Not Business As Usual In BC

“British Columbia’s new climate action plan proposes sweeping changes that will touch every part of the economy from home heating to heavy transportation, using the province’s abundant supply of clean hydro-electric power to help shift individuals and industry off their reliance on the fossil fuels that currently make up two-thirds of B.C.’s energy consumption.
 
Details of the rebates and tax credits aimed at spurring the change will not be released until budget day in February, but Premier John Horgan says his province is now back on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with Canada’s international commitments on climate.”
 
See B.C.’s new climate action plan heavy on incentives to switch to electric power
Yes! A Canadian province gets what I’ve been on about for a couple of years. Instead of token resistance to continued use of fossil fuels, they are choosing to make deep cuts that will actually make a difference. Now, about Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario …

Well, it’s a start. A long journey starts with the first step. This is like the second step for BC which has had good EV-subsidies for a while. Now they will do something about heating, cooling, heavy transportation … It’s time for my province to catch up. We’re good in Manitoba for using renewable energy just not enough with gas-guzzling cars and trucks running amok. Then there are furnaces belching CO2 to the sky in the vain attempt to heat buildings against our winter. More solar heating and geothermal, please! My home uses both and our average power bill is half what smaller homes have. We can do better just by tweaking the building codes and some taxation and renovations.

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New 96Board?

“The Oxalis meets these challenges head on and provides a high performance IoT gateway solution with low power consumption in a modular architecture.”
 
See Oxalis
This one looks like beating a dead horse… This is a revival of the long-obsolete A-53 boards with dual SATA and dual gigabit/s NICs. For that and only 1gB RAM they charge $hundreds more than some board with USB3 to which one could adapt SATA drives and extra NICs… I don’t get the marketing plan here. The format is useful but an A-53 CPU and only 1 gB RAM is pathetic these days. I want to go fully ARMed but this is not the way.

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Wishful Thinking By Trumpists

“President Trump’s top economic adviser on Monday said the White House wants to end subsidies for electric vehicle purchases, without saying how it would eliminate the incentives that were created by Congress. Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters that electric car subsidies “will all end in the near future,” adding 2020 or 2021 when asked for a timeline.”
 
See Trump Aide Kudlow Calls for End of Electric Vehicle Subsidies
Chuckle. Congress set up subsidies for EVs years ago and Trumpists want to do away with them. That will be hard with Dems holding the House, the keeper of the purse…

This is yet again an example of the “populist” tyrant, Trump, trying to impose his personal will on the population, despite a 20% and growing share of the population favouring EVs. By 2020, Trump will be out of office and EV-lovers will swamp his supporters by far. Trump should worry about staying out of jail instead of trying to roll back the tide…

Subsidizing EVs is a simple cost-effective way of nudging folks away from fossil-fuels. EVs are sufficiently attractive now that subsidies may be obsolete soon after 2020 but there’s certainly no good reason to slow down the change to driving electrically in the meantime. I will buy my Solo EV without a subsidy as things stand because Canada hasn’t gotten its act together and because its the right thing to do, driving electrically. Others may need a push like a subsidy or war in the Middle East or uncivil war south of the border or…

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Electric Car Benefits

“Moving on to drivers’ favorite things about electric cars now that they have them, “environmental benefit” didn’t always win the day. Instant torque and the smooth and quiet ride of an electric car were often at or near the top of the charts. The convenience of home charging and low maintenance also sometimes made it onto the podium. Low maintenance was actually the highest scoring benefit among non-Tesla EV drivers in North America.”
 
See 10 Charts: Top Electric Car Benefits & Top Misconceptions
Experience is a great teacher. The neat thing about it is that experiences can be shared. A whole society can learn from the experiences of friends, neighbours, leaders… With EVs, one can make the choice based on news, essays, specifications, shared experiences, and just common sense. If it costs less to drive a kilometre in an EV, why not do it that way? If an EV is not much more trouble than your refrigerator, go for it. If the guy down the street is enjoying his, check it out. It’s all good.

