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The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe => Podcast Episodes => Topic started by: Steven Novella on June 01, 2019, 01:30:48 PM

Title: Episode #725
Post by: Steven Novella on June 01, 2019, 01:30:48 PM
News Items: Hyperloop Update, Smart Clothing, Misreporting Medical News, Murray Gell-Mann Dies, HappinessWho's That NoisyYour Questions and E-mails: BandwidthName That Logical FallacyScience or Fiction
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: brilligtove on June 01, 2019, 04:21:18 PM
Steve got me on WTN.
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 01, 2019, 05:48:45 PM
I'm glad they ended up going into the matter of trains instead of just planes and hyperloops. But there is also the option of not traveling. Why do people need to travel quickly between cities all the time? What is your city missing? What is your workplace missing? And then there's the tourism, which is the least benefit for the fuel spent. Can't even eat them.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on June 01, 2019, 05:59:44 PM
But there is also the option of not traveling. Why do people need to travel quickly between cities all the time? What is your city missing? What is your workplace missing? And then there's the tourism, which is the least benefit for the fuel spent. Can't even eat them.

This is a very unusual approach I have not seen before.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 01, 2019, 08:24:32 PM
I got SoF right!

(click to show/hide)

I lived for a year and a half in Spain, which has a high-speed train (half the speed of the French and Japanese). Even at these moderate speeds, the run between Madrid and Seville is killing air travel between those two cities. The distance is 360 km and the flight time is an hour and five minutes. The train trip is two and a half hours. But you can get to the train station, which is in the middle of the city, just minutes before your train leaves, rather than 90 minutes before your flight, after driving or taking the subway all the way out to the suburb. When you arrive there is no wait to get off and you have your luggage with you, and you are in the middle of the city, not out in the suburb. And the train is far more comfortable, and even in coach the seats are bigger.

City center to city center the train is faster than the plane.

Of course, we don't need a hyperloop. Or even maglev. We just need decent trains that run on time, on dedicated passenger rail lines.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 01, 2019, 08:30:51 PM
For the happiness study, I think they need to divide the married women into two groups: Those who are married to men who are assholes, and those who are married whose spouses are not assholes. So many men are assholes, that it could unfairly bias the results against marriage when (perhaps) being married to someone who is not an asshole would not make a woman unhappy.

I have a purpose in life: To have as much fun as I possibly can. Since for me this means being active (nowadays that's mostly paddling, but also walking on the beach) I figure I should be in the long-lived group, since we know that being active promotes health.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: stands2reason on June 01, 2019, 09:26:26 PM
Naturally aspired engines (i.e. not electric or turbo) will get a decrease in power and efficiently correlating with air pressure drop, just like driving at altitude. Also, removing air resistance won't on its own won't allow normal cars to go that much faster efficiently.

One thing to point out is that the numbers Jay gave (speed vs economy) are averages. The more aerodynamic the vehicle, and the smaller the frontal area, the faster you can go before aerodynamic drag starts to increase quadraritically or worse with speed. (Boxier shapes have a worse-than-quadratic ramp-up in drag.) It is an "empirical law" meaning most aerodynamic stuff that we makes experiences approximately quadratic increased in drag at the speeds we typically use them.The other thing is that until recently, most vehicles had a 4-speed auto with one overdrive gear. This means the engine revs unnecesarily to travel at the desired freeway speed.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 02, 2019, 03:04:10 AM
Naturally aspired engines (i.e. not electric or turbo) will get a decrease in power and efficiently correlating with air pressure drop, just like driving at altitude. Also, removing air resistance won't on its own won't allow normal cars to go that much faster efficiently.

Keep in mind I haven't yet listened to the podcast for context, but on flat terrain, air drag is by far the largest resistance factor (>90%), and so anything that reduces aerodynamic drag will result in an increase in speed for same power, or reduced power demand for the same speed. If you remove air resistance (while not hampering ability to generate power), a vehicle will be able to travel a huge amount faster for the same power output.

One thing to point out is that the numbers Jay gave (speed vs economy) are averages. The more aerodynamic the vehicle, and the smaller the frontal area, the faster you can go before aerodynamic drag starts to increase quadraritically or worse with speed. (Boxier shapes have a worse-than-quadratic ramp-up in drag.) It is an "empirical law" meaning most aerodynamic stuff that we makes experiences approximately quadratic increased in drag at the speeds we typically use them.

Putting aside any funkiness with the relationship between CdA* and Reynolds number (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_number)**, then the function of drag with air velocity is a quadratic equation no matter the speed of the car and wind, nor the shape of the vehicle. There is no speed it cuts in or cuts out (unless and until the relationship between CdA and Reynolds number changes - which is the sort of thing that occurs over orders of magnitude changes in velocity).

All that happens with vehicles with a less streamlined shaped is they have a higher CdA. As a result at the same air velocity (ceteris paribus) they present a greater drag, and hence require more power to sustain such a velocity. Since the drag is a quadratic relationship with velocity (and linear with CdA), then there is a cubic relationship between power and velocity (and it's still linear with CdA).

IOW, a doubling of the velocity requires 2³ = 8 times the power to overcome the additional aerodynamic drag.
A doubling of CdA requires a doubling of power to overcome the additional aerodynamic drag. The CdA change can be as a result of changes in size and/or shape.


* Cd (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_coefficient) = Coefficient of Drag (dimensionless)
A = Effective Frontal Area (SI units m²)
CdA = Cd x A (SI units m²)

** assuming CdA is constant over the range of Reynolds numbers in consideration for vehicles - which is a reasonable assumption for most motor vehicles and speeds.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 02, 2019, 04:51:24 AM
For the happiness study, I think they need to divide the married women into two groups: Those who are married to men who are assholes, and those who are married whose spouses are not assholes. So many men are assholes, that it could unfairly bias the results against marriage when (perhaps) being married to someone who is not an asshole would not make a woman unhappy.

Also how do single men compare to single women?

Women live longer in general. If they live shorter lives being married in exchange for men living longer lives being married, what is it about single life for men that is inherently more difficult for their bodies to cope with, vs. single life for women?

They mentioned children, but didn't really discuss that part. I could imagine that pregnancy and childbirth would have more of an impact than domestic chores and gender roles. It doesn't take that many women outright dying or suffering long term injuries due to reproduction to noticeably lower the average lifespan and happiness.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: lucek on June 02, 2019, 07:38:07 AM
Steve's quote was from futurama season 2 episode 14 how hermes requisitioned his groove back.
"You are technically correct. The best kind of correct."
https://youtu.be/hou0lU8WMgo (https://youtu.be/hou0lU8WMgo)
My 2 cents on the bandwidth data rate throughput thing. Use the analogy of a truck. You are told the truck has x cubic feet in the back. That is your bandwidth. What you load into it is your throughput. What makes it to the destination intact is your data rate.

And to fill out my meme bingo card put the truck in a hyperloop and it's a series of tubes.

One finally one. I think the rogues are underselling abiogenisys research. Yes experiments done 70 years ago kicked off the feild but today we have made all the amioacids allvthe nuclear bases sugars and phosphate groups etc. Required for life in plausible brebiotic conditions. We have shown how they could polimerize. We have even found autocatalitic rna sequences that are fairly short. Furthermore on the other side when we don't concern ourselves with prebiotic condition of earth we can create synthedic organisms with fully synthetic only being too time-consuming to bother with not impossible.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 02, 2019, 11:31:52 AM
Hyperloop makes no sense for individual passenger cars. Of course, Elon Musk is not concerned about naturally-aspirated cars. But cars would still have to be pressurized. Hyperloop only makes sense for trains. And even then a conventional train or maglev makes more sense, since for a train, the air resistance has a much smaller effect because of the minuscule frontal area vs total volume.

The Boring Company could build a tunnel for a conventional high-speed train, and forget about the economically-inefficient low-pressure aspect. A high-speed train would be competitive with the airlines because of the convenience, the location of terminals vs. airports, and eliminating the 90-minute requirement as well as the half-hour waiting for checked bags. Of course, such a train would have to be operated the way European trains are operated, since Amtrak is a disaster.

For the happiness study, I think they need to divide the married women into two groups: Those who are married to men who are assholes, and those who are married whose spouses are not assholes. So many men are assholes, that it could unfairly bias the results against marriage when (perhaps) being married to someone who is not an asshole would not make a woman unhappy.

Also how do single men compare to single women?

Women live longer in general. If they live shorter lives being married in exchange for men living longer lives being married, what is it about single life for men that is inherently more difficult for their bodies to cope with, vs. single life for women?

