Solo Gen III

“In early 2019, we took delivery of 50 pilot production vehicles from our strategic manufacturing partner in China, Zongshen Industrial Group, and deployed these for on road validation testing throughout the United States and Canada. The “real world” tests resulted in engineering changes to the vehicles including; switching to a liquid cooled electric drive, modifying the steering geometry and additional fine-tuning of the Electronic Power Steering calibration. As these changes took time, we also refined the SOLO in subtle, but important, ways as well – integrating notable performance and driver-comfort improvements. For instance, the production SOLO’s will offer a new seat design, enhanced stereo system with Bluetooth technology, and reduced interior cabin noise. All of these upgrades have taken time to integrate but will ultimately prove invaluable, helping to ensure the successful launch of the SOLO and positive consumer feedback.”

See NewsletterElectra Meccanica keeps grinding on apparently getting closer to actual production and sales but the excitement has gone for me. I’m just grimly clinging to hope that I will ever drive a Solo EV. I don’t know anyone who did not like the seat, or the air-cooled motor or the steering. Why change what works? OK, maybe more people will like something more complex but to me more complexity is just more ways to fail. I hate failure. I just want to drive alone electrically. Why won’t EMV let me do that? Why won’t they let me buy one of those 50 Solos?

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Iran

Iran has been around for millennia and isn’t going to go away or change any time soon. What should we do about Iran? How about leaving it alone?  How about not trying to get Iran to copy our mistakes? How about getting rid of Trump?

In my lifetime, the West has been meddling in Iran setting up the Pahlavi regime to keep oil online, supporting Israel in a misguided attempt to soothe consciences over treatment of Jews before and during WW II, and generally treating Iran as a pariah. All that history can’t be undone and we can’t “fix” Iran. Leave that to Iranians. It’s their country.

Now we have Trump assassinating the second in command in Iran in the hope it will make Iranians love him. Another lie. This lie is more serious than others pushing us to war. I can think of a hundred responses by Iran and a thousand counter-responses by Trump and they all lead downhill into the pit of war.

The problem here is not Iran but Trump. His short-sighted transactional view of the world is making war inevitable. Better to impeach him for making war without approval of Congress as soon as possible, perhaps tomorrow, then bring back the nuclear treaty and get rid of some sanctions and …

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Fallout From Trump’s Tariff War OR GNU/Linux Beats TOOS

“In a major blow to Microsoft, the Chinese government will be replacing all PCs that run Windows by 2022, and could instead use a Chinese-created Linux distro, such as Kylin Linux.”
 
See China to ditch all Windows PCs by 2022 – could this be Linux’s time to shine?
Well. I don’t expect Trump’s reign to turn out well at all but this could be a silver lining in that cloud. Anytime millions switch to GNU/Linux is a good few years by me. China will outlast Trumpism. So will GNU/Linux one way or another.

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The OS Wars Continue

“Beijing has ordered all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years, in a potential blow to the likes of HP, Dell and Microsoft.”
 
See Beijing orders state offices to replace foreign PCs and software
Chuckle. While attempting to protect “intellectual property” and enhance security, the Trumpists ban Huawei and slap on tariffs. China is now banning some of that intellectual property including TOOS and hardware from several USAian manufacturers. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
 
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand this will reduce the GOP’s hold on USAian politics as manufacturing and the GDP suffer under this crap but on the other Free Software may actually get a boost in China. Go GNU/Linux!

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Here Comes Buster!

It’s been a while since I upgraded to a new version of Debian GNU/Linux but the opportunity arrived last month. I waited until today, being bored out of my mind by endless Trumpisms, news-cycles and the weather. I’d been putting the upgrade off thinking I did not want to deal with any breakage. Finally, I did the deed. It was boring until I rebooted. GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) could not find anything. I poked around for hours not finding any way to tweak it. Finally, in desperation, I told the ancient, clunky, BIOS to reorder the hard drives from largest to smallest… Damn! It worked! Somehow the new version of GRUB could not deal with the mess my Beast’s storage is. There was one other glitch. MySQL would not run. There were no sensible messages in the logs or from “systemd”. The status was active (exited), whatever that means. I did coax out one error message about an obsolete setting in a configuration file and deleted it. Still it would not start. In desperation, I stopped the “exited” mysql and started it. That worked. Damn! I hate systemd.

Oh well. After updating thousands of packages I have a brand new OS and applications all humming along wonderfully. It’s beautiful music.

