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Old 05-22-2019, 01:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A new blog for EV World I can not publish

Blog is the results of some of my thoughts on new technological adoption from reading the book "Energy" by Richard Rhodes.

A New York Minute

I was reading an article in the NY Post the other day about how the green new deal efforts is stalled in the state. Apparently a legal effort to install a new gas pipeline was thwarted by the state government which is pushing wind and solar. Meanwhile locals in various communities have stopped efforts to build new wind and solar projects in their communities because they don’t like the look of them in a strange twist on NIMBY.

This week I attended a meeting at the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) on the politics of The Green New Deal. The meeting was not too upbeat in my estimation as on the state level the new democratic governor and state legislature have already caved in obsequiously to oil and gas money.

I tell friends that one of the most powerful things you can do is install solar and buy and electric car if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. Add a home storage battery and you have a trifecta of reduced environmental impact and you escape from the volatility of gasoline prices.

This of course is not cheap to do and leaves folks of limited means behind. My best advice for folks who can only afford a used car in the ten thousand dollar range is to buy a used EV of limited range (80 miles to 100 miles). This will meet 100% of their local travel needs but they are not for traveling long distances.

It kind of makes one wonder just how do new technologies get introduced to the public anyway in the face of opposition and persistent ignorance on the part of the public? I ran across some interesting stories on the introduction of the railroad into England in the early 1800’s from a book I am now reading titled “Energy” by Richard Rhodes.

Apparently in England the roads were undeveloped being what was called “Soft Roads”. From about August to October the farmers would herd the cattle, sheep, pigs, and yes even geese to market to the larger cities like London. If you can imagine it picture a hundred or more geese being driven to market day after day for a hundred or more miles. Kind of makes the idea of herding cats seem like child’s play.

The farmers did not want these roads improved (read hardened here) because it would be hard on the animals feet. Enter stage left the railroad. It was found that a horse could haul up to 30 tons of carts on a track on level ground. They just couldn’t use rail road ties to tie the rails together. They used evenly spaced piers to support the track on each side so the horse could trot down the middle between the rails unimpeded.

Only later on with the introduction of the locomotive did the fact that the rails were not tied together become a concern. The first rails were wooden, then cast iron which was often times too brittle and would break. Then the metallurgy caught up in the form of a more malleable cast iron which was more durable and not prone to cracking.

By this reading one of the reasons the railroads developed in England first was because of the farmers lobby to keep their roads soft. Soft roads are not good for pulling wagons for transporting goods. Some of the first rails were used to haul coal out of the mines then downhill to a water way for transport to market. They might just be operated by a man with a brake lever and horse in tow behind the wagon. The horse would be used later to haul the empty cart back up the hill.

Railroads were delayed in their development in the United States because of our expansive river systems connecting much of the eastern half of the country together. This meant that some of the first applications for steam powered transport here was for boats. A boat can haul a lot more weight including a steam engine and fuel which were not small items at first.

“I am astonished,” the American steamboat inventor James Rumsey wrote George Washington in 1785,”that it is so hard to force an advantage on the public.” The future is a hard sell. “ The man in the street in the 1790’s Wrigley argues “would be in no doubt about a revolution across the channel in France, but he would have been astonished to learn that he was living in the middle of what future generations would also term a revolution”.

Not much has changed in the intervening 220 years if your look at our situation today. We are in a revolution of a transition from internal combustion to using electricity for transportation and very few people seem to know it. I was talking to my sister last night on the phone trying to convince her to take a test drive of a Tesla Model 3 or a Kia Niro EV and she is reluctant because she has to be proactive to accomplish the task. She says she wants to buy and electric car in 18 months and I am trying to coach her to do her homework.

In desperation I told her to just do it. I said, “once you do you will find that everything you have driven for the past fifty years is just primitive in comparison. A Tesla Model 3 or any good modern EV is like a spaceship in comparison.” Yes indeed, “The Future really is a Hard Sell”.

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Old 07-03-2019, 07:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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New Blog I am publishing on Facebook and here today.

Yes, Life really is a Tragedy Climate Change Doomers

On social media I often run into people who are adherents to the Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) theory that human civilization is doomed. The theory postulates that our current form of civilization will end in biological, social, and physical collapse in the very near term. I am in agreement with this prognosis as I have been saying for a long time our version of civilization is a spiraling impossibility.

I say this as do the NTHE people because of our massive human population overshoot, our mania for ever more growth, our unrelenting assaults on the natural world, and our hubris in thinking we are exempt from the laws governing the natural world. When we can expect our civilization to collapse in rapid series of cascading failure is an open question in my estimation that no one yet has firm grasp of.