If they fail to control for marriages where the man is an asshole vs. marriages without an asshole man, then a possible explanation is that with the woman doing more than her share of the work, her stress level is higher than for a single woman, and the man doing less than his share his stress level is lower. Also (if the man is an asshole) sex becomes a pleasure and enjoyment for him but a chore for her, again increasing her stress and reducing his.

In an egalitarian marriage (where the man is not an asshole, or there is no man involved) the work load is shared evenly and sex is managed for the equal enjoyment of both, and the stress levels would be much less disparate. Only the physical stress of pregnancy and childbirth itself is unilaterally on the woman, but a non-asshole spouse could compensate, at least in part, by taking on more of the other work and being more supportive of the woman.

This, of course, is just a hypothesis, but I think it's worth considering.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: brilligtove on June 02, 2019, 01:39:13 PM
I still think everyone is missing the point with Musk and his ventures. I think he's been trying to build a set of sustainable businesses that can produce the critical components of a moon base (solar power, battery storage, airtight pod-style transportation, rockets, efficient tunnelling...). Assuming he doesn't completely mess up his whole portfolio, I expect him to start a company or consortium working on sealed undersea habitats or similar - something to do with long term terrarium-style life support - in the next couple years.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: brilligtove on June 02, 2019, 01:44:53 PM
In an egalitarian marriage (where the man is not an asshole, or there is no man involved) the work load is shared evenly and sex is managed for the equal enjoyment of both, and the stress levels would be much less disparate. Only the physical stress of pregnancy and childbirth itself is unilaterally on the woman, but a non-asshole spouse could compensate, at least in part, by taking on more of the other work and being more supportive of the woman.

This, of course, is just a hypothesis, but I think it's worth considering.

Anecdote: I have had many years to observe many relatively intimate details of lesbian marriages, most with children. So far I have never seen any relationship where both partners think housework and related duties are fairly distributed. The closest I've seen is where both feel about the same degree of being taken advantage of. The overall degree of imbalance does appear to be a bit less than in hetero couples, in terms of the number of hours each partner dedicates to various aspects of their relationship and family. But not by much.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Harry Black on June 02, 2019, 03:28:39 PM
For the happiness study, I think they need to divide the married women into two groups: Those who are married to men who are assholes, and those who are married whose spouses are not assholes. So many men are assholes, that it could unfairly bias the results against marriage when (perhaps) being married to someone who is not an asshole would not make a woman unhappy.

Also how do single men compare to single women?

Women live longer in general. If they live shorter lives being married in exchange for men living longer lives being married, what is it about single life for men that is inherently more difficult for their bodies to cope with, vs. single life for women?

They mentioned children, but didn't really discuss that part. I could imagine that pregnancy and childbirth would have more of an impact than domestic chores and gender roles. It doesn't take that many women outright dying or suffering long term injuries due to reproduction to noticeably lower the average lifespan and happiness.
Perhaps it has something to do with how labour is distributed in the home? It seems that in most relationships the man gets help with the chores and admin of his life, making appointments etc etc while the woman gets less time for looking after herself and probably less sleep?
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Ah.hell on June 03, 2019, 10:18:02 AM
Hyper-loop and the boring company are two different things.  The hyper-loop is is an absurd idea for a train that won't ever be built at scale.  As Steve notes, it doesn't offer an improvement over conventional rail in proportion to the extra cost. 

The boring company is just an attempt to build tunnels that will allow personal vehicle travel underground.  There's not much revolutionary about it except that Musk thought he could build a tunnel in half the time and a 1/10 the price of experts in the field of building tunnels. 

In both cases, Musks estimate of the cost and time to build are about 1/2 to 1/10 of what they actually will be. 

Way to easy on Musk on this episode. 

There's all sorts of possible reasons why married men might live longer.  Less risk tacking when you feel responsibility for a family.  Your partner almost certainly exerts pressure on you to generally live a healthier lifestyle.  (in my experience men are some what less free to tell there wives to exercise than women are to tell there husbands.)  There's evidence that the presence of children, babies anyway, suppress testosterone production in men.  Care taking by wives......

Why women live shorter lives, there wasn't any mention if it was controlled for child birth which would almost certainly have a significant impact.  Men likely to less care taking of partners and probably exert less pressure for living healthier lifestyles.... 
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: MikeHz on June 03, 2019, 11:50:34 AM
I had to work out of town for a year, and so lived in an apartment away from home during that time. I came home on weekends, but was alone the rest of the time. I found that life alone sucked, and after a year gave up the job. Much less stressful living with my wife, but then, we live pretty stress-free lives anyway.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Darb on June 03, 2019, 05:12:07 PM
The Boring company's tunnel that the car drove through is NOT a hyperloop and never was intended to be a hyperloop. 


Whenever I hear the word "carapace" I hear it the way Carl Sagan said it on the original Cosmos..... caraPACE... :)


Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 03, 2019, 06:05:11 PM
If Musk never comes up with another good idea or successful company, he will have accomplished more than 99.999% of people ever have, and will go down in history as a genius. He could spend the rest of his life inventing crackpot ideas and investing his personal fortune in them, and he'd still be a hero in my book for single-handedly creating the modern electric car industry. Solar City, now owned by Tesla, is another company dedicated to saving the world. And SpaceX is extremely impressive.

I wouldn't count him out yet, even if he comes out with a few duds before his next good idea.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: arthwollipot on June 03, 2019, 07:58:59 PM
The Boring company's tunnel that the car drove through is NOT a hyperloop and never was intended to be a hyperloop.

What it is however is a proof-of-concept for a technology that might in the future be used to build tunnels for a hyperloop.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: brilligtove on June 03, 2019, 08:49:21 PM
If we ever make monofilament blades that work in the real-world the implications for mining are insane. Tunnelling that takes vast amounts of power and time now? You'd be limited by how fast you can cart the rubble away and shore up the structure. Maybe he's making a long bet on tunnelling tech that depends on materials that don't exist yet.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: mabell_yah on June 03, 2019, 11:09:58 PM
I would sign up at whatever Patreon level it takes to get access to Cara's Carpool Karaoke.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: mabell_yah on June 03, 2019, 11:22:37 PM
I'm more optimistic about Hyperloop, though still cautious. I feel like the rogues were overly critical without a lot of substantiation.  I can see suspending the tubes between buildings in town. Futurama anyone? Out of town you can hang them from towers. This seems way smarter than 19th century road bed grading. It also gets you over the dreaded Grapevine in southern California.

The costs are completely unknown at this point, yet Steve confidently proclaims maglev to be cheaper. Really? Maglev requires liquid freaking helium. I wouldn't brag about how cheap it is.

The bottom line that should be emphasized is air resistance - energy thrown away by every alternative, be it train, plane or automobile. I remember seeing on Top Gear the amazing amount of horsepower that had to be pumped into the Bugatti Veyron to push the top speed from 250 to 260 MPH.

I would love to see the rogues revisit this issue in a less cavalier treatment. There's no rush though. Give it some time to flesh out some critical details.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 03, 2019, 11:46:28 PM
I still think everyone is missing the point with Musk and his ventures. I think he's been trying to build a set of sustainable businesses that can produce the critical components of a moon base (solar power, battery storage, airtight pod-style transportation, rockets, efficient tunnelling...). Assuming he doesn't completely mess up his whole portfolio, I expect him to start a company or consortium working on sealed undersea habitats or similar - something to do with long term terrarium-style life support - in the next couple years.

It's not about the Moon, but Mars. He's has been open for years about all of his ventures being targeted at his ultimate aim of colonizing Mars. He isn't joking when he says he wants to die on Mars.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: DamoET on June 04, 2019, 09:22:38 AM
Naturally aspired engines (i.e. not electric or turbo) will get a decrease in power and efficiently correlating with air pressure drop, just like driving at altitude. Also, removing air resistance won't on its own won't allow normal cars to go that much faster efficiently.

Keep in mind I haven't yet listened to the podcast for context, but on flat terrain, air drag is by far the largest resistance factor (>90%), and so anything that reduces aerodynamic drag will result in an increase in speed for same power, or reduced power demand for the same speed. If you remove air resistance (while not hampering ability to generate power), a vehicle will be able to travel a huge amount faster for the same power output.

One thing to point out is that the numbers Jay gave (speed vs economy) are averages. The more aerodynamic the vehicle, and the smaller the frontal area, the faster you can go before aerodynamic drag starts to increase quadraritically or worse with speed. (Boxier shapes have a worse-than-quadratic ramp-up in drag.) It is an "empirical law" meaning most aerodynamic stuff that we makes experiences approximately quadratic increased in drag at the speeds we typically use them.

