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Decision Fatigue

Trying to keep up with the news this month is hard. Trying to derive patterns from the news in order to blog about them coherently? Even harder, leading to decision fatigue—but I'm going to have a stab at it ...

The big buried lede of the past decade is that authoritarian conservatives network internationally as pervasively as the soi-disant "international communism" they railed against from the 1920s through the 1960s. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine it's become glaringly clear that authoritarianism is the preferred governmental mode of petrochemical resource extraction economies (money attracts sociopaths, sociopaths like authoritarian leaders because they are convenient single points of failure for corruption-prevention systems, authoritarian leaders appeal to authoritarian followers).

This century the PREEs are all panicking. The price of new photovoltaic panels is dropping in line with Moore's Law and as a result it's now cheaper to install PV panels than to keep existing coal-fired power stations running: the result is a mad dash to pump all the oil and gas they can get out of the ground before all that new renewable infrastructure is coupled to new distribution and usage tech that will reduce the demand for constant base load. (Big Carbon must be absolutely terrified of better battery technologies—not necessarily lighter or higher capacity, but cheaper to manufacture, safer to deploy and recycle, and longer life—suitable for grid-scale load averaging or backup.)

In addition to pumping out CO2, they've been pumping out propaganda. Russia got into the game by boosting the factions in the west most tightly associated with climate change denialism (the hard right): the hard right also swung behind Putin's imperialist revanchism (look at how many US Republican leaders are pro-Russia all of a sudden).

It's looking since the US midterms like the new hotness in western hard right circles is going to be the war on youth. Young people (especially women and people of colour) overwhelmingly reject white male supremacism, for fairly obvious reasons: they're also more inclined to be worried about climate change. An immediate response by authoritarians is to push back against any resistance. In the USA, Republicans propose raising the voting age to 21 or even 28; in the UK, New voter ID laws discriminate against young people (old peoples' bus passes are acceptable at polling stations, but young persons' railcards are not), and in Iran we're seeing a striking display of inter-generational violence, as the ageing male authoritarian fundamentalists of the post-1979 revolution shoot young female demonstrators in the streets.

If anything, this should be heartening news: the kids are all right. They're marching for action on climate change, they're voting against fascism. Not universally, not all of them (some are going full Nazi, or becoming incels, or murderous mediaeval cosplayers like Da'esh)—but enough that the far right are clearly a generational problem.

Some years ago, when asked, SF author Bruce Sterling summed up the 21st century as "old people, living in cities, afraid of the sky". Well, Earth's human population is over 50% urban at this point, the sky is becoming bloody dangerous (climate!), and as for the old people ... the young are trying to adapt, the gerontocracy are pushing back, but eventually the current gerontocrats will die out.

The other striking news of the week is Elon Musk's epic flaming death spiral at the helm of Twitter. (Which currently eclipses the news that Mark Zuckerberg wasted $15Bn on a virtual reality system with, like, about 60 thousand users, and Facebook is going to undergo huge spending cuts over the next year by way of adjustment.)

Reader, I am not charmed by this. Musk's big mouth got him into an untenable position, and now he's thrashing around destructively. I'm not going to recap the arguments here, but I suspect twitter is likely to crash hard within the next few days to week or two (at most) and Musk has fired most of the people who can fix it and keep it running. He's also fired everybody involved in international regulatory compliance: he seems to think that the relatively libertarian and under-regulated political regime of California is universal. In reality, twitter is subject to GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation thanks to it handling EU citizens' data.

GDPR, for Americans, essentially defines a constitutional-level right to online privacy throughout the EU and it is applicable to any corporation processing EU citizens' data: it was designed specifically to prevent the sort of abuses that took place in the Third Reich, when the Nazis ransacked existing punched card databases to identify Jews and other undesirables for arrest and murder. The fines are draconian (up to 4% of the corporation's annual global turnover) and can be levied separately by each nation's data privacy regulator. Hint: there are 27 of them, adding up to a potential liability of fines equal to 108% of annual turnover (if all the regulators were to hammer Twitter with the maximum level of fines simultaneously).

Musk's takeover has drawn a spotlight to the big social media platforms' collective failure to deal with false news, bullying, and extremist politics. While second tier platforms (think Mastodon) are nowhere near to providing a refuge yet, I expect any big social media that survive into 2024 will be facing vastly tighter governmental regulatory controls.

Final news: Cryptocurrencies seem to be collapsing left right and centre as the main exchanges go bust and are exposed as fronts for securities fraud. I could say "I hate to say I told you so" but I'd be lying. (And yes, I told you so right here on this blog, nine years ago.) Schadenfreude is wonderfully heart-warming in a time of otherwise terrible news!

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1:

Twitter is subject to GDPR, which is fun, but it is also subject to labor laws, which tend to be a little more pointed in Europe than the US. It's going to be interesting if the financial impacts on EM end up ruining Tesla and getting SpaceX nationalized somehow. It's beautiful though, another case of reality is unrealistic. OGH just couldn't have written that, even in Scalzi's KPS it would have sounded too unrealistic.

2:

We have energy storage technology capable of grid scale load averaging and backup - pumped hydropower. The UK uses it on a daily basis, but scaling up to a weekly basis would be the perfect complement to variable wind and solar as their capacity exceeds the fossil fuel supply. This may involve flooding some of Scotland but it would give a future Independent Scotland a huge energy arbitrage advantage. Meanwhile, China is building 270GW of pumped hydro storage over the next 3 years.

3:

One thing I don't quite understand about the GDPR is, how is it enforced if the corporation has no presence in the EU?

As for Twitter, I never understood the appeal. While I could see Facebook's appeal (could being the past tense), I could see the downsides even back in 2008 or 2007 whenever I first noticed it. But you can't have a conversation in 140 chars... Then you have people stringing long threads of tweets, which sort of defeats the purpose of short posts...

Also, re-reading my comments on bitcoin back in 2013, I was wrong. I wasn't wrong about the need to get rid of Paypal, Visa and Mastercard. But I was wrong that cryptocurrencies were the short-term solution (or any solution). I still see them as science fiction made reality, but unfortunately the side-effects far outweigh the negatives. (Still got some bitcoin somewhere though. It might still hit the moon! Then I'll sell them and buy my fancy car!)

4:

As far as I can tell Musk has used loans secured against his Tesla stock to fund the Twitter takeover. So his Tesla control is at stake. I have heard nothing to suggest SpaceX is at risk.

My take: Tesla shares are clearly in a bubble, and Musk knows it. He also knows the trad automakers are in the game now, so the Tesla bubble will burst, so he might as well use it as play money while he's got it.

SpaceX ... Musk is a grandson of the guy who founded Technocracy in Canada (then emigrated to South Africa). Musk is an out-of-the-closet Technocrat. Hint: Technocracy is a totalitarian political movement associated with a bunch of stuff including space colonization, libertarianism (and, probably via the SA connection, "scientific" racism) that advocates for a society organized and run along scientific lines by a self-selected elite.

Musk's Mars colonization shtick is a bid to establish a Technocratic nation-state on Mars, not simply about colonizing space. There is a political agenda and my conclusion is that he won't relinquish control over SpaceX even if you hold a gun to his head.

5:

context = USA

schadenfreude(v)

1: savoring someone else's misfortune

2: combo of two German words schaden (harm) and freude (joy)

3: "I feel such sweet schadenfreude knowing what awaits Trump and his cronies in jail"

4: (UPDATED) "watching the GQP's Red Wave turn into a anemic trickle was a week long schadenfreude festival; endless obvious snark the Red Wave being performative art pieces about the power of women and their menstrual cycle"

6:

Pumped hydro is almost impossible to build. You need an existing change in elevation with lakes on the high and low sides. To a first approximation, there are no usable sites. There are certainly not enough sites for it to be a significant means of storage at grid scales. (That there are examples doesn't change this, any more than the Icelandic reliance on geothermal is a general solution.)

It'll be very helpful should people realize that nigh-all of the infrastructure needs to be public to work.

7:

We need a word like schadenfreude which applies when we are ourselves the sufferers.

8:

Yup.

There is pumped storage hydro in the UK -- a couple of plants capable of independently energizing the national grid in the unlikely event that it ever needs a black start. They also do load balancing during demand surges (eg. commercial breaks during a major network TV event when everyone goes to boil their kettle simultaneously -- at least, that was a thing until cable TV came along in the late 90s).

The problem is, the UK lacks sufficiently precipitous mountain terrain to provide a big drop from high reservoirs to low reservoirs. Differences in elevation tend to be gentle. Sure we've got a lot of mountains but they're almost all under 1km, and to find a convenient valley significantly closer to sea level you have to travel many kilometres.

9:

@2: I've been to Scotland often enough to believe it's already fully saturated...

10:

Some energy geologists published a study recently about the number of sites potentially available for artificial reservoir pumped hydro - so places where you have two valleys with a significant height difference but no river feeding one or both. Andrew Ducker will have had it on his Interesting Links. From memory there we approximately 6,000 sites globally of a large size with about 40 or so in Scotland.

Which is probably plenty to be going on with for Scotland and the world.

11:

I think Coire Glas is the latest pumped hydro scheme in Scotland - up to 1.5GW
https://www.coireglas.com

12:

Sorry, that should be up to 30 GWh (duh).

13:

Considering the likely disposition of the sort of people who would seriously consider going into tax exile on Mars, it may well come to that. It probably won't be a literal gun, that kind of frightener would draw too much unwanted attention and he's almost certainly got his own armed minders, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's a conveniently-timed scandal that forces him to step down from a direct managerial role in favour of someone with the same agenda but more of a clue what the fuck they're doing.

14:

Paras 2 and 3 are one of the reasons I have long been in favour of the main effort in solar power research being directed not towards solar panels, but towards artificial photosynthesis of liquid hydrocarbons from atmospheric CO2. Get that going and all you have to do is unplug the oil wells from the input of present energy infrastructure and plug in the photosynthetic hydrocarbon generators in their place. OK it still wouldn't make Russia happy, but most of the other major producers have craploads of sunlight and so could basically carry on as they are.

Other advantages include: all the rest of the energy infrastructure can also carry on as it is; we don't get untold millions of items from strimmers to refineries and national distribution networks all suddenly becoming useless and needing electrical versions manufactured to replace them. This both saves a tremendous amount of hassle, and avoids giving manufacturing industry a massive making-electric-stuff boost right when what we really need to be doing is massively curbing its exuberance, insisting that manufactured products are both durable and repairable, and cutting down manufacturing to the levels required for occasional repair and still more occasional replacement of things that last an order of magnitude or two longer than they are currently made to.

And it gets rid of this whole horrible storage problem, because storing tanks of fuel is (a) what we do already, (b) a piece of piss, (c) the densest form of storage by a long way of anything we have the faintest idea of how to do, and (d) not far off 100% efficient - which if overall efficiency is still a major concern when the input is free, probably far outweighs the relative inefficiency of combustion engines compared to electric motors, since the great majority of energy usage is for producing heat to be used in something other than an engine.

It seems that every couple of months or so someone starts going on about the lab-scale artificial photosynthesis process they've demonstrated, and then you never hear any more about it. This has been happening for years and years, but no research effort ever goes into making any of these potential processes into something practically useful. I see no reason not to believe that if all the effort that has gone into solar electricity had gone into artificial photosynthesis instead we would not by now have seen it becoming comparably practical.

15:

One thing I don't quite understand about the GDPR is, how is it enforced if the corporation has no presence in the EU?

Does the corporation collect money in the EU to run ad campaigns or to provide shiny blue badges? That money will be seized.

Does the corporation have a data centre in the EU? If not, does the corporation's CDN have a data centre in the EU? Those servers will be seized.

If it doesn't collect money and it doesn't have physical computers, it can be blocked at the DNS level much like Pirate Bay

16:

Twitter has corporate offices and therefore presences in France, Germany, Ireland (this is its official european HQ), the Netherlands and Spain. They are quite reachable for european jurisdiction; the implied threat here is that either they get in line or say goodbye to doing business in the EU, which for an advertisement company is A Bad Move.

17:

The latest in the "Musk is a moron" saga, which I think wasn't brought up here yet, and is good for a laugh if nothing else (and is not off-topic I think):

  • Two days ago, Musk complains on Twitter that the app is slow because it "makes over 1000 RPC requests" per page load.
  • Employee tells him that's not how the app works (they use GraphQL, about 20 requests per page load), and any slowdown is because of bloated micro-services.
  • Musk fires the employee for talking back to him.
  • Musk presents his bold plan to eliminate bloated micro-services.
  • Users with two-factor authentication discover that they can't login anymore.

Afterwards Musk admitted (on Twitter) he doesn't know how to check requests. Another employee shows him (on Twitter) how to use the network inspection tools built into every browser.

18:

"One thing I don't quite understand about the GDPR is, how is it enforced if the corporation has no presence in the EU?"

Yeah, I don't get that either. Surely all anyone has to do is simply be in a different jurisdiction.

"As for Twitter, I never understood the appeal. While I could see Facebook's appeal (could being the past tense), I could see the downsides even back in 2008 or 2007 whenever I first noticed it. But you can't have a conversation in 140 chars... Then you have people stringing long threads of tweets, which sort of defeats the purpose of short posts..."

I never could see that there even was any purpose in short posts, apart from enabling people to do pointless crap like saying what they just had for dinner. Which they do, and append photos of their bloody dinner as well, as if anyone cares.

As I'm sure you know the 140 character limitation was supposed to be to allow it to work over SMS, but part of the metadata associated with each tweet is what client the poster made it from, and you just never saw anyone posting via SMS even when the thing had only recently got going. After several more years Twitter eventually got their heads round this point and increased the limit, to I think 320 characters last time I looked, which did at least allow you to say some things complex enough to be worth saying in a single tweet.

However, that was the sole and single alteration they ever made to it that was any kind of an improvement; with that unique exception, absolutely everything they ever changed on it had the effect of making it less useful and/or more of a pain in the arse. For a long time it was still possible to get a vaguely tolerable user interface off it by spoofing your user agent to that of a sufficiently primitive mobile phone, but they killed even that resort off a few years ago, and made it impossible to get anything at all beyond a content-free splash page without analysing far more megabytes of javascript than I could be bothered with to figure out what the handful of magic bytes to cough at the server were supposed to be. This pissed me off, severely, so I abandoned it entirely and would now find it hard to muster any response beyond "ha ha, fuck you" if Musk does get round to destroying it utterly.

19:

"Twitter has corporate offices and therefore presences in France, Germany, Ireland (this is its official european HQ), the Netherlands and Spain."

Yeah. What for? They're a computer company. They can be based anywhere they can plug into the internet and provide a worldwide service; that's kind of the whole point. And they can collect money from anywhere in the world that isn't blocked from making payments into the US banking system (as if). Seems to me that they only need one lot of offices in the US to be just as "local" to anywhere in the world that has wires to it as to any other place.

20:

California has its own version of GDPR, called CCPA. It’s not as powerful but still probably the most powerful US legislation of it’s type.

There isn’t a lot of evidence that fossil fuel extractors are trying to bing extract reserves and cash in before a crash. If they were, we’d be looking at lower gas prices at the pump

Musc has certainly been showing the world what “rich idiot” looks like. I do wonder if we might finally get a tech union out of this

21:

It's slow because it uses huge amounts of pointless javascript when it could function perfectly well without using any at all, and indeed did so function (if you knew how to make it do so) up until a couple of years ago when they killed the HTML-only version off.

22:

International law and tax regs generally don’t allow consumers to directly pay into a US account from overseas. Local governments generally want a chunk of that change. Some even require a certain percentage to remain overseas for reinvestment in the local economy.

So it’s generally by the money strings that folks like google are kept in line with local privacy law

23:

FWIW, the US Department of Energy keeps a list of energy storage facilities worldwide:

https://sandia.gov/ess-ssl/gesdb/public/projects.html

It gives both the rated power output of the facilities and, sometimes, the maximum time they can provide that output. (I suggest downloading the table into a spreadsheet and playing with it.)

24:

Charlie
If anything, this should be heartening news: the kids are all right. They're marching for action on climate change, they're voting against fascism. And, as a 76-year old kid { A 75-year old looking in the mirror, wondering what the hell happened, yes? } I agree. The few I know are all right, too.

Energy - we are still going to need nuclear for 50-70 years, until there is enough battery storage for the awkward times, though. Oh & electricity is EXPENSIVE - something needs to be done about this.

25:

At a recent reading here in Edinburgh, Randall Munroe of XKCD remarked that the most optimistic outcome of Martian terraforming would still be worse than the most pessimistic forecast of climate change here on Earth. So perhaps we should let Musk be welcome to his life on Mars.

26:

6 "Pumped hydro is almost impossible to build." - Let's just analyse unused pump storage capacity in Scotland, on a first level basis.
1) Loch Sloy scheme: Upper reservoir is the eponymous Loch Sloy (56.270791, -4.775830) on the West side of Loch Lomond, and lower reservoir is Loch Lomond. Initial studies on this have been done, indicating a generating capacity of about 400MWh over several hours.
2) The similarly eponymous Cruachan scheme : Check link.
3) Another scheme was proposed on Loch Lomondside, using a corrie on Ben Lomond as the upper reservoir, and Loch Lomond as the lower.
4) A fourth scheme was proposed with the upper reservoir being in mountains on the SE side of Loch Ness.

11 - I wasn't aware of Coire Glas when I wrote my reply to (6), but that now makes 5 existing or studied PS schemes in Scotland.

27:

Re 14.

I think you have enough of a round trip efficiency issue with converting solar energy in to hydrocarbons and then converting those hydrocarbons in to either movement or electricity that solar PV and wind will retain significant cost advantage in most cases. That said there are a couple of firms who have think they have a good enough method for converting electricity to jet fuel that they've signed some options contracts with a USian airline.

I think most of the PREE's, along with a few major producers of other fossil fuels, like Australia, have pretty good access to solar PV resources and be well positioned to earn a living exporting that solar PV electricty but I think their problem is that they don't have a monopoly on cheap renewable electricity in the same way they have a monopoly on cheap oil and gas. So they are a price taker in a falling market rather that a price setter. And I think they know this and are behaving as if it were true.

28:

My take: Tesla shares are clearly in a bubble, and Musk knows it. He also knows the trad automakers are in the game now, so the Tesla bubble will burst, so he might as well use it as play money while he's got it.

Hello AOL buying Time Warner.

29:

I'm reminded why the UK talks about using Tidal power the Seven, France just went ahead and did it back in 1966, generating at peak 240 MW. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rance_Tidal_Power_Station

Here's hoping that the renewable transition happens at a much faster rate, although efficiency and insulation (for the UK at least) appears to be the biggest bang for the buck. In the US, since I've upgraded our systems and put a solar roof on the house (which wasn't cheap but I assumed would pay off over time) our bill is between $15 to $35 per month. And I could have made more if the Tesla salesperson had explained one line item on my contract in which I apparently gave Tessa rights to sell my carbon credits. That's worth $1200 per year to them (and to me if I could get the contract nulled). Trying to sort that out on the phone was uphill work (gave up for now).

30:

Given how well he's handling things at Twitter, I think Melon Husk is absolutely perfect to be in charge of migrating billionaires, kleptocrats, and their sycophants to Mars. I wouldn't wish it on anyone I liked, though.

In reality, of course, there's also the issue of how much damage he might contribute to this planet while trying to set up his little empire. Given the extremely low odds of humanity being able to survive independent of earth in the near future, I'd rather like the place to stay habitable. (Where "habitable" includes "not governed by fascists or horrendous monsters of any other kind".)

31:

I think you have enough of a round trip efficiency issue with converting solar energy in to hydrocarbons and then converting those hydrocarbons in to either movement or electricity that solar PV and wind will retain significant cost advantage in most cases.

I think you're probably correct but synthetic jet fuel has a huge advantage over battery storage for airliners insofar as (a) aircraft already run on the stuff so existing infrastructure can be used, (b) it has a very high energy density (higher than battery storage), (c) unlike batteries, spent fuel is discharged as exhaust gas rather than tagging along as ballast, and (d) while biofuels would be a viable alternative we're going to need the land biofuels would require for growing food. Whereas if we have enough PV capacity to provide power on overcast/low light days, we should have surplus power some of the time (in which case synfuel makes a useful stored energy reserve).

32:

Re 31.

And I think that is exactly the business model the company I'm thinking of appears to be following. They've got (so they say) some interesting nano-tubes for filtering feedstock out of dirty water and are electrolysing hydrocarbons out of that.

And it's some tech that would suit a place like Dubai which is trying to re-invent itself as a business, travel and tourism hub.

33:

International law and tax regs generally don’t allow consumers to directly pay into a US account from overseas.

What do you mean by that?

I just checked. I can pay money into any US account I want (a) by making a bank transfer from my own German account or (b) via Western Union (and probably all the other money transfer companies as well). The latter offer a choice between (i) paying out cash and (ii) paying into a bank account (for the US; there are more options available for other countries).

In both cases involving a US bank account the only two things I need (other than the recipient's name) are the account number and the bank's SWIFT code, and Bob's my (or their) uncle.

34:

I believe it was Thomas Piketty who pointed out that one effect of globalization has been to allow the transfer of capital (and propaganda supporting capital) to flow more easily across international borders, while the regulatory state (and democracy) is still managed at the level of the nation state. The result is that problems that require a high level of international cooperation, such as global warming, increasing levels of wealth disparity, and resisting populist demagogues, are handicapped, while the forces promoting these problems face few barriers to pooling their resources and supporting each other.

The solution has to be international in scale, or it won't work. While the mid-term election results in the US are heartening (Trump is now the gift that will keep on giving--to the Democrats), the lack of agreement at the COP 27 is disappointing. This isn't inevitable--it is now cheaper in many ways to solve the problem of sustainable energy than it will be to keep reinvesting in fossil fuels, and the developing nations could be paid out of that savings (one estimate I heard was a cool trillion $ a year), but that will have to wait for a future in which the political elite has caught up to public opinion.

Piketty himself recommended an international tax regime as the solution to rising economic inequality. The first step (the global minimum tax rate) has already been taken, but the hard step will be sharing tax data so that international capital flows can be tracked comprehensively and accurately. Then the next even harder step would be a global minimum spending agreement. This seems impossible to envision now, but Piketty pointed out how revolutionary the political reforms were just after WWII, so it could happen again, at least in response to a comparable international disaster.

A comparable international disaster is coming, it is inevitable now. Reforms will follow, though what form they will take remains to be seen.

As for fighting demagoguery, someone needs to make Musk an offer he can't refuse, and then use Twitter as a platform to apply AI to the task of flagging falacious argumentation. I suspect that 90% of the lies could be flagged on the basis of semantic structure alone (Alert: this post appears to commit the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. It's conclusions should be regarded with skepticism. Thank you--the management).

35:

The big missing chunk in this is that OIL POWERS WAR in the 20th Century style. This was pioneered IIRC by Churchill and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

The world's got a bunch of problems, one of them being climate change and another being the world's three big militaries: the US Navy, the US Army, and China's military (in order of size, IIRC). US might is largely powered by oil, and as it runs out, so does US hegemony. As an aside, this isn't US jingoism, it's just the size of the damned forces. Anyway, China has a petroleum-powered military too. So do Russia, EU, India, Ukraine, etc. So the end of petroleum probably means the end of imperial-scale militaries in the world, which means one hell of a shake-up in the global order. If numbers of people mean more than numbers of jets and missiles, India and China have more people than the EU and US, with Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, and Nigeria right behind. How will power be manifested, going forward?

I suspect the links between right wing authoritarians and militarists are fairly clear, at least at the moment?

The political problem in the US and UK is that the Boomers are dying, and the Xers are basically Boomer mini-mes politically, a small generation that simply doesn't have the voting numbers that the Boomers had. For any group whose core is Boomer activism, this is a problem, because they've either got to pivot to Millennials and Zoomers, or become irrelevant. The group I work with now is struggling with that, because its core is activist Boomers. We're now in a golden age of bequests, while struggling to keep core positions filled. I suspect the GOP and the Tories are struggling with the same problems (looking at the aging politicians running things?).

Anyway, their choices are to make new coalitions with younger political blocs, hold on to minority power, or become irrelevant. In the US, both the Dems and the GOP have been struggling with aging elites (Biden, Pelosi, McConnell, etc.), but the Democrats so far have done better at recruiting "the kids." We'll see how the various blocs pass their torches.

The thing I worry about with the Millennials and Zoomers, at least in the US, is that their default model for left-wing activism seems to be Occupy. Seriously, people who were active in Occupy are now Progressive politicians in office at various levels. While activism is good, Occupy didn't do a good job of making or reaching goals. Having that as the default organizing model for things like the Green New Deal hasn't gone all that well. I'm hoping all the strife with the GOP helps the current street activists become better at organizing to establish and reach goals. Gaia knows we need them to succeed.

36:

If you commit a GDPR offence and have any assets in the EU or moving through the EU, or want to trade in the EU or with any EU domiciled entity then the GDPR regulator in an EU state will be able to get to you in some way.

They can probably get to you if you are trading with anyone or in a jurisdiction which the EU can lean on.

That probably applies de jure to entities in the same group of companies and probably applies more strongly de facto.

So specifically in relation to Twitter they would have to cease all operations in the EU, probably up to and including not accepting advertising revenue from EU domiciled advertisers, USian group companies with EU trading arms or any USian company which also wished to trade in the EU. And this restriction might apply to Tesla depending on the structure of the ownership of Twitter.

Then you run in to the issues of warrants and covenants on the debt. As CEO of Twitter you are probably restricted in your ability to tank your EU businesses by deliberately or negligently breaking GDPR.

So fun times ahead there.

37:

Elon Musk makes me appreciate Steve Jobs more. Admittedly, Jobs was a horrible human being, but he was a much better tech visionary than Elon is. Admittedly, Jobs had his share of failures, the Lisa, the Newton, the NeXT cube, but the fact is that he brought all these ideas to success later on. The Lisa became the Macintosh, the NeXT cube's stuff was incorporated into the Mac line, and the iPhone proved that people want a personal digital assistant.

Elon thinks he's a visionary but he doesn't actually have the talent. He's had some successes so far, or more precisely no crushing disasters so far, and so he's convinced he's a genius. Jobs had failures in tech, but he seemed to have learned from them. I don't see Elon doing that.

38:

Danah Boyd's research has an interesting explanation for the pics of food and drink. She called it the "cupcake code" and described how young people use it to communicate with each other without their parents or teachers realising. It's simply a social media version of an old spook trick.

Example: pic of cup/dish/plate/whatever with a spoon. The food or drink signifies a place to meet and the position of the spoon is the time of day. The mapping between symbols and semantics is only known to two or more people.

Then adults began posting pics of food and drink. If this is news to you, maybe that says something about the success of the code. That's why I didn't know whether to celebrate or facepalm when Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a pic of a plate of food.

Like OGH, I'm more sympathetic to the young people using this kind of code. They may be the generation I've been waiting for since 1983. I expected my parents' generation to fail. I expected my own generation to fail. I wanted to be wrong, of course, but the last half decade has made me think that perhaps I got it right.

We really do seem to have a deathcult (or deathcults). I'm reminded of the line in Against a Dark Backgroud (Iain M Banks) about 12000 years of political history. Is it really that bad? If not, why do I keep finding people asking similar questions to mine? We might not all call it a deathcult, but that's it looked to me as a teenager, and it still does.

39:

Whoops, I misspelled danah boyd. The name should be all lowercase. Sorry.

40:
Hint: Technocracy is a totalitarian political movement associated with a bunch of stuff including space colonization, libertarianism (and, probably via the SA connection, "scientific" racism) that advocates for a society organized and run along scientific lines by a self-selected elite.

Charlie,

Not that I doubt you are using the word "technocracy" correctly, but I've often used the word to describe the way the EU actually works.

(I should say that when I was working, I spent rather a lot of time doing Big Science Politics in Brussels. And that Brexit is the reason I'm now unemployed.)

Too many of the decisions that needed to be made were beyond the competence of any elected politician, and this is why they were frequently made by the EU functionaries, with only a notional form of political oversight.

And, lest this all seem a bit Brexit-y, I cannot see any other way to run a modern state. We need technical experts to operate the technical bits of the state. The Conservative Party -- Truss/Kwatang in particular -- show what happens when amateurs actually get their hands on the levers of power. I believe we are currently each (every person ages 0-110 in the UK) £500 down as a result of their mini-budget that never happened. Where's the Taxpayers Alliance when this sort of waste occurs? Oh, that's right, they actually supported Truss' insanity.

41:

context = USA

never mind how many of you might loathe 'em for their flawed editing and overt left-leaning, there are days when reading The Guardian is a joy:

"...The Washington Post yesterday referred to what’s going on in the Grand Old Party as a “full scale brawl,” though I thought the brawl/frat party was 2017-2021, and this is the bickering and the hangover..."

if only they'd mentioned the multiple ambulances, arrests by uniformed police, threats of petty lawsuits, and puddles of bloody bits loped off, then yeah... that's GQP in 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/16/trump-presidential-bid-eternal-quest-attention

42:

NZ is looking into pumped hydro at Lake Onslow.

Given a near-perfect site (a large floodable basin & a lake, sited next to each other) it’s workable, but still expensive. May or may not get

43:

Yeah. What for? They're a computer company.

They're an advertising platform and want to sell ads. Hard without local offices.

44:

"In both cases involving a US bank account the only two things I need (other than the recipient's name) are the account number and the bank's SWIFT code."

Yes, we are USians who have lived in furrin places and have used such transfers going both into and out of the US with little fuss in the way you say. Sometimes a bit of bureaucracy when transferring from a country with a money-laundering reputation, but it got done without undue trauma.

45:

Admittedly, Jobs had his share of failures, the Lisa, the Newton, the NeXT cube

Ahem. Lisa was the product of a rival design team within Apple to Jobs' Macintosh group. (At the time, Jobs was not CEO.)

The Newton wasn't Jobs either; it was John Sculley's idea of a PDA, after a meeting circa 1989/90 in which he suddenly noticed half the execs were taking notes on Cambridge Z88s.

And the NeXT cube was a success! (Albeit a slow burn one.) It was a UNIX workstation aimed at the academic marketplace. If you look around today -- about 30 years later -- it's the only commodity UNIX workstation left standing, the rest having been driven into extinction by Linux running on commodity PCs. The Cube worked well enough to showcase NeXTStep the OS, which in turn worked well enough to grow NeXT into a corporation with a $200M valuation when Apple (teetering on the edge of bankruptcy) went shopping for a way out of the rat trap of Classic MacOS in 1996/7-ish. Jean-Louis Gasee's BeOS was the other candidate to NeXTStep; Gasee wanted cash, Jobs was willing to work for stock and the acting CEO post (which gave him the leverage to restructure Apple and go brass-knuckle negotiating with Bill Gates, which is what ultimately saved Apple).

And I am writing this comment today in a web browser on a descendant of the machine the world wide web was invented and first served from -- a NeXTStep workstation (NeXTStep today having evolved into macOS Ventura, and the Cube having spawned the iMac).

I make no claims for Steve Jobs' infallibility. A lot of his corporate history reads like that of Elon Musk. I'm pretty sure he was just as much of an asshole in person. But I note that unlike Musk, Jobs grew up middle class at best.