People telling you they do know precisely when our civilization collapses are just exhibiting their own version of hubris, because they cannot know how such a complex equation plays out in the real world, in real time.

Personally I would be very surprised if our form of civilization can last to the end of this century. I have even coined a new word “Nostradumbasses” to describe people who pretend to have such futuristic knowledge. Usually I mockingly ask if the world is going to end on a Thursday.

Before my father died he told me life was a tragedy. This statement aroused my curiosity, so I asked him why he thought so. My father who majored in literature at Case Western Reserve University answered me as follows.

In literature there are only two types of stories, comedies, and tragedies. A comedy has a happy ending, but the story can be tragic throughout but if it has a happy ending it is a comedy. Conversely a tragedy can be a happy story to the end but if it ends tragically it is then a tragedy. Life is tragic because it always ends tragically in that you die at the end of it.

We just celebrated my 69th birthday in late May and it seems I have been going through a mid-life crisis recently. My doctor has been after me about controlling my blood pressure better so I have started on an exercise regime three times a week to improve my physical health. The good news is my efforts seem to be paying off and my BP seems to be coming down.

The bad news is regardless of what I do I probably only have about twenty years left for a natural life span (give or take five years) before I experience my own personal extinction of dying. While I am not particularly sanguine about dying I am of the Mark Twain school of thought here in that I find I wasn’t inconvenienced one iota by my non-existence of the billions of years before I was born and I speculate that I won’t be inconvenienced after I shed my own mortal coil either.

It is not the non-existence of my person or the human race that concerns me here nor should it concern any of us either if we were to be honest about it. It is what happens while we live that concerns us the most. The potential collapse of civilization will concern us because it will be attended by all kinds of mortal terrors. Famine, disease, war, floods, fires, multi 500 year storms, extremes of hot and cold weather, and droughts that should make the equanimity of even the most unimaginative among us quake.

Not being able to buy food in the stores or even to grow it yourself because of climate disruption as well the breakdown of social order will suck. Wither this begins to kick in with a vengeance in ten years or twenty years is beside the point. There will be very little you can do about it and very little in the way of preparation that will make much difference. Things can and will deteriorate to such a point where the living may come to envy the dead.

Because of these potentialities many in the NTHE crowd recommend that you not bother to make any efforts towards climate change mitigation but instead just try to live a life of excellence, love one another, and wait for the end.
Just what functional difference is there to distinguish between this advice and the advice of the climate change denialist? If the NTHE crowd isn’t being paid by the fossil fuel interest to troll us on social media pages one has to wonder why are they turning up their noses at such an opportunity to earn extra money to contribute to their own life of excellence.

Would if a life of excellence meant to me, and many others reducing your carbon footprint, living more energy efficiently, and pocketing the savings for energy you don’t really need, so you can live your own life of excellence? What is it they think they know that presumes to make them believe that you acting to mitigate your carbon emission impacts, is causing you lead a hair shirt life of denial, and austerity anyway?

We filled the tank of our gas truck last week and it cost us $45 to buy 18.5 gallons for 355 miles of travel. Not bad for a full size ICE truck averaging 19.2 mpg for this particular fuel run. I got curious and I went over to look at the readout on of PHEV. We had driven 366 miles in it for a reported 80 mpg meaning we would need 4.575 gallons of gasoline which would cost us only $11.25 to replace the gasoline in it.

This is quite a significant difference caused by being able to plug our car in and charge it using our solar panels allowing us to drive 2/3rds of our miles electrically using carbon free electricity. Far from being inconvenienced by these efforts to reduce our carbon footprint we find it so easy a caveman could do it. We pull in the garage, park our car, plug it and go in the house. We are using 1/3 of the energy per mile to drive because of the inherent efficiency of electric drive.

We have a truck for towing a travel trailer and for doing occasional truck things with it. We probably don’t drive over 300 miles a month in the truck but we need to drive it enough to keep it functioning properly. In point of fact we will have this truck paid off next year and at that time the truck will have less than 60,000 miles on it.

Our 5,100 watts of grid tie solar panels provides for 120% of our electrical needs. For ten months out of the year we not only do not pay an electric bill, we receive a stipend from the electric company and only have a very small bill to pay for the remaining two months of the year because of Central Air Conditioning needs here in the desert southwest.

For the May/June billing period we actually got a $29 stipend but since it was less than $50 the utility doesn’t make a payment to us until our net negative billing adds up to $50 or more in the coming billing cycles. What this means is if we owe a bill in the June/July billing cycle the $29 will be deducted from it either reducing it substantially or entirely. In either case we will not be inconvenienced but this practically non existing electric bill at all.

