Yes, We Can Live Without Fossil Fuel

On this blog, I’ve promoted use of renewable energy as possible, practical and efficient. Still, the doubters rail on about how it’s not even possible. Here’s the thing. A country that has depended on coal for more than a century managed to live without it for electrical generation for a whole day. Extend that. Multiply that. We get a whole world able to live without coal. Repeat, and we can do it for natural gas and oil too. Leave those things to basic manufacturing processes where they are most valuable, not burning for heat.

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Solo EV Sighted In Toronto

Electra Meccanica mysteriously posted a picture of a gleaming white Solo parked at a hotel in Toronto, Canada. So, we have most sightings in Vancouver with a few in California, China, and now, one in Toronto.

I have confirmed such hotel exists but its parking is underground so Google street view does not show much. The vehicle has no front licence plate so it may have been towed there. I have no idea why it’s there or how it arrived.
Speculations:

  • It’s going on display nearby in a second Canadian city after Vancouver.
  • There could be some grand announcement imminent about certification or a first delivery to a customer (ISTR EMV said the first deliveries would be in Vancouver, though…).

I expect it’s the former situation, display at some event or high traffic area in Toronto. The Chelsea Hotel says “We commit to improving our everyday operations that coincide with strong environmental management practices with the maintenance of quality service and meeting our guest expectations. This will be achieved by minimizing energy, water consumption and waste production.” Perhaps they want to promote a made in Canada electric vehicle.

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The Bewildered Wilbur Ross

Here we go again. Every few years, US lumber businesses demand US Department of Commerce apply countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber to thwart illegal/unfair subsidies. Problem is, there are no subsidies. In Canada, the federal government, the signatory to the NAFTA, does not subsidize softwood lumber. Neither do the provinces. The Feds do not control softwood lumber. The provinces do. As a long standing practice, provincial governments control the vast majority of forested regions in Canada and charge a duty to those who would cut wood.

I know about that, because I used to have a wood-heated home and I asked for a permit to cut 10 cords in an area marked for reforestation by Manitoba. It was just a few dollars. I don’t remember the amount, but I worked for several days felling huge trees and filling my pickup with firewood. That was just the beginning of the process. That wood required two years of drying before it would burn efficiently and I had to store it while drying. Nobody subsidized my firewood. I paid for everything. The permit/royalty system is eminently fair. There is a resource of known size. The government decides how much will be cut where and sells permits to anyone rich or poor, big or small. I was out in the bush dodging operations with bulldozers, loaders and huge trucks, but my chainsaw was permitted to cut what they left behind. Nobody subsidized anyone. We all worked hard doing what we had to do.

Now, the whiners in the US lumber industry don’t want Canadian lumber in their market but they can’t exclude it. Instead they whine that the royalty system is government intrusion in the market, a subsidy, when it’s not. It’s a tax. Effectively, the Canadian tax is less than the USAian tax determined by auctions. They keep taking this to court and LOSING.

So, bewildered Wilbur and stupid USAians who think the world should do things their way are doing everything they can to drive exports of softwood lumber to China and India… Smart. Real smart. Perhaps USAians won’t mind rising costs for building homes and shortages of lumber and deforestation and … Look, we Canadians don’t have to do things USA’s way. We are a free nation of free people and we choose our own path.

Posted in horticulture, politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Solid Run Delivers

“The Marvell MacchiatoBIN is a first-of-its-kind Cost-Effective and High-Performance networking community board targeting OpenDataPlane (ODP), OpenFastPath (OFP) and ARM network functions virtualization (NFV) ecosystem communities.”
 
See Marvell MacchiatoBIN
I received an e-mail that Solid Run has been taking orders and shipping for weeks. Their website is not consistent with that, but, it’s their business…

This is one of several options I am considering to have an ARMed server replace my current hair-drier. It’s big advantage for me is an actual socket for memory and 16gB is one of their options. Unfortunately, all of my funds from my annuity are committed this month and most of next month so I won’t buy now. We’ll see in the meantime what the other players will do. The Cello is gone from the market… AMD killed it. RockChip is still in play though selling on AliExpress and others.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Imagining What Will Fit In My Solo EV

Travelling around pointlessly in my new Solo EV is rather pointless so I’m looking at what I can do besides transport my body and a few groceries and parcels. I’m told a Cello will fit…

Fishing is something I don’t do very often because I usually go with others and they aren’t around when my garden is too wet or the lawn has just been mowed or there’s nothing I need to build/fix… My fishing rod is 12 feet long. That won’t fit as is but it’s a mass-produced, two-piece affair. Will a 6 foot section fit? Yes. I estimated it will just fit from the farthest extent of the foot-space of the cockpit to the limit of the rear cargo space. I used the diameter of the wheel as a baseline and scaled from the corner of the door to the rear hatch using GIMP. In fact, the cockpit reaches a bit farther forward. If not, I can buy a Berkeley Ugly Stick or something that will bend a bit… So, I can go fishing anywhere smooth blacktop reaches in Manitoba except the far north up near Thompson. That’s just too long a drive for Solo.

