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Messages - Sigmetnow

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I wonder if this is just a "car" thing, or if it is a sign of the beginning of an economic downturn in the U.S., after a near-record number of years of growth?

Despite record levels of incentives, cars are sitting on dealers' lots for longer than any month since July 2009.

Cars are sitting on the lot longer, even as dealers sweeten their offers
...The latest numbers from showrooms are not pretty. Through April 16, the average incentive for a new vehicle was $3,499 — a record for the month, according to the report. The previous record of $3,393 was set in April 2009.

Policy and solutions / Re: Solar Roadways
« on: Today at 12:42:03 AM »
If the panels are covered with snow then the heat used to melt the snow is not coming from electricity generated by the panels.  The electricity consumed is coming from the grid.

They've installed these panels but they don't seem to be monitoring the amount of electricity they pull from the grid, only what they contribute.  Or they aren't making that data public.

These people seem to have no background in science.  Perhaps only an engineer who knows how to attach wires to stuff.  Their data collection and controls really stink.

Some sunlight reaches the panels through snow.  When the panels are operating, they generate heat, apart from any special melting technology.  That's why I didn't need to clean the snow off the solar panels on my (slanted) roof this winter -- the snow just slid off as the panels warmed. :)

Heat from the solar roadways panels in operation could thin the snow layer enough to increase PV output, and eventually let an auxiliary melting circuit kick in.

Edit: Tesla solar roofs can melt snow yet still generate a "strongly net positive" output.

How a Cold Day in Texas Exposed the Value of Grid Flexibility
As the sun rose over Dallas on March 3, 2014, thermometers read 15° Fahrenheit [-9.4°C]. Across the state, Texans turned their heaters on full blast as they prepared to head to work. Meanwhile, at the operations center for Texas’ electricity system, ERCOT, operators saw the price of electricity skyrocket.

Around 8 a.m. prices jumped to nearly $5,000 per megawatt-hour, more than 100 times the average price of electricity.

Though the unusually cold weather caused electricity demand to increase well above historical levels, the power market behaved as intended. Many power plant owners, who know their capacity is typically not needed during this time of year, had their plants offline for maintenance. Thus, when a period of unusually high demand on March 3 combined with relatively low supply, prices skyrocketed, demonstrating the fundamentals of supply and demand. Power plants that were available and able to turn on quickly -- to be flexible -- were rewarded handsomely.

As the renewables transition continues apace, flexibility will become increasingly important. Policymakers and investors will need to watch carefully how flexibility is paid for. In a market design like Texas’ “energy-only” market, price spikes are a normal and important event that, assuming no market manipulation, properly reflect the marginal cost of electricity at that specific time. They provide an indication of how much and what types of resources are needed.

When spikes happen at predictable times of system needs, like during the summer when high temperatures cause increased electricity demand for air conditioning, they provide a good investment signal for peak capacity. When they happen at unusual times like on March 3, 2014, they provide a crucial investment signal to wholesale market buyers and sellers that more flexible resources are needed for times of stress, on either the generation side or on the demand side. Too many of these unusual “bellwether” events indicate that a system lacks much-needed flexibility, while too few signal a system that is oversupplied (or lucky). ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: Today at 12:20:06 AM »
Ummm....   :o

Uber unveils plans for electric flying taxis by 2020, ChargePoint will provide charging for first stations
If you are wondering how come there are so many news and announcement about electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft lately, like Lilium’s maiden flight and Kitty Hawk coming out of stealth, it looks like it’s because they timed the releases with Uber’s Elevate Summit in Dallas this week.

Today, Uber announced its own plans to use eVTOL aircraft for a flying taxi service.

Several companies, including the ones previously mentioned, detailed their plans during the event. Uber describes the summit:

“The Summit will offer an information-packed three days during which we hope to build awareness about the Elevate mission, detail Uber’s role in the ecosystem, identify and accelerate opportunities to collaborate within the community, and define a path towards initial urban eVTOL operations.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Solar Roadways
« on: April 25, 2017, 03:50:21 PM »
On January 9, 2017, Solar Roadways posted to Facebook:

Irony = We are stranded at home today in north #Idaho with a #WinterStorm Advisory. In spite of repeated plowing and shoveling, our car got stuck on our own driveway and we’ve had near 0 temps. We don’t get these extremes very often here, but the good news is that it’s giving Sandpoint’s panels a real test on our parking lot.