EVs are here to stay. They are growing on us. They will reduce waste, pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply. Choose an EV sooner rather than later to maximize the benefits to all of us.

I’ve been driving a gas-guzzling hybrid EV for a decade. I hate it, maintenance, heat, stench, warm-ups, oil-changes… I’d much rather plug in a battery-powered EV. My first choice is the Solo EV since our gas-guzzler is almost always driven around empty. It just makes sense to drive Solo.

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Amazon Armed

“Amazon has designed its own 64-bit Arm server processors, dubbed Graviton, and is right now renting them out on AWS.
 
Just in time for its annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, the internet titan today revealed its A1 family of EC2 instances, ranging from the a1.medium with 1 vCPU, 2GB of RAM, and up to 3.5Gbps EBS and 10Gbps network bandwidth, which costs $0.0255 per hour on-demand, all the way up to a1.4xlarge with 16 vCPUs and 32GB of RAM, costing $0.408 per hour.”
 
See A rumble in Amazon’s jungle: AWS now rents out homegrown 64-bit Arm server processors
Hah! ARMed servers have been on the horizon for far too long. Now, it seems, they are about to become mainstream on Amazon. It’s obvious that where the need matches the performance ARM can be cost-effective against Intel/AMD. This is not the end however. This chip was based on a smartphone design of a few years ago. It’s a prototype for bigger things to come. Can’t wait to get my site hosted on ARM or have ARM run my home network. Soon it will all come together.

See also Amazon’s homegrown 2.3GHz 64-bit Graviton processor was very nearly an AMD Arm CPU

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The Dedication Of The Acorn

It’s been more than a month since I planted my acorns of White Oak (Quercus alba). Today, I was checking a pot for moisture on a work table and discovered an acorn of White Oak that had been dropped and was just sitting there, split open with a short tap root sticking out. I made up a deep pot with moist soil and planted this gem just beneath the surface. I’m sure it will do its thing and need sunlight for its leaves in a few weeks…

It’s not often one finds a living thing with such patience, optimism and resilience to survive my neglect but there it is.

As it turned out I had a very high germination rate on those acorns, nearly 80% so I have way too many seedlings for my yard. I sense a giveaway campaign in the spring… The White Oak needs space and, despite the size of my yard, I have to live within the bounds set by TLW (The Little Woman) so I may only plant a half-dozen oaks and I have about 80 seedlings happily growing four or more leaves already. For slow-growing trees, these seedlings are like rockets. They can live for centuries and when mature reach 30m in height and 20m in width, not to mention a trunk 2m in diameter. I won’t live to see that but I can get the process started, my little campaign to fight Trump’s insane global warming campaign.

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The GNU/Linux Desktop, Again

““The current situation with dozens of distributions, each with different rules, each with different versions of different libraries, some with certain libraries missing, each with different packaging tools and packaging formats … that basically tells app developers ‘go away, focus on platforms that care about applications.’”
 
So, yes, 2019 will be the year of Linux end users who don’t know they’re Linux end users. But, “the” Linux desktop as a mass-market alternative to Windows? No, that’s not ever going to happen, not as long as Linux developers can’t play on the same page.
 
See The Linux desktop: With great success comes great failure
SJVN is usually right but this is one of the exceptions. His own article proves that folks live in their browsers. Lots of people don’t even own a desktop machine these days. Lots of people who own a desktop live in their browsers. So, GNU/Linux which can run a browser no matter what distro, no matter which package manager, no matter where they live, can successfully use a GNU/Linux desktop. My wife (TLW) does. If she can do it anyone can.

The latest figures show there are whole countries where GNU/Linux thrives at well over 1% share of the desktop. That’s well beyond computer-geek levels. GNU/Linux works for people and no amount of revisionist history or apologies for monopolistic tyrants will undo that. Allow competition in the market and GNU/Linux thrives. Last time I checked, not a lot of people are buying That Other OS either. Given a choice, as many would choose GNU/Linux to run their browser as anything else. All those “must have” applications that are TOOS-only are niche products that are not needed to run a browser. Most browsers run just fine on any distro of GNU/Linux. I recommend Debian. It works for me.

