Rearranging The Deck Chairs On Our Deck

Environment Canada is forecasting an intense low pressure cell north of us that will cause 60k/h westerly winds with gusts to 90k/h. 60 k/h is rather routine but 90k/h is dangerous. TLW and I were out in the yard planting a few pots of roses and day lilies and I did a brief sweep to secure empty pots and stuff that might blow around. Late in the evening it dawned on me that I had not stowed the chairs/tables/parasol on the deck so I went out to put them into corners where they would not take flight. I turned a table upside down to expose less surface to the wind. I watered a few large pots which seemed dry and lighter than they should have been.

Oh, well. It’s another test of our shingles and downspouts. After every such wind-event I find stuff from the neighbour’s yards in mine. So far no lawn chair has made it farther than the ditch here. Here’s hoping bad combinations don’t fall our way.

Posted in weather | Tagged , | 8 Comments

2018 Could Be A Great Year For Me To Go Solar And Solo

“Global supply of polysilicon, solar wafers and PV modules will significantly exceed demand in 2018, media reports have cited Li Xianshou, CEO for China-based solare wafer maker ReneSolar, as indicating.”
 
See PV oversupply to happen in 2018, says ReneSolar CEO
Supply and demand are cyclical when a technology matures. We are there. I plan to buy an electric car, the Solo, and charge it from Sun in 2018, so news that PV panels may be cheapest in 2018 is good news. If only freight, importation paperwork and government subsidies were as helpful. I doubt I will get any breaks there.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Speculating On How Solo EV Will Do In Canada

“2013 EV sales in Canada totaled over 1,600 for battery EVs (BEV) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEV) each. Since that time the market has only seen temporary leveling of a month or two. Annual numbers have always built upon previous years as the market continues to grow. 2017 is a perfect example of that fact as sales stats half way through the year are up 70% over the first half of 2016. With the trajectory of sales only heading up and at a faster pace, Q2 may be the quarter where the EV takeover became official”
 
See Electric Vehicle Sales In Canada, Q2 2017
I have a horse in this race. I put down a deposit on a “2017” Solo EV which might be delivered about this time next year.

The statistics on sales of current EVs suggest:

  • Canadians don’t seem to want weird boxy-shaped EVs, and
  • Canadians by the thousands have been shelling out huge prices for fancier EVs.

I know a few Canadians. I are one. We are reluctant to go with weird shapes. Solo EV, having 3 wheels, might get some notice in the looks department. OTOH, Solo is very streamlined and not boxy. I think that could work. Further, I think a lot more Canadians would be interested in EVs if the price and cost of ownership were less. Solo has that covered with an extremely low air-drag and a good battery capacity for the weight and drag. Three wheels helps a bit too as there’s less rolling resistance and air-drag on the wheels.

Overall, I’d say Solo will do much better than some of the newcomers for looks/performance and better than the top brands for cost/efficiency. There’s a market there. How large it will be is debatable but judging by the numbers for other newcomers, it’s in line with proposed production numbers for the plant in Richmond, BC, and the factory in China will be able to handle any slack. I think Solo could sell 1000 units in Canada by some time in 2019 if not sooner. If the Government of Canada wakes up and formulates a policy to drive electrically, Solo is a winner. EMV already have thousands of orders so I don’t think there’s any problem getting orders unless the wheels fall off. Solo could be taking some share from Tesla and Nissan for those who just want a car for commuting/errands. That’s a big slice of the pie. Once the first 1000 are sold, I think there will be an avalanche of sales, the old “positive feedback” thing.

I bet by 2020, everyone will be making a Solo-like car for commuters/urban/short-trippers and Solo will be in the lead in that segment. Combined with the ever increasing popularity of EVs, EMV could be building multiple North American factories to serve demand.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

EMV Update On China Etc.

ElectraMeccanica Vehicles had a video update yesterday. There was plenty of news, like production in China but also an affirmation that production in BC, Canada is ramping up and should reach 10 Solos per month soon. The Chinese production will be for China. They need lots of Solos. EMV in BC is hiring assemblers. Also, there’s a temperature control system being patented that will allow operation in my place quite certainly without worrying about low temperatures. It should be good down to -40C. Range should be good to 200km with a new mass-production battery-pack. Air-conditioning will be standard. Yes, an 82-pound rottweiler can be comfortable in the trunk.