Putting aside any funkiness with the relationship between CdA* and Reynolds number (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_number)**, then the function of drag with air velocity is a quadratic equation no matter the speed of the car and wind, nor the shape of the vehicle. There is no speed it cuts in or cuts out (unless and until the relationship between CdA and Reynolds number changes - which is the sort of thing that occurs over orders of magnitude changes in velocity).

All that happens with vehicles with a less streamlined shaped is they have a higher CdA. As a result at the same air velocity (ceteris paribus) they present a greater drag, and hence require more power to sustain such a velocity. Since the drag is a quadratic relationship with velocity (and linear with CdA), then there is a cubic relationship between power and velocity (and it's still linear with CdA).

IOW, a doubling of the velocity requires 2³ = 8 times the power to overcome the additional aerodynamic drag.
A doubling of CdA requires a doubling of power to overcome the additional aerodynamic drag. The CdA change can be as a result of changes in size and/or shape.


* Cd (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_coefficient) = Coefficient of Drag (dimensionless)
A = Effective Frontal Area (SI units m²)
CdA = Cd x A (SI units m²)

** assuming CdA is constant over the range of Reynolds numbers in consideration for vehicles - which is a reasonable assumption for most motor vehicles and speeds.

  To add to the above, an increase in engine speed requires the square increase of the fuel consumed to sustain that speed.  So, if an engine requires 1ltr of fuel per hour to sustain 2000rpm, it will require 4ltrs per hour of fuel to sustain 4000rpm.  Therefor, a car traveling at 100kmh using 5ltr/hr (4lt/hr to over come wind resistance and 1lt/hr to maintain engine speed), would require 36ltr/hr (32ltr/hr to overcome wind resistance and 4ltr/hr to maintain engine speed)  @200kmh.  Having that 'car' operating in a vacuum would drop the 36ltr/hr to 4lt/hr.  This would be a similar thing for electric cars too, moving parts would represent low teens of the power consumed compared to air resistance.


Damien
 
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 04, 2019, 09:30:35 AM
Presumably they have to be electric cars. How do combustion engines work in low pressure environments?
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Ah.hell on June 04, 2019, 09:59:31 AM
Presumably they have to be electric cars. How do combustion engines work in low pressure environments?
I think it could be done but they would need to be supplied with oxygen.

I am always amazed at the Musk fan boys.  He's had one successful venture which he used to see several very optimistic ventures that have mostly been funded by the irrational exuberance of folks with money. 

Tesla, has a chance but as far as I know it still hasn't made any money and lately has been beset by delays. 
SpaceX, Not sure, seems successful but still not clear if its going to be sustainable. 
Solar City, not actually that different from other solar stuff but will likely be sustainable.
Boring company, absolutely nonsense of an idea.  Not digging tunnels but the fantasy that he can some how out perform experts in a field by orders of magnitude.
Hyper-loop, absolute fantasy.  An idea that has been on the drawing boards for over a hundred years.   Performs moderately better than existing alternatives, and will cost at least twice what he thinks it will. 

Suspending tubes between buildings?  You'd still need to build entirely new structures to support these tubes.  They have to deal with Earthquakes, Hurricanes, tornadoes, bad soils, etc.   The infrastructure, as noted by Steve, is enormous in comparison to air travel and probably more than twice the cost of conventional high speed rail, which is also about

By the way, the Grapevine in California is a canyon in the Tehachapi mountains through which a road was built to get from LA to the Central Valley.  The ruggedness of the terrain is not biggest problem with running a train or hyper-loop through it. 

Quote
The Tehachapis are largely the result of the movements of the Garlock Fault, located along the southeastern base of the range, a major transform fault which runs from the San Andreas Fault in the west to the Sierra Nevada Fault on the east and some distance beyond. This earthquake fault is unusual in California in that it is a left-lateral fault — meaning that if one stands facing the fault, the land on the opposite side moves to the left — opposite to most of the state's faults which are right-lateral faults.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: brilligtove on June 04, 2019, 10:01:54 AM
I still think everyone is missing the point with Musk and his ventures. I think he's been trying to build a set of sustainable businesses that can produce the critical components of a moon base (solar power, battery storage, airtight pod-style transportation, rockets, efficient tunnelling...). Assuming he doesn't completely mess up his whole portfolio, I expect him to start a company or consortium working on sealed undersea habitats or similar - something to do with long term terrarium-style life support - in the next couple years.

It's not about the Moon, but Mars. He's has been open for years about all of his ventures being targeted at his ultimate aim of colonizing Mars. He isn't joking when he says he wants to die on Mars.

Fair enough. I think he's going to have to start on the moon, but you're right.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 04, 2019, 11:41:46 AM
I still think everyone is missing the point with Musk and his ventures. I think he's been trying to build a set of sustainable businesses that can produce the critical components of a moon base (solar power, battery storage, airtight pod-style transportation, rockets, efficient tunnelling...). Assuming he doesn't completely mess up his whole portfolio, I expect him to start a company or consortium working on sealed undersea habitats or similar - something to do with long term terrarium-style life support - in the next couple years.

It's not about the Moon, but Mars. He's has been open for years about all of his ventures being targeted at his ultimate aim of colonizing Mars. He isn't joking when he says he wants to die on Mars.

Fair enough. I think he's going to have to start on the moon, but you're right.

He’s never shown any interest in the moon at all.  Everything he does is aimed at Mars.  Will he fail? Probably.  But that’s his goal.

The rest of your analysis is right-on, though; all his ventures are aimed at developing space colonization technology.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on June 04, 2019, 12:31:09 PM
Mars is as good a place as any to be when you're dead. Seems that Musk hasn't any interest in pioneering Mars with his own body.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 04, 2019, 01:26:33 PM
If we ever make monofilament blades that work in the real-world the implications for mining are insane. Tunnelling that takes vast amounts of power and time now? You'd be limited by how fast you can cart the rubble away and shore up the structure. Maybe he's making a long bet on tunnelling tech that depends on materials that don't exist yet.

Or plasma-torch tunneling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: brilligtove on June 04, 2019, 02:14:55 PM
If we ever make monofilament blades that work in the real-world the implications for mining are insane. Tunnelling that takes vast amounts of power and time now? You'd be limited by how fast you can cart the rubble away and shore up the structure. Maybe he's making a long bet on tunnelling tech that depends on materials that don't exist yet.

Or plasma-torch tunneling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I looked into that a while back. There are a lot of really hard problems with plasma mining, and it is super energy intensive. We still need new supermaterials to be able to make it work. :(
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Harry Black on June 04, 2019, 02:50:19 PM
If we ever make monofilament blades that work in the real-world the implications for mining are insane. Tunnelling that takes vast amounts of power and time now? You'd be limited by how fast you can cart the rubble away and shore up the structure. Maybe he's making a long bet on tunnelling tech that depends on materials that don't exist yet.

Or plasma-torch tunneling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I looked into that a while back. There are a lot of really hard problems with plasma mining, and it is super energy intensive. We still need new supermaterials to be able to make it work. :(
Earth is quite rich in energon cubes iirc. We just need to find a way to extract them.
Ironically plasma mining would really help with that.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: stands2reason on June 04, 2019, 04:04:33 PM
Hyperloop makes no sense for individual passenger cars. Of course, Elon Musk is not concerned about naturally-aspirated cars. But cars would still have to be pressurized.

Clearly, the engineers involved already understand this. The Rogues seemingly presented the topic, at least at first, as though partial vacuum hyperloop might be particularly useful by cars.

But, of course they are referring to the Boring Co. prototype idea where the car is parked on an electric rail sled and moved around in a tunnel. At that case, depending on the vacuum, it might be like flying at altitude.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 04, 2019, 04:25:56 PM
If we ever make monofilament blades that work in the real-world the implications for mining are insane. Tunnelling that takes vast amounts of power and time now? You'd be limited by how fast you can cart the rubble away and shore up the structure. Maybe he's making a long bet on tunnelling tech that depends on materials that don't exist yet.

Or plasma-torch tunneling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I looked into that a while back. There are a lot of really hard problems with plasma mining, and it is super energy intensive. We still need new supermaterials to be able to make it work. :(
My understanding is they developed a working and practical system that was used for underground nuclear testing, but once that program ended the system development ended too. It hasn’t been picked up in the private sector because the technology transfer rules made the fees too high.

Private development has never gotten off the ground. Well,  under the ground.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 04, 2019, 07:09:40 PM
Mars is as good a place as any to be when you're dead. Seems that Musk hasn't any interest in pioneering Mars with his own body.