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ByeBye Gas-Guzzlers

“a collapse of oil supply to half of its current size within only six years simply cannot be compensated by new oil findings and certainly not by unconventional oil sources like oil sands and fracking. That the Oil Majors did not pick up with new oil exploration after the oil price rose again to $100 per barrel in the years after 2008 is another sign that the world is already “overexplored,” as geologists put it. Instead the Oil Majors concentrated on a stock buyback, knowing full well that further exploration would be a waste of money while they are sitting on oil that will become very valuable even though the amount of oil they will extract will decline significantly.”
 
See Peak Oil & Drastic Oil Shortages Imminent, Says IEA
Whatever you may think of fossil fuel and electric vehicles (EVs), the price of fuel matters. It matters more than the sticker price of vehicles. It matters more than the range of EVs versus gas-guzzlers. It matters more than resistance to change. It matters because every week or two owners of gas-guzzlers have to pay at the pumps.

Data from the fossil-fuel industry show that the supply of easy oil has or will peak sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, USAians love pickup-trucks. There will be a collision of supply and demand for fossil fuels right around the corner. Those thinking short-term will buy oil-stocks and cash in. Those thinking long-term will buy EVs. Buying an EV is not just about saving the planet from global warming. It’s about an essential economic movement in mindshare. If you do the maths you will see that EVs are competitive now, not next decade. Next decade they will be all but compulsory. Cut supply of fossil fuel in half and try to maintain demand. I dare you.

Trump is thinking short-term. His sycophants are too. So are the lovers of pickups. USA and everyone else will be unwilling to pay exorbitant prices for fuel from now on. They will do the right thing and change the way cities are built to reduce the need for transportation and they will use EVs. It’s a necessity, not a choice. Efficiency is the dictator, not Trump.

Consider supply politically. Essentially, the sanctions against Russia and Iran mean that Saudi Arabia calls the tune. [SARCASM]It’s great to depend on that reliable ally, eh?[/SARCASM] Saudi Arabia has been supplying the West with fuel in a big way since the 1930s. They sit on the largest reserves. They could suffer a coup at any instant. They could be nuked by Iran real soon now if Trump has his way. He needs a “good war” to stay in power. Saudi Arabia is lead by a despot frantic to solidify power. He’s abducted an ambassador. He’s murdered a US-based journalist. He’s sanctioned Canada. He’s being sued in USA. He’s blockaded Qatr. He’s raining USAian bombs on Yemeni women and children. He’s dependant on Trump to stay in power. Can anyone count on Trump staying in power? Can anyone count on Saudi Arabia to keep the oil flowing? Nope.

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Trump Is An Idiot

Trump blames California for it’s fiery disaster. He blamed forest management and now he’s adding “raking the weeds” as deficiencies. I guess he’s never seen a forest. Every crumb of every tree falls to the ground and is tinder after months of drought. So are the branches of the trees. The only way to avoid all fires through management of forests is to remove the forests, the reason folks went to live there…

What an idiot. It’s like saying NYC should be bull-dozed to prevent crime or the swamp in Washington should be filled in with concrete. It’s just not practical/possible/reasonable. OTOH, we know dry spells in CA are getting hotter, drier and longer. Wonder why? Could it be the gigatons of CO2 we are carelessly dumping into the atmosphere turning it into a greenhouse roasting in the Sun? These forest fires can only be eliminated practically by irrigation in a state that already rations water. The latest big fire may have been sparked by a powerline. Can’t do without those but we could do without gas-guzzling automobiles spewing sparks out the tail-pipe. This is another reason to switch to EVs.

See Trump: Not raking weeds contributing to fires

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DACA Lives!

In REGENTS OF THE UNIV. OF CAL. V. USDHS the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided:
“With due respect for the Executive Branch, we disagree. The government may not simultaneously both assert that its actions are legally compelled, based on its interpretation of the law, and avoid review of that assertion by the judicial branch, whose “province and duty” it is “to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 177 (1803). The government’s decision to rescind DACA is subject to judicial review. And, upon review, we conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA—at least as justified on this record—is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law. We therefore affirm the district court’s grant of preliminary injunctive relief.”
 