46:

I'm talking about Technocracy, Inc, who are worth being aware of, not the generic "technocrat" as applied to any sufficiently wonkish and insider-baseball bureaucracy today. They map onto one another as Nazism onto small-c conservatives.

47:

California's CCPA was augmented by CPRA in 2020, and is now not meaningfully weaker than GDPR (not to mention that actual GDPR enforcement is a farce, as it is devolved to the regulated company's EU/EEA HQ's host country's DPA. Most American Internet multinationals are headquartered in Ireland, whose IDPA has been criticized for lax enforcement and foot-dragging, and even a criminal complaint from NOYB for collusion with Facebook. In contrast, the California AG seems to be serious about enforcing CPRA.

Here's an excellent comparison of the two:

https://tomkemp.blog/2020/05/30/comparing-consumer-rights-gdpr-vs-ccpa-vs-cpra/

Regarding the affinity of resource extraction industries with authoritarian, it's any resource extraction (arguably including personal information extraction), not just petroleum. Those provide a government with an alternative source of revenue to taxation, and reduces the need to get buy-in.

48:

David Roberts had a podcast on an interesting confluence of geothermal and pumped hydro the other day. Usually for geothermal you need a heat source close to the surface and a reservoir of water that is being heated. Researchers have started using techniques from fracking to create that reservoir (shatter rock, pump in water), increasing the number of possible geothermal sites. So far, so good--a nice base load generator. The surprise was that someone figured out that when the power isn't needed, you can use the existing pump infrastructure to pump in more water and heat, and store energy for ~100 hours. A battery to go along with your base load.

Still early days, of course, so who knows if it pans out at scale, but looks like a promising approach.

49:

Companies in the EU:

Ireland has ridiculously low taxes, that lured the tech companies into putting headquarters or parts of their companies there. Then they could shift the revenues to Ireland, and the losses to countries with higher taxation. A very lucrative game that turns out to be bait for data protection ...imperialism?

=======

Vertical distance for hydro power storage:

Germany has looked at closed mines, e.g. in the Ruhr area. Very high vertical distance in the shafts, huge caverns below. No idea what became of the idea -- some technical problems (destabilization of rock formations?) or not (yet?) financially viable?

=======

For the general education about the functioning of the EU, I recommend the wonderful satire series Parlament.

Compared to Yes, [Prime ]Minister, it is less caustic but has more comedy and sweet romance. The Rube Goldberg machine that runs while a voice-over explains how the president finally gets elected is absolutely genius. Extremely delightful! Sorry, Charlie, if traffic here drops for a while. :-)

https://wikiless.org/wiki/Parlement_(TV_series)?lang=en https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9812666/

German readers: https://www.ardmediathek.de/sendung/parlament/staffel-1/Y3JpZDovL3dkci5kZS9vbmUvcGFybGFtZW50bmV1/1

50:
many of you might loathe 'em for their flawed editing and overt left-leaning, [but] there are days when reading The Guardian is a joy

The centre-leftism is fine, it's the transphobia that brings the loathing.

51:

I also note that The Guardian is a very unreliable narrator on Scottish politics.

They generally take a political line that is favourable to New Labour, specifically the Blairite/Starmerite wing of the party (they mostly hate on Corbynites and the left as much as the Tories).

Basically they're okay as a news source if you understand their prejudices and blind spots which, like those of the BBC, have been getting bigger and more obvious over the past two decades and are now alarmingly large.

Not as bad as the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail which have gone Full Fascist, but in a healthy media environment none of these rags would be respectable.

52:

Pumped hydro isn't dead in the water but build rates are pretty flat - it's too expensive and hard to build unless you have an excellent site that hasn't already been developed AND you have a very specific need.

The UK had a small number of good sites and a specific need - slow-to-respond generation (nukes & coal) plus some suitable lakes in Wales & Scotland for evening loads. Hence pumped hydro in the UK can deliver a few hours of power.

NZ has 55% hydro generation meaning hydro can cover short-term peaks. However, a dry winter means trouble - not enough hydro generation for months. Hence the huge Lake Onslow scheme. That's ~6 TWh. Yes, terawatt-hours. Enough electricity for NZ for a month.

The specific need that's growing in every nation is more variable renewable - solar & wind.

For the UK the options to cover this variability are larger & longer-lasting pumped hydro, HVDC links to Europe & North Africa & Asia, batteries, and new storage technologies. More UK pumped hydro is very limited by lack of suitable land and massive domestic political resistance to building anything anywhere. You might build another couple of hours of storage but no more. Intercontinental links are really being challenged by international politics (thanks, Putin you dick). Batteries are expensive & supply constrained for the next decade.

So the UK needs new storage technologies. Which ones will work? Chemical storage is a terrible idea - liquid hydrocarbons are too expensive coz poor round-trip efficiency but might work for higher-value uses like aviation, hydrogen is too low efficiency, ammonia hell no. Geothermal pumped hydro has all the high costs of geothermal but might work in a few areas with perfect geology. Thermal storage is a great idea - cheap, scalable, and efficient enough - and that's where my money is.

More NZ pumped hydro is possible but slow to build (5 years to consent, five to build, two to fill the lake) and very expensive (NZ$42 billion according to a BCG report yesterday, 10x higher than govt cost predictions). NZ can over-build solar & wind as those are only weakly correlated with dry winter risk. By the time Onslow is operating, solar and wind will have another decade of price drop, meaning over-building will, I think, be Aotearoa's cheapest option. The electricity industry here seems to have realised that and is just starting to lobby against the Lake Onslow scheme. Hence yesterday's report.

53:

This "Technocracy, Inc" stuff is fascinating, i'd had an idea for a story set in an awful intentional community 'practice arcology' in a desert meant to test out off-world colony designs (like Bruce Sterling's Taklamakan but less extreme). This group seem perfect for the obscure Management.

54:

But at least the entirely-foreseeable crypto disaster has one bright side, on top of the schadenfreude.

Satellite sensing has show just how much methane is leaking from old wells. Many of these are claimed to be far from electricity grids, so there's a few start-ups planning to capture the gas, burn it to make electricity, use that electricity at the well to mine crypto, then export that wirelessly. No grid connection needed and it should pay for itself. Unfortunately...

Given the extreme volatility of crypto, that business model has just died.

And the solution to the leaking wells is to stop them from leaking. Who bears the cost of that is a regulatory problem, not a technical one.

55:

29 - Not a lawyer. I suspect that if the line allocating your carbon credits to Tesla was not properly explained, you could have it annulled though the court system.

33 - I'd have said you need the IBAN code, but yes in principle to direct international transfer between personal (or business) bank accounts.

51 - The Grauniad (like all the other Ingurlundshire based newspapers) is a distinctly unreliable narrator on not just Scottish but also Northern Irish and Welsh news (not just politics).

56:

Thanks for the clarification.

57:

Yes, we are USians who have lived in furrin places and have used such transfers going both into and out of the US with little fuss in the way you say.

Was planning a trip to Germany a few years back to visit family. Someone at a client heard and asked if we knew enough German to figure out what seemed to be a bill from their request for a birth certificate. (Army brat born near Stuttgart.) My fairly fluent daughter couldn't make sense of it so we took it with us. My wife's cousin looked at it and said something like "Oh, they just need to enter their banking payment id" or something to that effect. When told we didn't do things that way in the US she looked very puzzled. The total was €30. I asked if she could pay it. Sure. So I handed her €30 cash and she emailed a receipt to us later.

At times it is not obvious how to get the banking system of two countries to talk unless you're used to doing such things.

58:

sigh I've yet to read anything in the Guardian that's anti-trans, or anti-Scottish independence. But then, I go through headlines, world, and then US. I'm not the only one over here that, as someone just put it, best US news there is.

59:

Beg pardon, but there is a difference between opposing opponents' speech, and being against hate speech.

For example, I would find "new US civil war... let it roll" under the latter. Or fascist propaganda.

60:

there is no such thing as neutral sourcing for news feed... best you can do is skip around... ask those whose knowledge base exceeds yours for links... and try to seek out enough instances of overlapping stories to arrive at some version of "the situation" based mostly on facts

such as you non-English-UK being dissatisfied with The Guardian's coverage of your nations...

for me... New York Times & Wall Street Journal & Washington Post & The Economist & Newsweek should in theory provide enough hard facts and rational op-ed to satisfy my interests...

problem? nay, problems, plural

starting with NYT going weak kneed; WSJ went from methodical deep digs to ever shallower; WP has tried to be not-too-far of centrist but failing; whereas The Economist is just priced out of reach and without access to paper in an in person library I've limited in what I can read of it

there's been entire months where I've ignored the headlines and lived somewhat happy in being oblivious but that's no long an opinion... #CCSS

61:

there is no such thing as neutral sourcing for news feed

Totally

62:

"such as you non-English-UK being dissatisfied with The Guardian's coverage of your nations"
To which I say (Aberdeen) Press and Journal, (Glasgow) Herald, The National, The Scotsman. That's 4 quality Scotland centric (ok with regional biases) the the Grauniad needs to compete with for a Scottish, Cumbrian and Northumbrian redership.

63:

Commenter you are replying to is now banned and their comment unpublished.

Reading it I checked their history. Random non-emailable email address, history of right-wing positions, and finally a position on "free speech" that mimics neo-nazi rhetoric I've seen elsewhere. That's enough for a ban in my opinion.

64:

I did not know about the Lisa being a rival team, and forgot about the Newton being during his time of exile. As for the NeXT, he was lucky Apple was shopping around at the time for a new OS, otherwise it might have suffered BeOS's fate.

That said, he did do well with the Macintosh, the iPod and the iPhone, and his products generally had a reputation for being solid and fairly polished. The Tesla does not have a reputation for either.

As much as Elon may envision himself as an Ayn Rand protagonist, a bold visionary, he's going to learn the hard way how detached Rand was from how the world actually works.

65:

I've yet to read anything in the Guardian that's anti-trans

ROFL. Two thirds of their leader writers are violent transphobes, and their coverage of any trans-related news story is vitriolic in the extreme.

66:

“While second tier platforms (think Mastodon) are nowhere near to providing a refuge yet …”

Out of curiosity I took a look at the Mastodon site and noticed that Neil Gaiman and Robert Reich (former US Secretary of Labor) have recently joined Mastodon.

Robert Reich posted this on Twitter:

‘The future of Twitter is…well…uncertain. I’ve opened a Mastodon account in case things continue to go South here: masthead.social/web/@rbreich

None of us should have to be subject to the whims of the world’s richest man.’

67:

You also missed Jobs' other "hobby" company, Pixar. He didn't found Pixar, but he bought a majority shareholding in it for $10M when Lucasfilm sold it in 1986 ... when Disney bought it 20 years later, Jobs took more than $6Bn.

68:

Mastodon logins rose by 1000% over the first two weeks after Musk's twitter takeover.

You can find me on Mastodon, too: I'm primarily @cstross@wandering.shop.

69:

Cool, I think I'll join Mastodon. I don't have any social media apps on my phone and never joined Twitter. I do have a Facebook account, but only check-in on a web browser every other week or so these days.

70:

Charlie
"Anti-Trans" - As far as I can see - this is all ONE WAY: Trans-to-male from female is ignored {mostly} but Trans-to-female from male accrues vast amount of - um - dislike.
Which sounds familiar.
Am I correct?

71:

Transmen aren't completely ignored, but yes, you're broadly right: 90% of it is hating on transwomen.

72:

"My take: Tesla shares are clearly in a bubble, and Musk knows it."

I think you under-estimate his ego.

Musk used his Tesla shares as collateral for loans for the Twitter deal. If the value of the Tesla shares drop significantly, the bank will make a margin call and he'll be required to provide other cash to cover the difference.

So if Tesla's share price crashes bigtime, Musk will need to come up with cash. Which either means very quickly selling out of something like Space-X (not easy, may not be possible), or selling Tesla shares. And Musk responding to a Tesla price crash by selling Tesla shares would turn it into a rout.

He'd survive it financially. But it could cost him a lot.

My take: Musk is a huge risk-taker with a truly enormous ego who always rates himself. Tesla nearly went bankrupt several times, and Space-X likewise. That really high risk approach panned out for him, because it was the right approach for that time and place: very low interest rates, lots of investors with cash on their hands, in a world-wide stock-market boom, in fast-growing industries, and with a flair for raising money: so a bubbley approach of "just borrow more and go bigger when it all goes wrong" paid off.

But Musk is always a huge risk-taker no matter the market conditions, no matter the industry he's investing in. And now he's surrounded by sycophants and yes-men, and has a famous temper and tendency to fire people who tell him he's wrong.

73:

okay... just so to confirm I'm not going around the bend into full on paranoia... has there been any good news in the prior 72 hours?

74:

I've found Mastodon to be a good platform, though I haven't used Twitter since 2014, so I can't comment on how it feels to current Twitter users. It's worth repeating that Mastodon and Twitter have fundamentally different designs. I've been watching people join Mastodon who thought they were going to build up huge virally-driven audiences, only to learn that Mastodon has no algorithm to amplify virality. In fact, Mastodon's design appears to dampen virality.

I'll add that I'm skeptical when Twitter super-users say they're going on Mastodon in case Twitter falls apart. I watched one person who had something like 100K followers on Twitter abandon Mastodon after two days -- Mastodon just didn't do what they wanted it to do. The decentralized, non-viral structure of Mastodon is proving to be disappointing to many in the Twitter exodus.

75:

That said, he did do well with the Macintosh, the iPod and the iPhone, and his products generally had a reputation for being solid and fairly polished. The Tesla does not have a reputation for either.

As a Mac user since 1986, Jobs did some great things with computing and personal devices. But he also had his share of highly touted turds. Some nearly killed off the Mac.

77:

The missile that crashed into Poland was not fired by the Russians. So NATO remains at the same commitment level in UA.

(I felt sick with worry when I first heard that story & thought that RU had gone completely bonkers).

78:

If Apple hadn’t bought Next, I think the odds are pretty good that it would have been Apple, not Next, that suffered Be's fate.

79:

(That there are examples doesn't change this, any more than the Icelandic reliance on geothermal is a general solution.)

Yes, highly situational. I am fortunate to live in a place (US Western Interconnect, Colorado, a small power authority) where pumped hydro is readily available if desired. Excellent wind resources, passable solar, modest conventional hydro. The power authority has an RFP out for battery-based storage; they will see how that comes in versus a particular easy-to-implement pumped hydro project that has been proposed.

80:

The Guardan staff are split in their attitudes to transgender people, one or two of them are good, a few are OK, but significant number are truly awful. They're the best of the London heavies in general, but you should always know the biases of any news source you use, and if you have the time you should read several with different biasses. Does make it all hard work.

There's been some interesting work around extending geothermal beyond the obvious sites, relatively shallow bores in combination with heat pumps, don't know if it will play out, but it would make it more widely useful for storage as well as quicker to build if it does.

81:

but you should always know the biases of any news source you use, and if you have the time you should read several with different biasses. Does make it all hard work.

Totally.

Just because you like what someone says doesn't mean it's true/accurate/valid/whatever adjective you want to use.

82:

Well, the Senate Launch System successfully got off the ground, which is something.

83:

I mentioned the launch in the previous post. But I was wrong about money to date. Instead of $10bil so far it has cost $40bil. So I'm revising my estimated of how much I have invested. I'm guessing about $400-$500.

84:

There are certainly not enough sites for it to be a significant means of storage at grid scales.

It's really important that you specify the location when making statements like that. I could reply by saying that the UK is already dependent on pumped hydro as a significant means of electricity storage for their grid (Dinorwig is notorious)... we can both be right.

Andrew Blakers in Australasia is one academic working very hard on the problem, and he's not stuck at the "but where could we possibly build it" stage, that's long solved in both countries. The question is where to build it, and how much more.

But it's important to be aware that no one technology can solve all possible problems all the time. Pumped hydro is just one part of the mix - we still need portable batteries for electric vehicles for example. It's just that we've moved past the "which generating technology" stage. We know the answer is (mostly) wind and PV now. Which is terribly sad for the "wind and PV cannot work" crowd. Give it time, if you live long enough you'll be wrong about storing electricity too.

The good news with PV being so cheap is that it starts to be worth considering how to turn electricity into things like flying people about. Burning stuff is inefficient, but with PV being so cheap it might be worth (to some people) turning electricity into psuedo-fossil fuels and burning them to move aeroplanes. Expensive, ethically problematic while there's still a shortage of electricity, but we can all see that neither of those things will stop people doing it.

85:

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2022/11/10/on-what-terms-could-the-war-in-ukraine-stop (probably paywalled)

"In private, Western and Ukrainian officials are starting to ponder what a stable outcome might look like ... A much-discussed template is Israel, a country under constant threat that has been able to defend itself without formal alliances but with extensive military help from America."

Is the suggestion that Ukraine accept the role of Palestine in this discussion? A people without a country, under constant attack and military occupation by a much stronger and better supported country?

I can't see that working any more than I can see Ukraine occupying Russia and eventually letting the Russians have limited self-government and some of their country back if they are sufficiently subservient.

86:

Sorry for being slow.

What's "CCSS"? The term has cropped up a few times here recently and it doesn't mai to any concepts in my head.

Cheers

87:

As if firing half the workforce wasn't enough, Elon Musk just gave the remaining employees until the end of the day (Thursday) to decide whether they want to continue working for Twitter (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/16/technology/elon-musk-twitter-employee-deadline.html). “In an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hard core,”...“This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.” I can't see how that statement is going to motivate anyone to want to stay there. It's almost as if he wants Twitter to fail.

88:

News consumption has to be a selective process that starts with the assumption that the information you are receiving is incomplete and inaccurate at best, false and deceptive at worst.

"To traverse the world men must have maps of the world. Their persistent difficulty is to secure maps on which their own need, or someone else’s need, has not sketched in the coast of Bohemia." Walter Lippmann 'Public Opinion'.

The world is unbelievably complex. Everything I know about Russia I have learned by reading or watching something. Ditto the UK and most of the rest of the world. As for the few parts of the world I have direct knowledge, I barely know anything. Places I've lived in for decades still harbor many mysteries.

Yet I still imagine that I have some understanding of the world. Hopefully my critical thinking skills have taught me to identify the most egregious offenders - after completing grad school (where I studied political opinion formation through media) I had to stop watching television news altogether.

89:
What's "CCSS"?

Looking at the prev thread, my guess would be "Climate Change Shitstorm"?

90:

80 - OK, how do you get the "Manchster Guardian" to be a "London heavy"?

84 - I didn't mention Dinorwig because it's in Wales and I was explicitly case studying actual and studied PS schemes that I knew of in Scotland. Incidentally, I've just remembered the last (ever, not just series cliff-hanger) episode of 1970s BBC series "Survivors" showing them using the Cruachan site to black-start the UK National Grid.

91:

Greg, would you please use the accepted terminology for trans people, i.e. "trans male" and "trans female" or better, trans men, trans women, and non-binary people. Your coinage emphasises the assigned-at-birth gender rather than the actual gender, which is derogatory at best and I personally find it extremely uncomfortable.

93:

Charlie @ 71
Thank you, that is, in a way a relief. But, I am also unsurprised at the virulent trans-to-female hate spewing out.
ISTM that this is "simply" another way of shitting on women - am I correct?

Elaine
I'm finding it difficult too, you know!
I THINK I've got the naming convention fixed - or I hope so. BUT - it is NOT intended to be derogatory in any way - you are reading something into my statements that isn't there ...
{ "Non-binary" is NOT a problem, b.t.w. }

Both Charlie & Elaine ... w.t.f. is happening in Scotland? There seems to be an awful fuss going on over this subject at the moment, with a lot of foaming & shouting, but very little information ....

Twitter:
"Sumfink as gorn 'orribly worng" at Twatter.
On the Beeb this morning - an amateur astronomer has been banned for pornographic content - a photo of the Perseid meteor shower - AND - an amateur/professional ornithologist ditto, for posting about Pink-Footed Geese (!).
NO appeal possible, nor able to communicate with "T"
W.T.F?

Which leads to ...Resident_Alien
It's quite simple: Elon M is completely off his rocker - He is a total workaholic & he expects the rest of the planet to be exactly the same.
That will certainly crash-&-burn.
Wasn't one of the Nobel winners in early electronics like that - which made everyone leave & start up new companies? { Shockley? }

94:

"ISTM that this is "simply" another way of shitting on women - am I correct?"

I don't think so; it's about refusing to accept that trans women are women. For instance you get this utterly ludicrous shite about "they're all just men dressing as women so they can rape women in public toilets", which makes no sense on any level, and is basically no different from the old "all gays are paedos" shite.

I also second Elaine's point (I said much the same myself in the previous thread); I realise you're not intending to be disrespectful, but the wording inevitably makes it look that way regardless of intent.

95:

Super example of nominative determinism in that article...

"...Sam Bankman-Fried (who just reportedly changed his own net worth from $10bn to $0 while also losing many billions of other people's money in investments he managed)."

96: CCSS = Twitter-tagged slang & shorthand for "Climate Change ShitStorm"

there are so many nervous aunts pearl-clutching about naughty words, plus trolls a-lurking eager to pounce upon any who dare type "Climate Change"... so... shorthand of #CCSS

when expanded it is semi-alliterative and utterly accurate

=====

frankly there is only three very bad motivations for why Darth Musk(tm) is behaving so strangely: (a) has gone off his med's and destabilizing as it metabolizes (b) has terminal cancer and decided to burn down his wealth as an ultimate memorial (c) decided his intellect is all-knowing all-seeing all-perfect... based upon really odd moments, it seems to be a mix of all three...

=====

being Jewish, it is a relief that some other group is being scapegoated for all the world's failings... but as to why there has to be anyone scapegoated, the brutal truth being someone in power FUBAR'd and rather than admitting it now seeks to blame others for his/her/their brain farts... UKPM Truss was noteworthy for having not tried to lynch Jews-trans-blacks-women-gays (in some combination) prior to resigning... usually as in Egypt or Iran or Russia there'd be gallows fruit rotting for a couple years before an utter incompetent is forced out...

=====

97:

Musk has often used threats to motivate his workforce. At Tesla for years it was a repeat of things like “We face bankruptcy if we fail on this one, we need 60 hour weeks from everyone…”

(and not him saying “I’ve taken a huge punt and borrowed lots of cash this time so I need 60 hour weeks from everyone to dig us out of the mess I created”)

With Space-X or Tesla it worked. Your guess as to why is as good as mine, but I’d guess because his workers believed they were creating the future and that they needed to be part of it. (And also going to Rocket Lab or etc, or a different EV company, likely was a really big deal involving moving city, state or Country - they’re not common jobs).

At Twitter I can’t see it working. A programmer there could walk out of Twitter and into IT jobs anywhere, and Musk is not exactly encouraging loyalty.

As I noted above, Musk does not seem to change his behaviour to match circumstance all that much. He just repeats the same startup playbook: take in lots of debt, demand insane hours from the engineers, over-promise on deadlines, take huge risks with the product.

98:

Elon Musk just gave the remaining employees until the end of the day (Thursday) to decide whether they want to continue working for Twitter

It gets better: he gave them until the end of the day on the US east coast. This ultimatum won't work for Twitter employees working out of offices on the other side of the international date line, who won't even get the memo until after the deadline. It won't work for folks in countries where it's illegal for employees to get company email outside office hours (eg. France). And it won't work, full stop, in countries where that sort of ultimatum is illegal (again: a whole bunch of places have much stronger employment protection laws than California).

Upshot: Musk is going to lose both a bunch of employees he probably can't run twitter without, and a bunch of wrongful dismissal lawsuits. All from the same email, unless he already walked it back.

99:

Pigeon / Elaine / Charlie
Will try, though, even so< I'm going to have to remind myself that the determiner in "Trans" is the "Destination" not the "Starting point" - correct?
Oh yes, a belated honorable mention to L M Bujold on this subject ... one of the Vorkosigan novels had (complete) sex-change as a subsidiary plot point, played for laughs & confusion on the Barrayar side, compared to enlightened Beta, IIRC.

100:

Greg, yes, that's right. The thing to do is accept the person as they present themself to you and not worry about their history unless it's actually germane, which in most cases it isn't. A trans woman is a woman, a trans man is a man, a non-binary person is a person.

101:

in the UK, New voter ID laws discriminate against young people (old peoples' bus passes are acceptable at polling stations, but young persons' railcards are not)

To be fair, bus passes are photo-ids issued by government, rail-passes are non-photo issued by non-government.

102:

Will try, though, even so< I'm going to have to remind myself that the determiner in "Trans" is the "Destination" not the "Starting point" - correct?

That is correct.

Another way to think about it (not say or write it), is, in "trans-to-gender", the "-to-" is SILENT. It may be useful to remember the "-to-" to keep it straight in your head, but you'll look like a prat if it comes out your mouth, keyboard, or pen.

And, quite honestly, in most interactions, you can drop the "trans" and treat people as how they present themselves, which I assume you do in real life.

The situation I struggle with is a few people I interact with who are nonbinary and who don't strongly code their appearance to comply with a particular gender. What I want to be doing when I work with them (their preferred genders), is to use their names. But I struggle remembering names. Everyone has things to work on.

103:

As I noted above, Musk does not seem to change his behaviour to match circumstance all that much. He just repeats the same startup playbook: take in lots of debt, demand insane hours from the engineers, over-promise on deadlines, take huge risks with the product.

Semi-serious question. I was thinking much the same thing. Has this basic strategy ever failed Musk?

If he's never really failed in a business venture, then he ,au have the celebrity chef problem (as the late Anthony Bourdain chronicled in Kitchen Confidential, right down to the drug use). He's succeeded the first four or five times, thinks he can do anything, then proceeds to do a spectacular, Dunning-Kruger impelled failure, probably to be followed by the collapse of his entire business empire if he was too cocky. I think the word for it is hubris?

But I could easily be wrong. If he's failed bigly before (adjective used intentionally here), then malice may be part of what he's doing now.

104:

Bus passes are issued by local councils with photo id you provide.
Railcards are issued by National Rail with photo id you provide.

105:

"As I noted above, Musk does not seem to change his behaviour to match circumstance all that much. He just repeats the same startup playbook: take in lots of debt, demand insane hours from the engineers, over-promise on deadlines, take huge risks with the product."

"Semi-serious question. I was thinking much the same thing. Has this basic strategy ever failed Musk?"

could be argued The Boring Company failed. And his solar power thing.

106:

Bus passes are issued by local councils with photo id you provide, and additional proof of Id and primary address.
Railcards are issued by National Rail with photo id you provide on payment of a fee and without an Id check other than proof of age.

107:

Bus passes are issued by local councils with photo id you provide. Railcards are issued by National Rail with photo id you provide.

My bus pass has a photo taken at a government office by an employee with her camera

My rail pass has no photo

108:

My bus pass doesn't - I simply sent them one.

A young person's railcard DOES have a photograph. And old person's railcard doesn't.

109:

If I start the application for a 16-25 physical railcard it tells me I will need an existing form of id to show that I qualify, examples are driving licence, passport.
Where can you get a rail pass (for someone eligible to vote in the UK) ?

110:

that mention of oblivious to time zones reminded me of way too many SNAFUs triggered by idiots not realizing co-workers have lives outside of work and are in places other than 'here'

my favorite was a knucklehead who scheduled data migration of a massive app utilized by hundreds of high ranking bank employees for 'local 17:01' (London) and sent out notifications which (of course) got lost amongst e-mails about HR forms, stapler safety training audits (no really), complaints about unwanted kitten photos jamming up limited inbox quotas, new policies of interest to less than 2% of staff, et al

when he got no pushback he pulled the trigger that night and wrecked the workday of anyone in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, etc... very high ranking folk who requested he be skinned alive and dropped into a brine bathtub... serious request that was given insistence upon five cameras recording it for new employee orientations "this could be you next"

111:

could be argued The Boring Company failed. And his solar power thing.

Both were relatively small side ventures, and they did not fail completely. To the extent they did fail, they did not actually hurt Musk. If anything, these failures are more akin to early SpaceX rockets blowing up -- "we learned what not to do". Note that Boring Company still exists, as does Tesla's solar power side business.

Musk never had a company fail totally and irrecoverably. So yes, I think hubris is the right word here.

112:

Musk
Looks to be heading into a particularly US-form of Hubris-&-crash.
He's supposedly running an INTERNATIONAL business { plural thereof, too } & assumes that all law conforms to US, which it does not.
The classic was many years ago, now, when the second or third generation of "x86" chips came out, with a horrible fault in them, when some fairly simple arithmetic was done using them. { Can someone else remember which version & what the fault was? } This was fairly forcefully pointed out to the manufacturers, who went "pooh" - they were told, again, that this was "Goods & services Not of Merchantable Quality" & still ignored it.
They had to be told that every single Trading Standards office in the UK could institute a prosecution, for every single machine over the whole of GB & that the total fines would be, um "significant" - apart from the crap publicity, which they were already getting.
It was fixed, eventually ....
Oh yes, as Nick K has pointed out, "Boring" has splattered.

113:

Electricity storage en masse is pointless as long as half of the world's electricity generation is fossil-fuel powered, AND WILL BE FOR THE NEXT TWENTY OR THIRTY YEARS AT LEAST. Why bother burning gas and coal and storing that energy when you can simply burn it when it is needed and avoid the cost of building out expensive storage and the efficiency losses of converting electricity to stored energy to electricity again?

The Unicorns Shitting Rainbows Gang has this idee fixe that fossil fuels are going to go away next week, end of the month at the latest, and they aren't. There are now eight billion people in the world, according to the UN and about half of them live in energy poverty and the only way out for them is fossil fuel, not fairytales of wind turbines and solar panels which are going to be cheaper than dirt next year and abundantly available (it isn't, sorry).

The recent COP27 jamboree was discommoded when India, a nation which is getting excoriated for burning coal to provide at least some of their population with electricity said "well, you know burning gas isn't any better for CO2, looking at you, Western countries". Lots of gazes averted and shuffling of feet eventuated.

114:

UKPM Truss was noteworthy for having not tried to lynch Jews-trans-blacks-women-gays (in some combination) prior to resigning...

She didn't have time -- she was in and out in 55 days, most of them crisis management (dealing with the death of the head of state then a disastrous mini-budget and scandals of her own making that brought her down).

Truss is a known transphobe and apparently a homophobe too, with antipathy to the concept of equal protection before the law (and she was leader of a strikingly xenophobic and racist party -- room at the top for very wealthy people of colour, but generally racist AF to anyone without money).

115:

With a bit of empathetic thought it really isn't difficult to accomodate trans persons. They are who they say they are. What gender they were born with or what the current status of their genitalia is really, really nobody's business but their own.

My workplace has a number of trans people, including a large proportion of upper management (and my direct supervisor). Once you know someone's name it is easy. Third person use they, or their preferred pronoun. Common usage at work is for all people to be 'they' in third person.

This is not difficult, nor is it particularly complex. We all have all sorts of descriptors which are nobody's business but our own.

To use an example, I know there is a fair amount of neurodiversity on this site. I'm also quite certain that most of us would not like that to be the prefix to every mention of our individual existences. E.g. 'Mildly autistic rocketpjs' would not be a welcome or accurate descriptor, nor would expecting me to explain why it is incorrect.