He has repeatedly expressed a desire to colonize Mars himself, saying famously that he wants, “to die on Mars, but not on impact.”
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: arthwollipot on June 04, 2019, 07:37:31 PM
Mars is as good a place as any to be when you're dead. Seems that Musk hasn't any interest in pioneering Mars with his own body.

It ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it's cold as hell.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on June 04, 2019, 07:42:40 PM
Mars is as good a place as any to be when you're dead. Seems that Musk hasn't any interest in pioneering Mars with his own body.

He has repeatedly expressed a desire to colonize Mars himself, saying famously that he wants, “to die on Mars, but not on impact.”

He wants to go first? Or after safety has been established by others? If it's the former, man, that's a weird piece of real estate to risk your life over.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 04, 2019, 08:46:56 PM
Presumably they have to be electric cars. How do combustion engines work in low pressure environments?
I think it could be done but they would need to be supplied with oxygen.

I am always amazed at the Musk fan boys.  He's had one successful venture which he used to see several very optimistic ventures that have mostly been funded by the irrational exuberance of folks with money.  <...snip...>

You don't consider building the best cars on the planet to be a success? Or sending re-supply mission to the ISS and recovering the booster stages for re-use? You seem to think that were it not for "the irrational exuberance of folks with money" his companies would go bankrupt. Yet, it's really not just irrational exuberant folks with money, it's very savvy investors. Having owned two Teslas (the Roadster for 7 years, and now the Model 3 with so-called "enhanced autopilot," which I readily admit is a misleading term) I can say that these cars are mind-blowing, and sell themselves. Yes, as a new start-up Tesla has had difficulties. But the nay-sayers keep predicting Tesla's demise, and every new car model introduced gives them another boost, and another humongous line-up of people dying to get their hands on one. And every Tesla model except the Roadster (where Tesla built only the drive train and not the rolling chassis) gets a 5-star safety rating in every category. They are the safest cars on the road.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 05, 2019, 01:03:01 AM
They are nice cars but extremely expensive.

The "cheapest" model (the model 3) is well over $70k here. If you can actually get one. Add any sort of feature/option and you are rapidly heading towards $100k, and if you want performance option you are north of $110k. This is for their cheaper model.

As for the even more expensive models, they are all pretty much made from unobtainium.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Ah.hell on June 05, 2019, 09:23:07 AM
Daniel,

I don't deny that tesla has made some great cars, unfortunately he doesn't make them fast enough or cheap enough to be a sustainable company.  If I make the best she in the world but it costs 10k to produce and I sell it for 9k, plus my customers currently get a government kick back for buying it.  That is not a shoe company folks would invest in, let alone think was equal in value to Nike. 

Investments in Tesla remain a gamble.  It is a tech start up, not a car company if you judge by the price to earnings ratio. At one point it had greater value than GM, a company that produces more cars in a month than Tesla has at all.  That is irrational.   They may succeed but they may not.   I like many of the things Musk has done, I just think it would be a mistake to invest much in his ventures just yet.  If I had a few grand I could afford to loose, I might take that bet, I won't be betting my kids college fund on it though.


Except for the boring company and hyper-loop, those are stupid and great examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Musk maybe an expert in one field or even two but he's not a civil/transportation engineer. 
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 05, 2019, 02:02:24 PM
Daniel,

I don't deny that tesla has made some great cars, unfortunately he doesn't make them fast enough or cheap enough to be a sustainable company.  If I make the best she in the world but it costs 10k to produce and I sell it for 9k, plus my customers currently get a government kick back for buying it.  That is not a shoe company folks would invest in, let alone think was equal in value to Nike. 

Investments in Tesla remain a gamble.  It is a tech start up, not a car company if you judge by the price to earnings ratio. At one point it had greater value than GM, a company that produces more cars in a month than Tesla has at all.  That is irrational.   They may succeed but they may not.   I like many of the things Musk has done, I just think it would be a mistake to invest much in his ventures just yet.  If I had a few grand I could afford to loose, I might take that bet, I won't be betting my kids college fund on it though.


Except for the boring company and hyper-loop, those are stupid and great examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Musk maybe an expert in one field or even two but he's not a civil/transportation engineer.

He can't make them fast enough because the demand is so high he can't keep up. I wish I could fail that way.

Both Boring Company and Hyper-loop are early stages and he's hired experts in the field (engineers).

And, yes, he is planning to run Hyper-loops in some of the tunnels dug by Boring Company.

He has also shifted from the plan to move cars through the tunnels to giving a priority to people (with bikes and scooters) and, maybe later, cars.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 05, 2019, 02:10:13 PM
He can't make them fast enough because the demand is so high he can't keep up. I wish I could fail that way.

That is not the only reason. It is my understanding that the cars have overcomplicated robot-assembled designs which slow production, create bottlenecks, and limit both scalability of production and economy of scale.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 05, 2019, 02:54:08 PM
He can't make them fast enough because the demand is so high he can't keep up. I wish I could fail that way.

That is not the only reason. It is my understanding that the cars have overcomplicated robot-assembled designs which slow production, create bottlenecks, and limit both scalability of production and economy of scale.

I had heard the same thing. Not sure how accurate or up to date those arguments are.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 05, 2019, 03:21:41 PM
He can't make them fast enough because the demand is so high he can't keep up. I wish I could fail that way.

That is not the only reason. It is my understanding that the cars have overcomplicated robot-assembled designs which slow production, create bottlenecks, and limit both scalability of production and economy of scale.

I had heard the same thing. Not sure how accurate or up to date those arguments are.

If I was in the market for an electric car, I wouldn’t be considering a Tesla (they’re just too over-priced).  I think they’re more of a status symbol.  I’d be waiting for something considerably cheaper.  But really, I can’t justify the expense of an electric car.  I don’t do enough kilometres t make it worth the expense.  Most months, I’d only do 2 kilometres (transporting the dog).  My main private mode of transport is my e-bike, and the times I need to go further I can take it on a train.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Ah.hell on June 05, 2019, 03:33:03 PM
He can't make them fast enough because the demand is so high he can't keep up. I wish I could fail that way.
That's fine, it still shouldn't have a stock value anywhere near one of the worlds biggest car manufactures nor does it say anything about whether he will ever produce enough cars to justify that value.  Its actually quite a silly thing to say as a defense too. IF there were two people a year that wanted to by my hypothetical 10k shoe and I could only make 1 a year that I sold for 9k, nobody would spin that as a good sign for my company.
Quote

Both Boring Company and Hyper-loop are early stages and he's hired experts in the field (engineers).

And, yes, he is planning to run Hyper-loops in some of the tunnels dug by Boring Company.

He has also shifted from the plan to move cars through the tunnels to giving a priority to people (with bikes and scooters) and, maybe later, cars.
No operational* hyper-loop style train will every be built.  If it were almost anyone else who was talking about it, nobody would take it seriously.  I think the SGU actually got this right, it has all of the same challenges as standard rail and the improvement in speed and efficiently will be dwarfed by the increased cost and additional complexity/hazards of a sealed tube under a vacuum. 

The boring company is only stupid because Musk said he could dig tunnels at 10x the speed and half the cost of experts in field, and for some reason this claim was taken seriously.  There's nothing particularly remarkable about the boring company other than its name and the initial claim.   

*Operational,  as in actually moving people between two locations that people want to travel between. 

I don't actually dislike Musk, I very much dislike the cult around him that just seems to ignore the problems with his endeavors. 
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 05, 2019, 04:18:04 PM
Prediction: within the next two years companies like VW will have EV's with similar range and comparable features to Teslas at significantly lower price points. They might not be as sexy as a Tesla, and they might not have quite as many bells and whistles, but they'll have all of the advantages of an existing brick-and-mortar dealership and service network and will start at under 30K.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 05, 2019, 04:37:49 PM
Prediction: within the next two years companies like VW will have EV's with similar range and comparable features to Teslas at significantly lower price points. They might not be as sexy as a Tesla, and they might not have quite as many bells and whistles, but they'll have all of the advantages of an existing brick-and-mortar dealership and service network and will start at under 30K.

Tesla's model 3 was supposed to start at $35k, and if demand wasn't so high, that's probably what it would sell for.

The more cars they make the better they will get at making cars.

VW and the like have a few more years of experience, but Tesla is doing better at this point than Delorean was doing back in the day.

Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on June 05, 2019, 04:55:21 PM
Prediction: within the next two years companies like VW will have EV's with similar range and comparable features to Teslas at significantly lower price points. They might not be as sexy as a Tesla, and they might not have quite as many bells and whistles, but they'll have all of the advantages of an existing brick-and-mortar dealership and service network and will start at under 30K.

Agreed.  I've seen articles talking about how many EVs are slated for '19, '20, '21, etc.