See October 12 EMV Update

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Rome Moves On

“In 2018, Rome will run a pilot to test the use of workstations running Linux. Some of the IT support staff already have much experience with Linux servers and workstations, which should help resolve possible issues with network drives, shared folders and peripherals such as printers.
 
Rome’s IT department is supporting the city council’s wish to get rid of IT vendor lock-in, says Ms Colasanti, “We are working together closely, for without their support, change won’t happen.””
 
See Contract Overhaul
Yes, a new generation of IT guys and gals are liberating Rome from non-Free software ASAP. They’ve mapped all their applications and will expand the use of FLOSS immediately and search for the best way to deploy GNU/Linux on workstations. It’s all good and it’s about time. They could have done this 20 years ago if they’d had the vision but it’s better to do it late than never.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments

Kindling Earth

“From 1991, when the experiment began, the plots subjected to 5C warming lost about 17% of the carbon that had been stored in the top 60cm of the soil, where the greatest concentration of organic matter is to be found.
 
Scientific understanding of the complexities of soil microbial activity is still limited, but the long-term nature of the study provides valuable insights into what might be happening, and is likely to happen in future, to vast swaths of forest soils across the world.
 
While deforestation has been the focus of most research into forests’ effects on climate change, with a recent study suggesting tropical forests are turning into carbon sources rather than carbon stores as a result, the impact of warming soils has remained much of a mystery. Soils are one of the world’s biggest natural carbon sinks, along with trees and the oceans.
 
Daniel Metcalfe, of Sweden’s Lund University, said: “If these findings hold more widely across major terrestrial ecosystems, then a much greater portion of the global soil carbon store could be vulnerable to decomposition and release of carbon dioxide under global warming than previously thought.””
 
See Carbon emissions from warming soils could trigger disastrous feedback loop
I understand soil. I understand positive feedback. The one leads to life as we know it. The other leads to bad things happening if not limited nicely. Soil is not just crushed rock. It’s a living thing filled to the gunnels with organic matter: bacteria, fungi, critters, roots, stuff… Warm it up or dry it out and the living things in soil will die and may oxidize, releasing CO2. If global warming is what warms it up, the resultant release of CO2 will just accelerate the warming. Hence, in my lifetime or my children’s lifetime we may be forced to live in caves to avoid the heat and eat sparse rations if human life continues at all.
 
Global warming is like lighting a fire with a match. One inputs a bit of heat at a high temperature and then the kindling ignites, causing a greater rise in heating and temperature, whereupon the rest of the stuff ignites. Don’t ignite Earth, please. Stop pumping up the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s not OK even if it seems less expensive in the short run (according to Trumpists).
 
Wake up people! Drive smarter electrically. Heat your homes electrically and/or with geothermal heating and solar heating. Save the planet while you still can, if you still can.

Posted in family, politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

War, Rumours Of War, And Stupidity

“In mid-September, General MacArthur brought off a masterstroke by landing two divisions 240km (150 miles) in the enemy rear at the port of Inchon. Their communications cut, and under heavy aerial bombardment, the North Koreans broke and fled back north; MacArthur ordered a hot pursuit which led across the 38th parallel and deep into North Korea. As the victorious UN forces drew near to the Manchurian border, there were ominous signals from Peking that communist China would intervene to defend its territory. In mid-October, MacArthur met President Harry Truman on Wake Island in their first encounter to assure him that a massive UN offensive was about to conclude the war victoriously by Christmas. No sooner had this been launched in November than the Chinese unleashed their armies.”
 
See World Wars: The Korean War: An Overview
Lately Trump has been rattling his sabre threatening violence in Asia. Considering that his campaign rested on the stupid goal of “making America great again”, war could be Trump’s last vain hope for glory…

Trump views the Korean War as unfinished and unsatisfactory. He probably feels MacArthur was right and China should be punished for falling in with the North Korean regime back then… Yep. That’s it. Trump wants to correct history. He wants to bet USAian firepower against North Korean and Chinese and Russian manpower and arms.
 