UPDATE: After trying to use some other applications, I discovered apparmor has been added to the mix. Now the system is like TOOS (That Other OS) in wanting to restrict permissions on many applications. Sigh. Now I have to dance a jig to get files downloaded from the web deposited in the folder of my choice. I can’t by default download to /var/myfolder/x, for instance. I can’t even browse much of the file-system. Have to look into this. It’s not very helpful. Many desktop applications can’t browse to /home/pogson/whatever, for instance, because / is protected, despite my owning the files/directories in which I want to write or even read. I tried using apparmor-utilities supplied with Debian but I could not get them to just warn instead of deny access. However, /tmp is allowed so I have a work-around and a bit of editing of /etc/apparmor/apparmor.d fixed the access to my /home/directory. Sigh…

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Myths About EVs

Chuckle. While those in the know have long since overcome their fears of EVs, many still cling to these:

“Hyundai UK commissioned a study about people’s attitudes toward electric car. The biggest reason people don’t buy electric cars is still range anxiety.”
 
See Hyundai UK Explodes 10 Common Myths About Driving An Electric Car

  • Range anxiety
  • Where to charge
  • Electric cars are too expensive
  • Electric cars are too sluggish
  • You can’t drive an electric car in thunderstorm or through a car wash
  • There aren’t enough electric car models on the market
  • EV batteries wind up in landfills
  • Electric cars aren’t safe
  • Roadside assistance can’t help with electric cars
  • Electric cars don’t have enough performance

Nope. None of those are true today. The last one to die was the one about not enough models. That may have been true a couple of years ago but now just about every maker of ICEd vehicles also makes EVs. There are several makers who only make EVs. The sticker price may still be a little high but when you consider total cost of ownership, it’s no contest. EVs cost less to power and less to maintain and they last longer. ICEd engines last about 1000h of operation for gasoline and 2000h for diesel but electric motors can run continuously for decades. Well, maybe they need new bearings once in a while but that’s a very quick operation, not “rebuilding”. Performance? Chuckle… I can still remember the thrill of the old electric trolley buses with people having to lean into the acceleration. That was always a myth.

So, go ahead. Buy and drive an EV. You won’t regret it.

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The Hunt, 2019

Once more deer season came and went. We didn’t hunt with muzzle-loader this year. My buddy’s not into that… So, we went out into the cold and laid in wait with those new-fangled brass cartridges. The first day was bitterly cold and windy so I stayed home. My buddy got a young buck around middle of the day.

A few days later, it was Friday but we saw nothing. It was bitterly cold. The next good weather was a weekend so the area would be crawling with weekend warriors, and we passed. Finally, on Monday, we had warm enough temperature and light winds so off we went. The morning was uneventful except that my gloved hand grew cold enough to need a chemical hand-warmer, the rusting iron type, date-expired in 2014. That made me comfortable and the fingers flexible. My buddy saw a doe come right up to us but I saw nothing as it was on an edge hidden by the trunk of a thick poplar. A flock of chickadees also buzzed across the opening we were guarding.

The afternoon had settled in a bit when I saw a distant form glide across the opening. It was about 200 yards away and I saw through the scope of my 308 what looked like a mature doe. I was cold enough that I didn’t want to wait longer for a larger buck… Unfortunately, I had in the chamber a 180 RN bullet so I paused to eject that and chamber a 165 BTSP, more effective at that range. Unfortunately the deer had moved all the way across the opening and I could not see it in my scope. My buddy spotted it and picked it off with a 7mm Remington Magnum with 150 SP. The deer ran back across the opening and disappeared. We waited a decent interval then found a fire-hose-like trail of blood with the deer about 20 yards from where it was hit, quite bled out.

Again it was a young buck with antlers very tiny and weighing perhaps 200 pounds. It was likely a fawn last year. The bullet made a classic hit through the boiler room, nicking the heart. The guts were empty so it likely was out having brunch. It’s hanging in the garage now waiting to be butchered. The first deer sent about 20 pounds of meat through a new electric grinder. I’ve eaten some burgers of that and it’s delicious.

So, again I did not shoot a deer although I came very close. The deer season ends this week and we’re having a spot of very mild weather. That changed the movements of the deer the opposite of what we’re used to at that spot, moving left to right heading out to the fields instead of coming into the forest right to left. Also, “stop, look and listen” was replaced by walking on. It’s all good. The deer are still a bit of a challenge and food in the freezer. Clearly, numbers have increased greatly after three years of bucks-only licensing.

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You Can Cut Through Anything…

“the Post reported that smugglers have been using reciprocating saws to cut through the steel and concrete portions of the wall, creating openings wide enough for people and drugs to be smuggled through.
 
The agents told the Post the saws can cut through the bollards in a matter of minutes. Engineers told the newspaper that because of the height of the bollards, which are between 18 to 30 feet tall, it’s easier to push the steel out of the way to pass through the other side.
 
Trump said he hadn’t heard reports about cutting through the border wall, but, he added, “you can cut through anything.””
 