Tesla had a multi-year head start but spent it on this grand drama of 'Can they get their factory running?'  A normal auto manufacturer sets a target then hits their target.  The whole thing's weird and I expect Tesla to wane considerably.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 05, 2019, 05:10:55 PM
Prediction: within the next two years companies like VW will have EV's with similar range and comparable features to Teslas at significantly lower price points. They might not be as sexy as a Tesla, and they might not have quite as many bells and whistles, but they'll have all of the advantages of an existing brick-and-mortar dealership and service network and will start at under 30K.

If I was buying an electric car, I would buy the e-version of the Smart-for-two, which is the model (a 10 year old petrol model) I currently own, which is the right size for me.  The electric version is being introduced into Australia in 2020,  and I’ve seen them in Germany last month, so they’re actually available. 

Whether I actually need one is highly debatable.  I’d probably buy one for a ‘status’ symbol (I’m not particularly interested in ‘status’).

Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Ah.hell on June 05, 2019, 05:46:19 PM
Tesla's model 3 was supposed to start at $35k, and if demand wasn't so high, that's probably what it would sell for.
My understanding is that he would be taking a substantial loss if he sold them for so little. 

That being said, I do think major manufacture's will be selling all electric cars at much lower prices soon and Musk deserves credit for pushing that forward.  I don't think there is much reason to think Tesla will be anything but a premium electric car brand by one of the major manufactures 15 years from now.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 05, 2019, 06:06:01 PM
If the competition leads to better technology and cheaper cars, that's all good.

I'm not that impressed with Elon Musk as a person, and I'd rather tell him to take a break than praise him that much, because it seems like he's either overextending himself or he's too full of himself regardless.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: stands2reason on June 05, 2019, 06:29:02 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvV3nn_de2k
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 05, 2019, 07:58:06 PM
I did not buy my Tesla as a status symbol. I don't give a shit about status. My first electric car was a Zap Xebra. I hate gasoline, and at that time my choices for an electric car were:

1. Try to find a decade-old RAV4EV, very scarce and therefore expensive, and I hate the SUV body style, even though the Rav4 was a small one.

2. Any of several NEVs: Cars limited by law in most states to 25 mph, basically glorified golf carts.

3. A backyard EV conversion. These were using lead-acid batteries at the time, generally had a 20-mile range, and were build on old junker chassis. Often ancient pickup trucks, as the truck bed could be easily loaded with the batteries.

4. The Zap Xebra.

I chose the Xebra. Definitely not a status symbol. But the Xebra was so under-powered it could only make it to 35 mph on level ground, and slowed almost to a stop on a hill in downtown Spokane. With the aftermarket battery pack it had a range of 40 miles to dead empty, which was not far enough to drive to Coeur d'Alene and back.

So I bought a Porsche and paid a guy to convert it to electric but the guy was a crook and pretty much destroyed the car. Then I got on the waiting list for a Nissan Leaf. Nissan lost my order (and many others as well) and when they realized their error, they put me (and the other lost orders) at the end of the line. Then they built my car and lost it. I honestly do not know what that meant. They never explained it. They just told me "We lost your car." I was not the only one this happened to. They finally assigned me a VIN and told me my car was in the port in Portland and was cleared for shipping to my dealer. Several weeks went by and no car was shipped. Then they told me "Oh, no, that's not your car!" Never mind that their own web site said that that VIN was my car. So they took that one away and told me my car was in the port in L.A. but had been exposed to pollen in Japan and was being held at the port for repair. Several more weeks went by and they would not tell me what, if anything, they were doing to keep the batteries in good condition during the extended storage period. Then they told me my car was cleared for shipping. Several weeks after that, which was 5 months after they had originally promised to deliver my car, it was still sitting in L.A. I cancelled my order and bought the Tesla Roadster. I didn't get it for being a sports car, though it was a great, fun car to drive. I bought it because I hate gasoline and it was the only electric car I could get.

It was not a status symbol for me. It was the first fully-capable EV I could buy. I'm sure I would have been happy with the Leaf. But Nissan just kept treating me like a mushroom. Over and over and over again. BTW, they treated my Nissan dealer just as badly.

I fully admit that a Tesla is not a car for a person on a budget. But it is, in my honest opinion, the best car on the road. And as I get older, the badly-named "autopilot" is really a wonderful feature.

I honestly do not care about status. I've never in my life bought anything for the status. If I have any status anywhere, it's that a handful of ho'okeles are willing to put me in the stroker's seat in a canoe.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 05, 2019, 09:02:19 PM
I did not buy my Tesla as a status symbol. I don't give a shit about status. My first electric car was a Zap Xebra. I hate gasoline, and at that time my choices for an electric car were:

1. Try to find a decade-old RAV4EV, very scarce and therefore expensive, and I hate the SUV body style, even though the Rav4 was a small one.

2. Any of several NEVs: Cars limited by law in most states to 25 mph, basically glorified golf carts.

3. A backyard EV conversion. These were using lead-acid batteries at the time, generally had a 20-mile range, and were build on old junker chassis. Often ancient pickup trucks, as the truck bed could be easily loaded with the batteries.

4. The Zap Xebra.

I chose the Xebra. Definitely not a status symbol. But the Xebra was so under-powered it could only make it to 35 mph on level ground, and slowed almost to a stop on a hill in downtown Spokane. With the aftermarket battery pack it had a range of 40 miles to dead empty, which was not far enough to drive to Coeur d'Alene and back.

So I bought a Porsche and paid a guy to convert it to electric but the guy was a crook and pretty much destroyed the car. Then I got on the waiting list for a Nissan Leaf. Nissan lost my order (and many others as well) and when they realized their error, they put me (and the other lost orders) at the end of the line. Then they built my car and lost it. I honestly do not know what that meant. They never explained it. They just told me "We lost your car." I was not the only one this happened to. They finally assigned me a VIN and told me my car was in the port in Portland and was cleared for shipping to my dealer. Several weeks went by and no car was shipped. Then they told me "Oh, no, that's not your car!" Never mind that their own web site said that that VIN was my car. So they took that one away and told me my car was in the port in L.A. but had been exposed to pollen in Japan and was being held at the port for repair. Several more weeks went by and they would not tell me what, if anything, they were doing to keep the batteries in good condition during the extended storage period. Then they told me my car was cleared for shipping. Several weeks after that, which was 5 months after they had originally promised to deliver my car, it was still sitting in L.A. I cancelled my order and bought the Tesla Roadster. I didn't get it for being a sports car, though it was a great, fun car to drive. I bought it because I hate gasoline and it was the only electric car I could get.

It was not a status symbol for me. It was the first fully-capable EV I could buy. I'm sure I would have been happy with the Leaf. But Nissan just kept treating me like a mushroom. Over and over and over again. BTW, they treated my Nissan dealer just as badly.

I fully admit that a Tesla is not a car for a person on a budget. But it is, in my honest opinion, the best car on the road. And as I get older, the badly-named "autopilot" is really a wonderful feature.

I honestly do not care about status. I've never in my life bought anything for the status. If I have any status anywhere, it's that a handful of ho'okeles are willing to put me in the stroker's seat in a canoe.

I’d argue that your efforts to acquire an electric vehicle are indicative of status seeking, if not financial status, then probably environmental status.  In the same way that my consideration of whether I ought to be buying an e-vehicle instead of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine is seeking environmental status.  But currently, I can’t justify buying a new car financially.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Tassie Dave on June 06, 2019, 02:45:45 AM
If I was buying an electric car, I would buy the e-version of the Smart-for-two, which is the model (a 10 year old petrol model).....I’d probably buy one for a ‘status’ symbol (I’m not particularly interested in ‘status’).

A Smart car is a status symbol in Perth?  ??? It is seen as a joke clown car by people over here in my part of the world  ;)
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 06, 2019, 06:19:08 AM
If I was buying an electric car, I would buy the e-version of the Smart-for-two, which is the model (a 10 year old petrol model).....I’d probably buy one for a ‘status’ symbol (I’m not particularly interested in ‘status’).

A Smart car is a status symbol in Perth?  ??? It is seen as a joke clown car by people over here in my part of the world  ;)

Environmental ‘status’ symbol.  It’s got a very low carbon footprint.  Not having a car, in my opinion, would be an even higher status symbol.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 06, 2019, 07:20:25 AM
As long as you use mass transit or Flintstone power rather than take taxis all the time.

Not that humans are that efficient at transporting themselves, but you're unlikely to travel as much on foot/pedals as you would with an engine.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Swagomatic on June 06, 2019, 11:11:50 AM
If I was buying an electric car, I would buy the e-version of the Smart-for-two, which is the model (a 10 year old petrol model).....I’d probably buy one for a ‘status’ symbol (I’m not particularly interested in ‘status’).