116:

Sorry for the rabbit hole on railcards. On the original subject of voter ID for young people, there is a "proof of age" ID card for £15, but my duaghter tells me those who can afford the extra £19 have gone for a provisional driving licence instead - in either case its more about the licensing laws than voting...

117:

The reason groups like "Occupy" became the default is due to a long history of any given movement's leaders being arrested. So being, (and publicizing) that you are an autonomous collective becomes massively advantageous in dealing with cops (or three letter agencies) who see large protests as criminal and act accordingly.

You're quite right, however, that an Occupy-type movement has weaknesses - they are, unfortunately, the weaknesses of it's strengths.

118:

He's supposedly running an INTERNATIONAL business { plural thereof, too } & assumes that all law conforms to US, which it does not.

If twitter has any employees in France, he's made a mistake. Any employee can work long hours if they so choose and many do. But if the management requests extra long hours then they have to pay overtime (25% after 35h + 25% after 8pm + 50% on Sundays and holydays).

Employment isn't "at will" like in the US, you can't fire people by email, you must send a registered letter, wait 48h, have a physical appointment with the employee including counsel of his choice (union rep or lawyer or anybody or nobody).At this meeting, you may discuss terms and if you can't reach an agreement then it's the employment court (prudhommes) that will decide whether the firing meets legal norms and how much money is to be given to the employee

I've managed an IT business in the past and the best way to fire a French employee is to write him/her a cheque and have him/her quit.

119:

It is unclear that Sunak is any better - look who he appointed as Minister for Women and Equalities. Sikhs and Muslims are justifiably afraid, given the UK's and his record.

120:

I must not be reading what you were reading. I explicitly looked at an article in world in the South/Central Asia section on a film depicting a man and trans-woman not being banned after all, and no apparent bias.

121:

It did, and we stayed up to watch. Whatever... tears came to my eyes as I waited till solid-fuel booster separation, and got to say "finally, we're going back".

122:

Let me expand, based on what a co-worker at my last job told me, who is Palestinian: you missed the Israeli military everywhere between cities, and you need papers to go from one to the other, and get through their checkpoints.

123:

"ISTM that this is "simply" another way of shitting on women - am I correct?"

Start with the ideal of male supremacy, that is, "You are inferior because you have a vagina." Essentially, this is a matter of disliking someone due to the existence of their genitals.

In response, if a Feminist was making a very polite reply, she would say, "Please don't judge me by what is - or isn't - between between my legs. Instead, please judge me by what's between my ears." The emphasis here is on "what's between my ears."

But that very useful, moral, and interesting idea goes straight out the window where trans-women are concerned. For a Trans-Excluding Radical Feminist what's between the legs is the only salient fact. So it's a bit of very hateful hypocrisy.

124:

Twitter's not the only one. I'm currently in FB jail, for no explained reason, and when I try to do the "tell us why you dispute this"... it won't let me do it. They fucked the code so that there's no protest when you're in FB jail.

125:

US Western Interconnect, Colorado, a small power authority) where pumped hydro is readily available if desired

The idea of pumped hydro storage in Colorado runs hard into the problem of having the water. Building new reservoirs has been a decades-long project that's going nowhere, and anything running downhill is already spoken for by any number of rights holders. Keeping significant reservoir capacity from reaching downstream users is going to get some major opposition.

126:

Or Musk could be snorting something.

127:

Insane hours? Don't even begin to think that's just Musk - that's all through the US. Telcos are especially noted for that, and I can verify that. If anyone ever tells me "whatever it takes", and it's not literal life-or-death, I'm going to beat the crap out of them.

Says the guy who got "good catch" from his manager around 20:00 on Sunday after Thanksgiving (US), 1996.

128:

stirner
Applies in Britain, too { Or does at the moment } You simply cannot just fire someone "at will", certainly not if you have been in the job for longer than (?)Six months18:08 17/11/2022(?). Similarly across most of the EU.
Elon is going to be having "fun" with emplyment tribunals, isn't he?

EC
Kemi Badenoch actually appears to be female ? - the wiki article indicates that the utterly discredited & now dead fake "philosopher" R Scrotum, oops, Scruton as an influence ... he was a christianity-promoter, as she also appears to be.

129:

Hmmm... reminds me of when the arsehole director of our Center at the NIH decided to migrate everyone's email out of local to let M$ run it. They were supposed to move about 80 people on a Monday night, then make sure it was all good before they did the rest.

Instead, they migrated EVERYONE, well over 800 people, and for the next week denied anyone was having a problem....

130:

That would be the Pentium I - not sure if it was the Celery, er, Celeron version, but a lot of us referred to it ever after as the RePentium chip. Screwed up floating point calculations.

131:

Was it the Pentium II bug?

132:

Oh, and as other folks say and agree with - the Guardian is the best US paper....

133:

Which is really, really sad.

134:
The classic was many years ago, now, when the second or third generation of "x86" chips came out, with a horrible fault in them, when some fairly simple arithmetic was done using them. { Can someone else remember which version & what the fault was? }

The issue was with the hardware division algorithm. This is most often implemented by Newton-Rapheson iteration. And the number of iterations depends on how good an approximation to the answer you start with.

The chip implemented one too few iterations for the given start value -- for a very few argument values.

135:

I think Musk's behavior can be attributed to sleep deprivation. He's been burning the candle at both ends all his adult life. I hear he gets by on 4 hours sleep at night, and you can get away with this when you are as young and brilliant as he was. But he's middle-aged now, and it's catching up with him.

His behavioral symptoms are consistent with this: irritability (firing someone at twitter who corrected him), impulsivity and poor judgement.

136:

FDIV: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_FDIV_bug or F00F: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_F00F_bug affected pentiums so nominally 5th generation x86

Intel to their credit leaned from the resulting fall-out and apparently improved communication of errors (as well as internal verification).

137:

There are other potential energy electrical storage systems if water for pumped storage is in short supply. The Swiss Energy Vault system uses concrete blocks stacked in a tower around a central crane. The tower is built using of peak or cheap power and electricity is generated when the blocks are lowered. Its efficiency is about the same as a lithium battery storage system. And perhaps worked out open cast mines could be the lower reservoir for a pumped storage system with the soil and rock removed partially used to build a circular dam as the upper reservoir.

138:

The reason groups like "Occupy" became the default is due to a long history of any given movement's leaders being arrested. So being, (and publicizing) that you are an autonomous collective becomes massively advantageous in dealing with cops (or three letter agencies) who see large protests as criminal and act accordingly. You're quite right, however, that an Occupy-type movement has weaknesses - they are, unfortunately, the weaknesses of it's strengths

I think we agree, but I did want to clarify what my problem with the Occupy model is. It's not the organization per se, because as you point out, autonomous collectives are a good response to persecution.

Instead, it's that the focused on their process of decision making, then tried to achieve all the goals everyone dreamed up. In doing so, they failed to attain almost all of them.

Using a similar process on something like the Green New Deal was an abject failure, because it silenced the more expert people who were trying to achieve reachable goals, and buried them midst of storm of everyone's dreams for a utopian future. This happened without even giving the experts a chance to make their case that the goals they were hoping to achieve were the foundations for everyone else's dreams. Assuming everyone is absolutely equal and that everyone needs policed, equal airtime (ideally 30 seconds or less per person) does this.

This, incidentally, is the Otpor! critique of Occupy, and I'll admit I'm not an expert. But I have experienced the meeting model of utter equality and trying to evolve common goals out of scattered dreams, and it really failed in my experience.

Hopefully I don't have to explain why a group that espouses this process and all emergent goals is not a good way to oppose a charismatic authoritarian?

139:

Greg @ 93;
"Twitter: "Sumfink as gorn 'orribly worng" at Twatter. On the Beeb this morning - an amateur astronomer has been banned for pornographic content - a photo of the Perseid meteor shower - AND - an amateur/professional ornithologist ditto, for posting about Pink-Footed Geese (!). NO appeal possible, nor able to communicate with "T" W.T.F?"

It doesn't only happen on Twitter, I got myself banned from a photo sharing site for posting a photo of Portland Bill Lighthouse. It got tagged as 'Pornographic Image'. Attempts to contact the site to clarify the situation met with zero response.

140:

The thing to do is accept the person as they present themself

Think of it like names. Greg, you can accept "Pigeon" as a label, yes? You don't feel forced to write "the human being claiming to be Pigeon" or "born person now Pigeon"? You don't write "the Jew Charles Stross" (or at least not where I've seen you)...

There's also a lot of problems when it comes to people who pass in various ways. What happens when you've known someone for a few years and find out they're trans, follow a weird religion, are "black" according to some race rules, and so on?

IME it's more common to have someone say "I'm aboriginal" after they know you and feel safe, when something comes up that makes it topical. "Would you like to come to our Sorry Day bbq" ... turns out someone is tan but also Black (and in Australia that still matters, especially on the 26th Jan 😥)

141:

Greg, the thing in Scotland is that the Scottish Government is pushing through a bill to allow trans people to self-certify their identities in the Gender Recognition Certificate scheme. Currently the system is that you are judged by a panel on whether or not you are genuinely the person you say you are, or are performing gender "right" in some way or whatever. This change, which makes life easier for trans people and removes expensive and stressful barriers to their living their lives, has been met with howls of outrage by people who claim it will be abused by rapists to get into women's toilets, as if a man with assault on his mind has ever been stopped by a sign on a door or gone through a lengthy certification process to allow him into a women's toilet.

This was a point of the Bute House agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens, which I suspect is one of the reasons that last session's SNP members' spoiler tactics have not been permitted this time around. Also I suspect that many of the most socially conservative SNP members from last session hung their hats on the Alba party and didn't get re-elected, neatly getting rid of them from Scottish Government.

There is also a prominent Scottish anti-trans spokesperson who I'll not name on OGH's site, who has many supporters in the chattering class and the platform to get people hounded off social media for suggesting that trans people get consulted on their affairs.

142:

it's that the focused on their process of decision making, then tried to achieve all the goals everyone dreamed up. In doing so, they failed to attain almost all of them.

One possible interpretation is that they had a lot of people very obviously having meetings and making Very Important Decisions. Keeping those people present and engaged was important.

Meanwhile semi-autonomous subgroups did things. Whether that was starting a petition or setting fire to Police cars... there was still the large mass of Occupy VIM going on in the background, importantly including a mass of people available to negotiate with Police, sign petition, appear on TV as background to the presentation of the latest collective statement etc.

I'm proud to be a member of the Unwashed Masses. Even though I'm not really arrestable any more, and NSW has made everything short of just being a member of the public a criminal offense subject to penalties up to 10 years jail and a $250,000 fine per offense (assuming you don't fall into the 'anti-terrorism offenses' black hole by, say, interfering with critical infrastructure like roads).

143:

One amusing thing some people in Anglonesia do is change their legal name first, because that's easy. So you get a driving permit and passport etc saying "Samantha Megan Fox blah blah (M) blah blah born 20 June 1993" and it's very easy for people who are supposed to notice these things not to realise that the M means technically the bearer is male.

I've also worked with someone who I am fairly sure was trans but mostly stood out for having really annoying tattoos... the ones where you can see half a picture but the rest is somewhere that you can't really ask to see in the workplace. It's just not FAIR!!

OTOH we seem to have missed 90% of the trans panic stuff down here. The Christofascists had a go but got caught up in the same-sex marriage plebeshite (honest government) where they got spanked, then they lost the election and never mind I'm sure they tried their best. The gender policing is more about making the Prime Minister put some damn clothes on.

144:

I was around one Occupy meeting once, and it was amazingly familiar: consensus. The problem with consensus, if there's no controls (like time, or Robert's Rules), is that it winds up as them as talks the most wins, because everyone else is too tired to argue anymore.

145:

if there's no controls (like time, or Robert's Rules), is that it winds up as them as talks the most wins, because everyone else is too tired to argue anymore.

I have a relation a few steps removed via marriage. Very successful lawyer. Worth a lot of money. One feature I discovered about him if he decided to engage in a conversation that had a conflict he was ALWAYS determined to have the last word. ALWAYS. I never saw him not be the last one to speak.

146:

I tend to say very loudly "I am going to go and do X, anyone interested should follow me".

Which sometimes annoys meeting people because it's not unusual to have 90% of the meeting follow the guy who is actually doing something. In Australia it's generally the socialists (one of the many, many socialist sub-sub-sub-factions) who want to have three hours of speeches through a shitty PA followed by a march to somewhere that is the no9minal point of the protest.

My stuff is more five minutes of intros, a quick "why we're here" speech, then off we go. In circular fashion, Critical Mass works this way (literally circular in Sydney, people who don't like speeches start riding round the fountain ringing their bells...)

147:

Consensus decision making is a great thing, with very particular failure modes. When it works it's excellent. Consensus, and everyone getting to speak as much as necessary until we are done, are modes of decision making that I am told are common with indigenous peoples here in Canada, and a part of the challenge is coming to final agreements or common ground in negotiation with the colonizers (i.e. us). We see this currently in political issues where a large majority of the indigenous community favour something but a few oppose (pipelines and logging). I have no opinion on whether it is a good thing or bad in those contexts.

Consensus failure modes can be catastrophic. The protesters that were in Tiananmen Square in 1989 had adopted a consensus model of decision making. As the tensions were rising they had actually succeeded in getting most of their core demands accepted by the government. Unfortunately, they had not won everything they wanted, and there was a hard core of protesters who wanted everything. Requiring consensus made it impossible to declare victory and go home. The end result was known to us all (and most of the dying happened elsewhere, off camera).

148:

Last Critical Mass ride I went to I received cheers and some hostility by shouting 'LESS RANTING MORE RIDING' after about the 3rd microphone addict starting droning on about something or other.

149:

Graydon @ 6:

Pumped hydro is almost impossible to build. You need an existing change in elevation with lakes on the high and low sides. To a first approximation, there are no usable sites. There are certainly not enough sites for it to be a significant means of storage at grid scales. (That there are examples doesn't change this, any more than the Icelandic reliance on geothermal is a general solution.)

It'll be very helpful should people realize that nigh-all of the infrastructure needs to be public to work.

Pumped hydro isn't really that difficult to build. They're civil engineering projects no more impossible than building a hydro-electric dam or a fossil fuel power plant ... or wind turbine farms or photovoltaic arrays or "harvesting" wave energy.

Some people just need to realize pumped storage is NOT the UNIVERSAL panacea solution they think it is. "Panacea solutions" rarely ARE panaceas.

150:

You can add Glenmuckloch in Dumfries & Galloway to that list.

151:

Howard NYC @ 41:

context = USA

[...]

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/16/trump-presidential-bid-eternal-quest-attention

The most favorable outcome this might lead to is he doesn't get the party's nomination and splits off into a third-party run of his own leading to the failure of BOTH.

152:

Charlie Stross @ 65:

I've yet to read anything in the Guardian that's anti-trans

ROFL. Two thirds of their leader writers are violent transphobes, and their coverage of any trans-related news story is vitriolic in the extreme.

How do you rate their coverage of the EU & the Russian invasion of Ukraine? That's pretty much all I read in the Guardian other than a few stories about the U.S. where I've found them "reasonably" reliable.

153:

JReynolds @ 77:

The missile that crashed into Poland was not fired by the Russians. So NATO remains at the same commitment level in UA.

(I felt sick with worry when I first heard that story & thought that RU had gone completely bonkers).

From the very first news stories it appeared to be AT WORST an accident. I was reasurred when I read that Poland had requested "consultation" under Article 4 rather than "defense" under Article 5.

Showed me that even Poland didn't think it was a deliberate attack.

But, yeah, that was good news.

154:

This, incidentally, is the Otpor! critique of Occupy

What is "Otpor!"?

As it happens, "otpor" is a Russian word which means "backlash" or "counterattack" -- generally, violent response to something.

155:

whitroth
YES! That was it - see also Troutwaxer, I think it was the PentiumII ...

Elaine
Thanks ...
So it's in the same camp as some, um, err, "Ultra-feminists" {My label} who claim that "All men are rapists" even when it's clearly obvious that they are not, then?
{ I ran into that one at a long-ago Worldcon - one of the Brightons ... }

156:

JohnS said: Some people just need to realize pumped storage is NOT the UNIVERSAL panacea solution they think it is. "Panacea solutions" rarely ARE panaceas.

In my experience the conversation generally goes something like, "we need a program of support for rooftop solar, a system where people wanting to build grid scale solar are connected to to the grid under the same rules as the previous generation of coal plants (ie, paid by the government), significant overbuild with some system to pay investors for putting in generating assets that might be curtailed much of the time, or government investment. Variations in seasonal demand need to be dealt with via heat storage and more efficient heating, such as heat pumps, and improvements in residential stock, beginning with higher standards for new build and support for insulation upgrades on existing stock, That needs to be combined with demand side management that includes extended and enhanced demand switching and real time price feedback and signaling plus long distance efficient transmission (UHVDC) to smooth out geographical variations and storage in the form of batteries for millisecond to minutes and pumped hydro for minutes to hours to provide resilience"

And the reply is "you're an idiot, pumped hydro is not the UNIVERSAL panacea you think it is"

Or substitute any one of the points, eg "you're an idiot, heat pumps are not the UNIVERSAL panacea you think it is" etc.

157:

@ 90

I say "London" heavy because the Guardian hasn't been known as the "Manchester Guardian" since 1959, they started printing in London in 1961, and moved the editorial staff there in 1964. Although the Guardian still has an office in Manchester it hasn't been the Manchester Guardian for well over sixty years.

I remember that episode of the Survivors! All of the little teams making sure the linkages were correct, as well the one guy trying to sabotage it all and ending up in the rushing water.

158:

Greg @155

I'd argue they aren't even feminists, they happily work with the most odious of America's christian right wing who in all other respects are about as anti-feminist as you can get. Personally I like the description Feminism Approriating Radical Transphobes. Farts over Terfs.

gasdive @156

You do also get the "Nuclear (or whatever) is THE answer" types, but I do recognise that argument.

159:

Haydon Berrow @ 101:

in the UK, New voter ID laws discriminate against young people (old peoples' bus passes are acceptable at polling stations, but young persons' railcards are not)

To be fair, bus passes are photo-ids issued by government, rail-passes are non-photo issued by non-government.

And in the U.S. changing the voting AGE is going to be a real problem for the fascists, because age 18 is LOCKED IN by the XXVI Amendment.

Interesting factoid about amendments - the XXVII Amendment was proposed in 1789. It was the original SECOND amendment of the proposed "Bill of Rights". It was finally ratified in 1992.

160:

Relevant to the discussion: in the last Australian federal election, the Coalition government (read: an unholy alliance of free-market Liberals and protectionist, socially-conservative Nationals) attempted to stoke the flames of the culture wars by running an anti-trans candidate. It didn't work out.

[Former prime minister Scott Morrison's] choice of Katherine Deves as a “captain’s pick” Liberal candidate was the strangest. It was no accident that the candidate for the Sydney northern beaches seat of Warringah was an activist against the transgender community. The Morrison brains trust thought it was a masterstroke. . .

So how was it supposed to be a masterstroke? A member of the then-prime minister’s inner circle explains the choice of Deves: “She was a lawyer, attractive, and a lightning rod who could rally the base. Katherine in her writing and beliefs is actually quite complex. She’s a TERF – a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

“On paper it worked but there was a lack of due diligence and it quickly became apparent that it wouldn’t work. Where she went with her comments was absolutely out of line.”

Of course, TERFs aren't really that complex. They were the double-losers of second wave feminism. They lost the porn debate (as mainstream feminism went sex positive and, to a lesser extent, became supportive of sex worker rights and autonomy) and they lost lesbians to the LGBTQ alliance (in part because, in the fallout of the Stonewall Riots and AIDS pandemic, politically-active lesbians become more focused on their common interests with gay men than radical feminists, in part because the radfems insisted that it was a conscious choice to be lesbian rather than an innate sexual orientation). So the TERFs are what's left when the feminist movement has moved on and you're just stuck with whatever ossified theory remains. For a handy example, have a look at this prominent TERFs Wikipedia page and at just how reactionary her entire platform is.

But I digress. The whole article is worth a read because it really gets into how Australian conservatives are trying to import the US-UK culture wars and failing to have any traction (or, in this case, resulting in a costly blowback).

I'm hopeful it'll remain that way, that this particular dog won't hunt on our shores, but they're not going to give up any time soon. "Marriage Alliance" rebranded itself as "Binary", an anti-trans activist group, when it lost the same-sex marriage debate a few years ago. And The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, who supplied us with the excellent breakdown of Deves, have increasingly been participating in the "both sides" narrative on trans rights. As the biggest competition to the Murdoch rags, it's not a good sign.

161:

What is "Otpor!"? As it happens, "otpor" is a Russian word which means "backlash" or "counterattack" -- generally, violent response to something.

Otpor is the movement that took down Milosevic in Serbia in a completely nonviolent fashion, then installed a more democratic government with the explicit proviso that if they didn't govern democratically, they'd get taken down too, even if they were former Otpor members.

One of their leaders wrote Blueprint for Revolution, which is probably the most fun book on nonviolent activism I've ever read, and which I highly recommend. It's where I got the critique of Occupy, incidentally. His critiques of what went wrong in Egypt and Syria are also worth reading, especially since Otpor veterans helped train activists in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere.

162:

One possible interpretation is that they had a lot of people very obviously having meetings and making Very Important Decisions. Keeping those people present and engaged was important. Meanwhile semi-autonomous subgroups did things.

As we've both noted, their decision-making process is vulnerable to charismatic/authoritarian leaders taking over by simply going off and doing things.

Or, in the case of the GND workshop I was at, most of the more experienced hands (including me) left the meeting, especially when the "experienced moderator" got into an argument over terminology with someone near him and failed to notice that all the tables in the back were emptying out. They declared the meeting a great success and the whole thing died away.

Again, I'm not against the goals of a Green New Deal, even the original as written. It's the process of getting from here to there which currently seems dysfunctional.

163:

For the UK at least, more pumped storage or even battery storage is not needed, at least at grid scale. We simply don't generate "excess" electricity from intermittent sources, renewable or otherwise so there's no unused energy to store. It's different for I've Got Mine Fuck You off-grid types with twenty thousand quid to drop on rooftop solar and a couple of Powerwalls but they're a drop in the bucket in national terms (and the IGMFYs still want to have their grid connection for the times when the sun don't shine enough).

Maybe if we build out ten times as much wind and solar as we've got right now then grid-scale storage would be worth building as a buffer for the dark cold windless days of winter but there's no sign of that happening -- the last mention of future plans for wind I saw mentioned we were aiming for maybe another 50% or so total by 2030, up to about 45GW dataplate. That is about 15GW of actual generating capacity averaged annually (on bad days that could be less than a gigawatt, on a good stormy day maybe 25GW of output). The real source of readily-available electricity in the UK will continue to be cheap gas with a small base of nuclear and green-bullshit wood pellets to make up the numbers.

164:

Going off-topic on the issue of decision fatigue, I recently learned how fungi run mazes, and I'm jealous.

Yes, fungi, not slime molds. Running mazes. Turns out plants run mazes too.

Anyway, when a fungus grows a hypha into an appropriately small, hyphal-sized maze, they do something kind of interesting. Every time they reach an intersection where they can grow two or more ways, they fork their hypha and grow all ways simultaneously. Then when one hypha reaches the exit, they withdraw resources from all the dead end hyphae, leaving them to die, so that the fungus can keep growing past the maze exit into whatever is next.

There are days when I wish I could make decisions that way. Oh well.

Now we wait for the onset of quantum biocomputing, in appropriately shaped mycomazes...

165:

in the U.S. changing the voting AGE is going to be a real problem for the fascists, because age 18 is LOCKED IN by the XXVI Amendment

Bah! Words on paper!

(Yes, sarcasm, fascists not being noted for their adherence to laws they didn't enact themselves.)

166:

"Yes, fungi, not slime molds. Running mazes. Turns out plants run mazes too."

May I point out that fungi are not, in fact, plants?

I can't? All right, but it's still true.

JHomes

167:

Human groups do much the same thing :)

168:

"This century the PREEs are all panicking."

See "Trump, Putin and the Pipelines to Nowhere"

https://thenearlynow.com/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd

Again, the American media has failed to convey the magnitude of the costs of unchecked global warming. Those costs are profound already, today, as the Arctic heatwave, Syrian civil war, bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, worsening storms, droughts, wildfires and freak weather events all show. Those costs will only grow, and they will grow more dire, more quickly as the planet heats.

At the same time, the innovations we need to create zero-carbon prosperity are already here. From plummeting costs for solar, wind, electric vehicles and green buildings to better approaches to urban planning, agriculture and forestry, we already have the tools we need to start building a much more prosperous world, producing hosts of new companies and millions of jobs. Indeed, a giant building boom is what successful climate action looks like.

Because we have no real choice but to act — and, in fact, climate action will make most people not only safer, but better off — big changes are coming, far sooner than most Americans understand.

But some people totally understand: the ones who stand to lose money from these changes.

The need to keep within our global carbon budget means we must leave most of the coal, oil and gas on the planet unburnt.

If we can’t burn oil, it’s not worth very much. If we can’t defend coastal real estate from rising seas (or even insure it, for that matter), it’s not worth very much. If the industrial process a company owns exposes them to future climate litigation, it’s not worth very much. The value of those assets is going to plummet, inevitably… and likely, soon.

169:

Interesting. I read it as slime molds, fungi and plants. My brain imagined root systems that I already know work that way (as does any gardener who has had a plant escape out the bottom of a pot).

Then after your comment I reread it and you're right. Fungi and plants were being conflated.

170:

So what word should we use to describe people who eat plants and fungi but not meat? They're clearly not vegetarians in the pedantic sense, so pedants need a new word...

We have lacto-ovo-vegetarians, pescitarians (who almost all eat things other than fish despite the damn label) and so on... vegofungotarians?

171:

I would not feel the slightest surprise if you turned out to be correct.

173:

Um, I'm a botanist who worked with plants and fungi, so that is very definitely not what I meant or wrote.

Plants run mazes.

Fungi run mazes too.

Plants run mazes differently than do fungi, slime molds, mice, or wall-following algorithms.

Also, fungi run mazes differently than do plants, slime molds, mice, or wall-following algorithms.

None of this is meant to be woo, simply to note that different systems can take substantially different approaches to solving the same problem.

The fun with all this starts when a human wonders if all types of maze running require thought. And then they ask themselves what constitutes thought, or more likely, they start looking for brains and/or souls that probably aren't there...

174:
"could be argued The Boring Company failed. And his solar power thing."

Considering what was promised compared to what was delivered, yes the Boring Company failed.

His solar power project didn't fail because it never started. It was vaporware.

Then there's Hyperloop. Musk himself has admitted it was a scam to stop California from building high-speed rail. Why this is isn't talked about more escapes me.

Let's not forget the ventilators he failed to deliver during the pandemic.

Didn't Elizabeth Holmes (of Theranos fame) go to prison for this kind of things?

175:

OK - Musk is clearly mad.
Certainly in Britain & I would think right across the EU, his actions mean that EVERY SINGL EMPLOYEE has grounds for legal action against "Musk" - changing Terms & Conditions of employment & threats of immediate job termination mean that the lawyers will rack up some impressive fees.
Unless, of course that Crash-&-burning Twatter was the original object of the exercise????
So that he can then build a "New Twitter" in the mould of the glorious Leader, or should I say "Guide"? ??

hippoptolemy
TERFs aren't really that complex. They were the double-losers of second wave feminism. - sorry, but NO.
It's more complex than that & I haven't a clue what's going on. It's one of the reasons I've been tiptoeing round this subject.
I know one such, who has, in my presence, been very sympathetic to someone who was in the middle of a Transition & has expressed {at least some} understanding of the, um "problems & difficulties" Trans people face.
BUT - mention Trans women in female toilets & she flips completely & starts ranting - at which point I walk away, because it's better than being screamed at.

Heteromeles
Um. Fungi ARE NOT PLANTS - a separate Kingdom, entirely.
- err - JHomes ... Fungi ARE plants? surely not - wiki seems to think they are separate, still.

176:

"Anyway, when a fungus grows a hypha into an appropriately small, hyphal-sized maze, they do something kind of interesting. Every time they reach an intersection where they can grow two or more ways, they fork their hypha and grow all ways simultaneously. Then when one hypha reaches the exit, they withdraw resources from all the dead end hyphae, leaving them to die, so that the fungus can keep growing past the maze exit into whatever is next.

There are days when I wish I could make decisions that way. Oh well. "

Not sure whether speculatively trying all possible options at the same time is "good enough", as it may be: a) not being terribly efficient b) affecting/changing the true optimal solution c) be fought claw and tooth by those profiting from the non-final solutions (at least the "leaving them to die" part)

also, as chess demonstrates even in a rather confined set of rules "all possibilities" add up quickly to make the approach unfeasible as general problem solution strategy.

If however we are only talking about traversing mazes that might be different kettle of fish.

177:

"The fun with all this starts when a human wonders if all types of maze running require thought. And then they ask themselves what constitutes thought, or more likely, they start looking for brains and/or souls that probably aren't there..."

If I understand your description of what fungi do correctly, you could get water to do it. If you have something like a dead level and uniform flat surface, draw a maze on it in grease, and very slowly and steadily feed water onto the entry point, you'll get fat tendrils of water bulging inside their surface tension spreading through the maze and branching at each fork to follow both paths with equal interest, until one of them finds the exit point and starts to run over the edge. When that happens all the other ones will drain back out into the path that's been established, and you'll be left with a main flow running from entry to exit plus a lot of inactive drained remnants.

Must be the naiads.

178:

Pretty well. As you imply, it is exactly how watercourses (underground and surface) evolve. That's been known for ages.

The algorithm described is very simple and well-known, as are its failure modes, and obviously doesn't require thought. The only tricky aspect of maze running is when the runner is very limited compared to the maze (typically limited to a single front), and the maze is complex enough that the stateless algorithms (e.g. always take the left choice) don't work. But even those are soluble if time is unlimited by taking random choices. No thought needed.

179:

Fungi are closer to animals than plants. It's confused, but that is now generally agreed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eukaryote#Classification

180:

You can tiptoe as much as you like but all it boils down to is that TERFs advocate for the erosion of trans rights, invoking a theoretical framework that hasn't been cutting edge in more than fifty years, which is completely unconscionable.

181:

The trouble about this area is that almost everyone who makes a noise about it does so from one of the extreme positions - and, worse, accuses everyone who disagrees of being an extremist at the other end. It's not a simple issue, doesn't have a simple solution, and being prevented from discussing the problems rationally doesn't help.

182:

Greg: mention Trans women in female toilets

You're citing anecdata, and you know it.

In my experience most racists can be friendly towards individual members of groups they despise collectively if they know them personally for some reason -- co-workers, married a family member, went to school together, play on the same sports team. Doesn't mean they're not racists, although with a bit of work (if anyone wants to do it) it's sometimes possible to get them to re-examine their prejudice in light of personal experience.

183:

149, 150 - My object was to demonstrate that PS hydro is not "impossible to build". You might also note the qualifier "that I know of". 'Ramsay in hope' has expanded my knowledge rather than even suggesting my statement to be wrong rather than admittedly incomplete.

163 last line - Can we please use "greenwash" for statements like that in future?