We started out paying small bills for as many as four months a year but even though since then we have added electric car charging to the our mix our electrical consumption has declined. I will not go into the details of this all here but suffice it to say instituting electrical efficiencies that accomplish the same task as before but use less energy actually works.

The reason I am telling you all this is you can imagine how advice from the doomers to not waste my time driving an electric vehicle or screwing in any squirrelly light bulbs looks like folly from my perspective. We would quite simply be spending up to a couple hundred or extra dollars every month doing the same things we do now. How would wasting this kind of money contribute to our new life of excellence I have to ask!

Let’s imagine that there is no such thing as climate change or carbon emissions for a moment. One could argue quite successfully that buying an electric car would be justifiable from a local air pollution point of view alone. Being around your car would no longer have to pollute your lungs. When we drive our PHEV in the city which we primarily do in EV Mode, we do not contribute to the air pollution burden fossil cars are adding to our city air.

When you add the fact the electric drive is three times more energy efficient than internal combustion engines and that EVs cost only half as much to operate on average then you have a compelling case for the mass adoption of EVs that isn’t even climate change related. When you add to that case the fact that EVs are just better performance wise you could be accused of piling on by the fossil fool trolls.

Can we save the planet by our individual actions of reducing our carbon footprints? I would say the answer is an obvious “No”. Only our collective actions involving a complete rebuilding of our electric grid and energy infrastructure to be constituted by nearly 100% renewables and storage can make this happen. Our cars, trucks, rail, shipping, and yes even aircraft must be electrified as much as is possible.

Even that would not be enough as in all probability, without carbon extraction on a massive scale from the atmosphere, and sequestration. Going 100% renewable would not be enough to keep us below the 2 degree C threshold. By the way this 2 C degree limit is entirely artificial, as the data points to 1 degree C as disastrous, and we shot through that a decade or two ago.

What is my point here you may well ask at this juncture since I seem to be a on the same page as the NTHE crowd telling you that our situation is essentially hopeless. The point is the new technologies of wind, solar, electric drive coupled with energy storage are simply better. They are proving to be cheaper and cheaper with each passing year which is indicative that they are not only superior but just more efficient.

Eliminating air pollution by moving away from combustion alone is worth hundreds of billions of dollars to the world economy every year. So is reducing noise pollution. Add to it all that, the improvements in energy efficiency, and it is literally gold to our economy. Yes, none of this makes the fossil fuel interest very happy and they are fighting quite a successful rear guard action to forestall all of these developments.

It doesn’t matter to me if it is a fossil fuel troll sowing disinformation is recommending that we continue burning fossil fuels and that a renewable energy future is a foolish pipe dream or that it is a NTHE fanboy telling us that adopting a green energy future is waste of time because we are all going to die very soon anyway. The two viewpoints are indistinguishable in both their form and in their end results. The NTHE crowd might as well get on the payroll of the CATO Institute if they are going to keep spreading such disinformation.

The point is Climate Disruption Apocalypse aside we are all going to die in the near future anyway from natural causes if from nothing else. As a 69 year old statistically I only have around twenty years left to live. Not being a Nostradumbass myself I don’t know for certain just how this global warming catastrophe plays out.

I too would like to live a life of excellence until the end, my personal end, or our collective end, whichever comes first. If powering my house with PV panels, and charging my car with the same panels saves me money, then I have more room in my budget for excellence. If it makes me happy, and helps me look my grandchildren in the eye, then it is all good.

We use LED light bulbs that are several thousand times more energy efficient at producing light then kerosene lanterns I am not going to recommend to anyone that they ignore the new technology and cling to the old ways of doing things. We may not think about it much but kerosene lanterns are not used much anymore for precisely these reasons, even incandescent light bulbs run circles around them in energy efficiency and cost.

If technology has caused the early death of the human race and there is every indication it is going to I would argue that it isn’t technology per say, but the unwise application of technology, and the lack of societal limitation of our collective behaviors.

We may never find out if human civilization could have existed for thousands of more millennia if we had kept our population limited to a tenth of what it is now and weaned ourselves off fossil fuels while there was still time. It would have been an elegant experiment to have tried I maintain.

The “if only” plurals here have to stack up a mile deep. If only we hadn’t frittered away vast resources on war, and or the futile pursuit of hegemony. If only, we hadn’t invented, and then believed in an economic system predicated on endless growth. If only we had really tried to protect the biosphere as if it was life itself for our species.