A Smart car is a status symbol in Perth?  ??? It is seen as a joke clown car by people over here in my part of the world  ;)

As well as here in Arizona, The "Coal Roller" State.   
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 06, 2019, 01:06:35 PM
I’d argue that your efforts to acquire an electric vehicle are indicative of status seeking, if not financial status, then probably environmental status.

You'd be wrong. Yes, I'm concerned about the environment, but there's a HUGE difference between doing something because you care, and doing something because you want people to think you care. The latter is doing it for status. The former is not. And I honestly hate gasoline. I hate what it does to the environment, but I also hate (perhaps more) the plain gawdawful stink of the filthy disgusting stuff. I hate having to pump the noxious filth. I'd be driving electric even if it was universally regarded as the lowest status there was.

But I do acknowledge that for people on a budget, a recent model used Civic or Corolla is more economical transportation. I also acknowledge that the Tesla Roadster was a show-off car and a rich man's toy. But I bought it because it was the only fully-capable electric car I could get after Nissan fucked me over four separate times in a row and left me pulling out my hair (figuratively speaking). I did not buy it for status. If cars are status symbols, the Model 3 was a step down in status from the Roadster. I am not motivated by status in any of my purchases. I buy the car that has the quality and features I want, not the one that will confer status. There are plenty of cars I could afford that carry much higher status than a Tesla. And a bicycle confers MUCH greater "green cred" than any automobile. If I really wanted environmental status I'd buy a non-motorized trike (since I cannot ride a bike). But I care about my safety more than the environment. And around here a bike or trike is far too scary for me.

And FWIW, the Toyota Prius burns less gasoline and produces less pollution than a gas-powered Smart Car. And carries twice as many people and probably 5 times as much cargo. But the Smart is cheaper.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Tassie Dave on June 06, 2019, 04:00:20 PM
If I was buying an electric car, I would buy the e-version of the Smart-for-two, which is the model (a 10 year old petrol model).....I’d probably buy one for a ‘status’ symbol (I’m not particularly interested in ‘status’).

A Smart car is a status symbol in Perth?  ??? It is seen as a joke clown car by people over here in my part of the world  ;)

As well as here in Arizona, The "Coal Roller" State.

I live in a rural mining area. It's dominated by huge 4x4s.

The only Smart car is driven by the local "Greenie". It doesn't help that he is a very large man in a very small car.  ;)

I only drive a small car myself (A Mazda2). We don't have the infrastructure here (yet) for many electric cars. We are getting 3 plugin points within the next few years. Which still isn't enough. That's 3 within an area that covers half the state (in area) and about 10,000 people.

Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Swagomatic on June 06, 2019, 04:24:29 PM
If I was buying an electric car, I would buy the e-version of the Smart-for-two, which is the model (a 10 year old petrol model).....I’d probably buy one for a ‘status’ symbol (I’m not particularly interested in ‘status’).

A Smart car is a status symbol in Perth?  ??? It is seen as a joke clown car by people over here in my part of the world  ;)

As well as here in Arizona, The "Coal Roller" State.

I live in a rural mining area. It's dominated by huge 4x4s.

The only Smart car is driven by the local "Greenie". It doesn't help that he is a very large man in a very small car.  ;)

I only drive a small car myself (A Mazda2). We don't have the infrastructure here (yet) for many electric cars. We are getting 3 plugin points within the next few years. Which still isn't enough. That's 3 within an area that covers half the state (in area) and about 10,000 people.

Where I live is right in (what used to be) the middle of the desert NW of Phoenix.  About half the people near me are "Winter Cowboys" from the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana.  All pretty nice people, except for certain issues related to Donald Trump and Climate change.  I moved out here about six years ago, because land was cheap, and we wanted room for a horse, etc.  One of my close neighbors is a retired Aussie bull rider.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 06, 2019, 05:04:37 PM
I’d argue that your efforts to acquire an electric vehicle are indicative of status seeking, if not financial status, then probably environmental status.

You'd be wrong. Yes, I'm concerned about the environment, but there's a HUGE difference between doing something because you care, and doing something because you want people to think you care. The latter is doing it for status. The former is not. And I honestly hate gasoline. I hate what it does to the environment, but I also hate (perhaps more) the plain gawdawful stink of the filthy disgusting stuff. I hate having to pump the noxious filth. I'd be driving electric even if it was universally regarded as the lowest status there was.

But I do acknowledge that for people on a budget, a recent model used Civic or Corolla is more economical transportation. I also acknowledge that the Tesla Roadster was a show-off car and a rich man's toy. But I bought it because it was the only fully-capable electric car I could get after Nissan fucked me over four separate times in a row and left me pulling out my hair (figuratively speaking). I did not buy it for status. If cars are status symbols, the Model 3 was a step down in status from the Roadster. I am not motivated by status in any of my purchases. I buy the car that has the quality and features I want, not the one that will confer status. There are plenty of cars I could afford that carry much higher status than a Tesla. And a bicycle confers MUCH greater "green cred" than any automobile. If I really wanted environmental status I'd buy a non-motorized trike (since I cannot ride a bike). But I care about my safety more than the environment. And around here a bike or trike is far too scary for me.

And FWIW, the Toyota Prius burns less gasoline and produces less pollution than a gas-powered Smart Car. And carries twice as many people and probably 5 times as much cargo. But the Smart is cheaper.

I used to own a Prius, and was getting 4.5 litres/100 km.  The Smart-For-2 gets 6 litres/100 km, so you’re right - the Prius does get better fuel consumption.  But the Smart is the right size for my needs.  And it fits into my garage much better, leaving more room for my bikes, which are more convenient to be used.  So if I need to travel locally, I use the bike instead, or the bike plus the train for longer trips, instead of the car, so my petrol consumption has dropped considerably.

Unless you’re recharging your Tesla from electricity generated from renewables, you’re doing not much for the environment.  And any car is a ‘status’ symbol to some extent, indicating that you ‘care,’ or ‘don’t care’ if you drive a very large SUV, which could transport many people, and a large amount of cargo, but usually doesn’t.  On the rare occasions I use the Smart car for transporting the dog, I do get comments from other people asking where they can get one.  The Smart car currently isn’t available in Australia.  They’re being reintroduced next year as the full electric version, and they are already available in Germany.  I’ve seen them.  There’s also a new Leaf being introduced in Australia after August.  The distributor has been phoning me to have a look, but I probably wouldn’t buy one.  It’s too large for my needs.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 06, 2019, 06:17:55 PM
I used to own a Prius, and was getting 4.5 litres/100 km.  The Smart-For-2 gets 6 litres/100 km, so you’re right - the Prius does get better fuel consumption.

I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I get 4.5-5 l/100km from my 12 year old turbo diesel VW Golf with 200,000km on the clock. And it can crank out 180bhp / 400Nm. I can also get 6 l/100km but that's if I decide to drive for fun and use the engine to its performance potential.

Unless you’re recharging your Tesla from electricity generated from renewables, you’re doing not much for the environment.

That's true, although it turns out an electric car is still "greener" even when the electricity itself comes from fossil fuel. They have lower emissions overall, plus the electricity supply is continuing to move towards an increasing proportion of renewables, which means that over the life of an EV, on average its emissions will fall, while an internal combustion engine will still pump the same or more emissions as it ages.

For Tassie dave, well the electricity grid supply there is already 99+% renewable, mostly hydro, some domestic solar PV and eventually a bit of wind power. So the environmental benefits are sizeable for a Tasmanian to switch over to EV. While there may not be much in the way of a charging network there, keep in mind that homes have power outlets as well and this will provide plenty of charging capacity for the vast bulk of driving people do (i.e. commuting).

There’s also a new Leaf being introduced in Australia after August.  The distributor has been phoning me to have a look, but I probably wouldn’t buy one.  It’s too large for my needs.

At present the fundamental problem with EVs is price. They are just too expensive compared to their ICE cousins, e.g. the Hyundai Kona electric is 50-70% more expensive than the equivalent petrol model. That's a heck of a premium. This will change of course as they become more mainstream. It's compounded in Australia as we are some years behind the EV revolution taking place elsewhere.

I am approaching my next car purchase, and I'd love for it to be an EV but the limited models available and the ridiculous prices means it's unlikely to be an EV. But the car after that will probably be an EV as by then I suspect they will have become mainstream.

A big feature that could tip me to an EV far earlier is a feature that has nothing at all to do with driving.