184:

saw the crater- realised it wasnt a cruise missile- so rhetoric saying it was is Dangerous. crater too shallow for the sort of things the Russians are sending. it being lined up with powerlines, I thought, can't be an accident. SO im thinking that the SAM10 was fired at a target running close to the powerline, with its proximity fuse off. reasons I can come up with for that: powerlines might provide some clutter that the SAM site has trouble dealing with. theres a clear cut treeless area to each side of the line.- no unexpected tree-felling incidents there will be no tall buildings along that line - no blowing peoples highrise homes up and that line leads to the powerstation transformers - the actual target Vlad's happy gang are after

the poor sods who got blown up by the SAM were just really unlucky- I doubt Ukraine would deliberately target the innocent unlike Vlads lot

185:

CONTEXT = USA & PLANET-WIDE

UNVERIFIED SOURCING

https://twitter.com/anothercohen/status/1593404311832338442

full text: "I was laid off from Twitter this afternoon. I was in charge of managing badge access to Twitter offices. Elon just called me and asked if I could come back to help them regain access to HQ as they shut off all badges and accidentally locked themselves out."

so...?

A) fake... and so very plausible... moderately funny snark

B) real... and oh-so-very funny

186:

That's a parody account.

ALWAYS check the user profile of unfamiliar twitter accounts before retweeting possibly-inflammatory content.

Thanks!

187:

my apologies... delete my post...

...still gonna ROFL given plausibility

188:

saw the crater- realised it wasnt a cruise missile- so rhetoric saying it was is Dangerous. crater too shallow for the sort of things the Russians are sending. it being lined up with powerlines

Do you have a link to this? No photo I had seen shows any power lines.

189:

The whole hydrostorage thing really feels like it's confusing 'impossible' with 'not economical under current conditions'

190:

Pumped hydro is not impossible, there are many implementations of such schemes around the world. Most of them are not economical to operate on a dollars and cents basis but they are comforting backstops to Black Swan events and unfortunate coincidences when the regular generators trip out or go down for maintenance for some reason.

There are downsides to pumped storage -- the environmental impact of flooding otherwise pristine areas of wilderness to make the storage ponds and the tunneling, construction etc. have to be taken into account. They also waste electricity with a round-trip efficiency of about 75% -- a gigawatt-hour of cheap electricity bought in will return about 750MWh when the price is right and it is sold back into the grid. This loss of 25% of the stored energy means the difference between the buy-in price and the sale price needs to pay for the construction loans, operating costs, maintenance etc. and any profits expected by the owners and shareholders plus covering that 25% energy loss.

If the electricity is effectively free since the grid-connected renewable generators are producing more energy than current (no pun intended) consumption then expanding pumped-storage makes a lot of sense, as do battery storage systems (which are about 90-95% efficient round-trip). Sadly there are few national grids anywhere in the world that have too much renewable electricity even occasionally, never mind regularly. This may change but I can't see the UK, for example, getting into that situation any time in the next fifty years or so.

191:

The whole hydrostorage thing really feels like it's confusing 'impossible' with 'not economical under current conditions'

I can see three problems with it.

  • General shortage of suitable sites. This is actually a problem with hydropower itself. Amazon and Congo Rivers aside (and IMHO, they should be set aside), there's not many untapped rivers left for simple hydropower. For pumped hydro, you need sites for two reservoirs at different elevations close enough to make it worth pumping the water, at different enough elevations that you can get a decent amount of power when the water flows downhill, and big enough to act as a battery. That's a bit of a tall order.

  • Climate change-induced water weirdness. If you're pumping hydro, you've also got to contend with droughts and floods. It's not a stable system.

  • Increasing shortages of sand for concrete. It's getting more expensive to get the sand to build the structures.

  • Personally, I'd be happier if they used something other than water for the working weight. Funiculars carrying waste uranium from nuclear reactors, perhaps? Those would be heavy, at least... (/sarcasm)

    192:

    Charlie ....
    I repeat: & I haven't a clue what's going on - when someone I know well & is strongly feminist { Without any political or other social activity in that direction } suddenly flips, as described ... I''m going "w.t.f?" Yes, in a sense you are correct, it's ONE case & is therefore is anecdata - but how come this normally well-informed person can go like that - you tell me, ok?
    I'm not buying your explanation that she is anti-trans {All trans, that is} - given her attitude to same-sex parings or to trans females .. I mean "w.t.f" again ....
    -addendum - see EC's comment @ 181, also. ....
    hippoptolemy
    STOP trying to blame me, OK?
    - See what EC says in the very next post - I don't think I have "a position" at all, other than sympathy for people forced into making decisions, because their neurological / physical / social (etc) signals are mixed & confusing { This explanation is grossly simplified of course }

    NOTE: As previously, this is getting close to shouting at each other.
    IF we are going to continue, can we please do so without name-calling or accusations of some extreme position or other, which we are not -as far as I can see actually doing. Or do we let it rest for a week or so & then have another go, when we've all calmed down?????

    193:

    Didn't Elizabeth Holmes (of Theranos fame) go to prison for this kind of things?

    Not quite yet. Her sentencing hearing is today. I suspect she's out on bail just now or in a local jail.

    194:

    Fungi are closer to animals than plants. It's confused, but that is now generally agreed.

    It's been "generally agreed" for over 20 years.

    The problem with fungi is that the anglophone world tends to be rabidly mycophobic, so any advances in knowledge get rapidly buried by silly business of the sort on display here.

    If you want other examples, check out something like this article and start counting the mistakes: https://www.asianage.com/opinion/oped/311019/fungus-net-a-giant-underground-brain-with-unimagined-potential.html, or google "Fungi as an internet for plants," (the signal, in this case radioactive carbon fed into the system, travels at a few centimeters per hour...).

    195:

    Musk offering a choice between 3 months severance right before all the major holidays or signing his stupid loyalty oath and working crunch time game dev hours for no extra money. Seems a bit foolish.

    196:

    Me, I think water is the only sane choice for the working weight. Everything else has the problem that it isn't liquid. With water, all you have to do is shove it up and down the hill, and leave it to sort out parking itself at either end and making optimal use of the available storage volume all of its own accord.

    That crane and concrete blocks idea that keeps getting mentioned seems to me to be most useful as a demonstration that gravitational potential energy, at least on this planet, is really a pretty rotten method of storage. It's all very well hoisting a concrete block... actually, no, it isn't; it'd be much more sensible to hoist a block of rock, plain and simple, without bothering to crush it into powder and then stick it back together again by means of heating the whole lot red hot and cooking vast volumes of CO2 out of it in the process. OK. It's all very well hoisting a block of rock up to the top of a crane, but then what do you do with it? You can't just leave it hovering up there like Wile E Coyote before he realises he's run off the edge of the cliff, and you can't just dump it somewhere because then it gets in the way of the next one you hoist up.

    A funicular is a much better idea because at least it comes up on wheels and is readily shovable in the horizontal plane, but you still need a massive great railway yard at the upper level to keep them in. Finding a dammable valley high up a mountain is one thing, but finding a few square kilometres of ground level enough to build a huge fan of sidings high up a mountain is pretty much the opposite of what mountains are all about.

    Quick and dirty calculations say that to build a rock version of Dinorwig (chosen because it's famous and easy to look up, but still not really all that big) would mean you'd need about three and a half million metre-cube rocks to haul up and down a 500m altitude difference, and very roughly somewhere between 1000 and 2000 km of sidings up the top of the mountain to stash the wagons in. You could probably cut that down quite a lot by using specially designed wagons instead of the boggo freight wagons I estimated it from, but it'd still be pretty awful.

    With water you need about two and a half times as much raw volume, but the great thing is that all you do need is raw volume, and it packs it with 100% efficiency all on its own. Using solids instead just shows you how much easier a liquid is.

    As for making the dam, I don't rate concrete as a particularly suitable material for that either. The structural advantage of concrete is you can embed steel rods in it and give it the ability to withstand tensile stresses, so you can make beams and things with it. A dam is a purely compressive structure, so you don't need any of that. You can just make it out of lumps of raw rock cut square, and not bother with concrete or concrete-like materials except for filling the cracks.

    I reckon we're already far too fond of using concrete as it is, and a great many things we use it for would be better made partly or wholly out of masonry instead. Even if you do have to redesign them a bit to be purely compressive. Indeed, I find it a bit odd to see shortage of sand cited as a more important disadvantage of concrete than the amount of CO2 produced in making the stuff; I tend rather to think that running out of sand is a jolly good thing since not much else is likely to stop us doing it.

    197:

    Musk has already accepted "total turnover of personnel, infrastructure, and source code" as the price of his Twitter 2.0.

    That die was cast when that email went out (what was that, Tuesday morning?) He figures he can hire a few hundred devs off the street and build a new system from scratch and call it Twitter. Anybody who stays around from the old company is gravy.

    I don't think this was his original plan, but he could only take two weeks of people saying "no" to him before he snapped. ("No, you can't do that. No, that will drive away all our advertisers. No, that will wreck the database. No, that will bring the FTC and the EU down on our ass...") Once the idea of just sweeping it all away and starting over occurred to him, he committed.

    (You may wonder why I am making confident assertions about Musk's state of mind. Easy! I just remember what it was like to be a 25-year-old ambitious nerd who thought all problems were trivial (and also rockets are awesome and we should get rid of fossil fuels). And then I erase the other 25 years of my life experience. You know, when I found out that life was actually complicated and hard and there's reasons things are as screwed up as they are.)

    198:

    I think water is the only sane choice for the working weight. Everything else has the problem that it isn't liquid. With water, all you have to do is shove it up and down the hill, and leave it to sort out parking itself at either end and making optimal use of the available storage volume all of its own accord.

    I watched a TV news segment on the extremely low levels of the Mississippi River last night. Most "hard" goods shipping has ceased. Too hard to unload and reload barges as the water levels and channel depths keep changing. Down 80% to 90%.

    Liquid goods are down about 50%. Mainly because it is so much easier to transfer them on and off the barges to achieve a usable draft depth.

    Of course the lack of hard goods transport is a severe impact on US grain shipments. Both for internal use and overseas shipping. Basically it makes the Ukrainian grain situation worse.

    199:

    You know, when I found out that life was actually complicated and hard and there's reasons things are as screwed up as they are.

    Based on Musk like people I have worked for and are somewhat related to, they tend to feel almost any problem can be solved if you just try a little bit harder. And if needed toss some extra money at it.

    200:

    Well, you can always mount a funicular in an open pit mine, if the terrain on top is flat enough. And you don't have to worry about pumping it dry regularly. And other things. Maybe the mining waste is heavy enough that it can be used too...

    I agree that we use way too much cement and concrete too, and about the CO2 emissions thereof. The issue with sand is a) we've got to rebuild a bunch of cities and other infrastructure we foolishly designed around petroleum, b) we've already got a global sand crunch, c) we've got billionaires building extravagant things like Neom, and so d) large concrete dams are going to be expensive at best.

    Of course, if everyone in sunnier climes goes on solar and local batteries, expect endless squabbles about who's casting shade on whom.

    201:

    they tend to feel almost any problem can be solved if you just try a little bit harder

    I note the pronouns. If you work harder, their company will make them rich.

    Kinda like the cancelled WWII propaganda posters stating "your resolution will bring us victory", which were seen as the upper classes asking the lower classes to sacrifice for their (upper classes') benefit.

    202:

    context = France (or should this be Lego France?)

    and now for something both delightfully nerdish if slightly over-the-top... The Eiffel Tower Lego set for $629.99. With 10,001 pieces it might well be the most cost effective means of acquiring a bucketful of bricks (16 legos per buck)...

    anyone know where I could buy lego in bulk (3000+ pieces) cheaper? I've already tried e-mailing lego HQ but nobody ever responded

    https://lite.cnn.com/en/article/h_14901c86ee6fa242cca3365471b16656

    203:

    "someone I know well & is strongly feminist { Without any political or other social activity in that direction } suddenly flips, as described ... I'm going "w.t.f?""

    Greg, I think it's the same psychology as any person who views Fox News (or similar rightwing, Murdoch-ish media.) None of the countervailing opinions are included in the presentation, the fear-factor in the presentation is kept as high as possible, and the viewer has a zero-sum idea of human rights; that is, that they cannot keep their rights if someone with a different race/religion/gender is being given rights.

    204:

    How about simply building a smaller dam in the canyon below a larger dam, then building a solar-power farm nearby. The solar power farm runs pumps during daylight hours and sends water back to the upper dam. The smaller dam would need to be big-enough for a week or two of water buildup, just enough to accommodate a reasonable number of rainy days, and if it overflows you don't worry about it.

    The issue here is not "pumped hydro" but making sure your upper reservoir is always full - in short, it's not a full-on pumped hydro solution, but an anti-drought measure, because you don't need pumped hydro if your upper reservoir is full.

    205:

    It clearly is an annecdote, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. A lot of people seem to have really strong and peculiar feelings about toilets. I've often wondered why there are so many graffiti in restrooms...and such a specific class of graffiti.

    So it's quite possible that the specified group of people have some real hang-up about the lavatory. (It's not proof, but it's certainly a plausible conjecture.)

    206:

    At least in the UK, many people (not all women) have had extreme hang-ups about unisex toilets (and using 'wrong sex' ones, even in emergency) as far back as I can remember, long predating any widespread acceptance of the idea of transsexuality.

    207:

    Pigeon & others
    The "concrete blocks" idea is very old - it was used, to great effect throughout the C19th & on until about 1960.
    It was used to supply power to fixed & semi-fixed outlets, often in docks & similar installations & was called the Hydraulic Accumulator - there was a whole network of high-pressure "HYA" pipes under The City, f'rinstance, supplied by "The London Hydraulic Power Company" - look them up?

    208:

    There are three semi-conflicting facts going around: 1. $13B of the purchase price was done via loans taken out by twitter itself (indirectly; this was a leveraged buy-out). The interest alone on that currently works out to about a gigabuck per year. 2. A significant amount of the purchase price was raised by taking loans against his Tesla stock. (He did sell about $4B worth of $TSLA shortly after the acquisition completed.) 3. Saudi Arabia put in $2B, but I don't see how this was done; other people have stated it may have been by increasing their share in $TSLA.

    The $13B is gone -- the company will file for bankruptcy, and it doesn't have anywhere near that amount in assets, once most or all of the employees are gone. Twitter has some patents, it has some property, and it owns a bunch of servers. It's advertising revenue has dropped by at least 25% (nobody purchased the annual package, basically); he sent a few hundred thousand from SpaceX to Twitter for advertising, which incidentally might get him in some trouble as well.

    209:

    EC
    Spot on. The lady I'm referring to has exactly that problem & the "Trans issue" is - to her - more of the same, or so ISTM.

    210:

    The idea of a man being a jerk to women in a unisex bathroom is so very easily imaginable it's almost unworthy of comment.

    211:

    »Twitter has[…]«

    You forgot their two-factor authentication database.

    212:

    At least in the UK, many people (not all women) have had extreme hang-ups about unisex toilets (and using 'wrong sex' ones, even in emergency)

    At my last job, the main office had two staff toilets, for men and women. Each had a toilet and a sink, behind a locking door, so no logical reason for them to be anything but unisex — but they weren't. The women in the office felt it was quite all right for them to use the men's toilet if the women's was occupied, but got angry if a guy did the reverse.

    213:

    That is exactly the argument the TERFs use, and there is a distinct lack of evidence either that it is a problem or that single-sex ones stop it.

    Furthermore, I said extreme hang-ups. It applied (and applies) as much to single toilets as to multi-cubicle ones, and the excuses used to justify that they should be segregated were and are often sexist and extremely offensive.

    214:

    »anyone know where I could buy lego in bulk (3000+ pieces) cheaper?«

    They used to have a "backdoor" for bona-fide artists, provided they approved of the artistic goals. I have no idea where that door might be located. It may have been welded shut, because their modern highly automated production makes it unreasonably expensive and difficult for them to fulfill such orders.

    My best suggestion would be to try to interest their press/news people in your project.

    215:

    What I would say is that the possibility of a man being a jerk to a woman in a unisex toilet is not sufficient reason for passing a law against trans-folk. But you can't address a concern without understanding it.

    The right way to address the issue is probably to remind a woman that a trans-woman identifies as a woman and can be expected to understand female concerns about appropriate bathroom behavior. I think the transphobic women don't understand that a trans-woman has changed sides.

    216:

    I'm not sure that's monetizable at all, however, given GPDR. I mean, they also have tons of data on the users, and that is going to be more valuable, but again, it's limited in monetization since so much of it is about EU citizens and residents.

    217:

    196 - Agreed. Using Cruachan as my "system" again, I get 200 cu M per sec * 3600 sec per hour * 22 hours = 15_840_000 cu M in the top reservoir, where the water is "stacked" 20m high.

    198 - Er grain is at least a bit like a liquid; ok you need augers to help raise it, but it does flow a bit.

    204 - Apart from the solar power bit, I do believe you have just reinvented most of the Tummel Scheme (NofSHEB, 1950s and 60s). They have a cascade of hydro dams down the Tummel valley, and use the same water to generate electricity as many as 10 times along the course of the river.

    218:

    I think the transphobic women don't understand that a trans-woman has changed sides.

    There's also the issue of some trans-women not being terribly balanced people, which gets a disproportionate amount of play in the right-wing media.

    Two cases in Canada (that I won't link to but you can google) spring to mind. In one a trans activist weaponized human rights laws to persecute non-white beauticians (driving several out of business before the human rights commission ruled against her). Also tried to organize sleep-over sessions with 14-year-old girls with parents forbidden from attending. In the other a trans teacher decided she had to wear prosthetics the size of basketballs in shop class. (Female students were really upset, according to a colleague who teaches at the school. Not at the transition — that's not a big deal with many young people — but at the objectification of female bodies.)

    Now, two disturbed people out of 100k (according to the 2021 census) is vanishingly small — but when that's all someone sees in the news it will skew their perceptions. Even if they don't have the whole MAGA-wing school litterbox craziness in their information stream.

    On a more cheerful note, if you can access CBC you might like Sort Of, a rather fun series starring Bilal Baig. You can stream it in CBC Gem. If not in Canada you might need a VPN or a subscription account.

    https://gem.cbc.ca/media/sort-of/s02

    The show centres around Sabi, a gender-fluid millennial who works as a nanny for a downtown hipster family and a bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, all while negotiating their relationship with their Pakistani family. The role is being celebrated as the first non-binary lead character on Canadian television, while Baig is billed as the first queer South Asian Muslim actor to anchor a Canadian primetime TV series. And that’s not all. Sort Of also sets an example of a truly diverse group of talent both in front of and behind the camera, giving space for all creatives on the show to express themselves.

    “He said this gorgeous thing about what if we looked at every central character in our story like they’re navigating some sort of transition – that the word ‘transition’ is going to apply to every single human being on our show,” Baig says.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/article-trans-actor-bilal-baig-breaks-boundaries-in-cbc-series-sort-of/

    219:

    Troutwaxer @ 204:

    How about simply building a smaller dam in the canyon below a larger dam, then building a solar-power farm nearby. The solar power farm runs pumps during daylight hours and sends water back to the upper dam. The smaller dam would need to be big-enough for a week or two of water buildup, just enough to accommodate a reasonable number of rainy days, and if it overflows you don't worry about it.

    The issue here is not "pumped hydro" but making sure your upper reservoir is always full - in short, it's not a full-on pumped hydro solution, but an anti-drought measure, because you don't need pumped hydro if your upper reservoir is full.

    The one I actually "know anything about" (which ain't much) has the smaller reservoir above the much larger one ... which was built to create a coolant reservoir for a nuclear power plant.

    The way it's operated is the nuclear plant is run at a steady rate all of the time, as close to full output as the utility can manage. When demand is less than the nuclear plant's output, the excess power is used to fill the upper reservoir (over night?). Then when the (morning?) demand exceeds the nuclear plant's output, water is released from the upper reservoir back into the big lake generating additional power (the pumps & motors that fill the upper reservoir become turbines & generators when the water is drained back out).

    The power company compares it to charging a battery to store excess power so the nuclear plant can run more efficiently.

    220:

    You could try the Lego store (it looks like NYC has at least a couple) and see if they could get you a deal. They already get the bricks in bulk.

    221:

    Troutwaxer @ 215:

    What I would say is that the possibility of a man being a jerk to a woman in a unisex toilet is not sufficient reason for passing a law against trans-folk. But you can't address a concern without understanding it.

    The right way to address the issue is probably to remind a woman that a trans-woman identifies as a woman and can be expected to understand female concerns about appropriate bathroom behavior. I think the transphobic women don't understand that a trans-woman has changed sides.

    I think you're missing that the people stoking trans-phobic fears DON'T CARE. It's not about women's safety, women's rights or gender identity ... it's all about the power to oppress people who are "different". It's about oppressing ALL women.

    That's why they never talk about actual trans people, only about "men dressing up as women so they can get into the women's bathroom to prey upon women".

    222:

    anyone know where I could buy lego in bulk (3000+ pieces) cheaper?

    Go to ebay and put "lego bulk lot" into search bar. They sell Legos by the pound.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/175225187963?hash=item28cc3c2e7b

    223:

    Yes, I know about those, but they aren't really the same thing. They're closer in function to the reservoir capacitors in a power supply, or great big flywheels on stationary steam engines; short-term storage of comparatively small amounts of energy to even out rapid fluctuations, and/or provide immediate response to changes in load to allow the engine governor time to respond. Or for applications like Tower Bridge, so you can run a small engine continuously in its maximum efficiency range instead of having to have a big powerful one that occasionally runs at full whack for a minute or two but spends most of its time idling and wasting energy. They work very well for what they do, but their capacity is very limited and they become rapidly less practical as you try to scale them up to meet a different kind of purpose.

    224:

    context = USA comma rivers comma BOHICA

    if you folks debating hydro-storage would like some visuals about the availability of your 'working fluid' take a look at

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/20/world/rivers-lakes-drying-up-drought-climate-cmd-intl/index.html

    given the energy density -- "potential energy" of mass descending in a gravity field -- is directly proportional to the height of the drop multiplied by the tonnage (albeit notated in grams) of mass stored in the upper reservoir... you gotta make certain you are going to have a plentiful supply of 'working fluid'...

    whatever technology you want to rely upon, please consider there will always be aristocracy with the power to seize your property

    in midst of a severe drought it will be tempting to politicians to seize control of a giga-liter of water just sitting there doing nothing to appease ranchers with dying cattle OR golfers at country clubs OR farmers with dried out crops with temporary relief...

    so be certain your technical fix of society's ailments will not be battered into uselessness by the same foolish men (and women) who have ignored these large issues for sake of short term gains

    225:

    That one was around before electricity! There were waterwheel-powered mechanical installations with a steam engine added on to pump the used water back up to the top again. Not quite as nuts as it sounds, because like the hydraulic accumulator systems it allowed the engine to run in its most efficient regime regardless of short-term variations in demand.

    227:

    where I could buy lego in bulk (3000+ pieces) cheaper

    Do you just want 3000 pieces and not care which ones you get? Or do you want specific parts?

    The Lego website has pick a brick options in their shop, limited part selection and terrible search but sometimes that's the cheapest possible price. bricklink is the alternative, a lot of people split sets to get parts then sell them (new parts), as well as scrounging up used Lego and ditto (used parts). Often those people buy in bulk from Lego then resell, because the official site is so terrible.

    Ebay, gumtree, craigslist etc are clogged with collectors and traders these days, but you do find bulk bargains occasionally. Those will be random parts, often with some instructions but no guarantee that all the parts are there (and it would be very unwise to assume any of the instructions correspond to the pieces you get)

    228:

    (also, more or less Lego compatible parts are readily available from AliExpress,Banggood,ebay etc. Many are not labelled as clones, they're just surprisingly cheap new Lego. Can be a good source of cheap parts but the quality varies, and just buying the same thing from the same seller a second time does not mean you're getting more like the last lot. Colour variation is common (even worse than with real Lego). You really do have to be willing to get the order and send it straight to an ABS recycler if it's not up to your standards. But the flip side is that some people are very happy with what they get, and for stuff like bulk yellow 2x4 bricks it can be worth trying)

    229:

    I think water is the only sane choice for the working weight.

    We've discussed this here before, repeatedly. The obvious choices for liquids are gallium because you don't really need a dam, just a fridge; and mercury, because while you do need a dam it stays liquid and is thus usable even on cold days. The trouble with gallium is that it starts a slippery slope {boom tish} and eventually you're wondering just how hard it would really be to use liquid tungsten.

    The shortage of sites for pumped hydro is very much like the shortage of uranium for nuclear reactors and the shortage of land for solar PV. Viz, entirely situational and generally very local. Sure, New York doesn't have much in the way of spare land for PV or accessible uranium deposits... which means it can't possibly use nuclear or solar power, right?

    Meanwhile even the UK has some suitable sites, and I've heard occasional rumors that the USA has both rocks and mountains... in the same place!

    The big questions are political. Does the UK have the ability to run an extension cord to Norway in order to import electricity? That's a 100% political question. They have the money, the equipment can be purchased, but can the UK government assemble the necessary ... who fucken knows, guv.

    230:

    Have read only the first 100 posts, so apologies if the below have already been discussed and shelved.

    Space-X -

    If EM gets into deeper financial straits (chain reaction starting with Twitter, Tesla), I'm guessing that the US Gov't (NASA) will have to bail him out maybe by lending him some money and assigning a fiscal watchdog to oversee every financial decision. Why NASA? - They just launched Artemis: they're going back to the Moon. Plus, they still need SpaceX to help move supplies to and from the ISS. And, there are thousands of communications satellites launched over the past few years - not sure who's monitoring these, their lifespans, legal liabilities if they fall and destroy property/accidentally kill someone, etc.

    International banking -

    No idea what all the possible particular laws and regs across various countries are but figure there must be some sort of international cooperation (validation) between major countries otherwise how could various NATO countries impose 'financial sanctions' against Putin and friends.

    Not a fan of crypto but was wondering whether any gov't (i.e., China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland) financial authorities were looking at it (mostly as a medium vs. paper) as a better way of 'printing' and tracking money in order to collect taxes.

    UK Budget & Oversight -

    Finally found something that describes how the UK budget oversight process is supposed to work. It's a 25-page speech/lecture by Robert Chote, Chairman, Office for Budget Responsibility. I'm only part way through it and he's already referenced similar bodies with similar responsibilities in other countries. I'm assuming that there are intro classes re: 'This is how your gov't operates' for newly elected UK Pols so Truss's budget was in some respects 'illegal' - not properly reviewed as per legislated rules and procedures mentioned in this lecture. Anyways - here it is. Enjoy! (Clearly the man had a sense of humor per lecture title. :))

    'Britain’s fiscal watchdog: a view from the kennel'

    https://obr.uk/docs/dlm_uploads/Lecture_May-2013.pdf

    231:

    Meanwhile even the UK has some suitable sites, and I've heard occasional rumors that the USA has both rocks and mountains... in the same place!

    Problem is, all the good dam sites, and a lot of bad ones, were built in the US by the 1970s. There are a few on the books, but the rocks underlying the sites tend to be radically suboptimal and/or fault riddled.

    Indeed, we've taken to dismantling dams when the harm they do outwieghs the benefits of an undammed river.

    Meanwhile, we do have hydropower facilities like, oh, Lake Mead. If you click on the link, it tells you the current elevation of the surface of that reservoir. For reference, the hydroelectric intake stops at 950', so Hoover Dam can no longer generate power at that level. Dead pool, when water can't leave the lake via pipe, is at 895'. It's currently at 1046.28', down ca. 20' from last year at this time.

    That's where my water and power come from, not that it matters, and it's things like this that make Howard NYC post as he does. I agree with him. Mountains and rocks for dams is very 100 years ago, unfortunately. If only rocks and mountains mattered, sending Elon to build dams on Mars would make a great deal of sense.

    Actually, there is one untapped spot for pumped hydropower: Antarctica. Lots of free water, lots of unspoiled mountains. Bit tricky on moving any electricity generated, but mere details. What could possibly go wrong?

    232:

    Sending Elon to make dams on Mars is a great idea... if he gets a one-way ticket!

    233:

    What Moz said...

    Plus I'd add re the objection that you don't have enough water, and related, someone might steal it, seawater. Obviously seawater brings its own issues, but there's lots of it, and if you arrange things right, you only need one reservoir not two (well strictly, the lower one is already laid on).

    Is also like to point out that Australia is the flattest continent, and the driest inhabited continent and it has a few pumped hydro, one is 350 GWh which by itself (if the turbines were large enough) would cover the evening load for about 50 million people. As it's being constructed it can only provide 2 GW, so it could run for 175 hours, but obviously you could have more turbines and pumps if you wanted.

    Also there are non concrete dams. If I remember my school excursion correctly at least some of the dams are rock wall, clay cored gravity dams. (though some concrete is used in things that aren't the actual wall, like raceways and such.

    234:

    Remember that pumped hydro, like trucked rocks, doesn't require a river and rivers might be undesirable if there are flooding or water war issues. With water losses under 1%/year (in Australia, anyway) getting new water isn't really an issue for most sites. It's more about finding two places you can build reservoirs, and that's much easier than finding good spots for hydro or irrigation dams.

    It's very easy to think "this is how dams work now, pumped hydro is the same thing but with two dams"... and you could do it that way, but it's not common. The Snowy Scheme in Australia is based at an existing hydro plant because they have everything right there. But the Onslow Scheme in Aotearoa is at the (near) bottom of a dammed river and is based on a new pump/ generator on the existing river, with the big tank above it.

    My point about racks was that if you're going to lift solids Pigeon is right, use rocks. Rocks and an existing mountain. Ideally with an existing system for moving rocks up and down, but that's easy enough to build. Although a parking garage for a million tonnes of rocks might require removing the top of the mountain to making parking lot (Joni Mitchell would be proud)

    235:

    Heteromeles said: Problem is, all the good dam sites, and a lot of bad ones, were built in the US by the 1970s

    Good sites for pumped hydro and good sites for hydro don't have a great deal of overlap. The requirements are very different. Sometimes you can convert a hydro site into a pumped hydro site (Snowy 2.0 for example) but that's not often the best way from any point of view other than political.

    236:

    RE: Twitter Badge Access

    Charlie Stross @ 186:

    That's a parody account.

    ALWAYS check the user profile of unfamiliar twitter accounts before retweeting possibly-inflammatory content.

    Thanks!

    Wondering about THIS story?

    Company Temporarily Shuts Down Employee Access To Facilities

    I don't have a twitter account, so you guys are the only source I have whether this is legit or not?

    237:

    Elizabeth Holmes has 11 years to serve. No more than she deserves but I'm still surprised it's that long a sentence.

    238:

    Pigeon
    There was & is also the Hydraulic Ram, with NO MOVING PARTS.
    Still common in the N of England in remoter valleys.

    Uncle Stinky
    From that: The entirety of the payroll department and the US tax department resigned today - right, that is Twatter totally fucked, then. How Sad.

    239:

    Uncle Stinky @ 237:

    Elizabeth Holmes has 11 years to serve. No more than she deserves but I'm still surprised it's that long a sentence.

    She was convicted of defrauding rich people.

    240:

    John's said: She was convicted of defrauding rich people.

    Interesting to compare the pair. (I know it's different jurisdictions)

    A few rich people lost some money they could easily afford to lose, to a scheme they knew carried risk. 11 years.