Since we are not there today, we asked a friend who is in town to go take a pic for us. As you can see, it looks like one panel is out (probably a loose connection) but the rest are keeping up pretty well, even though we are not there to make adjustments. We do want it to warm enough for the snow on the connectors to melt too, so we will keep fine tuning before we put the panels in at Jeff Jones Square.

Hope you all like this vision of how we will be able to #disruptwinter keeping us all safer when driving and walking. We want to take the pain out of winter and leave only the beauty.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: April 25, 2017, 03:31:32 PM »
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich:
"I would not inflict this on you except that I think it important you read it -- the full transcript of Trump's Friday interview with the White House correspondent for the Associated Press.

It shows that we are dealing with someone who is becoming seriously unhinged -- not just a pathological narcissist but a borderline sociopath who will almost certainly self destruct.

The question I keep asking myself is whether he'll self destruct in a relatively harmless way, or will take down many others with him.

What do you think?"

Transcript of AP interview with Trump

Fact-checking Trump’s AP interview about his first 100 days

Sign of the times.  Yes, it's OK to make use of fossil fuels to help rid the world of fossil fuel use.  But....

Me: going to DC this weekend-wanna come?

Him: why DC?

Me: to join the #ClimateMarch!

H: driving down in yr 12mpg SUV?



M: so no?

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:54:38 PM »
The Energy Department is reportedly denying funds for already-approved grants
The grant-making ARPA-E program was targeted for elimination in Trump budget.
After proposing to eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in its draft budget, the Trump administration, through the Department of Energy, has started withholding money for grants already approved by the agency, Politico reported Thursday, citing two unidentified sources.

The hold on the money for the grants began last week, Politico reported. During his run for the White House, President Donald Trump promised to target federal funding for agencies, like ARPA-E, that promote clean energy technologies.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:47:09 PM »
South Australia heading to 80% wind and solar by 2021/22
Consider what that means. Its current capacity of around 1,600MW of large-scale wind energy meets just over 40 per cent of total state demand, and the 720MW of rooftop solar adds another 7 per cent. When Hornsdale 2 is completed later this year, that percentage will go beyond 50 per cent.

AEMO’s forecasts suggest the capacity of wind and solar (now that it is cost competitive with wind) will double to around 3,100MW by 2121/2022. Given that the state’s rooftop solar installation is also expected to soar, this suggests at last 80 per cent of the state’s electricity demand could be met by wind and solar.

That’s not necessarily something to worry about, if properly managed, given that the CSIRO and the Energy Networks Australia canvassed a similar scenario in their Future Grids work, which they said would not affect system reliability, although they were suggesting it would happen more than a decade later.

Electrek says:
South Australia also happens to be a place that is currently in a strange type of gas shortage – one where they export before they feed the local markets. These energy issues are driving record solar growth in 2017 and the largest projects the earth has seen involving solar+batteries.

Policy and solutions / Re: Solar Roadways
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:24:47 PM »

Go out and install a few panels in your own driveway along with a 'control' panel.  Let's see what flat mounting, normal dirt washing over, and a tiny bit of traffic do to the output.  If that's encouraging then find a place to do a test where there is higher traffic flow.

They've done a lot of testing on their prototype installation at their home, such as this:

Their plan is to begin with sidewalk installations, then parking lots, then roads, as they further refine their design before they begin volume manufacturing....

I'd rate this about as complex as starting an electric car company.  Elon Musk heard people say, over and over, that Tesla would fail, because an EV company would never work.  His response:  I don't care.  We're doing it anyway. 

I keep watching, to see how the Brusaws progress.  :D

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:01:33 PM »
Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down
The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
For years, opponents of renewable power, like President Donald Trump, have argued they simply aren’t affordable. The reality is quite different.

Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: April 24, 2017, 02:56:20 PM »
When oil companies finally turn away from fossil fuels, might they turn to mining... asteroids?

Space May Be Next Frontier for Earth's Crude Oil Giants
The Middle East has an outsize impact on energy here on Earth. One analyst thinks some regional powerhouses may leverage that role into the development of natural resources in space.

Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are developing space programs and investing in nascent private space commodity initiatives, said Tom James, a partner at energy consultant Navitas Resources. Doing so could give them a foothold in building extraterrestrial reserves of water -- a substance likely to fuel travel within space -- and other resources that could be used for in-space manufacturing.

“Water is the new oil of space,” James said in Singapore. “Middle East investment in space is growing as it works to shift from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy.” ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: April 24, 2017, 02:52:48 PM »
U.S.:  Out west, "Make America Great Again" means steamrolling local perspective in favor of oil driller greed
All but 9 percent of publicly-owned land in this corner of New Mexico has been leased out for industrial profit. In late January, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sold another four drilling leases at auction, despite prolonged protest from native people who still live there, conservationists who fear the permanent destruction of something precious, and local businesses that make their money from interacting with this landscape rather than ripping it apart.

Policy and solutions / Re: Solar Roadways
« on: April 23, 2017, 04:53:35 PM »
Solar Roadways has a Facebook page here:

They had something of a fiasco last October, when they were to install the first panels at a pilot project in their local city of Sandpoint location.  They had never tried to produce so many panels at one time, and their laminating ovens failed, damaging most of the panels.  Reinstall in February was a success.

Sandpoint's webcam is here:

Here's a recent update:
Happy #EarthDay Solar Roadies! I've been asking Scott for a long time to write a blog post about the Technology Behind the Scenes at #SolarRoadways. Between working on software, firmware, hardware, production and keeping up with our current USDOT contract, he truly doesn't have the time. But today - in celebration of the precious planet that we are working so hard to protect,he agreed to take some time out to give you all a better understanding of why things sometimes seem to take so long.

We are very concerned with time too, especially since we truly believe SR is the best solution to help halt Climate Change and help to heal this planet. With the help of so many of you who have donated on Indiegogo and our website to bring us to this point, the technology now stands ready for our first full production line so that we can begin to produce hundreds of panels a day, accept the orders that await from all corners of the Earth, and create jobs for many who want to join us on this mission.

We've been exploring all models to raise the funds we need for this expansion and have just begun to schedule meetings with those who have reached out to help.

Blessings to all of you who are honoring the #Earth today through marching, raising awareness, planting trees, sending up prayers or whatever feels right to you. Thank you to all who continue to share this journey to heal this precious planet we all call home.

For those who want to connect with us:

“Herbert Diess, the global VW brand boss, has said the maker will no longer offer diesel models in the U.S.”

Volkswagen Slapped With Largest Ever Fine for Automakers
A federal judge in Detroit Friday signed off on what could be one of the last big developments in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, ordering the German maker to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty negotiated as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department last January.

The ruling now brings to around $30 billion the costs VW will incur after being caught rigging two of its diesel engines to pass U.S. emissions tests — a figure that includes the price of buying back almost 500,000 vehicles sold in the country. Meanwhile, seven current and former Volkswagen employees have been charged with crimes connected to the scandal, while an investigation continues in Germany.
The scam was apparently launched when Volkswagen engineers failed to come up with an effective technical solution that would allow them to deliver diesel vehicles that were both quick and fuel-efficient while also meeting tough emissions standards.

This chapter of the "Tesla Disrupts Different" paper examines the billions of dollars of assets that traditional automakers have tied up in ICE vehicles -- which would be worthless the moment they publicly acknowledged ICE is dead.  Which is why they cannot quickly switch to EV's, even if they wanted to.

Tesla Disrupts Different
Why Tesla's Selective Dominance is Inevitable

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 23, 2017, 12:39:09 AM »
Even Trump's Earth Day message was anti-science
Along with some faint praise of America's "abundant natural resources and awe-inspiring beauty," Trump used Earth Day to talk about jobs.

