buyers, and roasting companies collaborating via World Coffee Research (WCR) and the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). This is the largest and most collaborative piece of research on coffee flavor ever completed, inspiring a new set of vocabulary for industry professionals. This groundbreaking new tool will shift the way our industry thinks about and utilizes coffee flavor.