    400,000 poor people lost vast percentage of their holdings, in a scheme they were sucked into against their will. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/nov/12/conspiracy-or-stuff-up-robodebt-royal-commission-probes-how-far-up-the-chain-of-command-blame-falls

    No one even looks like being charged.

    241:

    Further on the "pumped hydro sites aren't regular hydro sites" topic: Queensland is now looking to proceed with up to 7 GW worth of pumped hydro (24h storage capacity) across two sites. Makes sense for us in the sense that we have all the solar we can build.

    242:

    context = USA

    something I've run across three times on differing sites reading on varying topics (economics + voting + web)... differences in wording but same conclusion...

    "American society has become so deeply hierarchical that it has become functionally caste based. As evidenced in infrequency of elevation from general population into senior management ranks, both business (CXOs and layer just below) and government (topmost department policymaking roles and elected offices."

    243:

    My point about racks was that if you're going to lift solids Pigeon is right, use rocks. Rocks and an existing mountain. Ideally with an existing system for moving rocks up and down, but that's easy enough to build. Although a parking garage for a million tonnes of rocks might require removing the top of the mountain to making parking lot (Joni Mitchell would be proud)

    That's why I suggested an open pit mine. The Fimiston Super Pit gives you 600 m of elevation with a big, reasonably flat surface up top. Either haul debris, or dump rocks off the side for working weight, and run the funicular up the side of the pit.

    244:

    There used to be a lot of interest in using EV's hooked up to the grid while parking for energy storage and to provide energy when renewable energy supply was low:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2019/11/12/all-the-grid-batteries-we-need-and-more-will-soon-be-under-our-noses/?sh=3bb2504336e3 All The Energy Storage The Grid Needs Will Soon Be Under Our Noses

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/sk/2022/09/15/harnessing-the-power-of-electric-vehicles-can-used-ev-batteries-make-the-world-more-sustainable/?sh=68133721684b Harnessing The Power Of Electric Vehicles: Can Used EV Batteries Make The World More Sustainable?

    Has there been any progress for integrating EV batteries into local grids as an energy storage medium.

    Physically it seems far more practical than pumped hydro.

    But technologically it would require not just a smart grid but a genius grid integrated with multiple microgrids all working in perfect coordination.

    245:

    The other significant thing about Queensland is that it's publicly owned electricity system means that each component can be evaluated for the contribution it makes to the system rather than evaluated only on if that particular thing is a profit centre. So a pumped hydro that means you don't need as much overbuild can be allowed to make a "loss".

    246:

    Re: '[Robodebt] .. No one even looks like being charged.'

    My impression is that this is still an on-going investigation/exploration.

    Should be easy enough to find where the report/complaint saying that the robodebt activity was unethical got stopped. IME, reports are emailed/drop-boxed and I imagine that gov't emails are stored (accessible) for a fairly long time.

    Re: 'Blueprint for Revolution | Srdja Popovic | Talks at Google'

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCZh581N74E

    Found the YT video of his Google Talk (46:33). I've watched several GTs with authors and have found that their talks tend to be on-point. Must admit that I've bought several presenters' books afterwards.

    247:

    Its a terrible idea very popular with people who want to offload the investment costs of grid storage onto the general public. If your car has so much power storage that it being randomly at half power in the morning is not a problem to you you bought waaay to much battery.

    And very obviously, per kwh of storage bought, car rated batteries are going to cost a lot more than storage solutions that do not have to be mobile.

    248:

    Or they might be deliberately not asking the IT people.

    249:

    I own an EV, and I agree with Thomas Jorgenson -- it is an AWFUL idea.

    If sucking electricity out of my car is done involuntarily, I would absolutely unplug it overnight. I do not care that my electricity bill goes down -- being able to get to work in the morning is more important. And if it is something that happens only when I agree to it -- then I will agree to it far too infrequently for the scheme to be of much use. As Thomas said, anyone who is OK with their EV being used as a grid storage battery, bought more car than he needs.

    250:

    Most of us need, or think we need, 300 miles. But suppose you had battery which will hold 450 miles, so you tell your car to buy 450 miles worth of electricity when power is cheap and dump the power into your house's electrical system when power is expensive... How quickly does that pay for itself?

    251:

    That is, dump 150 miles worth of electricity into your house when power is cheap.

    252:

    The trouble about this area is that almost everyone who makes a noise about it does so from one of the extreme positions - and, worse, accuses everyone who disagrees of being an extremist at the other end. It's not a simple issue, doesn't have a simple solution, and being prevented from discussing the problems rationally doesn't help.

    Trans people who advocate for their rights aren't extremists any more than gay people (or any people) who advocate for their rights are. This isn't one of those cases where "both sides are as bad as each other". There's a small rump of TERFs and hard-right conservatives on one extreme. And I'm sure there are some extremists in favour of trans rights. But the majority of people who support trans rights are moderates or leftists but hardly extremists: as a political idea, it's become increasingly popular in the last three decades following the same trend of acceptance for and support of gay rights.

    @Greg Tingey, no one's attacking you.

    253:

    Re: '[Robodebt] .. No one even looks like being charged.'

    My impression is that this is still an on-going investigation/exploration.

    Should be easy enough to find where the report/complaint saying that the robodebt activity was unethical got stopped. IME, reports are emailed/drop-boxed and I imagine that gov't emails are stored (accessible) for a fairly long time.

    Parliamentary Document Management System (PDMS) is used for sharing reports between Australian government departments and agencies and parliamentary offices. As you say, the Royal Commission is still underway and it's likely to shine a damning light on certain secretaries and ministers. But the problem with just looking at PDMS is that it might only show that a report made it to the minister's office or secretary's office, if it even got that far, so there's plausible deniability for the key decision makers.

    For example, it came out a couple of weeks ago that a legal officer found that the scheme was incompatible with the legislation. That officer was an assistant director, an EL1, and was later instructed to write policy for the scheme regardless. Above an EL1 is an EL2 (director), SES1 (national manager), SES2 (general manager), SES3 (dep sec), then the secretary, then the minister's office, then the minister, then the prime minister. That's a lot of levels for a report to get stuck at even if informal discussions are still held, and testimony at the RC implies that's exactly how it went.

    254:

    Charging home from car?

    Well, right now I'm about to get two Powerwalls (26 kWh) for about the same cost* as a top-line Chevy Bolt (65 kWh). And my wife uses less than a quarter charge per day commuting.

    The Ford Lightning Extended pack is 131 kWh. It has two plugs, and it's purportedly designed for running your house. It costs around 1.5 times the cost of the Bolt.

    The point is that right now, paradoxically, cars are cheaper than house batteries, and the price per kWh drops with car capacity.

    Now, why does this matter? I can't run my house on two Powerwalls. I can keep the internet up, refrigerators and lights on, but forget about using AC.

    Plugging in the car would solve a bunch of problems.

    One is that the supply of lithium is far from infinite, so assuming that there will be enough for cheap grid storage is foolish. This goes for most high kWh storage.

    Another is that peak home power use happens from 4 pm to 9 pm, and probably will extend later as more people charge at home. However, peak sunlight happens during working hours, and it's a heck of a lot easier to put a large solar array over a large commercial parking lot than it is to put one on the average house roof which wasn't designed to maximize solar gain.

    And third, we've got grid reliability problems. In fire country here, they shut down the power grid during the hottest, driest days due to fire risk, and that's when AC matters the most. Not having another billion dollar fire is worth a brown out, but having AC on a 40oC+ day is pretty useful too.

    So the upshot is for me: yes, I'd love to be able to hook my car battery into my household circuits with the powerwalls. If it was a bright, hot day with brownouts imminent, I could actually run the AC with it in theory, and I could get even more panels to rapidly recharge the car battery (fast charging) and the powerwalls (slow charging) (I've got a good roof for solar).

    The car's cheaper than a Powerwall per kWh, takes an already dedicated space unlike the batteries, doesn't fsck up an entire garage wall like a battery array, and can be charged offsite.

    I may be a big government progressive libtard, but I do not trust our for-profit electrical supplier to have my best interests at heart, although they're not PG&E.

    *The refund will make the powerwalls cheaper, but base price is quoted here.

    255:

    I'd love to be able to hook my car battery into my household circuits

    Vehicle to "off grid appliance"is already standard on many EVs, and there's mostly regulatory questions about hooking that up to the grid/house. That gets you the ability to run your house when the grid is up, and if your meter+EV are smart enough and the operator wants it you could buy low and sell high. But right now that's at a demonstration level rather than the ubiquitous level we really need.

    Using a vehicle for backup power is slightly more complicated legally/systematically, because you want a larger inverter (still trivial by EV standards... even 20kW is a small EV motor) but you also need some way for the house to communicate grid status and for the car to react when the grid comes back.

    There's lots of people quite emphatic that you shouldn't energise the grid when it's down... and making the power source mobile adds a little complexity, mostly around inspections and certifications (is it your car or your house that's certified, or both? Or just "any approved car at any approved house"... and if so who gets to define the standard? This stuff makes just having smart meters seem simple).

    The easy way for now is to unplug stuff from the wall and plug it into your EV. Currently I think most just have 2-3kW inverters, but it would be easy to have either big fixed inverter that plugs into the car, or a bigger inverter in the car. Ideally you'd change the mode of the motor driver but I haven't heard of anyone doing that (50kW or more output from the same electronics... fun times)

    256:

    Trans-to-male from female is ignored {mostly} but Trans-to-female from male accrues vast amount of - um - dislike.

    for various reasons, trans men generally find it much easier to pass, and hardly anyone feels threatened by their existence, so unless they're celebrities they're more or less invisible

    there is a school of thought that worries that young girls who would previously have ended up identifying as gay are being encouraged to transition instead, but that doesn't impact their treatment by society

    257:

    »Ideally you'd change the mode of the motor driver but I haven't heard of anyone doing that (50kW or more output from the same electronics... fun times)«

    It's the charging circuit you want to play with, not the motor driver.

    The motor driver is optimized for a very dynamic load, and short cables to that load, and you really do not want to handicap any of that for a seldomly used feature.

    Most of the charging circuits have power sections which can already run bidirectional because you also get lower ohmic losses and less RF noise by using a full-bridge design.

    So it's really only a matter of software and safety of connectors etc.

    258:

    ...anyone know where I could buy lego in bulk (3000+ pieces) cheaper?

    In France, no. But a few seconds on Google tells me you've got options. Also, there are people on ebay selling mixed bricks by the pound (half kilogram) and by the N-hundred. My search results are certainly influenced by my US IP address but the European results shouldn't be much worse.

    If your projects require only an absolute ass-load of Lego bricks, I think your chances are very good.

    259:

    Howard NYC
    If that statement is correct { And I have no way of judging } then the US is deeply fucked, much more than we are.
    Socially at least, that is. Politically is another story, perhaps.

    EV's & charging/recharging
    I get the feeling/intuition that this is a set of solvable problems, just that some of the "Interconnecting" technology & financial arrangements are still in flux, but will settle down in a year or two.

    260:

    It's an odd experience to be walking down a little steep valley with no form of habitation anywhere within sight and notice that somewhere underneath the watery stream sounds and the skylarks you can faintly hear something going... Bonk. (pause a few seconds) Bonk. (pause) Bonk. (pause) Bonk. ...etc. An obviously mechanical sound, with great regularity, but with no sign of any kind of machinery anywhere nor any hint of where there even could be any.

    As you progress down the valley the sound remains, and slowly gets more obvious. Bonk. Bonk. Bonk. Bonk. And maybe you find a spot where the soil cover has shifted over a few metres and exposed this cast iron pipe, from which the sound is emanating, and if you put your hand on it you can feel a pulsation synchronised with each bonk.

    And eventually you reach a point near the bottom of the valley where the pipe emerges from under the ground and goes into the side of a little dwarf-sized concrete-block shithouse, with moss and stuff growing on it, a manky locked door on one side, and water dribbling out of it, and the sound is now quite plain and clear and has lost the top-cut and the little shithouse is plainly the origin of it. Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank.

    More of a hydraulic generator than a storage device, though :)

    261:

    Yes. That gets at one of the reasons I regard that as the only sane way to operate an energy supply system, and especially so when it's using a lot of sources that don't necessarily give you the output you want at the moment you want it (whether because they're inherently intermittent renewable ones or simply things that have a very long response time).

    Every discussion we have about energy supply coughs up several posts which demonstrate why, in the following form: "{Description of some generation or storage system, how it works and why it's a good idea}, but it's actually no good because {blah blah commercial bollocks blah blah} therefore some bunch of rich twats (who by definition don't need any more money anyway) can't use it to drain money out of the system" (although the final clause is usually expressed in a more euphemistic manner).

    The particularly bizarre thing is that this wholly artificial objection is always presented as being more of an absolute and immutable objection than any disadvantage arising from the actual physics involved, or the non-existence of sufficient quantities of necessary raw materials, or any other aspect which genuinely is a hard fact deriving directly from reality independent of any stupid rubbish people have made up. And this remains the case even though places like Queensland where people have actually got their heads screwed on the right way round provide the disproof by counterexample.

    262:

    We've now got one - been up for a bit over a year. Capacity is only 1.4GW though, which is kind of small.

    As I've posted before though, the current crisis is demonstrating that the idea of the UK relying on international links to augment supply is distinctly dubious. The total figures for all such links for October are now up on http://www.nationalgrideso.com/electricity-explained/electricity-and-me/great-britains-monthly-electricity-stats and the "augmentation" continues to be Negative During Crisis, by 1.7TWh in October. Not as bad as any other month since April, but it's still arse about face. And still seems to be generally unnoticed and unreported, Oh What A Surprise.

    264:

    I had a look at the Snowy River scheme when it was mentioned on this blog a little while back. The 350GWh figure touted in the headlines is a bit like the figures published for wind and solar farms, a maximum total that is unachievable in real life.

    The lake that is going to be the upper storage reservoir for this scheme is a large environmental resource used for fishing, recreation and wildlife. Pumping significant amounts of water into and out of the lake to store and recover electricity is going to raise and lower the water levels in the lake by metres at a time, possibly on a daily basis. If the operators started with a totally full lake and drained it dry pretty much they'd get the dataplate 350GWh of electricity out of it, destroying the lake's biological characteristics and wiping out the fishing operations for years or decades after. This isn't going to happen but that's what the sales prospectus promises.

    There's another issue that I've not seen numbers on, the round-trip efficiency figures for this scheme. They can't be good if I'm remembering the publicity brochures right with 25 kilometres of energy-sapping tunnels between the upper reservoir and the lower pump-generation station. There's a reason that nearly all pumped-storage systems around the world have the upper and lower reservoirs close to each other (horizontally at least), to minimise frictional losses in the interconnecting tunnels during pumping and generation operations.

    Batteries are better at this with a round-trip of about 90-95% between charging and discharging but they need replacing every decade or so making them more expensive per GWh of storage in the long run. They are also easier to position close to grid switching stations and generators compared to pumped storage which is usually located in remote areas where land is cheap because most of it is near-vertical.

    265:

    Britain has a lot of gas-fuelled generating plant and right now gas, although more expensive than last year is cheap enough that exporting gas-fuelled electricity to the rest of Europe at a time of high wholesale electricity prices is good business for British generating companies. Things may change.

    For some reason I've not seen anyone talk about, the French nuclear fleet has not spun up to its usual 40GW of generating capacity by mid-autumn as they normally do, remaining at about 30GW as of today. It may be that more reactors are out of service for maintenance for longer than normal for some reason.

    266:

    It's a pretty bad idea, yes, but its trendiness is that it is yet another way to greenwash the Path of the Juggernaut. What we need is smaller, lighter cars and less car use. There would be little point in playing that trick if a typical car had only a 10-15 KW-hr battery, and that is a perfectly reasonable target.

    267:

    Current international links, yes, but ones to generators in Iceland and Morocco would be a different matter. They're looking rapidly less plausible, however, as the UK ceases to be a rich country and is heading in the direction of becoming a poor one.

    268:

    I'd imagine that a computer-controlled switch that passes a house easily back-and-forth between battery power and the incoming AC based on electricity prices via time-of-day is not terribly hard to build

    269:

    I’ve been thinking about Twitter, and I’m beginning to wonder whether Musk’s purchase of Twitter is one of those neoliberal experiments, like the takeover of Iraq in 2003. Most of us probably recall that the Bush administration removed most of the worker-protection and consumer-protection aspects of Iraqi law as it existed under Saddam Hussein with the idea that it would turn into a Libertarian/Neoliberal paradise. Then they fired all the party members, including teachers and low-level bureaucrats, allowed women to be removed from their jobs (i.e. Riverbend – does anyone remember her?) and put a bunch of just-out-of-college Republican kids in charge.

    Iraq is now a Neoliberal/Libertarian paradise. (Just ask any member of Isis.)

    I think Musk is trying similar strategies at Twitter. It’s one of those grand experiments meant to prove that Libertarianism and/or Noeliberalism are actually workable philosophies rather than the mental-masturbations of those who operate at the level of college sophomores with more money than sense. If Musk's strategies don't work it’s because Objectivism can’t fail, it can only be failed.

    You can expect the company to be a libertarian paradise any time now.*

    *No, I’m not giving this paragraph a snark tag. If it wasn’t obvious to you, don’t waste my time with a reply.

    270:

    I don't know how many types of 'smart meter' there are, but I will bet that they are all incompatible and few (if any) have the connections to control taking power from a car. I will also bet that most cars will have a separate power outlet from their power supply, and all will have different constraints on how those are used. Such issues are soluble, but I shall not live to see them solved. Producing such a device without solving them would indeed be terribly hard to build.

    Fer chrissake, it took a good decade before LED light bulbs and dimmers settled down enough that matching them wasn't a nightmare, and that problem is trivial by comparison.

    271:

    CONTEXT = USA

    one of those things rarely explicitly laid out...

    cost per mile (or kilometer)

    diesel VS natural gas VS gasoline VS electric VS bicycle/muscle

    with a month-by-month graph demonstrating which one has been least prone to fluctuation

    nor will any CXO in the fossil fuel industry willingly concede that while electricity prices vary less from city to city than do liquid fuels, it is impossible for 'foreigners' -- whichever group is most loathed at a given moment -- cannot cut off the supply by simple whim... not without blowing things up as in Ukraine

    272:

    Hehe. I remember a Honda magazine advert from the early 80s for their 50cc moped. The headline was "It costs less to run than you do", and the body text then went on to elucidate that at current British fuel prices the moped ate about a penny per mile, while to walk a mile you would burn X calories, to replace which you would need to eat one of {list of various common food items}, "all of which cost considerably more than a penny". Which I thought was wonderful, with its implicit two fingers (or whatever the equivalent Japanese gesture is) to the much more commonly promoted model of eating {common food items} in quantities well in excess of need and then having to walk several miles to get rid of the excess. And another point about it was that all the {common food items} cost so considerably more than a penny that the same argument would still work to support the use of a V12 XJ-S.

    273:

    You could be generous and give him a return ticket.

    Mars is deadly enough that the return ticket would never need to be honoured.

    274:
    "Not a fan of crypto but was wondering whether any gov't [...] financial authorities were looking at it (mostly as a medium vs. paper) as a better way of 'printing' and tracking money in order to collect taxes."

    Well, Sweden is. There's an ongoing project since 2017 called "e-krona". It's still being evaluated whether it's a viable solution.

    The main purpose seems to be availability. Currently electronic payments are highly centralised, and if you don't have an internet connection to your bank then you can't make purchases. "e-krona" would make it possible to pay for things whenever and wherever.

    It seems to me this has the potential of making electronic payments more democratic as well. Nobody can stop you from making purchases the way they can with the current system, because it's cash but in electronic form. That's just my speculation though, and I'm sure there will be a way for our government to prevent payments should they want to.

    275:

    There would be little point in playing that trick if a typical car had only a 10-15 KW-hr battery, and that is a perfectly reasonable target.

    You seem to be talking a range of 40 to 60 miles.

    I have a friend who has had an EV for (I think) over 10 years. His first on had a range of about 75 miles when the weather was warm. It caused him to spend a lot of time of planning when the day included more than go to the grocery. And as he told his wife after a movie one February; "You can be warm and we walk home the last few miles or be cold and we get home."

    While I don't see a need for most folks, including myself, to have a 300 mile range car; 150 miles make life much more workable.

    Much of the 300 mile need comes from how we fuel ICEs. If I can re-up my EV battery at night at 5 miles per hour that will cover my around town driving 99% of the time. If this is where we wind up we'd do what I did in the past when driving big SUVs. Rent a car for longer trips.

    276:

    No, I am not. I am talking about stepping off the Path of the Juggernaut. There is absolutely no reason that most people need a multi-ton, overpowered monstrosity for almost all of their use. Even in much of the USA (and unquestionably in most of Europe), a few hundred kilogrammes and a top speed of 30-40 MPH is ample. Yes, it needs radical social and political changes, but it's feasible. And, as you say, improved car hiring (in the UK, at least) and long-distance public transport is part of that.

    277:

    300 miles seems to be a particular sweet spot. If you need to make a cross-country drive you're ready to get out of the car and have a walk and some lunch at around 250-300 miles, so recharging or fueling your car makes sense at that point. If you're driving the car to work, 300 miles ensures that you only need to fill the car once a week, or maybe even less, unless you have a serious commute.

    278:

    BTW, not commenting POSITIVELY on the 300-mile figure. Just noting its existence.

    279:

    I know. For ICE. But I can't top the "tank" off at home in my Civic. It gets 350 from a full tank. But filling it up ties up 30 minutes of my life when include the full time cost of that diversion. Yes, I could make it take less but at a 10% cost increase so I plan around getting gas at my local Costco most of the time.

    But if I can just plug it in when I get home, I'd rarely need to find a "real" charger if I had a 150 mile range. And if I did, they are close by. I'm talking a 120v/15a plug which would require NO change to my house wiring. And I would wire up a 240v/20a outlet if it made sense. But I'm not typical in my wiring skills.

    As to EC's comments about the changes need for lesser ranges. Sure. Just blow up the layout of most anywhere someone in the US (and I suspect many other places) lives, bulldoze it flat, and start over. It just isn't going to happen. The number of people who live in Manhattan, downtown Chicago, and I suspect London, while large, is no where near a majority of the population dealing with such things.

    280:

    "I know. For ICE."

    Exactly. For most people it's old-style thinking. On the other hand, I make my living doing technical work, and drive my Prius to the jobsites, which means that I can easily drive 5-600 miles or more a week. Not an easy problem, for either perceived or real numbers.

    281:

    Troutwaxer
    - @ 268: No, it isn't, but the British misgovernments - PLURAL - have made sure that having your own power is to be discouraged at - if not "all costs", as much as possible.
    Can't possibly have self-sufficient Peasants giving the finger to the big Power Suppliers, can we now?
    - @ 269: * Most of us probably recall that the Bush administration removed most of the worker-protection and consumer-protection aspects of Iraqi law as it existed * ...
    EXACTLY the same as the tories are trying to do with our "retained" EU law you mean?

    If this does not worry you, it should - contact your MP, NOW!

    EC
    Yes, it needs radical social and political changes, but it's feasible - REALLY?
    Reversing & re-opening all the railway closures since about 1960? { Where all the really useful ones have been built over, oops }

    282:

    I make my living doing technical work, and drive my Prius to the jobsites, which means that I can easily drive 5-600 miles or more a week.

    Yep. I used to be there. Modern Internet based remote accessed (RMM and such) systems got rid of most of that for me.

    But to some degree the future is about making your case the exception, not the rule. 4 years ago 95% of my work was onsite. Today it has been reversed. Heck we moved the heaving computing needs of one client to a data center. I have to go in and touch something maybe once every 2 or 3 months.

    I have a Tundra truck that is rated to tow 10K pounds. I have never towed more than 15% of that. But I might need it. I mainly use it to pick up building supplies for fixing up my house and carrying furniture for friends. I have to remember to drive it once every few weeks to air it out before mildew starts growing in the cab.

    283:

    I'll leave it to the imagination of what the heaving computing needs were.

    284:

    "Modern Internet based remote accessed (RMM and such) systems got rid of most of that for me."

    All hail the Wattbox! No more driving 90 miles to turn something off and then on again!

    285:

    Yes, it needs radical social and political changes, but it's feasible.

    First you explain why it's not feasible, then you contradict yourself! 😄

    286:

    Or even 2 miles at 3am when it is freezing outside.

    287:

    I did not make a comment about the need for lesser ranges, though 200 miles as enough for a (sub-)urban vehicle - 300 miles is nice, but not essential. I was specifically talking about reducing the weight and power to something appropriate for (sub-)urban driving. Yes, I have driven around Las Vegas (and Los Angeles) and it does NOT need them demolishing and rebuilding. Much as they might be improved by it.

    A 15 KW-hr battery comes in at less than 100 Kg. A reasonable urban vehicle need not weigh more than 250 Kg unladen, or 500 Kg in all, including two huge people and a mountain of luggage/shopping. Even ignoring the savings made from dropping the power, that needs 1/3 the capacity of a 1.25 ton vehicle (with the same load) and there are plenty of 44 KW-hr vehicles with 200 mile ranges that are heavier than that.

    And, no, Greg, this solution does not RELY on restoring the previous railway network. It DOES rely on fixing the insurance/hire shambles.

    288:

    I quite agree about the few hundred kg. Coincidentally, I discovered the other day that Spen King (engineer with what began as Rover) was of the same mind, and his anticipation around 198something was that the weight of future cars would drop drastically, mainly through the increased use of plastic for panels and aluminium for structure, along with more efficient structural design (I wonder if he was secretly expecting that Pressed Steel would succumb to inability to cope with these new materials...); indeed he was involved with a concept prototype that came out at 650kg through such means, with a small and highly efficient engine that was nevertheless quite adequate. No doubt he was as disappointed as you or I that what we actually got was much heavier cars, and much of the improvement in the fuel efficiency of engines that has been achieved being thrown away through the need to haul all that surplus weight around.

    I think your proposed maximum speed is only suitable for a vehicle for use only in cities, though, and I also think your proposed battery capacity is inadequate for anything much more than that. Comparing it with the 1kWh battery capacity of my mobility scooter, it would extend the nominal range of the scooter to about 100 miles, which I'd think of as being enough to get to some remote destination (at painfully slow speed), but not to get back again, which could be a bit awkward.

    It also assumes that the power is used only for traction, and doesn't give you enough left over to run a decent heater (both for plain warmth and for demisting), unless you accept having the heater absolutely clobber the range. The smaller the vehicle, the more the heater comes to dominate the power requirement. There actually was an electric car in the 70s that had pretty much the same specifications - they only made a couple of hundred of them, and most were bought by the CEGB for some kind of promotional purpose, I think - which did indeed turn out like this: OK in cities, not much use for anything more, and basically no use in winter because it didn't have a heater in order not to require an unreasonably large battery.

    I occasionally have thoughts about making my mobility scooter more tolerable for the winter months, and they always grind to a halt on this point. I could probably cobble up some kind of weather-excluding bodywork of tolerable lightness, but it would still end up perishing cold and with windows that were constantly being occluded by the condensation of my breath. To avoid this without having the battery last no more than a few minutes would mean some kind of heater that burnt fuel, for energy storage density reasons, which starts to make the whole thing a bit silly.

    289:

    "...to something appropriate for (sub-)urban driving."

    Ah, OK, I guess you can disregard much of my post then. You hadn't said that when I began typing it.

    290:

    "Where all the really useful ones have been built over, oops"

    My "if I was a billionaire" fantasy includes gradually buying up all the things that have been built on old railway formations, as and when the current owners decide to sell them, and then knocking them down...

    291:

    "there is a school of thought that worries that young girls who would previously have ended up identifying as gay are being encouraged to transition instead"

    Yeah, I think this school of thought is called "transphobia". For example, a recent Gallup poll has shown that in the US there are actually more Gen-Z lesbians (1.4%) than Millenial lesbians (0.8%) or Gen-X lesbians (0.7%). So, the percentage of women identifying as lesbians is actually increasing.

    But then, people who are convinced by facts and data re not transphobes, because transphobia requires a wilful denial of science ("the world is just like I was told in the primary school and anything more complicated is woke activists trying to pervert science").

    292:

    You have already noted it, but I will respond to the technical points for the, er, benefit of other people.

    The vast majority of driving is within cities or suburbia, sometimes with short distances out to villages etc., where a top speed of above 40 MPH (probably 30 in the UK) gains you almost nothing. It is that market I was targetting, and is why the ability to hire something else for longer trips is essential.

    See #287 about the range, and look at the Nissan Leaf, for example.

    I take your point about the heating, but there are partial solutions to that. Insulation is cheap and light, but the windows are a problem. But I remember when you had to wrap up well for driving in cold weather, in all except the most expensive cars!

    293:

    No, I am not. I am talking about stepping off the Path of the Juggernaut. There is absolutely no reason that most people need a multi-ton, overpowered monstrosity for almost all of their use. Even in much of the USA (and unquestionably in most of Europe), a few hundred kilogrammes and a top speed of 30-40 MPH is ample. Yes, it needs radical social and political changes, but it's feasible. And, as you say, improved car hiring (in the UK, at least) and long-distance public transport is part of that.

    Yeah, no. Even in suburbia you need a top speed of at least 70 MPH, and be able to accelerate to 60 in under 10 seconds. That is so you can get on the highway without getting run over. Even to worst cars of the 80s (under powered by most measures) could hit 85 MPH (barely, with a tail wind).

    The reason the cars are juggernauts is mostly for safety, all that passenger protection (and air bags) costs weight. Smart for twos do not sell well here, and when you see where the pick up bumper ends up when next to one you can see why (it has got to be scary driving one of those).

    I do agree that pick-ups are too damn big, and SUVs are mostly unnecessary, but good luck trying to get that to change at this point.

    294:

    Yeah, I think about a 10kWh battery, look at the .4kWh battery on my EV and think... 10kWh would get me 300km at the maximum legal speed with no effort expended by me, if not further (but 10 hours is a long time to sit on a bike). Now if we just made a few tiny improvements to that EV, by adding a windbreak and an extra wheel or two, we could go faster and further with more comfort.

    Oh, but wait, that would be illegal. Obviously it's the physics that's at fault for this problem.

    295:

    “ Yeah, no. Even in suburbia you need a top speed of at least 70 MPH, ”

    You assume motorways/autobahns/highways are necessary. And that is true for a lot of people.

    But most people don’t drive on them, most days. Even in the USA most Americans work within 8 miles of their house, and most trips are a lot shorter.

    When I lived in the USA (in Indiana) I could easily go a month without driving on a highway with a speed limit over 30 mph.

    The problem is that our capitalist car system is designed around everyone owning their own vehicle, and it being suitable for their occasional long-distance high speed trip. People can’t leave home to pop down to the mall 2 miles away for a bottle of milk without taking a ton of steel with them, because once a month they use that pickup truck they drive to carry tools that would not fit in a small vehicle. People insist on driving every day a car with the range to do the long distance trip that they do once a year.

    I get why people do this. I really do. But everyone always taking an extra half-ton with them everywhere they go makes it the most staggeringly inefficient way to run a transport system imaginable.