This is a very dangerous game as NK has some nukes that will be used or lost, hordes of artillery, infantry and armour that will be used if hostilities break out. Indeed, if Kim decides Trump will attack, Kim may well decide to attack first with artillery including rockets and nukes against the South. Hundreds of thousands could die in the first day. USA does not have the manpower and neither does the South to hold back Kim’s hordes so tactical nukes are almost certain to be used. If USA applies air-power over the North, Russia and China may attack and a royal mess will happen including four sources of tactical nukes. The Korean war may be fought over the last cinder behind which a Korean is hiding.
 
Checks and balances are not working in USA. Congress is powerless to impeach Trump until stuff really hits the fan. Clearly, Congress can’t do the maths that says numerous offenses against common decency and logic and budgetary sensibility amounts to “high crimes and misdemeanours”, the grounds for impeachment. Even the backup POTUS, Pence, appears to be no better in terms of backing the goals of a raving lunatic (This silly demonstration of the silliness of Trump and his team cost taxpayers hundreds of $thousands.). If a costly and disastrous renewal of the Korean War breaks out to puff up still more Trump’s ego, will Congress “rally round the flag” or actually exert oversight of this mania? If folks thought the first round of the Korean war, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria were expensive disasters, they haven’t seen anything yet. There is no upper limit to the damage that can be done before more than a few ships of troops can be launched into the cauldron. Trump’s recollections of USAian greatness are obsolete. Nukes and ICBMs do damage in minutes not months and years. Months and years take millions of lives for no gain whatsoever. That’s not greatness. That’s immorality.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

UK Drivers See The Writing On The Wall

“Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continued to accelerate in September however, surging 41.0% in the month and 34.6% year-to-date, with nearly 95,000 leaving forecourts this year. However, this couldn’t compensate for declines in registrations of petrol cars, down -1.2%, and, especially, diesel which fell for the sixth consecutive month, down -21.7%.”
 
See Demand for new cars declines in September as consumer and business confidence falls
Gee, I feel positively prescient. Ten years ago, I advised TLW to buy an EV, the Nissan Leaf, or a diesel, the VW Jetta. Both would have been decent buys. She would have obtained a good reliable car with much higher efficiency than her first choice, a gas-guzzling hybrid SUV. The world is thinking my way now, seeing the great advantages of efficiency and cleanliness, whatever the price of oil. The diesel Jetta would be still going strong while our SUV is a constant pain. The Nissan Leaf would be on its second battery I guess but maintenance would be a fraction of what the SUV entails.

The world is catching up with me and EVs are a growth industry with everyone and its dog building EVs. There’s plenty of room for growth but I’m pleased to say it looks like Electra Meccanica Vehicles is on the verge of shipping Solo EVs in large quantities. It’s about time. I ordered mine 9 months ago and I’ll probably have to wait a few more months to take delivery. This time, I’ll bypass TLW. When she sees my shiny new bug in the driveway, she’ll want one too.

Posted in family, technology | Tagged , , , | 67 Comments

Canada Needs To Drive Smarter Electrically

“We continue to not hit our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she says.
 
“We’ve already missed two complete targets. The 2020 target we’re not going to hit as well… During that same time that we’ve had all these targets, we’ve developed eight to 10, 11, 12 different plans, and our emissions just keep rising.”
 
See Canadian government gets ‘failing grade’ in climate change planning, says environment commissioner
Amen! At least someone in the Canadian government gets it. Business as usual is going to get us into some very unusual pain. It’s far better to cut fossil fuels out sooner rather than later. Driving smarter electrically is a low hanging fruit of this tree. Do the maths. With battery electric vehicles one can drive 4-5 times farther for the same use of energy and there’s no CO2 released in the process. Heating our homes electrically can be done too by switching from simple furnaces to high-efficiency gas furnaces or heat pumps. There’s a huge inventory of cars, homes, factories, schools and offices that could be converted rather quickly. Just get on with it. Set a goal or deadline and stick to it. I’ve already ordered my electric car and my home uses geothermal heating. I plan to add some photovoltaic panels in addition to our passive heating too. What’s holding you back?