"Economic growth enhances environmental protection. We can and must protect our environment without harming America's working families. That is why my administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment," Trump said.

Science / Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« on: April 23, 2017, 12:27:23 AM »
New technology brings Star Wars-style desert moisture farming a step closer
(CNN)Luke Skywalker wasn't just a farmer. In the original 1977 Star Wars film, the lead character was desperate to leave his home planet of Tatooine, where his family farmed moisture from the atmosphere using devices called "vaporators". In the planet's hot and dry desert landscape, moisture farming was an important activity for survival.

But could this principle of drawing moisture from the air to provide drinking water work in the real world? Researchers and I are working on technology to turn it from science fiction into reality. And now a new study has demonstrated how one device could work even in dry desert conditions using only the power of the sun.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 23, 2017, 12:11:53 AM »
The March for Science stretched all the way to the North Pole
The Trump administration's assault on scientific evidence and research funding may have triggered the March for Science, but the more than 500 events around the world on Saturday demonstrated that the movement is truly global. ...

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 22, 2017, 03:59:55 PM »
And yes, the March for Science is happening around the globe, not just the U.S.
  Eric Holthaus is live-tweeting march news at:

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: April 22, 2017, 03:49:10 PM »
British power generation achieves first ever coal-free day
National Grid hails milestone as other sources like gas, nuclear, wind and solar allow UK to keep lights on with all coal-fired powerplants offline
Friday was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid.

The control room tweeted the milestone on Friday. It is the first continuous 24-hour coal-free period for Britain since use of the fossil fuel began. West Burton 1 power station, the only coal-fired plant that had been up and running, went offline on Thursday....

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 22, 2017, 03:38:55 PM »
 You can register to attend the March for Science today virtually.

Register to attend your local march

On April 22, 2017, join us for an unprecedented gathering of people standing together to acknowledge and voice the critical role that science plays in each of our lives.

*If you will be attending virtually, please select Washington DC or your local march and you will be given an option for virtual marching.

To register, all that we require is your name and email address to ensure accurate counts of participants.  If you have the time, please share additional details with us.  Our insatiable curiosity leaves us with many questions that we want answered — we can only do that with your participation!  For more information on our privacy policy, please click here.  ...

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 22, 2017, 03:33:27 PM »
”Dow Chemical wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump's inaugural festivities.”

Dow Chemical Pushes White House to Kill Risk Study Showing Pesticide Dangers
WASHINGTON — Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration that's open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to President Donald Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump's Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them "to set aside" the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed....

Even turning back the EPA fuel standards in the U.S. won't save GM's global sales.  And, they are saying here that building EVs is possible for them, the opposite of what they claimed in their letter to the EPA.  ::)

GM turns to China for electric vehicle production
Matt Tsien, president of GM China, made the announcement during a news conference at the Shanghai auto show. AP reported:

“He said GM expects annual sales of 150,000 electric and hybrid cars in China by 2020 and possibly in excess of 500,000 by 2025.”
(Note that tiny [by comparison] Tesla will be making 500,000 pure EVs a year by 2018.)

In China, automakers need electric vehicles to represent at least 8% of their sales in 2018, 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

Last year, GM sold almost 4 million vehicles in China, which means that if they want to follow the requirements, they will have to sell more EVs in China in 2019 alone than they have cumulatively around the world over the past decade.

Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: April 21, 2017, 11:00:38 PM »
We're already cyborgs -- most of us just keep the technology we use every day outside of our body.  But as we move forward with cochlear implants and neural stimulators....  Think how big and expensive computers were 50 years ago, versus what you are using today.  Now imagine how small and powerful the technology will be in another 50 years.  (One benefit: much less energy and material will be required, and the technology will be available to many more people.)