    296:

    EC
    Driving/cars: As always, I'm an outlier - I try not to drive in London, where I live, that is what the Rail/Tube & if puished Bus networks are for, or alternatively Wiley E Bicycle. But there are places about 10 - 25 miles away from here, that I want to go to where there is zero public transport, or I want to bring stuff { Mushrooms, plants, manure } back with me, so I need an "estate" car or, at a push a decent hatchback with load space. Hiring? Forget it, I'm over 75.

    297:

    Back in the 80s a friend had a Toyota long-bed pickup with a king-cab. The truck had a slightly-overpowered 4-cylinder motor and was perfectly good for getting his Marshal Stack, his guitars, his speakers, his friends Marshal Stack, etc., all to a club and back, which tells me that with today's technology one could easily build a hybrid pickup that got 35-40 MPG and was easily usable for 99 percent of everything you'd want to do with a truck, with the possible exception of pulling a large trailer... but I've yet to see one. I wouldn't go as far as EC, but the poor understanding of use-cases is simply amazing.

    298:

    I said "it needs radical social and political changes". You could start with a speed limit of 40 MPH in all such highways in suburban areas :-) That might well improve the carrying capacity and speed up people's journeys, based on my experience of such things in several USA cities. And see what icehawk said. The same was true when I lived in Morgan Hill (San Jose) - even driving to Henry Coe State Park didn't need high speeds.

    To Greg: that's why I said the insurance/hire situation needs fixing.

    299:

    »was easily usable for 99 percent of everything you'd want to do«

    This is a very crucial point, where the trouble is that almost everybody I know buys their vehicles with eyes firmly set on 100% of everything they'd want to do.

    ... even when that is utterly stupid.

    I have friends who drive around i vehicles sized for pulling their boat out of the water once every year.

    They would objectively be better off on /all/ metrics, if they instead bought a vehicle dimensioned for the other 364 days, and rented a suitable 4WD one day a year.

    But there is absolutely no way to make the grasp the concept, they will, in the same breath, whine about how hard their vehicle is to park and why nothing less will do that one time a year.

    The main reason we will miss the 1.5° target is toxic masculinity.

    300:

    "Even in suburbia you need a top speed of at least 70 MPH, and be able to accelerate to 60 in under 10 seconds. That is so you can get on the highway without getting run over."

    I can't see how "suburbia" can be congruent with speeds approaching 70mph being anything other than flagrantly illegal, as well as being impossible to achieve and stupid to attempt except possibly around 3am. Even interpreting "top speed of 70mph" as indicating "can comfortably cope with some lesser speed" doesn't match with said lesser speed being in any sense "suburban".

    I also disagree that any car actually needs to be able to do 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds. It may make them more fun, but it certainly isn't necessary. When I learnt to drive, for practical purposes no cars could do it, including most "sports" cars; some models could manage it in road tests when driven in a manner that would rapidly break them if it was done at all often, but cars that could do it comfortably enough to manage it in regular use were unusual and expensive enough that seeing one on the road was a bit of an event.

    And since then, traffic speeds have actually become slower. The maximum speed limit has not increased, but it has become more stringently enforced, with a great deal of automated enforcement; the coverage of lower speed limits has been extended; and as traffic volumes have increased feasible speeds have reduced, with the lesser limits applicable to trucks becoming something of a de facto limit for cars in many places, so that even on roads where 60mph is legal it's often not possible to actually do it. On top of that, many junctions where slow roads meet fast ones have been altered to provide more distance in which to accelerate, or simply to prevent the movements calling for high acceleration altogether. Rapid 0 to 60 times were always of somewhat dubious relevance to everyday driving, and they're even less relevant now.

    301:

    I can't see how "suburbia" can be congruent with speeds approaching 70mph being anything other than flagrantly illegal

    I live in suburbia around a small city, and the first thing I do when I go downtown, for shopping and/or decent Indian food, is to get on the freeway. Around here it runs at about 80 mph (speed limit is 70 mph) and is full of semis and very large pickups pulling large trailers full of construction megaliths and machines. So you want to be able to do 90 easily, at least, to get enough maneuvering elbow room, if you have to. Yes, it is possible to get there, slowly, using very poorly maintained (difference between federal funds and local funds) surface roads.

    302:

    I live near Philadelphia, in suburbia. Like most most people in the Philadelphia area, I use the highway almost every time I go driving. I don't need to commute as often these days, but I've used one highway or other for nearly 20 years to get to work. It does cut down travel time, even in rush hour (because all the non-highway roads are also backed up).

    EC: The speed limit is 55 MPH, most people drive 70, and I have been passed like I was standing still when I was going 80. So, how is a 40 MPH speed limit going to help?

    Pigeon: That was there(UK) and then, I'm talking about here (USA, east coast) and now. You might think nobody needs the acceleration, but I think your dogma is going to get run over by somebody's karma. :)

    303:

    RE: '... ongoing project since 2017 called "e-krona". It's still being evaluated whether it's a viable solution. ... availability'

    Interesting - thanks!

    Apart from 'availability' (electricity?), I'm assuming they'll also be examining other adoption and performance metrics. Would be interesting to learn what issues they've uncovered so far.

    304:

    Well, you (i.e. your community, whatever it is) could always try enforcing the limits. Yes, I know that it is heresy against neoliberalism :-)

    305:

    I'll leave aside the bit where EC and you have both just reinvented the Citroen e-Ami again (despite my explaining that it has no functionality in an extra-urban environment several times). And just show you a case study for why you need good, if not tyre and clutch torturing, acceleration.
    At 55.858123, -4.450348 there is a roundabout, with traffic lights. If you want to join the M8 westbound from the A737 northbound, you will probably require to accelerate from rest to 40mph in about 600 feet, hold speed for 200 feet to get a sightline to the motorway traffic, and may then require to accelerate from 40 to 70mph in 300 feet.

    306:

    Nojay @ 265:

    Britain has a lot of gas-fuelled generating plant and right now gas, although more expensive than last year is cheap enough that exporting gas-fuelled electricity to the rest of Europe at a time of high wholesale electricity prices is good business for British generating companies. ...

    Sometimes what's "good for business" may not be so good for their customers.

    307:

    Having commuted a 40 mile round trip on a CG125 (tiny Honda L plate legal motorbike), I can assure you that decent acceleration is pretty crucial for little vehicles. Otherwise, everyone is pretty much describing why we need electric motorcycles of around 20-30bhp. Small, efficient, moving the minimum of metal for one or two people.

    308:

    You assume motorways/autobahns/highways are necessary. And that is true for a lot of people. But most people don’t drive on them, most days

    That has set me thinking about all the different "suburbias". The ones that really were old towns/villages that have grown into and/or been absorbed by urban sprawl, the ones that grew along railway lines and have since done the same, the ones that were estate developments from mid-century on, and those where their only connection to the rest of the world is via a highway/freeway (possibly the only "local shops" are in a commercial estate at the highway turnoff/clover-leaf/town bypass). I've probably missed some. I've no idea what proportion of people live in which, and I suspect it varies from place to place.

    309:

    I think you're mistaking the destination for the path. I agree that smaller, lighter, and slower is a good destination, but we've got to get there from the Juggernauts we currently have.

    Since we're talking about Juggernauts, I'll introduce another idea from the same region: karma. Here I'm not talking about supernatural account balancing, but an operational definition, that previous decisions have real world consequences, and these have to be retrofitted or otherwise dealt with as part of the process of getting to a better world.

    One example of this is stranding some 38 million Americans in the Colorado River watershed, where we're dependent on water from a river that we've known for decades cannot provide that water in perpetuity. But people keep moving here. Karma is how all that will work out over the next decade, as either the river runs dry (dooming people to move or die), water use norms change, or a miracle happens (hah). That's all karma.

    With respect to karma, the local highway structures mean I have to be able to go from 0 to 70 mph (110 kph, traffic speed) in about 650 feet (ca. 200 m) to avoid a rear-end collision with another car going 70 mph or faster. Why this situation happened is a layering of geography, traffic laws, and stupid urban planning, but it works so long as people all drive juggernauts, either ICE or EV. I'd refer to this situation as karma, not because it's supernatural, but because all the bad decisions that got us into this idiocy have to be counteracted before it's safe for a slower, lighter vehicle to use the highway.

    This kind of "karma" is what I mean about mistaking the destination for the path. I think many of us would be happy getting off the path of the juggernaut. Unfortunately, we have to burn off a lot of accumulated karma ("car-ma?") to get off that path, and that's going to take work, time and resources. And/or cataclysmic change.

    Life's unsatisfactory sometimes.

    310:

    CG125 (tiny Honda L plate legal motorbike)

    And I used to commute a roughly 30km round trip with a 49cc Honda scooter. Sure, there was no-where on that route with a speed limit higher than 70km/h (around 40mph), but lacking an ability to accelerate away from danger didn't make much difference... IMHO sharing a road with quarry trucks means any kind of two-wheeler relies more on trust and luck than most riders would acknowledge.

    311:

    "The main reason we will miss the 1.5° target is toxic masculinity."

    I think women will frequently make the same bad decisions, and naturally everyone looks to the worst case scenario when their safety is concerned. "I like the Prius, but what if I have an accident with the neighbor's hypermasculine Humvee?"

    312:

    Pigeon @ 300:

    "Even in suburbia you need a top speed of at least 70 MPH, and be able to accelerate to 60 in under 10 seconds. That is so you can get on the highway without getting run over."

    I can't see how "suburbia" can be congruent with speeds approaching 70mph being anything other than flagrantly illegal, as well as being impossible to achieve and stupid to attempt except possibly around 3am. Even interpreting "top speed of 70mph" as indicating "can comfortably cope with some lesser speed" doesn't match with said lesser speed being in any sense "suburban".

    Maybe if you never have to leave suburbia and take the expressway into the city ... and never need to worry about merging into the oncoming flow of HGVs (18-wheel tractor-trailers in the U.S.) without getting run over.

    313:

    One example of this is stranding some 38 million Americans in the Colorado River watershed, where we're dependent on water from a river that we've known for decades cannot provide that water in perpetuity. But people keep moving here.

    One of the best examples anywhere of an entire country kicking the can down the road. When things do hit the wall I expect that the farmers will loose their water rights. But Congress will have to say so as legally they come ahead of people at this time.

    Of course it will go along with all kinds of rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, and complaints about the price of food. But isn't the food in the US already cheaper than in most of the world in terms of even a poor families annual income?

    But the farmers vs. citizens fight will be fierce. And even if the citizens win it will only be temporary as one or both of these will be happening.

    People will keep moving to where they shouldn't and just delay the day of citizen reckoning. Or things will be so bad when the farmers are told "sorry" that there is still too much demand for the Colorado to recover.

    314:

    I have to be able to go from 0 to 70 mph (110 kph, traffic speed) in about 650 feet (ca. 200 m) to avoid a rear-end collision

    Now to me this is more about sensible people being so cowed by the behaviour of reckless idiots that they feel it's necessary to behave as they do. I'm kinda grateful that, among all the various possibilities, it was my grandfather who taught me to drive. I remember turning on to a highway and anxiously bringing up the speed, he'd insist that was not required: cars coming up behind would slow down. In fact they are obliged to, and can always go around if that's too much trouble (most of SEQ has been "dual carriageway", that is two lanes each way on major highways since the 70s). This was with a 3-on-the-tree, straight-8 70s car, not exactly a muscle car but also not slack in the power department, so it wasn't like acceleration was much of a problem (okay, timing the clutch and accelerator as a novice driving a manual might have slowed us down a bit).

    But it does seem like people these days believe the posted speed limit is some sort of minimum, that it's reckless and even illegal to go slower than that or even less than 10km/h faster someplaces. They are completely wrong of course, but it's remarkable how vehemently they'll defend that wrongness. I'm in favour of lower speed limits everywhere myself, and there has been progress on that front (most city streets in Brisbane have 50 rather than the old 60km/h limits for instance, and 24/7 40 zones, not just school zones, are a thing too).

    315:

    Well said. Rowling and others have frequently claimed that they experienced their own gender anxiety as children/teenagers and, born into the modern world, they fear they might have been pushed towards transition. It's a baseless concern.

    As a boy, I identified more strongly with girls than boys: I liked reading and I disliked sports and I felt a lot more at ease in the company of girls than boys. Even today, most of my closest friends are women and I'm generally more comfortable with them than other men. But I've never been able to understand what it is to be trans. That gulf in comprehension is "gender dysphoria". You either have it or you don't, and there's a whole spectrum of gender non-conforming and androgynous folk, as well as effeminate men and masculine women, and people who just like to play with gender conventions, who don't experience gender dysphoria anymore than I do. And no one who's spent more than a few moments conversing with a trans person at any length would think that anyone would transition on a whim. It's a whole bunch of bullshit to put yourself through unless you've got a very strong compulsion to go through it.

    316:

    Yeah, I think this school of thought is called "transphobia".

    well, if u want to interpret "there is a school of thought that worries that..." as "...and i support it wholeheartedly", knock urself out. i got terf relatives, that's where i hear about this stuff

    not really surprising that the % of self-identifying lesbians is increasing considering how much more acceptance of it there is these days. gallup reckons one in five gen z identified as lgbt in 2021, the graph for the various age cohorts looks practically exponential

    317:

    Damian @ 314:

    I have to be able to go from 0 to 70 mph (110 kph, traffic speed) in about 650 feet (ca. 200 m) to avoid a rear-end collision

    Now to me this is more about sensible people being so cowed by the behaviour of reckless idiots that they feel it's necessary to behave as they do. I'm kinda grateful that, among all the various possibilities, it was my grandfather who taught me to drive. I remember turning on to a highway and anxiously bringing up the speed, he'd insist that was not required: cars coming up behind would slow down. In fact they are obliged to, and can always go around if that's too much trouble (most of SEQ has been "dual carriageway", that is two lanes each way on major highways since the 70s). This was with a 3-on-the-tree, straight-8 70s car, not exactly a muscle car but also not slack in the power department, so it wasn't like acceleration was much of a problem (okay, timing the clutch and accelerator as a novice driving a manual might have slowed us down a bit).

    But it does seem like people these days believe the posted speed limit is some sort of minimum, that it's reckless and even illegal to go slower than that or even less than 10km/h faster someplaces. They are completely wrong of course, but it's remarkable how vehemently they'll defend that wrongness. I'm in favour of lower speed limits everywhere myself, and there has been progress on that front (most city streets in Brisbane have 50 rather than the old 60km/h limits for instance, and 24/7 40 zones, not just school zones, are a thing too).

    I'm not sure what your grandfather might have been thinking, but his method is an invitation to CAUSE traffic accidents. Making your speed consistent with the flow of traffic is NOT reckless.

    When turning onto a highway, you need to accelerate to highway speed quickly. The sooner you are moving along at the same speed as the other traffic the better. You should also be looking for on-coming traffic BEFORE YOU TURN OUT ONTO THE HIGHWAY and allowing enough time to accelerate to highway speed so they don't have to swerve to avoid you.

    A "dual carriageway" should have on-ramps where you can accelerate to highway speeds BEFORE merging ... and you should be modulating your acceleration so that you can merge seamlessly into an open space between the other vehicles.

    Here's a personal example - plug 36.007379743414575, -78.93032257975527 [N36°, W78.9°] into whatever online map you use. I have to make this merge returning home every time I have an appointment at the VA Hospital in Durham, NC (USA).

    Google street view doesn't show how BUSY that section of the Durham Freeway usually is. I have approximately 1,000 feet to find a hole in the traffic and get my speed modulated so that I arrive at the bottom of the ramp just in time to merge with the hole.

    The speed limit on Elba St is 25 mph (40 kmph) & I have the right of way, so I'm not quite having to do 0-60 from a standing start, but I still need to be doing at least 60 mph (96.5 kmph) by the time I get to the bottom of the ramp AND I need to be able to merge right away because of the on ramp running out.

    I looked it up on-line & my Jeep is rated at 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. I don't have to accelerate like a maniac to make my merge, but the bit of extra oomph I have available if I needed it is comforting.

    318:

    Closest thing to that would be a Ford Maverick hybrid, which gets that sort of mileage, though the bed's on the short side.

    319:

    It amuses me to characterize the super sized pick ups as "My very own monster truck!".

    320:

    My girlfriend at the time was into horses, and drove a huge, longbed Ford truck with wheels that were waist high. It had been raised until the bottom of the truck was at least two feet off the ground. It wasn't so much a "monster truck" as the kind of truck that ranchers use to carry hay bales to the high-pastures during a blizzard...

    When my friend brought his truck home she looked at my friend's Toyota King Cab. Then she looked at her huge Ford. Then she looked at my friend's Toyota King Cab. "Joe!" she said,* her voice full of outrage. "You picked it before it was ripe!"

    * Not his real name.

    321:

    You know what, if you want to reengineer things so people don't have to buy cars with enormous batteries for that occasional long distance trip... you don't need super fast charging or other new innovations.

    Just stick pantographs on them. Wiring highways, and only highways, for overhead power is entirely doable civil engineering.

    Now, my own impulse here is to deliberately put the wires too low for long distance trucking. Use the actual railroads for that.

    323:

    I'm not sure what your grandfather was thinking, but pulling out slow in front of traffic that is doing highway speed is an offence "driving without due consideration for other road users". So I agree with JohnS' post 317, and have supplied a different worked example, which is even from a 3rd nation.

    324:

    Thomas Jørgensen said: Use the actual railroads for that.

    If I was boss of everything, and/or redesigning everything, I'd have rail for most everything.

    Flat 30 km/h speed limit for all (including pedalecs) non emergency vehicles (with speed limiters). Rail twice the size in every dimension with roll on roll off for any journeys over the 60 odd km range of Citroën Ami and similar (including EC's recumbent). Onboard the train charging, so you arrive somewhere nearish to your destination with a full charge. Stops maybe 60 km apart. All free at the point of use for non commercial users. 200 km/h between stops.

    Door to door, less up front cost than a car, faster point to point for the vast majority of trips and all electric, so potentially zero carbon. Safer, quieter towns, safe cycling, less money wasted on roads, reasonably easy transition as the existing fleet can all be driven at 30 km/h.

    325:

    well, if u want to interpret "there is a school of thought that worries that..." as "...and i support it wholeheartedly", knock urself out. i got terf relatives, that's where i hear about this stuff

    Lezsek didn't imply that you hold the view, just said that the view is transphobic.

    As you say, it's more acceptable for women to self-identify as lesbians, these days, and so we see more self-identifying lesbians. Likewise, it's more acceptable to be openly trans, and so more people are openly trans.

    Anti-gay activists claim that the increase in the number of self-identifying lesbians is because young girls have been brainwashed by left-wing academics into hating the D. (My wife's cousin tragically believes this about his own daughter: I imagine she can barely wait to go no-contact with him once she's old enough to remove herself from his care.) I think we can all agree this stance is homophobic: it delegitimises the deeply-held truths of the self-identifying lesbians in question. It's likewise transphobic to believe the same thing about trans men. (And, to be clear, I don't allege that anyone on this forum holds any of the views that I'm critiquing.)

    326:

    Thomas Jørgensen @ 321: Just stick pantographs on them. Wiring highways, and only highways, for overhead power is entirely doable civil engineering.

    There is an experimental section of highway with exactly that.

    The trouble is, its only suitable for big lorries (aka HGVs, 18-wheelers). You can't put the wires any lower because big trucks couldn't use the road, and a pantograph capable of reaching that high isn't feasible to put on top of a car.

    Not to say its a bad idea; road freight uses an awful lot of fuel. But at the bigger end of automotive you find other systems like hydrogen, or even Al-S batteries become a lot more practical. (Al-S batteries are superior to Li-ion in just about every way except for needing to be at something over boiling point to start working, and producing poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas if any water gets in). So its not clear that electric pantographs for trucks are the way to go.

    Actually this is kind of a general problem. There are lots of potential technologies out there, but everyone is worried about backing the wrong horse so there is a dearth of big investment. For some technologies thats OK: I expect commercial Al-S batteries to start hitting the market in a year or two, and they will do very well in static situations before possibly moving to large automotive. But putting pantographs on all trucks and power lines over all highways is the kind of thing that takes massive government investment, so it won't happen until all other possibilities have been exhausted (i.e. too late).

    327:

    hippoptolemy
    Thank you - me too, not that I met any girls before the age of 18 that you would notice.
    Yeah: "gender dysphoria" - will now connect that with your description.

    328:

    Well I suppose more context helps. It was a plain 90º turn onto the highway, no on-ramp. You get quite a lot of these when the highway lacks freeway/motorway features but is itself a pretty nice road. The oncoming traffic was maybe half a kilometre away, possibly more, but you could see it quite well because as noted it was a pretty nice road.

    I should point out also that my reaction at the time was much the same as yours and JBS/JohnS's, since my experience at that point, maybe more as a passenger, was also mostly urban or peri-urban. And I'd still probably have agreed with you maybe 20 years ago. I don't really now... and I am finding I think everyone else just needs to slow down a bit, maybe a lot. Double or triple the following distance they think is appropriate, and even then it's probably not safe. I think that believing it's safe to do some of these speeds and follow this closely is prima facie evidence of not being competent to do so.

    329:

    Your argument is flawed. What matters is not my hair trigger following distance, but my actual following distance and the distance I observe ahead. As my observation distance in clear conditions will be over 1 mile (1.6km) I will be off the throttle, and possibly lightly on the brakes before the driver 2 vehicles ahead reacts visibly.

    330:

    There are sodium-based batteries already out there, on the market for nearly twenty years now. NGK in Japan has been making sodium-sulphur storage batteries and selling them for mere money for that time, and only a few of them have caught fire. The biggest deployment of these batteries is used as a buffer for a small wind farm in Japan, about 220MWh capacity.

    There were experiments to make mobile versions of the Na-S batteries for trucks and buses, generally they were not a success because, you know, molten sodium. Containment of the electrolyte in case of an accident was a major issue, the volume the batteries took up was another and the heat from the molten electrolyte was a third.

    TL:DR; don't expect the Al-S batteries to be an EV "game changer". Anyone saying that is trying to sell you something.

    331:

    Well, similar, but not the same. However, from WHERE did you get the idea that extra-urban means motorways? I can assure you that it doesn't, and it's perfectly practical to travel around most of suburban and rural Britain in a pony and trap or on my recumbent. Indeed, the current rules require that there is already an alternative route for vehicles forbidden on motorways. What's more, speeds of above 40 MPH (often lower) make very little difference to travelling time on most suburban and rural trips.

    I agree that there is a problem in quite a few places where the only viable routes are on trunk roads, including around where I live, which is a significant obstacle to travelling by cycle, invalid vehicle etc., but the problems are not insoluble. Please do remember that I said "radical social and political changes", and that we have both a climate crisis and (in the UK) a burdgeoning transport one.

    332:

    I agree. There is a very big difference between industrial uses and vehicular ones. Not merely do vehicles get in among dense housing etc., restricting cowboy manufacturers is a problem, and ensuring proper maintenance is a worse one. If there is a game-changing battery, my bet is that it will be an aluminium one (of some sort).

    333:

    For your information, there are very few 'expressways from suburbia into the city' in the UK (*) and, in all cases (as far as I know), there are viable alternative routes. This is a case where people familiar with only one of the countries are prone to make erroneous assumptions about the other.

    However, given my experience of 15 MPH travel on both UK motorways and USA freeways, I am unconvinced that the high speeds of such suburban links gain anything very much.

    (*) Yes, I know London and Glasgow have some, and so do some other major cities, but they are still rare.

    334:

    WHERE did you get the idea that I think that extra-urban means motorways? Not from anything I've said for sure. Extra-urban means "between towns", but that does not exclude you having to join a road (which may be single or dual carriageway, and may even be single track) on which the 90th percentile speed may be at or even above the ruling speed limit.

    335:

    Then I don't understand the point of your example in #305.

    336:

    I don't see any real "game-changing" batteries on the horizon. Lithium-chemistry is about as good as it gets for volume, mass etc. in mobile applications and there are hard physical limits on capacity per kilogram of battery material that we're already pushing up against. There are other battery chemistries that are better than lithium but they involve elemental fluorine and result in byproducts that are banned under various chemical weapons treaties if they are released in an accident. Molten-sodium electrolyte batteries have a better raw capacity than lithium but the cell structures, armour etc. for mobile applications add a lot of extra weight and negate the electrochemical benefits.

    Li-tech batteries have a lab-bench capacity of about 200Wh/kg. By the time armour, cell structure support materials etc. are added the on-the-road capacity is about 140Wh/kg[1] which is fucking amazing compared to what I was reading about forty years ago in journals like "EV Development" when Ni-Cd were the best batteries you could get for cars and lead-acid was still an acceptable solution to mobile traction (as in the General Motors EV1 experiment).

    [1] Worked example, an 80kWh Tesla battery pack weighs 575kg.

    337:

    Agreed, but there were a couple of links to theoretical/laboratory ones using aluminium that had potential for being significantly better (higher capacity AND safer) - and I accept that such technologies are 'over the horizon' because a significant proportion do not pan out in practice. My point was that IF there is a game-changer, it would be one of those. Maybe by 2035, or maybe not.

    A Shimano STEPS one is 160 Wh/Kg, but needs less armour (being only 630 Wh).

    338:

    Reading a bit more, "e-krona" is indeed intended to work as electronic cash, and there's also an implied goal to make it as easy to use as real cash. They started testing technical solutions this year.

    A recurring theme in the project description is the state taking back control of money from private banks. Electronic payments are wholly dependent on private banks today, and the project is intended as an alternative, state-controlled form of payment.

    This also means that businesses will be able to set up their own payment systems without having to rely on banks.

    The text i've read doesn't mention anything about tracing transactions and suchlike, but I haven't read everything.

    339:

    Time to take a cold hard bite of a reality sandwich.

    Peter Zeihan on "Why The EV Revolution won’t happen" - and why renewables won't save us.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fwdSyA6AB0

    340:

    Interesting. I don't know the junction in question - I've only ever driven to Glasgow once, and that was in a Morris Minor; I encountered some of the M8 gubbinsery, but nothing west of the city centre - but from the OS 1:25000 map it doesn't look as bad as some; at least you seem to have a decent downhill gradient on the slip road, unlike say the M6/A59 Preston junction where the slip roads slope quite badly uphill and the motorway itself is going through the bottom of a dip so all the trucks can overrun their limiters, which I'm most familiar with from tackling it in the same Morris Minor quite a few times. Not fun, but by no means un-copable-with.

    Granted that without your local knowledge I don't know the specific local modifiers relating to the Linwood junction, but in general terms your joining procedure seems to differ from mine in one important respect: you pause in the middle of your acceleration phase to build your 4D model of the traffic flow you're joining, whereas I do the acceleration and the model-building in parallel, beginning from the moment a view of the main flow becomes available, with frequent glances over my shoulder, and then modulating the final stages of my acceleration to match with the gap I've selected. The main difficulties I find are handling the sudden extreme burst of cognitive load, and (depending on car) the fucking B-pillars getting in the way.

    From previous discussions on here about driving I get the impression that you and I have similar views regarding the extent and detail required of the 4D model of the road situation and the amount of observation and processing needed to maintain it (cf. your comment @ 329 above), but in my case the associated real-world experience is of much more time spent driving fairly slow cars (Morris Minors, works vans, other people's manky old wrecks) and rather less of fairly fast ones, which gives a different slant to the overall picture. So in things like your Linwood example you find it natural to think in terms of being able to knock the burst congitive load down a bit by using the capabilities of the car to compensate, whereas I am more used to having to put more effort into the modelling in order to find an outcome matching the restrictions imposed by the limitations of the car's ungenerous performance envelope.

    Regarding those Ami things, again it looks like we broadly agree but are coming at it from different angles. Under current British conditions, yeah, they do rather suck, because you need something else for extra-urban duties and it makes little sense to deal with two full portions of having-a-car hassle and expense instead of just having one car that can handle both. But as I understand it French laws and regulations use more than a single bit to describe "a car", and have several lesser categories below "full-on car" which make it much easier to keep a sub-car for urban use only and a proper one for longer trips as well.

    With British regulations as they are, I am "lucky" enough to find it practical to keep an urban-only vehicle, in the form of my mobility scooter, since I can "show a need" for it ("Certainly, officer, I'll take the seat off it and you can watch what that does to me"). If I lived in France, I'd be glad to be able to have something of the nature of the Ami to use for the same purposes but with some proper weather protection and better load-carrying capability. (It does often seem that in the lottery of life, being born British is a lesser prize than being born French.)

    341:

    The structure overheads for electric vehicle batteries actual decrease as the battery pack gets bigger -- the proposed Tesla semi-truck battery is reported to be 6000kWh but it weighs less than four tonnes, so it's better in terms of overall energy density than the higher-end Tesla cars. I think it's a volume-to-external-surface-area thing, it's also possible the semi-truck battery is more cubical than the flat floor-pan sandwich of the Tesla cars.

    As for the Shimano and other e-bike batteries they're not powering the sort of vehicle that can be rear-ended in a road collision leaving several people injured and trapped in an enclosed structure that is now burning with 50kWh of stored electrical energy underneath them. E-bike batteries don't need and don't have the same safety structures as road vehicle EV batteries really need to have.

    342:

    The Youtuber Zeihan opines on a lot of things. His level of expertise on any of these things is another matter.

    343:

    My current car has a nominal 0-60 time of well over 14 seconds and, like you, I have driven a lot of slower ones - sometimes MUCH slower! As you say, it's not a major problem, but is sometimes an inconvenience.

    Your last two points are closely related to the ones I was making about insurance and hiring. Yes, what I propose would need major regulatory changes, which we badly need - but we DON'T need what the DfT would give us.

    344:

    FWIW, I believe, without evidence, that there's an actual increase in the proportion of lesbians, gays, and transexuals these days. I attribute it to pollution by estrogen-mimicking chemicals in the environment. But I acknowledge that this is without evidence and may be wrong. (There's also a study on rats (or was it mice) that claimed that increased population density lead to an increase in homosexuality. So there are other plausible reasons. Which still doesn't prove that it's happening.)

    345:

    Nojay @ 330: There are sodium-based batteries already out there, on the market for nearly twenty years now.

    Who said anything about sodium? I'm talking about Aluminium-Sulphur chemistry, which does not require molten sodium metal. What it does require is molten aluminium salts. The electrochemistry is complex, which is what seems to have held up progress. But the basic idea is an aluminium anode, an aluminium-sulphide cathode, and aluminium chloride in the middle. The problem has been to control all the different combinations of Al, S and Cl that form during charging and discharging while also producing an electrolyte that is liquid at reasonable temperatures. Once you've done that (and it seems that the MIT team has) you have a battery with energy densities on a par with or better than Li-ion, made from atoms that are cheaply available in large quantities all over the planet. Also it won't catch fire like lithium does, and dendrites are not a problem.

    346:

    @ 314 "But it does seem like people these days believe the posted speed limit is some sort of minimum, that it's reckless and even illegal to go slower than that or even less than 10km/h faster someplaces."

    From a British perspective it sounds very weird to hear that kind of thing as a statement of current conditions. 30 years ago perhaps, but not these days, with speed cameras all over the place and all the anti-speed propaganda accompanying their proliferation. Mr. Tim's post @ 302 gives me a similar "what, these days?!" reaction.

    The result of that propaganda is that the roads are now full of people who think that "safe driving" === "sticking rigidly to the number on the lollipop" and that's all they need to know; once they've passed their test they can switch their brain off and as long as they follow that single rule they are simon-pure and can't possibly be faulted for anything they do. I, shall we say, do not approve; reality is not far off being the other way round, and such attitudes are a dangerous cognitive block against realising this important point.