The firearms I use should all fit. My telescope should fit. I know I will fit. Clearly, Solo is big enough for me, not half a car, as some would call it but a whole sub-compact car quite useful for many purposes. The reality is I will be able to do a lot more driving with Solo than with my present vehicle because TLW drives it more than I do. I expect she will want her own Solo after I bring this baby home.

Posted in firearms, hunting, technology | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Yet Another US Airline Does The Indecent Thing

“The video of the American Airlines encounter starts off with a woman sobbing as she holds a baby.”Just give me back my stroller please,” she says tearfully.
 
A male passenger stands up and intervenes, apparently upset with how the woman’s situation was handled. He tells the flight attendant, “Hey bud, hey bud. You do that to me, and I’ll knock you flat.”
 
The flight attendant tells the male passenger to stay out of it, then later taunts him to “hit me, hit me … bring it on.””
 
See American Airlines investigates after video shows mom in tears
It’s as if my entire life of travelling by air is replayed in just weeks. All the bad stuff that happens rarely is played on the web courtesy of millions of smartphones.

This time it’s a flight attendant/steward/scum who gave a woman with a toddler and an infant a hard time boarding a plane with a stroller. Who, in their right mind, would not go out of their way to be helpful and courteous to someone offering freely to generate the next generation? Who would not defend her against any and all evils? Who would expect the customer relations experts of a major airline to be the evil? Even the pilot seemed impassive. Perhaps he’d seen it all but it’s his plane and his passengers who were upset by his crew. The other passengers clearly cared more than AA’s crew.

I know there are issues of safety and efficiency involved but none of that matters if ordinary courtesy is lost in the shuffle. How do airlines expect to compete if their employees drive customers away? My mind boggles. My new Solo EV is looking like a better deal all the time. I can travel with it anywhere I want to go without having to fear those providing transportation.

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Small Car With Big Features – Electra Meccanica Solo

See Electra Meccania Solo Is Only Half Of A Car But It’s All ElectricCNET has a good review of the EM Solo. The video is really sharp and clear. The audio is too, even when the driver is complaining about the noise-level in the Solo… I only heard the motor whine once during high acceleration. The vehicle handles nicely at low speed on a wet parking lot. The reviewer describes much of what I want in a small EV: easy steering on the road, responsiveness, high visibility, basic controls within easy reach, an audio player, and all the advantages of going Solo and electric.

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Sublime To Ridiculous Regulation

“the rate of pedestrian fatalities per registered vehicle for HVs and EVs is not larger (and is in fact smaller) than that for ICE vehicles. Using 2008 data, the fatality rate for pedestrians in crashes with HVs and EVs is 0.85 fatalities per 100,000 registered vehicles, and the corresponding rate for ICE vehicles is 1.57 per 100,000 vehicles.”
 
See Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
As a future EV owner, this is alarming. USA is ramping up regulations to require EVs to make more noise at low speeds. The idea is that pedestrians and cyclists can avoid more collisions if they hear the EV coming. They completely ignore implementation of the old rule: “Stop, Look and Listen”. Since EVs and hybrid vehicles are newish, shouldn’t government first look to educating drivers and pedestrians about the “Look” part? This rule could help blind people but where I live the blind are already well protected by current laws about intersections and acoustic signals at intersections. That should cover 99% of all relevant situations.

Instead, great expense will be incurred to annoy anyone buying, owning or operating an EV or hybrid vehicle. I hope this is one of the regulations Trump rolls back… When I look at the numbers, I see the Solo having fewer collisions with pedestrians because of its size yet there’s no offset for that.

I’ve only twice in my life came near to striking a pedestrian with my vehicle. Once, I saw little feet through the gap beneath a parked car and was able to stop before a child ran out into the road. Another time, I was making a left turn at an intersection and a “J-walker” was hidden behind the post at the edge of my windscreen. In neither case was noise an issue, just common sense. In the bedlam of urban streets, who can filter out the sounds made by one EV? In a quiet low-traffic situation, who needs to?

So, I think this is like firearms registration, a regulation to cover a corner case of a corner case to no particular benefit. It’s an extrapolation of sparse data into a rule to suppress non-oil-powered vehicles. Think of the possibilities of this rationale. We could require pencils to beep so that people don’t accidental poke themselves. We could require glass doors to sound the alarm when pedestrians approach. Heck, we could require floors to remind people where they are in case of disorientation… If it only saves one life… we should drown people in incessant white noise.

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

Electra Meccanica Is Ready For Production

They showed a video of their “open house” affair. The factory may be small but it’s adequate to produce a few units every week. They use four assembly stations: chassis, electrics, interior/wheels, and finishing. The big surprise for me was them showing the assembly of modules for the battery. I would have expected the modules would be made in China as a standard part… Nevertheless, EMV is able to produce nearly one a day with this setup.