Tim Urban's new "Wait But Why" article, on Elon Musk's new company which is working on the Brain-Machine Interface of the future:

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future

Walmart Launches Project Gigaton to Reduce Emissions in Company’s Supply Chain
Through release of a sustainability toolkit, Walmart asks suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one gigaton – the equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads for an entire year

Today, during Walmart’s annual Milestone Summit, the company launched a sustainability platform inviting suppliers to join Walmart in committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their operations and supply chains. Dubbed Project Gigaton, this initiative will provide an emissions reduction toolkit to a broad network of suppliers seeking to eliminate one gigaton of emissions, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030. That’s the equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads and highways for a year....

Walmart Launches Project Gigaton to Reduce Emissions in Company’s Supply Chain
Through release of a sustainability toolkit, Walmart asks suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one gigaton – the equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads for an entire year

Today, during Walmart’s annual Milestone Summit, the company launched a sustainability platform inviting suppliers to join Walmart in committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their operations and supply chains. Dubbed Project Gigaton, this initiative will provide an emissions reduction toolkit to a broad network of suppliers seeking to eliminate one gigaton of emissions, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030. That’s the equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads and highways for a year....

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: April 21, 2017, 01:25:20 AM »
Lilium shows maiden flight of world’s first working prototype of an electric VTOL jet

Consequences / Re: 2017 ENSO
« on: April 21, 2017, 12:47:24 AM »
El Niño, La Niña, and global temperature.

Consequences / Re: Effects of Climate Change on the biosphere
« on: April 20, 2017, 09:51:55 PM »
Disease Burden Growing as Vector Insects Adapt to Climate Change
Agard was reporting on a study by the late Dave Chadee, a co-author on the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report and UWI professor. The study examined evolutionary changes in the life cycle of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the yellow and dengue fevers as well as the chikungunya and Zika viruses.

We found out that in higher temperatures, the mosquito’s breeding cycle shortens. They go through more cycles during the season and they produce more offspring. The mosquitoes, however, are a little smaller,” Agard told journalists.

Even more worrisome were Chadee’s findings on the longevity of the “evolved” mosquitoes – 100 days instead of the 30 days they were previously thought to survive. The study also found that mosquitoes that survived longer than 90 days could produce eggs and offspring that were born transmitters, raising new concerns.

Alarming as these findings were, they were only the latest on the evolutionary strategies of vector insect populations in the Caribbean. A study published in February 2016 revealed that the triatomino (or vinchuca), the vector insects for Chagas disease, were breeding twice a year instead of only in the rainy season. And before that in 2011, Barbadian Environmental officers found mosquitoes breeding in junction boxes underground.

Consequences / Re: 2017 ENSO
« on: April 20, 2017, 03:16:07 AM »
“To put a finer point on it, March was the warmest non El Niño month modern civilization has witnessed”

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: April 19, 2017, 11:30:25 PM »
"Stupid or nefarious?" 

News commentary video from April 18, 2017:
The DT administration, including National Security chiefs, misplace an aircraft carrier strike force they said was headed to North Korea. It wasn't.

Part 2: An historical perspective of the screw-up.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: April 19, 2017, 05:26:28 PM »
DT constantly flip-flops because he is unable to hold detailed policy beliefs in his head.  He can't remember things he's said over the span of a few minutes, let alone weeks or months -- he's repeated a story twice in the course of one interview, for example; or completely changed his statements over the course of a day.  If you have any experience with people afflicted with a pathological brain disorder, you will recognize the chaotic speech pattern in this Time interview:

Robert Reich:  The interview with Trump that came out [in March] in Time Magazine is chilling. If you had any doubt whatsoever that this man is unhinged, you will not after reading this.

On his flip-flops:

Any consistency DT has shown must be due to his aides reminding him of things....  It has been obvious for some time that he parrots the ideas of the person who talked to him most recently -- which is one reason it's so troubling that the White House visitor logs will no longer be released.

"There has been a recent trend in early starts to the Atlantic hurricane season, with 2012, 2015 and 2016 all reporting tropical cyclone formation before June 1."