    @ 310 "IMHO sharing a road with quarry trucks means any kind of two-wheeler relies more on trust and luck than most riders would acknowledge."

    The usual motorcyclists' mantra is that you assume everyone else on the road is actively trying to kill you, and ride accordingly. It may be technically a bit of an exaggeration but in practical terms it's realistic advice.

    As for "accelerating out of danger", I remember my dad telling me before I was old enough to drive that this idea is a fallacy because cars just can't do it. Nor can Joe 90s or CG125s. The use of acceleration in avoiding danger comes in recognising in advance that a dangerous situation is going to develop at a point which lies on your current trajectory in 4D space, and the wider situation is such that accelerating is an available means of altering said trajectory so the point is no longer on it. For the situation to be developing around you means you have failed in observation and anticipation, and it is unwise to think in terms of being able to rely on acceleration as a means of compensating for such failures even if your vehicle does have enough to give that a chance of working.

    347:

    trans men generally find it much easier to pass, and hardly anyone feels threatened by their existence

    Not according to transmasc friends of mine: while most old-school TERFs (remember that's an acronym to Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, which almost invariably means AFAB and cis) merely view them as "class traitors" seeking male social status, a lot of the more recent right wing male GCs (who are often neo-nazi types) violently hate them because they're not submitting to their biologically predetermined role of being passive vessels waiting to bear said GC males' babies.

    The GCs refer to breast reduction surgery as "mutilation" because in the case of transmasc people it's a visible reminder that they decline to live as obedient feminine chattel. They're all about owning a herd of childbearing submissive feminine property, and F-to-M transition reduces the pool of "available" women for them to impregnate (in their own imagination).

    348:

    Nojay & others
    Wiley E bicycle uses Shimano STEPS ....

    Charlie @ 347
    Euwwww ....

    349:

    What is GC in this context?

    350:

    GC = Gender Critical. It's what TERFs prefer to be called these days, stating that the term TERF is a slur.

    351:

    Remember I wrote in the previous thread that Zeihan seems to believe that every trend will continue forever? Well, literally first 30 seconds of this video confirm this. Yes, CURRENTLY most of the rare-earth elements which go into EV's come from China and Russia -- because it is CURRENTLY cheaper. Canada and Australia have just as much and more, and if China decides to "hold the world hostage", it will become profitable to mine these elements elsewhere. (Not that China is likely to be that stupid.)

    This is such a tired strawman, it is enough for me to dismiss Zeihan permanently.

    352:

    I'm talking about Aluminium-Sulphur chemistry, which does not require molten sodium metal. What it does require is molten aluminium salts. The electrochemistry is complex, which is what seems to have held up progress. But the basic idea is an aluminium anode, an aluminium-sulphide cathode, and aluminium chloride in the middle.

    Oh joy, the triplet issue... There are some exotic lab-bench and theoretical battery technologies I've seen mentioned that use two sandwiches of electrolytic action to boost the Wh/kg figure without, hopefully degrading the maximum current the cell can output. They tend to run into some... interesting, shall we say, energetic chemical bond issues as well as problems with manufacturing batteries to be sold into a market that otherwise restricts the retail sale of defective handgrenades to the general public. I'm just surprised they didn't use fluorine instead of chlorine, that's all.

    Once you've done that (and it seems that the MIT team has) you have a battery with energy densities on a par with or better than Li-ion, made from atoms that are cheaply available in large quantities all over the planet. Also it won't catch fire like lithium does, and dendrites are not a problem.

    The fire issue with lithium batteries in vehicles isn't a chemical oxidation issue, it's the stored electrochemical energy that wants to be free when shit goes wrong, like the dead shorts caused by the battery pack folding in half in a collision or other situations like charging operations going wrong. Unless this lab-queen Biggest Battery Breakthrough Since Breakfast from some postgrads at MIT can magically dissipate a couple of megajoules of stored energy without cooking something extra-crispy in such a scenario then a fire (or something that looks very much like a fire) is going to eventuate.

    As for rarity of materials, sodium and sulphur are common as muck and cheap as chips but they're not the most expensive part of an Na-S battery. Lithium isn't that expensive either, comparatively speaking -- the more expensive part of an EV car battery cell is the cobalt used as electrode material in many designs and the Jiant Brains are working hard to reduce the amount use or even replace cobalt in future Li-ion and Li-poly battery designs.

    353:

    The usual motorcyclists' mantra is that you assume everyone else on the road is actively trying to kill you, and ride accordingly. It may be technically a bit of an exaggeration but in practical terms it's realistic advice.

    True, this. Volvo drivers especially get suspected of being willing to chase a biker through a revolving door and up a flight of steps to tell them "Sorry mate, I didn't see you."

    354:

    That is why I liked the aluminium-water design that operated only above 100 Celsius - cool it down (yes, with water!) and all is well. Of course, it was only a conceptual design, and we all know what that means in terms of viability and timescale ....

    355:

    It's not just motorcyclists. In my experience, Volvos have been superseded in that by BMWs and Range Rovers.

    356:

    The fire issue with lithium batteries in vehicles isn't a chemical oxidation issue, it's the stored electrochemical energy that wants to be free when shit goes wrong, like the dead shorts caused by the battery pack folding in half in a collision or other situations like charging operations going wrong. Unless this lab-queen Biggest Battery Breakthrough Since Breakfast from some postgrads at MIT can magically dissipate a couple of megajoules of stored energy without cooking something extra-crispy in such a scenario then a fire (or something that looks very much like a fire) is going to eventuate.

    I agree with you, but to be fair, I have to point out that any really useful energy storage medium is going to have the same problem.

    Not aimed at you: I've had to deal with lithium freak-outs from other people (OMG it catches fire! EEKZ) and when I point out that current batteries have around one-third the energy density of gasoline, it takes a long time for this to sink in.

    Anyway, I hope we can get to carbon-something-something electrodes, and that nickel foil fast-charging trick turns out to be easy to implement at scale.

    Oh yeah, and I hope we get really, really good at recycling lithium batteries. That appears to be a bottleneck at the moment.

    357:

    The two comments I have about transmen are:

  • Gender reassignment surgery may come after the mastectomies or never happen at all. We get so focused on what's going on with transmen above the waist that we ignore that any changes below the waist are much more complicated and personal. Probably not focusing on the latter is a good thing, generally, but the news does get their shorts in knots over transmen getting pregnant, which some have.

  • Unfortunately, I still remember the Brandon Teena case from the 1990s. We've come some good distance from that, but I'm not sure that transmen are perfectly safe yet.

  • 358:

    I think, given the recent and ongoing cultural evolutions in the acceptance of LGBT+ people, that it is close to impossible to distinguish between an actual change in the number of them and a change in how many can now, at least, be open about it.

    360:

    Do we actually have any decent data on the relative incidence of conflagrations following comparably destructive crashes for lithium vs. petrol? I'd hazard a guess that there's a lot less in it than people seem to think there is.

    As regards unpleasant reaction products from battery chemicals and extinguishing water, it has to be said I'm a lot happier with H2S than with HF.

    361:

    Gasoline on its own has an energy density of essentially zero. And, when talking about its energy density as a fuel, aluminium has much more. That's a straw man, though I agree that it could be useful when talking to idiots.

    The reasons that lithium batteries are more problematic are (a) they can ignite spontaneously and even without leaking to outside and (b) there is effectively no way to put the damn things out once they have started. The only plausible fuel that is as bad from a safety point of view is hydrogen.

    This is of particular relevance to the UK, because our "let's abolish all regulations" government is likely to allow large (i.e. car) batteries to be made to the same standards as small (e.g. hand-held device up to E-bike) ones, and experience with the safety of the bucket shop end of those is not good.

    362:

    I have seen an unsourced claim that Teslas have suffered 38 fire-related deaths from approximately 3 million cars sold. This is compared to another gasoline car which had 25 fire-related deaths in approximately the same number of cars sold. The Ford Pinto.

    363:

    I can't find any decent data but, according to this, EVs are twice as likely to catch fire.

    https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/manufacturer-news/2020/11/27/vehicle-fire-data-suggests-higher-incident-rate-for-evs

    For the record: I am NOT anti-EV, but I am opposed to the claims that they are panacaeas, and most definitely in favour of tight regulation on safety.

    364:

    I can't see how "suburbia" can be congruent with speeds approaching 70mph being anything other than flagrantly illegal

    I assume you've never driven in the USA.

    What an American means by "suburbia" would in the UK be considered open countryside. (Think A-roads.)

    What a Brit considers "suburbia" would, in the USA, be classified as dense urban development.

    NOTE FOR AMERICANS ON THIS BLOG: when a Brit is talking about "suburbia" they mean dense urban sprawl along roads where the houses might have a garden and/or a garage and are spaced maybe 5-10 metres apart and there are sidewalks and you can walk alongside the nice quiet street with a 20-30mph speed limit.

    What Americans call "suburbia isn't a thing in the UK.

    365:

    @Charlie,

    So, how long did it take you to realize that Mastodon instances are no different than regular old-time forums, and that no amount of tiny forums can replace one big forum with a single moderation policy? Or are you still getting there?

    366:

    The news is depressing, outrageous and EVIL all of the time ...

    367:

    Pigeon said: Do we actually have any decent data on the relative incidence of conflagrations following comparably destructive crashes for lithium vs. petrol?

    Not really.

    The problem is definitions, and no one can agree. Tesla crashes into a house, hits the water heater, car's occupant gets out, house catches fire, burning house sets Tesla on fire, 20 minutes later battery pack vents flammable electrolyte and produces flame, news crew arrive, photographs and videos are widely disseminated "Tesla explodes in driveway".

    That's a real example.

    How reliable are the 38 deaths related to fire? I'd say zero.

    Another "Tesla exploded, driver dead" story that was widely disseminated, with photos of a burning forest, turned out to be a German driver decided to take a detour through a forest, while driving at 250 km/h. Yeah some of the widely scattered cells were punctured and vented with flame. However the driver was long dead by that time.

    Well documented examples of electric cars burning after a crash imply that unlike petrol cars that immediately catch fire, there's plenty of time to extract the driver before flame appears (see Richard Hammond vs Nikki Lauder)

    368:

    If all Musk wants to do is shut Twitter down and reboot the whole company top to bottom front to back and side to side from a cd-rom, then fire everybody and run it off a skeleton crew of cheap new hires, he could milk it like a cash cow for all those sweet advertising revenues to fund his other more complicated ventures. Just think of all those six figure salaries going right into his wallet. Say for after a Carrington event, how many disks full of optical media would you have to sit and feed in to reboot a company, go in and start at 9 a.m. could you be done by lunch? And in case he succeeds, who's next? Maybe the government? Certainly not the whole economy, but big parts of it; banking, insurance, media, real estate....WHEE! Like covid, send everybody home and watch the world collapse, not.

    369:

    context = dang if I know

    those studies into effects of increasing population density on rodents of various species were in the decades following 'em to be flawed given the failure to provide the typical environmental challenges... stuff to keep 'em occupied... toys, challenges, complex passageways... of course 'after the fact' & retrograde definition of the studies were deemed to have included deliberately impoverished environments... supposedly to simulate boredom... what the underlying flaw of such studies was no animal has ever evolved in an environment of unlimited food & water and finite space... sort of like a study where people are offered infinite money but little stimulation... just flawed... whatever sexual/reproductive really happens amongst rodents in the wild tends to be hasty-quiet-shadowy because "predators" you know?

    370:

    Pigeon replied to this comment from Mr. Tim | November 19, 2022 20:49

    "Even in suburbia you need a top speed of at least 70 MPH, and be able to accelerate to 60 in under 10 seconds. That is so you can get on the highway without getting run over."

    I can't see how "suburbia" can be congruent with speeds approaching 70mph being anything other than flagrantly illegal, as well as being impossible to achieve and stupid to attempt except possibly around 3am. Even interpreting "top speed of 70mph" as indicating "can comfortably cope with some lesser speed" doesn't match with said lesser speed being in any sense "suburban".

    Then you cain't see Oregon, Pigeon. 65MPH is the posted limit one mile from my suburb on I-205, and 10-15MPH faster is common in daylight hours. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tualatin,+OR+97062/@45.3673753,-122.7312957,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x54956d81c7d8d589:0x56cc018ecb6616ee!8m2!3d45.3611308!4d-122.7700372

    371:

    I think Charlie's covered that one @ 364. Looks like it's probably a word best avoided because it changes meaning in crossing the Atlantic to signify something completely different.

    372:

    Damian @ 328:

    Well I suppose more context helps. It was a plain 90º turn onto the highway, no on-ramp. You get quite a lot of these when the highway lacks freeway/motorway features but is itself a pretty nice road. The oncoming traffic was maybe half a kilometre away, possibly more, but you could see it quite well because as noted it was a pretty nice road.

    Yeah, I already got the part about it being a TURN onto the highway from a cross street.

    When turning onto a highway, you need to accelerate to highway speed quickly. The sooner you are moving along at the same speed as the other traffic the better.

    I think maybe you took the wrong lesson from your grandfather, or you're not expressing it well.

    If the oncoming traffic was 500m (or more) away, you don't need to accelerate like a maniac when you turn onto the highway, but you DO need to get yourself up to highway speed as expeditiously as possible. If the oncoming traffic is so close that you DO have to "accelerate like a maniac" to avoid getting hit, maybe you should have waited until that traffic passed.

    I should point out also that my reaction at the time was much the same as yours and JBS/JohnS's, since my experience at that point, maybe more as a passenger, was also mostly urban or peri-urban. And I'd still probably have agreed with you maybe 20 years ago. I don't really now... and I am finding I think everyone else just needs to slow down a bit, maybe a lot. Double or triple the following distance they think is appropriate, and even then it's probably not safe. I think that believing it's safe to do some of these speeds and follow this closely is prima facie evidence of not being competent to do so.

    In my Defensive Driving course (paid for by the U.S. Army) we learned a "two second" rule for following distance. No matter the speed of traffic, two seconds should give you enough time & distance to react and brake accordingly.

    I generally try to extend that to THREE SECONDS. That often results in some other driver swerving into my lane & cutting me off, but I persist. There's not much I can do about other people's STUPID DRIVING. All I can do is try not to be a stupid driver myself.

    I will note (from my own experience) that tail-gating is frequently an anger management issue (as are most symptoms of "road rage").

    373:

    Yeah... EC's link looks reasonably trustworthy as an indication that electric cars are considerably more likely to catch fire overall, but that's not very helpful since it takes no account of the circumstances. Media reports of individual incidents are no help because they are individual incidents, and also because they are more likely than not to misreport the circumstances so badly as to be meaningless.

    Maybe I should be saying something like: following a crash which renders the people unable to get out of the car under their own steam (whether because of injury or because of the car being mangled around them), in which type of vehicle are they more likely to be roasted before the emergency services turn up and get them out? Presumably the emergency services themselves could answer the question, but it appears that they have neither been asked it nor taken it upon themselves to answer it without being asked - either that or the answer just hasn't been posted anywhere it can come to people's attention.

    374:

    My current car can do 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds

    I consider this a safety feature with regard to freeway driving

    Being able to accelerate quickly is second only to be able to stop quickly with regards to avoiding potential accidents

    As an examples something that happened to me only a week ago on the I-5 about twenty miles south of Redding

    • entering the a three lane highway at 70mph from an on ramp like a good little boy
    • idiot in a caddy cx5 decided traffic was moving to slow for him and since he was blocked and couldn't pass on the left, he’d pass in the far right lane
    • the ships from the far left lane to pass in the far right lane at around 85-90mph
    • he completely didn’t see me entering the highway since Iine of sight was blocked by the car in the middle lane he was passing
    • he came right up my exhaust pipe and got probably 5 feet from my bumper before I punched it up to about 110 to avoid the accident
    • moron didn’t even brake until after he would have hit me
    375:

    Mastodon instances are no different than regular old-time forums, and that no amou

    That's not actually true.

    A much better metaphor is that Mastodon is to Twitter as old-time email was to Gmail (which has gradually subsumed almost all other services and still presents external SMTP and IMAP APIs but is basically its own thing these days and makes it increasingly difficult to run your own server elsewhere).

    376:

    Duffy @ 339:

    Time to take a cold hard bite of a reality sandwich.

    Peter Zeihan on "Why The EV Revolution won’t happen" - and why renewables won't save us.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fwdSyA6AB0

    "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong"

    I don't know if the political will to find solutions exists (or ever will exist), but the problems are NOT unsolvable ...

    377:

    he could milk it like a cash cow for all those sweet advertising revenues

    No he can't.

    Firstly, advertising is much less lucrative than selling cars or space rockets.

    Secondly advertisers are very sensitive to reputational damage and Musk has utterly trashed Twitter's rep by firing the moderators and community standards people and inviting the neo-Nazis back in. Advertisers do not like their ads to appear in the middle of a hate-filled screech of rage, because readers then associate the advertiser's product with hate and range and Bad Shit. So they avoid you. This is why Twitter paid for all those moderators in the first place: so they could sell advertising by keeping Twitter safe! And Musk's tirade about "free speech" is seen clearly for what it is -- a rallying cry for neo-nazis who don't like people ignoring them ("cancelling" in their parlance).

    A bunch of the big advertisers have left and they won't come back to an unmoderated cesspit of extremism and hate.

    Finally, AIUI Twitter is a really complex network of intermeshing systems and nobody has ever done a black start on it. Worse, a lot of the knowledge about how to manage and start up those "microservices" Elon pooh-poohed as useless walked out the door because he fired them or made them feel unwelcome (right before he began ripping wires out at random and, oh look, 2FA collapsed, and then random losers began uploading entire Hollywood movies without anyone noticing and blocking them).

    Even more finally, Twitter is global and Musk seems to have mistaken Californian law and regulation -- which is very lax -- for a global law of nature. He's going to be singing a different song when the nastygrams from Disney's legal department start to drop on him over all those uploaded pirate movies, or when the FBI fall on him from a great height for unwittingly firing the moderators who kept CSAM/CAI off Twitter ...

    378:

    That rule is standard knowledge over here... which isn't to say that it's standard practice. It's probably roughly double what most people do.

    It's a useful guide, but it's not the be-all and end-all, and in particular it fails if the vehicles in front decelerate atypically sharply. Hence the value of the practice described by paws @ 329 of watching as far ahead as conditions permit, so you can begin to react even before the car in front gives you a visible cue.

    379:

    Yeah, and I have seen an unsourced claim that people spreading that stuff are purple nosed tweeble-bots from Zarg, out to slurp up all our vital bodily fluids. It's probably about as reliable.

    Please can we not go down this rabbit hole again, at least not quite so soon? It's tedious, pointless, frequently involves people quoting nonsense and generally makes me realise that y'all are just as dumb as most of the other people out there and that depresses me.

    380:

    I doubt that there is enough data, or what data there is has been collated. It will almost certainly vary with type of car and accident, and there are correlations between particular EVs and particular types of driving. I have read reports that say that Tesla is one of the safest, but there are very limited data on most EVs as yet.

    Furthermore, your question is not the only one that matters - another is how many vehicle fires cause secondary fires (e.g. to other vehicles or buildings), with the concomitant danger to people in those.

    381:

    »I'm talking about Aluminium-Sulphur chemistry«

    There are a lot of potential chemistries for secondary batteries but very few of them will last even 100, much less 1000 cycles, before something has changed in some undesirable fashion.

    For as long as I have been involved with stationary batteries, there have been a lean trickle of "new wonder battery shown in lab" announcements and there have been exactly 3 three of those that made it out of the lab and into consumer products - roughly one per decade.

    For consumer traction, bikes, mopeds, cars, light trucks, current Li based batteries are fine, and the problem is for all practical purposes solved.

    Sure it would be nice if they held twice as much, weighed half as much, cost 10% as much and so on, but people have always desired that from vehicles which already worked.

    For heavy-duty traction, agriculture, ships, barges, trains, (real) trucks, cranes and other yellow machinery, current Li battery technologies are at best barely viable. The primary parameter is J/kg, and since Lithium is #3 in the periodic table, all other chemistries start with a hard to overcome handicap.

    For grid-scale storage it is all about price and only about price. Weight, volume, temperature, toxicity - none of that matters, which is why even chemistries like rusting iron or aluminum is in the running.

    But as far as the eye can see, the future is full of Lithium...

    382:

    340 - I agree there are even worse junctions; I just went initially to one I know well.
    Regarding the e-Ami, my serious point is that, without a partial recharge at your destination, you have no spare range if you make a trip from Dumbarton to Glasgow and back, which I used to do 3 times a week.

    346 - Sort of agree, with reservations. I was running at 70mph indicated on the M8, overtaking an articulated truck. I saw his RH indicator coming on in my (LH) peripheral vision so I was partway along the prime mover. I now have 2 choices:-
    1) Full throttle and drag past him before he hits me.
    2) Hard braking and hope I can lose enough distance to clear his tailboard before he hits me, and that I don't get tail ended from being down to maybe 20mph in the outside lane of a motorway.
    I chose (1) but I just don't see how I could predict the truck's lane change.

    367 - Who is this woman "Nikki Lauder"? I've never heard of her, and most of the Lauder clan are Scottish.

    372 - I'd pretty much agree with you, at least for setting my own following distance when I am not actively looking to set up an overtaking opportunity.

    378 - Thanks. Other times I may not have been reacting on traffic a mile ahead, but have been reacting on vehicles maybe 10 places "up the queue". Either way I'm "good at it" based on the 1950s rally driver Peter Harper) whom I learnt the technique of seeing "how far you can drive in congested traffic without braking" from.

    383:

    Greg Bear has died

    384:

    paws
    The one really great advantage of the GGB is the driving position - I can see over almost all "normal" cars & can thus see problems ahead, usually well-before anyone else.
    So I'm lifting foot off throttle / braking gently / manoeuvring to avoid $Hazard (etc) long before anyone else has even noticed.

    385:

    JohnS: https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/yzz0vv/comment/ix3dwps/

    Reddit user says brush turkeys are not worth eating. Apparently from personal experience.

    386:

    "Being able to accelerate quickly is second only to be able to stop quickly with regards to avoiding potential accidents"

    Any form of evasive action comes second to not getting into the situation in the first place.

    Some mantras from people who are far better at this sort of thing than me...

    It takes two to make an accident. Really.

    The right way to review an arse-twitcher is to start by thinking: what could I have done differently to avoid that happening in the first place?

    If you think the answer is "nothing", you are almost certainly wrong.

    There is essentially always something you can identify if you look hard enough, no matter how unlikely you may initially think that is, which if you had registered it properly at the time could have clued you in to what was about to happen and enabled you to not get into harm's way in the first place. If you chew over the memory for long enough and in enough detail to figure out what this is, you've found something to remember that you could use in future to save your life, or someone else's. It may well not be easy to figure out what it is, but it can't be denied that it's worth the effort.

    I'm not going to try and comment on or discuss your example, because I wasn't there so I can't say anything useful about it; but the exact same situation could equally well have arisen while you were driving some more ordinary car that wouldn't have a hope of being able to accelerate away from it.

    I am NOT trying to get at you or put down your driving; I'm simply trying to suggest a useful way of thinking. I bang on about this sort of thing because I know too well how long and difficult a process it was for me to even accept the need to begin to learn it in the first place. It's very hard to learn because you have to fight against so many natural human tendencies, like blaming the other guy, having a good opinion of yourself, thinking you're right, thinking that I sound like a holier-than-thou didactic arse. I consider myself lucky to have had a mate who had been through the same process himself and was able to pass the message on. I know fine I'm not a perfect driver, and I've also learned that I have to acknowledge this in order to analyse how to be a better one and try and apply the results. It's difficult to learn to shit all over your self-esteem and start the analysis from the position that you were probably wrong, whether the other guy was a moron or not, and it's difficult also to keep it up; but it's also very much worth doing and the results are of inestimable value.

    387:

    Pigeon said: Maybe I should be saying something like: following a crash which renders the people unable to get out of the car under their own steam (whether because of injury or because of the car being mangled around them), in which type of vehicle are they more likely to be roasted before the emergency services turn up and get them out?

    That seems to resoundingly come down on the side of petrol cars being much much more likely to roast the occupants. Petrol cars are often well alight before they stop sliding, EVs seem to run about 10 minutes as a minimum, up to a couple of days, and seem less likely to catch on fire at all.

    When my brother in law's car caught fire he got it stopped, pulled the fire suppression handle and jumped out, but still ended up in hospital with smoke inhalation (the fire proof suit did its job). Marshals were on the spot in seconds. Car was a total loss. When a friend of a friend's EV started to smoke, he had time to ride back to the pits and connect a garden hose to the bike (he'd already plumbed in cooling channels against this eventuality, such is racing). Some cells needed replacing but that's all.

    Petrol fires are much much quicker.

    388:

    I'm beginning to think of what Musk is doing with Twitter as one of those "Neoliberalism (or neoreactionaryism) can't fail, it can only be failed" moments like the Bush Administration firing all the Baath Party members in Iraq, which included all the teachers and all the minor bureaucrats in charge of everything from driver's licenses to building permits..." It's the same losing strategy.

    389:

    "I chose (1) but I just don't see how I could predict the truck's lane change."

    Yes, I've had exactly the same thing happen and I too haven't been able to figure out how I could have predicted it. It doesn't help that I've never driven a truck so I don't have any starting clues as to what kind of non-obvious cues they manoeuvre in response to. What I have been able to take away from it is that I had very likely got far enough past that he could no longer see me in his mirror, but not quite far enough for him to see me below the cab window, and to take more care to stay to the right of the lane so as to spend less time in that blind spot and also to maximise the initial clearance if anything does happen. But I'm still not happy that I've not been able to work out what the predictive cues are.

    390:

    Pigeon @ 340:

    Regarding those Ami things, again it looks like we broadly agree but are coming at it from different angles. Under current British conditions, yeah, they do rather suck, because you need something else for extra-urban duties and it makes little sense to deal with two full portions of having-a-car hassle and expense instead of just having one car that can handle both. But as I understand it French laws and regulations use more than a single bit to describe "a car", and have several lesser categories below "full-on car" which make it much easier to keep a sub-car for urban use only and a proper one for longer trips as well.

    I look at these every time the subject comes up. I think it could do about 95% of what I need to do around town - maybe more. It's a little electric panel truck that doesn't require a license (although I expect it would here in North Carolina.

    https://www.aixam-pro.com/en/e-truck/van

    It has the room that I could load up instruments & amps OR photo gear (tripods, lights & stands) - maybe both - for the kind of things I used to do (don't know if I'll ever get back to those things post-Covid).

    It has only three drawbacks that I can see:
    • Maximum Speed - I'd have to find a new route to get back & forth to the VA Hospital when I have to go there
    • Maximum Range - It won't do the 60+ mile round trip I need to get back & forth to the VA Hospital ... but based on discussions here about availability of charging stations, I think I could overcome that one too
    • It's not available in the U.S. - That's the one I haven't figured out how to deal with yet ... and I haven't found a street legal alternative that IS available here.

    I'd still keep the Jeep for when I want to drive long distances ... e.g. Blue Ridge Parkway

    391:

    CharlesH @ 344:

    FWIW, I believe, without evidence, that there's an actual increase in the proportion of lesbians, gays, and transexuals these days. I attribute it to pollution by estrogen-mimicking chemicals in the environment. But I acknowledge that this is without evidence and may be wrong. (There's also a study on rats (or was it mice) that claimed that increased population density lead to an increase in homosexuality. So there are other plausible reasons. Which still doesn't prove that it's happening.)

    My OPINION is that there are a panoply of reasons and trying to identify the ONE TRUE REASON is a mug's game. But there are a lot of stupid people looking for that one true reason because they think it will allow them to CURE people they disapprove of (and fear)!

    Hormone-mimicking chemicals in the environment may have something to do with it, but I think it's mainly nowadays people think there's no reason for them to be afraid of being identified as "different".

    392:

    "there are a lot of stupid people looking for that one true reason because they think it will allow them to CURE people they disapprove of"

    When I was a teenager being gay was illegal. (yeah, technically only illegal to be gay and have sex)

    When was a young adult being known to be gay was a career-ending move in many (most?) jobs, and likely to see you ostracized by various groups. And the discrimination was brutal: people being beaten to death for being gay was not uncommon.

    Now we've reached the point where discriminating against gays is frowned on in most environments, and illegal in many.

    That you now see more openly gay people than when I was young would appear to me to require no explanation.

    393:

    icehawk said: people being beaten to death for being gay was not uncommon.

    Happened to a friend. 2pm, busy city centre, plenty of CCTV, cops utterly uninterested. Was at a time when bands of cops were going out gay bashing for sport.

    The "good old days" were pretty shit for the most part.

    394:

    Charlie Stross @ 364:

    What Americans call "suburbia isn't a thing in the UK.

    That may have been true at one time, but FWIW, the range of things Americans call "suburbia' is fairly wide. What you describe as "suburbia" in the U.K. would be "suburbia" in the U.S.

    It certainly describes the community I grew up in which was "suburban" AND within the city limits of Durham, NC.

    The post-WW2 Levittowns were built fairly far out from the urban center, but today even they are deep inside. Levittown, PA is 22 miles from the center of Philadelphia, but there is no open country in between (EXCEPT where the government has managed to reserve park-lands). The same is true for suburbs of almost any city in the U.S.

    Compare: Wellon's Village, Durham, NC to Martins Heron, Bracknell, Berkshire, UK

    Suburbs in the U.S. may have started out detached (because of at the time cheap farmland), but that was THEN ... NOW is pretty much the same as you describe for the U.K.

    The main characteristic for "suburb" in the U.S. is fewer of the residential streets connect to through streets than appear to do in the U.K. ... and other than the north-east U.S. don't have rail service to get you into the city.

    If you need to go downtown to the city, you have to drive through the urban sprawl ... unless you can get on the expressway.

    395:

    It takes two to make an accident. Really.

    I have a dashcam because there was a year when I got rear-ended three times. Two of those times I was stationary at a red traffic light, with a car in front of me and nowhere to go to the sides (either vehicles or approaching traffic). In one case the driver had a micro-nap. In the other the driver apparently misjudged how much room he needed to stop.

    Other than not driving, what should I have done to avoid the collisions?

    Looking forward to becoming a better driver. Really.

    396:

    I found CSAM, but what is CAI?

    397:

    I was wondering about it too. Child Abuse Images?

    398:

    Re exploding battery cars.

    It's worth considering for a moment what actually happens. It's tempting to say, the oxidiser and fuel are right there, which is the same as explosives, so it's just a bomb and the best case is a fizzing bomb rather than a detonation.

    The reality is rather different.

    If it's an impact that internally shorts the battery then the battery level fuses step in and that's the end of that. The gigantic spouts of copper vapour just don't happen.

    If one of the cells is punctured, or distorted enough for a cell level short then it heats up, the electrolyte boils and the cell vents. At this point the BMS will be having kittens, and the car will be screaming at the occupants to get out. The worst case then is that the hot venting heats up neighbouring cells that then start to thermal runaway and vent. That takes several minutes as you would expect. These are cold sealed cells that have thermal mass. They have to absorb a lot of heat from hot gas before they start to self heat, and gas isn't a great conductor of heat.