See Washington Post: Border agents say smugglers in Mexico are sawing through parts of Trump’s border wall
One of the objections to The Great Wall Of Trump was that it would not work. Well, now that a few miles of it have been built, replacing old wall, smugglers routinely saw through it. We told the folks who voted for Trump that would happen. Does USA really want to spend $billions more on a wall as an exercise?
 
I don’t think so. Instead of letting smugglers raise their prices they should fire Trump. It would be worth it.

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Canadian Election Results

The election results are nearly finalized and this seems to be the result:

  • Lieberals 157 seats 33.1% of the vote 4.74 seats/%
  • Conservatives 121 seats 34.4% of the vote 3.52 seats/%
  • BQ 32 seats 7.7% of the vote 4.16 seats/%
  • NDP 24 seats 15.9% of the vote 1.51 seats/%
  • Green 3 seats 6.5% of the vote 0.46 seats/%

Clearly, our democracy is not working very well when a party can obtain government having fewer votes than another and when representation varies so much per vote. The Greens, my party, grew their vote dramatically yet only added a couple of seats. Even the Cons should be grumpy. They got the most votes but have no chance of forming a government. At least it will be a minority government that has to choose between the BQ which does not claim to be a Canadian national party and the NDP which are closer aligned with the Greens than the Lieberals.

All of these parties claim to be “green” yet the Lieberals promised to deliver proportional representation and did not and promised to help Alberta sell more oil at a higher price… There was a time when I thought a pipeline to the Pacific would be a good idea but that was a mistake. Plate tectonics and pipelines don’t mix. Heavy oil is good for making asphalt roads and plastic, not fuel.

So, the politicians will hem and haw and come up with “solutions” which don’t solve any problem and we will have yet another election where minorities reign over the land.

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The Battle For Freedom In Schools Continues

“Six years ago, my school district faced a problem common to all public school leaders: not enough money to bring powerful learning technology to students.So we chose a different way — the open source way — and as a result, we’ve saved our technology budget more than $1 million.But the cost savings are just the beginning. More importantly, our decision to adopt 4,000 Linux-powered laptops empowered our students in remarkable ways.Here at Penn Manor School District, we’ve gained much more by using Linux and other open source software. And by infusing open principles and practices into our learning environment alongside open technologies, we’ve cultivated a vibrant and inclusive learning community for all students.”See: High schoolers in charge? How one school gave up control and won It’s been a while since I blogged about the OS-wars but it continues. Here’s a school where students are free to learn to use IT instead of how to become customers of monopolists. I love it. Young people should be free to run, examine, modify and distribute software just as I have for decades. It’s the right way to do IT.

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I Love Efficiency

I don’t know when I fell in love with efficiency. Probably it was about the eighth grade when I discovered ratio and proportion allowed one to buy more for less money.

Anyway, we are anchored to motor-vehicles because we live in cities designed around those vehicles. Can’t live close to work or shopping because of “zoning”/land-use policies. Can’t live outside cities without having “wheels”. So, why not buy the most transportation for the dollar? Tesla cares about efficiency for theirs are about the most efficient vehicles on the market, except for my favourite, the Solo.

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Impeachment Of POTUS For Fun And Profit

“Fun and Profit” is a way of saying some procedure is cute or attractive. Everyone loves fun and everyone loves profit, assuming it’s you having the fun and profiting… Today, the Democratic Party of USA is having fun and profiting from talking about, breathing about and inquiring about impeachment. It’s cute. The constitution empowers the House of Representatives to draw up articles of impeachment and the Senate to consider removing POTUS from office on the basis of those articles. At the moment, the scroll of impeachable offenses is very long but complicated. It just got simpler. Trump boasted that he did bully the president of Ukraine over military aid for helping foster a conspiracy theory about a leading Democratic candidate but claims he has that power and it wasn’t wrong to usurp Congress’ power to allocate funding for military aid and to invite foreign campaign contributions of “a thing of value”… It doesn’t get much better than that. Opinion polls show the public does watch the news if not congressional debate.

So, we are in an interesting time when the Ds can taste blood and even some Rs can see the writing on the wall. Where will it end?

I’m of two minds: on the one hand, I like the idea of the Ds competing against a corrupt party lead by a bumbling, ignorant idiot, and on the other hand, Trump could do a lot of damage in  the coming year and a bit… He could also do a lot of damage if impeached and/or removed from office. He won’t go away soon unless, as one rep opined, he should be locked up in solitary confinement. I’d like to see that or worse. I’d like to see RICO applied to the whole rotten bunch, but I’ll hang on waiting for every pin, grenade or cannon-shot to fall. I’ll keep the popcorn coming.

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