Invest 91L Could Develop Into a Subtropical Storm This Week; Would Be First April Named Storm Since 2003

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 19, 2017, 01:22:30 AM »
Did you notice when the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management website changed their header photo from a family viewing natural vistas, to a coal seam?

Well, now it's a bright shiny pipeline.  Crossing a river.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: April 19, 2017, 01:07:28 AM »
Climate Activists Plot How to Turn Anti-Trump Rage Into Anti-Trump Votes
Activists planning the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. on April 29 are mapping out a far more ambitious trek than that day's walk from the Capitol to the White House. They are trying to turn rage over the Trump administration's rollback of climate change policy and budget cuts targeting science into actual political clout.
Climate activists had selected April 29 as a day of mobilization long before they knew that they'd be locked in battle with the Trump administration. Planning began last summer, with People's Climate March organizers hoping to reprise a 2014 protest in New York, when more than 400,000 people took to the streets ahead of a United Nations summit. It was the largest climate march in history. Organizers believe that the outpouring had helped prod President Obama and set the stage for the Paris accord the following year....

... and snowmobiles!

“All-electric propulsion is slowly but surely taking over every segment of ground transport one at a time.”

All-electric snowmobiles are coming – first tests proved successful in Whistler

ASLR wrote: 
"Edit2: In the latest Star Wars trailer Luke Skywalker appears to say: “I only know one truth; it’s time for the Jedi to end.”  Which likely means that in order to stop the Force from cycling endlessly between good and evil; we may soon see "The Last Jedi".

To which I must reply:

Last Jedi Title Refers Only to Luke Skywalker


When I purchase an autonomous vehicle have I purchased autonomous personalized transportation, or an autonomous personalized robot?

Some of the tasks you list will likely be performed by self-driving vehicles, but probably not the one you own.

I can see a lot of grocery shopping going online.  Getting low on milk?  Click on milk and it's added to your shopping list.  When you really need something you'll press "Order" and your list will be filled and added to the delivery vehicle heading to your neighborhood.  Same with laundry/cleaning pickup and delivery. And takeout food.  Actual times will need to be coordinated so that you meet the delivery vehicle in a timely manner.

Many warehouse clubs already have arrangements to "place your order online and it will be waiting for you at the loading dock when you arrive."  It's a small step from that to:  placing your Costco order, sending your autonomous car to the loading dock, getting confirmation and remotely unlocking the trunk, and having them load your order, whereupon your car returns home with the goodies.  :)

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: April 19, 2017, 12:08:34 AM »
Canada Must Manage Harmful Effects of Automation, Wilkins Says
Canada should manage the potential negative distributive impacts of a coming wave of automation that will ultimately boost national productivity, the Bank of Canada’s second-highest ranking official said.

In a Toronto speech meant to tout the benefits of adopting new technologies such as artificial intelligence, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins spent much of the time discussing the need to keep income inequality from worsening.

“If we seek out and embrace new technologies while successfully managing their harmful side effects, we will create inclusive prosperity,” Wilkins said in a speech entitled ‘Blame it on the Machines?’

“That means proactively managing the transition period and the longer-term implications of the distributions of incomes,” she said....

Consequences / Re: Health Effects of Climate Change
« on: April 18, 2017, 10:15:38 PM »
Researchers currently classify the new form of chronic kidney disease as “climate-sensitive”, which means that climate is one ingredient contributing to the epidemic. As temperatures continue to rise, many such climate-sensitive diseases will become climate-driven, and monitoring and bringing attention to them will become even more crucial.

Climate change is turning dehydration into a deadly disease

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: April 18, 2017, 10:00:53 PM »
U.S.:  Norfolk, Virginia.
“Adaptation is a range,” says Fred Brusso, a former city flood manager. “Do you need to just move your car? Do you have to put your washer and dryer on cinder blocks? Or do you need to get the heck out of town?”

Policy and solutions / Re: Bikes, bikes, bikes and more...bikes
« on: April 18, 2017, 07:15:15 PM »
Chinese bike-sharing start-up Ofo says it's now worth more than $2 billion
CEO Dai Wei, a 26-year-old entrepreneur who named his firm Ofo as the letters look like a bike, revealed that figure in a conversation with CNBC. It's about double the last reports of the company's value — which came out less than two months ago. ...

