On MNN: The maple syrup bubble, soundproofing your apartment, and the library of things

pillows
© Elle Interior

A roundup of posts Lloyd Alter has written for sister site MNN.com about technology, boomers, and whatever.

How to soundproof a noisy apartment

It's hard if you rent, but there are a few things you can do.

This photo of pillows got a few laughs on Twitter but seriously, when you are in an apartment your soundproofing options are often limited, and filling it with sound absorbing materials can make a difference. There are other, more conventional options discussed, like medieval tapestries. More on MNN: How to soundproof a noisy apartment

You can learn more about innovation from Renaissance Florence than from Silicon Valley

florenceLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 Lessons in business and management from the Medicis.

A writer for the Harvard Business Review started this one, making the case that it was more innovative than Silicon Valley is today. I picked up on it to point out that it was also a great example of hubris, excessive display of wealth, and untrammelled power, (starting with that bridge with a private elevated skywalk) also much like Silicon Valley today. More on MNN: You can learn more about innovation from Renaissance Florence than from Silicon Valley

Is the maple syrup bubble about to burst?

making mapleUniversity of Vermont/Public Domain The N. American maple syrup business is very sweet right now, but it could get sticky real fast.

North of the border in Quebec there is a maple syrup cartel, the OPEC of syrup, with a strategic syrup reserve in storage that's bigger than the entire production of the USA. The sweet stuff is popular right now and Americans have increased production but don't have that socialist safety net controlling supply and prices. Trouble ahead. More: Is the maple syrup bubble about to burst?

Is Amazon really opening up to 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores?

pricing amazon© Stephen Brashear/Getty Images If so, the few independents still left should be afraid, very afraid. That was the story at time of writing. Subsequently it turned out that they are opening fewer and more slowly, but it doesn't change the strangeness of it all: that after killing off so many bricks and mortar bookstores, they are going to open their own and probably kill off the rest of them. More on MNN: Is Amazon really opening up to 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores?

'The library of things' now lends a lot more than just books

seattle libraryLloyd Alter/ Seattle main library/CC BY 2.0 The true sharing economy can be found in the public library.

It's amazing what libraries are now lending, from telescopes to snowshoes. This is the original, and the real sharing economy. I ended with a quote from Carl Sagan that I will repeat here:

The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.

More on MNN: 'The library of things' now lends a lot more than just books

And, two stories on how aging boomers may get around in the age of Uber:
Uber for elders might be the way boomers get around
How Uber might actually encourage walking among aging boomers

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