This is the end of my rant. Buck up snowflake NTHE crowd, stop advising people that the end is nigh, and for that reason to not bother saving any resources, or money, in the quest for their own personal excellence. Yes, we are all going to die someday soon, and no one really knows when that is precisely.

We all live with that knowledge every day, we always have. That has never stopped the vast majority of us from making and attempting any plans. Near the very end maybe, but I would suggest the NTHE crowd is jumping the shark here.

While you are still alive, live. Live like every man or woman has in the face of adversity since as a species we first stood upright, and walked. That is, live standing up, not supine. Stop whining, and keep a fire in your belly burning, while you are able.

John Gilkison
EVO SNM
Circa 2019 CE
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Old 07-04-2019, 12:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for posting this outside of Fascesbook.

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Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
So goodbye nonbeliever
Don't you know that I hate to leave here
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.

Photographs show the laughs
Recorded in between the bad times
Happy sailors dancing on a sinking ship
Cloudy skies and dead fruit flies
Waving goodbye with tears in my eyes
Well, sure I made it but ya know it was as hell of a trip.

John Prine - Flashback Blues
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I currently have a 35' R-license park model Airstream. If I had any social capital at all, I'd revolutionize tiny houses.
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't listen to haters. The end is alway near ect.

Nothing wrong with new tech like LEDs, solar panels and electrical vehicles. But I will keep some of that old tech as a backup.

In 2017 a coronal mass ejection hit Mars. It was the most powerful one observed by stereo and soho satellites.
IF it would have hit the earth it would have wiped out power grids all over the planet.
The up side would be that no one would be talking about how climate change is about to kill us all because most of those people would be dead now.
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Old 07-05-2019, 03:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by aerostealth View Post
In desperation I told her to just do it. I said, “once you do you will find that everything you have driven for the past fifty years is just primitive in comparison. A Tesla Model 3 or any good modern EV is like a spaceship in comparison.”
But I don't want a spaceship, I want a car that's reasonably pleasant to drive :-) I might like an EV, but the problem with a Tesla is that while the electric drive is great, the rest of it really sucks at being a driveable car. Glass roof? Big LED screen glaring at you? No tactile feedback in any of the controls? And let's not even get into autopilot - if I wanted someone (or some thing) else to drive for me, I'd hire a chauffeur.
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Old 07-05-2019, 03:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
But I don't want a spaceship, I want a car...
[raises hand] I do. Forget your flying cars.
Quote:
Nothing wrong with new tech like LEDs, solar panels and electrical vehicles. But I will keep some of that old tech as a backup.

In 2017 a coronal mass ejection hit Mars. It was the most powerful one observed by stereo and soho satellites.
Is that the one that crossed Earth's orbit 4 months ahead of us?

I'm fascinated by the technology that went away with Tesla and Big AC. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=antiquitech
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Old 07-05-2019, 05:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
But I don't want a spaceship, I want a car that's reasonably pleasant to drive :-) I might like an EV, but the problem with a Tesla is that while the electric drive is great, the rest of it really sucks at being a driveable car. Glass roof? Big LED screen glaring at you? No tactile feedback in any of the controls? And let's not even get into autopilot - if I wanted someone (or some thing) else to drive for me, I'd hire a chauffeur.
I was just saying this to my older brother last night. We both have visited our younger brother in NJ over the past couple weeks and seen his Model 3. I would love a Tesla, but I want one without the glass roof, the stupid video games and electronic knick-knacks, the clumsy door handles.

One of the founders of bicycle manufacturer Cervelo, Gerard Vroomen said in an interview years ago before he left the company (and it all went downhill IMO), don't confuse features with benefits--someone had asked him why Cervelo wasn't building a beam bike, and he said there wasn't any advantage to a beam bike, it was a feature, not a benefit. The glass roof, etc. are expensive features, but I don't see them as benefits.

I've said as much on this site before, but I want an electric car with manual door locks, roll-up windows, and no power steering. I won't ever get such a thing unless I build or modify it myself.
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
[raises hand]

Is that the one that crossed Earth's orbit 4 months ahead of us?

I'm fascinated by the technology that went away with Tesla and Big AC. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=antiquitech
That was it. And it would have irradiated any people on the surface of mars had any one been there with some where around 7x the lethal dose.
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I want an electric car with manual door locks, roll-up windows, and no power steering. I won't ever get such a thing unless I build or modify it myself.
How do you feel about fender skirts?

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Old 07-07-2019, 01:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I haven't heard any Nostradumbasses say it isn't even worth trying, but I've seen a lot of something worse: wealthy people who love to talk about how bad global warming is, as they drive a large SUV to their 3000sf house. The hypocrisy drives me crazy.

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