See Open House Factory Tour EMV

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By The Numbers: Electra Meccanica Solo Wins On Efficiency

“The SOLO is just the latest in a series of innovative electric vehicle designs. Green Car Reports provides a nice discussion of electric cars along with their specifications. Listed here in order of increasing cost, electric cars that are available in 2017 include: – EMVC SOLO $15,500, 16 kWh battery, 100 miles (EPA), 150 MPGe, 60 kW motor
 
– Mitsubishi i-MiEV $23,845, 16 kWh battery, 59 miles (EPA), 112 MPGe, 49 kW motor
 
– Ford Focus Electric $29,995, 33.5 kWh battery, 115 miles (EPA), 107 MPGe, 107 kW motor
 
– Nissan Leaf $31,545, 30 kWh battery, 107 miles (EPA), 112 MPGe, 80 kW motor
 
– Fiat 500e $32,780, 24 kWh battery, 84 miles (EPA), 112 MPGe, 83 kW motor
 
– Kia Soul EV $32,800, 27 kWh battery, 93 miles (EPA), 105 MPGe, 81 kW motor
 
– Chevrolet Bolt EV $37,495, 60 kWh battery, 238 miles (EPA), 119 MPGe, 150 kW motor
 
– Mercedes-Benz B250e $40,825, 28 kWh battery, 87 miles (EPA), 84 MPGe, 132 kW motor
 
– BMW i3 $43,395, 22-33 kWh battery, 81-114 miles, 118-124 MPGe, 125 kW motor
 
– Tesla Model S $69,200-$135,700, 60-100 kWh battery, 210-315 miles (EPA), 98-104 MPGe, 234-396 kW motor”
 
See Charged Up: Electric Cars Are Morphing Into Many Species
I love the concept of the Solo. It’s clearly the most efficient people-mover of all the electric vehicles out there, if you are riding around by yourself. At 150 MPGe, Solo is a winner. That’s a combined rating. On the highway, I expect the difference might be even greater as the lower cross-sectional area causes less air-resistance. I want to pay to move me around, not air or empty seats.

On a personal note, yesterday, a relative drove a bunch of us out into the country for a family visit/Easter dinner. It was a very comfortable and speedy drive and the operator cared nothing for efficiency. We checked the average fuel economy and it was 19.4 MPG (CDN gallons – just 15 MPG US)… Even if you multiplied that by five for the passenger-count it was only 97 MPG per person. Maybe, next time, I should roll out a fleet of Solos for such a trip. Of course that would have excluded the one non-driver… 😉 The Solo is a great concept, the perfect car for many, but it’s not for everyone on every occasion. No car is that.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Yes, Electra Meccanica Has A Factory

“Wednesday, April 19th, Electra Meccanica invites you to visit our SOLO factory. From this 5,000+ square foot facility, located at 47 Braid Street in New Westminster, will soon emerge the first run of production SOLOs! Come by between 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. for a look at this bustling new centre for B.C. automanufacturing. Say hello to the manufacturing team behind the SOLO, including Intermeccanica’s Henry Reisner, and Electra Meccanica CEO Jerry Kroll!”Yes, folks are grumbling while waiting for production to begin but there is space and manpower for the ramp-up from prototype to production. Waiting for my number to come up is painful and Vancouver is too far for me to visit but if you are in the neighbourhood, drop by. See ElectraMeccanica.com

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Mary Jane Goes Crazy

“On Thursday, the Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled its plans to legalize recreational marijuana.Canadian PM Justin Trudeau endorsed marijuana legalization during his campaign.
 
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau endorsed marijuana legalization during his campaign.If the Cannabis Act passes Parliament, Canada would become the second nation in the world, after Uruguay, to regulate a legal marijuana market.”
 
See Canada’s marijuana proposal: 5 things to know
There are so many issues related to legalization of marijuana in Canada, I scarcely know where to start. I’ve never used the stuff and I especially hate smoking anything. It’s just stupid and unhealthy to take into lungs random chemical products subjected to high temperatures.

Nevertheless Canadians like most other humans to some extent enjoy or value marijuana either for “recreation” or medical benefits. Perhaps the best place to look for reason in all this is to consider why marijuana was made illegal in the first place. After all, alcohol and tobacco are almost certainly more harmful but legal.

On the plus side, re-legalization may help wrest marijuana from criminal elements which are involved in so much violence, medical uses could be properly explored and exploited and governments could benefit from taxation. On the negative side, re-legalization could encourage/enable use by children who are the most vulnerable to smoking and likely the least to benefit from “recreation”, whatever that is. Watching my grand daughters playing is all the proof I need that they don’t need marijuana, yet I know peer pressure and curiosity will expose them to marijuana sooner or later.

Eventually, farmers could benefit from marijuana as they used to. As a child I used a rope made of hemp in a swing in the maple trees in my yard. Hemp is a valuable fibre from the plant. I’m sure farmers could produce marijuana in quantity if not quality compared to the greenhouse operations I’ve seen on the news. I’d sure prefer Canadian farmers grew and profited from marijuana rather than tobacco especially if non-smoked products were manufactured. I see nothing wrong with people having some pleasure from their meals rather than sucking tar into their lungs.

Eventually this will all be sorted out. The one inevitable evil from all of this will be one more way folks will be lulled into a stupor while driving tonnes of vehicle down the highway at 100km/h. I’m sure that happens now but with legalization and wider availability the danger will increase. I hope these governments who hope to profit from marijuana invest heavily in education to guide our children to make good choices. Make sure your democratic representatives know your views.

Posted in family, food, horticulture, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments