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Oh, 2022!

Back in December of 2016 I took a look at what the next year held in store for us. It spanned three blog posts and ended happily in a nuclear barbecue to put us all out of our misery: start here, continue with this, and finale: and the Rabid Nazi Raccoons shall inherit the Earth.

It is now early 2022 and I clearly wasn't pessimistic enough.

About 15 years ago, when I was working on Halting State, I came up with a rule of thumb for predicting the near-future setting in SF. Looking 10 years ahead, about 70% of the people, buildings, cars, and culture is already here today. Another 20-25% is not present yet but is predictable -- buildings under construction, software and hardware and drugs in development, children today who will be adults in a decade. And finally, there's about a 5-10% element that comes from the "who ordered that" dimension: nobody in 2010 expected Elon Musk's SpaceX to be flying astronauts to the space station in a reusable, privately developed spaceship by 2020, nobody in 2005 expected Donald Trump to be elected POTUS in 2015, and so on.

More recently, 2016 prompted me to rethink this rule of thumb. Global climate change, accelerating technological developments in various fields (notably AI/deep learning and batteries), and political instability (in large part a side-effect of social media) made everything much more unpredictable. We're now up to about 20% of 10-year-hence developments being utterly unpredictable, leaving us with 55-60% in the "here today" and 20-25% in the "not here yet, but clearly on the horizon" baskets.

COVID19 is clearly part of the 20% "who ordered that" collection. Nobody in March 2019 imagined that by March 2020 the UK would be in lockdown and they'd be storing corpses in refrigerator lorries in New York and Milan. It's not entirely a black swan; anyone who knew about the history of pandemics knew to expect something like it in due course, and indeed Laurie Garrett won a Pulitzer prize for her book, The Coming Plague in 1994, which predicted more or less exactly what we're living through today. What she didn't predict in 1994 (writing in 1991-93) is almost more interesting than what she did— nobody in the 20th century imagined that within just two decades we'd be able to sequence the genome of a new pathogen within days, much less hours, or design a new vaccine within two weeks and have it in human clinical trials a month later. If the SARS family of coronaviruses had emerged just a decade earlier it's quite likely we'd be on the brink of civilizational, if not species-level, extinction by now—SARS1 has 20% mortality among patients, MERS (aka SARS2) is up around 35-40% fatal, SARS-NCoV19, aka SARS3, is down around the 1-4% fatality level. If SARS1 had gone pandemic we might plausibly have lost a billion people within two years.

Luckily both SARS and MERS are far less contagious than COVID19, but don't count on this continuing. Those viruses still exist in animal reservoirs, and we know COVID19 circulates between humans and other species and can hybridize with other viruses. The worst easily-imaginable COVID19 variant would be a MERS/COVID19-Omicron hybrid—call it the Omega strain—with the lethality of MERS and the contagiousness of Omicron, which is worse than the common cold, somewhere around the same level as chickenpox. (We don't remember how awful chickenpox was because (a) we're generally vaccinated in infancy and (b) it's not a killer on the same level as its big sibling, Variola, aka smallpox. But the so-called "childhood diseases" like mumps, rubella, and chickenpox used to kill infants by windrows. There's a reason public health bodies remain vigilant and run constant vaccination campaigns against them, despite these campaigns being so successful that deaths from these diseases are so rare, leading perversely to an upswing in vaccine denialism.

Remember, this isn't a simple pneumonia bug. It's a virus that attacks the RAAS/ACE2 system, in particular all the epithelial tissues, and any other cells that express ACE2 receptors on their surfaces. It can mess with your kidneys. It can mess with fat cells, changing their response to insulin. It apparently shows up in brain tissue. Viral RNA can be found in all of these cells many months after recovery from the acute infection: it may have long-term sequelae, like Shingles, which only show up years to decades later. We do know long COVID effects up to 15% of people who are diagnosed with an infection, and can last months to years. We know that immunity is short-lived, and people can get repeat infections (currently mostly by new strains, but reinfection with an old strain is not impossible).

A different "worst case" isn't that we all die of a horrendous Omega strain with the lethality of the Black Death and the infectiousness of the common cold. Instead, we get hit by a new wave every 6 months, and all of us get it sooner or later, and each time you roll 1d6 and if you come up with a 1 you get organ damage, cognitive impairment, and chronic fatigue lasting for years: after a decade, half of humanity are walking wounded.

However. I didn't come here to bore you with COVID19—you can get all the news you want in the media, mass or social. My only COVID-related prediction is that it's here to stay until we develop a temperature-stable, cheap, broad-spectrum coronavirus vaccine that is patent-free, and get round to vaccinating the entire human population, before yet another strain comes along that exhibits immune escape. This may or may not happen before Omega emerges—remember, viruses do not inevitably evolve to be less lethal, they merely obey selection pressure to not kill their hosts before they have infected new hosts. But if we're lucky? We'll dodge the Omega bullet, and by 2030 we might be getting past COVID19 and its long-term consequences.

In fact, let's ignore COVID19. What is the world of 2031 going to look like, bloated graveyards and chronic fatigue clinics and high-profile public health campaigns aside?

The mRNA vaccine technologies that gave us the high profile COVID vaccines are spin-offs of a breakthrough that was creeping hopefully towards deployment years before COVID19 fired up the afterburners and hurled it at a cost-no-object wartime deployment. One of the target diseases for the new vaccine technology is now in advanced human clinical trials: it's HIV, and by 2031 there's a very high probability that HIV (the causative agent of AIDS) will be going into the cocktail of childhood vaccinations that Christianist preachers like to rail against, along with HPV. If we're really lucky the campaign to develop a genuinely broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus vaccine will give us a cure for most strains of the common cold, with influenza on top. Influenza is a real killer, although we tend to forget about it these days, taking it for granted as endemic. We're going to see a lot of research into antiviral drugs and stuff to do with RAAS/ACE2, which incidentally implies possible curative treatments for Type II diabetes and essential hypertension.

Looking further afield: it seems likely that the end of internal combustion engines will be in sight. Some countries are already scheduling a ban on IC engines to come in after 2030—electric cars are now a maturing technology with clear advantages in every respect except recharge time. Once those IC cars are no longer manufactured, we can expect a very rapid ramp-down of extraction and distribution industries for petrol and diesel fuels, leading to a complete phase-out possibly as early as 2040. As about half of global shipping is engaged in the transport of petrochemicals or coal at this point, this is goin to have impacts far beyond the obvious. Toyota in the UK are proposing to remanufacture EVs up to three times in a decade—probably by replacing/recycling the battery systems—which implies a major disruption both to after-sales service for cars, and to the second hand market. Expect a boom in leasing, including cheap "refurbished" cars with 1-3 previous leasing cycles in their logbook, and a sharp decline in the regular second-hand market and car dealerships.

In space ... well, SpaceX seem likely to fly a prototype Starship stack to orbit in early 2022. Whether or not they go bust the next day, by so doing they will have proven that a designed-for-full-reuse two-stage-to-orbit design with a payload greater than a Saturn V is possible. I don't expect them to go bust: I expect them to make bank. The next decade is going to be absolutely wild in terms of human spaceflight. I'm not predicting a first human landing on Mars in that decade, but I'd be astonished if we don't see a crewed moonbase by 2031—if not an American one, then China is targeting crewed Lunar missions in the 2030s, and could easily bring that forward.

Climate: we're boned. Quite possibly the Antarctic ice shelves will be destablized decades ahead of schedule, leading to gradual but inexorable sea levels rising around the world. This may paradoxically trigger an economic boom in construction—both of coastal defenses and of new inland waterways and ports. But the dismal prospect is that we may begin experiencing so many heat emergencies that we destabilize agriculture. The C3 photosynthesis pathway doesn't work at temperatures over 40 degrees celsius. The C4 pathway is a bit more robust, but not as many crops make use of it. Genetic engineering of hardy, thermotolerant cultivars may buy us some time, but it's not going to help if events like the recent Colorado wildfires become common.

Politics: we're boned there, too. Frightened people are cautious people, and they don't like taking in refugees. We currently see a wave of extreme right-wing demagogues in power in various nations, and increasingly harsh immigration laws all round. I can't help thinking that this is the ruling kleptocracy battening down the hatches and preparing to fend off the inevitable mass migrations they expect when changing sea levels inundate low-lying coastal nations like Bangladesh. The klept built their wealth on iron and coal, then oil: they invested in real estate, inflated asset bubble after asset bubble, drove real estate prices and job security out of reach of anyone aged under 50, and now they'd like to lock in their status by freezing social mobility. The result is a grim dystopia for the young—and by "young" I mean anyone who isn't aged, or born with a trust fund—and denial of the changing climate is a touchstone. The propaganda of the Koch network and the Mercer soft money has corrupted political discourse in the US, and increasingly the west in general. Australia and the UK have their own turbulent billionaires manipulating the political process.

COVID brought this problem to the fore by generating a demand shock and also a labour shortage. It gets little news coverage but we're seeing the biggest wave of labour unrest in the USA since the 1930s. In the UK it's muted because the economy also took a battering from Brexit—an estimated 6% contraction since 2020—which COVID provides a convenient scapegoat for. But eventually the bills will come due. We may be entering a pre-revolutionary situation, or the ramp-up to a dictatorial clampdown (the latter is clearly in an advanced stage in both China and Russia). By 2031 it's likely to be resolved in one direction or another; I can only hope, with a minimum of bloodshed.

But this is all predictable. (Except for COVID19 which was wide-screen WTFery, like the second world war—September 1st 1939 was not in fact predictable from September 1st 1929, for example: all that was predictable was that another European war would sooner or later see France and Germany at loggerheads.)

What are the unpredictables of the past couple of years? Not the big stuff like a global pandemic, but the utter WTFery that would give texture to an SF story set ten years out? Here are some recent headlines, just by way of a baseline:

  • Counterfeit Kamov Helicopter Ring Busted: Moldovan police last week shut down a factory in Cruileni allegedly making unauthorized copies of Russian Kamov-26 coaxial rotor utility helicopters. More than 10 helicopters were under assembly in the covert factory when it was raided on June 30. (Charlie notes: yup, the Transnistrian mafia were involved.)

  • Man Upset That Hackers Stole His Bored Ape NFTs: Hackers tricked a man who was selling three NFT images of apes into giving them up for free on Saturday, according to the man, who claimed that the stolen NFTs were worth "over a million dollars." Alternative headline: Everybody loves unregulated derivatives markets until their imaginary wallet full of monkey jpegs gets stolen. (None of this would have made any sense to anyone in 2011)

  • Quantum bible changes: fundamentalists remember reading something in the King James Version, when they try to look it up it isn't there, so obviously something something quantum indeterminacy something woo woo Satan edited the Bible under us!!! because oh I give up. If you thought fundamentalist Christianity was feco-chiropteroid crazy, wait until you see what fundamentalists do when they misunderstand the Many Worlds hypothesis. See also the Mandela effect. As RationalWiki comments, with masterful understatement, "Mainstream, peer-reviewed publications have not explored the Mandela effect, and the claim that some false memories are caused by parallel dimensions going berserk is, shall we say, difficult to falsify."

Anyway, I hope you now understand why I do not believe in 2022: it's only January and it's already too silly for my willing suspension of disbelief.

2356 Comments

1:

If SARS1 had gone pandemic we might plausibly have lost a billion people within two years.

My father was an epidemiologist. When SARS was happening and the local Chinese press was freaking out we had a long chat about what SARS actually was and how it spread, and I remember him saying if it spread by aerosol transmission it would be horrible, but as it was it just required careful isolation and tracing to contain. And as it turned out, he was right.

So yeah, we got really lucky there.

(he was also right about the political system learning nothing from a prevented epidemic, because you can't prove that your preventative measures succeeded. As witness the slow starvation of our health care system, or the closing of infectious disease monitoring units…)

2:

"Omega"

Is this a hidden reference to the Charlton Heston movies from around 1970 where a plague wiped out most everyone. And turned most of those left into creatures of the night?

3:

Is this a hidden reference to the Charlton Heston movies from around 1970

No.

Our current strain of concern is o-micron (small-o). A plausible worse version would be o-mega (big-o). See also Variola major and Variola minor.

4:

great post. i feel like if corona came a decade earlier we'd have sorted the problem out fine without a vaccine because there were much less social-media fuelled culture war brain rot. [citation needed] 65-70% vaccine uptake in the face of a killer disease is pretty abysmal. where do you get your conclusion of waning immunity? it's nowhere near an open and shut case yet. t cells in bone marrow is ~95+% after almost two years or something (+-5%). antigens are a distraction. (my speculation only)

what do you make of phil thunderfoot mason's sodium, sodium hydorxide fuel additive idea that emits aerosol and captures co2 into sodium carbonate? youtube video hl3azgw9xzm warning for annoying presentation style. manufacturing cost and major corrosion related engineering difficulties notwithstanding. cooling the planet down by some tech-bro solution seems appealing, but i don't know much. old man shouting at clouds, but because there aren't enough of them this time.

5:

Looking further afield: it seems likely that the end of internal combustion engines will be in sight.

Hyundai (Kia) just announced that most of their IC engineering teams are being transferred to EV development. Those left in IC are for regulatory changes and incremental improvements of the current designs.

Personally we were looking to replace our 11 year old Hyundai after it got totaled in Oct 2020. After looking around we decided to deal with what we have (6 year old Civic and 13 year old Tundra) until more hybrid and/or EV choices are available.

I find it interesting all the rants I see about how EVs will not work as no one wants to spend 20 minutes charging at the "new" gas station. They can't get their head around the concept that there will not exist most gas stations. Unless you drive 200 miles a day you'll charge at home. Apartments are an issue to be solved but ...

Then there are those 99 year leases. Maybe it's a US thing.

Politics

In the US, and from what I can tell in some/most of Europe, the population wants politicians who can roll the clock back to a time that never existed and can never be re-created. What happens when they realize the truth. Or will they never accept the truth and be like "true" libertarians who claim their systems never succeed because they are never done correctly.

6:

Omega - Obviously the last letter of the Greek alphabet, used for identifying "variants of concern" as mutations of SARS-NCoV19. Obs. It also being a reference to the film title is clearly coincidental.

Actually, my original serious thought was that the virus might prove lethal enough to help with AGW and, indeed, with the housing bubble.

7:

Everybody loves unregulated derivatives markets until their imaginary wallet full of monkey jpegs gets stolen. (None of this would have made any sense to anyone in 2011)

Still doesn't to me, except as vindication for Keynes' adage that markets can remain irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

8:

I love these kinds of posts! I would, however, caution about thinking that the end of ICE car manufacturing will be dictated solely by government diktat. It will most likely come earlier and more chaotically because of manufacturers being unable to source parts and components to continue making those cars.

The auto industry is basically a pyramid where OEMs [ie the car companies] depend on module/system [Tier1] suppliers as well as component suppliers [Tier 2] and Parts suppliers [Tier 3]. Those relationships are built on contracts that span out to five years and beyond. Today, contracts are being negotiated for 2025-2030. Those contracts, if happening at all, are being done for much lower quantities of units. After all, an EV does not need a cast-aluminium gearbox assembly. The manufacturers within those tiers are highly competitive among themselves and they know they need to find alternative to manufacture and remain viable well in advance of 2030. For OEMs this means trouble finding components, and paying much higher prices for those than they used to [ie the suppliers are costing in the risks]. This means that ICE car prices will skyrocket at the same time that EV prices go mainstream.

9:

On the subject of bored apes (kinda).

Tether is exposed as a massive fraud and Bitcoin goes to zero.

or

Ransomware bandits fuck up a really important piece of US infrastructure (They came close with the recent pipeline shenanigans). The US authorities go batshit crazy and a wave of wet jobs, drone strikes and extraordinary renditions is launched against the ransomware gangs.

10:

As you say. Most of the things that have happened were predicted, with the problem is that the future is a random walk. It's relatively easy to predict the type of change, but the timescale and details are guesswork. And then there is the WTFery, like NFTs.

I would predict that most of the changes will be adaptations to things you mentioned. Given the utter pig's ear our governments are making of them (no, I will not bore you with my EV rant again), including not taking hard decisions about how to live with endemic COVID and (Cthulhu save us!) the climate, I am not expecting fun.

I am also expecting that the USA and UK will be full-blown fascist oligarchies by 2030, with the options of civil war and (probably) anti-Muslim pogroms thrown in. Sinn Fein will take Northern Ireland and possibly Eire this year, which I am not expecting to go well.

History does not lead us to believe that kleptocrats retiring to fortified islands will save them when the shit really hits the fan. It's quite likely that, by 2030, the world's financial Ponzi scheme will have fallen apart because climate change will have crashed the sources of the world's actual wealth. The problem is that the suffering will spread from the bottom up :-(

11:

Note: Your Rabid Nazi Raccoons link points to the 2nd installment instead.

12:

Toyota in the UK are proposing to remanufacture EVs up to three times in a decade—probably by replacing/recycling the battery systems—which implies a major disruption both to after-sales service for cars, and to the second hand market

One article on this

The interesting thing is that are that Toyota don't limit it to their as-yet-non-existent electric vehicles. (Although Toyota is famous for the Prius, their CEO Akio Toyoda apparently took a lot of convincing, and their first EVs are only due this year.)

13:

i feel like if corona came a decade earlier we'd have sorted the problem out fine without a vaccine because there were much less social-media fuelled culture war brain rot.

I don't know about the rest of the world but 2010 was ObamaCare and Tea Party. I can't imagine a sane response.

14:

I'd slightly disagree about the viruses, and add one thing you forgot.

First, about coronaviruses in general. It's worth remembering a few things: In November 2019, there was an international "wargame" around the response to a novel coronavirus escaping a lab in Europe. Basically, by that point, a lot of public health/epidemiologists were seriously worried about coronaviruses. And it turned out, they had extremely good reason to be concerned. Had a novel poxvirus shown up with everybody watching coronaviruses, we'd have been hosed.

Second point: the vaccine crowd was also freaked out by coronaviruses, to the point that there was an experimental SARS virus available in 2012. It was shelved because SARS had disappeared by that point. Similarly, mRNA vaccines had undergone decades of development, had produced a working horse vaccine some time in the teens and a working Ebola vaccine a short time before Covid19 hit. The bottom line (something In the Pipeline stresses repeatedly), is that we benefited from decades of groundwork that made our Covid19 response amazingly fast. And we also got lucky. Vaccine trials usually create a workable vaccine about 5% of the time. When Covid19 hit, ~130 vaccine efforts got underway. About 90% of them fizzled. We got very lucky indeed that the mRNA vaccines worked as well as they did and that they were first in line. We're also lucky that there's 8-10 other vaccines out there with decent potential.

Third point: mRNA vaccines are not universal. Pfizer's attempt to make an mRNA vaccine for the flu failed dismally (per Pipeline). I don't know whether mRNA vaccines have a 95% failure rate like the others, or whether (hopefully!) they work on some families of viruses (coronaviruses) and not on others (influenza), or whether in fact the influenza failure was not a class failure but a fixable design problem.

Fourth Point: I'm not so optimistic about HIV as all that, although I will be thrilled to be wrong. As I understand it, the problem with HIV is that the virus capsule (the normal target of vaccines) is shaggy with oligosaccharides (short-chain sugars). These little sweethearts cover the binding sites for antibodies the way seaweed covers rocks, and for whatever reason, antibodies don't target oligosaccharides the same way they do proteins. I'd love to be wrong, but apparently this is why it's so effing hard to get a vaccine for HIV. We know what it's covered with, and what it's covered with is reportedly seriously annoying.

As for a thing you may want to kick yourself for missing, I suspect there's going to be radical sturm and drang around CRISPR-CAS9 and its brood, because that tech will start maturing in the next few years. Do we accept corn with engineered heat shock proteins (Corn is C4)? What's the cost of saying no? What's the cost of saying yes?

Now if you want a fun thing, it's likely that there's going to be increased pressure in the UK and elsewhere to shut down the peat industry. Peat and peat bogs are the UK's major carbon pool, and burning the stuff, or even harvesting it, mixing it into soil, and letting it decompose and outgas its carbon there, is a Serious Problem. So there are probably going to be chants of "Bog Sphagnum Down! Keep Peat in the Ground!" at protests around garden stores and garden shows around the country. And Greg Tingey will be seriously nonplussed.

And if you want real irony, a high latitude drought may dry out bogs and peatlands to the point where they start burning mess up Scotland's air quality, you poor bastages.

15:

Laurie Garrett did not predict that the supposedly-competent "authorities" wouldn't have a fucking clue & would spend their time false-messaging the pubic for short-term political gain ...

Generally speaking, "Climate Denial" is a bust - yes, loads of rich shits are screaming that it's a "hoax" but I'm not sure anyone believes them any more. The problem is that these shits control a LOT of our present resources, even as "electric everything" is expanding enormously.
It's going to be very close-run, with some "interesting" fights along the way.
*We may be entering a pre-revolutionary situation, or the ramp-up to a dictatorial clampdown (the latter is clearly in an advanced stage in both China - Russia - AND the USA). * - Articles in today's "Grauniad both saying this & also, very tellingly, that both Putin & Xi have bet the farm on Trump "winning" in'24.

"Karnov Helicopter ring" - now are these people plausibly-deniable Ru agents, working for Putin, or ditto, working for Ukraine, or - what?
NFT hackers
Oh dear, how sad, can I start giggling now?
I point-blank refuse ( for now) to go anywhere near "Quantum bible changes"

16:

In addition to my comment about Hyundai, Chevy and Ford are all in with EV trucks. Pickups not lorries. And Chevy has stated their EV tech is modular. Which is an indication that much of it will transfer to passenger cars. And Chevy tech is GM tech.

Also didn't Volvo announce they are all in on EV?

As to pickup trucks, they are a huge part of the US market. And Ford and Chevy together dominate that segment.

I also understand Chrysler is head to EV.

Basically they are not waiting on governments.

As to the second tier suppliers, they are going to be in a world of hurt if they don't find new things to build. EV vehicles have much lower parts count in the drive train than IC.

17:

5 para 4 - Your argument assumes that no-one wants to drive more than about half their car's range from home in a single tag. Or, even if they do, they accept the limitation that they can never do more than $range without finding a charging point that they can use, is operational, and is at a location where they might happily remain for possibly several hours.

Even if they accept that constraint, what about if they get snowbound? At best, they have to use all their remaining charge on keeping warm.

18:

Most driving in the US is under 50 miles per day. Which can be handled via home charging.

And yes we will need a way to deal with longer trips. But not nearly as many gas stations as we have today.

For the last 10 years 99% of my driving time is less than 100 miles in a day.

And the folks I know who bought into EVs when 70 mile ranges where a thing made it work. Although one fellow said he wife was a bit miffed she couldn't have heat on the way home from the movies one February.

19:

Ahem, cough cough.

As the owner of a Chevy Bolt EV, I recently got hit with the discrete little ad (sarcasm) for the brand new Chevy Silverado EV" (warning, BS Chevy adsite). Yes, a four-door pickup EV, with allegedly 400 miles of range, base price $40,000. A bit big for my taste, but if they went bloated to put in more space for the batteries, that might make sense.

This actually has started me non-sarcastically thinking: it's unlikely we're going to get better car batteries than lithium any time soon (damn it!). It will be ironic if this limit turns out to favor pickup trucks (Hulk Carry Big Battery!) and eBikes (light, long range, and suitable for sideswiping little old people in crosswalks and outrunning cops). Meanwhile, the sedans I prefer get squeezed out aside from short-range urban commuters. Probably wrong as usual, but it does seem that the bigger EVs have the better ranges.

20:

Wyvernsridge
ICE vehicles - minority problem: People with older &/or reliable or "classic" cars. There's a large market for thes in specialist ( low-volume) manufacturer + "enthusiasts" keeping them going.
Expect a few ICE vehicles to go on for a surprisingly long time, simply because people using them DO NOT WANT a "new" or "modern" car. Apart from the Great Green Beast, things as diverse as the Triumph Herald & the Reliant Scimitar are likely to go on ...

EC
USA - very likely. UK not so sure - I think Bo Jo9n-Sum has already blown it & the longer he hangs on, the likelier it is we will emerge from this shit heap. ( I hope )

H
And Greg Tingey will be seriously nonplussed. - No, I won't - haven't used Peat for about 10 years - I recycle Horse-manure into the ground. If I want a peat substitute, I'll use Coir instead.

Oh yes - "Tether" ????????????

21:

Ransomware bandits fuck up a really important piece of US infrastructure

Or a lot of small things. One client's managing partner is all in with me on isolating their NAS. None of this anyone with a web browser can access needed files. If you're not on our VPN certificate list tough. Not perfect but at least he's paying attention. Unlike one of the junior partners who is all in with security unless it is inconvenient.

22:

One vaccine possibility I see you haven’t mentioned: a more effective malaria vaccine. Now there’s a basis for Afrofuturist stories!

23:

I've read several articles now about how our battery-intensive future will create a high dependency on rare earth elements that are mostly or only available in China, giving it an even more outsize international influence. OTOH I'll concede it's entirely possible such articles are seeded by fossil fuel interests. If anybody has insights on this I'd be interested to hear them.

24:

Expect a few ICE vehicles to go on for a surprisingly long time, simply because people using them DO NOT WANT a "new" or "modern" car.

I expect to keep my 2016 Civic and 2008 Tundra for 5, 10, or more years. (1.5L and 5.7L) But my next auto will likely be an EV.

As for H's comment about range. Yes. It is hard to put 5 people into a tiny car with enough battery to go 300 miles.

25:

I've read several articles now about how our battery-intensive future will create a high dependency on rare earth elements that are mostly or only available in China, giving it an even more outsize international influence. OTOH I'll concede it's entirely possible such articles are seeded by fossil fuel interests. If anybody has insights on this I'd be interested to hear them.

My insights, for what they're worth: A. Yes it's a problem. However, China's been a world player for thousands of years, so them regaining their place may not be the end of the world. Or it may be.

B. Rare earths aren't particularly rare, they're just generally abundant in low quantities. If China gets too stupidly greedy about exploiting their mines, they may just push everyone else to recycle junk, build to last, and prospect more.

C. Oil made empires in the 20th century, lithium and rare earths (and sea level rise, killer heat waves, etc) will shape politics in our century.

D. With batteries, things like lithium iron phosphate may be good substitutes. Problem is, that's a substitute for cobalt, and what you're worried about are the rare earths in motors and electronics.

E. Speaking of lithium iron phosphate, I wonder when the looming phosphorus shortage will start slapping people around? We've been remarkably stupid about our phosphorus use this last century, and it's going to bite us in this century.

Probably useless, but those are my thoughts.

26:

create a high dependency on rare earth elements that are mostly or only available in China, giving it an even more outsize international influence.

China decided to corner the market a few years back. And they did it by keeping their costs low by making their mines a toxic mess. And wiping out the health of folks working in the industry.

There are lots of rare earths around. We just have to decide on money or health when extracting them.

27:

enthusiasts

hand

My daily driver is a tool, barring catastrophic mishaps it will last me to 2030 and by then we'll have to see if there's still petrol available so it will likely be the last ICE car I own. Trading it in will be a function of when its value (being an increasingly impopular ICE) really starts dropping off and/or when it becomes too uneconomical to keep filling that tank at whatever price petrol does by then. by then used EVs of reasonable range should be in my price range, and I'm entirely fine with that.

But yeah, my 30 year old motorcycle will stay. I'm assuming there will still be a market for petrol of some kind, indeed fueled by the classic car market which is at least partly a rich people game who will be "displeased" when their megabuck "investment" become static artworks. How big the heart attack is going to be when I have to fill that 35 liter tank is anyone's guess though.

28:

Yes, a four-door pickup EV, with allegedly 400 miles of range, base price $40,000. A bit big for my taste, but if they went bloated to put in more space for the batteries, that might make sense.

They are aiming for the "work" pickup truck market. When I was looking for my own pickup 4 years ago these were all over the used marketplace. AM/FM basic radio, all crank windows, etc... The kind of truck contractors buy.

Their initial EVs are aimed at this market. With a nice inverter built in allow contractors to skip the haul around generator or two and it's 10 gallons of gas per day each to run all of their table saws and whatnot. If they do it right, they WILL have a hit.

They have to make a truck that can get to most job sites with 1 to 5 workers then power their electrical things all day then get them "home". And be re-charged and ready to go at 5AM or 6AM the next day. Which requires enough batteries to spec out a 400 mile range but really be 100 miles after a day of inverter use.

29:

The big problem is that a lot of US short range commuters live in apartments or other shared domicile situations that don't have accommodation for charging a car. Convincing those in the outer suburbs or further out that they can maybe consistently make their round trip commute is a bigger ask.

Definitely need a massive investment in charging stations, or improvement in battery capacity

30:

And then there's the question of the ability of the decaying US infrastructure to support a massive increase in electricity demand. And where does all that electricity come from, anyway?

I am deeply cynical of the US ability to come together to do any large projects at this point, unless it's fighting a new war.

31:

Convincing those in the outer suburbs or further out that they can maybe consistently make their round trip commute is a bigger ask.

People who currently have EVs with 200 mile ranges don't have a problem with daily commutes from the burbs. Who are these people who commute 100 miles each way? I know there are some but that means 3 hours at speed on interstates with empty roads. If they really are commuting those distances they are spending 5 or 6 hours on the road each day.

32:

Thinking quite a bit about this piece, and how lucky in many ways we are. In terms of your 2031 predictions what I really wonder about is whether we will see the last two years as a call to invest heavily in public health and medical care? Or will it be sticking our head in the sand until the next pandemic hits? That I think would have a huge impact in how the world develops.

But you know what won’t change? Travel. Planes will still fly at the same speed, like they have for the last 59 up years.

33:

I don't commute 100 miles plus, but I do make 8 to 12 200 to 400 mile tags a year, mostly including a requirement to be at this point by that time, and can only afford one car.

34:

Try a predicted bit of the future that's probably going to serve up some "Who ordered that?" by 2032: Surveillance Capitalism.

We know it's going to get worse in America and Brexitstan.

But how much worse?

There's only so much that can be ignored, or de-emphasised in media coverage, or grudgingly accepted as attitudes shift.

Admittedly, 'so much' is a lot, and it could turn out to be far more than you or I would ever believe.

Nevertheless, there's a limit. Like revenge porn, facilitating hate groups, and hacking a murdered schoolgirl's phone for profit...

Let's skip past asking 'how bad' and ask "What does popular rejection look like?"

Mass boycotts and cancelled accounts?

The Butlerian jihad?

Or something in between - but not European-style data protection law, in a defective polity where half the legislature is terrified of what social media (and mass-media) Dark Arts can do, and the other half are delighted with what their campaign donors' tools of surveillance and opinion-manipulation can achieve.

Cory Doctorow is trying to explore the possibilities but, somehow, it has the ring of missing something that will be obvious in hindsight.

Your thoughts?

35:

I still see no reason not to expect that it will always be more practical for me to build a biomass cooker in my back garden so I can make my own ... probably best just to call it "liquid fuel", than to buy any kind of electric vehicle with significantly more range than my mobility scooter. I mean bugger it, even the mobility scooter would be too much if its 1.2kWh of battery capacity was made of lithium cells rather than lead-acid as it actually is. I don't see anything in Charlie's predictions to reassure me that we might eventually see the back of the current situation of electric cars being dependent on one utterly vital component which will never ever become cheap. Rather, the implication to me is that the situation will get even worse, not better.

Even if it does become transformed for the better, there remains that I am one of the people who as Greg says DO NOT WANT a "modern" car, no matter what powers it. The options would then be to get some kind of electric car and then either rip out every trace of anything with any semiconductor content and replace it with something I have built myself and so know it does exactly and only what I want it to, or use its battery and motor again with my own control system to replace the engine and fuel tank in my existing car, and scrap the rest.

It is very possible that even the cooling fans in your computer these days have a 32-bit ARM core in them. Some of the cheapest and most basic low power brushless motor control chips for computer fan motors are made of ARM - the kind of chips a designer is almost certain to pick because the cost and parts count are so much less.

36:

The auto industry is currently investing in quantum cryptography. This is because the cars they are designing now will start being built in about five years and will last for another fifteen years at least, by which time they expect current crytography to be broken by quantum computers, which means they will need quantum-secure ways of protecting their software updates. There could be interesting consquences if they get this wrong. There will presumably be other risks from the development of quantum computing; not necessarily for future systems but older encrypted data, that is not being actively maintained, may be at risk.

37:

The difference between the USA and UK is that the politics in the former is well on the way to fascism, but the (legal) groundwork for fascism in the latter is almost complete.

Imprisonment without trial or declared reason? Tick.

Kafaesque trials with no appeal? Tick.

Arbitrary removal of citizenship and expulson? Tick.

Arbitrary censorship? Tick.

Ability to call in private/foreign armed forces? Tick.

Ability to suspend normal governance sine die? Tick.

If we continue a gradual, genteel decline, nothing much will happen. But, if things for rapidly and badly wrong, and there is public revolt, we shall see how many of those powers they use.

38:

Your comment is one reason that EVs will be a disaster in the short term in places like the UK - the USA is not alone. The other is that they are being used as an excuse to avoid facing up to our fundamental transport problems (e.g. simple lack of space).

39:

Re vaccine developments--I haven't the technical expertise to evaluate the claim, but Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is apparently well along on a multivalent vaccine for coronaviruses, a "soccer-ball-shaped protein" with 24 faces that can be used to attach spike proteins from several different coronaviruses at once. DefenseOne.com

40:

"Quantum Bible changes"

Who's saying it's limited to the Bible? The internet is stuffed with people who obviously don't remember watching the Time Lord mind wrestling scene in The Brain of Morbius from the original broadcast, and talk a load of impossible crap about that and The Deadly Assassin. Someone's been messing with the route of the GW150 special that got stuck on Dainton. The publication dates for the early Hitchhiker's books are all fucked up. Trivial, perhaps, but there's a list of things like this as long as your arm and a remarkable number of them show up a few years around the time when the first obvious pair of hosts or whatever you call them appeared in Downing Street and the White House. La Polynomielle has had a few things to say about other aspects of this same cluster. Trying to maintain full consistency on that sort of scale is hard, and there are a lot of pink mountains with SEP field generators on.

41:

Re politics

It's interesting that almost every politically conscious person (and you strike me as such) predict, for the future, the victory of the other side and an oppressive nondemocratic nightmarish regime.

I think that you will find it amusing speaking with conservatives. The predict for the USA to become a "woke" oppressive regime and they, too, predict they will be "boned".

Reading this article it feels like that part is a bit like that - a scare-induced bleak prediction for the future. Let me tell you: conservatives are as scared as you are and if you could speak with each other you would probably find a lot of common ground.

42:

Excellent recap of Covid - thanks!

EV - I had to get a new car and decided to lease instead of buy because I didn't want to get stuck with an unsellable car. Also figured that in 5 years' time, most of the gas stations would probably have been switched over to EV recharge stations.

EV - Large truck fuel usage is often omitted/not shown as part of fuel used for driving. It's at least as large as for cars but I haven't seen much to suggest that large truck manufacturers are serious about going the EV route.

Go-Local Agriculture - I'm seeing more local news stories plugging the community and home garden - great but no where near enough to reduce reliance on imported/shipped foods. I'd really like to see large-scale commercial produce gardening done within or at least near major urban areas. Since I also think that at least 10% of pre-Covid urban jobs are unlikely to exist in the next 2 -3 years, that leaves a lot of empty office space most of which could easily be converted to growing produce (heat, water, air circulation, temp regulation already built-in).

DT 2024 - Unfortunately I think it's likely that he and his son (as his 'personally acclaimed' VP candidate) are going to try for this election. We'll know soon enough later this year once the current senate elections are done. Player with biggest potential clout to upset the current narrative - SCOTUS. So far the public and both parties seem to accept SCOTUS rulings - if this changes, then the odds of a civil war go sky high.

Viruses, cancer cures, etc. - As you said, the mRNA vaccines were in development for over 10 years before COVID-19 hit. The number of open access papers since then has been enormous - a great boon to all the other researchers! However, the rush to publish has also exposed some problems, esp. how the media -- because most don't have specialist PhD's on staff -- can get things wrong when they paraphrase the results in their reporting. (Then again - media has sports experts for every major sport, so expecting them to afford the same level of knowledge/expertise in their science reporting really is not a stretch.)

US brain drain - you haven't mentioned this but I think it's already in progress. Not sure whether the UK is similarly affected. Basically, this started with DT and has been increasing because most folks either don't know or choose not to know that one of the USA's biggest strengths has been its reputation based on its funding of leading-edge research therefore its ability to recruit top students/researchers from other countries including places that some Americans now deem hostile.

Kazakhstan - treasure trove of really useful raw materials (including uranium) that any of the three of the old powers could use.

43:
  • media has sports experts for every major sport, so expecting them to afford the same level of knowledge/expertise in their science reporting really is not a stretch.*
    Can you actually even do a Batchelor's, never mind a Doctorate, in USian Hand-Egg? ;-)
44:

Meanwhile, the sedans I prefer get squeezed out aside from short-range urban commuters.

I think it's just a matter of the market being tested and a variety of configurations being tested. I thought it was cute that the first image of that truck is being loaded with solar panels, and this "mid gate" thing is new to me (the first image demonstrating it seems to be a genuine Water Rower rowing machine, something that I wouldn't have thought the usual pickup truck market would instantly recognise but on second thoughts, in this case that isn't the primary target market, the target market is probably pretty much me, albeit they won't be available in Oz anytime soon). I actually like this... I once owned a lightweight single-cab-alloy-tray Hilux, it was more economical to run than you'd think with no load on, just not that comfortable for moving older relatives around (leaf spring rear suspension for instance). It looks like, in the fallout of abandoning the Holden brand, Silverado Utes are the only vehicles GM currently sells in Australia, though not the electric version (maybe obviously).

In terms of sedans, leaving aside the Telsa and friends, it seems like everyone is coming to the party. See this offering from Volvo's subsidiary Polestar, which I imagine is auditioning tech destined to find its way into Volvo's regular fleet in due course. I'm intrigued more in terms of the view on what will happen in the middle size range, where it's possible to tow a small caravan or a decent sized boat. 1500kg ATM works for me, and I'm keen to see what companies like Subaru, Toyota or Mazda end up offering in that class (that is, more affordable but relatively respectable).

45:

Couple of thoughts ...

Those counterfeit helicopters - was there anything technically wrong with them other than who was building them?

I understand about it being the Russian Mafiya & maybe they were selling them to sketchy buyers & funding other criminal enterprises in addition to ripping off the Kamov Design Bureau's intellectual property ...

But were they following the designs closely enough to produce a reliable, airworthy product?

The article said Moldova is one of the poorest of the former Soviet Republics. Maybe if the demand is there some legit Moldovan company could license the design & help lift the country?

And if THEY ban IC engines what's going to happen to all the classic cars?

There are thousands of MGBs still on the highways here in the U.S. (because you could literally build one from scratch using parts manufactured by British Motor Heritage) ... and it's not just MG, just about anything produced by what eventually became British Leyland can be restored and made driveable because of them.

And that's not even counting old USAin, French, German or Italian classic cars ... or old Japanese cars that have lasted long enough to obtain classic status. I know someone who's almost finished restoring a Lancia Fulvia Coupé and it's beautiful. He's already driving it - legally licensed in California - but he says there's still work to be done to return it to showroom new condition.

I support efforts to combat climate change from greenhouse gases, but I'd hate for the world to lose all those classics.

46:

Can you actually even do a Batchelor's, never mind a Doctorate, in USian Hand-Egg?

Yes but it is indirect. Sports management. Sports medicine. Etc...

47:

David L
They are
The US, generally has ZERO public transport options.
"Metro" & rail lines are hated by everybody else who does not benefit directly, so nothing ever gets built ( almost)

EC @ 38
SPOT ON
Reducing aviation/landing duties & deliberately avoiding going for electric railway traction ... one place where Scotland has got it right.
... ... @37
Could you point to those in the UK? I thought that was all "Patel's proposals, not actuality.

Pigeon @ 40
SPECIFY ..
I really cannot be arsed to trawl through the shitgulls rantings

shmarik
NO
Some of us are old enough to have been born in the direct shadow of WWII ... the "conservatives" are NOT - they are fascists - I can tell the difference between the two. I (now) disagree with the former, but am deadly afraid of the latter.

SFr
"GoLocal Agriculture is HARD WORK - ask me how I know this?
"SCOTUS" - let's not forget that a wrong SCOTUS ruling made the US civil war inevitable.

48:

The Raven @ 22: One vaccine possibility I see you haven’t mentioned: a more effective malaria vaccine. Now there’s a basis for Afrofuturist stories!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria_vaccine

I'm guessing that would fall under the "20-25% ... not present yet but is predictable -- buildings under construction, software and hardware and drugs in development," ...

It would be great if it happened sooner than 10 years.

49:

David L @ 24:

Expect a few ICE vehicles to go on for a surprisingly long time, simply because people using them DO NOT WANT a "new" or "modern" car.

I expect to keep my 2016 Civic and 2008 Tundra for 5, 10, or more years. (1.5L and 5.7L) But my next auto will likely be an EV.

As for H's comment about range. Yes. It is hard to put 5 people into a tiny car with enough battery to go 300 miles.

My 2003 Jeep will probably be the last car I buy, unless I can find a street legal small van similar to the AxiamPro e-Truck with a range of at least 100 miles. The AxiamPro has a range of 80km (50 miles) and I need something nearer to 70 miles (112km) to make the round trip to the VA Hospital over in Durham (because I couldn't drive it on I-40 & NC 147, so I'd have to take back roads).

But the AxiamPro has the cargo capacity I need to haul guitars & amps to a jam session or cameras, lights & ... to a photo shoot.

Presuming Covid ever goes away enough I get to attend another jam session or do a photo shoot.

Finding something I could afford to buy would be a bonus.

50:

The auto industry is currently investing in quantum cryptography. This is because the cars they are designing now will start being built in about five years and will last for another fifteen years at least, by which time they expect current crytography to be broken by quantum computers, which means they will need quantum-secure ways of protecting their software updates. There could be interesting consquences if they get this wrong. There will presumably be other risks from the development of quantum computing; not necessarily for future systems but older encrypted data, that is not being actively maintained, may be at risk.

I don't dispute that the automakers are investing in QC. However, I'm not sure your model is right. I know, for the Bolt, the dealer at least was talking more about a lifespan of 5-10 years when we got it. His point was that the battery would need to be replaced, which requires disassembling the car, so when we got to 80% battery, why not get a new car?

Are they still on that model? Not exactly. They screwed up the battery assembly, so Any Day Now, we'll get called in to get the battery replaced on their dime. But still, replacing a battery is harder than replacing a gas tank or even an engine, so it's not clear that EVs are being built to have the same lifespan as ICs.

As for cryptography, GM has this interesting system of updating the firmware: we make an appointment, take it to the dealer, and get the firmware updated and a tuneup. Whether it's less hackable or not, I can't say. I can say that I unsubscribed from their data plan after a month because it was slower than the cell towers at the time.

Finally, about quantum computing, there's what might be an interesting problem: helium is currently produced from natural gas, primarily natural gas in certain fields in the Southern Plains of the US. And we urgently need to phase out natural gas production. Does that mean helium production will also disappear? It might! Or it might not (pump up natural gas, extract helium, pump natural gas back into ground).

However, if quantum computers need to be supercooled, they need a supercoolant. Helium is ideal. If it becomes too expensive, I'm not sure what replaces it. Liquid hydrogen? STP superconductors? It would be ironic indeed if the quantum AI deep learning neural net thingie gets shut down because there's not enough helium to let it keep its cool.

51:

My "who ordered that?" Covid prediction is that the ten year mortality rate is 100%.

(No, probably not, we'd expect to see signs of that already, but the ability to get good stats on Long Covid is pretty clearly actively absent. I doubt the actuaries have a grip on this yet. And the people who are least unlikely to have good stats raised my life insurance premiums to 160% of their previous level this year.)

Besides batteries, we've got methanol-air fuel cells, aluminium-air, alkaline fuel cells (probably with NH3), and various strange things with pump-able charged electrolytes. The sticking point is military; power rests on oil. As soon as someone gets serious about zero-fossil-carbon fighter aircraft, then we see something.

Any workable solution has to keep working with a relatively tiny industrial base, because we have no real expectation that we're going to get sea level rise that's slow enough to cope with in as much as the port infrastructure goes. (E.g., US refinery infrastructure on the Gulf; it's not something you can either move uphill or wrap in sea walls, because the ground it's on is porous.) This is going to reduce manufacturing capability to what you can get your single city to build.

52:

Greg Tingey@ 48: David L
They are
The US, generally has ZERO public transport options.
"Metro" & rail lines are hated by everybody else who does not benefit directly, so nothing ever gets built ( almost)

That's not entirely true. Public transit outside of metropolitan areas is sometimes hard to find, but things are a lot better than they used to be. Not by any stretch of the imagination good enough, but they have been improving & I expect they will continue to improve, even if only in fits & starts.

53:

Incidentally, the 1970 Charlton Heston movie was based on the book "I am legend" (aka "The Omega Man") by Richard Matheson published in 1954.

54:

I don't know if this matters about Hacker News readers hammering your blog, but Outage Report & PSA: Publishing supply chain shortages both show up as still open for new comments.

55:

Well, these boys from Hacker News are pretty smart, they've managed to inject a few vulns (like NOSCRIPT not working no more on the site) and so on. Could be just the local machine, but hey.

Problem is: we do Wet-ware, not fucking silicon.

For Host: not even close. SpaceX and so on is akin to the old CCCP stuff. It's gaudy, it's good for PR, it doesn't solve anything[1]

Look: here's a list[2] -

The sound of a cat's footfall The beard of a woman The roots of a mountain The sinews of a bear The breath of a fish The spittle of a bird

1) Well, we've seen enough dead Cats thrown to see and hear the footfall, haven't we?

2) It's 2022 - if you're not into Trans* stuff, just hit Twitter (TODAY!) for the woman with a beard (PCS?) who got lazer treatment! See? Happens to XX Women as well, dears

3) Really? She's a really lovely woman, all of 5'4", married to GOT's "Mountain" who is large, strong and Icelandic (oooh, nice tie-in there). Her being "rooted" (Aus slang) is... kinda a given

4) Whelp, now then: Bears have Sinews. It's kinda a given due to being a mammal. But to honour the intent, Russia and LNG. LNG is their Sinews in Geopolitical terms, and well... if you missed it, the Bear's Sinews are important.

5) Easy one that: look up Aquariums and the massive ecological damage they've done. If one wants to get technical, blowing bubbles is .... (no, really) a Clown Fish thing[3]

6) Spittle of a Bird? Whelp. Strangely enough, here it is: Human case of bird flu detected in the UK https://twitter.com/BBCNews/status/1479107218683224064 6th Jan 2022

Point being: No. Apes and so on are merely Capital's sweaty balls.

Our kind of Chaos?

Bachman Turner Overdrive - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet 1974 Video Sound HQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cia_v4vxfE

p.s.

Love the Twitter catching up to the Baldur's Gate 3 Gith stuff... way after we noted it. Love ya, you big bald bear.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyus_(spacecraft) Hi! You might want to know more about this stuff!

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleipnir

[3] http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forum/index.php?threads/clown-fish-blowing-boubles.64813/

56:

Ah.

Missing list due to parsing errors:

The sound of a cat's footfall The beard of a woman The roots of a mountain The sinews of a bear The breath of a fish The spittle of a bird

57:

As to predicting the future.

15 years ago yesterday/today depending on time zone, Apple / Steve Jobs announced the iPhone. On stage at times were the heads of Google (as a close partner), Yahoo (as THE company of the Internet with the largest base of email users), and the head of Cingular (a leader in US cell service at the time). My how times have changed for these folks/

And with all the wizards and experts (pundits and heads of cell phone companies) who thought the slab of glass concept was just plain stupid. On top of the stupidity of a non replaceable battery. It will be a total market failure according to those wizards and experts. And I personally know some of them who still feel it's a failure. (Not sure of what their metric actually is but ...)

Oh yeah. Many of those same wizards and experts also claimed a 3.5" diagonal phone screen was absurdly too big.

Let's check back in 5 or 10 years with EVs. They may have flopped but then. Or not.

58:

@Mods - genuine weirdness. Can't post those things. Remove the last one. Or be a bitch and count a double-post as our # limit.

The sound of a cat's footfall The beard of a woman The roots of a mountain The sinews of a bear The breath of a fish The spittle of a bird

Silly boys: björk - it's oh so quiet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htobTBlCvUU

Do a grep to ChristChurch, providing you live premonitions of it: This Time, We're Doing it Real Style not little boys holding guns.

60:

Also, a level3.net router in Frankfurt(?) has been dropping packets. FWIW I just noticed that (at least one) old pages have lost some formatting in the comments, e.g. newlines (as rendered in firefox and lynx, at least). The old html had "<br />" tags where a newline was supplied by the comment writer, and the new html is missing those tags. (There are a few more apparently-markdown-related problems.)

61:

Robert Llewelyn (played Kryten in Red Dwarf) has a YouTube series called Fully Charged covering renewable energy and EVs. It’s been going about a decade, which is also about how long he’s had his Nissan Leaf. It was actually one of the U.K. press launch vehicles which he was so impressed with that he persuaded Nissan to sell to him.

Fast-forward to 2021 and yes, the battery was slightly degraded[1] even though the rest of the car was fine. Fortunately there was a company in the Netherlands who swapped it[2] for a newly new 40kWh battery from a written off Leaf, so now he has a 10 year old car with a (much larger) 1 year old battery. I believe his old battery then got repurposed as a grid storage unit (in conjunction with a bunch of others obviously).

The video covering this also had a throwaway reference to a company he’d covered previously - Ubitricity - who do an on-street charging solution using lampposts. Basically if you replace sodium lampposts with LED lampposts, then since they use less power you can install a type-2 charging port in the lamppost and people can charge their cars! Just one of the many solutions to the oft claimed insurmountable problem of “But what about people who don’t have a driveway, how will they charge their cars?”.

[1] See also that taxi firm in Cornwall who had a Nissan Leaf taxi that did >100k miles in the normal amount of time for a minicab, was mostly charged on rapid chargers and didn’t have the battery die. [2] And this process didn’t cost as much as buying a replacement Nissan Leaf either!

62:

Using lampposts as a charging solution is a great idea which needs a little extra thought in some places. Such as how to stop people living in Kensington from using the road next to it as a permanent parking space for their third SUV. They'll get there eventually.

63:

are we really likely to have the lithium available for this wholesale replacement of the ICE car fleet which everyone is so sanguine about? i realize there's quite a bit in afghanistan once things are stable enough there for mining operations to commence (cough), though i'm sure the chinese have some ideas i don't see the electricity supply keeping up either the whole renewables business looks to be desperately dependent of fossil fuels for construction, maintenance and eventual replacement it needs huge backup facilities (gas, realistically) for those calm, cloudy days which crop up and then of course u have nuclear, the only real potential source of baseload power if ur serious about going zero carbon, which private companies are somehow reluctant to jump at unless governments promise to cover all manner of future liabilities we built out our civilization largely on cheap energy steadily increasing energy prices mean economic contraction afaict

64:

46 adjunct - I'd argue that a Lancia Fulvia is less polluting than a Honda Insect, Toyota Pious, or even a Tesla Model 3, simply because the Lancia is at least 50 years old, so the manufacturing energy is written down so well. Same argument applies to any classic MG or Triumph you care to name.

48 re 38 - Absol-frelling-lutely, and we have plans for more of the more heavily trafficked lines to be electrified too. Less certain there's so much advantage in doing the "West Highland lines" North from Craigendorran, since they typically see 3 or 4 passenger movements each way per day, and I think similar numbers of freight movements.

64 - I just looked out my window and counted. There is maybe one lamppost between 3 mixed semi-detached and detached houses along my street. One of the neighbours typically has 5 or 6 vehicles "resident"; another one has 4. And a couple of hundred m away we go to 4 story flats. Presuming 1 vehicle "resident" they don't have enough streetside to all get parked.

65:

ah right, u need to put in paragraph breaks explicitly

never mind

66:

Somewhere between "predictable" and "who ordered THAT?!" would be:

Elon Musk Becomes President

In January 2025, shortly after Donald Trump's victory in the 2024 election, Elon Musk founded his "Forward America" party, bringing a new meaning to the term "machine politics". Forward America engaged in laser-targeted political campaigns focussed on a combination of local grievances and national issues. Forward America's lack of history was a big advantage; because it was not in hock to any traditional interests and had no historical baggage it was able to create a movement out of constituencies that had previously thought they had nothing in common. Its signature policies were a rebuilding of American scientific prowess (this pitch greatly helped by the fact that Musk's rockets were now supplying the US moonbase) and a Universal Basic Income to replace social security, paid for by a federal income tax increase and a dismantling of state tax haven laws, which meant that many billionaires suddenly had to start paying a lot more tax.

When Musk was asked about the latter, he replied "After the first billion money becomes just a way of keeping score. If the government knocks a zero off the end of everyone's high score, it doesn't change anything."

Musk's habit of mixing business and politics was widely criticised; he famously threatened one recalcitrant mid-west senator that he would stop Amazon deliveries to his state. But the rebounding economy, along with his handling of the Ukraine Crisis and the Taiwan Controversy, led to his re-election in 2028.

67:

My understanding is that Elon Musk is not eligible to be (USA) President. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-born-citizen\_clause\_(United_States)

68:

69 para 5 - Just why would anyone think that Musk controls "Large River corporation"!?

70 - "Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father, and raised in Pretoria, South Africa." Seems pretty conclusive to me.

69:

Since I’m presuming you’re not engaging in argument of the excluded middle[1] I’m not certain what your point is? I did after all specifically point out that Ubitricity’s lampposts are just one method by which on street charging can be provided.

[1] In this case it would be “Either everyone who parks on the street must be able to recharge from an Ubitricity lamppost, or they don’t solve the problem and are therefore useless!” I guess?

70:

Everything I mentioned is part of UK law, often created during the rule of That Bliar.

Imprisonment without trial or declared reason and Kafaesque trials with no appeal. Part of various 'terrorism' laws, and both have been widely reported as being used.

Arbitrary removal of citizenship and expulsion. Patel proposes it to extend that, but it's already being used - Shamima Begum is one example of many.

Arbitrary censorship. It is to express support for the democratically elected government of Palestine, for a start.

Ability to call in private/foreign armed forces. Thatcher and Bliar, plus older laws. It's not been used, yet, as far as I know.

Ability to suspend normal governance sine die. Witness the suspension of the Fixed Term Parliament Act - the same powers allow for suspension of elections (as was done in WW II).

71:

i realize there's quite a bit in afghanistan once things are stable enough there for mining operations to commence (cough), though i'm sure the chinese have some ideas

Lithium in Afghanistan is somewhere up in the mountains. And to be honest Afghanistan is a country that nearly defines "middle of nowhere". No ports and overland routes to major cities is hard. I've read where building rail and road lines into where they Lithium is located would likely take tens of $Billions. If not 100s. Then you get to start building the mines and processing.

There are much easier places to find Lithium. In the US, South America, and other places. It is all a matter of how much money do "we" want to spend to extract it and not leave behind a toxic mess. Bolivia has a huge deposit but so far is reluctant to let it be extracted (salt flat I think) due to their history of being exploited by foreign companies and countries. And the current estimates are that Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina have the largest deposits in the world. With the US and Australia coming in tied for 4th. China is in 6th place just now.

72:

Removal of citizenship dates from 1914; it was part of a bunch of laws introduced in response to a widespread panic about German citizens living in the UK after WW1 started.

73:

Apparently in the US a lot of first and second generation German immigrants took crash courses in learning English during the WWI period. Especially from 1917 onward.

74:

Pigeon: I don't see anything in Charlie's predictions to reassure me that we might eventually see the back of the current situation of electric cars being dependent on one utterly vital component which will never ever become cheap. Rather, the implication to me is that the situation will get even worse, not better.

Yeah, about that:

The running trend of the century is "rent, not own". This is driven by the vendors, not public demand. It's already endemic with consumer goods: consider the significant replacement of CD sales with streaming music services, of DVDs with Netflix, of mass-market paperbacks with ebooks, and so on. It's leasing all the way, except for disposable or skin-contact items -- your house (rental, unless you're rich enough to put down a 10% deposit on a half-million quid's worth of bricks), your laptop (this is not "your" laptop, Pigeon, you're one of the awkward squad who do the home-build thing: the "you" I'm referring to is the 95% of the population), your games console, your smart TV (the rental is paid in eyeball time on the manufacturer's intrusive advertising), and so on.

All part of the financialization and hollowing-out of our infrastructure: the oligarchs own stuff, we peons just pay to borrow it.

Anyway, cars are next. Already many cars are bought on a lease-purchase basis over 36 months of payments: and you can return your 3 year old vehicle as a deposit on your new set of wheels when the lease is up, rather than buying it out. Given that battery packs age, this is an obvious point at which the car manufacturer can run it through the automotive equivalent of an aviation C-check — tear it apart, thoroughly check all the components, replace those which are worn or faulty, put it back together again, recertify it, and lease it out again at a slightly lower price point as "remanufactured".

EVs need a lot less maintenance than gas guzzlers as there are far fewer moving parts to go wrong. Also, they're instrumented to hell and report on their state to HQ via their built-in cellular data link. There's no reason why 95% of problems can't get fixed without owner intervention: you're driving to work when you get a pop-up on the dash saying "your vehicle needs preventative maintenance, we'll send an engineer to collect it at 11am, it will be dropped back off in your office car park at 2pm, if the maintenance runs late we will leave you a complementary valet car instead."

95% of the automotive public will be happy to have a system like this: cough up your monthly rent, and that's the end of your worries unless you drive into a brick wall (which is difficult -- the car will try to dodge).

By the time this is happening, people like you will find it increasingly hard to get spare parts and all the local maintenance shops will be going out of business/selling up to become local depots for the manufacturers.

Note that if you want them to, Apple will sell you an iPhone, iPad, or Mac on this basis. I'm pretty sure Dell or Lenovo will do the same. I'm sure that if British houses weren't so idiosyncratic and variable, some of the big chains would do exactly the same for entire fitted kitchens and bathrooms.

75:

"Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father, and raised in Pretoria, South Africa."

Well, I figure if Demolition Man can get away with it, I should be able to as well.

76:

Those counterfeit helicopters - was there anything technically wrong with them other than who was building them?

They were airworthy, sure -- the question is, what state were the parts going into them in? It's possible they were using counterfeit parts from hole-in-the-wall factories. Or remanufactured parts that had already exceeded their fatigue life. Obviously certified lifetime for parts is less than the actual lifetime-to-failure, but it's possible/probable that dodgy parts would fail unexpectedly and early. And do you really want to rely on a chopper where the Jesus nut that holds the rotor head together is either time-expired or a counterfeit?

(The chopper in question is a very widely used crop duster/agricultural bird throughout the former Eastern bloc. Originally with radial engines, although later models had gas turbines instead, designed to be maintained collective farm style, i.e. "bash it with a hammer".)

The difference between these Kamovs and an MGB or Lotus 7 kit car is that if the car gearbox breaks, you get out and call AAA. If the Kamov's gearbox breaks, you probably die.

77:

Does that mean helium production will also disappear? It might! Or it might not (pump up natural gas, extract helium, pump natural gas back into ground).

My guess:

Pump up natural gas, extract helium, use methane as industrial feedstock -- either for chemical processes or for polymerization and burning as aviation fuel (we're not going to get long-haul air travel off combustion, period). Then carbon offsetting ensues.

In the very long time frame it's possible to manufacture helium -- it is, after all, just slowed-down alpha particles with a couple of bound electrons. It's even a by-product of fusion reactors. Just a very expensive one to manufacture.

Next century (if only because of the distances involved) someone is going to go helium prospecting out in the Oort cloud. Big snowball comets might well have enough helium to make it economically viable. But the boiling point of 4He is about 4 kelvins, and cosmic background temperature is 2.7 kelvin -- it's going to have to be a very long way out, or down in a gravity well it can't easily escape from. Best excuse for mining Jupiter?

78:

raised my life insurance premiums to 160% of their previous level this year

Yes: a news item doing the rounds last week indicated that the US life insurance industry had noticed that mortality in 2020 was up 40% over 2019. The people COVID kills directly are the tip of the iceberg: there's also every deferred cancer treatment, every fatal stroke or heart attack that can't get an ICU bed, kids dying of neglect or abuse because carers can't/don't/died, people shot by idiots with guns who were tipped over the edge by one conspiracy theory too many, people who died of some sort of obscure epithelial tissue injury 9 months after they "recovered" from COVID, and so on.

As soon as someone gets serious about zero-fossil-carbon fighter aircraft, then we see something.

Or as soon as a game-changer comes along that makes fighter aircraft as obsolete as armoured knights (optionally: with heavy cavalry pistols and half-armour). I've heard drones mooted as being a disruptive military technology on the same scale as machine guns, aircraft, and tanks, but it's still very early days.

79:

steadily increasing energy prices mean economic contraction afaict

Not to worry: between the stage 4 demographic transition most of the planet is undergoing (India just dropped below replacement-level fertility) and the effects of multiple pandemics (I'm betting COVID19 won't be the last new zoonosis to jump the species barrier this century and go pandemic -- not by a long way), we're probably within 20 years of peak population, and the population level around 2100 is about what it is now (assuming we don't all die of the next plague to come along).

In fact, declining electricity demand is probably something you can count on. Better insulated dwellings, more efficient transport and lighting, population peaking then beginning a slow decline: it all adds up.

80:

Less certain there's so much advantage in doing the "West Highland lines" North from Craigendorran, since they typically see 3 or 4 passenger movements each way per day, and I think similar numbers of freight movements.

The US appears to be trying out battery-electric freight locomotives, which is a big ask in my opinion ... but eminently practical for passenger rail on the highland routes in Scotland as an alternative to overhead electrification.

Lamppost charging for cars is a good idea that'll work in suburbia ... and not at all here in central Edinburgh, where there are probably 20-50 dwellings for every street lamp along a stretch of road, because we're all in apartments.

81:

paws
I'd argue that a Lancia Fulvia is less polluting than a Honda Insect, Toyota Pious, or even a Tesla Model 3, simply because the Lancia is at least 50 years old, so the manufacturing energy is written down so well. Same argument applies to any classic MG or Triumph you care to name.
THIS, entirely. The Great Green Beast was built in 1996 & is good for at least another 10-20 years. I bought it on the predication that I was NEVER, EVER going to buy another car.
Try persuading the fake greenies of this?

EC @ 72
Euw.

Charlie @ 76
"Renting" - not me, AT ALL. As you say, it's simply asking for trouble, down the road. IIRC the combination of bankruptcy, poor harvests & the extortions of the Rentiers was what did for the French monarchy in 1792.
And Bo Jon-Sun is deliberately going down this path! @ 80
Or as soon as a game-changer comes along that makes fighter aircraft as obsolete as armoured knights ... drones - Lasers - the USN are already trialling these. At which point defence, particularly fixed-point "fortress" defence upends the scissors/paper/stone of military balance, again.
@ 82
One "TOC" in this country is already trialling tri-power large locomotives: )

82:

someone is going to go helium prospecting out in the Oort cloud

have you had changed your mind that much about exploiting the solar system since your high frontier post back in 2007, don't the decades just fly by

i realize everybody's favorite emerald mine heir has moved the conversation a bit with respect to getting up there, but the effort required to keep people alive and healthy in space still seems out of proportion to what they'll be able to do out there economically (as opposed to scientifically)

83:

Don't bet on the latter. I can see no sign of more efficient transport - if anything, it looks like the converse in most countries (definitely including the USA and UK). We are showing no signs of curbing our lust for concrete, and the 'third world' is likely to move towards our types and level of transport and concrete use. And then there is Heteromeles's hobby-horse - if air conditioning becomes critical for most of the planet, that's a big, new requirement for electricity.

84:

"Renting" - not me, AT ALL. As you say, it's simply asking for trouble, down the road. IIRC the combination of bankruptcy, poor harvests & the extortions of the Rentiers was what did for the French monarchy in 1792.

News flash: it's not a local trend, it's global -- disseminated through the interlocking structure of free trade treaties created by WTO, WIPO, et al. (The EU implements a subset of this: not so much de-fanged as, they regularly bleed the venom sacs so it can't bite you quite as badly as the US private equity lobbying interests responsible would like.)

At some point I expect it to collapse. The popularity of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general can be seen -- at the punter level -- as a symptom of hopelessness at the prospect of ever getting ahead through conventional means: the bank is a casino, it's run by the mafia, and the usual rules apply (you can't win, you can't lose, you're not even allowed to quit the game). And at the issuer end, NFTs are a symptom that VCs and PE investors are unhappy with the degree of regulation to which conventional issues are subject. There's going to be a Black Thursday sooner or later ...

85:

Assuming they can get the numbers to make sense, yes, but that's not clear. I have seen analyses that vary from "yes, by 2025" to "no chance".

86:

In fact, declining electricity demand is probably something you can count on

In developed countries maybe, though all those shiny new electric cars are going to need quite a bit, but i can't see it in developing ones unless they somehow get to leapfrog a lot of the stages we had to go through

87:

have you had changed your mind that much about exploiting the solar system since your high frontier post back in 2007, don't the decades just fly by

In 2007, SpaceX tried (and failed, for the second time) to launch a Falcon 1. Falcon 1 finally flew in 2008, saving the company from bankruptcy. Falcon 1 was non-reusable, had a payload of up to 670kg in LEO (in practice, it never lobbed more than 180kg), and was a dead end. What it did accomplish was to flight-prove the Merlin 1C engine, which went on to power the Falcon 9, which up-ended the entire commercial spaceflight apple cart by achieving reusability comparable to the (retired) Space Shuttle ... in 2017, thus proving my point about the difficulty of predicting even a decade ahead.

Given the likelihood that Starship will fly in the next couple of months (prototype/non-reusable, even though full reuse is planned), and given that NASA is almost certainly not going to be able to get to the moon without Starship (I don't rate SLS very highly: it'll fly but the economics are implausible), I'm going to tentatively concede that throwing hundred-ton-plus nuclear powered ion rockets at the Oort cloud is going to be feasible in the next 30-60 years, although they'll be uncrewed: most likely scenario is a drop a volatiles refinery on a comet and turn it into fuel, which is wildly more valuable out there than it is on Earth (at least at first).

I don't expect a self-sufficient Mars colony any time this century. I do now expect a substantial Lunar research outpost -- possibly on the scale of McMurdo station -- before 2050, and a similar size Mars outpost by 2100 is not implausible.

88:

i can't see it in developing ones unless they somehow get to leapfrog a lot of the stages we had to go through

That's actually a thing that happens: those who install infrastructure last get the best iteration of it as a baseline -- for example, all those sub-Saharan African nations who are leapfrogging twisted pair copper wires to go straight to cellphones and fibre broadband in cities. Or why the British and French standards for analog colour TV in the 1960s/1970s (PAL and SECAM) were superior to the much earlier US NTSC format. And inversely, why British railway loading gauge and tunnel bores are so crap compared to the rest of the world (we built out railways first, and the earlier/cheaper/worse standard won out, and now we can't run true high speed rail without building new tracks and tunnels).

89:

yeah, i used to live in hastings, where they couldn't get high speed up to london because someone had only put two skins of bricks on certain tunnels rather than the three they were supposed to have

with energy though i've read that gas demand is increasing by leaps and bounds in a lot of the places it's produced, like iran, which is one of the factors putting pressure on the price in europe

not sure that things like that'll be susceptible to the processes you mention

90:

82 - I'm still not convinced. At least with the present model where a passenger going Glasgow (Queen St) to Oban or Mallaig remains in the same coach (probably even the same seat although the direction of travel for Gla - Mallaig reverses at The Garrison). The unit makes the down trip as detailed (~105 miles for Oban and 150 for Mallaig) then becomes the up train on the same route 30 minutes later. So you have to manage something like 320 miles including positioning with no more than 30 minutes charging for a plain battery electric unit.

I agree about lamppost charging except that you've presumed semis; there are plenty of apartments in suburbs in the West of Scotland.

83 - And the Class 93 is "only" 10 tonnes more than a Hymek!!

91:

Re: charging in dense urban settings.

Given the increasing ranges we see on electrical cars, using "quick-chargers" does become a reasonable solution for city-dwellers in many circumstances, but it requires a much denser network of quick-chargers which the oil-industry is very interested in not happening.

92:

the US life insurance industry had noticed that mortality in 2020 was up 40% over 2019.

How much of this is more that the life insurance paying classes are dying sooner, rather than the great excluded in the US?

On the lamppost EV charging - it is preferable to running cables from the house to the street, but it needs to mot eat further into pavement space. The rental model does make a lot more sense than ownership for EVs - e-bikes and e-scooters are already widely used that way, and extending to bigger vehicles as needed makes a lot of sense for Edinburgh level density.

The biggest difficulty in energy is that storage is hard - the key advantage of coal and gas was that they store energy densely in transportable form. Maybe the batteries in the EVs can be a buffer if the chargers are designed to be two way.

93:

You are ignoring Africa, where population is expected to nearly triple till 2100. Peak population might still be around 2100.

But "Projections of population reaching more than one generation into the future are highly speculative".

94:

Why would you need a 320 mile range to do 150 miles from Glasgow to Mallaig? Having been to Glasgow, Fort William and Mallaig I can confirm that electricity is present in all three locations. Or to put it another way, on-route charging is a definite possibility just provide your battery-electric train with a pantograph and it can leave Glasgow Queen Street "on the mains" (as it where), switch to battery power when the wires finish, and switch back to OLE in places where you provide it (e.g. short sections at Fort William and Mallaig, possibly other locations if necessary). (Covered side or bottom-contact third rail would be alternate options.)

These apartments in the West of Scotland which you speak of, where do the occupants park their current cars? As I see it the options are:- 1. They don't have a car, and therefore the provision or otherwise of EV charging points is pretty irrelevant to them. 2. They park in off-street car parks provided at their flats, and thus the provision of on-street charging infrastructure is pretty irrelevant to them. 3. They park on a street which has lampposts, and thus Ubitricity (or something like it) might well be of interest to them. 4. They park on streets which don't have lampposts, which is obviously plausible but how common is it.

95:
if you could speak with each other you would probably find a lot of common ground

Have to disagree with you on that one. Both-sides-ism is a snare and a delusion.

Pro-authoritarians really do want to kill you (or at least have the option to do so).

Refusal to be vaccinated? This kills not just them (in windrows) but keeps COVID running around the general population, killing all and leaving the window open for more variants.

Be darker-skinned than they like? Jail forever, or bullets from cops / vigilantes to end you.

Be Jewish? Yeah, they aren't saying the quiet part out loud. Yet. Mostly. But hearing them talk about how wicked 'international financiers' are, and know what 'international' is a dog-whistle for and you get the idea.

Many more examples exist, which I leave as an exercise for the reader.

I can't think of any pro-murder or pro-genocide examples from leftist rhetoric1. Which may just be because I fall into the leftist camp myself, and I am as blind to my own hypocrisies as they are to theirs.

~oOo~

1 Unless you count the continued support for the apparatus of the petro-state. Which many, but not all, leftists recognize must come to an end, and sooner rather than later.

96:

But "Projections of population reaching more than one generation into the future are highly speculative".

Yeah. Look at Iran's TFR in 1981 vs. it's TFR in 2021. (It's down from something in the 4-6 range -- children per woman -- to 1.5.) AIUI TFR is dropping everywhere in Africa, fast enough that it's plausibly going to crash as fast as or faster than Iran did (going from "population doubling every 20-30 years" to "each new generation is only 2/3 the size of the previous one" in just 1-2 generations).

97:

"and switch back to OLE in places where you provide it"

Overhead lines and pantographs are very much subject to I²R losses and other troubles at high currents, so they will not provide more than modest charging power on top of what you need for traction.

It will work where a modest gap in the overhead power needs to be bridged, but not if more than around 30% of the energy required is without overhead power.

Industry seems to favour charging at the station stops with infrastructure designed for really bad-ass quick-charging.

98:

It will work where a modest gap in the overhead power needs to be bridged, but not if more than around 30% of the energy required is without overhead power.

A classic case of this would be for the line from Edinburgh into Fife, which has to cross the Forth Rail Bridge. The FRB opened in 1890, was an engineering marvel at the time, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- it was the longest cantilever span bridge in the world until 1919, and is a major landmark.

But the FRB was designed with steam traction in mind. It's mostly made of cast iron, is exposed to high winds, and would be an absolute nightmare to string overhead cables along -- there'd be a regular risk of them grounding on the bridge structure, which would be Bad. (Megawatts plus cast iron = spot welding.)

However, there's a station south of the bridge (Dalmeney) and a station north of the bridge (North Queensferry) and only about a 2-3 mile run between them. So electrification of the line is in principle possible if the trains have enough backup battery capacity to cover a 5km gap at relatively low speed.

99:

"On the lamppost EV charging - it is preferable to running cables from the house to the street, but it needs to mot eat further into pavement space"

It's a type-2 charging port on the side of the lamppost, or possibly a pair on opposite sides. It's about 7cm in diameter, and probably doesn't need to protrude from the lamppost by more than 1-2cm (and that's probably mostly to provide clearance for the hinged lid to move out of the way). It's not like we're walking about fitting a dual-headed CHADEMO/CCS 50kw rapid charger onto the side of every lamppost!

100:

I do. Some of the anti-apartheid fanatics were calling for (and working towards) a bloodbath. I was amazed that Mandela's great-heartedness and de Klerk's bravery avoided that.

101:

Yes. There are a lot of tunnels with height constraints, but the FRB must be THE exemplar of the requirement.

102:

"A classic case of this would be for the line from Edinburgh into Fife, which has to cross the Forth Rail Bridge."

Likewise, it would seem obvious in many old tunnels are not tall enough for overhead wire.

However, the safety-people are very apprehensive about lugging about a lithium battery which only gets used when it's failure would cause most inconvenience/havoc.

Other safety-people argue that it would also mean that trains could limber into the nearest station in case of power-failure, instead of being stuck in the middle of nowhere until overhead power returns or somebody putters along with a diesel.

In the end it will be all about money.

103:

Next century (if only because of the distances involved) someone is going to go helium prospecting out in the Oort cloud. Big snowball comets might well have enough helium to make it economically viable.

There's vastly more helium in much more accessible locations: the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Comets are understood to be strongly depleted in hydrogen, helium, and neon, since those elements wouldn't condense at the temperatures of the early solar system, which is where the Oort Cloud objects formed. (The Oort Cloud is made up of objects that formed in the inner solar system and were then ejected by gravitational encounters with the giant planets; they didn't form in the Oort Cloud.)

104:

Charlie @ 100
Actually, one uses an overhead "RAIL" for something like the Forth Bridge ( Or the Severn Tunnel - they had problems with the latter - bimetallic corrosion included, but have fixed it ). The "rail" is a rigid narrow bar, so it can't swing in the wind, firmly non-conducting bolted to the superstructure - & if necessary with plastic shields over the top, to give any flashover a much longer path. Such is clearly visible at St Pancras Thameslink platforms.
So viable solutions are apparently available, with care & finagling.

105:

There's vastly more helium in much more accessible locations: the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. nearer isn't necessarily easier in those cases

i mean there was the old Traveler fuel skimming trick if u had a streamlined hull, but i'm not sure how well that would work without a fusion drive

106:

Several people have wondered what ICE powered classic cars will run on in the future. An obvious answer would be ethanol. The UK has recently moved to a 10% blend of ethanol in it's 'petrol', and while it's not common, E85 (ie an 85% ethanol blend) is available. The only changes necessary are replacing the fuel hoses with ethanol safe hose (if your classic is >30 years old, you've probably had to replace them already), and re-tuning the carburettor/ECU to account for the lower energy density. Due to increased knock resistance, you can actually add power, and your classic car will still make all the same old brrrrmmmmm noises.

107:

The “rent not own” model for cars is exactly the model that Uber and the other ride share platforms are betting on.

They want to take it a step further then leasing, since garage and driveway space is a large hidden cost for car ownership.

The current economics don’t support it, but if they actually get self driving to work on the next 20 years, they will

So I think a key question on your prediction Charlie is whether that level of AI is possible in your timeframe? If it is, you can kiss half the existing job market bye bye

108:

Laurie Garrett did not predict that the supposedly-competent "authorities" wouldn't have a fucking clue & would spend their time false-messaging the pubic for short-term political gain ...

Having been involved in disaster planning exercises, that's one no one predicted. Probably because most of the people actually involved were working towards the goal of planning for the disaster and assumed good faith on the part of actors.

I'm a cynical cuss, and even I wouldn't have predicted crowds of Canadians threatening civil war if vaccine mandates were instituted for an infectious disease*. And if I had, I would have been ignored as a crazy pessimist.

I'm thinking of Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell, about how people come together after a disaster, and wondering how she views the Covid response (by both authorities and individuals). Haven't located anything; maybe because she hasn't written anything, maybe because my search skills suck.

Also thinking of the Transhuman Space RPG setting, and how in one adventure a 'memetic response team' was dispatched to contain threatening memes before their spread went exponential. Unfortunately linguistic drift has turned "meme" into a picture with funny text rather than its original meaning, but I think with social media we're seeing the THS scenario come to life (without fast-action response teams).

* For example:

https://www.straight.com/covid-19-pandemic/living/bc-opponent-of-mrna-vaccines-predicts-civil-war-in-canada-if-he-and-his-fellow-patriots-cant

109:

96 para 1 - I agree that electricity exists in Fort William and Mallaig, but, other than the Caledonian sleeper which overdays in the Fort, a train is never actually stationary in either location for more than about 30 minutes. As to using existing overhead lines Glasgow - Craigendorran, I was trying to save the mass of the pantograph system and the tranformer-rectifier units that would be needed to convert 25kV AC into something that a DC motor that normally runs from batteries could use. Adding 3rd rail introduces further complications, and the issue of snow, which does happen on those routes.

para 2 - (3) is closest but the residents don't have sufficient street frontage to park all their cars and vans as things stand. I've just measured it, and we are talking in terms of 200m of main road that is parked solidly down one side, and the same again of side roads parked down both sides.

99 - Thanks; that filled in a gap that I didn't know of.

100 & 103 - Is this a good point to mention the Tay Bridge as well? The nearest station to Dundee and in Fife is Leuchars these days.

104 - Given the will, tunnels can be enlarged (bored out?). Witness the latest works in the Cowlairs Tunnel out of Glasgow Queen Street (high level).

109 - And yet Uber is an uncommon thing in Glasgow. Most people use buses, trains, or locally owned taxis or private hire cars (difference mainly in licencing).

110:

"Maybe the batteries in the EVs can be a buffer if the chargers are designed to be two way."

https://www.vox.com/recode/22872237/biden-electric-vehicle-batteries-clean-energy

111:

nearer isn't necessarily easier in those cases

In this case it is, though. Jupiter is 4–6 astronomical units (au) away from Earth; the Oort Cloud lies between 2,000 and 50,000 (or so) au away. And, as I mentioned, Oort Cloud objects will have very little helium.

112:

Expect a few ICE vehicles to go on for a surprisingly long time, simply because people using them DO NOT WANT a "new" or "modern" car.

What happens to gas stations when fewer people use them? As gas stations go out of business (or convert to fast-charge stations) it will get harder to fuel those ICE vehicles.

That may be what tips a fair number of people over to EV: increasing difficulty keeping their gas-burners fuelled.

113:

Who are these people who commute 100 miles each way?

Back in the 90s there were housing developments in Barrie that came with an SUV in the driveway, for commuting to Toronto in. That's 60 miles, up to 2 hours each way depending on traffic. People did it because they couldn't afford a house in Toronto, so traded off 3-4 hours daily commute against renting forever.

114:

There's vastly more helium in much more accessible locations: the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

All of which have much deeper gravity wells -- and storms! Really big storms.

Hauling a nuclear propulsion unit out past the frost line is hard enough even if it's only to provide power for an ion rocket and a small refinery (you can take years on the job as you drag your snowball home). Dipping into a gas giant means you're going to need a heat shield, flight control surfaces, some way of scavenging atmosphere and turning it into reaction mass (even if it's "just" a nuclear scramjet), and the atmosphere mining plant. So lots of extra systems to go wrong, and much more hazardous conditions than landing on a snowball.

Not saying it's impossible, just, it's equivalent to jumping from Hubble to JSWT levels of complexity in one go.

115:

It's like leaded petrol. Equivalents exist, kinda, for enthusiasts who want to keep an old car going and don't mind paying for it. Nobody else bothers.

I expect the likes of pigeon will be able to get liquid fuel in liter bottles for some exorbitant price. If civilisation and freeholds survive the century I would expect land deeds to specifically forbid hydrocarbon refining along with the already common lead smelting and chickens.

116:

whether that level of AI is possible in your timeframe?

Self-driving cars present multiple challenge levels.

We're already at the point where we can probably roll out platooning of HGVs on long motorway segments in the next few years -- one driver at the front supervising the autopilot, the rest of the trucks follow nose-to-tail, keeping their distance. Similarly, supervised self-driving cars on motorways are a thing.

That's a hugely different challenge from expecting a car to navigate the Magic Roundabout in Hemel Hempsted at rush hour while one lane is closed for a stretch due to emergency gas mains excavation and a cycling peleton is passing through (thrown in for shits and giggles). I wouldn't like to bet on when that'll be possible. (And if I found myself facing it myself, I'd probably park up for 15 minutes and wait for the shakes to subside.)

Uber ... the level of self-driving they need is not going to arrive while their line of funding holds up. They were betting on an optimistic time frame, and lost. But I'm certainly not saying "never", or even "not within 10 years" (although the latter would probably require breakthrough AI algorithms).

117:

"a train is never actually stationary in either location for more than about 30 minutes"

If you look at plans for "Quick charging" of ferries and trains, the idea is overnight full charge and only "top-op charges" when in harbor or at station.

"Top-up" charges happen in terms of megawatt, usually limited more by the local grid than anything else.

To even out the load on the grid, some of these chargers have a major pile of ultra-capacitors or lithium batteries, which they charge continuously from the grid and then dump into the ferry/train at very high rate in very short time.

You can move a lot of electrons in 30 minutes.

118:

Lamppost charging for cars is a good idea that'll work in suburbia ... and not at all here in central Edinburgh, where there are probably 20-50 dwellings for every street lamp along a stretch of road, because we're all in apartments.

So, where do people park their vehicles? What you need is a way to run power to those parking places.

When I lived in Edmonton, it was common for businesses to have plugs at every parking space — not for recharging cars, but so you could plug in your block heater while at work so your car would start at the end of the workday. Places like malls didn't have them, but apartments etc usually did.

Now a block heater doesn't take much power, so those connections likely wouldn't do for even slow-charging EVs, but the idea that you plug you car in overnight was pretty engrained when I was growing up.

119:

I think Solnit's get-out is that communities come together after a national disaster: what we're seeing here is two intermingled but actively hostile communities opposing each other, and the leadership of one cynically made COVID denialism (and anti-vaxx/anti-masking) a virtue signal -- that is, a demonstration of loyalty to the group.

(And it was definitely cynical. As witness Trump mocking his anti-vaxx followers last week and announcing he'd had his booster shot. He played them for chumps.)

120:

The goofy posts are coming up early this time.

I didn't bother looking at the youtube link for a fuel additive consisting of sodium and NaOH. Because

  • It doesn't pass the laugh test. Metallic sodium? As a fuel additive? For engines that are going to be run by people who aren't rocket scientists or test pilots?
  • If it passed the laugh test, making CO2 into Na2CO3 is not carbon sequestration. Not unless it's combined with a plan to bury the carbonate very very deep in a place where the water, when it does get it, will always have a pH higher than 7.
  • 121:

    I can comment on that -- I happen to have a small amount of expertise on the topic. We should hope for increased electricity demand about 3x. Lower energy, yes, but more electricity.

    If we don't see that -- welp. That means we're still burning way too many dead dinosaurs.

    I can also tell you that because of the range issue of EVs, we're not getting smaller cars, tragically.

    122:

    Given the will, tunnels can be enlarged (bored out?). Witness the latest works in the Cowlairs Tunnel out of Glasgow Queen Street (high level).

    Which closed Queen Street for about a year, did it not?

    The real problem is that our tunnels were built to accommodate standard loading gauge trains. They need boring out or replacing to carry continental gauge (or other HSR stock). And the early railway companies mostly only dug two tunnels rather than three, so they can't simply shut down one of the three at a time. (Ain't private enterprise great? See also: why the New York subway runs all night but the London Underground mostly has to shut down for maintenance for a few hours.)

    123:

    VW have demo'ed that since late 1960'ies early 1970'ies.

    The missing bit is not AI, but economics.

    You have to run this "truck-trains" in a non-merging edge lane, because merging onto a freeway with 500m long "trains" simply does not work.

    In Germany that is the coveted "I have a bigger Mercedes than you do" inner lane, so it is not politically easy to "sell" it to the trucking industry.

    Next problem is that there isn't /that/ much market for driving even just 10 trucks in cortege that way more than a few hundred kilometers here in Europe.

    If there is an actual market for that technology, it will be across Australia or through the rectangular parts of USA.

    124:

    An acquaintance of mine once used to commute three hours each way to work from Cambridge to London, by train (so six hours a day) because he couldn't afford to move to London. He was in senior management at an ISP, too (director level). He was an early adopter of Psion PDAs and cellular modems -- in the mid-to-late 90s -- so he could work on the train.

    Note: Cambridge (UK) is nobody's idea of "cheap", it's just that he had a family, and buying a family house in London was really nobody's idea of cheap.

    125:

    So, where do people park their vehicles? What you need is a way to run power to those parking places.

    We park on the street, in parking bays, typically nose-to-kerb. So there's roughly one vehicle per 3-4 metres of road on each side, and one street light every 20+ metres.

    (Not exaggering the "we" here; parking spaces in Edinburgh are so eye-watering that one street over from me there's a goon who parks his Lamborghini Diablo at the kerb. And others who do the same with a Bentley, Range Rovers, and Tesla Models S/X. On a road with no charge points, at that.)

    126:

    The goofy posts are early because this blog entry got slammed by Hacker News about an hour after I uploaded it yesterday. So, lots of drive-by postings (but nothing like the huge volume of comments on the HN thread: note, do not read the HN comments).

    127:

    We're already at the point where we can probably roll out platooning of HGVs on long motorway segments in the next few years -- one driver at the front supervising the autopilot, the rest of the trucks follow nose-to-tail, keeping their distance. Similarly, supervised self-driving cars on motorways are a thing.
    A FUCKING USELESS & EXPENSIVE solution to a "non-problem" - the real answer is, surprise, an electric TRAIN.
    Yes, I know, the current political cabal will do almost anything to avoid ding the sensible thing, but ...

    128:

    As a near-Cambridge resident, I have difficulty in swallowing his story. Three hours is a LOT more than the Cambridge to London train, and there were and are equally affordable (!) locations a lot closer. Two hours each way, yes, but three smacks of some other requirement as well. You can easily get three by commuting from the Cambridge vicinity to some inaccessible location like Gunnersbury (don't ask), but the solution is to buy a house in a direction that provides easier access to your target.

    There certainly ARE plenty of people who commute for that long, but most do it because they want more than just a family house (e.g. enough space to keep a pony).

    129:

    We bought an EV in the Spring of this year (2020 Kia Niro). I can say with certainty that 98% of the projected issues with them are incorrect.

    Energy usage: Our electric bill has actually gone down since the purchase, not because of the vehicle but because our eldest has moved out. The increase in use to charge the car has been more than offset by the decrease in use by 1 less teenaged person having long showers, standing for long periods in front of an open fridge, and leaving every light on in every room he passes through. Loosely translated, the bump in our electrical usage is not what people seem to imagine.

    Range: In cold conditions (i.e. now) an 80% charge gets us a 280 km range. 100% gets us about 340-360 depending on how many passengers etc. At no point has any of our driving exceeded that range, even when staying out of town and shuttling bodies between various sports arenas for an entire weekend. Yes, there was some awareness of finding charging stations, but generally it was 'park the car at a charger while watching the sports game' topping up, not leaving it untouched for multiple hours.

    Our mindset evolved after buying it. At first I was hyper conscious of the level of charge, and always tried to make sure it was at 80% every day. Now we are much more relaxed, plug it into our 120 outlet at home for a trickle charge. If we plan a longer trip the next day I'll go to a nearby 'Level 2' charger and max it out, but mostly I don't bother.

    Longer distance trips, which for us happen about 1/annnum, will either involve slightly more planning or simply renting/borrowing an ICE. I may use some of the $4000 I don't spend on gasoline.

    In every other way the EV is vastly better than an ICE. Parked and waiting at a ferry terminal? Leave the car on and the heat or AC running - not really an option with an ICE to sit and idle for an hour. Frost on the windows? Within about 60 seconds it is warm and defrosted.

    I'm sure that automakers have realized that EVs are vastly better than ICEs, and also realize that more people are going to realize this over time. There will be a tipping point where ICEs become relics.

    130:
    It's interesting that almost every politically conscious person (and you strike me as such) predict, for the future, the victory of the other side and an oppressive nondemocratic nightmarish regime. I think that you will find it amusing speaking with conservatives. The predict for the USA to become a "woke" oppressive regime and they, too, predict they will be "boned". Reading this article it feels like that part is a bit like that - a scare-induced bleak prediction for the future. Let me tell you: conservatives are as scared as you are and if you could speak with each other you would probably find a lot of common ground.

    On the one hand, Blog Host has a predilection for morose prognostications. On the other hand, conservative rhetoric about the political future does have a sort of vaguely reflection-like relation to liberal rhetoric about the political future. On the third hand, this latter observation is utterly worthless because one set of interlocutors are doing their best to see and live in and plan for living in the real world, while the other set actively refuse to look at the real world and respond to all challenges by doubling down on delusion.

    And it is for this last reason that no, if we try to speak with one another we find no common ground at all. I suspect you got to feel a bit superior and above-the-fray while posting that, but really it is a species of ignorant shitpost to talk the way you are talking about politics in the contemporary English-speaking world.

    131:

    It is possible I misremembered, and it was three hours a day, not three hours each way: it's still a hell of a commute.

    132:

    Please do not feed the shitposter.

    (It's not quite a shitty enough comment to be worth a yellow card, but it still reeks of spurious both-siderism.)

    133:

    And it was definitely cynical. As witness Trump mocking his anti-vaxx followers last week and announcing he'd had his booster shot. He played them for chumps.

    And it was hard not to believe it was not a scene from a Superman Bizarreo world comic book. All kinds of Trumpist podcasters (and maybe some fringe cable TV channels) talking about Trump needing an intervention to learn the truth of vaccines killing people and it being a plot of the D's.

    134:

    Something that keeps being missed is how different the UK is from the USA. The merits of EVs per se are almost irrelevant here.

    In the UK, few people have the space for more than one car, and the government-back insurance cartel makes it prohibitively expensive to hire cars for holidays etc., as well as excluding many people from hiring at all! Before many of these solutions could be adopted, that would have to change (ha! ha!)

    My requirements are fairly typical of many people, and my Skoda Fabia 'estate' meets them fairly well. Most of the time, I want a small, simple car for short trips, but it occasionally needs to carry up to four 6' adults, 2.5m lengths of timber, or some moderately bulky junk (not all at the same time). Oops. Available and planned EVs require me to buy a large, complex car to meet the carrying requirements.

    However, a few times a year, I want to drive long distances (300+ miles a day), with no guarantee of charging facilities where I stop (either overnight or at the end). Oops. The problem here is not the EVs but the infrastructure.

    All of the above is soluble, but the first problem won't be solved by the insurance cartel unless it is forced into it, the second won't be solved by the automotive industry unless it is forced into it, and the third won't be solved by the holy market but needs government action. Ha! Ha!

    135:

    I agree there! And, yes, there are a lot of people who do that commute, plus many from Peterborough.

    136:

    To understand crypto currency keep in mind this is, They believe, around national governments and states, whether corporate moguls or the mafia chieftans or insurgent warlords. Non-national exchange of value systems means non-regulation of any kind, and NO TAXES, always the goal of capitalism.

    137:

    Re: Energy & demographics

    A good reminder that how and how fast our demographics change will affect everything else that's normally tied to that particular segment.

    Basically: people's needs change with almost every life stage they enter i.e., we didn't 'need' a car until we had kids. The type/size of car also changed with our ages/activities. (My current car is the smallest and most fuel efficient I could find locally, fast.)

    Even so there have been some surprises like this one which seems to be cropping up in a few different countries and running counter to some assumptions about what factors drive household formation: the increase in single-person households.* A few years back there were a lot of stories of adult kids moving back in with their parents - mostly to save enough for a down payment. Now I'm even seeing stories about happily married couples who are living in separate houses.

    https://ourworldindata.org/living-alone

    Another demographic segment that's kinda fueling the increase in single-person households is the senior for (I'm guessing) mostly these two reasons:

    (a) the cost of relocating into a rental or senior assisted living residence is more expensive than staying put or the return on the sale of their house; and/or

    (b) new devices like electric stair lifts, sit-in soaking baths and powered wheelchairs that increase safety and personal mobility therefore independence.

    (I did some calculations of these back when my mother had her first series of strokes: way cheaper and safer to install a bunch of what then seemed like new-fangled and expensive devices such as an electric stair lift, motorized hospital bed, etc. Costs for most of these things has dropped quite a bit since. Overall, this turned out to have been a very good decision including resale of the house with these particular built-in's.)

    And - as many countries found out the hard way in the past two years - vulnerable elderly folks are less likely to catch serious viruses at home.

    • I imagine that several industries are hoping that the single-person household becomes the norm because it translates into more 'household' sales esp. of larger ticket items like white and durable goods (appliances, furniture, cookware, etc.) Down side is an increase in waste.
    138:

    Getting back to the original theme:

    I realize that this blog specializes in horror-adjacency, and I don't want to spoil the mood.

    That said, I'll throw in an unpredictable: by 2030, Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels are cut at least in half. This means that, by some combination of disaster, pandemic, war, technical advance and (most unlikely) people doing the right thing, we actually meet what currently seems like a pipe dream.

    Now if you want the horror of that, consider what it would take for the average QNut to go along with this, other than terminal Covid.

    I'd also point to possible paradoxes that might be worth exploring: for example:

    Both a Kessler cascade AND a moon base, both created by nextgen rockets lofting loads of stuff, whether it's massive numbers of disposable satellites that crap up LEO, or human vehicles that get past the cascade (how?) and put humans in deeper space.

    Both democracy and oligarchy/plutocracy make massive progress forward. In other words, the next cold war is right-wing authoritarian leaders versus the other eight billion of us.

    AI and non-computer progress: where the infrastructure and supply chains can support AI, it performs increasingly well. But perhaps those areas become more tenuous and intermittent?

    Ditto health care: where it's in good shape, it can perform miracles. Where it's in ordinary shape, it performs miracles working around supply shortages (for example, there's currently a shortage of normal saline in IV bags in local hospitals). And then there's the rest of the world, where falling off a ladder is something to be really avoided.

    In other words, instead of scaring yourself with dramatic either/or predictions, try scaring yourself with both/and predictions. At least it'll be different.

    139:

    Back in the 90s there were housing developments in Barrie that came with an SUV in the driveway, for commuting to Toronto in. That's 60 miles, up to 2 hours each way depending on traffic.

    That is wrong at so many levels. Were the SUV's donated by the local gas station dealer association?

    I have a 2016 Civic (1.5L) purchased in July 2016. It has yet to crack 40K miles. Almost but not yet. I also have a 2008 Tundra (5.7L) that I only drive when my wife might want the Civic or I'm hauling something. Typically less than 300 miles a month. Or if I remember I haven't driven it in nearly a month. Mildew starts to grow (based on the smell) if I don't air it out every week or few.

    My point is a driver the car that gets triple the gas millage anytime I can.

    An SUV for a 2 hour each way commute is nuts. And yes, I know people who do such things. If they ask I'll give my opinion.

    140:

    I can sort of see it if he was working at somewhere like Canary Wharf and was travelling at peak times. When I did a stint at Tower Hamlets in 2017:

    20-25 minutes drive to Huntingdon (the misguided bus took 45 minutes + and the unguided bus even longer) Wait up to 10 mins for the train, then 55 mins to Kings Cross Spend 15 minutes at KX shuffling along the platform on the Northern line to get close enough to a set of doors to actually get on the train Another 15-20 minutes to get to Bank and 5-10 minutes to get on the platform for the DLR Up to 15 mins wait for the Canning Town train, then about 15-20 minutes to get to East India, then about 5 mins walk to the office.

    In total, it was around 2:15 to 2:30 depending on how much humanity I had to fight my way through in Central London.

    141:

    (b) new devices like electric stair lifts, sit-in soaking baths and powered wheelchairs that increase safety and personal mobility therefore independence.

    I have multiple hard conversations with my wife over these issues. In my particular house these widgets are basically a toss away cost. My house will be torn down by the next buyer if not by me. We are one broken ankle or even bad sprain away from a miserable few months. Steps to do everything. Unless you stay in a bedroom where the bathrooms are on the same floor level. Then maybe we install a mini fridge and microwave for the stair bound person. Doctor visits will be fun.

    My thoughts are to move to a single level something within 10 years. Either someone we build replacing what we have or we move to.

    142:

    119 - I've no doubt you can move a lot of electrons in 30 minutes, but that means working with currents you need a really healthy (think HT lineman) level of respect for. I think it also means the vehicle batteries getting very hot very fast. Most people going Glasgow - Mallaig or vice versa by train tend to want to stay aboard when the train is in Fort William, and people are not required to detrain during the Mallaig turnaround. So you need really good electrical and thermal insulation on the battery packs. I'm not saying these issues are insoluble, just that they need careful consideration at the design stage.

    120 - I had friends living in apartments in the West End of Glasgow, and the honest if apparently snarky answer to "where do you park?" is "anything up to half a mile away". This with solid lines of vehicles along both kerblines and a single running lane between them.

    124 - Agreed. My point was more that the political will to do this in order to get catenary electric into QSHL actually exists in Scotland.

    131 - Teenager - You mean mid-50s or mid-80s female don't you!?

    141 - If I had to do a regular 2 hour drive, I would want something that is relaxing to do that sort of distance at highway speeds in (in the UK this typically means 70 to 80 mph indicated). Your ironically named "Tundra" is probably bigger than it needs to be. On the basis that 2016 Sickbricks are much the same the World over, I feel pretty sure it's too small. A 2.0l VW Jetta (or similar size Audi, Seat or Skoda) is probably about right.

    143:

    Yeah, even little EVs like the Bolt get nice and hot recharging on a 50 amp line, as one might expect.

    If we're talking electric ferries, what I'd suggest is a low level for "wheeled battery ballast," basically semis that are battery packs. Drive them onto the ship, plug them into the electrical system, drive them off at a terminal, recharge on land, repeat. While this isn't a universal solution for all ferry lines, I suspect that it's a safer way to move lots of watts in a saltwater environment than by plugging them in. Indeed, I can see transporting big, wheeled batteries as a pretty versatile solution to both moving energy and to moving storage where it's needed. Semi-batteries could be just as useful at something like a big music festival or after a disaster as on a ferry. Depending, again, on the situation. Driving a full battery 2,000 miles means the battery is probably empty on arrival, for example.

    144:

    Your ironically named "Tundra" is probably bigger than it needs to be.

    I got my Tundra as it had a 10K pound tow rating. And the cab wasn't a government low bid interior. Not hugely fancy but electric locks, windows, and a radio that didn't involve mechanical push buttons. (6 speed transmission with manual selection if I want.)

    I spent 5 months or so looking. Both in North Carolina and the Dallas / Fort Worth area. I got what I wanted.

    145:

    StephenNZ @ 69: My understanding is that Elon Musk is not eligible to be (USA) President. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-born-citizen_clause_(United_States)

    paws4thot @ 70: "Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father, and raised in Pretoria, South Africa." Seems pretty conclusive to me.

    I'm usually pretty clear about what the Constitution allows & what it doesn't, but I just had a wild thought that raises a question that I don't have an answer for.

    Suppose something truly insane happened and South Africa somehow became the 51st State (beating out DC and/or Puerto Rico) ... Would Musk then qualify as native born even though he was already an adult before that happened?

    Barry Goldwater was eligible to run even though he was born in Arizona Territory before it became a State. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone (in a U.S. Navy hospital) while the Zone was controlled by the U.S.

    Ted Cruz was born in Canada. His mother was a U.S. citizen & his father subsequently became a citizen (I think pretty late too, after Cruz had already started running for President the first time around).

    More generally, if persons with citizenship in some polity become U.S. citizens when that polity is annexed & becomes a State, do those citizens get "grandfathered in" as Native Born at the time of the accession?

    146:

    Here's a related item: the cost of EVs will drop, but not for the reason you think.

    Someone mentioned "much less complicated."

    In the early eighties, I knew someone in a small town who worked at the local Ford dealership. His specialty was transmissions. They wouldn't pay, so he had to spend $3k-$4k (in early 80's money) of his money on... special service tools, every year, because Ford would modify the transmissions, then sell new SSTs to increase their revenue stream.

    Take that trans away... and car repair costs drop, as well.

    Of course, the car companies will look for other ways to increase the revenue stream... and I gather, from cmts here, that they have to rebuild the car to replace the battery....

    So I'm looking for an open-source/right-to-repair company building cars from parts from suppliers, and to replace the battery, you have a special key, unlock a solid member, and slide the battery tray out (sideways, I'd think), and use the old crane that was used to pull an engine to remove the batteries.

    147:

    David L @ 75: Apparently in the US a lot of first and second generation German immigrants took crash courses in learning English during the WWI period. Especially from 1917 onward.

    That's about the time all those "Dutch" people moved to Pennsylvania.

    148:

    Remember, via interlocking boards and stock ownership, the oil companies own the US car companies. (Go ahead, justify all the larger and larger and larger vehicles... and I've just heard, the other day, someone complaining that they wanted the smaller pickup that they had 15 years ago, but the companies want to sell you something where the lift gate is chest high.)

    The result is they'll fight EV's every step of the way, and legislation (and note that I consider someone saying "government diktat" to, by definition, a libertarian or further wrong-wing), which has started, will be required.

    Otherwise, tell me why the US had NO, ZERO, ZIP hybrid minivans and other vehicles until recently.

    149:

    Before the world shut down I made a comment in a small gathering of people from various parts of the world. I said something to the effect there was a lot of similarity between the German and Dutch languages. One fellow who was Dutch told me in no uncertain terms just how wrong I was.

    I'm thinking there's still a bit of bitterness over the events of the early 1940s.

    150:

    First, I've seen numerous stories, and hear from people, about not buying cars, and esp. younger people wanting to live in cities, and walk or use public transit.

    Second, all this business of streetlight posts... come on, folks, let's think monetarily here: parking meters. You pay to park, and get to plug in (and the ticket you got when you put the money it lets you unlock your car's plug from the meter, to prevent someone else from unplugging it.

    151:

    It's not merely the multi-hundred mile range. For me to get to my daughters in Manassas is about 1.25 hours... about half what it would take me to drive to Philly.

    Except in rush hour, in which case add anywhere from half an hour to an hour to the drive.

    152:

    Sorry, but no. All metro areas have some kind of public transit, They range from good to lousy, and the further out you get, the worse they are, except for commuter rail, which is adored by everyone who uses it.

    153:

    EC @ 130 { And Charlie }
    Cambridge - KGX: 48 minutes ( No stops, 58 miles )
    Cambridge - LST: 71minutes ( 7 stops, 55.25 miles )
    Peterboro' - KGX: 73 minutes ( 7 stops, 76.25 miles ) - OR 51 minutes / 1 stop ( But more expensive )
    And yes, these are "ordinary" commuter routes with the first & last average speeds being: 72.5 & 86 mph respectively.

    Maddy E
    You DO REALISE that the "guided Pus" is slower than the ramshackle steam-hauled branch train was in 1922?
    [ I have a repro copy of a 1922 "Bradshaw" to prove this! ]
    Depending on your compass-point to Huntingdon, driving to Cambridge might have been faster - or not, of course.

    154:

    parking meters. You pay to park, and get to plug in (and the ticket you got when you put the money it lets you unlock your car's plug from the meter, to prevent someone else from unplugging it.

    I've been watching a trend of cities getting rid of the old parking meters. Instead you go to a hardened kiosk on the block and enter your license plate and a credit card. You get a receipt to put on your dash (or not) and that's it. No more individual meters. Which are a total PITA from a maintenance point of view. And costs less.

    155:

    Agreed. I've seen someone quoting posts about "if they take our guns away, how can we shoot liberals?"

    And then there were the two who need killing at the 6 Jan last year, wearing tshirts reading "Camp Ausschwitz", and "Not enough".

    156:

    145 - You've clearly never been on a loaded RoRo ferry; vehicles can be packed in on the vehicle deck to the extent that it's difficult to get in and out, and to make your way to and from the main passenger deck accesses. Giving up space to battery semis is not actually an option.

    146 - Ok, I can understand wanting a several ton tow plate. My point was that no-one needs a vehicle that size for one-up commuting.

    147 - No clear idea about Goldwater. McCain's Wikipedia page is pretty clear that he's a US citizen because both his parents were, and he was born on a US military base. Similar argument would apply to John Patrick McInroe although his father was serving in (West) Germany at the time. Ted Cruz' father was naturalised (Cuban), but we know he's run.

    148 - Well, a Tesla still needs lubricating oil changes. I've seen a video of someone doing it.

    157:

    For our needs/usage it's definitely cheaper for us to hire when we need a vehicle than own one. Most of the time when we owned a vehicle it was sitting idle, as unless we really needed it public transport was usually more convenient. We owned a van we had to park about a mile away because of the parking restrictions, we couldn't get a permit for it for this area. Even if we got a permit we'd not be able to park close to the flat unless we got very lucky, mostly we'd be a few minutes walk away. The amount it cost to keep and use was far more than we now spend on hiring, especially since hires are new vehicles with much better fuel consumption than a cheap vehicle. And we don't have a chunk of capital tied up in a depreciating asset.

    It's only really odd weekends away we'd use a car, or when we need a van to shift lots of stuff. It also means we can hire exactly what we need for each trip. It helps that there's a good hire place less than 10 minutes walk from our flat. Occasional taxi use is cheaper than keeping a car for the times we'd need it in town, and I can drink.

    If I needed frequent, short range car use I'd probably join the City Car Club and use one of their vehicles. They have a couple that live about 100 yards from my front door. It'd only be worth owning a vehicle if I actually needed to use it most days, rather than a few times a year. Obviously if I had one sitting here I'd use it for things I currently do by public transport, but I don't think that's a good thing.

    The parking issues for tenement streets do make charging for evs a problem that is not as easy to solve as it would be in a less crowded environment. Personally, I'd say that putting bollards every car length along the edge of the pavement with charging points in them would be a good thing - it'd also stop people parking on the pavement and causing problems for prams and wheelchairs.

    158:

    Charlie Stross @ 82: Lamppost charging for cars is a good idea that'll work in suburbia ... and not at all here in central Edinburgh, where there are probably 20-50 dwellings for every street lamp along a stretch of road, because we're all in apartments.

    I just went outside and counted - there are 12 houses on my block and 10 utility poles (three of which have street lamps).

    Several of my neighbors have more than one vehicle. Mostly DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids), but the guy next door has a work truck & a car and the guy across the street has his work truck & his wife & daughter each have a car (He does construction, She's a school teacher and the little She may still be in college - but they all have to go different ways & one car wouldn't cut it).

    It might be doable around here if each utility pole had two charging points.

    Definitely not so good for apartments, but around here new apartments (and condos) are required to have off-street parking for tenants. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch for local government to require builders to provide a charging point for each parking space.

    That would be harder to do in a "World Heritage" city where you can't change anything with the UN's permission, but it could be done for any NEW construction outside the zone.

    159:

    I think they come together if it's something simple, like a landslide, etc. When there's no solution amenable to "pick that up and put it over there", when the solution is complicated and needs engineering and science, that's where it breaks down.

    160:

    Been done in enough stories - that's what robotic and teleoperated drones are for.

    161:

    (a) the cost of relocating into a rental or senior assisted living residence is more expensive than staying put or the return on the sale of their house;

    Also, you are giving up independence when you do that. Rental puts you at the mercy of landlords, while a residence means that you eat meals at a set time etc.

    I've had this conversation with several friends who are putting off entering a residence as long as they can, because they've seen what going from 'independent adult' to 'retirement home resident' did to their parents.

    Imagine having to live your life to someone else's timetable. Eat when they say. Sleep when they say. Clear out of the way so your room can be cleaned when they say. Kids are used to it. Teenagers rebel against it. Are we surprised when older adults don't want to go back to it?

    162:

    Greg Tingey @ 83: paws

    I'd argue that a Lancia Fulvia is less polluting than a Honda Insect, Toyota Pious, or even a Tesla Model 3, simply because the Lancia is at least 50 years old, so the manufacturing energy is written down so well. Same argument applies to any classic MG or Triumph you care to name.

    THIS, entirely. The Great Green Beast was built in 1996 & is good for at least another 10-20 years. I bought it on the predication that I was NEVER, EVER going to buy another car.
    Try persuading the fake greenies of this?

    Well, the guy who's restoring the Lancia doesn't drive it that much anyway. He's in San Jose, California and mostly gets around on a bicycle. We're friends through a photographers group and I know about the Lancia because of the photos he's posted recently. But those photos are recent and before that I didn't even know he had a car.

    He's been posting photos from his various bicycle outings (and photos of his bikes) for as long as I've known him (maybe a little over a decade).

    I gather San Jose has EXTENSIVE infrastructure to make it pedestrian and bicycle friendly. He doesn't NEED a car to go about his business. I wish I could say the same about living in Raleigh.

    163:

    Please - I'm horrified by two-trailer semis on the Interstates, and three is worse.

    If you need to move that much... that's what railroads are for.

    164:

    That's about the time all those "Dutch" people moved to Pennsylvania.

    Um, no. The "Pennsylvania Dutch" are descended from Germans who moved there in the 18th and 19th Centuries; "Dutch" is just a corruption of "Deitsch/Deutsch" (meaning German).

    165:

    paws4thot @ 92: 82 - I'm still not convinced. At least with the present model where a passenger going Glasgow (Queen St) to Oban or Mallaig remains in the same coach (probably even the same seat although the direction of travel for Gla - Mallaig reverses at The Garrison). The unit makes the down trip as detailed (~105 miles for Oban and 150 for Mallaig) then becomes the up train on the same route 30 minutes later. So you have to manage something like 320 miles including positioning with no more than 30 minutes charging for a plain battery electric unit.

    That's the one train trip in Scotland that I know anything about ... in November 2004 I took the train from Glasgow (Queen St) to Fort William where I took a different train to get out to Mallaig the next day.

    I was trying to get there to photograph the Jacobite (aka "Harry Potter") steam train, but unfortunately because my R&R date was pushed back I missed the last running in October (voluntarily swapped with someone who had a family emergency back here in the States). My original dates would have put me there in early October in plenty of time.

    166:

    "a company he'd covered previously - Ubitricity - who do an on-street charging solution using lampposts. Basically if you replace sodium lampposts with LED lampposts, then since they use less power you can install a type-2 charging port in the lamppost and people can charge their cars!"

    Does not compute.

    Apart from the obvious point that there are far fewer lamp-posts than there are parked cars in the street so there simply aren't enough to go round, the usual residential-street-sized SOX lamp is 35W. Maybe you could expect an LED replacement to be about half that - not sure quite what they do use, but SOX lamps are bloody efficient and the gain from going to LEDs is not much. So if you're lucky you're releasing 20W of "spare" capacity per lamp-post, which is not a fat lot of use.

    Obviously there is a certain amount of spare capacity in the wiring; after all people do sometimes tap into lamp-posts in search of an unmetered supply, and it seems to cope. But there aren't many people doing it. If "type 2" means 3.6kW (which seems to be the least it can mean), then one charging station is equivalent to 100 residential-sized SOX lamps gone completely, or about 200 SOX lamps converted to LEDs.

    So you're looking at a couple of orders of magnitude increase in load, and whatever spare capacity the existing wiring has there's not a chance of it being anywhere near enough. Therefore the whole idea is a waste of time. You might get away with one or two charging points per circuit, but not one per lamp-post nor anything near it. You have to install new cabling in any case, so you might as well go all the way and install a separate system, and provide a number of charging points which is actually sensible in relation to the number of cars while you're at it.

    167:

    I'm quite familiar with them. But you're thinking parking meters, not vehicle recharge stations.

    168:

    JReynolds @ 97:

    if you could speak with each other you would probably find a lot of common ground

    Be Jewish? Yeah, they aren't saying the quiet part out loud. Yet. Mostly. But hearing them talk about how wicked 'international financiers' are, and know what 'international' is a dog-whistle for and you get the idea.

    Some of them have started to say the quiet part out loud in the last 4 - 5 years.

    I don't have any love for the Wall Street Banksters who have repeatedly fucked over the rest of us, but AFAIK not that many of them are Jewish, and the ones that are go to pains to hide the fact. It's very difficult for an openly Jewish (non-WASP) person to get ahead on the street.

    169:

    Is that USA or UK? As I said, they are very different.

    In my case, it's not the cost, but the hassle - it would take hours (probably 3-4) of my time and the cost of two taxis to hire a car for a half-hour trip, and would need extensive advance planning. Once upon a time, I would have cycled, but the road 'improvements for cycling' and my advancing age have made that too dangerous.

    For the longer trips, I would need something I can put my recumbent trike in, and they don't come cheap (40-50 quid per diem) - plus the fact that I would be paying for up to 20-30 days' use for 4 days' driving. Assuming that they WOULD hire to me, at 74 - most companies that hire suitable vehicles don't.

    170:

    What's the track of the "wide end" of your recumbent? I do have a cycle lane related reason for asking.

    171:

    All of which have much deeper gravity wells -- and storms! Really big storms.

    Hauling a nuclear propulsion unit out past the frost line is hard enough even if it's only to provide power for an ion rocket and a small refinery (you can take years on the job as you drag your snowball home). Dipping into a gas giant means you're going to need a heat shield, flight control surfaces, some way of scavenging atmosphere and turning it into reaction mass (even if it's "just" a nuclear scramjet), and the atmosphere mining plant. So lots of extra systems to go wrong, and much more hazardous conditions than landing on a snowball.

    But, as I said earlier, there is effectively no helium in Oort Cloud objects. How could there be? Helium is a noble gas and does not condense except at extremely low temperatures and high pressures. Trace quantities of helium atoms will inevitably be entrained in condensing molecular ices, and very careful scientific analysis can extract a handful of them... but trying to extract helium from Oort Cloud objects would make about as much economic sense as trying to extract gold or uranium from a human body.

    You'd be much better off scavenging helium from, say, the lunar surface; at least we know there's some from billions of years of solar-wind deposition.

    172:

    For a fun bit of pessimism, consider the generally accepted academic definition of a 'civil war' as involving >1000 deaths in a year, and 'civil strife' in the leadup to a potential civil war as involving >50 deaths/year.

    Now consider that for a meaningful percentage of people in the US, the civil war has 'already begun'. What was once a fringe population of doomsday preppers has morphed very rapidly into a kaleidoscope of Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, Sovereigntists, militias of all stripes. All in constant flux, overlap and interaction with older school Nazis, KKK etc. and the newer variants of Incel terrorists. Most of these have as their core precepts that a civil war is coming, or had already begun. They take it as given that the 'Left' as they define it (anyone not them) is also in the fight and has already begun.

    Whatever the outcome of the 2022 Mid-term elections, we can expect a dramatic ramping up of the rhetoric, violence and propaganda by these groups - either triumphalist violence or violent outraged rejection of the results.

    The GOP can now be seen as a theoretical equivalent to Sinn Fein, with an unacknowledged but aggressive, violent and loosely coordinated wing. They may not even have shared goals aside from hating Democrats/leftists. In the event that the GOP takes control of Congress there will be impeachment, bogus hearings, endless shouting and violence.

    The escalating climate emergency and the ongoing pandemic will continue to throw explosive curveballs into the various political workings.

    Globally, imagine the ripple effect of a US economy in freefall and the collapse of the US dollar, combined with the absence of US ability to project force abroad. For that matter, imagine the US losing interest in events abroad due to the firestorm within its borders.

    All Empires fail, and they almost never see it coming.

    173:

    As witness Trump mocking his anti-vaxx followers last week and announcing he'd had his booster shot. He played them for chumps.

    Just earlier today I read a post by some anti-vaxxer who is convinced Trump "never took this poison" but has to pretend he did because he too is beholden to Big Pharma. She is also convinced that neither Biden nor anyone else "on top" has taken the vaccine.

    174:

    About the same as a wheelchair - nearly 90cm. I avoid psychle farcilities like the plague because they are almost always more dangerous and cyclist-hostile than nothing.

    175:

    whitroth @ 150: The result is they'll fight EV's every step of the way, and legislation (and note that I consider someone saying "government diktat" to, by definition, a libertarian or further wrong-wing), which has started, will be required.

    ... until the banksters who control the fossil fuel companies manage to capture EV manufacturing the same way they captured the current automotive industry.

    176:

    David L @ 151: Before the world shut down I made a comment in a small gathering of people from various parts of the world. I said something to the effect there was a lot of similarity between the German and Dutch languages. One fellow who was Dutch told me in no uncertain terms just how wrong I was.

    I'm thinking there's still a bit of bitterness over the events of the early 1940s.

    Yeah, but the conversion of Pennsylvania's German population into a Dutch population occurred a generation earlier, during the FIRST World War.

    German-Americans were no more nor less loyal citizens of the U.S., but the neighbors were less hostile to those whose ancestors had migrated from this side of the trench lines.

    That's the way it goes sometimes.

    177:

    Paul, there's this little thing in the US (the Constitution) which requires the President to be Native Born. Opening up the Constitution to change that is a Third Rail of USian politics.

    178:

    JBS @ 178 Yeah, but the conversion of Pennsylvania's German population into a Dutch population occurred a generation earlier, during the FIRST World War.

    No, they've been called "Dutch" since the 18th Century (and they've never claimed to be from the Netherlands, then or now).

    179:

    "The running trend of the century is "rent, not own"."

    Which is utterly ghastly, and ten times more so with the way so much of it is set up to require people to allow some remote hand to reach into their bank account and scoop up chunks of money in the background without any oversight. I cannot understand why people in general are not too horrified at the idea for it to have ever got off the ground in the first place.

    I do everything I can to avoid recurrent payments that I can't just not pay, and I refuse utterly to have anything to do with automatic payment of any kind. For instance my electricity supply is on pay-as-you-go with no standing charge so I always have the option of shivering in the dark if I need it and no-one can give me any extra grief on top of that. Things I can't set up like that I nevertheless pay by handing over money in person, so that if it comes to it I can tell them to fuck off and spend it on food instead, and I don't have to worry about unexpectedly finding myself with nothing to eat because they've grabbed it all before I got the chance.

    As far as I am concerned "own, not rent" is the only acceptable option: you pay for the thing, and that's all about it. Once you own the thing - whatever it is - it ceases to be a channel for people to keep grabbing money off you. If you haven't got the money to pay its running costs all you have to do is stop using it and nobody can give you any grief. If it's the kind of thing that doesn't have running costs (like the various examples of data you cite) then having it act as an uncontrolled money bleed is just plain bonkers.

    I've heard of these car leasing deals people get into and I think they're bonkers too. They seem to pay more every month than I would spend in a year and they can't stop paying it. The other thing people do with cars of borrowing some huge sum and being landed with a similar inescapable need to hand over a similar amount of money every month is bad enough, but at least it does stop eventually and they get to keep the car; with the leasing deals you don't even get that much.

    All these schemes are only remotely sensible if you have enough money that hundreds of pounds can disappear behind your back at arbitrary times and you don't have to care about it. Yet they are not only being pressed on people who are not in so fortunate a position, but those people are actually accepting it and punting the possibility of worry down the road... then when it hits them they have to spend even more money on loans and credit cards etc. to punt it down the road a bit further.

    A related aspect is the creeping extension of the idea that the way to solve any problem is to throw money at it. Again this is fine for people who've got more money than they know what to do with, but more and more people are being encouraged to believe - by being taught that they are too ignorant to do anything themselves - that that's the only way to solve a problem whether they've got money or not.

    The position was already bad enough with the housing situation compelling people to be utterly terrified of losing their jobs and unable to even consider telling the kind of employer who needs it to go and fuck themselves. It does not need to be made even worse with a whole host of additional minor and not-so-minor cuts that you can't stop the bleeding from.

    Of course, that's the whole idea, but people won't see it, and not only allow themselves to be thus manipulated but often positively ask for it.

    180:

    A neighborhood where the entire street is essentially parking is not a problem for electric cars.

    It is an opportunity for the local utility. You rip up the sidewalk, put in a trickle charge point every car length, and bill the cars/peoples phones for the power. In terms of infrastructure you have to build to sell more power, it beats the pants of a new subdivision, and those get done.

    Lets see.. predictions.

    Highly managed ocean areas- Kelp planting and oysters and fertilization with iron and other trace elements limiting productivity. Enough oysterbeds to make the north sea clear again even.

    Major advances in adult education.

    NaOH moderated and cooled reactors become really popular in the third world. There is a Danish firm working on Yet Another Molten Salt Design, but the actual key innovation they have stumbled on is a way to get 1200 degree NaOH to not eat structural steels. NaOH is a better moderator and coolant than heavy water. Powerful moderation, a thousand degrees C between melting and boiling temperatures. This means you can kitbash something a whole lot like a Candu with hardly any industrial base at all. Nothing needs pressure, and no need to do isotopic enrichment on anything at all.

    Ohh. I have the perfect surprise to upend All The Things.

    The integrated stress response inhibitor stunt turns out to transfer from mice to human. It gets doled out like candy. What do we think the results would be from all the elderly getting more or less their full faculties back?

    181:

    "Well, a Tesla still needs lubricating oil changes. I've seen a video of someone doing it."

    ...and engines these days don't need much more than that doing to them. Fluids and filters - which electric cars have too - plugs at very rare intervals if it has them, and that's about it. The engine isn't far from being a black box. You can take it out and put in an electric motor which is a slightly closer approximation to a black box, but you still have all the other systems to maintain, and they're where most of the maintenance goes in any case. Tyres, brakes, suspension and all that. I wouldn't disagree that electric cars may be a bit easier to maintain, but I think predictions of the collapse of the car maintenance industry are a bit far-fetched.

    It is true that another characteristic of engines these days is that some stupid thing can break and result in endless expensive fiddling on to try and work out what the problem actually is, but electric cars are built around the same technology that makes engines behave like that, so I see no reason to expect them not to be similarly afflicted.

    182:

    Re: '"GoLocal Agriculture is HARD WORK - ask me how I know this?'

    Intended to reply to this earlier ...

    Yes - I know that growing your own food on your own patch of land is hard work. I - along with many of my neighbors - tried doing a bit of that in 2020 during the first lock-down and worries about supply-chain disruptions, plus having something/anything to do as a distraction. (I ended up with excessive amounts of spinach and tomatoes - couldn't even give them away.)

    Why I keep harping on this --- Food security is a major global and local issue and isn't going to go away esp. with GW/CC causing more frequent and more powerful storms leading to even more frequent and serious disruptions. Not sure how many roads have been damaged where you live but the headlines from parts of the EU, Asia and NA have shown many roads, dams, railroads, etc. completely destroyed by weather events.

    I don't think it makes sense anymore to rely almost entirely on a food supply that can be disrupted as often and as thoroughly as we're beginning to see. We need a different approach, preferably local and decentralized.

    The technology for growing good nutritious and tasty food (produce mostly) has been improving for the past couple of decades. And as more and more people keep moving away from meat esp. beef as their primary protein source, the market for veg-based protein is likely to continue. This isn't some weird and unlikely SF/F scenario, it's already happening.

    More local production also removes a lot of carbon from the atmosphere - not a bad reason to pursue this as an option. And, yeah - I still think that already existing empty non-residential buildings should be the first to be converted over to grow-houses. (Actually, some smaller motel chains could probably also be adapted if the trend to less travel continues.)

    https://www.uschamber.com/co/good-company/launch-pad/indoor-farming-businesses-grow-during-pandemic?cid=search

    I suggest we have a contest for the most weird-*ss ideas for achieving this with the winner determined by OGH.

    ...

    Hey Charlie,

    According to the book store, my book is still supposed to arrive tomorrow. Hah! We'll see. The supply chain has had some serious weather-related problems getting anything here lately.

    183:

    "So electrification of the line is in principle possible if the trains have enough backup battery capacity to cover a 5km gap at relatively low speed."

    Ah, well, it doesn't have to be that complicated...

    As Greg says, it's straightforward to use rigid bars instead of wires in situations where the wires wobbling would be a problem. And the widespread rumour that there isn't enough clearance is officially bollocks. Technically, putting 25kV overhead across the Forth Bridge is entirely possible. The obstacles are matters of bureaucracy rather than engineering.

    184:

    paws4thot @ 158: 147 - No clear idea about Goldwater. McCain's Wikipedia page is pretty clear that he's a US citizen because both his parents were, and he was born on a US military base. Similar argument would apply to John Patrick McInroe although his father was serving in (West) Germany at the time. Ted Cruz' father was naturalised (Cuban), but we know he's run.

    Goldwater was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909 before Arizona became a State in 1912. Whether he was a "natural born" U.S. citizen was vigorously discussed in 1964. Arizona was a U.S. territory when he was born so the question was eventually settled in his favor. But I do wonder if that would have been the case if he had been born there before it became a U.S. possession or territory.

    Ted Cruz is a lying, hypocritical BIRTHER asshole, when his OWN right to claim "natural born" status is shaky. He was born to a U.S. mother in Canada in 1970. AT THE TIME, his father was still a Cuban citizen (NOT being naturalized until 2005). U.S. naturalization law has always concentrated on the citizenship status of the FATHER for children born abroad. AFAIK, the law has never been changed to specifically state the rights of children born to U.S. citizen MOTHERS - again AFAIK, that has only been established by court decisions, not laws passed by Congress (strict constructionists hoist on their own petard). 1

    The only reason I include Cruz is because he's a lying hypocrite, and he deserves all the shit I can heap upon him. See my previous comments regarding splinters & planks. It's something I think Cruz needs to seriously ponder.

    But all that is not even my question. Forget Goldwater, Cruz et al.

    If a person is born in a place that is not & never has been a United States possession or territory and after that the place subsequently became a U.S. State ... at what point do the people born there become "natural born" U.S. citizens? Does it apply only to persons born after the place becomes a state? Or is it retroactive for persons born there BEFORE it became a state?

    1 Remember the whole BULLSHIT BIRTHER argument about Obama was due to his Kenyan FATHER, completely ignoring his U.S. Mother and the inconvenient fact that Hawaii was ALREADY A STATE for two years before Obama was born there.

    What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.

    185:

    Even worse for those times is that it this is just the station to station times and doesn't factor in the actual (home) door to (office) door travel time.

    186:

    Predictions... since my next novel in my universe starts about 54 years from now, I've been thinking about it for a while.

    2030: Yeah, the first trillionaire individuals (as opposed to companies). More automation, including restaurants. The beginning of more widespread BMI, which will start somewhere between 2025 and 2035, and in the US will begin by loosening up welfare, so that a) it's not next to impossible to get on; b) you don't have to be an unmarried woman, with or without kid(s), to get on it, and the means test will start resembling the way unemployment goes here, that you weren't fired, and are looking for a job. Long-term plastics, that is, non-disposable (the petrochemical industry will push this). About CRISPR... the first genengineered diseases, including a (mis)targeted one that kills fertility. Finally, someone puts a reactor in orbit (or it's assembled up there) for the first nuclear spaceship. One of the first uses will be shuttling between Earth orbit and the Lunar orbiting Gateway. (And one a little closer to home), breakthrough on diseases that are caused by, or provoked by, your intestinal biome. Among the cures coming out of that is fibromyalgia.

    187:

    The beginning of more widespread BMI

    Did you mean "UBI"? BMI means Body Mass Index. Although you could argue that in US it is loosened already. :)

    188:

    Robert Prior @ 163:

    (a) the cost of relocating into a rental or senior assisted living residence is more expensive than staying put or the return on the sale of their house;

    Also, you are giving up independence when you do that. Rental puts you at the mercy of landlords, while a residence means that you eat meals at a set time etc."

    I've had this conversation with several friends who are putting off entering a residence as long as they can, because they've seen what going from 'independent adult' to 'retirement home resident' did to their parents.

    Imagine having to live your life to someone else's timetable. Eat when they say. Sleep when they say. Clear out of the way so your room can be cleaned when they say. Kids are used to it. Teenagers rebel against it. Are we surprised when older adults don't want to go back to it?

    It's my only fear now. What happens when I'm no longer able to live independently? THEY will take my little buddy away and who can I trust to take care of him the way they should do.

    I'll be dead within six months.

    190:

    176 - Cheers; the "separated" (note qoted used advisedly) cycle lanes on certain main routes around North and West Glasgow are as dangerous to you as they are a menace to powered transport. There is at least one route where the divider is hard rubber bumps about 4" high and 242 long, quite capable of launching a car's LH wheels into the air and depriving the driver of all control until they land. I have been a passenger in one car that wandered into them, and know what I am talking about.

    185 - The Forth (Rail) Bridge isn't a "listed building" with Hysterical Scotland (sic), but it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which may pose its own issues with a modification like adding overhead electrification.

    186 - Ok, Ted Cruz' coat should be on a shoogly peg (as we say over here).

    190 - Ur kitteh? How about "any cat friendly regular poster to this blog who lives in the same nation?

    191:

    "yeah, i used to live in hastings, where they couldn't get high speed up to london because someone had only put two skins of bricks on certain tunnels rather than the three they were supposed to have"

    That's kind of confused...

    It is true that the original contractor skimped on the tunnel linings and didn't put enough rings of bricks in. When they started falling in they were brought up to scratch by installing additional rings, which narrowed the tunnels enough to cause problems with clearance.

    What this meant was that you couldn't have ordinary British-sized trains on that line. They had to build special narrow-bodied stock, for use on that line only, so it could get through the tunnels without hitting anything.

    When the line was eventually electrified the idea of having special narrow electric stock as well was too much to handle, so instead they reduced the double track through the tunnels to a single track straight up the middle and got more clearance that way, though with a reduction in ultimate line capacity, considered not too serious because the single line sections are only short.

    The problem with the British loading gauge in general is that as the first builders we didn't make it as big as those who came along later usually did, so we can't, or can't easily, do various things mostly involving bulky freight loads that railways elsewhere in the world find straightforward.

    "High speed rail" as the term has been used in this discussion is a different kettle of fish entirely. The problem there is that cornering forces increase with the square of the speed, so none of the ordinary lines are straight enough. All the countries which have gone for it have done it by building dedicated routes on new alignments with minimal curvature.

    192:

    whitroth @ 169: I'm quite familiar with them. But you're thinking parking meters, not vehicle recharge stations.

    Here in Raleigh there's one of these stations for every 4 or so parking spaces downtown (so people don't have to walk too far to pay for parking). You use a credit card & type in the number of the parking space (painted on the curb) plus however long (up to the maximum allowed time) you want to pay for and it spits out a little paper ticket that goes on the dash so the "meter reader" can see it through the windshield.

    But I don't think it should be too difficult to design a station for EACH parking space that could do double duty as a parking meter AND a charging station. I think it will come eventually.

    I also expect municipal parking garages will eventually have charging stations for each parking space. You'll pay for both when you exit. Take the ticket when you enter; insert the ticket into the charger while parked ... remove the ticket and hand it to the attendant (along with your credit/debit card) when you exit.

    Maybe they'll bury some kind of coil in the pavement to charge the vehicles like those pads you can get to lay your phone on? And the whole transaction will be by bluetooth?

    193:

    "wheeled battery ballast," basically semis that are battery packs.

    Or even standard shipping container battery packs. There's some prior art for this: before "cloud" really took off, and I'm sure still since, both Google and Dell have marketed "data centre in a shipping container" capabilities, where the idea is the container has all that's needed to run inside it, just plug it into your network. A shipping container battery could include all the switching, cooling and any required inverter or other conversion gear needed for a wide range of application (including powering the truck that is carrying it).

    Detachable trailer battery/floodlight combinations already exist in emergency management (I remember SES training in the old days, the generator/floodlight trailers were impressive in that you would stall the generator motor if you turned all the lights on at once), some with fold-out solar panels too. Using a standard shipping container would open up all the existing freight infrastructure, and potentially make the arrangement for a "ferry" a dual-use option... for short haul you could take some actual containers full of freight and half the battery load. Also, not sure how the numbers would work out, but retro-fitting existing container ships for electric feels roughly at the edge of worthwhile, since they already have the gear to carry a crazy number of containers. It would be a density issue, assuming something like LiFePO4 (although one of the benefits of the standardised container approach would be that the actual battery technology would be transparently changeable).

    194:

    "(Covered side or bottom-contact third rail would be alternate options.)"

    It is of course well-known that there is a long-unfulfilled desire for the DC 750V third rail system to be installed on the Kyle line. There's even a song about it - "Oh for DC to Skye".

    Personally I class electrification of the Highland branches as "more trouble than it's worth to do, and not enough usage to be worth fretting about it". Leave them as diesel because it works better than anything else would and it's a drop in the ocean. You can always run them on transesterified chip shop fat if you want to.

    195:

    The English Broadcasting Corporation appear to believe that "high speed rail" means "anything over 50mph" based on https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-59946362 . They also seem to think that trains can stop instantly.

    196:

    Owner of a Tesla here, and there's no lubrication oil change required for normal service. I just went back and checked my owners manual to be sure. Only scheduled maintenance is rotation of the tires every 6,250 miles, testing of the brake fluid for water and change of the cabin HEPA filter every two years and replacement of the A/C desiccant bag every six years. If you live in an area where roads are salted in the winter, they recommend lubricating the brake calipers every two years since the receive much less use than on IC cars due to regenerative braking.

    More anecdata from an EV owner: I live in a detached home and the car is plugged in when it's in the driveway. This gives me a "full tank" every morning. Replacement of a couple of kitchen appliances with more efficient versions has offset the additional power bill. Friends who live in apartments either have charging points in their parking lots or they are being installed. I realize this is not true everywhere. My situation is ideal for the car but not everyone's is. Tesla is installing Urban Superchargers in our citiy for people who might not have opportunity to at home.

    I just went on a trip to a small town in the North Carolina mountains. The cabin we were to stay in had a Tesla charger. There was a problem with the cabin so we had to move to a small hotel. It also had a charger. The hotel across the street had two chargers. I restaurant we stopped at was closed for renovation but said we could use their charger if we needed it. This town had one charger just a few years ago. The charging network is improving but Tesla's advantage is their widespread and reliable charging network. I've had about a 50% success rate with other charges the few times I've tried them.

    I don't want to come across as an EV apologist. I don't plan on selling my Honda S2000 until I stop driving. I sold a Coupe with mods for the track when I got the Tesla. I like the convenience (for me) of an EV but, more than that, it's so much fun to drive. I just wanted to provide my experience with a particular car in a particular region with an ideal home location for charging.

    197:

    The integrated stress response inhibitor stunt turns out to transfer from mice to human. It gets doled out like candy. What do we think the results would be from all the elderly getting more or less their full faculties back?

    You're not in America, right?

    Because "doled out like candy" doesn't seem to be the model for American pharmaceutical products, even the ones whose research was paid for years ago.

    https://www.statista.com/chart/23127/average-price-per-standard-unit-of-insulin/

    Combine this with Charlie's rent-not-own prediction, and you have people who are effectively renting their own minds. Can't pay, say hello to dementia…

    198:

    That is wrong at so many levels. Were the SUV's donated by the local gas station dealer association?

    Said by someone who doesn't have to deal with Highway 400 in the winter.

    It is frequently an unpleasant experience thanks to snow squalls and other weather fun causing many multi-vehicle pile-ups.

    There is no way I would commute that highway in anything less than an SUV.

    199:

    Basic Minimum Income, because it'll be a long time before it's universal.

    And, of course, how could I have typed a mistaken acronym, they're all unique... you know, like CRT.

    200:

    I think the EV situation will be interesting to watch, and interesting to see if it happens.

    It is one thing to say the automakers are all converted, but it will be another thing entirely to get people to buy them.

    And I can't help but wonder, as weather gets more unpredictable, if people will in addition to politics and other things decide if an old fashioned IC engine vehicle is safer.

    Better range for evacuations (won't matter if it is true or not), the ability to refuel even if the grid is down (see Quebec ice storm, any major hurricane, etc.) because you only need to find a gas station still with power or a generator.

    Generally I could see the attempt at EV conversion failing in the US.

    201:

    Para 2 - Not knowing the background to the song, you have misinterpreted the words as being about 3rd rail electrification. The song is actually a lament over the Scottish Government not having built a bridge between Skye and the Uists, hence the chorus "Speed bonnie boat,
    Like a bird on the wing,
    Onward the sailors cry,
    Carry the lad wha's born to be King,
    Over the sea to Skye." (from Peter's Port on Benbecula.)

    202:

    AJ @ 159 Hiring vehicles ...
    I'm 76 during this coming week. No-one at all will hire me a car, even though I've just had a licence renewal & also my eyesight tested & passed + medical check.
    SEE ALSO: EC @ 171

    Rbt Prior @ 163
    YES - simply NOT GOING THERE.

    Rocketjps
    THAT is exactly why Xi & Putin are backing Trump, of course, except they don't/can't/won't see that they are next. It's as "sensible" as the Imperial German guvmin't's capers 1913-17 - & as disastrous long-term. But they won't learn. All empires .. never see it coming - not so, or in one case, at least. I think one reason the dissolution of "OUR" Empire was for precisely that reason. "We" saw that it was - if not time to go, right now, then soon - & in spite of a lot of "minor" bloodshed, it was a lot less nasty than say, oh: Congo / Algeria / Viet Nam (twice) ......

    Pigeon @ 181
    Please refer back to my # 83?

    TJ @ 182
    The integrated stress response inhibitor stunt turns out to transfer from mice to human. It gets doled out like candy. What do we think the results would be from all the elderly getting more or less their full faculties back? - sorry, don't understand ... (?)

    ilya187
    Cat or Dog

    Pigeon
    Excepting Germany, where some lengths of older line without significant curvature have been rebuilt to take real high-speed: "Aufbaustrecke" as opposed to "Neubaustrecke" ... here that would be Kings-Cross - Morpeth or Paddington - Swansea / Bristol or Exeter via Bristol

    203:

    Said by someone who doesn't have to deal with Highway 400 in the winter.

    It is frequently an unpleasant experience thanks to snow squalls and other weather fun causing many multi-vehicle pile-ups.

    I've never found it a pleasant experience, thanks to large numbers of hyper-aggressive drivers in SUVs… :-/

    And semis. Let's not forget semi drivers who figure it's the car's job to get out of their way…

    204:

    The video I referenced was also made by a Tesla owner. Clearly one of you is mistaken about the need to change transmission oil.

    205:

    Bit of problem with going full EV for personal transport.

    There are almost 287 million registered cars in the US in 2020.

    Suppose you replace them all with Teslas.

    The battery of a tesla weighs about 1,200 lbs - or a total of about 172 million tons of batteries.

    A tesla battery warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles with a battery retention capacity of 70%.

    Tesla car batteries are supposed to technically last for 300,000 to 500,000 miles, which is 1,500 battery cycles. That’s between 22 and 37 years for the average car driver, who, according to the Department of Transportation, drives about 13,500 miles per year. This is not the same distance that Tesla warranties. After 100,000 to 150,000 miles, Tesla does not cover repairs and replacements for you if your battery degrades past a certain point. So the typical owner will replace the battery after about 8 years.
    That's an average of about 21.5 million tons of battery replacement annually if 1/8 of existing tesla batteries are replaced annually.

    Recycling li-ion batteries is incredibly expensive unless heavily subsidized and confined to low labor cost markets (which China no longer is) that are also capable of massive economies of scale. Not impossible - but very, very difficult.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589004221007550

    So that leaves us with li-ion battery disposal.

    A non-recycled li-ion battery is defined as hazwaste.

    America currently disposes of 1.6 million tons of hazwaste each year.

    Replacing the projected tonnage of tesla batteries (assuming a cost competitive means of recycling li-ion batteries that does not require government mandates or subsidies is found) increases the amount of of hazwaste disposal in America by a factor of 13x to 14x.

    Again, not impossible but very, very difficult.

    And nobody is preparing for a potential tsunami of hazwaste from complete conversion to EVs.

    It normally takes 5 to 10 years to design, permit and build a new hazwaste landfill.

    206:

    Yes, he is.

    I routinely change all the fluids on my S2000. There's not only no transmission fill and drain holes, there's no transmission. The only gearing on a Tesla is a reduction gear integrated with the motor(s).

    207:

    That doesn't surprise me. I live closer to Huntingdon than Cambridge yet it takes as long to get to Huntingdon using the bus as it does to Cambridge. The reason is that the Busway itself ends 2 stops before my stop, and from St Ives to Huntingdon, it's on the roads and it goes round the houses in Huntingdon.

    Back when I worked at Shire Hall, my commute door-to-door was a little less than an hour. Now I'm working in North London, and my door-to-door is 1:30-1:45 depending on traffic and packed trains at Finsbury Park. The difference was surprising to me; it's actually better to go into London as I can read on the train - I get travel sick on buses. The other trade-off is the much higher basic salary plus London weighting,

    Living where I do has been a godsend with both of us working from home during lock-down; we have space for a home office big enough for 2 and the rest of the house is kept away from work. We've got a reasonable size garden for exercise (yes, I grown some veg but not a lot - I don't have the time). We're close enough to town to walk to the market (and Waitrose if necessary), although our main shop is done at Morrisons which is a bit further out. Theoretically, we can walk to Morrisons but it's along the main road, and I have dodgy joints. When I get my twirly-pass, I expect I'll use the local bus to go to Morrisons (the stop for that is opposite the house), but then I'll have the time to spend doing so (it's a circular route and it's far longer to come back than to go out).

    I do own a car - which is something of a luxury these days - but once we don't need to head to Corby at the drop of a hat or lug stuff to the local HWRC, then I expect not to replace it once it becomes uneconomic.

    208:

    Sigh.

    There's plenty of FUD to balance the True Believers of EV's. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    I don't know about the other manufacturers, but Tesla is actively working on cleaning up battery manufacturing working with a company dedicated to recycling batteries with a recovery rate in the high 90's. They've also created a dry process for battery manufacture that eliminates the high levels of contaminated liquid. You might want to look at Musk's Battery Day presentation on Youtube. Granted, Musk is nothing if he's not a true believer, but even without 100% success, there's not going to be a flood of hazmat.

    209:

    "NaOH is a better moderator and coolant than heavy water."

    How do they work that out then? Heavy water is a good moderator because (1) lighter nuclei pinch more KE off the neutrons and (2) deuterium and oxygen both have bugger all of a cross section for neutron absorption. Sodium is too heavy to have a good moderating effect and it has a neutron absorption cross section about 1000 times that of deuterium. NaOH ought to be a rotten moderator.

    It's not the world's best coolant either because the consequence of that neutron absorption is vicious gammas being emitted from the primary cooling loop, which tends to be a bit awkward.

    On top of that you've still got the same problem that you get with a molten-anything-cooled reactor, that you have to melt the entire contents of the cooling circuit before you can start the reactor up. I can't see what advantage you get from adding the other problems with using NaOH apart from it being cheap, which I suppose is true, but the cost of the coolant is a pretty tiny proportion of the whole.

    210:

    Back of an envelope calculations... a TEU container has approx 33.2 cubic metres internal volume, while energy density for LiFePO4 is about 325 Wh/l, so you get roughly 10MWh per TEU, with roughly 3 cubic metres per container set aside for cooling and switching (assuming that's enough, it's a nice round number anyway, can always adjust for more ventilation if that's required but it won't be a do-or-die impact). The "very famous in 2021" Ever Given carries around 20,000 TEU and its engine puts out around 60MW at full power. So 6 containers gives an hour of runtime at full power, roughly. Osaka to Rotterdam is roughly 28 days, so a little over 4,000 LiFePO4 battery containers would give the equivalent to full power for that passage, assuming no recharging (or swapping out) en-route. That's giving up around 20% cargo capacity, so it could be cost prohibitive in current conditions, but as always, conditions can change.

    Some quick googling suggests that of the major shipbuilders, Wärtstilä in particular is getting into electric propulsion in a big way and Imbari, the builder of the Ever Given, is active in a range of spaces, including ammonia-based propulsion and energy storage ships for offshore wind farms.

    211:

    Duffy 207. Every time I see that analysis, and it's been a few times, it is always as if the disposal of EV batteries is the only thing happening. At no point does anyone mention the total environmental cost of disposal for ICE engines and components, and the oil/fluids/gasoline involved.

    For interest sake, I'd love to see a comparative analysis of the two modes. The 'tsunami' of hazwaste bearing down on us, which terminology I've seen in more than one petroleum funded publication, behaves as if we are starting in a position of zero waste.

    I don't think anyone is under the delusion that ICE vehicle use or life cycles produce zero waste, so I'd love to see a comparison.

    212:

    Pigeon @ 181:

    "The running trend of the century is "rent, not own"."

    Which is utterly ghastly, and ten times more so with the way so much of it is set up to require people to allow some remote hand to reach into their bank account and scoop up chunks of money in the background without any oversight. I cannot understand why people in general are not too horrified at the idea for it to have ever got off the ground in the first place.

    I do everything I can to avoid recurrent payments that I can't just not pay, and I refuse utterly to have anything to do with automatic payment of any kind. For instance my electricity supply is on pay-as-you-go with no standing charge so I always have the option of shivering in the dark if I need it and no-one can give me any extra grief on top of that. Things I can't set up like that I nevertheless pay by handing over money in person, so that if it comes to it I can tell them to fuck off and spend it on food instead, and I don't have to worry about unexpectedly finding myself with nothing to eat because they've grabbed it all before I got the chance.

    I have trouble managing money that well. Back when I was working & on the road a lot I had frequent problems with late payments and all the additional fees & penalties involved. I now have all my essentials - utilities & a couple of other things set up for automatic payment from my checking account. This allows me to do several things.

    I have EQUAL PAYMENT plans. My gas, electric & water are averaged over the preceding year and the monthly payment changes only ONCE per year. My monthly utility payments are locked in to be the same every month so I can BUDGET for what I have to spend.

    I get a discounted rate for using direct debit. And I don't have to worry about coming home from a week on the road only to find my water has been cut off because I was too busy to go downtown to pay the bill on time.

    When I bought my Jeep I had enough in my Money Market account to pay cash. I chose to finance it at the Credit Union and set it for direct debit because I got a much lower interest rate and I kept earning interest on the Money Market which partially offset the interest I was paying PLUS I had money for a "rainy day" and wouldn't need to borrow in an emergency.

    As far as I am concerned "own, not rent" is the only acceptable option: you pay for the thing, and that's all about it. Once you own the thing - whatever it is - it ceases to be a channel for people to keep grabbing money off you. If you haven't got the money to pay its running costs all you have to do is stop using it and nobody can give you any grief. If it's the kind of thing that doesn't have running costs (like the various examples of data you cite) then having it act as an uncontrolled money bleed is just plain bonkers.

    I've heard of these car leasing deals people get into and I think they're bonkers too. They seem to pay more every month than I would spend in a year and they can't stop paying it. The other thing people do with cars of borrowing some huge sum and being landed with a similar inescapable need to hand over a similar amount of money every month is bad enough, but at least it does stop eventually and they get to keep the car; with the leasing deals you don't even get that much.

    In the U.S. leasing makes sense if you can deduct the cost from your taxes as a BUSINESS EXPENSE.

    When I worked for the burglar alarm company they leased our vans. I ended up buying one of the vans at the end of the lease and got a WHOPPING discount off of buying even a used van of the same vintage ... maybe half of the market value. I'd have had to pay twice as much for an equivalent van if I hadn't had the option to buy the one I was already driving.

    All these schemes are only remotely sensible if you have enough money that hundreds of pounds can disappear behind your back at arbitrary times and you don't have to care about it. Yet they are not only being pressed on people who are not in so fortunate a position, but those people are actually accepting it and punting the possibility of worry down the road... then when it hits them they have to spend even more money on loans and credit cards etc. to punt it down the road a bit further.

    A related aspect is the creeping extension of the idea that the way to solve any problem is to throw money at it. Again this is fine for people who've got more money than they know what to do with, but more and more people are being encouraged to believe - by being taught that they are too ignorant to do anything themselves - that that's the only way to solve a problem whether they've got money or not.

    The position was already bad enough with the housing situation compelling people to be utterly terrified of losing their jobs and unable to even consider telling the kind of employer who needs it to go and fuck themselves. It does not need to be made even worse with a whole host of additional minor and not-so-minor cuts that you can't stop the bleeding from.

    Of course, that's the whole idea, but people won't see it, and not only allow themselves to be thus manipulated but often positively ask for it.

    Another example ... it may have been unique to my own situation, but I expect there are others with similar experiences. I rented an apartment even though I already owned a house.

    When I came home from Iraq I didn't have a job. The U.S. has a law that requires employers to reinstate you with all the seniority & benefits you would have had if you had remained on the job the whole time you were mobilized. The one thing they didn't really anticipate was what happens if the Employer is no longer in business. There was no job for them to reinstate me into because there was no THEM anymore.

    I went back to school. But the school was an hour-and-a-half away from home; three hours per day for the round trip; fifteen hours per week ... PLUS $400/month in fuel costs PLUS wear & tear and maintenance on my car. I found a cheap, one bedroom apartment 15 minutes from school for $450/month.

    As it turned out, I was at school from 8:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night and the fifteen hours a week I didn't have to spend commuting was more precious than gold.

    But it was only possible because I could RENT that apartment. Renting is often the best solution to a short term need.

    The bottom line is to own stuff when you need to and rent other stuff when you need to. Do whatever is best for your own financial situation.

    213:

    ilya187 @ 191: Your cat?

    I have a little dog now. Shih Tzu. He's a rescue.

    I still have these delusions about traveling around the U.S. to do photography and he's going to be my traveling companion. For now his job description is "lap dog" and he's quite good at it.

    214:

    One of the many, many things tried on mice was an attempt at treating cognitive loss from repeated concussions by turning off the mechanism that puts stressed neurons into, well, basically hibernation.

    Turns out, this also reverses the cognitive decline seen in old mice. Not "Prevents". Reverses. They found a drug that gives old mice the full learning ability of a young mouse. And yes, I was horribly tempted to conduct unlicensed human medical trials on myself when I heard about that. But it is also a hilarious macguffin for a sci-fi tale. What would be the consequences of the elderly getting their full mental adaptability back?

    215:

    The Forth Rail Bridge isn’t that long. Just hit it at 80 kph and coast.

    216:

    Volkswagen won't cover repairs or replacement of my engine and gearbox, but I'm not about to replace either of those after 15 years. The battery warranty isn't an expiry date on your battery FFS.

    Most of the cars also wont' be a Model S, they will be something hot hatch or smaller sized, so the battery weight will be half-ish, so your 1200lb becomes 600lb.

    On a related note, LiFePO should be good for over 1,000,000km at 80% power out which well past the usable life of most cars due to simple wear and tear (or accidents).

    I guarantee that not a single Tesla battery pack will go into a haz-waste dump, right now you cannot get a second hand Tesla battery module (not pack which contains 16 modules) for less than $1200 USD. Given that there are at going to be millions of cars that folks will want to restomod to keep them on the road, I can't se this changing in the next 5+ years.

    And last but not least, recycling batteries may be expensive in your country right now, but, as that link says, the biggest cost of recycling a battery is moving it to the place it is to be recycled. So if some random company decides (cough Redwood materials, cough) sets up their factories, on site in the USA I expect they will turn that shit into gold.

    Most recycling has focused on phones and laptops up to now, with millions cars comes amazing economies of scale.

    BTW, what do we do with all the old cars and toxic waste motor oil currently?

    217:

    On the rent vs own thing... I assume you all currently own your own buses, trains and trams, so paying a fare for ride in a self driving car is just too much :-)

    218:

    Free Fall Sparrow Division 56,57,59,60 Our kind of Chaos?
    Bachman Turner Overdrive - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
    ...
    björk - it's oh so quiet

    Those are good.
    The Gleipnir list is fun, though "Roots of a mountain" is a stretch. (echidna?) :-)

    (Still thinking about the Hellboy II Nuada death sentence scene ("Nuada Kills His Father" mentioned/deleted in the omicron thread (nym "Three Barrelled Names Are For The Bourgeoise" starting at 1750.) That 4Q 2016 thread where it was first linked... )

    ---
    Makes me laugh:
    Pentagon’s New UFO Office Worries Some Ufologists (Paola Rosa-Aquino, JAN. 8, 2022)
    One of my US Senators:
    “Our national security efforts rely on aerial supremacy and these phenomena present a challenge to our dominance,” Gillibrand said
    A surprise along those or related lines could be a fun as a within-10-years wildcard. :-)

    219:

    But it is also a hilarious macguffin for a sci-fi tale. What would be the consequences of the elderly getting their full mental adaptability back?

    Has been done in science fiction many times. First thing that comes to mind if "Pandora's Star" and its sequels, by Peter Hamilton.

    220:

    Queensland has been electrifying its coal train network with 25kV overhead lines and 3 x 3MW locomotives per train. It's amusing but also a bit depressing to consider how BE locomotives might be used for this, given we should be spending the money on the freight network and taking big trucks off the road. Because why build expensive specialised infrastructure that only needs to be replaced every 30-40 years when you can replace road infrastructure every 2-3 years. Unfortunately our version of continuous Keynesian stimulus comes with a requirement for large private sector superstructures siphoning much of the benefit.

    221:

    Holy Fire, by Bruce Sterling springs to mind.

    JBS @215:

    For now his job description is "lap dog" and he's quite good at it.

    I imagine he's good because he trains every day he can!

    222:

    I would also point out that a Tesla Model 3 weighs pretty much the same as those notoriously lardy BMW 3 series vehicles.

    A bunch of friends have various EVs, mostly Tesla’s. They previously had everything from MB S class, fancy Lexus’, Range Rovers, to several Porsche’s, even one Ferrari. All of them claim to be very happy with the exchange.

    If you don’t want an EV, fine, I don’t care. But don’t spread bullshit copypasta from oiligarch funded liesites. It’s tasteless.

    223:

    so paying a fare for ride in a self driving car is just too much

    You couldn't pay me to go in a self driving car, and I'm getting increasingly paranoid about other people on the road abusing those options.

    I have access to a local car share scheme and will be trying that out when I need a van for building my granny flat. I've also paid way more than car/van hire rates to get the "man with a ute" or "two men and a truck" because a lot of things are just easier with two or more people. Why badger friends to run all over town when you can just pay an extra $50 and get the vehicle owner to do it. I moved ~3 cubic metres of coolstore panels to build my shedroom that way. I gave the guy exact measurements in advance and he still boggled a bit at the actual size (think a stack ~1.5m high on top of the roofrack of a ute). It was safe and legal, just unusal. But it beat the suppliers delivery cost by a factor of two.

    But also, I don't rent trains or buses, I pay for them through taxes. The fares charged barely cover the cost of collecting them. But they're charged to make a political point rather than as any kind of cost recovery exercise, so until that changes we'll be paying per trip for PT.

    224:

    That's kind of confused...

    yes, well, i might have guessed this was not the place to be dispensing ill-remembered factoids about the uk rail system

    i stand corrected

    225:

    MaddyE
    Hemingford? Godmanchester? St Ives? I like Godmanchester - used to pass through it regularly

    RvdH
    NO!
    There are gentle curves at both ends, it used to have a 40 mph ( 64kph ) speed-limit & the real problem - look at the location of Dalmeny & S Queensferry stations?

    malware
    Stop comparing rocking-horses with unicorns!

    226:

    I have done the same thing with road-base, getting a wiry old guy with a truck and dingo was cheaper and less damaging to my back than just getting it delivered. Bless.

    For the last 3 months watching Tesla FSD 10.x videos I've had that chapter from Rule 34 with the cop car doing a high speed drive through back streets. Computers used to be shit, now they are good. Phones used to be shit, now they are good. Aircraft used to be shit, then they were good (now they are shit again). Cars used to be shit, now they are good. FSD is shit... at some point it will either be good, or something we don't remember or mock (Juicero anyone :-).

    Greg, its Matware, not malware... malware's what is making your computer shit again.

    There are some things that will be better in every way than the now, electric road transport is one of those, it is fractally anti-shit.

    227:

    Oh, for 2031 I'm betting that my best selling double sided pocket book "How to hunt rats an a post apocalyptic wasteland" and "How to cook rats in a apocalyptic wasteland" will be selling for between 200 and 400 bottle caps, and topping the used book charts.

    228:

    I spent a while onsite at the John Lewis Partnership HQ down at Victoria, and ended up chatting to one of the staff that I occasionally encountered on the train.

    She lived in Milton, one of the villages outside Cambridge, and had been working at the JL in Cambridge. She'd been taking the bus into Cambridge. There are bus stops directly outside JL there (actual address 10 Downing Street).

    She then got promoted to Head Office. So all of a sudden, her commute was bus from Milton into Cambridge, then the fast train (three or four stops) down to King's Cross, then the direct Underground 5 stops to Victoria, and then walk a short distance to the office. She was setting out at 06:30 to get in by 09:00.

    If the London end hadn't been so quick — perhaps a change required on the Underground — I can easily see that taking a full three hours.

    229:

    You might want to look at Musk's Battery Day presentation on Youtube.

    Nobody makes money selling printers.

    You make money selling ink.

    Musk isn't selling Teslas.

    He's selling batteries.

    230:

    208 - *Yes, he is.

    I routinely change all the fluids on my S2000. There's not only no transmission fill and drain holes, there's no transmission. The only gearing on a Tesla is a reduction gear integrated with the motor(s).*

  • Where to start? How about with your sexist assumption that anyone who works on their own car is male?
  • What is an "S2000"? I can think of at least three cars it could be, and 2 of them most assuredly do have gearbox fill and drain plugs. The other one is a Honda.
  • So "there is no transmission" becomes meaningless because you've not said what there is no transmission on, and the Honda at least I know has a manual gearbox.
  • The only gearing on a Tesla is a reduction gear integrated with the motor(s). Like a final drive on anything else. Why do you believe that this doesn't benefit from oil changes on a Tesla?
  • 217 - Will the speed limit on the FRB permit this? Can an EMU accelerating out of either Dalmeny or (S) Queensferry actually achieve 50mph before hitting the bridge and having to coast?

    231:

    total environmental cost of disposal for ICE engines and components, and the oil/fluids/gasoline involved

    POL products are easily filtered and reused and/or are already part of the 1/6 million tons of hazwaste dispose every year.

    Engine parts are scrap metal - very easy to recycle.

    232:

    Suppose something truly insane happened and South Africa somehow became the 51st State ... Would Musk then qualify as native born even though he was already an adult before that happened?

    Yes, because that's why George Washington was allowed to become POTUS. (And a couple of other 18th century presidents.)

    However, it won't happen. Can you imagine the confederate revanchists wanting anything to do with the country of Nelson Mandela, as a state? SA wouldn't be allowed in even if they wanted in (which they clearly don't) for the same reason that DC and Puerto Rico are kept from statehood -- too many non-whites.

    233:

    Volkswagen won't cover repairs or replacement of my engine and gearbox, but I'm not about to replace either of those after 15 years.

    You would if your drive train experienced a 30% reduction in performance.

    right now you cannot get a second hand Tesla battery module (not pack which contains 16 modules) for less than $1200 USD. Given that there are at going to be millions of cars that folks will want to restomod to keep them on the road, I can't se this changing in the next 5+ years.

    This I grant you is an excellent point. Used Tesla batteries can have a useful second life as energy storage for home and local renewable energy systems.

    Which only delays its inevitable trip to the landfill by 5 years or so.

    And even if the amount of Tesla batteries thrown away each year is a mere 5x the current hazwaste disposal rate, it's still a tsunami nobody is preparing for.

    234:

    General comment on short term predictions.

    There's a passage in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises in which a character named Mike is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

    Or as Professor Albert Allen Bartlett pointed out, "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function”.

    https://www.sterlinghawkins.com/blog-1/the-greatest-shortcoming-of-the-human-race-illuminated-by-covid-19

    "We’re programmed to think very linearly: tomorrow will look a lot like today. And oftentimes, it does. So we plan for that. Organize around that. Enroll other people in it. And then guess what? Tomorrow looks a lot like today."

    "Exponential growth is all around us. Populations of underdeveloped countries. High-growth startups. Things going viral online (maybe after this pandemic we’ll rethink that name). Intellectually we understand exponential growth. We all know what the exponential graph looks like (the proverbial hockey stick). We even know the mathematical equation. And we know exponential growth creates entirely new normals almost overnight. It’s the UBER in a former taxi city. Netflix instead of shopping at Blockbuster. The iPhone when the Blackberry used to be the omnipresent device. If you don’t work inside these companies, you don’t experience the growth trajectory. You simply engage with the new normal."

    "These things happen so fast that it’s easy to slip into the new normal and not be present to the experience of the massive change that has happened underneath. Just because we conceptually understand the exponential function does not mean we truly grasp the power of it, much less plan for it in the future of our business and our lives."

    Whether its global warming, biodiversity collapse, refugee migrations, declining birthrates, or pandemics, nobody understand the exponential function.

    235:

    I just went outside and counted - there are 12 houses on my block and 10 utility poles (three of which have street lamps).

    While there are utility poles in British cities, I have the impression that there are far more in the USA -- in general, electrical trunking is buried in trenches, as it generally carries higher voltage/current and we don't have your pole-mounted stepdown transformers. (The local 600V substation for my block is in a cellar downstairs, under the main door entrance for six apartments, three shops, and a restaurant.)

    Off-street parking seems to be a thing for new apartment blocks in Edinburgh, outside the conservation zone -- they're clad to resemble the traditional sandstone, but have stuff like a basement level car-park, elevators, and double glazing. (Also low ceilings, pokey floor plans, and horrible leasehold agreements.)

    236:

    've had this conversation with several friends who are putting off entering a residence as long as they can, because they've seen what going from 'independent adult' to 'retirement home resident' did to their parents.

    Yeah, it can be grim. (Tip: tour the home first. If it smells of shit or piss without a very good excuse -- eg. a resident just lost control in the corridor five minutes ago and they're still cleaning up -- cross it off your list.)

    My family experience ...

    My parents went into a care home together a couple of times, while one or other of them was recovering from really major surgery. (Triple bypass for him, leg amputation for her.) Think of it as a hotel vacation with 24x7 nursing support, because they really weren't safe at home together. That was okay, if pricey (nursing homes are expensive hotels).

    The other was my mother's twilight year, after my father died. She had three strokes (and spent three months in hospital). Unfortunately they left her speech and swallowing impaired and paralysed on her right side -- which was particularly bad, as her left was the side with no leg. Effectively she had one working limb, impaired vision, wheelchair-bound, and vascular dementia on top ...

    That's the stage at which a care home is unavoidable, unless you're so wealthy you can turn the ground floor of your McMansion into your own miniature care home and hire a full-time live-in nurse.

    (We found a good home for her, visited her daily, tried to get her to eat -- the prescription diet for people who might aspirate their food and die of pneumonia is particularly grim and unappetising -- and for less cognitively-impaired residents the home organized a lively round of activities to keep them stimulated. Alas, a final stroke carried her away in her sleep after about 10 months. And now if you were wondering where that scene in "Dead Lies Dreaming" came from, you can read between the lines ...)

    TLDR: a good care home is essentially a resort hotel for severely disabled folks (who can't use the water slide any more). Unfortunately living full-time in a resort hotel is not generally a good idea. And a bad care home is hell on earth.

    237:

    Believe it or not, I realized I was making a sexist assumption as soon as I pressed Enter. I'm of an age where I grew up with these assumptions and I actively try to guard against them as well as all the other cognitive biases we are prone to. However, it has nothing to do with the topic and smacks of ad-hominem argument.

    What is a valid criticism is that the post is poorly written. I dashed it off before stepping away from the computer. Apologies.

    The S2000 is a Honda S2000. A model year 2000 roadster with a 2 liter naturally aspirated engine. Yes, it does have transmission fill and drain holes as does the engine and differential. What does not have them, at least for use in regular servicing is the Tesla Model 3. And no, the integrated reduction gear is not a transmission, it is more akin to a differential. Even on an ICE car, something that does not receive frequent fluid changes. I change mine on the Honda S2000 every few years because the car is used on a track.

    It's strange that you would believe a random Youtube video over an actual owner of a Tesla who even went to the trouble of checking his owner's manual on this topic. A video that you have yet to cite.

    I'm going to drop out of this conversation. People seem to be dug in on both sides. While following it I saw people making assumptions about what it is like to own an EV and how suitable it might be considering local infrastructure. I weighed in to hopefully provide some actual experience to inform the arguments. My experience with charging infrastructure was called out as unique to my region and obviously did not apply everywhere. My experience driving the car would be more universally applicable to anyone who enjoys driving and has the luxury of being able to afford one. Certainly, maintenance schedules apply everywhere unless there is a very unusual Model 3 variant I'm not aware of.

    I find the assumption that batteries will never be recycled but dumped in a landfill particularly odd. There's money to be made by recycling lithium. Arguments against an emerging tech that assume nothing will ever evolve or improve over time are not useful.

    I understand individual preferences. As a roadster, I love my noisy little Honda S2000 and wouldn't want to replace it with anything. There's nothing that could offer the handling or performance at less that four or five times the price. And even then, the replacement would have stability controls that miss the point of a roadster, at least to me. Everyone have fun with their own choices. I know I am.

    238:

    Major advances in adult education.

    I see the opposite!

    We have a debt crisis due to spiraling student loans, driven by a combination of the privatization of higher education (it used to be paid for by the government, if you could get a place), spiraling HE costs (largely on the admin side -- professors/lecturers are still badly paid) and by credentialization of employer HR (they can no longer ask previous employers "is this person an idiot, or competent?", all they can go by is the paperwork).

    Consequently we have 50% of the population going to university, getting degrees of highly dubious quality and relevance and getting into debt, just so they can wave a piece of paper under a bored HR drone's nose to get an interview place for a job.

    The end result is PhDs flipping burgers, a dysfunctional job market where nobody knows if anyone is really competent (hence nonsense like white-board programming tests in job interviews), and mass precarity.

    Steps we need to take to end this: a student debt jubilee, universal basic income, a 4 day/32 hour working week (as a step on the way to John Maynard Keynes' 3 day/24 hour work week, proposed as a goal in the 1920s), and de-credentialization of employment qualifications/higher education.

    I freely admit I don't know how to accomplish the last two steps. The first ones, though, are essential if we're going to rebalance our work-intensive high stress society to provide just enough employment for everybody instead of too much work and stress for some and poverty for the rest.

    239:

    "I'm going to drop out of this conversation. People seem to be dug in on both sides."

    Except for those of us who are sitting off to the side, remarking that both sides have missed much of the point.

    There is no doubt that electric cars could lead to a great simplification, but that's not the way the manufacturers are going. Yes, Tesla isn't too bad w.r.t. reliability and maintenance (pity about cost and functionality), but I have a friend that owns a KIA (don't go there). And, on modern cars, it's NOT the main works that cause the unreliabilities, hassle and maintenance cost; it's the vast amount of complex gimmickry, and EV models have at least as much as new ICE ones.

    Lithium battery recycling is currently almost non-existent, but could trivially be built up; 99% of lead-acid ones are. However, that happened only partly because there was money to be made, and at least as much because governments required it. Which is yet another problem of the sort I described in #136.

    You want me to add another issue? Much of the automotive-related particulate in cities' air is road and tyre debris, not from the exhaust. Since EVs look to be 50% heavier, and accelerate MUCH more rapidly, that's going to increase significantly. Again, nothing to do with the merits of EVs as such, but how the change is being mishandled.

    240:

    Yes :-( There's more to that, too, including a massive reduction in the use of HE to encourage people to think. "I don't want to understand the principles; I just want to be able to use it" (or, worse, tick a box that they have been taught that) - by some graduates at Cambridge University, fer chrissake!

    241:

    The last of those 3. My stop is 2 stops on from the P&R where the actual Busway bit ends. We looked at Godmanchester when we moved out of Cambridge, but the commute was problematic - bus into Huntingdon, and pick up the Guided bus there or you're limited by the occasional Busway into Godmanchester and issues if you miss it.

    242:

    Citations, please?

    243:

    I also perceive a long term decline in FE and apprenticeships, and a tendency to insist that you complete your education at the beginning of your working life, as two negatives for long term improvement in adult education.

    The first means that we're turning some HE courses into job skills courses, because a degree is worth more than an NVQ or similar. Never mind that what you want is someone with the job skills but not the deep knowledge a degree is supposed to help you acquire, just bear in mind that degree = good, apprentice = bad.

    The second means that if you make bad choices between 14 and 21 (an age range well known for its worries about the future and ability to make the best possible choice), the system remains rigged against you semi-permanently. Retraining is hard enough just in terms of the time and effort it will take you; when student support is simply not there for you, it's even harder.

    244:

    Lithium battery recycling

    Why do the batteries need to be recycled? Batteries removed from vehicles are still perfectly serviceable, if a bit inefficient, for use in a battery farm to store electricity. Eventually, of course, the efficiency drops too much or an internal fault occurs that creates an unacceptable fire risk.

    Road particulate

    This is very much climate and local practice driven. If the government / road operator uses sand &/or salt &/or brine for winter road maintenance, almost all of the particulate is from that source.

    That being said, a personal vehicle that is 50% heavier is still a light vehicle (for road dust generation purposes) and won't change generation of airborne dust from roads. The number of personal vehicles won't change until some financial / personal effort carrot / stick is applied. The absence of charging stations for electric vehicles in downtown business districts might be a sufficient stick to shift people to using public transit.

    Material transport will require some changes ... the existing road system was constructed for specific maximum vehicle axle weights. Increasing vehicle axle weight isn't possible without damage to the road, so either lower payloads or otherwise reducing the weight of the vehicle.

    All that being said, fuel taxes have been a consistent revenue source for governments for over a century. Some other source of revenue will have to be found to make up the shortfall.

    245:

    "The local 600V substation for my block"

    6kV (primary) or 400V (secondary) I could understand, but I have a hard time figuring out where 600V might fit into the picture ?

    Typo ?

    Where possible utility poles will get planted in the property-lines so they can feed two lots without crossing the other so their spacing depends as much on the cadastral map as ohms law.

    246:

    Yes. Some of us have been railing about that for years. Socially, the UK is headed in a catastrophic direction (except for the ruling monetarists, of course), but the sheeple won't accept we need a political change.

    247:

    Delaying the disposal or recycling by using them for storage is an irrelevance and doesn't change my points one iota.

    The road sand and salt generates large particulates, which don't get into the air much and don't stay there long when they do; the problem is the 2.5 micron ones, which are generated as I said. Also, it is not true in most cities that most of the particulates are caused by HGVs - the road damage may be, but breaking up a surface and grinding it into microparticles are not the same process.

    248:

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Server Room (closet, underdesk) this happens.

    ("This" being the "Nothing like this will be built again" post on the front page of Hacker News).

    249:

    Elderly Cynic @ 248: but the sheeple won't accept we need a political change.

    It might help if there was a clear vision of the alternative you want us sheeple to vote and/or agitate for. "Not like this" isn't much of a guide.

    250:

    Duffy: A non-recycled li-ion battery is defined as hazwaste.

    Elon Musk's line is that weight-for-weight, a dead LiIon battery contains at least 20x as much lithium per unit mass as the best ore deposits, so recycling dead batteries makes good economic sense.

    Also, degradation of car battery packs in the field doesn't appear to be as bad as earlier projections, so you can reduce the amount required.

    Also-also, batteries that won't hold up for a long car journey because they're below 70-80% of capacity are good for several years use in a grid backup farm -- unbolt from car, stack on a concrete plinth, and connect up: run until it's down to 30% or less. That probably gives you 5-10 extra years to work out a dismantling/recycling factory.

    I'm guessing the "dead car batteries are hazwaste" line is being pushed by the oil industry, possibly via the Koch network lobbying "think-tanks" ...

    251:

    The Forth Rail Bridge isn’t that long. Just hit it at 80 kph and coast.

    You're going to have to go pedal-to-the-metal to get up to 80 kph before you hit the bridge: Dalmeny and North Queensferry are very close, and trains are not notorious for rapid acceleration (unless you can figure out a way to run a Shinkansen up the East Coast Main Line) ...

    252:

    Faulty memory. Probably 6kV.

    253:

    Roads, in practice, can be described as a linear grinding process that transforms material into coarse and fine particles. As in any grinding process, the static surface (roadbed) and grinding media (tires) are also eroded to create particles. Roads are obviously eroded by vehicle traffic ... it is visible on asphalt roads where the asphalt has been eroded away to leave the harder aggregate. Tires get eroded to, eventually, lose all tread and become bald.

    Vehicle weight factors into this process because pressure is a factor in the grind / fracturing process that generates fine particles. A single heavy vehicle is more significant for aerosol generation than a single light vehicle, or the number of light vehicles occupying the same area of the road or comprising the equivalent mass.

    What goes on the road as coarse particles / chunks (>1000 microns for road sand) gets ground down to increasingly finer sizes. Depending upon geology of the source of the road sand, particles entirely / mostly composed of individual minerals are generated. Mineral density and electrochemical properties become increasingly important, in comparison to actual physical dimensions. The particle sizing of road dust depends on the composition of the traction material and roadbed aggregate. That being said, very little of this mass is found in the PM2.5 fraction because the materials are too dense and mechanical processes do not generate significant PM2.5 particulate.

    Road salt (or sugar, if beet juice is being applied) is different - applied properly, most of it dissolves to melt ice and snow and form a solution. Many factors (vehicle speed, wheel dimensions / angular velocity, relative humidity, air temperature, etc.) determine the initial and subsequent absolute and aerodynamic dimensions of the particles. Still, most of the mass falls into particle fractions larger than PM2.5, even after condensation.

    Much of the anthropogenic PM2.5 in urban environments, instead, are carbon nanoparticles and/or condensation nuclei from combustion or industrial processes, including vehicle exhaust.

    All this being said, it really depends on whether the units of concentration measurement are particle mass or particle number. Particle number is very likely more important when considering inflammatory response leading to disease, particularly in the respiratory tract and cardiovascular systems. In any mechanical generation process (including vehicle traffic on roads), virtually all the mass will be in large particles while most of the particles will be in the fine or ultrafine fraction.

    254:

    EC
    on modern cars, it's NOT the main works that cause the unreliabilities, hassle and maintenance cost; it's the vast amount of complex gimmickry - The Great Green Beast has no electronics .....

    Charlie
    Yes - 6kV - "Ours" is in a small concrete shed inside the grounds of the Girl's school opposite.

    255:

    6kV (primary) or 400V (secondary) I could understand, but I have a hard time figuring out where 600V might fit into the picture ?

    I was wondering just how much copper they had buried in the UK. 6KV makes more sense.

    I think the distribution lines on the poles in front of my US house are 14.x KV. And aluminum till it gets into my breaker panel box.

    256:

    EV cars.

    I keep thinking that this same debate happened all over the world in bars and gentleman's clubs all over the industrialized world. 115 years ago. Give or take. Just change a few nouns.

    As to the complicated bits, yes v0.x is almost always a dud. (Check out the Bendix/GM 8-6-4 train wreak of the 80s.) But my highly automated dash just works. For the instrument panel the only thing not created on a display is the stalk that lets me change between the A, B, and main mileage readings. Plus adjust the brightness of the entire display. I've had it for 5 1/2 year now. Outside of oil changes every 7K miles plus a brake fluid swap out at 30K the car just runs. And the complicated bits just work. Adaptive cruise control, passenger side camera when turning that way, etc...

    As to the entertainment system, well that 7" display is based on Android older version something or the other and every now and then I have to reboot it. Auto makers are just now barely beginning to understand how people use their devices. Sort of. Almost.

    257:

    You could start by simply never voting for the party that will take us fastest down the wrong path. Simples.

    I accept that, when it was Major versus Blair, the only sane thing to do was to not vote (except in places where an alternative had a chance).

    But it has been clear, since (and not including) Thatcher, that what our chancer politicians lack is any trace of socialism (in the original sense). No, not Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, Castroism or any form of confiscation communism, but an attempt to govern for the good of society as a whole, rather than just themselves or their own tribe. We had a chance to elect the first honest PM since Thatcher with Corbyn, and the sheeple swallowed the lying propaganda and conclusively elected mad monetarists.

    258:

    I know of nobody with a modern car who has not had trouble, but most of those will deny it until (and sometimes even) I remind them of the time when their car was in the garage being investigated or fixed.

    This includes simple things, like electric windows not working, which one of mine did, repeatedly. Thank heavens mine failed shut, but Cthulhu alone knows why it started working again.

    259:

    Yes, I know that people keep repeating those mantras, but they are NOT TRUE. The first reference points out that PM10 in London is dominated by light vehicles, and the second that over half of vehicle particulates come from brakes and tyres.

    https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Policy%20themes/Environment/Demystifying%20air%20pollution%20in%20London%20FINAL%20FULL%20REPORT_IM_0.pdf

    https://www.imeche.org/news/news-article/this-is-why-electric-cars-won't-stop-air-pollution

    260:

    a bad care home is hell on earth,/i>

    I'm in Ontario, where the Harris Conservative government expanded the privatization of care homes (which is now making Mike Harris megabucks), and the Ford Conservative government extended contracts and also changed the conditions for suing the operators from negligence to gross negligence (so almost impossible to prove)…

    The death toll in private care homes was four times that in public ones, yet the Conservatives are still pushing privatization…

    Dare I conclude that they are aiming for a hell on earth? Or at least indifferent to it if it turns them and their cronies a profit?

    262:

    They probably count on not ending in one of those 'care homes' themselves.

    And they'll probably be right.

    263:

    Re: 'We had a chance to elect the first honest PM since Thatcher with Corbyn, and the sheeple swallowed the lying propaganda ... '

    Don't follow UK politics closely enough to feel confident that I can spot a good (social - your definition) vs. bad (money-grubbing egotist) pol.

    On this side of the pond, the late night talk show hosts have become fairly respected as political critics. For some reason I had assumed the same was going on in the UK. Apparently not because the few UK news/comedy panel shows I've seen on YT seem to dump on every pol - Corbyn included.

    OOC, are there any informal venues for a pol in the UK to get his/her message across? The traditional journalist interview is fine for outlining and critiquing policy (to some extent) but useless for getting a sense of the person championing those policies.

    264:

    a tendency to insist that you complete your education at the beginning of your working life

    Yeah. Taking university courses after you start working is tricky. Not only are you limited by times (eg. can only take evening courses), but at least in Toronto you are charged a lot of fees for facilities that you can't use because, hey, you're working.

    When I last looked at taking a class (admittedly over a decade ago) the tuition for the course was doubled by fees for student services I had no use for and couldn't use (like athletic facilities only open while I was at work). These fees were the same whether you took one course or a full load. To make matters worse, if you got kicked out of your one course (because someone on a degree-track needed your spot), you didn't get the fees back. And they weren't tax deductible, not being tuition.

    265:

    I know of nobody with a modern car who has not had trouble, but most of those will deny it until

    Interesting.

    I've owned or had in the family a 62 Buick Skylark, 65 Plymouth Fury, 59 Chevy Pickup, 64 Ford Ranchero Pickup, 62 Ford Falcon Wagon, 68 Dodge Challenger, two late 70s/early 80s (can't remember) Datsun Plusars, a couple of 80s Chrysler Vans, 94 and 96 Ford Explorers, an 09 Hyundai Elantra, 08 Tundra, and a 2016 Civic.

    15 cars. 4 with clutches, over 50 years. (I'm leaving out the Ford 8N tractor, assorted riding mowers, and the home built riding mower.)

    The Civic is the one with the least issues based on design and reliability. The only issues with it had to do with the entertainment system. I got a few firmware updates plus a new rear speaker deck as the sub woofer would vibrate the design too much after a while. Some of the other cars had issues as they just wore out after 10 years or more, I'm not counting that against them.

    266:

    EC
    PLEASE - J Corbyn was & is STUPID & incapable of learning - he is still trotting opt the fake remedies of 1975, for .. now. And, of course "The EU is an employer's ramp".
    Easy for me, of course, I voted for my Social Democrat ( Masquerading as Labour ) MP, with her 20 000+ majority

    ... On that subject - Sweepstake: - how long before BoZo is pushed or jumps?
    Days? Weeks? Months?
    My prediction is that he will drag it out for as long as he can - but then, we get the next horrible problem.
    What smarmy, crooked unspeakable crawler is going to sit in No 10 next?

    SFR
    As said above - "honest" yes, but honest & stupid & fundamentally incompetent.
    Labour HAD a chance at a competent, honest man - Miliband - & threw it away.

    267:

    The road sand and salt generates large particulates, which don't get into the air much and don't stay there long when they do;

    Sand perhaps (not used around here on roads, only sidewalks), but salt most certainly gets into the air - and we get to breath it under the right conditions.

    Salt on a dry road gets pulverized into a powder - coating the road and turning it white - and gets kicked up by the tires into the air.

    As to why there is salt on dry roads - lawyers. Too many lawsuits because road X wasn't dealt with fast enough, so everyone now over salts.

    268:

    Nice snotnosed comment, with zero thought behind it, only ideology. 1. Our taxes pay for public transit. No public transit system pays for itself via fares (please note that almost all metro public transit systems are NOT private, because all of those lost so much money. Public transit is public good. Therefore, yes, we do own our own 2. You seem to be new. Look at this, right near where I live, and a route I take often. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Garrett+Park+Rd+%26+Dewey+Rd,+Wheaton-Glenmont,+MD+20906/@39.0435446,-77.0857379,3a,75y,331h,80.35t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4M2Hxt9geOllW7Mt8-0PsA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!4m5!3m4!1s0x89b7ce918118b999:0x196e74ac652c1987!8m2!3d39.0428846!4d-77.0854595

    If you're seeing the picture correctly, it's a three lane road, with a barrier on the left (park) side, cars parked against the hill (the houses are uphill), and the road is two way, and city buses take this route. No, there is no center line, or side lines. Go ahead, tell me any self-driving car could handle it.

    269:

    Part of that is personnel departments, in-house, who knew the organization, and understand what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate, being outsourced (because MBA idiotology is outsource everything that's not a profit source), to companies that have no clue, and no interest in finding out what's needed.

    270:

    That happens more than you think. I went back in the late seventies, after being out of college for nine years. I got a good job (library page) that had tuition remission, and I went to school part time.

    That works. Otherwise... (and see my rant about HR, above).

    271:

    ABdPJ may well survive as PM for a lot longer than any of us would like.

    The Tories were pleasantly surprised by how well they did in the last election by drawing a line between "us" and "Theresa May's government", despite being the same party; plenty of the electorate seemed to believe that somehow, the Conservative Party and Theresa May's party were completely different and unrelated entities.

    I would put money on whoever wants to run the party next intending to take one of two routes:

  • Come in once ABdPJ has got the country to a point where there are no ongoing or upcoming crises to deal with. That means that Brexit negative effects and COVID-19 negative effects are a thing of the past, and the country is doing well.
  • Replace ABdPJ near the election (as he replaced May), and run on a "the last guy fouled up, and I'll fix it!" campaign akin to ABdPJ's "Get Brexit Done!". By having the election close enough to the change of leadership, you avoid any room to question your failings
  • The first isn't happening any time soon - we still don't have the full set of short term Brexit effects in place (import and export controls are still phasing in), and we're not yet through Omicron, let alone the last wave of COVID-19.

    That leaves the second; but to make it "near an election", you either need a good excuse lurking to call an early election (as ABdPJ had with Parliament refusing to either reject Brexit entirely or vote for a form of Brexit that could exist), or you need to wait until near the "normal" scheduled time for an election.

    So, realistically, option 2 is ruled out until mid-2023 - we're not going to be stable until then, and ABdPJ has enough of a majority that there won't be a good excuse for an early election. You don't want to take the reins too early, because you want to be able to shrug off all complaints about events since you took power as "fallout from ABdPJ's government", and hence be able to imply that you would never have made the (in hindsight) stupid decisions he did.

    In particular, you do not want the leadership in time to have to make a hard choice whose fallout will be visible at the election; your choices need to delay fallout until after the election, so that you can blame ABdPJ's incompetence for the bad things and suggest that you need your leadership to fix it all up.

    272:

    100% of all repairs on my vehicles have cost more as time goes by. 1989 Grand Voyager. Passenger window fell down inside the door. Repair, $160, they pulled the inside door panel and replaced the broken belt. 1997 Grand Voyager, same problem, they could not do the above, because it had been made a sealed unit, so even though the motor was fine, it was $360 for the whole panel. 2008 Honda Odessey: insulation pulled away from driver's door, water got in, onto the lock and window controls. The entire control needed replacing, thanks, dealer, for the discount. over $600 to replace a freaking set of switches.

    Shall I go on?

    273:

    Wrong. You really want salt on the road before the snow/sleet/ice starts coming down.

    274:

    Using sand (let alone salt) on dry roads is stupid. In the UK, the nighly condensation is such that roads rarely stay dry overnight, but salt rapidly dissolves and/or washes away. While there MAY be places it is a significant atmospheric pollutant (on occasion), it is almost always irrelevant (as it is in London).

    275:

    Simon Farnsworth
    Brexit negative effects ... ... effects are a thing of the past - what, in 25 years time?
    .. "That leaves the second ..." - except he is not going to last that long.

    276:

    Who was not standing for PM. YOU may prefer May/Cameron/Johnson to Corbyn, but I don't.

    277:

    Charlie Stross @ 234:

    Suppose something truly insane happened and South Africa somehow became the 51st State ... Would Musk then qualify as native born even though he was already an adult before that happened?

    Yes, because that's why George Washington was allowed to become POTUS. (And a couple of other 18th century presidents.)

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;

    Washington and the eight Presidents who followed were all citizens when the Constitution was ratified. John Tyler (#10) was the first "Natural Born" President. I don't see how that clause would apply to Musk, since he was NOT a citizen when the Constitution was ratified.

    The question remains, would "Natural Born" citizenship be retroactive for a person born in some foreign country that later became a State?

    However, it won't happen. Can you imagine the confederate revanchists wanting anything to do with the country of Nelson Mandela, as a state? SA wouldn't be allowed in even if they wanted in (which they clearly don't) for the same reason that DC and Puerto Rico are kept from statehood -- too many non-whites.

    I did preface the question by characterizing the situation as "something truly insane"

    But I can imagine it. I can imagine Cheatolini iL Douchebag graciously declining the GQP nomination in 2024. I can imagine BoJo giving up his U.K. citizenship and petitioning INS to allow him to reclaim his U.S. citizenship so he could mount a third Party campaign for President of the United States.

    I can imagine as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

    But forget South Africa & Musk. Consider that a hypothetical 99-44/100% white Country X decided to petition the U.S. Congress for statehood & Congress granted it. Person Y was born in Country X 50 years before Country X became the 51st State X. Does Person Y gain retroactive "Natural Born" citizenship?

    PS: The thing that has kept Puerto Rico from becoming a state so far is the Puerto Ricans themselves rejected it. I don't know if Congress would act to admit Puerto Rico if the people voted FOR statehood, but up until now a majority of Puerto Rican voters have voted to NOT become a state.

    278:

    Older cars were a lot less reliable in terms of number of failures, yes, but even a trivial failure or routine maintenance now takes a day in a garage and one that impairs driving (including window failure) often takes three. It's not too bad if you are close to a dealer, or there is convenient collect and return or courtesy car, but a menace if not. And God help you if you are in the Highlands! Most failures used to be at least kludgable by the roadside, and fixable yourself. The result of all this is that the time lost isn't as different as the proponents make out.

    279:

    My electric central locking failed after 3? years; luckily, in a way I could get around. I was disinclined to spend 250 quid to replace a 20 pence resistor, when that might not have worked, so it's still like that 7 years later ....

    280:

    See, I have a horrible suspicion that he is going to last another 2 years or so. Getting steadily worse, of course, but being replaced with 6 months to go before Parliament is dissolved for the general election so that his replacement can attempt to pull off the "yes, ABdPJ sucked, but we will fix his suckery" trick again.

    Which is awful for the country, but it's about the only way I can see anyone who follows ABdPJ winning a general election; the alternative is to replace ABdPJ with someone even less capable, and to ensure that they'll be easy to depose, and that's not a better outcome.

    281:

    You might want to look at Musk's Battery Day presentation on Youtube. Nobody makes money selling printers. You make money selling ink. Musk isn't selling Teslas. He's selling batteries.

    Yes and no. By my count, he's got at least three forks on this particular strategy. Maybe four.

    I agree, he's selling batteries. All sorts of batteries. Backup power plants, cars, house batteries, whatever. In this, I agree with him: we need more rechargeable batteries like 20 years ago, so that's one line of work that's going to keep growing, supply lines permitting.

    Problem is, a good chunk of any EV is batteries, and it's not just a flat-pack skateboard in the chassis that can be readily swapped out. EV battery plug and play doesn't work, any more than it works with an iPhone. Tesla's going toward using battery packs as structural elements, and I'd argue that the Chevy Bolt kind of went there too.

    This poses two interesting problems. One is that, as with an iPhone, the battery life helps determine the car life. The other is that you can't just screw an old car battery to the wall to work as a house battery, because it's not flat. Prior to the pandemic, I know Chevy was hoping that we'd trade in our Bolt after five years when the battery went suboptimal. I don't know what their plan is now, but unless we get magic batteries, I suspect EVs will be like iPhones, where you trade in the whole thing when the battery gets too annoying. The battery pack will then be reused, remade, and/or recycled into some other product(s), along with whatever else is usable in the car (motors especially). My guess is that, if we get efficient, battery packs will be broken up into cells, the cells tested, and then sent to their next incarnation depending on how well they work.

    Anyway, so that's two prongs: batteries for a variety of uses, and cars with hard-to-replace batteries.

    The third prong is the service contract. That's how Chevy expect(ed) to make money on Bolts. It's sort of worked out, and I'd be surprised if Tesla's not trying the same thing. Again, this is somewhat like a phone. It also reminds me of the old mainframe service contracts.

    The fourth prong of their strategy might be that Tesla was trying for a first-mover advantage. They turned their technology to open-source to help grow the market, and they might have been hoping that they had enough of a lead that, even though others copied it, they'd still be competitive. Possibly they're hoping that they could service the cars of others, but not vice-versa. If so, I'm not sure how this worked. One problem they have is that Tesla motors, for all its cachet, is tiny compared with the other, established auto makers. I suspect they're hoping that the behemoths will die while they grow to take their place. This strategy will backfire if and when the big automakers manage to pivot from ICs to EVs using existing infrastructure. If they can pull this off, Tesla may end up (at best!) as everybody's battery supplier, with their car business bought off by Fiat or Tata.

    282:

    Far more likely would be England, post the break-up of the UK. What about Farage for President?

    283:

    The Supercharger network is a part of the fourth prong; effectively, Musk is using the telemetry from vehicles on the road already to work out where fast charging is needed, and have a first mover advantage in charging networks. Battery manufacture is a second first mover advantage, and I suspect that the plan is that full self driving will be a third chunk of first mover advantage.

    With the exception of battery manufacture, which simply needs customers, the other two benefit strongly from Tesla having telemetry from cars on the roads already - even if the car driver doesn't use the feature. Knowing, for example, that the next services on from LHR on the M25 is a common place to run out battery is useful (if true - it's a hypothetical), even if chargers in the LHR car parks are obviously sensible.

    Similar for full self driving - simply having the car upload "hey, the driver did a weird at this point, what's going on?" is useful data in itself, as you can then look at what's special about that location.

    284:

    Here in Portland (Oregon), payment stations are supplanted with a sign and a shoephone app (e.g., https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.passportparking.mobile.parkingkitty ). You open the app, punch in the vehicle's license plate, the location code on the sign, and how long you wish to park for, and your card is charged.

    285:

    Oh, it's not just personnel outsourcing.

    Back in 1990, I was working as the sole technical author for a small company. And I got a better job (50% pay rise: what's not to like?) so gave my month's notice. It was an amicable departure so my boss asked me to type up my job description and fax it to the employment agency he used.

    So I did that ... and two hours later the fax machine squawked into life and spewed out nine pages of expensive thermal paper which contained a CV.

    I read it. I was perplexed. So I phoned the agency. "Hi, I'm calling from [redacted]. We sent you a job description this morning, did you mean to send us this applicant's CV?"

    "Yes! Do you want me to arrange for him to attend an interview?"

    Me: "The Job Description is for a technical author. This guy is a technical support engineer."

    (Pause.) "Is that different?"

    286:

    One intriguing thing with the mRNA vaccines from a future-prediction point of view is not so much about vaccines as what it does. You can make your cells produce whatever protein you want in (relatively) large volumes for a little while. And it seems that the production could be garage-scale, probably not requiring anything currently restricted access. As for the rna sequences, you could build them on your laptop.

    Now, if you could have any protein you want produced and released in your body, what would you choose?

    287:

    Getting steadily worse, of course, but being replaced with 6 months to go before Parliament is dissolved for the general election

    Disagree.

    COVID19 provides brilliant cover for the Brexit supply chain up-fuckery. When COVID19 is clearly on the wane, however, is a moment of maximum risk for the government, as they lose their ability to blame shortages on a virus. Meanwhile, they've got an 80 seat majority -- enough to ram through an override on the Fixed Term Parliament Act and hold a snap election.

    So I think they'll leave BoJo in office until the pandemic is clearly dealt with, then they will give him the boot, install a replacement who will bribe the pensioners and oligarchs with tax cuts, and hold a snap election.

    If they do that in 2023 they get to hang around in office until 2028, by which time Brexit will be irreversibly bedded in for a generation. And the cabinet and back benches are sufficiently crazy that they would see this as a priority over providing good governance for the nation.

    288:

    EC
    STOP IT. IIRC Miliband stood for leader of the Labour Party & the fuckwits picked Corbyn, thus committing suicide. Also STOP putting words into my mouth .... that I definitely did not say - OK?
    @ 284
    Really - just NO. Nugent Farrago is just that - a farrago.
    What I'm frightened of is Patel, or ( almost as bad 0 -"Frostie" ...

    Charlie @ 289
    Euww - that's a really horrible thought. Though I think it's getting so bad that they may ditch him sooner?

    289:

    237 - And, indeed, a significant number of our utility poles are for landline telephones, and found in the back gardens of properties rather than streetside.

    253 - Agreed.

    261 - Nice one.

    290:

    Greg, you actually think Milibean is better than Cor Bin!?

    291:

    Wrong. You really want salt on the road before the snow/sleet/ice starts coming down.

    I'm happy that where you are they apparently can predict with a certainty when the snow/sleet/ice starts, and that the amount is always accurately forecasted so they know the right method to use.

    Around here, nope.

    Occasionally they will brine if the forecast looks accurate, but even with that they only get it right 50% of the time.

    Generally they wait for the snow to start simply because all too often either the forecast is wrong (and salt is expensive), it really can't be forecast (snow squalls off the lakes where you can't predict if/where the wind will drop snow), or the accumulation will be significant enough that they will need to plow, so salting would be throwing money away.

    292:

    On charging points, this turned up in my local feed: https://www.hampshirelive.news/news/hampshire-news/dozens-electric-vehicle-ports-costing-6464331.amp

    A local council is installing electric car charging points at £5k each.

    Presumably if these started being installed in thousands rather than dozens the price would drop.

    293:

    Batteries removed from vehicles are still perfectly serviceable, if a bit inefficient

    Coulomb and energy efficiency is still almost the same, it's volumetric and weight efficiency that drops (you get 80% of the energy but 100% of the original volume and weight). But for stationary applications the latter matters much less, and so does the power density (woe is you if your house periodically surges from 10kW to 100kW load, you're going to need a really big inverter).

    The idea that in a stationary setup a used car battery will last at most five years is farcical. Barring external disturbance all we know right now is that ten years seems reasonable, and 8 is definitely do-able (ie, the oldest repurposed pack I personally know if is only 8 years old).

    People who buy the packs generally strip them of a whole lot of car-related bits and end up with more or less rectangular blocks of energy storage. But because it's DIY they often keep random bits that suit them, so I've seen a pack bolted to a concrete wall, complete with rubber anti-vibration thingies... presumably so the battery isn't affected by the numerous earthquakes in that area? Or more likely because there were convenient bolt holes in the post-rubber bits of the battery so rather than making custom blocks to go between each battery hole and the wall the guy went with the ones that were flat and at the bottom of the battery box.

    294:

    I suspect EVs will be like iPhones, where you trade in the whole thing when the battery gets too annoying. The battery pack will then be reused, remade, and/or recycled into some other product(s), along with whatever else is usable in the car (motors especially). My guess is that, if we get efficient, battery packs will be broken up into cells, the cells tested, and then sent to their next incarnation depending on how well they work.

    BYD is already doing that in China. They'll buy back anything they sold and remanufacture it. Some of their stuff is explicitly cheaper because it has those old cells in it, and I've seen reports of ex-BYD cells turning up in the usual online sites with new stickers on them. Apparently the record is four stickers on one cell, someone got a heat gun out and melted their way through the layers, then removes second layer of heat shrink over the whole cell... it was an amusing video.

    The other thing that's still in progress is "what cell shape makes most sense". We see everything from 18650's, which even Elon seems to have realised are too small, up to rectangular cells in the 500Ah range, all used in small electric vehicles (the latter in low-voltage ones for the most part because a 100S pack made of 500Ah/4kg cells would be challenging)

    Again with the BYD press releases, they've just dropped pictures of really long rectangular cells. Seemingly about 100mm x 20mm x 1000mm (possibly longer, promo shots lacked dimensional numbers). The idea is you stack them side by side-ish, blow air between them for cooling, and it's easy to make up a slab of them to whatever length you require. I expected to see two of those so you have up-and-back with both external connections at the same end, but again, PR stunt lacked details.

    295:

    "I have trouble managing money that well."

    I can't do it at all. So anything automatic is asking for trouble. If things are happening in the background without my intervention then I don't know what the fuck is going on and the inevitable result is not just running out of money entirely and unexpectedly, but also the activation of mechanisms to grab large chunks of it when I do get more before I even get my hands on it myself. The existence of such mechanisms and past experience of what happens when they are activated is one reason for me not having a bank account now.

    Regarding "late payments" my attitude is basically fuck 'em. I don't have a problem remembering to do it because I get sent bills to remind me. If I don't do it when they want it it's because I plain haven't fucking got the money. It'll be a month or two before they start getting arsey enough that they do anything more than sending nasty letters, and I'll have managed to sort it out before then, so it doesn't matter. Allowing them to grab it automatically whether I've got it or not guarantees that palpably unpleasant consequences will occur straight away without giving me the chance to avoid them: either the abovementioned activation of bleeding wounds, or if I'm not quite so badly off at the relevant moment, the unexpected discovery that I've only got 50p to eat with for the next week because all the rest has disappeared without me being able to stop it.

    296:

    Using sand (let alone salt) on dry roads is stupid

    What they do here (at least in my part of Ontario) is spray a brine solution before an expected snowfall/freezing rain event. This adheres to the road and so there is less salt used. Some municipalities use a sugar beet solution (made with the leftovers from processing sugar beets) instead of/as well as salt.

    400-series highways still use granular salt — I suspect because the deicing trucks run at 80-100 km/h and there's too much turbulence for spraying liquids.

    In the West they don't use salt to deice roads (doesn't work at -20) but still add a bit to the gravel spreader so the gravel adheres to the ice and gives better grip.

    297:

    No idea how it works elsewhere, but where I live we have a Car Co-op, of which I am a member.

    We own our vehicle for the 99.8% of driving we need to get done. In the event I need a small truck (occasionally) or a multi-passenger van, I an reserve a co-op vehicle for the purpose. I pay an hourly rate for use ($8/hr) and a per kilometer rate if I go over 100km - which has never happened. I purchase my car for the 99.8% use case.

    EVs work for 99.8% of the driving that I do, and that's what we use. I accept that an EV might not work for retired curmudgeonly software engineers in certain parts of the UK, but it is worth noting that it DOES work for many millions who are not presently Greg Tingey, Pigeon or Elderly Cynic.

    As for my specific EV, if it breaks I cannot fix it. However, I paid a small amount more on purchase to have a 10 year 100% warranty on everything, including minor scratches (which was a surprise to me). If it breaks I call the number that is helpfully affixed to my window and a tow truck and taxi will be dispatched immediately. The car will be towed to the nearest Kia dealership and repaired or replaced, I will go about my business and be provided with a replacement.

    No, it probably would not apply if I was 2000 km up the Alaska Highway, if I go there I will take a different vehicle. I am not likely to go there.

    If my ICE vehicle breaks down I am also hopeless at fixing anything beyond a flat tire. As are most people, who have other things to be good at and focus their energies upon. I don't personally give a damn that my car is full if electrical gewgaws, they work, they are warrantied, and they make my life simpler. At no point am I ever going to have an interest in reprogramming my vehicle or its components.

    If eleventy gazillion EV batteries were to be dumped somewhere TODAY in the much repeated 'tsunami' of waste, that would be a problem. In the context of multiple years of ramping up, that is a solvable problem in a world where we have many much more alarming and potentially insoluble problems competing for attention.

    298:

    "You're going to have to go pedal-to-the-metal to get up to 80 kph before you hit the bridge"

    ...and IIRC the line speed over the bridge is 40mph, ie. about 60kph. I forget what the gradients are like but it's not safe to assume it's level without specific confirmation; just "being a big bridge" is not enough to guarantee it.

    Still, there's not the remotest chance of it ever being allowed to happen. You get problems as it is with trains stopping in OHLE neutral sections or gaps in the third rail and not being able to get going again, and those are much shorter. Even if you had a gronk on permanent standby to give stuck trains a shove/tug, it would still be viewed as an operational disaster waiting to happen. And a pile of other things too.

    (The only example I can think of where railways have found it acceptable to coast (as opposed to roll down hill) for a significant distance is the Dalkey atmospheric railway. The atmospheric traction pipe stopped several hundred yards short of the end, and trains would pop off the end of it and coast the rest of the way. Going the other way, some poor sod had to push them until they got to the pipe. Even in Ireland in the 1840s they didn't think this was much good.)

    Fortunately as I said the only obstacles to putting OHLE over the bridge are bureaucratic, not technical. And all the various possible methods of getting away without it are too much of a pain in the arse for the railway to consider them realistic. What I see happening is that there will simply be more delay and waffle with nothing being done until finally someone bites the bullet and deploys the authority to cut through the bureaucratic obstacles, so eventually we will end up with 25kV overhead anyway, it'll just take unnecessarily long for it to happen.

    299:

    Yep, it was a bit snot nosed, but just making the point that transport as a service only appears to grind people the wrong way when it comes to personal cars. Much like public transport, personal car transport is also subsidized by the state, unless you happen to own your own private roads (and atmosphere).

    Many people can't afford to, or don't want to live in an area that supports good public transport, and bad public transport is a time tax on the poor. The current accepted solution to this is to own a car, which hopefully becomes less common in the future.

    I totally fall for this too, but I hope my children don't need to get a license.

    It's easy to imagine a world where the state provides a 'bus' service with no fixed routes, no driver, and a maximum passenger load of 8 adults. It would be a nice real world use for quantum computing, continually running an annealing function over the entire network to pick which bus is going to get to you fastest and get you to your destination fastest.

    In response to your street, I give you this street (https://youtu.be/vNX89uqly6U?t=362) with a self driving car.

    As for road wear and electric vehicles (weight). Trucks (HV) completely dominate mechanical damage to roads (weight to the 4th power) and I don't think that anybody will be happy increasing the maximum weight on wheels for trucks. But, most trucks are overspec'd in terms of range because adding volume to a tank is cheap and easy. If you are buying an electric heavy vehicle it makes sense to tighten up the range specifications based on application to reduce cost. For example I believe that most rubbish trucks/buses/delivery trucks do well less than 100km a day, and that is all start/stop. Switching to an electric drive train for these trucks/buses would reduce the weight by a couple of hundred kg (remove 1200kg of engine, 400kg of transmission & exhaust, 300kg of fuel, add back in 300kg of switching/motors/gearing & 400kg of batteries). So EV, is some circumstances will reduce road wear.

    There is also a fair bit of road degradation due solvent damage from oil and petrol, especially in suburban streets and around traffic lights. I've never seen good numbers for how much this contributes to road wear, because, again HV's dominate.

    300:

    I have news for you. Not everywhere is exactly like where you live, and not everyone has the same requirements.

    The reason that coops don't work for people like me (in the UK, remember?), as distinct from where you live, is that very few (if any) coops have suitable vehicles. I checked a couple of local ones, one had nothing even as functional as my existing (small) car, and the other had only a MPV. While I could get my larger luggage into the latter, other people would reasonably object to the amount of muck I would get on the seats (think gardening and building supplies, rubble and junk left outside and being taken to the tip, etc.) And it definitely wouldn't help when I want to take a long trip and hang on to it for a month - that's NOT what those coops are set up for and (in at least one case) specifically forbade.

    My main objection to the gimmickry is because of the risk of failure in the middle of nowhere, and the fact that most garages in that sort of area cannot fix such specialist problems. Most of the recovery services will only take it to the nearest garage or at most 50 miles, so I would have to pay for a very expensive tow, and (WORSE) I will lose half a dozen days of my holiday. Many guarantees have similar constraints and, even if they DID despatch a tow immediately, expedite the repair, and return it immediate it was fixed, that's still 3-4 days lost.

    In the case of my friend with the KIA, it was in and out of the garage (losing days' of use each time) until they admitted the battery was faulty and permitted a courtesy car. And this was within a few miles of the dealer! Plus how many manufacturers give lifetime guarantees?

    301:

    Whatever. Corbyn was elected following the resignation of Ed Miliband, and neither Miliband was an opponent of his in either election. Whether Ed Miliband would have been any good, I can't say, but David Miliband was an acolyte of Blair.

    302:

    I'd also like to add my gloom to those who will miss owning a vehicle you can do whatever the Road Traffic act and your insurers will allow. As I don't have a car licence, I built myself a sidecar outfit to a spec I cannot buy for 3 times the cost. I reckon they'll not outright ban such vehicles (ICE or modified), just make them increasingly harder/expensive to run. I worry about what I'll do then.

    There was a link in Tom Scotts newsletter to a jalopnik page, inviting suggestions for really nasty car feature subscriptions.

    On Apprenticeships, I was pretty appalled at how they have been debased in the last decade. Some are quite blatantly only meant to get cheap/free labour.

    The bit about not being able to check competence of job candidates, this seems to be helping destroy job security for everyone. Small companies daren't give proper contracts, much safer to take people on as contractors, who you can drop if they are duds.

    Finally, my "Who ordered that??" was the Boeing 737Max scandal. It should have been impossible to get as bad as it did.

    303:

    That may be what tips a fair number of people over to EV: increasing difficulty keeping their gas-burners fuelled

    I drive a ten-year-old Volvo V40; low enough emission that I don't pay Vehicle Excise Duty, utterly reliable (beloved's SchwerGrossenKinderTransportPanzer has had a sequence of problems), and with a UI that is simple, intuitive, and works (in contrast to her Audi, which to my mind is an inconsistent mess). Unfortunately, my little Volvo is a Euro V Diesel, thus will be banned from any Edinburgh Low Emission Zone; while her 330BHP tank is a Euro VI Diesel, and acceptable :( Mine also has an affordable insurance group, and a manual gearbox [1] - making it the ideal car for our sons to gain experience as new drivers. Hiring a dual-control learner vehicle [2] only goes so far :(

    So I may well be changing over to an affordable EV or hybrid some time soon (hopefully not because one or other son has thrashed or smashed the Volvo). Or thanking the stars that I live ten minutes' walk from a station on a direct line into Edinburgh City Centre.

    Anyway...

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned, is the repurposing of all those office buildings. I currently work for (what remains of) a firm to which one of OGH's books is dedicated; we're giving up our lease on our 80-person office space in town. Everyone will work remotely for the most part, with some tied desks and meeting rooms in one of the "shared space" facilities in the middle of town; AIUI most of us are perfectly happy about this.

    If this is repeated, because two years of remote working have demonstrated its viability, the demand for commuter vehicles should drop off, as will the Edinburgh rush hour discontent (made glorious nightmare by this son of Tram) - and I wonder whether more offices will become "other things". As a for instance, Edinburgh Judo Club (rather successful, understatement) have one floor of an underused office block in Meadowbank; and enough space to have large groups training, run holiday clubs for kids, etc, etc. If I recall, a while ago they were on the point of having to move out - I suspect that the landlord is now quite happy to have them on site.

    Who knows, Edinburgh's city centre may have lucked out in terms of the Council's plans for a green space, and the economy's dropping needs for moAr cAR pArk PliZ.

    [1] For y'all - learner drivers in the UK almost always "drive stick" (and sit their test in a manual-gearbox car), because otherwise your driving license carries a qualifier preventing you from doing so. Granted, EVs mean that this may soon become as anachronistic as starting handles and choke buttons - but for now it's still a significant factor.

    [2] Beloved, the petrolhead, is teaching our sons to drive. I'm following my father's advice of "never try to teach family"

    304:

    As already discussed, the bureaucracy involving the FRB also involves UNESCO. One of the likely consequences of electrifying the bridge is a loss of its World Heritage Site status. If you doubt this, check the current register for Liverpool Docks.

    305:

    Thanks for the update.

    I'm still chewing on the idea of putting batteries directly in the hull of a cargo ship. It's cheaper to build. The problem is that now we're pretty sure Thwaites glacier is falling apart and big hurricanes are becoming normal. That leads to the literally shocking question of just how do you keep a high powered power grid going in a cargo terminal, if seas are rising both permanently and on shorter time scales. Shorts will be harder to avoid and will be rather bad news, if there's one big charging line to the ship.

    If some of the shipping containers are batteries, you can charge them away from the port, get them onto the ship, and plug them in. There's still the fun of saltwater and electricity, but the main high power line is inside the ship, not in the more vulnerable wharf. If a harbor gets trashed for big ships, you can even lighter battery containers on and off, while it might be hard to run a charging cable out to a ship.

    That's my thinking, anyway. There are probably some good arguments on the other side.

    306:

    Elon Musk's line is that weight-for-weight, a dead LiIon battery contains at least 20x as much lithium per unit mass as the best ore deposits, so recycling dead batteries makes good economic sense.

    Possible, but the proper comparison is recycling vs. disposal. Assuming transportation costs are similar for both options, hazwaste disposal can run anywhere from $0.40 per to ton to over $1,800.00 for incineration (depending on the type of hazwaste being disposed of) https://www.profitableventure.com/cost-dispose-hazardous-waste-per-ton/

    Also-also, batteries that won't hold up for a long car journey because they're below 70-80% of capacity are good for several years use in a grid backup farm -- unbolt from car, stack on a concrete plinth, and connect up: run until it's down to 30% or less. That probably gives you 5-10 extra years to work out a dismantling/recycling factory.

    OK, an extra 5 years increases the battery life cycle form 8 years to 13. That results in an average annual battery disposal rate of 13.2 million tons, or 8X the current hazwaste disposal rate.

    That's still a tsunami.

    I'm guessing the "dead car batteries are hazwaste" line is being pushed by the oil industry, possibly via the Koch network lobbying "think-tanks" ...

    Actually, its the USEPA: Lithium batteries are hazardous materials and are subject to the Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171–180). https://www.epa.gov/recycle/used-lithium-ion-batteries

    307:

    The Supercharger network is a part of the fourth prong;

    You're absolutely right of course. Thanks!

    I also realized, well after I posted, that there's a sneaky way to keep track of individual cells: in the memory of the cars' computers. If the car's keeping detailed records of the performance of its subunits, when it's returned and parted out, the "car butchers" will, quite possibly, have a destination for each major part: some batteries will be remanufactured, some reused or resold. Ditto the electronics, motors, whatever.

    I have no idea whether anyone's trying to set up that sort of tip to tail complete recycling for their cars, but I can see it working if the company has a policy of universal buyback, even of cars that are totaled in accidents. I can also see all sorts of political bullshit arising, as junkyards scream about how they're being put out of business.

    308:

    EC 302: "I have news for you. Not everywhere is exactly like where you live, and not everyone has the same requirements."

    I agree, but also return the information. Not everyone has your requirements nor lives where you live. On top of that, not everyone is in the stage of life we are each respectively experiencing.

    So a thing that doesn't work for you might very well work for a large percentage of, say, the 450 million or so humans who live in North America. So rather than saying 'EVs are bad because they don't work for me' consider just going with them not working for you specifically.

    As for co-op vehicles not being suitable, I would suggest that rather than digging in your heels and rejecting the concept, perhaps consider joining or at least advocating for a suitable vehicle to be added to the fleet. I specifically use my co-op for the uses you identify as a barrier - green waste, soil and construction materials.

    I was trying to respond to the repeated tropes that come up in every discussion of EVs on this blog. 'They don't work for my very specific unique situation as I perceive it so they don't work.'

    309:

    what about if they get snowbound?

    Recent test of a Tesla. Charged to 90%, drove 30 miles to simulate the average US commute, then parked for 24 hours to simulate being stuck in the snow. Cabin set to 68 F, seat heaters on, but no one in the car (so the 60W of heat from a person wasn't there, actual results would be better than this)

    https://youtu.be/P1HLRVREJF8

    Result was that for the modern Tesla with the heat pump, stuck in below freezing temperatures, the heating uses about 1% per hour, or about a 1/4 charge per day. 24 hours stuck on the highway on the way home and you'll still have 150 miles range when you get dug out. So despite many many many media reports that Tesla owners will die if it snows, you're probably better off in a Tesla than any ICE.

    310:

    We're now up to about 20% of 10-year-hence developments being utterly unpredictable, leaving us with 55-60% in the "here today" and 20-25% in the "not here yet, but clearly on the horizon" baskets.

    Where does the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica collapsing and taking the entire West Antarctic ice shelf with it rate?

    Reduction of pollinators to levels that agriculture is severely impacted?

    Inability of homeowners to get insurance due to increased hurricanes, wildfires, tornados?

    Simple spread of tropical diseases spreading northward.

    Economic/demographic collapse of China and/or Russia?

    311:

    http://digital.distributedenergy.com/articles/vehicle-to-grid

    Utilizing EV Batteries for Energy Storage – the Easy Part and the Hard Part

    EV batteries can be used to buffer a renewable power system in one of two ways. The first is to use discarded EV batteries. Normally used and worn out batteries end up in a landfill. That is, unless they are recycled. When worn out, EV owners will replace their batteries or replace the whole car. Currently there are approximately 253 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads. If EVs gain only 10% of the market, this could mean millions of batteries that need recycling each year. These long lasting EVs may be replaced by both owner preference for newer vehicles and technological advances that render them obsolete for transportation. But not for power generation.

    These used batteries can be obtained at lower costs and be combined into energy storage systems that that can smooth out fluctuations in renewable energy supply. Once its storage capacity has been reduced by age and use by 30 percent they remain useful for stationary power storage. Repurposed, recycled EV batteries have been estimated to cost a little as $49 per kWh compared to new, purposed designed batteries which cost $300 per kWh. Recycling older EV batteries is a twofer, eliminating a potential waste problem and providing cheap renewable grid stabilization.

    But what about using the EVs themselves, while they are still owned and being used for transport? On average, a typical automobile is parked and unused for 23 hours a day. During idle times, EV can be used for temporary power storage. Once parked at the end of work day commute, it could be connected to the grid and used to meet peak power demand when renewable generation is at its lowest.

    What does the vehicle owner get out of this? In return for providing power at expensive peak demand times, the owner can be reimbursed by the power company. Given that most commuter parking is at facilities where cars are accumulated for storage (downtown parking garages, office parking lots, train stations, etc.), the infrastructure needed to extract the power from EVs when parked become simpler to install. Each parking spot can be equipped with an electrical connection. Larger parking operations could act as middlemen, for example simplifying paying arrangements by offering free parking in exchange for power and then selling the power themselves back to the grid. EV batteries can be recharged during cheaper low demand hours when the sun is shining its brightest at mid-day before the return trip home.

    In addition to providing sustained power for predictable low and high demand periods, EV batteries can provide short bursts of power to the grid and back again. This ability can be used to correct imbalances in a standard electric power grid, or smooth out the potentially extreme fluctuations created by wind power. By using EV batteries for only minutes at a time to upload or download power results in less impact on battery lifetime than impact than subjecting the battery to deep cycling.

    However, skepticism remains and technological hurdles still need to be overcome. Current technology will need to advance further before it becomes widely economical to use EV batteries to send power back to the grid. However, with current technology, using EV batteries for dynamic charging or “smart charging” at needed times to the grid. Furthermore, it may be more economical to directly recycle old EV batteries, using their parts and materials in the manufacture of new batteries. In the short term, the best approach to adopting this technology is to use dynamic charging. Dynamic charging is essentially matching up the grid’s need for power and when energy is available and cheap for car recharging. Achieving this is more a management with software and controls instead of expensive new hardware.

    Full scale transmittal of power back to the grid is far more complicated. Locations of car recharging facilities will have to be located with an eye to convenient grid use. And battery technology will have to advance to allow for even greater operational lifetimes. Each cycle of recharge and transmittal of power to the grid – even if it does not involve deep charging – will have an effect on battery life. Other costs will have to be considered such as the installation of grid connections at parking facilities, establishment of equipment standards, etc. - and these costs will affect the system’s overall economic viability.

    312:

    Paws
    Yes - he was possibly electable, J Cor was not, ever.

    malware
    Noted.
    Why is road transport monies "investment" & rail transport monies "subsidy"?
    No, I've never managed to get to the bottom of that one, either ...

    paws
    No
    The "wire" or "rail" will simply not be visible in the main bridge from more than about 200m away - as for the approach viaducts, the Royal Border Bridge gives a clue as to how it should be done ...

    313:

    I mean bugger it, even the mobility scooter would be too much if its 1.2kWh of battery capacity was made of lithium cells rather than lead-acid as it actually is.

    Hyperbole much?

    https://m.alibaba.com/product/1600410759529/Rear-Rack-style-akku-600wh-electric.html?__detailProductImg=https%3A%2F%2Fs.alicdn.com%2F%40sc04%2Fkf%2FHb543f595bb2641129d70ea0c586a3666Z.jpg_200x200.jpg

    With lead acid only about 50% of the capacity is available unless you're happy to replace it every 100 uses, so a 1.2 kWh pack is really a 600 Wh pack. A 600 Wh lithium pack is about 250 GBP delivered and will last about 5-100 times longer than its lead acid cousin (depending on how it's treated).

    314:

    "...including a massive reduction in the use of HE to encourage people to think."

    Aye. When I were a lad we used to reckon there were nothing like a bit o' high explosive to get people to think...

    ""I don't want to understand the principles; I just want to be able to use it""

    It has to be said that there are situations where that becomes kind of a necessity for practical reasons of information overload. This does not need to be encrypted, left to myself I wouldn't bother at all, but the other end forces me to; I don't want to take the time to become a crypto expert or even a libssl expert, I just want to know what incantations to chuck at libssl to make it give me the data so I can get on with the important bit. Of course it doesn't work so well when you do need strong security but still approach it the same way... very often that is what enables the other side to find their way in.

    Personally (and I don't think I'm alone) I find that when I do want to understand the principles, it's a lot easier to "come at it backwards" and start with a known-good example of their application, then take it apart and see how it works, and use that as a way in to understanding the principles in general. To start with the basic theory and work forward to eventually arrive at a practical application means learning the whole thing as a self-contained cloud of abstractions with no connection to what any of it actually means, until eventually you are supposed to understand enough of the abstract concepts to be able to construct your own mappings onto actual problems from scratch. I find things much easier to understand if I can start from a mapping in the other direction (which is also very-many to not-so-many so it's easier to find your way through), use that as a framework to hang the most closely relevant abstractions on, and then work outwards connecting in the others. (Or run more than one instance of this more-or-less in parallel using different starting points, if the cloud of abstractions is large and needs more than one stem to support it.)

    It seems to me that school teaching (or at least the better parts of it) also takes the view that it works better to come at things that way round (possible observation bias because I naturally remember those bits better, but I think there's still a real tendency). This does of course tend to mean that you begin by learning a lot of what Pratchett calls "lies to children" and then having to learn the corrections later, but how much of a disadvantage that is probably has a lot to do both with who's doing the learning and with who's doing the teaching.

    It also seems from all kinds of representations of and references to schooldays of past times that it's a comparatively recent development, and formerly kids were indeed taught clouds of abstractions with no obvious connection to anything outside the classroom (and in some subjects still are)... and that university-level education still takes this approach by default. The attitude seems to be that building up understanding beginning with a simplified version and then learning corrections and refinements as you go along is anathematical, and it is essential to implant the fully complete, fully corrected and refined version starting with a blank slate so you never have to learn anything that is incompletely or conditionally true. I consider this to be suboptimal...

    What I think is really undesirable is the prevalence of the stronger corollary to the attitude you cite, "I cannot possibly understand the principles, I just want to use it/have it working/have it done". People are conditioned to believe that they are thick, necessarily unable to do anything for themselves that they haven't been specifically taught how to do and unable to learn it for themselves. Lord Finchley apparently was thick, but at least he tried; he didn't automatically consider himself helpless, so I think he deserves a bit more respect than Belloc gives him.

    315:

    I'm guessing the "dead car batteries are hazwaste" line is being pushed by the oil industry, possibly via the Koch network lobbying "think-tanks" ...Actually, its the USEPA: Lithium batteries are hazardous materials and are subject to the Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171–180). https://www.epa.gov/recycle/used-lithium-ion-batteries

    To expand on that a bit: --Lithium fires are exciting, so we don't want Mumbles the idiot recycler having tons of lithium sitting around to catch fire in exciting ways. --Some lithium batteries are 5% cobalt by weight, although Tesla's trying hard to quit that particular habit (Lithium iron phosphate for the looming phosphorus shortage, most likely). And before you ask, the EPA has issues with cobalt too: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/cobalt-compounds.pdf

    So it's a legitimate problem: Americans have demonstrated that a sufficient number of us are stupid, careless, and/or crooked enough to not be trusted around mass quantities of dangerous batteries, because they can be genuinely dangerous in not-very-extreme conditions. Therefore, they are regulated.

    My sad-faced prediction is that lithium battery recycling will be made a developing-world problem, at least until the Dakotas or Texas relax their rules (/sarcasm): https://e360.yale.edu/features/getting-the-lead-out-why-battery-recycling-is-a-global-health-hazard

    316:

    Ed Milliband gave us Corbin by changing the electoral system for leader and allowing cheap membership which led to entryism by both Momentum and stealth Tories who, for different reasons voted for Corbyn. Ed Milliband has resigned after the election defeat

    317:

    Euww - that's a really horrible thought. Though I think it's getting so bad that they may ditch him sooner?

    I think Charlie is right.

    Despite all the bluster and commentary from Conservative MP's it is noticeable that they aren't actually submitting the letters to remove him, and there hasn't been any reporting of the usual suspects actually trying to replace him at this moment.

    At a guess, the current theatrical act is about

    a) mollifying the local voter base, saying yes I agree Boris has been a bad boy.

    b) weaken Boris so the big boys can work to control him until the appropriate moment (mentioned by Charlie) arrives - things like ending his throwing money around that annoys so many.

    If they do decide Boris needs to go sooner than planned then expect a caretaker aka sacrificial lamb leader to step up and take the job of absorbing all the blame before the real leader steps up for the regularly scheduled election.

    (another, remote, possibility is something happens to change the polls in their favour and they find an excuse to roll the dice and hold a snap election).

    318:

    Occasionally they will brine if the forecast looks accurate, but even with that they only get it right 50% of the time.

    Do you get the same second act we get here. Either:

    Stupid school officials sent our kids to school and look at the mess they have to deal with. They should have know it was too bad to do so.

    Or stupid school officials had the kids stay home and look, sunshine and dry roads. How dare they ruin our daily lives.

    Here we live in a strange geographical area where the snow/sleet boundary can move north or south by 30 miles. So part of the school system can have ice covered with snow and sleet and at the other end of the county it be all sunshine and dry roads.

    320:

    A possible alternative to my numbers above (that is, carrying enough batteries to run full power from Osaka to Rotterdam takes 20% of the cargo capacity, all else being equal) is to arrange the batter containers in vertical stacks, so they can be accessed and changed at each port en route. The problem: this forgoes the advantage of placing all the electrical connections below decks (unless you unpack and temporarily store the cargo containers that are above the battery containers, but that seems inefficient).

    Other alternatives: Lithium-ion polymer has higher energy density than LiFePO4, but requires more careful handling. Various thoughts about cooling (there are marine engines that pump sea water directly through the cooling system).

    Turns out we're not the first to think of it. In this article, for instance, a company in Alabama called FleetZero "is experimenting with building electric batteries in standard 20-foot shipping containers which are modified to power smaller ships at sea." It sounds like targeting smaller ships has some benefits (access to smaller ports and up the Mississippi for instance) in addition to the reduced scale of components. I was picking on massive ships like the Ever Given because their the obvious case, but the idea that this would be more practical at lower scale also makes sense to me.

    321:

    But still, replacing a battery is harder than replacing a gas tank or even an engine, so it's not clear that EVs are being built to have the same lifespan as ICs.