Being able to use the battery (or at least fraction of its capacity) as a domestic storage and backup for our home. I say that because it's getting two things (an EV + a home battery) for the price of one. Home batteries are ridiculously expensive (per kWh of capacity, home batteries cost 4 times what an EV battery does). There is talk of it but nothing has been put into place in real life as yet.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 06, 2019, 06:27:17 PM
Unless your electricity supply is 100% coal based, an EV should have lower emissions. Although of course a big car will use more energy than a small car, so it depends on what exactly you're comparing.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 06, 2019, 06:47:14 PM
Unless your electricity supply is 100% coal based, an EV should have lower emissions. Although of course a big car will use more energy than a small car, so it depends on what exactly you're comparing.

Even a coal based generation has lower CO2 emissions than an internal combustion engine.

Here in California, we're reached the point where we have more solar, wind and other renewables than the power companies can handle, so we should all buy hybrid's and electrics when we replace our cars.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 06, 2019, 07:45:22 PM
I used to own a Prius, and was getting 4.5 litres/100 km.  The Smart-For-2 gets 6 litres/100 km, so you’re right - the Prius does get better fuel consumption.

I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I get 4.5-5 l/100km from my 12 year old turbo diesel VW Golf with 200,000km on the clock. And it can crank out 180bhp / 400Nm. I can also get 6 l/100km but that's if I decide to drive for fun and use the engine to its performance potential.

Unless you’re recharging your Tesla from electricity generated from renewables, you’re doing not much for the environment.

That's true, although it turns out an electric car is still "greener" even when the electricity itself comes from fossil fuel. They have lower emissions overall, plus the electricity supply is continuing to move towards an increasing proportion of renewables, which means that over the life of an EV, on average its emissions will fall, while an internal combustion engine will still pump the same or more emissions as it ages.

For Tassie dave, well the electricity grid supply there is already 99+% renewable, mostly hydro, some domestic solar PV and eventually a bit of wind power. So the environmental benefits are sizeable for a Tasmanian to switch over to EV. While there may not be much in the way of a charging network there, keep in mind that homes have power outlets as well and this will provide plenty of charging capacity for the vast bulk of driving people do (i.e. commuting).

There’s also a new Leaf being introduced in Australia after August.  The distributor has been phoning me to have a look, but I probably wouldn’t buy one.  It’s too large for my needs.

At present the fundamental problem with EVs is price. They are just too expensive compared to their ICE cousins, e.g. the Hyundai Kona electric is 50-70% more expensive than the equivalent petrol model. That's a heck of a premium. This will change of course as they become more mainstream. It's compounded in Australia as we are some years behind the EV revolution taking place elsewhere.

I am approaching my next car purchase, and I'd love for it to be an EV but the limited models available and the ridiculous prices means it's unlikely to be an EV. But the car after that will probably be an EV as by then I suspect they will have become mainstream.

A big feature that could tip me to an EV far earlier is a feature that has nothing at all to do with driving.

Being able to use the battery (or at least fraction of its capacity) as a domestic storage and backup for our home. I say that because it's getting two things (an EV + a home battery) for the price of one. Home batteries are ridiculously expensive (per kWh of capacity, home batteries cost 4 times what an EV battery does). There is talk of it but nothing has been put into place in real life as yet.

You shouldn’t be comparing fuel consumption with a diesel versus a petrol model.  They’re using different fuels.  You’re comparing apples with oranges.

I don’t know whether my poor fuel consumption from the Smart car is due to my using it for very short trips of 2 km, with the engine generally running ‘cold.’

I’m still doubtful whether an electric car is worth it.  Currently I’m doing less than 400 km a year.  Having its battery backup to my solar panel system is a tiny plus, in avoiding rare outages. 
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: arthwollipot on June 06, 2019, 07:50:58 PM
I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I drove a series 1 Prius for years, until it got more expensive to maintain than it was worth. I'd routinely clock around 6.7 l/100k. Now I drive a non-hybrid Honda Jazz. I get 6.1 l/100k.

Mind you, it was a) the first generation of Prius and b) driven a lot at highway speeds because I lived semirurally at the time.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 06, 2019, 08:15:42 PM
I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I drove a series 1 Prius for years, until it got more expensive to maintain than it was worth. I'd routinely clock around 6.7 l/100k. Now I drive a non-hybrid Honda Jazz. I get 6.1 l/100k.

Mind you, it was a) the first generation of Prius and b) driven a lot at highway speeds because I lived semirurally at the time.

We get between 40 and 50 mpg in our Prius.

Our other cars (Civic; Fit; Ultima) get about 30, 25 and 20 mpg, respectively.  We're going to get rid of the Ultima soon.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 06, 2019, 08:34:36 PM
I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I drove a series 1 Prius for years, until it got more expensive to maintain than it was worth. I'd routinely clock around 6.7 l/100k. Now I drive a non-hybrid Honda Jazz. I get 6.1 l/100k.

Mind you, it was a) the first generation of Prius and b) driven a lot at highway speeds because I lived semirurally at the time.

We get between 40 and 50 mpg in our Prius.

Our other cars (Civic; Fit; Ultima) get about 30, 25 and 20 mpg, respectively.  We're going to get rid of the Ultima soon.

When are you Americans going to go on the metric system?  You can’t even get the size of a gallon right, using it as 3.8 litres instead of 4.3 litres.

As an aside, I remember, not particularly fondly, a medical physics lecturer I had back in 1971 who told his unfortunate class that he was going to use the system of measurements we’d be using for our entire professional careers; pounds, inches, gallons...  I took great pleasure when I heard he’d died.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on June 06, 2019, 09:54:31 PM
When are you Americans going to go on the metric system?  You can’t even get the size of a gallon right, using it as 3.8 litres instead of 4.3 litres.

I use Celsius at home for most purposes. I weigh food in grams. I have a metric steel rule, and a metric tape measure now which I use for projects.

When we tried metrication back in the 1970s it was sold to the public poorly and never had a chance I reckon. That's how I remember it, anyway.

This tool is made in USA but is not sold here, as far as I can tell,

https://www.bunnings.com.au/lufkin-600-x-400mm-rafter-and-framing-square_p5660487
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 06, 2019, 11:21:59 PM
When are you Americans going to go on the metric system?  You can’t even get the size of a gallon right, using it as 3.8 litres instead of 4.3 litres.

I use Celsius at home for most purposes. I weigh food in grams. I have a metric steel rule, and a metric tape measure now which I use for projects.

When we tried metrication back in the 1970s it was sold to the public poorly and never had a chance I reckon. That's how I remember it, anyway.

This tool is made in USA but is not sold here, as far as I can tell,

https://www.bunnings.com.au/lufkin-600-x-400mm-rafter-and-framing-square_p5660487

You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.  That’s what happened in Australia when the metric system was introduced.  I remember it as being easy.  Steve, for some inexplicable reason, opposes using Celsius (although apparently it’s not part of the metric system).  It’s idiosyncratic for America not to fall in with most of the rest of the world in not adopting a more rational system of weights and measures.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on June 06, 2019, 11:39:32 PM
When are you Americans going to go on the metric system?  You can’t even get the size of a gallon right, using it as 3.8 litres instead of 4.3 litres.

I use Celsius at home for most purposes. I weigh food in grams. I have a metric steel rule, and a metric tape measure now which I use for projects.

When we tried metrication back in the 1970s it was sold to the public poorly and never had a chance I reckon. That's how I remember it, anyway.

This tool is made in USA but is not sold here, as far as I can tell,

https://www.bunnings.com.au/lufkin-600-x-400mm-rafter-and-framing-square_p5660487

You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.  That’s what happened in Australia when the metric system was introduced.  I remember it as being easy.  Steve, for some inexplicable reason, opposes using Celsius (although apparently it’s not part of the metric system).  It’s idiosyncratic for America not to fall in with most of the rest of the world in not adopting a more rational system of weights and measures.

I agree. To me that's why it failed here. People gave up on it, it should have been mandatory. I remember people were taught how to convert to and from Celsius as if we were supposed to think in Fahrenheit ongoing. I changed to Celsius so I could know what the rest of the world is talking about without thinking about it at all. It was easy.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: arthwollipot on June 06, 2019, 11:48:27 PM
All that being said, buildings still exist that were built before the metric conversion, which is why here in Australia plumbing supplies are measured in units of 2.54cm.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 07, 2019, 12:41:45 AM
I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I drove a series 1 Prius for years, until it got more expensive to maintain than it was worth. I'd routinely clock around 6.7 l/100k. Now I drive a non-hybrid Honda Jazz. I get 6.1 l/100k.

Mind you, it was a) the first generation of Prius and b) driven a lot at highway speeds because I lived semirurally at the time.