Posted in family, politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Las Vegas Lessons

“The first lesson that emerges from Las Vegas concerns the awesome destructive power of modern armaments like the 10 weapons Paddock was reportedly found with. In the hands of even a mediocre shot, an automatic weapon (like the one Paddock apparently shot, based on audio recordings from the scene) can fire 600 or more rounds per minute. The destructive power of such weapons is limited only by their ammunition capacity. In this case, it appears Paddock fired long streams of automatic fire into the crowd, sending scores or hundreds of bullets into concertgoers’ bodies. Bullets from such weapons travel at speeds of 2,000 to 3,000 feet per second, easily covering a third of a mile. On the battlefield, these weapons are used to suppress, wound, or kill enemy troops. In the civilian world, they can quickly kill dozens or hundreds before any effective police response can occur.”
 
See Why the Las Vegas Shooting Was a Security Agency’s Nightmare
It’s sad when nut-cases become our teachers. The escalation in depravity of mass-murderers reached new heights literally in Las Vegas. Using full-auto firing from a high place on a crowd is depraved.

It teaches, once again, that there is very little that can be done to protect soft targets without deploying a suitable counter-force. In the case of a shooter in a high place at a distance, there is no quick fix except a good guy shooting back. Are concerts going to deploy snipers? They’d better, because this nut-case has also taught other nut-cases how to kill massively.
 
BTW, this nut-case got it right by shooting from a high place with a solid door but he got it wrong by shooting full-auto. With tens of thousands in the crowd he hit only hundreds while firing full-auto for about an hour. From 400 yards range, he should have been able to shoot thousands of gophers with all the ammunition he expended one shot at a time. People are a larger target and they were illuminated by the floodlights on stage.

It took ages to breach the door of the nut-cases’s hotel room. A good sniper could have finished the incident in a minute or so. Police and security need to learn from this event and quickly. There will be copy-cats and students of murder getting the lesson if the pros don’t. Governments can ban all the full-auto firearms they want. A lot of evil can be done with lesser equipment. Imagine that nut-case firing a mortar… A crazy person with money can get whatever weapon he wants and can do a lot of damage. That nut-case could have used one or two mortar tubes and dozens of shells to kill hundreds and wound thousands. The only defence is a swift offense.

Posted in politics, Teaching, technology | Tagged , , , , | 49 Comments

Out Go The Lights In Taiwan (NOT)

“TSMC had mulled setting up its 3nm wafer fab in the US due mainly to the availability of stable power supply there. For any 12-inch wafer plant, more advanced process requires higher power consumption, with electricity consumed by 3nm process likely to double that by 5nm process. Accordingly, after a massive power outage occurred on August 15, 2017 around Taiwan, doubts had deepened over whether Taiwan’s power supply could secure normal operation of a 3nm wafer fab in the country.”
 
See Commentary: Triple-win decision for TSMC to build 3nm wafer fab in Taiwan
For a guy currently running some 45nm kit, it’s exciting to see Taiwan head for 3nm. That’s just a few atoms in size. That’s competitive with the world. That allows all kinds of choices for chips. Imagine how many ARMed cores one could build with that kind of resolution. It’s mind-boggling. I can see solar-powered smartphones real soon now. I can see all kinds of computer-equipment getting some power from ambient lighting, RF or even body-heat.

I’m zeroing in on some 10nm equipment. I doubt I can wait for 3nm but it gives me room for future growth of IT in my property. It’s all good to have choices.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Solo EV To Commence Production In China

“ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. (OTCQB: ECCTF) announced today that it has signed a manufacturing agreement with Zongshen Industrial Group Co., Ltd to produce 75,000 SOLO all-electric vehicles over the next three years. Specifically, the plan calls for the production of 5,000 SOLOs in 2018; 20,000 in 2019; and 50,000 in 2020. This agreement pairs one of the world’s leading industrial manufacturing conglomerates with a preeminent and forward-thinking company in Electra Meccanica.”
 
See Stock Market Quotes
At the rate things are going, my Solo might be built in China.

EMV has produced only a few units in North America and safety certification seems to be the bottleneck. In China, millions are using gasoline scooters. Solo could be a step up and away from petroleum. It’s all good.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments