The Memo: Plant-Based Laptops, BMW’s Hybrid SUV & The World’s Best Beach


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Designed for people, not cars

Prepare yourself for the latest in the so-called “culture wars”- the 15-minute city. The concept is pretty unremarkable: everything you need for everyday life is within a 15-minute walk or cycle from your home.

Essential shops, a family doctor, schools, bars and restaurants should all be close enough for you to get there without needing to jump into the car and travel across the city. Shocking!

And yet, this established and respected form of urban planning has been supercharged by misinformation on the internet, resulting in death threats, conspiracy theories and the downright ridiculous.

“They’re Stalinist concentration camps, a globalist agenda to force digital ID and digital currency…” online keyboard warriors cry. And yet, these lies and hysteria have stoked real-life protests across the globe.

Like millions of other European urbanites, I already live in a 15-minute city. Having everything I need within walking distance is one of the reasons I chose to live there.

As Forbes contributor Carlton Reid puts so eloquently, while the idea of restricting cars in certain areas of cities is now a red rag to a bull to some, it is not a novel traffic control measure: Ancient Pompeii, for instance, used such techniques.

Most cities were designed for people, not cars. This great return to localism isn’t a global conspiracy. It’s about putting the power back in the hands of people, not the motor vehicle.

Five Things We Learned

You can now buy a plant-based laptop. Perfect for the vegan fanatic in your life, Lenovo’s catchily-named ThinkPad Z13 Gen2 is partially made from woven flax fiber, offering you extra green credentials with a top-notch laptop.

Cyclists now outnumber motorists in the City of London. Motorists were relegated to third place behind pedestrians and cyclists for the first time on a rainy day in November last year. Motorists traveling through the historic financial district have fallen by 64% since 1999.

Amazon backed a startup that turns bread crusts into bioplastics. Luna Yu, founder and CEO of Genecis, came up with the idea for her business aged 21 while studying to be an environmental scientist. Bioplastics can be used in sustainable packaging, clothing and even medical tools.

France is investing €100 billion in a ‘New Rail Deal’. Sweeping plans to modernize the French rail network were announced by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne this week as part of a long term strategy to dramatically reduce the number of domestic flights and car usage in cities.

Iceland’s black beach is the best beach in Europe. Famed for its black sand, Reynisfjara was crowned the world’s 4th best beach by Tripadvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards. For the ultimate experience, time your visit with the northern lights, for a surreal, unearthly vista.

The Good

BMW isn’t giving up on hydrogen-powered cars. The new iX5 is a proof and concept and a statement of intent by BMW, that hydrogen will be an important part of the transition away from fossil fuels. Refueling takes just 3-4 minutes and powers the car for up to 313 miles.

The Bad

The White House ordered the removal of TikTok from all Government-issued devices. Congress voted to ban the use of the Chinese-owned social media app over national security concerns, giving users just 30 days to delete the app for good.


A startup built robots to scoop your cat’s poop, so you don’t have to. With $180m in sales, Whisker, the makers of the Litter-Robot aims to get stinking rich from the business of kitties doing their business. Forbes, YouTube, free to watch worldwide.


Where does our fat go when we exercise? Metabolism and the science behind energy expenditure is more complicated than you might think. CrowdScience, BBC, free to listen worldwide.


It’s OK to be angry about capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders attacks the status quo from every direction in this call to arms for an alternative economic order. Penguin, from $12.99.


Absinthe, the old-school spirit that’s taking over London. The infamous drink loved by Hermingway, Wilde and Picasso is having a moment in London, with the city’s first absinthe distillery now open along with new varieties, including the ‘regalis’ with nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom.

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