    I think that's a GM thing rather than a battery thing. GM designs their ICE cars to fall to bits/rust out in 5-10 years too. They're also designed so that regular maintenance is difficult and that replacing parts that will wear is difficult and expensive so that they will fail and destroy things making it uneconomical to repair, just buy a new car. Which given that they're in the business of selling new cars isn't super surprising.

    Tesla designed their car so that the battery can be swapped out in half the time it takes to fill a petrol tank (let alone the time to replace a petrol tank). Since then they've added a skid plate, so it takes a bit longer than that, but it's still quicker than changing the oil on a GM ICE. Leaf batteries aren't much slower. Maybe 5 minutes?

    322:

    Thanks for the update.

    The obvious problem I see with containers of batteries is that they'll need to work in weather that looks like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCwUFjzEOS8 , because no one will be going outside to fix high amperage main lines that get knocked loose by that many tonnes of water hitting the deck.

    For a ferry, drive-on batteries are easier, because if the conditions are that fugly, the ferry's staying in port anyway.

    323:

    To expand on that a bit: --Lithium fires are exciting, so we don't want Mumbles the idiot recycler having tons of lithium sitting around to catch fire in exciting ways.

    Like the used tire fires that happen ever so often. And really can't be put out with a less than Herculean effort so they burn while the edges are contained.

    324:

    It sounds like targeting smaller ships has some benefits (access to smaller ports and up the Mississippi for instance) in addition to the reduced scale of components. I was picking on massive ships like the Ever Given because their the obvious case, but the idea that this would be more practical at lower scale also makes sense to me.

    Driving barge tows on the various east of the Rockies US rivers with "E" would be a big deal. Those boats are way smaller than ocean going vessels and don't really carry any cargo. They just push it. Large amounts of "it".

    325:

    Can confirm. Our 2014 model S shows negligible impact on battery life from supplying heat. A/C is significantly more energy-demanding, but when we tested over the same drive with and without heat (internal temp set to 'off' vs 68F, outside temp I believe ~45F) the difference for a 50-mile drive was in the noise (<1% of the transportation energy use).

    [I was interested to see the 'modal user will replace ~8 years' above. We've had zero costs and neglible decline in range thus far, no decline in performance. Daily commuter use, <10 long trips per year but we were all surprised to find that the enforced breaks on such trips (park at supercharger, get coffee/use toilet/peruse local bookstore for 30 mins or so to get the next 200 miles) made us significantly happier on arrival vs the nonstop gas-powered equivalent.]]

    326:

    It looks like this is already being done. I found this page when looking up electric tugs, but I note it also links to this page offering "containerised maritime energy storage".

    327:

    while it's not common, E85 (ie an 85% ethanol blend) is available. The only changes necessary are...

    My brother in law has done all that you suggest, including taking advantage of the increased anti knock. He tells me that he gets 45 litres per 100 km. Slightly better than 5 mpg. A tank of fuel lasts about 120 km. An exciting 120 km for sure, but 120 km (75 miles). He gets fuel delivered in 200 litre drums (that cost 900 dollars each) because if he drove to the nearest servo to fill, he'd be out before he got home.

    If you think batteries are inconvenient and impractical, you should try E85...

    328:

    So if you're lucky you're releasing 20W of "spare" capacity per lamp-post... [snip] ...if "type 2" means 3.6kW (which seems to be the least it can mean).

    I thought I'd look it up because you seemed so sure that lamp posts are supplied by tiny threads of near invisible cable. It's not what we do here, and I thought maybe I'm wrong.

    https://shropshire.gov.uk/street-care-and-cleaning/streetlights/facts-figures-and-faqs/street-lighting-facts/#

    Lighting columns are normally supplied from the same underground electricity networks which feed your home

    No, I'm not wrong. Each lamp post has the same supply as a home, so probably 100A single phase fuse, tapped off a 3 phase main cable running ~1000A.

    Still I'm not an expert on residential street lighting and the standards are hard to find.

    What's not hard to find and what I already knew, the amount of power a type 2 advertises is done with a PWM signal. The duty cycle multiplied by 0.6 gives the maximum amperage the vehicle should draw. I know that goes down at least as low as 10% or 6 amps. About 1.4 kW in the UK.

    So there's absolutely no issue having two Type 2 outlets (or even four) on every lamp post. If you really wanted to get fancy, you could set them up for demand balancing, so they'd help stabilise the grid. Free charging, but it might shut off for a few minutes every now and again. Sounds like a good deal.

    329:

    Possible, but the proper comparison is recycling vs. disposal.

    No, that's not the right comparison.

    If you're manufacturing a widget, the cost of getting raw materials is what counts. If it's cheaper to get the raw materials from old batteries than new mines, then you get them from old batteries if there are old batteries available. The cost/saving involved in throwing away something you want isn't part of the calculation.

    There's no coming tsunami of dead car batteries coming. Not now, not 10 years, not ever.

    330:

    mdive
    Um - nasty, but all too possible.
    However, I suspect today's PMQ's should be good circus - lay in some popcorn.

    331:

    "Still I'm not an expert on residential street lighting and the standards are hard to find."

    Streetlights are not connected directly to the main-feeder, they are daisy-chained on properly fused sub-circuit.

    Depending on where you are the details will vary, but as a rule of thumb, if each street will have one sub-circuit, two if there are lights on both sides of the road.

    The sub-circuits may be multi-phase on "high consequence" roads, but usually it is just a single phase.

    If the "lamp-post-chargers" will be more than a single-phase 16A outlet, it will almost certainly require new infrastructure next to the lamp-post, because normal steel-tube lamp-posts are not big enough diameter to contain the necessary contactors and protection circuitry for higher wattages.

    332:

    Like the used tire fires that happen ever so often. And really can't be put out with a less than Herculean effort so they burn while the edges are contained.

    I just had a quick look at the properties of lithium oxide: https://www.americanelements.com/lithium-oxide-12057-24-8

    Doesn't dissolve in water, high melting point, doesn't boil, just sits there. The aftermath of a lithium fire would still be usable lithium ore.

    I suspect that step 1 of the "recycling" is going to end up being an incinerator.

    333:

    mdive @ 319: it is noticeable that they aren't actually submitting the letters to remove [BoJo]

    I heard a passing mention from someone on the BBC this morning that the number of those letters is starting to build up.

    334:

    310 - The closest I have come to 'EVs are bad because they don't work for me' is more "EVs do not work for my use case, the vehicles need these improvements".

    313 - I keep seeing this argument. Aside from it being vapourware, how do you prevent $powerco deciding they need half the power from my battery pack for grid stabilisation on a specific night, when I have a trip planed for the following day that means I will need a fully charged battery?

    314 - The Royal Border Bridge is "only" Grade 1 listed, which accepts that modifications are possible (catenery, the lighting scheme). Oh and the catenery is visible in the photos on its Wikipedia page.

    322 - What are these intermediate ports on the Osaka - Rotterdam run? AFAIK there are no intermediate ports that can dock a Panamax (well unless you consider LA or San Diego an acceptable diversion on the Pacific side, and a similar incursion to the Gulf of Mexico on the Atlantic).

    327 - I've said this before, but part of the issue is that the enforced breaks are where the charger is, rather than at the much better coffee shop a mile down the road.

    332 - Radio Scotland do a morning phone-in program. Today's question is "Can you think of anything Bozo can say to make it better?" "My sis and I both responded with "I resign."

    335:

    Tire and Li fires.

    The issue with either is what happens to the surrounding air during the fire. I KNOW you really don't want to be around a tire fire. And I assume similar for a large Li battery fire.

    336:

    If the "lamp-post-chargers" will be more than a single-phase 16A outlet, it will almost certainly require new infrastructure

    Thanks for chiming on with actual knowledge.

    So no issue with two 6 amp outlets per streetlight then.

    337:

    I can't disagree with that. Lithium fire probably won't smell as bad as a tyre fire so the solution is to dump them in the middle of nowhere and pretend not to notice.

    Apropos of nothing, my local waste incinerator/power plant has a shiny glass facade and signs outside proclaiming it to be an "energy recovery centre", so that's ok then.

    338:

    313 - I keep seeing this argument. Aside from it being vapourware

    It's not vapourware, you can do this already. Google virtual power plant. Not everywhere, but it certainly exists.

    how do you prevent $powerco deciding they need half the power from my battery pack for grid stabilisation on a specific night, when I have a trip planed for the following day that means I will need a fully charged battery?

    You set the amount you're prepared to make available on the app or website of the virtual power plant.

    339:

    My sad-faced prediction is that lithium battery recycling will be made a developing-world problem

    Exactly.

    It will be politically impossible to build al of the necessary hazwaste facilities here in the US (or EU).

    We Will simply ship dead li-ion batteries overseas to some some 3rd world country (China is not taking our waste anymore) and call it "recycling".

    Same thing we do now with e-waste.

    340:

    There's a streetlamp charger trial I'm following near me: the street lamps have a pair of type 2 sockets on, and you supply a type 2 cable to run from the street lamp to your car.

    The controller is surprisingly intelligent based on the marketing bumpf; by default, the port is a 6A charge port (which allows both cars to charge and leaves enough power to run the lamp safely), but it's capable of permitting up to 30A to one socket if the infrastructure is there and only one car is charging.

    It looks like the power actually available varies depending on the lamp post - most of them are limited to 16A maximum, but the ones that were upgraded after being hit by motor traffic (that knocked the existing posts down) had an underground chamber added for the contactors etc to allow them to run 30A.

    The bumpf also claims that the chargers in a street communicate to limit the street draw to a reasonable amount; so presumably, you'd only get 16A or 30A if the other chargers were not pulling their 6A. It also has mention of being aware of time-of-day loading, so may vary the power on offer based on the grid's overall load (so if it's a windy night, the street lamp chargers are faster than if it's a still night).

    It looks like quite a sophisticated system, overall, and the trial hasn't had to halt early because it broke things, so I'm optimistic that it's going to work out.

    341:

    From a system engineering point of view, if EVs don't work for a use-case, the solution is not necessarily to enhance EVs until they do. (In SE we call that kind of thinking "solutioneering").

    What we should do is identify the use-cases where problems exist and look to solve those use-cases. Better EVs are one possible solution, but there may be others.

    Unfortunately that kind of thinking seems to be something that governments are bad at.

    342:

    Google virtual power plant.
    So I did. I got 4 unique companies in the top 50 hits, including Tesla, who definitely use car power packs as temporary storage.

    343:

    I said that my requirements are fairly typical of many people, and that means of perhaps a third of the UK population. No, my USES are not typical, but my REQUIREMENTS are. It is the reason that the sort of car I drive (and even the actual model!) was one of the most commonly bought in the UK. And, in this respect, the UK is a damn sight more typical of most of the world than the USA.

    If you think a bit, and READ what I post (especially #136) rather than just jerking your knee, you will realise why your suggestion would not help. Even if I could wave a magic wand and create a coop with suitable vehicles, that would NOT solve the holiday problem.

    344:

    I take your point, but I was referring to closer to the latter, though not so much as "I am too thick to understand" but "I am too blinkered to try to understand". The context I encountered was in programming where, for example, they wanted to be able to use Fortran or C++ arrays/pointers and procedure calling without reven trying to understanding the language's array, pointer and reference model.

    345:

    How would you feel about living in an area where the boundary can change every mile? :-) All right, most of the time, we get almost no snow, and heavy snow is usually more consistent, but it does happen.

    346:

    Unless it is carried away in the conflagration plume and scattered ouver the surroundings. I have no idea whether it would be and, obviously, that could be prevented if it were being recycled in a furnace.

    347:

    Yes, precisely. My #136 was all about (some of) the non-EV changes that are needed in the UK, and NOT about the merits or otherwise of EVs. In summary, what I said was: "All of the above is soluble, but government action needed".

    348:

    I suspect EVs will be like iPhones, where you trade in the whole thing when the battery gets too annoying.

    Apple does battery replacements for out-of-warranty iPhones for a flat fee of £49 for older iPhones back to the 9th generation (2016 SE, 6s) and £69 for the 11th generation through the current model 13.

    349:

    At the level of zoom out you're engaging in?

    Anti-GMO is a big one. Largely a left wing perspective and involves a ton of people starving to death via not being able to implement GMO crops. Particularly concentrated on the poor/third world, too.

    They'd probably put America's "Racial Reckoning" in the same camp. High increases in murder rate, the arson and looting. Also general claims that migrants are out to murder you and take your stuff.

    If you count fetuses as humans, the left wing's also got a couple holocausts on their hands since Roe vs Wade that kind of dwarf every other policy matter including literal wars.

    I'm not saying this as an argument the deep Right is correct or even not-crazy. It's just that anyone symmetrically far Right thinks the Left is just as terrifying as you think the Right is.

    350:

    It will be politically impossible to build al of the necessary hazwaste facilities here in the US

    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/09/21/north-americas-first-lithium-ion-battery-recycling-hub-is-coming-to-new-york/

    Li-Cycle, a Canadian battery recycling firm, has chosen Rochester as the home for its planned $175 million recycling facility

    https://americanbatterytechnology.com/sustainability/

    ABTC is aggressively building a no-waste, economical and environmentally sustainable system to recycle waste and end-of-life lithium-ion batteries

    https://www.electrive.com/2022/01/11/recycling-startup-batterie-resourcers-to-build-recycling-plant-in-georgia/

    The US battery recycling start-up, supported by Jaguar Land Rover among others, is building a commercial recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries in Covington, Georgia

    I don't know where you're getting your taking points, but it's got little to no relation to reality.

    351:

    I can speak as to lithium battery fires and say you do not want to be anywhere near one, especially a mass of batteries on fire. When I was on the bins the blade of the compactor pierced a lithium battery, a phone battery maybe, and it started "burning", by that I mean it started smoking and got hot enough to set the rubbish on fire. There were no flames. I hit the emergency stop, dropped the back flap and jumped in the back(do not do this!), whereupon I flipped the battery out with my foot and stamped out the burning rubbish. Doing this I got a face full of the smoke, very nasty stuff and there was a lot of it from just a small battery. We then dropped the battery in water which smothered it. We also still had to call out the fire brigade as rubbish inside was still smoldering, but at least it didn't burn out the truck. If I hadn't noticed though, it would have. Again just from one small battery.I want emphasise though, do not jump in the back of a bin truck!

    All this is not to say I am against EVs. They are coming, even if not for environmental reasons we would have to switch when the oil runs out anyway. This debate that comes up on here every so often is pointless. The naysayers need to adjust, if things are not fit for your purposes then YOU might need to change. I have experienced a lot of negative change, but you just have to deal with it. Comparably what we are talking about here is nothing but inconvenience.

    352:

    Finally, my "Who ordered that??" was the Boeing 737Max scandal. It should have been impossible to get as bad as it did.

    That was a long-overdue reckoning for Boeing McDonnell-Douglas.

    After the takeover of McD-D by Boeing, Boeing lost the plot completely -- largely because the board were taken over by McD-D directors who followed the McD-D Way, not the Boeing Way, and McD-D are primarily a defense contractor, not an airliner manufacturer.

    For added shits and giggles, see the fiasco over the Boeing Starliner space capsule, designed as the big-budget trad aerospace riposte to those upstart SpaceX people and their amateur-hour Dragon capsule. (Spoiler: three times the budget but hasn't successfully flown an uncrewed test flight yet: meanwhile Crew Dragon is quietly ferrying astronauts to the ISS and has put the wind up Roscosmos, who are worried about losing business to it from Soyuz.)

    353:

    Unfortunately, my little Volvo is a Euro V Diesel, thus will be banned from any Edinburgh Low Emission Zone

    My 2006 V70 diesel is in a similar position. Plan is to MoT it in March, drive it to Heathrow and back for Eastercon (three adults plus 5 days' luggage) assuming the con goes ahead in person, then sell it. No replacement needed because it's barely moved for two years and I live 50 metres from a car club parking spot and 200 metres from an Avis rental office, if I actually need a car for anything (mostly the past two years have shown that I don't).

    354:

    Lithium batteries are hazardous materials well yes, because some pillock might stick a screwdriver through the back of the phone and set it on fire.

    I don't think the EPA's regs have caught up with the reality of EVs yet. Nor will they for some time (Trump notoriously took an axe to the EPA and dumped third-rate apparatchiks in to run it, like everything else he hated).

    As for treating them as hazwaste and incinerating them, I have this tanker full of crudded up transmission oil and brake fluid: how would you like to incinerate that? (Frankly it's an idiotic proposal.)

    Finally, recycling is a policy issue. We don't "need" to recycle, it'd be cheaper to just dump it in the drinking water, but we recycle because it's good policy if you want a stable society. (This is incidentally a big chunk of what's wrong with nuclear policy -- deep disposal runs into purely arbitrary hominid territorial delimeters, recycling is too costly to be market-competitive with fresh fuel ... bah.) So make it mandatory and factor it into the cost of new EVs.

    355:

    I agree with you as far as the GMO goes. We're going to need it, and big time, in 10 years time. Not having it ready to roll out will mean famine and societal collapse all over the world, not just in poor places.

    The remainder of your arguments reinforce that the Right is about authoritarianism. Do what the silverback in charge says. If you choose not to, you will be hurt until you do do what you're told. The personal freedom that they claim they value only counts for (1) themselves; (2) the people who believe themselves to be the chosen in-group.

    Of course, the true chosen in-group are those who give the right-wing authoritarians money and (for Fox news and its ilk) authority. If RW politicians actually gave two shits about the people who vote for them, they'd be actually trying to materially help them, not to 'help them' in the sense of giving them someone to look down upon, to hate, and to murder with few consequences.

    (My comment may well be nuked if Charlie thinks that you're doing a soft troll, WyldCard4. Or shmarik - your writing styles seem similar, and you may well be a sockpuppet).

    356:

    However, I suspect today's PMQ's should be good circus - lay in some popcorn.

    I changed my mind -- I think Boris is in big trouble.

    Reason: I just went out to collect a prescription, and stopped at the pie shop two doors up from the pharmacy (because: lunch). While I was paying, the check-out clerk (who is generally chatty) launched into a tirade against Johnson (and Dominic Cummings). Very much "there's one law for them and another for the likes of us."

    Middle-aged shop assistants with grandchildren aren't generally noted for being politically engaged, but she was furious about the Number Ten party -- seriously outraged.

    Forget brexit, or the economy, or supply chains, or COVID19: it's the personal insult of "one law for them and another for you" that struck a nerve. If this carries over into Middle England, the Tories (and particularly the PM) have a real problem.

    357:

    it is noticeable that they aren't actually submitting the letters to remove him

    IIRC a 1922 Committee leadership challenge can only be held once every 12 months.

    So there's a strong built-in incentive -- even for enemies of the PM -- not to hold one prematurely.

    358:

    It's easy to imagine a world where the state provides a 'bus' service with no fixed routes, no driver, and a maximum passenger load of 8 adults.

    Back in the 80s I visited some relatives in Holland. The final leg of the cross-country trip was by buurt-bus — a van that ran in a fixed area. At the train station you gave the final address and the driver dropped you off at it or close by. To catch it you telephoned a number and were given a time and location to go to to catch it. (I think it may also have had fixed stops, but it was a long time ago and memory is faint.

    What most impressed me about the dutch public transit system was that it was a system: the schedules of trains, busses, and ferries were integrated so no arriving at the station five minute after the train left and waiting an hour for the next one. Also, if there was a delay they tried to compensate with connecting transit eg. if the train is lat the bus will delay leaving so transferring passengers aren't stranded. This was (and is) very different to the Canadian model.

    359:

    I agree with you as far as the GMO goes. We're going to need it, and big time, in 10 years time.

    What triggered the anti-GMO campaign in Europe and on the left was Monsanto's "roundup-ready" terminator gene product, which was basically just plain evil. (Here is a proprietary, trademarked variety of corn that is resistant to the herbicide we sell, so you can spray it all over the place and the only thing that will grow in your field is our crop. Which, oops, does not produce viable seeds -- you have to buy fresh from us for every season! And, oh, if the roundup-resistant gene skips into your neighbour's cornfield we will sue them for trademark infringement because the only way their crop can possibly be roundup-resistant is if they pirated it." And did I mention that Roundup (glyphosate)) is carcinogenic, associated with pollinator die-offs, and was brought to market with inadequate testing?

    If the first GMO crop to reach the public had been Golden rice instead, consumer resistance to GMO crops would have been blunted or entirely absent. (It's hard to argue against preventing children from going blind.) But no, Monsanto basically did for the reputation of GMOs what nuclear weapons did for the reputation of civil nuclear electricity generation.

    360:

    Result was that for the modern Tesla with the heat pump, stuck in below freezing temperatures, the heating uses about 1% per hour, or about a 1/4 charge per day.

    What was the temperature, other than "below freezing"? (Skimmed video, if it was mentioned I missed it — a problem with video vs. text.)

    There's a big difference between -5 (just below freezing) and -30 (typical Prairie temperatures).

    361:

    BoZo has survived, but it looks as though he's wounded... I don't think he'll be PM come December.
    Which prompts: Which crawling piece of Brexit slime do we get instead? And will they wait 6 months & try for a "snap" election - or will the cost-of-living/Brexit/shit in the rivers (etc ) lead them to try to drag it out?

    Charlie
    GMO & Nuclear power in a nutshell ... But it also shows up the hollowness of the fake greenies, following religion, not knowledge

    362:

    Stupid school officials sent our kids to school and look at the mess they have to deal with. They should have know it was too bad to do so.

    For years the Toronto school board (and North York before them) had a policy of not cancelling school before noon. This meant that it counted as an instructional day and thus wouldn't require making up later*.

    Eventually this was relaxed a bit and we actually had a snow day but it was announced late. Board announced that they would make a decision by 5:30 AM. I checked at 6:15 (usually left at 6:30 anyway) and they hadn't announced a closure so I headed in to work. Traffic was light and conditions weren't too bad until I arrived at school. I got into the parking lot, shovelled out the berm left by the street plow so it would be easier for other people, and headed in to the building to be sent home at the door by the principal saying that schools were closed — they had announced the decision at 6:45. Needless to say I was ticked, as that meant I spent basically 3+ hours driving in shitty conditions.

    Earlier in my career I was late because of snow, despite leaving an hour early. Stopped and borrowed a phone to call in** and was told off because they needed me. I didn't have a class first period, and so they needed me to cover for a phys-ed teacher who was late. She lived four blocks from school and was an avid cross country skier, yet I was the one in trouble. My first inkling of toxic management…

    * Not that instruction was done — teachers were told that anything covered that half-day had to be recovered for absent students without penalty. So everyone knew that we were just going through the motions, and providing child-minding services. Including some people having to stay into the evening because children were still at school and then try to get home through absolutely horrible conditions.

    ** Before cell phones, so literally stopped and a nice security guard at a condo let me use his desk phone.

    363:

    Yes, and it wasn't just that. They were also proposing to put the scorpion venom gene into cotton, which would have been REALLY bad news for bees :-( Before Monsanto did that, the PBI in Cambridge were trying to get a rust-resistance gene from a grass into wheat, to eliminate the need for fungicide. I can get behind that sort of thing, too.

    364:

    350 - Assuming a Tesla uses 3000 jPhone batteries, that's 3000 *£49 = £147000 for a new battery pack. That's rather more than a new Tesla in the UK.

    358 - Agreed. As I said upthread, "making it right" involves saying "I resign", not "I'm thunderingly stupid. Oh and I'm sorry people have died".
    And that's not allowing for how even Baroness Ruth Davidson and DRoss are on the bandwagon.

    365:

    I suspect that there's some economy of scale! However, like almost all of the current problems with EVs, the difficulties are NOT technical, but political (either governmental or commercial). Tesla or any other company could trivially offer a refurbishment service for a moderate, fixed amount. The difficulty is that they may choose not to, in order to force customers to buy newer, more expensive replacements.

    366:

    meanwhile Crew Dragon is quietly ferrying astronauts to the ISS and has put the wind up Roscosmos, who are worried about losing business to it from Soyuz.

    I think that's putting it a bit lightly: before Crew Dragon, NASA was paying Roscosmos through the nose to carry astronauts to the ISS. This was a significant source of foreign currency that suddenly went *poof*. Now they're stuck with the status quo NASA and ESA prefer - exchanging services of approximately equal value so they can avoid moving currency around. Combine that with the brain drain leaving them with QC issues that would make Boeing ashamed, and that is not a happy space program.

    367:

    In general, although I'd point out that glyphosate's reputation for being toxic is overblown, unless you're in the tinfoil hat club. The thing to remember is that a) most comparable herbicides are less versatile, less researched, and often more toxic, and b) you're using these chemicals to replace things like machetes, axes, and other tools that have demonstrably already killed more people on this planet than glyophsate ever will. If you treat herbicides the way you treat chemotherapy drugs, by targeting them against specific plants rather than broadcast spraying, they're quite useful. If you treat them the way the livestock and soap industries treat antibiotics, they spawn resistance and all sorts of other problems.

    Do I have an axe to grind in this? Oh yes. If you look at the efforts to ban glyphosate in the California at least, they're targeted against the licensed weed control experts, especially those who are using low concentrations of glyphosate (often in hand mixes to suit the target) to slow the spread of invasive plants and protect often rare natives. There are a lot of plants (tamarisk, pampas grass, giant reed) that basically can't be killed mechanically with anything short of a bulldozer, but die nicely with three timed doses of glyphosate (or in tamarisk's case, garlon). So let's make that illegal.

    What's not illegal? Big Box stores selling glyphosate products by the gallon at concentrations more than double what the licensed applicators are spraying. For lawn care.

    Why aren't the crusaders going after the Big Box stores? Because that would be hard, per their personal testimony. Picking on volunteers doing weed control in parks is easy (it involves a bunch of cute female high schoolers and their well-connected mothers pressuring politicians and getting media), so they're pushing hard to get that outlawed in the name of public safety. While this is normal nonviolent tactics (start with the easy stuff and work up), in this case they're acting more as bullies, because there's no obvious plan to ever deal with the Big Box stores.

    And there are the war stories. I know someone who lost an arm to a mechanical weed clearer and have a machete scar. When I moved to my current property,there was a normal-sized pampas grass in one corner of the garden. It took us a month to completely clear it, 32 trash bags full of saw-edged grass, plus buying an iron spud bar to dig out the rhizome. Plus over a year of pulling out the volunteers and resprouts that I'd missed.Conversely I took a licensed pesticide applicator out into a park to deal withca few dozen pampas grass of the same size. Three spritzes of glyphosate per plant a few weeks apart, and the plants were dead. That's the difference in labor.

    Anyway, feel free to be horrified by Roundup. For the record, the only time I ever talked with Monsanto, I told them not to GMO mycorrhizal fungi to be Roundup ready. I also think broadcast spraying Roundup on crops and asserting patent rights is as evil as it looks. The chemical itself isn't the problem, and properly used, it's as useful as any antibiotic or chemotherapy agent, and less deadly than most alternatives.

    368:

    My sad-faced prediction is that lithium battery recycling will be made a developing-world problem...Exactly. It will be politically impossible to build al of the necessary hazwaste facilities here in the US (or EU). We Will simply ship dead li-ion batteries overseas to some some 3rd world country (China is not taking our waste anymore) and call it "recycling". Same thing we do now with e-waste.

    I suspect you've conflated the plastics mess with all recycling efforts.

    If you look at the link posted, we apparently have a fairly efficient global lead recycling system. It's not a safe system, but it gets the lead out of dead batteries and into live ones. Similarly, a fair amount of ewaste (especially the gold in contacts) get recycled in similar unsafe and unsanitary ways.

    My guess is that similar things might happen to lithium, under a business as usual paradigm. Musk is right, that lithium batteries are better than lithium ore for extraction, so why not? The question is whether it gets done onshore or whether it is offshored. Ignoring China's perfectly reasonable desire to clean up its act in the face of massive protests, I think Covid19, growing hurricanes, and sea level rise are pushing at least some people to rethink the value of offshoring recycling anything. The challenge is primarily to keep the profit monsters from dominating the process and externalizing the costs of pollution, and that's a non-trivial challenge.

    369:

    For years the Toronto school board (and North York before them) had a policy of not cancelling school before noon.

    Again fun to see different approaches to things: I don't remember school ever being cancelled because of snow or cold weather. When I was a kid, -20 or -25 C for a couple of weeks each winter was usual, and -30 C was not that unusual. There was one winter when temperature went below -30 C for a longer time, but school time it was.

    Snow, yeah, we do get it, and sometimes the car lanes are not all cleared when people start moving. Walkways and nowadays bike lanes are a different matter, though. There's also less snow than what I remember from 30-40 years ago, but even then it wasn't really a problem.

    There were times when it was too cold to go outside during the fifteen minute breaks between classes, but that was usually when it was below -25 C, IIRC. Not many of those days a year, if any.

    Today the temperature rose to maybe +3 C from the -15 C it had been for some days, and it's going to freeze again, so then roads will be slippery. (As the melted slush refreezes.)

    370:

    Combine that with the brain drain leaving them with QC issues that would make Boeing ashamed, and that is not a happy space program.

    Now combine that with no reporting allowed for the most part:

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/10/russia-tells-its-space-reporters-to-stop-reporting-on-the-space-program/

    Which makes this damming article even more surprising:

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/12/a-state-aligned-russian-newspaper-reviews-the-space-program-and-its-scathing/

    371:

    Yeah, growing up in the Toronto area I don't remember school ever being cancelled for snow either. I do have memories of a blizard in... must have been '87 or '88. My mom was bound and determined that I wouldn't miss an appointment in Toronto so bundled me up and walked with me to catch the Go Train into the city. Only time I've ever heard thunder snow, was pretty surreal!

    Living in Winnipeg now, my daughter is in Grade 3 and hasn't had a single snow day in 3 and a half years. A few days where bus service has been cancelled because of the cold but the parents are still expected to get the kids to school regardless.

    372:

    Before I start responses to cmts, I was struck a few minutes ago by the simple resolution to the electrifying the bridge problem: y'know, everyone here seems to have forgotten that trains frequently have multiple locomotives. For that matter, for severe grades, railroads have pusher engines stationed by the bottom of the grades for that one purpose.

    Do that with a diesel loco, or use one of the just-come-out battery-powered electrics to take the train through the bridge.

    373:

    You wrote: ...Many people can't afford to, or don't want to live in an area that supports good public transport

    Let me point out that, at least in the US, 80% of the population are in metropolitan areas. "Bad" public transit is always further out from the city centers, and of course it's overwhelmingly based on "you need to get to/from downtown", not "I need to go from 10km out of town in the direction of 10:00 to 11km out of town in the direction of 1:00". Circulation around the downtown is what's cheaped out on.

    That, and the auto industry, and the petrochemical industry advertising.

    374:

    Homeowner insurance? That'll just go up, and be part of inflation. Would I have imagined that I needed the insurance on a house that is valued (hah, hah, hah) at several hundred thousand dollars... when my first house, easily well over twice the size, we bought for $11,500?

    Spread of tropical diseases north? Please, I argue with people about wanting snow and cold weather, and invite them to look up kudzu and fire ants.

    China? Nope, not going to happen. Russia? Unlikely - they will draw back from another collapse, since most remember what a disaster the collapse of the USSR was. On the other hand, there was an article yesterday that India, for the first time, had a fertility rate under replacement rate.

    375:

    You write: What I think is really undesirable is the prevalence of the stronger corollary to the attitude you cite, "I cannot possibly understand the principles, I just want to use it/have it working/have it done".

    And that was the first, and continues to be one of the reasons I dislike Apple, the attitude of "don't worry your pretty little head, you don't need to know anything".

    376:

    Getting back to the original theme, I've got a brainfartstorm for 2029. It's an unholy mashup of a solar thermal power plant and a petrochemical plant.

    We've got a couple of big problems, one being solar thermal plants (big and inefficient), and another being plastic waste (too valueless to haul away, and no place cheap left to bury it).

    My solution is to rebuild solar thermal plants to melt plastic waste. Since they're currently circular fields of mirrors facing a tower, it might be necessary to lose some of the mirrors. The essential trick is to replace the power generating central tower (which is where focused sun hits something like molten salt, which then runs into a generator to make electricity) with something akin to a petroleum cracking tower. Shredded plastic waste is loaded into the tower. As sunlight melts it, it flows down through catalysts or whatever, and these become feedstocks for new plastics.

    I don't know enough engineering to know how the system would work. It's possible that the tower's loaded every night, distills through the day, and the gunk is cleaned out at sundown and reloaded for the next day's processing. It might also be possible that plastic is continually melted throughout the day, and the system is cleaned out at night, with the gunk used as an asphalt replacement product if it's not too toxic.

    The basic point is that we're already talking in California about landfilling more urban waste out in the deserts, and we're siting more solar plants out in the deserts. It makes me wonder whether it's possible to do solar-powered materials recycling out in the desert too. I'm quite aware that this is hard on deserts, but plastic have turned from an answer to a fracking nightmare, so we need to do something about it. The alternative seems to be the neopelagic, and that might be more problematic than it's worth.

    377:

    Neither case is good. Burn it in the middle of nowhere? Oh, you mean right next to the cheap housing, where mostly non-whites live?

    Hell, no. Sealed burn furnaces... assuming that the recovered gases are easier to handle than disassembly.

    Disassembly? How do you think the different types of recycled metal and plastics from big cities are handled? They hire cheap, low skill people to separate it. Yes, really.

    378:

    I don't know enough engineering to know how the system would work.

    In general melting plastic doesn't make it usable as feed stock for much anything but hard plastic lumps. So maybe turn it into plastic gravel for roadways. As long as you don't mind the micro plastics such a road will gradually add to the environment next to the road.

    Those chasing circles on plastic are for most of the numbers something you can do on a lab bench but no one has figured out how to do it at any scale at all. Only 2 or 3 of them work at scale. And not all that economically at that.

    379:

    High tech parking meters. You kinda have to wonder why it took so long for someone to do it.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2022/01/scammers-put-fake-qr-codes-on-parking-meters-to-intercept-parkers-payments/

    380:

    I agree about the road waste, but I'm contemplating cracking it like they do tar sands, cracking it down to short-chain hydrocarbons (or methane, for that matter) and sorting out the various feedstocks to start over again.

    I agree that there will be random outgassing of random halides, and other nastiness at the bottom of the tower. But at least it doesn't add to GHGs during the processing.

    381:

    Well, it was a prediction more than a suggestion so while I would hope for sealed furnaces that trap nasty byproducts I wouldn't bet on it.

    As for "middle of nowhere" I was more thinking of the big holes in ex industrial cities where factories used to be. Not all of them are covered in shopping malls or warehouse conversions yet.

    382:

    That might work in a non-polluting fashion for polythene and polypropylene, but I doubt that it would work for most others.

    383:

    374 - The specific line (Fife circle) under primary discussion is normally run using 2, 3, 4 or 6 car reversible Multiple Units. I've never seen a banker engine used with a multiple unit (well, except "Thunderbird 4" which got the name because it's used to rescue broken down MUs, and yes is bright yellow).

    377 - THIS! Well this and their reliance on single button mice which became awkward to actually use after a year or 2 in service.

    384:

    If a deadly strain gets a name, it should obviously be The Andromeda Strain.

    385:

    So I guess nobody has read of JB Straubel (one of the founders of Tesla) and his Redwood Materials company. Just one of a number of EV batter recycling companies already making a start on commercial recycling. I understand that one of the major problems right now is a lack of EV packs needing recycling because they are lasting rather longer than the naysayers like to bloviate about.

    386:

    paws4thot @ 291: 237 - And, indeed, a significant number of our utility poles are for landline telephones, and found in the back gardens of properties rather than streetside.

    I live in an older semi-URBAN neighborhood - mostly single family detached homes, but there are a few apartments, condos & one quadruplex. It was built over a period spanning from 1900 to 1960 with some infill as late as the 1990s, and of course now there are a number of houses being torn down and replaced with larger houses; mostly taking the original footprint and building a new multi-story house.

    It's what around here is known as "inside the Beltline". The Beltline is a ring expressway imagined in the 1950s when it was far outside the city limits. You can plug 35.79449578093416, -78.582563494443 into Google Maps to see where the original late 50s, early 60s Beltline is. That's where the Beltline ENDED when I moved to Raleigh in 1967. Think of it as owning a home in Raleigh's MINI-version of "The City of London", the "SOHO" district of Lower Manhattan or "Georgetown" in Washington, DC. ... and having moved in there BEFORE the area became prime "real estate".

    I've been here 47 years. Moved in 27 Dec 1974. Current property tax assessment is almost 20X what I paid for the house. The tiny piece of dirt my house sits on is worth 5 times as much as the house itself.

    The neighborhood is approximately 3 blocks long by 4 blocks wide - roughly 1,740.46 ft (530.49 m) X 2,001.55 ft (610.07 m) - sort of embedded in or contiguous with some larger neighborhoods. Neighborhoods to the south & west (closer to downtown) are older and neighborhoods to the north and east are newer.

    This neighborhood was built over a period spanning from 1900 to 1960 with some infill as late as the 1990s, and of course now there are a number of houses being torn down and replaced with larger houses; mostly taking the original footprint and building a new multi-story house. When I moved in here in 1974 the neighborhood was just sort of OLD and most of the homes were owned by long time residents, a lot of them the original owners.

    Which is kind of a long way of getting around to we have UTILITY poles lining the street. They carry electric, telephone & cable, even AT&T's fiber optic. Spectrum & Google are newcomers to the area and they are burying their fiber.

    Parts of this neighborhood existed before electricity became generally available in Raleigh's outlying areas (which this neighborhood was when it began). I live about 3/10 of a mile outside the American Civil War breastworks that were thrown up to protect Raleigh from Sherman's Army; half a mile outside the city limits that existed through the 19th Century and into the early 20th.