See? There is intelligent life in USA and Trump doesn’t get his way, again.

See the whole opinion in REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA v United States Department of Homeland Security

Of course, this is not over yet but Sessions, Nielsen and Trump are just wrong so many ways in everything they say and do about immigration. They should just pack their bags and go away.

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The Aftermath

“Almost two years ago, millions of women across the world donned pink hats and held up signs that warned of pussies grabbing back. On Tuesday, women made good on their promise and led Democrats to grab back the House: A record-breaking 96 women have already won seats in the House, and 22 have won in the Senate.
 
That means a historic 118 women triumphed in their races for Congress. And while liberals did lose ground in the Senate, the only Democrat to flip a Republican-held seat was a woman. (So far — results are still rolling in.)
 
Another nine woman will serve as governors, which matches the previous record.”
 
See She’s Running: Women broke midterms records right and left (but mostly on the left)
I’ve refrained for two nights from commenting on the US mid-term elections. I wanted to calm down a bit…

While Democrats gained a majority in the House I was disappointed with their showing in the Senate. Clearly, it seems many USAians are still not convinced Trump is not God in a second reincarnation. Despite that, things are looking rosy:

  • The House can investigate the Hell out of Trumpists,
  • the House can control spending somewhat,
  • the House can support the Mueller investigation by funding it if necessary, and
  • the House can surely publicize every evil thing Trump does.

Unfortunately, Trump can still do a lot of damage in the “lame duck” period before the new House is sworn in. Trump fired Sessions on Day One of this period. Expect more reckless acts because Trump believes he can’t be impeached with his increased majority in the Senate. What he doesn’t realize is that with the exposure the House will give him, senators will eventually jump ship in hope of retaining their seats in the next election. Further, the new Democratic governors out there will oppose Trump wherever they can, particularly against any further attempts to scrap ObamaCare, build a stupid wall, or build up his “thought police”. Trump has offended sufficient voters that Trumpism has no future. Everyone saw newbies gobble up open seats and unseat incumbents despite Trump’s juggernaut using taxpayers’ money to stump all over red states. He was able to support a few senators but lost the House in a good sized wave of blue. The emperor has no clothes and senators cannot ride his coattails.

So, we live in interesting times but a Free Press and a liberated House and lots of women in Congress will save the day. The tired old white men could not resist Trumpism’s lies but the new blood will have none of it. Trump is destroying the Republican party and millions have left it. Not enough are left to win the presidency again nor retain the Senate next time. The national total of House votes were 49% of eligible voters and Democrats got 10% more votes than Republicans for Representatives. Amen.

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Voting Day USA and Other Special Days

Like many, I’m impatiently awaiting news of a rejection of Trumpism south of the border. It’s also been a month since I received a shipment of seeds for more trees.

One species of which I had concern was White Oak (Quercus alba). The acorns do not exhibit the usual dormancy of most northern trees. The acorn hits the ground and if it doesn’t dry out it sprouts a tap root and it’s off to the races. The tap root grows deeply quickly to find moisture and winter comes to shut things down until spring. Well, my winter comes earlier than in White Oak’s native range so I figure Nature would not work for me. I planted the acorns in pots thinking they could do whatever they wanted until next year when I would plant them out.

SURPRISE! Despite being described as a slowly growing tree, those tap roots are now emerging from the bottoms of the pots! I deliberately chose deep pots nearly 25cm deep but in a month the roots are showing. I put saucers underneath and added water and moved the pots to a sunny warm window. I hope the oaks will be able to figure things out next spring… I had fully expected the roots also to grow slowly. Nope…

Let’s hope the election has also surprisingly vigorous voting for Democrats to reduce Trump’s power. Early news is that youngsters/first time voters and women are kicking ass. It’s about time. The House can also do some real investigation/oversight and let the world know what evil and corruption looks like. Impeach the bastard and put him in jail.

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