In the image below:
A worker from the bike share company Ofo puts a damaged bike on a pile at a makeshift repair depot for the company where thousands of derelict bikes are being kept after coming off the road on March 29, 2017 in Beijing, China.

Fast-Charging, from the battery's point of view....

EV batteries accept high rates of charge when the battery is nearly depleted, but to prevent damage to the battery, the charge rate is ramped down when the battery reaches a higher state of charge (SOC).  Temperature is also a factor -- higher battery temperatures lead to faster degradation of the battery pack.  In this article and video, a Tesla owner tests his theory that active thermal management of the liquid-cooled Tesla pack kicks in at a temperature of 113°F (45°C), lowering the charge rate even before the battery reaches a 60% SOC where Tesla charging normally slows.

More chargers are being added to the busy Interstate 95 highway between Boston and Washington D.C.  They are teasing rates of 150 kW "in the future" -- perhaps tied to the next version of the Nissan LEAF, expected later this year.

Nissan and EVgo to build EV fast-charging corridor on the east coast: 50 kW (pre-wired for 150 kW)

Corporate America isn't backing Trump on climate
Corporate America is uniting on climate change.

Consumer brands and industrial giants have been supporting government action on climate change for years. In a shift that is changing the debate, the biggest and most important U.S. energy companies are now dropping their resistance to a global climate deal.

Why it matters: Broader corporate backing of global action on climate change is helping push President Trump away from his campaign promise to pull out of the climate deal, which was struck by nearly 200 nations in Paris two years ago to slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions. ...

So people are going to buy an electric car, not have a charging station at home and then on various occasions eg come back from vacation or some other long trip where didn't want to stop on way back and have to have it towed to a charging station because the battery has gone flat? I think people buying an electric car will afford something of a charging solution at home even if it isn't an all singing and dancing rapid charging station.

Yes, many people with EVs with with smaller batteries do just fine plugging them into the normal wall socket in their garage.  EVs with larger batteries do better with a 240 V socket such as an electric clothes dryer outlet, or they install a 240V EV charger. The problem arises if you park on the street, or live in an apartment or condominium where there is no charging available where you park your car. That is slowly being addressed in some places by municipal regulations requiring a certain number of parking spots be fitted with EV chargers or at least outlets usable for EV charging.

"As long as the fast charging form factor is adopted by other EVs too..."

Yes, the battle of the EV charging format is underway.   Tesla is a member of the CCS-format advisory group, but one has to admit that the Tesla plug is much nicer (smaller) than most of the alternatives.   ;)

Although, Tesla Model 3 spies suggest the charging port doors on the prototype Model 3s are much bigger than on the current Teslas.  And there may be two ports -- one on each side!  Tesla knows the current Superchargers won't handle the hundreds of thousands (eventually millions!) of Model 3s that will soon flood the roads (although not all of them will use Superchargers).  And Tesla is open to other cars using its chargers, with proper arrangements.  But no other production car available today can handle the Supercharger rate.

Policy and solutions / Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« on: April 17, 2017, 04:39:58 PM »
And although France currently derives about 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, they are seeking to reduce this to 50% by 2025.

Super-fast charging could happen sooner than you think.  Elon Musk has tweeted/teased that the next version of Tesla Superchargers will be significantly greater than 350 kW and could bring down the charging time of a 300-mile battery pack to 15 minutes or less.

And Wal-mart might just have the wherewithall to go big on EV charging, in locations where it make sense.
Wal-Mart, Advanced Microgrid Solutions to Turn Big-Box Stores Into Hybrid Electric Buildings
Advanced Microgrid Solutions has landed the world's largest retailer as a partner: Wal-Mart.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based startup announced it is working with the retail giant to install behind-the-meter batteries at stores to balance on-site energy and provide megawatts of flexibility to utilities, starting with 40 megawatt-hours of projects at 27 Southern California locations. ...

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