    According to Raleigh's "Annexation History Map", this neighborhood became part of the City of Raleigh some time between 1930 & 1949. I think it was closer to 1949 because I've seen a Raleigh fire insurance map and in 1949 Brookside Drive (where my street ends) was still a dirt road with farmland along the east side.

    Raleigh didn't really start to become anything other than the Legislature met and where the Governor's office was located until late in the 19th Century and when the growth did begin, it started out mostly on the west side of town.

    Many of the newer neighborhoods (those built in the 70s or later) outside the Beltline usually have their utilities buried, but it's not economically feasible (meaning the power company doesn't want to spend the money) to bury the utilities around here.

    OTOH, since the poles ARE along the street, it would be possible to mount charging stations on them if there was sufficient demand. There just wouldn't be a whole lot of them compared to the number of houses on the street.

    387:

    mdlve @ 293:

    Wrong. You really want salt on the road before the snow/sleet/ice starts coming down.

    I'm happy that where you are they apparently can predict with a certainty when the snow/sleet/ice starts, and that the amount is always accurately forecasted so they know the right method to use.

    Around here, nope.

    Generally they wait for the snow to start simply because all too often either the forecast is wrong (and salt is expensive), it really can't be forecast (snow squalls off the lakes where you can't predict if/where the wind will drop snow), or the accumulation will be significant enough that they will need to plow, so salting would be throwing money away.

    Around here forecasting has become accurate enough that when winter weather is predicted the DOT can be pretty sure SOMETHING nasty is going to come down even if they don't know if it's going to be snow, sleet or freezing rain. So they go ahead an apply a brine solution. We're in an area where we need some way to deal with ice & snow, but not often enough to justify maintaining a whole fleet of snow removal equipment.

    The brine solution dries in place and is good for several days in case the winter weather is delayed. And it seems to be as effective as spreading dry salt after the fact.

    There's kind of a "snow line" that generally follows Interstate I-85 ... NORTH of I-85 it almost always comes down as snow. South of I-85 it almost always comes down as some kind of shitty mix of snow, sleet & freezing rain; frequently all three at the same time. Durham, where I grew up was right on I-85. Raleigh is about 25 miles south.

    388:

    Paul @ 294: On charging points, this turned up in my local feed: https://www.hampshirelive.news/news/hampshire-news/dozens-electric-vehicle-ports-costing-6464331.amp

    A local council is installing electric car charging points at £5k each.

    Presumably if these started being installed in thousands rather than dozens the price would drop.

    The article does say they expect the revenue generated by the charging points will eventually repay the cost ... and maybe even show a profit someday.

    "the expected revenue from the EVCPs would take several years to cover the cost of installation and any scheme is not likely to show a profit for several years."
    389:

    Sorry, most of those are either converted, or developers have moved in like gangbusters (cheap land located well). See what happened to the original Walter Reed hospital in DC....

    And I put down $5 that any such incinerators will go into whatever industrial sites haven't already been developed, because they're probably already hazardous waste sites.

    390:

    I've always said that a mouse is great... for management, who like to wave their hands and point, but for actual work, well-designed menus and key combinations are much faster and more efficient.

    391:

    Pigeon @ 297:

    "I have trouble managing money that well."

    I can't do it at all. So anything automatic is asking for trouble. If things are happening in the background without my intervention then I don't know what the fuck is going on and the inevitable result is not just running out of money entirely and unexpectedly, but also the activation of mechanisms to grab large chunks of it when I do get more before I even get my hands on it myself. The existence of such mechanisms and past experience of what happens when they are activated is one reason for me not having a bank account now.

    I do not use direct deduction payments for variable expenses; only for recurring payments of FIXED AMOUNTS (with the bonus that by using direct debit along with Equal Payment Plans I get a discount, so the fixed payments are less than what I would pay if was writing checks ad hoc).

    The same amount of money comes out of my checking account on the same day each month. There's nothing happening in the background without my permission. I have a predictable income (Retired Pay from the Army & Social Security directly deposited) and a predicable monthly payout. And with that I can make a budget which allows me to know how much I'm going to have left over to use for the variable expenses.

    Regarding "late payments" my attitude is basically fuck 'em. I don't have a problem remembering to do it because I get sent bills to remind me. If I don't do it when they want it it's because I plain haven't fucking got the money. It'll be a month or two before they start getting arsey enough that they do anything more than sending nasty letters, and I'll have managed to sort it out before then, so it doesn't matter. Allowing them to grab it automatically whether I've got it or not guarantees that palpably unpleasant consequences will occur straight away without giving me the chance to avoid them: either the abovementioned activation of bleeding wounds, or if I'm not quite so badly off at the relevant moment, the unexpected discovery that I've only got 50p to eat with for the next week because all the rest has disappeared without me being able to stop it.

    The problem was that allowing the costs to fluctuate from month to month that way almost guaranteed the "due date" would eventually fall on a day when I couldn't write a check right away because I didn't have funds in the bank at the time and every month there'd be a "late fee" tacked on in addition to whatever I actually owed. And if I did write a check and mail it off during the week and had to work overtime on Friday so that I didn't get to the bank with my paycheck in time to have it credited to my account there was a good chance the check I wrote would process BEFORE the deposit did and then I'd have not only a late fee, but a "check fee" from whoever I wrote the check to PLUS a check fee from the bank.

    Having the utilities, the things I can't really live without on a FIXED schedule for a FIXED amount solved that problem. And going to Direct Deposit with my paychecks guaranteed my check would ALWAYS be deposited on time. Which in turn meant a predictable surplus that I could save to build a cushion against a "rainy day".

    But the KEY is not using automatic payments for variable expenses, only for those expenses that can be set up for a recurring basis of a fixed amount.

    392:

    everyone here seems to have forgotten that trains frequently have multiple locomotives.

    What is a "locomotive"?

    The line in question is mostly used by diesel multiple units -- a series of passenger carriages with underslung DE generators. Every carriage has a motor and a drive axle; the one at the front or back merely has a driver's compartment, and they're connected by through tunnels for passenger movement.

    (Separate locomotives are only really used on freight trains in the UK, since the HSTs were retired -- except for the handful of HSTs still serving the Highlands. And HST locomotives are not designed to be coupled up: there's one power car at the front and one at the back, and that's all.)

    393:

    TJ @ 216
    LINKIES - PLEASE?
    I want to know what chemicals/drugs are supposed to do this?
    Links to easily-available public papers also appreciated!

    394:

    Loco haulage isn't as dead as first appears. TfW are overhauling Mk4+DVT sets to run with a 67, said sets formerly running up the East coast being shoved by a Class 91. Some of those are still running too. Think East Anglia still has 90's trundling about, and the Trans Pennine has some shiny new 68's and Mk5's. Some Class 43's had buffers retrofitted, to run as DVT's for the 91's when they got introduced before their matching coaches. When both powered up, about 7000hp available...

    395:

    It wasn't just the rotten corporate culture, but that the rest of the system failed. I'm on the shop floor of aerospace. My whole working life has been within a very strict system, with regular training/reminders about what can happen if it goes wrong.

    I don't think I can adequately express how appalled I am that the FAA let the 737 slip through. That a single point of failure design wasn't grounded immediately after the first nosedive. That it took the Chinese authorities to actually do something about it-even FEMA didn't do that. That bit felt, to me, like history will see it as a turning point for China as the dominant country in the world, and the USA falling away from that. I also can't believe that people weren't arrested immediately.

    Granted, I don't take much interest in aviation beyond what affects me, perhaps it was more obviously coming to those who do.

    As for starliner...the response to the clusterfuck that was OFT 1 shows they've learnt nothing. It'll be a very brave astronaut who rides that thing.

    396:

    Interesting comment. I THINK it has to do with trains. But very inside the ballpark comment.

    [grin]

    397:

    -8 in that video. So the cabin was 28 degrees hotter than the exterior.

    TeslaBjorn did some tests with the cabin a couple of degrees higher.

    0C 0.9 kW

    -8C 1.3 kW

    -11C 1.1 kW

    -24C 1.95 kW (included boiling a jug so he could throw boiling water in the air and see it freeze before it hit the ground)

    I couldn't find any colder tests, but you're still looking at days at -24C (it was -26 when he started but it rose to -24 during the test)

    I noticed that the consumption at -8 is higher than -11. He doesn't explain that, but it could be a different time of day. The -24 test was 3 am to 10 am. Still in the shadow of the mountain at 10am though it was "daylight"

    398:

    After the takeover of McD-D by Boeing, Boeing lost the plot completely -- largely because the board were taken over by McD-D directors who followed the McD-D Way, not the Boeing Way, and McD-D are primarily a defense contractor, not an airliner manufacturer.

    A friend who did flight control software left Boeing after a very senior manager said at a very open company function, "Boeing is not, and never will be, a software company." My friend was senior enough they did an exit interview. At that, he quoted the very senior manager and added, "and with that attitude, before long your products will start falling out of the sky."

    399:

    On the left side (the sane side of the left) the objection to GMOs is based on the precautionary principle; don't use it until you've properly tested it. Don't test it until you've laid out some proper standards, like "make sure the improvements are on recessive genes so the farmer next door doesn't get his crop spoiled" and "make sure your modifications haven't accidentally made the plant bad for people with a particular food allergy or done something awful to the nutritional characteristics."

    Genetic Engineering can do some really amazing stuff, but if we're going to use it someone has to do the necessary work, which should have started decades ago, to make sure it's intelligently regulated and doesn't produce "round-up ready" products or worse that are bad for everyone. The essential thing here isn't "frankenfood" that's philosophically horrible (and feeds billions,) but the idea that someone might add the genes for kudzu to poison ivy and make it vulnerable only to a patented weedkiller. (Paging Martin Shkreli.)

    400:

    I was mostly just grabbing Fox news and Steve Sailer arguments to give a decent idea of what the Right is actually arguing. If it's coherent or not is another matter, but it's my impression of what the Right thinks is actually happening with the Left's attempts to murder them. You kind of asked "am I in a leftist bubble" and I tried to respond with the basics.

    My position is the authoritarian Right is more dangerous than the authoritarian Left in current American politics and they are saying the quiet part loud a LOT more. There's really not much symmetry on which side is actually more dangerous, but a lot of the paranoia and rhetoric is pretty symmetrical.

    401:

    Charlie @354

    I've been following Boeing's travails and the 737 max fiasco quite closely, mainly through reading Aerospace & Space Technology, and from what I can see Boeing is in serious trouble. It's showing signs of British Leyland Syndrome where a lack of investment in new product is catching up with it. Boeing has just lost big orders to Airbus from KLM and Quantas, two very long time customers. It's been bodging the 737 for years instead of building a new plane, and like with British Leyland, the bodging keeps you going for a while, in this case for 10-15 years, but when the lack of new product catches up with you, by then it's too late, especially with the lead times to build new airliners.

    Boeing plans around maximizing the next quarter's profits. Airbus plans around keeping its pool of engineers with steady employment on new projects, so it can keep up its level of expertise.

    Quantas went with Airbus for the A220, and KLM went with Airbus because of the A321 line, neither of which Boeing can match.

    It used to be that Boeing and Airbus basically split the market 50/50, but now I expect Airbus to outsell Boeing 2/1.

    402:

    well, just saw this afternoon's announcement that in Ontario 30% of students need to be absent before Public Health will inform parents of a Covid outbreak.

    Looks like the Ontario Conservatives are embracing their inner Republicans.

    403:

    "Who ordered that?" - Deaths from Covid-19 among the unvaccinated result in a loss of the voting base of far right parties in both Europe and America leading to closes losses for the far right in future elections.

    405:

    "I thought I'd look it up because you seemed so sure that lamp posts are supplied by tiny threads of near invisible cable. It's not what we do here, and I thought maybe I'm wrong.

    http://shropshire.gov.uk/street-care-and-cleaning/streetlights/facts-figures-and-faqs/street-lighting-facts/#

    Lighting columns are normally supplied from the same underground electricity networks which feed your home

    No, I'm not wrong. Each lamp post has the same supply as a home, so probably 100A single phase fuse, tapped off a 3 phase main cable running ~1000A."

    Shropshire council's "street lights for muppets" web page is hardly the place to look for the electrical specifications of street lighting circuits. And the quote does not say what you say it says anyway. It says they're supplied by underground wires; it does not say that the specification for each connection to a lamp post is the same as that for a connection to a home. Pedantically, too, it should insert "sub-networks supplied from" after "from" to be properly accurate.

    http://www.durham.gov.uk/media/3075/Street-Lighting-Specification/pdf/StreetLightingSpecification.pdf is a more technical reference and reasonably typical. That has them on circuits initially fed via a 32A isolator and looped from pole to pole using 6mm2 BS6346 XLPE/SWA cable, buried in ducting, which has a current rating of 44A thus installed. It doesn't say how many lamps that may supply, but typically a circuit will cover a number of streets and have a few tens of lamps on it, or very roughly 0.1 x the number of houses.

    Taking the rating of the cable itself rather than that of the switchgear, that still only allows 7 of your trickly little 6A chargers that won't even give a proper charge overnight to a Nissan Leaf. Over the area covered by a circuit you therefore end up with nothing better than one or two people per street getting a crappy sniff at a charge, or one or two people in the circuit's entire coverage getting a decent one.

    This is nothing to do with "lamp posts [being] supplied by tiny threads of near invisible cable". It's for the very ordinary reason that no fucker is going to pay to bury the copper for getting on for a couple of orders of magnitude more capacity than the system they're building can ever possibly need.

    There simply is not some massive stash of distribution capacity hidden under the pavements and somehow forgotten about and just waiting for some clever bugger to remember that it is there after all. No matter how much capitalists wanting to rake it in without laying it out and tight-arsed privatisation-obsessed governments who have forgotten that keeping national infrastructure up to scratch is what government money is for would like there to be. It's thanks to them and their attitudes that the whole electricity supply system, not just bits of it for charging cars with, is in dire need of improvement and doesn't get it because all anyone cares about is how to not pay for it.

    (As for mobility scooter batteries, I really do not give a monkey's what price some joker on a joke site is claiming for something of the wrong bloody spec.)

    406:

    Around here forecasting has become accurate enough that when winter weather is predicted the DOT can be pretty sure SOMETHING nasty is going to come down even if they don't know if it's going to be snow, sleet or freezing rain. So they go ahead an apply a brine solution. We're in an area where we need some way to deal with ice & snow, but not often enough to justify maintaining a whole fleet of snow removal equipment.

    Yep, for many places you can rely reasonably well on the forecasts.

    And for typical front type systems that works well even here.

    But much/most of our snowfall is squalls aka lake effect - the joy of living among the Great Lakes. That can't be predicted most of the time as to where the winds will actually drop the moisture they grab off the lakes.

    407:

    Chiltern and their 68s too. But still sadly far too rare, and not at all over the Forth Bridge...

    Also (note to overseas) even double-heading on freight doesn't happen much any more.

    408:

    Thanks for the link.

    Previous discussions had indicated that electrical supplies in the UK are run unducted. Which would mean that you were limited somewhat in what could be supplied to each lamp post. As has been mentioned, noone is going to want to dig up the road just to meet international agreements.

    So the much more comprehensive link you supplied shows (section 23) that the posts are supplied from ducted cables. So it is trivially easy to pull additional or replacement cable and really any size outlet is electrically possible.

    So thanks.

    That nicely dispenses with your claim that the maximum available for car charging is 20W. Thanks for clearing that up so thoroughly.

    The link to a lithium pack wasn't to suggest that you should use that exact pack, though someone of your undoubted skills could do so easily. It was more to point out that having lithium based scooters rather than lead acid doesn't mean that they become unaffordable, contrary to your claim.

    409:

    Yeah... I'm not convinced that's that decisive. The Liverpool thing seems to be basically that they had ten years or so warning about it but they carried on and did it anyway because they didn't really give a fuck. They perfectly well could have built their stupid-looking new buildings down in the bottom of some disused excavation in the sandstone or something so nobody would have to look at them, but no, they just had to shove them right out there in front of everything and bollocks to the heritage bit.

    Looking at the list of WHSes in Britain it seems that the Forth Bridge is more or less unique in still being a full-on live active industrial site regularly and frequently used for its original purpose, as opposed to something that used to be one once but isn't any more. The other industrial-type listings are showpieces first and functional sites somewhere from second to not at all, while the Forth Bridge is the other way round. This creates an obvious conflict that doesn't apply or doesn't apply much to any of the others (it would be interesting to know what sort of influence this aspect had on the process when it was first made a WHS).

    One could also argue that its listing is more a matter of prestige than of meeting a need for protection; as long as it is still in use then it's effectively safe because it's so bloody huge that keeping it going as it is will always be vastly easier than any more complicated possibility. It's if it was closed and someone still had to be made to maintain it that things might get tricky, but I doubt there's much chance at all of that happening.

    The major obstacle to any extension of electrification is getting the government to pay for it, and I rather suspect that once enough head has built up to burst that dam, any lesser obstacles in the nature of demands to do something difficult and expensive to a little bit of a route for non-technical reasons will simply get swept away in the flood; if the engineering says it's possible to just carry on and whack the standard system straight through everything, then that's what they'll do.

    410:

    Interesting - thanks, Adrian. The paper being reported is from a very well respected group and not obviously crazy. It has a couple of methodological oddities, but impressive.

    411:

    "the posts are supplied from ducted cables. So it is trivially easy to pull additional or replacement cable and really any size outlet is electrically possible."

    Not really... pretty soon you hit limits. Before you get up to ten times the current capacity you find that the cable is bigger than the duct (the footpath-sized duct; and that's where most of them are anyway). You will also most likely get caught on the minimum bending radius at some point, which goes slightly faster than with the diameter.

    "That nicely dispenses with your claim that the maximum available for car charging is 20W."

    My claim that the maximum made available by changing from SOX to LED lamps is around 20W per lamp post - and therefore that to claim as per the original post that that change is what makes the idea possible is bollocks - stands. (Indeed is strengthened, since that Durham PDF also confirms that my estimate of what kind of power the lower end of the range of LED streetlamps use was about right.)

    "It was more to point out that having lithium based scooters rather than lead acid doesn't mean that they become unaffordable, contrary to your claim."

    It does if you compare like for like without changing the spec to suit your argument.

    412:

    Ok, my "anything" was hyperbole.

    But 3C+E 16mm^2 cable is only 20mm dia and 80mm minimum bend radius. I'm sure most tradies could squeeze that down a 50mm conduit. It will carry 32A 150m with less than 3% voltage drop. That's enough for sixteen 6A chargers. So each connection to the mains gets you over half a km coverage (150 up the road and 150 down the road and 130 up and down the other side of the road assuming 20m to cross the road). With sixty-four chargers, each supplying 1.4 kW. Enough to drive about 100 miles or 5 times the average UK daily diving distance after about 16 hours charging. Most cars sit for more than 16 hours a day and few drive more than 100 per day on average (36,000 miles per year). There will be (already are) fast chargers for those vehicles.

    Mains connections every 330m or so gives a small unserviced length of roadway, but that might line up with a space between poles. If you put the mains connection at an intersection of two roads, you can have 128 chargers per mains connection, and cover 130m up both sides of both roads in both directions for over 1 km of parking provided with charging.

    Much as you might hate it (for reasons I can't fathom) there's really no technical reason this couldn't be done.

    413:

    Adrian Smith
    Thanks.
    So, "ISRIB" is a licenced drug - I wonder how much it costs & how difficult is it to get some?

    A ride through the Forth Bridge - START @ 15.38, as you are leaving Dalmeny station ...

    414:

    411 - I can see why you'd think the FRB is unique in being a British WHS still used for its original purpose, but straight out the gate I went to check Jodrell Bank Observatory and found a second one.

    As to the political will for electrification. 30 years ago there were no electrified routes between Edinburgh and Glasgow; now there are certainly 2, and possibly 3 if Carstairs to Haymarket has been electrified so any issues with the Fife circle are clearly not Scottish political. (BTW the reason I'm not considering routes out of the Central Belt further than Perth and Dundee is that other than the ECML none of them carry more than about 1 train per hour and most more likely carry no more than 3 or 4 passenger services per day).

    414 - Try more like 9 points each way assuming your figures of 150m and 1 charge point per lamp post are correct, and applying the normal British spacing of 33m between lamp posts.

    415 - Cheers Greg; I did spot another factor that the coasters haven't considered; the FRB main spans are another 3 signal sections on the line.

    415:

    Greg: ISRIB is not a licensed drug: it's currently under development. Lots more testing required and it'll probably first get licensed for conditions like Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, and Down's Syndrome (which apparently it can improve cognitive functioning in). Use for general age-related cognitive decline will probably come last, once the side-effects and constraints are well-understood.

    416:

    David Moore @ 403: Boeing plans around maximizing the next quarter's profits. Airbus plans around keeping its pool of engineers with steady employment on new projects, so it can keep up its level of expertise.

    I remember this coming up with Westland Helicopters. Some time in the 80s the management said "OK, we've taken our existing product lines as far as they can go. We need to think about building a new helicopter. Who have we got who knows how to do that?", and the answer was "Nobody". The entire engineering team were very experienced at tweaking their existing models, but nobody had ever even sketched a new design, let alone been involved in the process of getting from there to production.

    It sounds like Boeing has fallen into a similar trap.

    417:

    Yes, but that often misses that the thoroughness of testing needs to vary according to the risk. The main risk with putting a grass rust-resistance gene into wheat is that the retrovirus (which is what was used then) will escape - the actual risk from the gene is trivial. The risk from putting scorpion venom into cotton is huge.

    418:

    Your post made me grin. Not being a railway buff, the meaning of HST that sprang to mind was High Speed Train, which is extremely funny to anyone who has been on the Highland lines :-) Yes, I know now that it's a class of locomotive ....

    419:

    Charlie @ 417: ISRIB is not a licensed drug ... Use for general age-related cognitive decline will probably come last, once the side-effects and constraints are well-understood.

    Which could make life interesting if a black or grey market develops. There are a lot of middle-aged knowledge workers looking nervously around at all the impatient young turks coming up underneath them.

    Would the use of neurological performance enhancing drugs be considered "cheating" by HR?

    How much can you take before side effects become a problem? What happens when people start noticing that half their managers seem to have them? What if the Prime Minister / President shows them?

    What if the side effects turn out to be long term but serious, like after 20 years consumption you become psychotic?

    What happens when people start selling fake or adulterated versions? What might it be cut with? How could you check?

    What if you need this stuff to compete, but can't afford it?

    What happens if you give it to children?

    420:

    What if the side effects turn out to be long term but serious, like after 20 years consumption you become psychotic?

    To answer my own question: imagine an entire generation of psychotic ex-middle-managers. How would you know?

    421:

    Well, my first journey on an HST was on a service that routed Aberdeen - Edinburgh Waverley - York - Manchester - Birmingham - Bristol - Penzance...

    422:

    Not exactly the Highland lines :-)

    But, looking at Wikipedia, it DOES stand for High Speed Train, and it's not what I expected. It certainly used to pull the Caledonian sleeper, but I don't know about the new one. However, on the Highland lines as such, I have seen some sort of commuter-type train, and ones pulled by a much more old-fashioned locomotive; I don't remember having seen a HST. I can easily believe that the Highland lines tend to get whatever was superseded last on the main lines.

    423:

    On a completely unrelated issue, except that it's related to aging, my optical mouse has developed all of the symptoms of a dirty and worn ball and rollers - including unjamming when I slap it down hard on the mat. Even putting a tinfoil hat on, I have difficulty in believing that Logitech has programmed the simulation of that as the mouse ages.

    It's not the first optical mouse that has done that to me, either, but is the one that has done it most thoroughly. I can only imagine that there's some kind of mental degradation in the mouse driver (Linux).

    424:

    I've had this problem too (with Apple magic mice). It generally happens when dust or dirt gets on the optical sensor -- blowing on it or using a cotton bud to clean the optics works, and maybe also thoroughly cleaning the area of desk I use it on: skin oil and grime builds up over time.

    425:

    Thanks very much. I will do that.

    426:

    Also a sign the battery is getting weak. If you just turn it off for 10 seconds then back on and it works fine then that is most likely the cause. Most AA/AAA batteries recover some voltage if the current drain is removed for a few seconds. But not for long.

    I have a pile of $10 Logitech mice that I and others use. And yes I've seen this often.

    427:

    Well, the Highland Boundary Fault does pass into the North Sea at Stonehaven ;-) but I know what you mean. More seriously, when BR started using HST sets on Cross-Country, they realised that the big advantages the double Valentia had over loco hauled anything was acceleration out of restrictions and stations, and holding speed up hills.

    428:

    That happened to my wife's mouse, but mine is attached via USB ....

    429:

    paws
    Edin-Glas electrified: via Falkirk, via Airdrie, via Carstairs & via Shotts = 4.

    430:

    Try more like 9 points each way assuming your figures of 150m and 1 charge point per lamp post are correct, and applying the normal British spacing of 33m between lamp posts.

    Sure, but we were taking about electrical limits.

    If there are fewer outlets then the cable run can be longer. At 16A the cable can be 310m. That allows 8 outlets for each cable run. Put that on a corner of an intersection and you get 64 outlets.

    A 310 metre run would go halfway around a lot of city blocks. Take it all the way around and join it up again and you've got a British ring circuit that I don't know how to calculate a voltage drop on, but should surely go at least 620m and support at least 16 outlets?

    Having said that, did I say 1 outlet per pole was the limit? Why not 2? Then paint the parking bays so that 2 cars can nestle up to the pole.

    431:

    to some extent this is already happening with modafinil (as recommended by esr: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7183)

    432:

    I've just had a Kensington Orbit trackball fail pretty comprehensively to the extent I thought a website had installed malware...

    I ended up dismantling it and cleaning out several years of crud from the baseplate. Haven't retried it yet though!

    433:

    I would suspect maybe the wires in the USB cord may be fraying / breaking inside the cable. They are stranded and if broken somewhat or even all the way they will likely make contact "most of the time" and things work.

    434:

    Ah those nice Kensington trackballs. I like the big ones. And when they start acting up I have to remember to remove the ball and clean out the crud. Which mostly consists of micro fibers matted together with the body oils from my finger tips.

    And if the itty bitty ball bearings wear out you can order them once you figure out the size. From an industrial supply house. I have a bag of them.

    435:

    Could just be that your USB cable is broken and you're getting intermittent disconnects.

    In my experience almost all (wired) mouse problems come down to a broken USB cable these days.

    436:

    Oh, absolutely. "You made X amount of changes so you'll need Y amount of testing" is pretty basic. But figuring out how that would work in terms of legal requirements is part of that legal/philosophical process we haven't even started yet.

    If you want to comment on how badly broken modern capitalism is, "we haven't even started yet" is probably a good starting point - if there's anything more dangerous than nukes, it's the ability to edit genes.

    437:

    Thank both of you, but it seems less likely in this case. I could explain why, but it's boring.

    438:

    IIUC, the T-Cell immunity works to limit the severity of the case of COVID you get once the T-Cells have been primed. It doesn't immunize you.

    OTOH, it may well means that there's a durable residual defense, that keeps almost everyone from having a severe case of COVID after vaccination, or even after catching and recovering.

    HOWEVER: Will this prevent the disease from continually circulating, and picking up new mutations? Probably not. And will it prevent long covid? Uncertain. (That depends a lot on just how long covid happens. My hypotheis (I'm no expert in the field) is that it's caused by small circulating blood clots, so to the extent that it's kept away from the blood stream, it will prevent long covid. This is just my guess, though. But it implies that Omnicron should produce less long covid/case than Delta, Beta, or Alpha, because it likes to start in the bronchial tubes, giving the body time to ramp up its defenses before the assault reaches the blood stream.)

    439:

    "Rare Earths" aren't actually rare. What they are is very hard to refine. It's done in China because of cheap labor costs and few environmental restrictions. It was shut down in the US only because it was too expensive to do.

    That said, there's a significant time lag in getting a working mine/refinery setup going. There could be lots of politics-based shocks. But the long term problem isn't there anymore than it is with, say, Lithium. (I.e., it's there. All resources are limited. But it's not extreme...yet.)

    440:

    Ok. In the US, the only self-propelled railcars are, AFAIK, commuter trains, and not all of them don't use locos. Regular passenger trains all are pulled by locos.

    441:

    Greg: ISRIB is not a licensed drug: it's currently under development. Lots more testing required and it'll probably first get licensed for conditions like Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, and Down's Syndrome (which apparently it can improve cognitive functioning in). Use for general age-related cognitive decline will probably come last, once the side-effects and constraints are well-understood.

    You can see more on ISRIB at https://www.alzdiscovery.org/uploads/cognitive_vitality_media/ISRIB.pdf

    There are a couple of orange flags for me. One is that it's "not very water soluble and requires significant preparation before treatment in mice." Another is that there are no human trials yet, although it's been on the radar since 2013. Considering how many billions have been pounded down the hole of Alzheimer's treatments, these don't look good.

    In general, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are thought to be similar diseases caused by accumulations of misfolded proteins: Tau in Alzheimer's, Alpha-synuclein in Parkinson's. Problem is, every treatment aimed at tau proteins has failed miserably in humans, and this may include Aduhelm in the sense that, although it got FDA approval, that approval process was heavily criticized and most insurers won't cover it, nor will many doctors use it. Parkinson's research appears to be further behind. While there are dozens of candidate drugs in PD, none have reached Stage II trials to my knowledge.

    There are a couple of possibilities for why Alzheimer's treatments haven't worked. The big one is the sour joke about having dozens of ways to treat mice with Alzheimers, but none for humans. The problem is that the mice were engineered to have Alzheimers, so detection of the disease behaviorally is not a problem. In humans, once it's detected, it may be too late for effective treatment.

    The other, more grim, possibility is that the tau plaques are a symptom, not a cause, and something else is causing the disease. If it's the protein targeted by ISRIB, that would be great, but don't hold your breath.

    Parkinsons might conceivably be treatable pre-symptomatically. The "nice" thing is that alpha-synuclein is expressed throughout the body, and there's even a theory that the misfolding starts in the gut and travels up the vagus nerve into the brain. One of the places A-S crops up is in the skin. Fortunately, a British woman noticed her husband's smell changed when he was diagnosed with PD, and subsequent testing demonstrated she could reliably distinguish PD patients from controls based on smell alone. Researchers identified what was making the smell, and trials of skin-based diagnostic tests for P-D are underway in humans. This is good news, because a constellation of Parkinson's issues show up before the classic disease manifests. If it's possible to find presymptomatic PD patients, then treatments that block the misfolded proteins might work to stop the progression of the disease before it gets to full PD.

    This all assumes that A-S misfolding is what causes Parkinson's. A lot of researchers seem to think so, but it's a very active field.

    442:

    Starliner - Boeing did bring in q/a testers. I know this for a fact, since one of my daughters who works for them as a programmer was brought onboard for the better part of a year.

    443:

    It most definitely will not prevent COVID from circulating, because of how easily people are reinfected; and it will mutate. We simply don't know about long COVID.

    444:

    Lake effect - if you say so, although the 11.5 years I lived in Chicago, the weather forecasts were fairly accurate.

    445:

    The train ride: thank you very much. Watched about half of it, skipping a few spots. Odd that the camera can't see the headlights. And... is that a third rail on the bridge?

    At any rate, parts of Scotland I'll probably never see otherwise.

    446:

    +1. Although for me, it hasn't been my direct managers, but upper management.

    447:

    Duffy @ 405:

    Re: 'Deaths from Covid-19 among the unvaccinated result in ...'

    But in the meanwhile you've got people (including young kids) from across the political spectrum with serious illnesses who can't access time-critical treatments because the hospitals are overfull with these idiots. Plus approx. 20-25% of medical staff at the point of collapse from overwork and emotional stress and who will probably need time to recover at some point.

    This is where I think the francophone (France & Quebec) leaders have it right. If that doesn't work well enough, then kick it up a notch to: if you show up within our realm with Covid/unvaxed and need ANY medical care/services, we'll triple bill you - and we'll also contact your personal/private medical insurer because why should they - and all their other clients - pay for your poor/selfish decisions! At some point medical insurers are going to decline coverage - because there's no sane reason for any gov't to continue to bail them out as long as there are highly effective and free vaccines.

    Robert Prior @ 404 -

    Re: 'Ontario 30% of students need to be absent before Public Health will inform parents of a Covid outbreak.'

    Yeah - just saw that in my GoogNews. Also saw some mention of students saying they're scared, fed up and might protest. That might work for older high school students but the younger, elementary school students - who's going to speak up for them? The current Ont Premier - and his late younger brother - are on record as being GOP fans. Wonder who from the GOP has been leaning on him - maybe dangling a large trade/biz deal.

    448:

    I get that - in fact, what seems to happen for me is that the LED goes dark, and I have to unplug and replug the USB cable. I thought it was an artifact of kubuntu....

    449:

    It's not limited to that. The a few weeks ago my comb disappeared while I was combing my hair, and about a week later it appeared on the floor where I'd been standing at the time. In between the floor had been cleaned a couple of times.

    I'm rather convinced that time line switches happen all the time, usually on a really minor level. And that they seem to be totally random (except that there's an observation bias).

    Yes, I know this isn't standard QM, but you wouldn't expect the kind of experiment they do to reveal this effect. And we KNOW that QM is "broken", though this isn't one of the places that we know it is broken. But how would you design an experiment to show this? I've only observed this on macroscopic objects, and it's an extremely rare event. (I think I've noticed it 3 times that I'm reasonably certain of, a couple of times I think of it as a plausible explanation, once I accept the initial 3, and perhaps a few dozen times where it could be a reasonable explanation, perhaps.) Now how often would a meson need to appear or go missing before it was noticed? Since the times I have noticed it, it's involved entire objects, not parts of them, does it require solid chunks to happen? Etc.

    Of course, these could be memory glitches, and that comb...well, I've got trouble coming up with a reasonable explanation. But it could be a time slip rather than a parallel world slip. Or I could have a LARGE memory glitch, and constructed the whole event. But once you start accepting memory glitches that large, the entire world starts seeming rather illusionary.

    450:

    It's not limited to that. The a few weeks ago my comb disappeared while I was combing my hair, and about a week later it appeared on the floor where I'd been standing at the time. In between the floor had been cleaned a couple of times.

    Glad I'm not the only one these happen too. A couple of months ago my wedding ring went missing. Since it's often in a shirt pocket, I checked every single one multiple times, to no avail. Went through the wash, nothing. My wife was unamused, and we started talking about me getting a new band.

    Then, a week later, as I was pulling shirts out of the laundry bin to take to the washer, Clang!, out fell my wedding ring from a shirt that I'd checked at least four times. Right in front of my wife.

    At this point, I just blame gremlins the Good People, so I start laughing, to show that I appreciate their joke. Stuff like this happens a few times a year. Maybe it's mesotemporal schismogenesis, maybe it's the Happy Folk. I take a version of Pascal's Wager and laugh along. Just in case.

    451:

    Ok, there's an obvious answer - I'll skip "did you check the laundry bin', what actually happened was, of course, that it slipped into the lost sock dimension, then worked its way out, being heavier than lint.

    452:

    That sounds so expensive that Hydrogen fuel would be a better choice, or possibly some synthetic organic made via bio-reactor.

    But your point that battery powered flight is unlikely beyond the short-haul range is probably valid. I'm not sure an evolved super-capacitor couldn't handle it, but they tend to be more for voltage than current...and it would take a LOT of evolution.

    453:

    Ok, there's an obvious answer - I'll skip "did you check the laundry bin', what actually happened was, of course, that it slipped into the lost sock dimension, then worked its way out, being heavier than lint.

    As I said, mesotemporal schismogenesis. Same difference.

    454:

    Sorry, that's one phrase I've not heard before.

    455:

    I don't know if Charlie has changed his opinion, but I've been in favor of permanent space habitats for a very long time. I acknowledge that there are lots of unsolved problems to be dealt with, but that doesn't mean it isn't what we need to be doing.

    OTOH, I'm skeptical that we can do it until sociology advances a lot, virtual reality advances a lot, and AI advances a lot. The last two are visibly in progress, and the first one is being worked on with a modicum of attention. There are lots of ancillary things that need to be done, and space medicine is one of them. Just as important is the development of a "nearly closed" ecology. So I consider 20 years to be exceptionally optimistic unless a super-human AI is developed (in which case who knows).

    FWIW, my idea of a space habitat is basically shaped by Zebrowski's MacroLife. It's NOT small. It's basically a life form, and it moves around and reproduces. And it's not inherently tied to a star. (I don't expect the FLT aspect to carry over into reality, but I also don't expect people who have grown up in one to want to leave.) Clearly they would need at least fission power, and ideally fusion. Ion rockets would probably be good enough, but they'd want to run a LONG time. 30 pounds/sec isn't much on something that weighs tons. And they want high exhaust velocity. Ideally they should also be able to use something found plentifully on free asteroids as fuel. Nitrogen might be a good choice, or water. (Well, Hydrogen or Oxygen.) It not something we've got even in development, but in 20 or 40 years...

    456:

    Re: '... caused by small circulating blood clots,''

    Yeah - when I first heard about the loss of smell/taste I immediately thought that COVID was somehow screwing up blood cells therefore causing blood clots leading to mini-strokes. [The ACE binding map that came out a couple of months after the pandemic started seems to show a good overlap between worst symptoms and highest density ACE locations. However, maybe I'm seeing what I want to see in order for it to make sense to me - just dunno.]

    There are a few heme disorders that show up out of the blue and whose symptomology is similar esp. the diffuse blood clots/thromboemboli, e.g., PNH. Big question is: so why did it start now?

    Thromboemboli may also help explain why diabetics and pregnant women are at higher risk of serious disease with Covid:

    https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-uncover-mechanism-deadly-blood-clots.html

    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/disseminated-intravascular-coagulation

    457:

    n fact, what seems to happen for me is that the LED goes dark, and I have to unplug and replug the USB cable.

    To me that indicates a broken trace. Inside or outside of a chip. After things heat up it separates.