    There's no fire at this point. The pack vents will have burst and the pack will start to produce copious smoke. The smoke is cold because the heat is going into the hundreds of kg of cold cells. Obviously the pack doesn't vent into the cabin, so there's plenty of warning to get out.

    After about 5-10 minutes the first lot of neighbours start to vent. The amount of smoke coming from the pack increases a lot.

    Another 5-10 minutes later the more distant cells start to vent. The volume of smoke is now so great that it's being vented hot. Any moment now the smoke may catch fire as it leaves the pack vents and mixes with the ambient air. By this time everyone has their mobile phone out and is filming. No one is in any danger. Finally the smoke coming from the pack catches fire. There's a big whoosh as all the nearby smoke burns. That's the bit that goes on YouTube. The 10-20 minutes of smoking gets edited out. "EV erupts in ball of flame, 3 people lucky to make it out alive" gets more clicks than "Another car catches fire, this time it's an EV so no one was hurt"

    This is nothing at all like the descriptions here on this blog. It's also nothing like what happened to my brother in law when a pressurised fuel line split and sprayed fuel onto the glowing turbocharger, completely engulfing the front of the car in flames in milliseconds and filling the cabin with smoke before he could stop.

    399:

    Pigeon @ 386:

    "Being able to accelerate quickly is second only to be able to stop quickly with regards to avoiding potential accidents"

    Any form of evasive action comes second to not getting into the situation in the first place.

    Evasive action should always be Plan B

    Plan A should be not getting into the situation where you need Plan B

    But if life has taught me anything, any time you have a Plan A, you're inevitably going to need Plan B some day, and if you're lucky it won't devolve into Plan C, Plan D ... or go any further down the alphabet.

    But it probably will.

    There are two unalterable facts of life - SHIT HAPPENS and IT'S GONNA' HAPPEN AGAIN!

    400:

    In the US the reasonable drivers of large trucks will turn on their flashing turn signals well before a lane change. And hope the reasonable drivers around them flash their lights to let them know they can proceed with the lane change.

    Not everyone is reasonable.

    401:

    Oh, and "but you can't put it out"

    1, who cares? The car is a write off the instant fire starts regardless of the fuel. The insurers own it now.

    2, who cares? It's not your job to put it out anyway.

    3, who cares? Just spray water on it. Water is cheap. It's not like petrol that spreads if you spray water on it. Nor does it flow down the gutters igniting all the cars parked down hill.

    4, who cares? You can push or drive it to a safe place to burn. Let it burn.

    402:

    If alternatives are found (either technically or geographically) they will be more expensive than li-ion.

    That will make the issue of energy storm worse, not better.

    Referencing back to the issue of pumped hydro earlier in the thread, we could simply build raised earthworks with ponds on top to provide the necessary water reservoir at elevation.

    But it would be so expensive as to make the entire concept of renewable energy uneconomical and uncompetitive.

    Remember, its not whether something can be done, but whether it could be done economically and in a cost competitive manner.

    We simply don't have a renewable energy storage medium that meets that criteria, and in keeping with the laws of physics we probably never will.

    403:

    In addition to the problem of energy storage, fossil fuels are imply indispensable (and generate a significant portion of total greenhouse gases) in the manufacture of fertilizers, concrete steel and plastic - four substances that civilization can't exist with.

    See Vaclav Smil's (aka "Slayer of Bullshit")"The Modern World Can't Exist Without These Four Ingredients. They All Require Fossil Fuels"

    https://time.com/6175734/reliance-on-fossil-fuels/

    Four materials rank highest on the scale of necessity, forming what I have called the four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics, and ammonia are needed in larger quantities than are other essential inputs. The world now produces annually about 4.5 billion tons of cement, 1.8 billion tons of steel, nearly 400 million tons of plastics, and 180 million tons of ammonia. But it is ammonia that deserves the top position as our most important material: its synthesis is the basis of all nitrogen fertilizers, and without their applications it would be impossible to feed, at current levels, nearly half of today’s nearly 8 billion people.

    And these four materials, so unlike in their properties and qualities, share three common traits: they are not readily replaceable by other materials (certainly not in the near future or on a global scale); we will need much more of them in the future; and their mass-scale production depends heavily on the combustion of fossil fuels, making them major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Organic fertilizers cannot replace synthetic ammonia: their low nitrogen content and their worldwide mass are not enough even if all manures and crop residues were recycled. No other materials offer such advantages for many lightweight yet durable uses as plastics. No other metal is as affordably strong as steel. No other mass-produced material is as suitable for building strong infrastructure as concrete (often reinforced with steel).

    404:

    you don't need to accelerate like a maniac

    Well yes, that was sort of the point. Part of why I explained the bit about being a novice driver with a 3-speed manual transmission. No-one would pull out into traffic where it's physically impossible for someone to stop, but there are lots of circumstances where it's perfectly reasonable to expect people to slow down a bit.

    In my Defensive Driving course (paid for by the U.S. Army) we learned a "two second" rule for following distance. No matter the speed of traffic, two seconds should give you enough time & distance to react and brake accordingly.

    That is actually the law here, but it's poorly explained, little understood and seldom observed. To me it translates to 5.5m (roughly a car length) for every 10km/h. For you it would mean about 30 feet per 10mph. It's a floor, not a ceiling, I usually allow more space and double what I think I need if it's raining (or the driver ahead has already done something I think is dumb).

    It's not just about reacting to things on the road. It's perfectly reasonable for someone to slow down suddenly and unexpectedly for no reason that you can see. There are lots of reasons, the validity of which is none of our business, including that someone is tailgating them (see also unnecessary overuse of window washers).

    Meh, I don't want to be preachy about this stuff, but I've been finding aggressive driving behaviour more and more as an affront to sense, taste and a fact-based worldview.

    405:

    fossil fuels are imply indispensable (and generate a significant portion of total greenhouse gases) in the manufacture of fertilizers, concrete steel and plastic - four substances that civilization can't exist with.

    I was going to agree with you, then I thought "I wonder if he meant without" and now I have no idea.

    So: civilisation can't continue burning large quantities of fossil fuels. If that means we can't have fertilizers, concrete steel and plastic then we're either going to experience catastrophic climate change and civilisation will cease, or we're going to do without them before the catastrophe and get to see whether we can have civilisation without them. Or the Ghandi quote about western civilisation... which reminds me of the joke "what do you want for a penny, the earth with a whitewashed fence around it" ... "can I see it please?"

    A lot of this stuff reminds me of people in the past saying "we can't stop doing X", whether that's specific people doing drugs or civilisations doing the equivalent. Trust me, they all stop one way or another.

    406:

    386 - Well, I have thought about this position and decided that the only "3rd" course of action was to decide to not start the overtake myself even though I was (correctly) near certain that the truck would take the next exit.

    389 - Similarly although I have driven a service bus (as driver under instruction) on public highways, well enough that the instructor's only real comment was that I needed to use my mirrors more for my position in lane and less for "what is behind me?"

    390 -
    4) You could load gear OR 1 passenger, but not both at once.
    5) I'd done the same Maximum Range calculation, and reached the conclusion that I had one and only one route available and no recharge options at my destination to allow any diversions either way. There were some occasions when I would have had to divert, and hence run out of charge.

    400 - I repeat, when I saw the turn signal I was already alongside the prime mover; I had to brake 4 times as long a delta distance to slow behind the tailboard as I had to accelerate to clear the cab. I was moving faster than the truck. That is why what I would do if I saw the truck's tailboard turn signal is irrelevant; it was already behind me.

    403 - But you try and tell an environmentalist that they'll not believe you.

    407:

    The problem is this, Duffy. Nobody is insisting that we get rid of all fossil-fuel products. We want to get rid of the specific uses of underground oil which require the spewing of carbon into the atmosphere. Essentially Vaclav Smil is arguing with a position nobody sane is taking, so it's impossible to take Smil seriously.

    408:

    That's one of those situations where you really can find yourself out of options. But it's still possible to take some mitigating action. What I try to do is basically to stop far enough back from the tail of the queue to still have a bit of wiggle room, or at least to absorb the energy of a collision without being pushed into the car in front, and then draw slowly up to the back of the queue once I can see the cars behind are behaving correctly. With variations, obviously, depending on how constricted the space is that the queue is in, what the general traffic speed is, how the cars behind are already behaving, whether the queue is in such a place that cars approaching from behind are likely to come on it unexpectedly, and other such aspects of the specific situation - for instance if the tail end of the queue is just round a bend on what should be an open road, it's useful, if it is possible, to stop before completing the bend so that cars arriving behind can see something's up from a good distance, and then to keep my foot on the brake so the brake lights are on, and put the hazard lights on. Again, I can't comment on your specific experiences because I wasn't there, nor do I claim to be a definitive source of complete information, but hopefully I can convey the principle of what I do know.

    409:

    The idea that all accidents can be avoided if you only took some perfect action is simply not true.

    There is no reason to believe that and it smacks of magical thinking.

    There are plenty of things that can and do happen to you in this world that are beyond your control regardless of how smart you are. Thinking that you can always avoid such by being clever is simply a lie we tell ourselves to sleep well and night. And some car accidents fall in that category.

    The idea that most accidents probably have learnings on both sides is true

    410:

    "See Vaclav Smil's (aka "Slayer of Bullshit")"The Modern World Can't Exist Without These Four Ingredients. They All Require Fossil Fuels""

    Is that "Slayer" or "Propagator"? It is true that in all those four cases process heat is usually provided by combustion of fossil fuels, but that is a long way from combustion of fossil fuels being a necessary requirement.

    Ammonia is a case where it is very well known that you can do the whole thing just with electricity, to the point where it's frequently proposed as a means of storing renewable energy.

    Making cement needs heat, and the heat is used for driving CO2 out of combination in the raw materials. The heat can come from anything that gets hot. As long as it gets hot enough, that's all that's required. But you get lots of CO2 even if the heat source is totally clean, so a better idea is to design structures that don't need so much concrete.

    Steel is a bit of a funny one because reducing the ore with carbon makes the chemistry easier (since the end product needs to contain a small percentage of carbon), but it's not the only option. Previous threads have quoted examples, with links, of processes using only electricity to supply the energy which are at least practical enough for people to have got pilot plants up and running.

    Plastics basically are fossil fuels, because that's the easiest feedstock, but not combusted, because otherwise it wouldn't be plastic that comes out. And the process heat, again, can come from anything that gets hot; it doesn't even need to be all that hot, and it certainly doesn't need to be combustion.

    Sorry, Wally, you don't make me smil.

    411:

    Meh, I don't want to be preachy about this stuff, but I've been finding aggressive driving behaviour more and more as an affront to sense, taste and a fact-based worldview.

    I don't know about the rest of the world but based on what I see locally and hear about from others, asshole driving greatly increased during the pandemic. At least in the US.

    Locally (and I suspect around the country) some of it had to do with the word getting out that the cops were not stopping minor assholes as too many cops were coming down with Covid while dealing with pulling over drivers.

    I'm suspicious that there was/is a high correlation to Covid denial/who cares/anti-vac and asshole driving.

    412:

    Argh! Wency, not Wally - having realised in the moment of hitting Submit.

    413:

    You've both missed the point, and mis-stated my position, by such a large amount that I see no point in trying to take it further.

    414:

    Pigeon you said :

    “The right way to review an arse-twitcher is to start by thinking: what could I have done differently to avoid that happening in the first place? If you think the answer is "nothing", you are almost certainly wrong.”

    I am disagreeing with you as follows

    “Sometimes the answer is “nothing” or at least “nothing that would have mattered much”

    I am not angry or offended and I support your point that reviewing your conduct and looking for improvement is a good response

    Explain to me how I misunderstood you?

    415:

    “Sometimes the answer is “nothing” or at least “nothing that would have mattered much”

    We lost a car to an insurance company payout. My wife was stopped behind someone at a traffic light in a place were her being 1/2 to 1 car behind was considered normal. She was rear ended while stopped by an unlicensed driver driving a car owned by someone else and neither of them had insurance. It shortened the length of our car by a inch or few. Which crumpled a LOT of sheet metal in the rear of the car. And pushed her into the car ahead.

    Their was no way to avoid it. By the time she might realize someone is going to hit her from the rear she had no where to go and no time to do anything.

    416:

    Two such incidents with my wife

    The first was similar to yours only she was first in line at a red light. Got rear ended by a kid coming off the freeway, totaled the car. Kid was like “oh man k didn’t know there was light at the end of that off-ramp and I wasn’t paying attention”

    Second was driving a narrow mountain road, cliff on one side, drop on the other. Came around a turn to see a drunk driver in her lane coming straight at her at 70mph. Totaled both cars, fortunately the air bags saved her. Guy had a ton of DUI’s. Cops locked him up.

    In neither case was there anything substantive she could have done to improve her situation. Zero opportunity to even do anything in the first one , no time to react in the second

    Sometimes the universe just gets up that morning, yawns, stretches and says “let’s go fuck that particular guy” and that particular guy is you.

    Now that being said I have had maybe five near misses just about all of which I could have behaved better and one wreck that taught me to be damn careful when driving in freezing rain.

    417:

    Yep. When I stop on a motorcycle I try to arrange myself such that if the car coming from behind doesn't stop I can jump into the next lane, or between the cars in front or whatever, and I leave a bit of a gap to facilitate that.

    One day I was stopped at an intersection. Car came up behind me, I braced for evasive action... And they stopped.

    Relax.

    Then they drove off, right over the top of me and the motorcycle.

    I ended up fine, somehow not being squished by the car, or the bike as it was run over, nor run into by the flowing traffic in the cross street that I'd been waiting for a break in.

    One week old bike was a complete write off.

    418:

    "403 - But you try and tell an environmentalist that they'll not believe you."

    Yes, well, counsels of despair are often disbelieved, on the grounds that if true, you're stuffed anyway, and if false then you might be able to do something about it.

    JHomes

    419:

    Also, a lack of practice during COVID. I had a pretty bad accident within the first couple days of going back to work, and attributed it to the fact of not driving for weeks on end prior to vaccines coming out.

    420:

    They're all about owning a herd of childbearing submissive feminine property, and F-to-M transition reduces the pool of "available" women for them to impregnate (in their own imagination).

    do u have any names for these dudes, i don't remember coming across them in my meanderings through the manosphere and their handmaid's tale harem fantasies sound fringe enough that "hardly anyone" might still apply

    421:

    Whitroth said "I've yet to read anything in the Guardian that's anti-trans" and I just realised that I haven't either.

    .... they make the headlines obvious enough that I can just skip those articles.

    422:

    I was taught to stop at least far enough back to be able to see the rear tyres of the car in front, simply so you could tell easily when they started moving again. I've been rear-ended while stopped behind another car at lights a couple of times (both times they said they just wen't paying attention), and while neither time was I pushed into the car in front, once was because I saw the car coming behind and had consciously planted by foot on the brake*. Since then I've taken to stopping further back, so there's at least somewhere to go if it happens (I often move up once someone has stopped behind, at least if that means unblocking a slip lane or something).

    The thing that annoys me the most about aggressive driving is that the perps gain nothing. It's like the some gambler's fallacy stretched out into a life-or-death game, basically unmixed, un-iced, as it were unlubricated arseholery.

    * I was in a small Volvo (the S40, I guess one of the last sedans they made in that size), he was in a Mitsubishi Magna. I felt a slight bump, his air-bags went off and his radiator emptied itself onto the road, having taken a mortal wound from my tow-bar. There was a scratch on my boot (trunk) lid, his insurance replaced the lid. No idea of the fate of the Magna, though I guess it was repairable. Bloke was a lawyer who owned his small law firm, so I figure it could have been worse. I ended up cooking the engine in that Volvo after it lost its coolant in heavy traffic: maybe that's some weird karmic thing.

    423:

    NOTE FOR AMERICANS ON THIS BLOG: when a Brit is talking about "suburbia" they mean dense urban sprawl along roads where the houses might have a garden and/or a garage and are spaced maybe 5-10 metres apart and there are sidewalks and you can walk alongside the nice quiet street with a 20-30mph speed limit.

    What Americans call "suburbia isn't a thing in the UK.

    There are sort of two suburbia's in the US. The one you're thinking of sort of showed up in the early 60s into the 70s then mostly went away. In terms of new builds. The housing and lots built prior to the 60s tended to look like what you describe for the UK. Due to people could not afford bigger. 800-1500sf with 1/6 acre or smaller lots. (75-140sm) Then as every thing got more expensive into the later 70s / early 80s lots sizes grew to 1/3 to 1/2 acre and houses grew to 2000-3000sf. (185-280sm). For all kinds of reasons. Then prices got even higher so people went back to almost 0 lot lines and 3000+ sf houses. Ugh. I've lived in and helped build houses from all of this time across the country. Or have relatives or friends who live in them.

    What the movies and TV mostly show as suburbia isn't reality for most people. The Queens house of Archie Bunker is more typical for many.

    Anyway, in all kinds of smaller towns across the US, 70 mile range on an EV is going to cause a lot of friction in people's day to day lives. It just will. And I'm ignoring the need to get to 70mph to go anywhere. I have spent all but 1 1/2 year of the 68 years of my life avoiding such craziness. But if you visit Bend Oregon, Cape Girardeau Missouri, Tyler Texas, Versailles Kentucky, Metropolis Illinois, Manchester Connecticut, etc... You'll find living conditions that most of the US who are not in Urban centers live in. And a 70 mile range will be hard just due to how they are laid out. So bulldoze most small towns in the US or give people range of 100-150 miles.

    And to hearken back to an earlier reference, once you leave the entertainment section of Las Vegas you'll find that most housing is Archie Bunker or McMansion. Depending on when built. And this is true of most larger US cities.

    And to tie this all back to current events. No one in the US is happy with the current housing situation. They all want it to go back to what was great. But there seem to be a dozen or more major definitions of what "great" means.

    424:

    on the wikipedlo it is said that "He lives in a house with unusually thick insulation, grows some of his own food, and eats meat roughly once a week.[10] He reads 60 to 110 non-technical books a year and keeps a list of all books he has read since 1969. He 'does not intend to have a cell phone ever.'"

    425:

    Whitroth said "I've yet to read anything in the Guardian that's anti-trans" and I just realised that I haven't either.

    There is a US version of the Guardian that is what I and maybe Whitroth see which likely has an almost entirely different set of people writing the articles. To the extend they seem to be fully staffed in the US to keep up with politics and daily national news.

    426:

    The thing that annoys me the most about aggressive driving is that the perps gain nothing. It's like the some gambler's fallacy stretched out into a life-or-death game, basically unmixed, un-iced, as it were unlubricated arseholery.

    I'm somewhat convinced it's a substitute for getting out a 5 to 8 inch ruler.

    427:

    when a Brit is talking about "suburbia" they mean dense urban sprawl along roads where the houses might have a garden and/or a garage and are spaced maybe 5-10 metres apart and there are sidewalks and you can walk alongside the nice quiet street with a 20-30mph speed limit

    This totally describes where I live in Brisbane. My burb is contiguous with others like it, with density increasing toward the city centre, so you can get there mostly on quiet streets, though you might have to cross some main roads, at least until it's busy enough that there are no longer "quiet streets". Certainly there are no highways or freeways involved. I'm about 10km from the city centre. I'm pretty sure this is called suburbia here and would be in the USA too. But, as I mentioned at 308 above, I think there are several suburbias.

    It's less about space than about growth and time. Much of Brisbane grew around tram lines then railways, with car-based growth kicking in after the war. My suburb has a train line, but it's 2-3 suburbs out from the nearest tram terminus (before the tram lines were ripped up in the 60s). I can walk to a train station and local shops, which I think is a more reliable indicator of the sort of suburbia you're talking about here.

    428:

    Then you cain't see Oregon, Pigeon. 65MPH is the posted limit one mile from my suburb on I-205, and 10-15MPH faster is common in daylight hours.

    Yep. I drove that bit of I-5 about ten days ago, and that's during the current Covid era of little travel.

    Unpacking for people not in the Portland metro area: On the map just south of Tualatin you'll see Interstate 5 crossing the Willamette River, next to a golf course/housing development. That's the only crossing for an inconvenient distance in either direction, which I will remember for a long time because I got caught there trying to get home after the solar eclipse a few years ago and that's where my 'travel the back roads' plan failed.

    Much worse is trying to get across the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington states. Offhand I don't see any route that doesn't involve highway travel other than the Cathlamet Ferry - which I've taken and will unhesitatingly recommend to anyone who's on vacation in the area, but which is spectacularly not a practical way to get from Portland across the river to Vancouver. It would be impractical even if it served Portland rather than being 60 miles downriver.

    Portland also has the Hayden Island neighborhood, where we held Orycon in the Before Times and will again. It's served by I-5 and there is no other bridge; if your vehicle isn't fit for the highway you can't get there.

    429:

    Pigeon
    It takes two to make an accident. Really.
    Come on, you should know better than this - look at RAIB & {before that Mot & Bot} rail accident reports. Many years ago, I was sitting in a traffic queue & car, driven by an apparently uninsured learner came out of a side-turning, missed direction, hit the car in front of me a glancing blow & then accelerated { foot on wrong pedal, probably } into me. I had time to jam the brakes full on, as well as the already-on handbrake. ONE PERSON was responsible.
    - And thanks to: Rbt Prior, John S { Who indicates the multiple-level backups that Rail & Air safety should have }, & Unholyguy,

    Icehawk
    And the discrimination was brutal: people being beaten to death for being gay was not uncommon. - yeah well - it was tried on me. I lost a LOT of blood.

    430:

    A much better metaphor is that Mastodon is to Twitter as old-time email was to Gmail (which has gradually subsumed almost all other services and still presents external SMTP and IMAP APIs but is basically its own thing these days and makes it increasingly difficult to run your own server elsewhere).

    No, it's not a better metaphor. E-mail has no discovery function, you don't generally send an open letter to the world at large and expect replies from people you don't know. Maybe a mailing-list would be a better one?

    Anyway, since mastodon instances appear to be blocking each other left and right over ideological differences (server A allows in a person B, who is friends with person C whom we hate, so we better ban everyone from server A just in case), we'll soon end up having to have a separate account for every instance. Just like with good old forums.

    431:

    Time for someone to reinvent the web of trust stuff people used to believe in back in the 90s :)

    432:

    I was running at 70mph indicated on the M8, overtaking an articulated truck

    I have PTSD from driving the M8 into Glasgow ... specifically the Westbound Junction 17/18 exits, where the motorway is four lanes wide and J17 forks off to the left as J18 forks to the right.

    (For American readers: swap sides of the road.)

    Basic strategy: as the motorway begins to narrow and the traffic gets denser, work out which lane you want to be in until it's time to exit, get in that lane, and stick to it regardless of overall traffic speed.

    The only worse junction I can think of off-hand is one of the routes on the A58(M) where it becomes the Leeds Inner Ring Road, running as an underpass. You dive down into this concrete canyon two lanes wide, it curves to the left ... and just past the blind bend there's an on-ramp with traffic trying to ram your passenger door.

    (Designed back in the 1960s by architects who hadn't spent nearly enough time studying motorway/freeway/autobahn horrors overseas: I believe both types of junction are no longer allowed to be built in the UK, but in both cases they're already on the ground in the middle of a city centre and prohibitively disruptive to replace.)

    433:

    CAI = Child Abuse Imagery.

    (Subtly different from CSAM = Child Sex Abuse Material.)

    434:

    A friend of mine had his car break down about there. Apparently maneuvering it to a place of relative safety after the gearbox underwent spontaneous disassembly was an exciting experience.

    435:

    Who cares if you can't put a fire out?

    Yes, letting it burn out is fine for the single-vehicle crashes away from buildings etc. But the reason that the fire service puts fires out when the vehicle, building or whatever is already clearly a write off is to stop it spreading to other vehicles, buildings or whatever.

    Water may be cheap, but fire engines' capacities are not unlimited, and there is rarely a close source of almost unlimited water. The number of engines is also not unlimited, and having to stay there until a fire burns out (rather than is put out) already strains the resources of many services.

    This is a problem.

    You might also like to find out why so few (even car-crushing) accidents end up in fireballs, given the risk of petrol igniting. Reducing that risk did not happen by accident. The same is true for lithium battery fires, but the technology needs to be a LOT more complex, is still under active development, and is currently not required by regulation. That is why the statistics are what they are. And, no, we don't know what the relative (severity weighted) risks of petrol and EV cars are yet.

    436:

    1/4 of all greenhouse gas emissions come from their manufacture:

    concrete 8% steel 11% fertilizer 2% plastics 4% total 25%

    This is significant, and will only increase.

    In round figures, production of the first three are projected to increase 2% annually with plastics growing at an annual rate of 5%.

    437:

    To stop using these underground fossil fuels would require a massive build out of renewable energy sources (solar arrays, wind farms, etc.) which will require massive quantities of concrete, steel and plastics.

    Which in turn will create a massive spike in GHG emissions - a spike which would put our planet over the edge into inescapable feedback loops (starting with methane releases from melted tundra and clathrate formations on the bottom of the ocean.

    At that point it will no longer matter what kind of energy we use.

    And after all that we still have (short of a fantasy/miracle technology breakthrough) a problem with cheap renewable energy storage.

    Notice I said "cheap".

    We could easily build all of the necessary renewable energy storage we want now. But it won't be cheap enough to make it cost effective. For example, going back to the pumped hydro discussion earlier in the thread, we could construct massive artificial earthworks with enough height and with storage ponds having enough volume to provide all the hydro pumped energy storage you need. From a technology point of view, this is a piece of cake. All you need are bulldozers. But is would be massively expensive to the point where the entire renewable energy production/storage system is too expensive to build.

    We spend too much time looking at technical approaches without ever asking if they are economically viable.

    Because, if energy becomes too expensive in real terms than ALL of us (not just Russian oligarchs, Saudi sheiks or Texas oilmen) become poorer in real terms. Nobody is going to accept poverty and lower standards of living even if it means saving the planet for our grandchildren.

    Nobody.

    Human nature won't allow it.

    As for using batteries for renewable energy storage, Peter Zeihan's point is that while there are other sources of lithium they will not be cheaper than current sources of lithium. There is a reason why lithium is mined in its current locations - its cheap to mine them at these locations. So once again, we can find alternate sources of lithium but they will make the whole renewable energy production/storage system too expensive to build without making everyone poorer.

    Some problems are not solvable - unless you believe in technology breakthroughs that haven't happened yet.

    438:

    One of the very few times I regretted not having a prat nav was taking the M8 westbound at Glasgow - I wanted to bypass Glasgow, but didn't, and it was a pain to get out again :-(

    439:

    You're right, that should read "without" (I sometimes wish our host would allow an edit option).

    Anyhow, you're right. Civilization can't exist without the massive consumption of fossil fuels and subsequent massive emissions of GHGs.

    If we suddenly stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, billions would die and/or be thrown into pre-industrial dark ages poverty.

    But if we don't stop using fossil fuels, billions will die from drought, famine, forced migration, war, heat domes, etc. as the globe heats up.

    So what do we do?

    We could try a massive build out of nuclear energy. However, like a massive build out of renewables this effort will require a lot of concrete, steel and plastic - and spikes in GHGs. Costs, safety and public opposition probably makes this a non starter.

    We could use fossil fuels more efficiently, reducing the the amount of GHG per unit of energy produced. This means shifting over to natural gas which produces half the GHG emissions per kWh as coal. And if I could wave my magic wand and immediately cute GHG emissions in half, I would call that a major victory for planet Earth.

    We could create new carbon sinks (plant a shitload of trees, fertilize the oceans with iron sulfate, etc.), but these tend to be very expensive and don't work as advertised (with their own negative environmental side effects).

    We could let renewable energy use grow naturally and organically as the result of individual and business decisions driven by market signals. If you want a PVC array on your home's roof and it makes sense financially, then go for it. Small incremental increases of this kind will do more to reduce GHG emissions than forced massive super projects - which have an annoying habit of becoming white elephants.

    But the biggest impact on global climate would result from simply having fewer people. Declining and again populations purchase fewer goods, which require fewer resources and emit fewer GHGs. Despite recently reaching 8 billion we are well on the way to bending the population curve. We may not even reach 9 billion before the human population begins to decline. Reducing the world's population to about 1 billion, even when living the American lifestyle, should save us.

    Why is this happening? Aside from most of humanity now living in cities (in the countryside children are an economic asset, in the city they are an expensive hobby), the very real danger posed by hormone blocking forever chemicals and microplastics (which can be found now everywhere from rainwater to the hamburger you just ate to the placenta of newborns) reducing sperm counts and shrinking penises world wide - the biggest impact on birthrates comes from women being educated and having careers.

    Give women educational and career opportunities and they stop having 12 kids. Who knew?

    So instead of relying on fantasy technological advances that have not occurred yet (or may not occur in time to stop us from going over the climate tipping point where nothing we do then will matter), or requiring massive build outs of radically new energy and transportation infrastructures - there is one simple thing we can do that will save us all.

    Educate girls.

    If we don't we can expect an apocalyptic crash in population from global warming that will also leave us with less than 1 billion people. Either way, nature will achieve a sustainable balance.

    440:

    Re the E-Ami: that is why my proposed solution would have more space, a (marginally) higher speed AND much more range than an E-Ami. How would I achieve that? By basing it on (pedal powered) cycle designs not motor ones. Yes, I would sacrifice comfort, gimmicks (a.k.a. optional features) and crash-resistance. Some people would claim that is unacceptable, but the viability of cycling shows that it isn't.

    As I said, radical social and political changes would be needed, but we need to be at least that radical to tackle the climate crisis and the UK's transport one. I am not unrealistic about the chances of seeing such changes :-(

    441:

    the motorway is four lanes wide and J17 forks off to the left as J18 forks to the right

    It seems to be the thing now, 5 lanes with exit lanes on both sides, where the centre lane might be the overtaking lane for a while, but it's not a stable situation all the way through the system. It's most troubling in tunnels, they have repeaters for terrestrial radio and cellular data, but of course GPS doesn't work, so the idea that one could rely on the latter just fails flat.

    442:

    For everyone's reference, this is the intersection Charlie was talking about.

    443:

    Yes. I think that it was the one that I went wrong at! Damn confusing.

    444:

    Duffy
    A LOT of concrete could be disposed of/not used, if we went back to Masonry, for a large number of applications, I think.

    Give women educational and career opportunities and they stop having 12 kids. Who knew? US fundagelical arseholes, that's who.
    If SCOTUS is not reformed, soon, there might be some more "strange fruit" dangling about.

    Damian
    Only to be rivalled by this one?

    445:

    Nuclear actually needs shockingly little concrete per MWH produced. Reactors are big piles of it, yes, but they are on all the time, they produce a lot of power and last a really long time.

    446:

    That's one of those situations where you really can find yourself out of options. But it's still possible to take some mitigating action.

    Given that I always leave plenty of room in front when I stop, I was doing you mitigating measures already. But your comment "it takes two to make an accident" means you still consider me somehow at fault as well as the sleeping driver who hit me.

    447:

    There's an interesting article today on modern Dutch agriculture, "Cutting-edge tech made this tiny country a major exporter of food". Perhaps relevant to discussions of future possibilities for dealing with climate change, energy transition, etc.

    It's unlinkable, but googling on the title will find it.

    Adrian Smith