We get between 40 and 50 mpg in our Prius.

Our other cars (Civic; Fit; Ultima) get about 30, 25 and 20 mpg, respectively.  We're going to get rid of the Ultima soon.

When are you Americans going to go on the metric system?  You can’t even get the size of a gallon right, using it as 3.8 litres instead of 4.3 litres.

As an aside, I remember, not particularly fondly, a medical physics lecturer I had back in 1971 who told his unfortunate class that he was going to use the system of measurements we’d be using for our entire professional careers; pounds, inches, gallons...  I took great pleasure when I heard he’d died.

I take pleasure in nobody’s death. But if I ever did I know it wouldn’t be over something so petty.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 07, 2019, 12:57:00 AM
I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I drove a series 1 Prius for years, until it got more expensive to maintain than it was worth. I'd routinely clock around 6.7 l/100k. Now I drive a non-hybrid Honda Jazz. I get 6.1 l/100k.

Mind you, it was a) the first generation of Prius and b) driven a lot at highway speeds because I lived semirurally at the time.

We get between 40 and 50 mpg in our Prius.

Our other cars (Civic; Fit; Ultima) get about 30, 25 and 20 mpg, respectively.  We're going to get rid of the Ultima soon.

When are you Americans going to go on the metric system?  You can’t even get the size of a gallon right, using it as 3.8 litres instead of 4.3 litres.

As an aside, I remember, not particularly fondly, a medical physics lecturer I had back in 1971 who told his unfortunate class that he was going to use the system of measurements we’d be using for our entire professional careers; pounds, inches, gallons...  I took great pleasure when I heard he’d died.

I take pleasure in nobody’s death. But if I ever did I know it wouldn’t be over something so petty.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The lecturer in question was one Dr Stanford.  It wasn’t just his devotion to the archaic Imperial System that I detested.  He was also a very prissy Englishman, with a boring lecturing style.  He managed to take a reasonably interesting subject, and make it dead boring, more so than a professor of geography Martin Webb who gave a number of lectures in human biology often using his favourite expression ‘as every schoolboy knows’ to the groans of the entire class.

I’ve also had some very good lecturers including one Dr Bradshaw, who managed to make his lectures on vertebrate adaptation in zoology come to life.  I took a great interest in his later career with his becoming professor and chairman of the department.  Success richly deserved.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Tassie Dave on June 07, 2019, 01:43:53 AM
For Tassie dave, well the electricity grid supply there is already 99+% renewable, mostly hydro, some domestic solar PV and eventually a bit of wind power. So the environmental benefits are sizeable for a Tasmanian to switch over to EV. While there may not be much in the way of a charging network there, keep in mind that homes have power outlets as well and this will provide plenty of charging capacity for the vast bulk of driving people do (i.e. commuting).

We should be 100% within a few years. There are 100s of wind towers going up in the next year that should tip us over the edge. Tassie has more than enough power now to be 100%. Over the wet months we send a lot of excess power into the National Grid. Much more than we take back out during the summer months. Which most years is nothing. We only have to do that because the state government drains the lakes trying to sell more power to the mainland. Then gets caught when we have the occasional dry winter.

The biggest downside for people here going electric is the cost of vehicles. Most people won't buy a Smart car or Prius. They want a nice looking car. The gap between similar sized petrol and electric cars is reducing, but there is still a gap.

Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: avillarrealpouw on June 07, 2019, 08:47:59 AM
I can't believe that nobody has commented on the real craziness of the Hyperloop: making a vacuum tube from rather thin steel with no expansion joints and hundreds of kilometers of length is stupid, stupid, stupid. No matter if you use a near-vacuum or an almost perfect vacuum, the whole idea of a tube that grows or shrinks several tens of meters every day because of temperature changes, and that has to be nearly perfect, with no leaks whatsoever, and that has to be sucked out of air completely (the whole 300 km or so) no matter where a leak has sprung, is just stupid beyond belief.

You can make a tube with expansion joints every few hundreds of meters, with a mixture of concrete and metal layers on the walls, with barriers every kilometer or so that can be closed to isolate any part of the tube that fails, with emergency entry points also every kilometer or so, and you will have your hyperloop for the modest sum of several times the cost of air travel. And I mean "several".
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Skepmic on June 07, 2019, 10:15:53 AM
Someone in 1863 figured out that putting trains in tunnels would be a pretty good public transport system for cities. The Hyperloop seems batshit crazy in comparison. Odd that they spent so much time on this fantasy.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 07, 2019, 11:47:35 AM
... I used to own a Prius, and was getting 4.5 litres/100 km.  The Smart-For-2 gets 6 litres/100 km, so you’re right - the Prius does get better fuel consumption.  But the Smart is the right size for my needs.  And it fits into my garage much better, leaving more room for my bikes, which are more convenient to be used.  So if I need to travel locally, I use the bike instead, or the bike plus the train for longer trips, instead of the car, so my petrol consumption has dropped considerably.

Unless you’re recharging your Tesla from electricity generated from renewables, you’re doing not much for the environment.  And any car is a ‘status’ symbol to some extent, indicating that you ‘care,’ or ‘don’t care’ if you drive a very large SUV, which could transport many people, and a large amount of cargo, but usually doesn’t.  On the rare occasions I use the Smart car for transporting the dog, I do get comments from other people asking where they can get one.  The Smart car currently isn’t available in Australia.  They’re being reintroduced next year as the full electric version, and they are already available in Germany.  I’ve seen them.  There’s also a new Leaf being introduced in Australia after August.  The distributor has been phoning me to have a look, but I probably wouldn’t buy one.  It’s too large for my needs.

You are far greener than I am. I acknowledge that and credit you. Because of the bicycles. The EPA rating for the Smart is way worse than the Prius. It's not your driving habits. It's the very advanced hybrid system in the Prius which allows it to use a very efficient ICE. That ICE has very little torque. The Smart has a much less efficient ICE because it does not have an electric motor for torque as the Prius does.

When I got my first EV (the Zap Xebra) I already lived in Spokane, WA. My electricity came from hydro. Zero carbon, and zero emissions. My Tesla arrived here in Maui about a month ago and is now running on grid electricity from diesel. Later this month the contractor is scheduled to begin the installation of my 32 solar panels and two Powerwalls, after which my Tesla will again be running on clean zero-carbon power. (There will also be 16 panels and one Powerwall for the much smaller cottage.) My renter will still be burning gasoline in her car, but the A/C for both of us will be zero carbon. A/C is the really big energy use here. An extra added benefit will be that both my renter and I will have power during blackouts. The utility here will not buy my excess power, thus the need for the Powerwalls. And I still have an estimated payback time of five years.

I used to own a Prius, and was getting 4.5 litres/100 km.  The Smart-For-2 gets 6 litres/100 km, so you’re right - the Prius does get better fuel consumption.

I'm amazed the Prius and Smart have such lousy fuel consumption.

I get 4.5-5 l/100km from my 12 year old turbo diesel VW Golf with 200,000km on the clock. And it can crank out 180bhp / 400Nm. I can also get 6 l/100km but that's if I decide to drive for fun and use the engine to its performance potential.

The old turbo diesel Golf burns the same amount of fuel as the Prius, but spews out pollution like there's no tomorrow. The Prius is the cleanest gasoline-burning car on the planet.

And the Tesla, of course, has no emissions at all. Even if your electricity comes from the grid, the Tesla has a smaller carbon footprint than any ICE car. And if you live in the PNW (with its hydro) or you have solar panels, then the Tesla is zero carbon. In addition, in many parts of the country you can choose to pay a bit extra for clean electricity.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 07, 2019, 05:59:44 PM
The old turbo diesel Golf burns the same amount of fuel as the Prius, but spews out pollution like there's no tomorrow. The Prius is the cleanest gasoline-burning car on the planet.

Yes I'm aware the diesels are not exactly emissions friendly (although it did meet EU emission standards up to 2008, mine is a pre-dieselgate model). I did some computer tuning work to my car about 18 months back and the level of visible particulate all but disappeared. In its original tune level it would spew out plenty of coal rollin' blackness under hard acceleration. I can't of course see the level of invisible particulate and how that may have changed.

And the Tesla, of course, has no emissions at all. Even if your electricity comes from the grid, the Tesla has a smaller carbon footprint than any ICE car. And if you live in the PNW (with its hydro) or you have solar panels, then the Tesla is zero carbon. In addition, in many parts of the country you can choose to pay a bit extra for clean electricity.

Yes, I made the point earlier about EVs being lower carbon footprint even if the grid supply has a large fossil fuel base, plus that grid supply is getting greener over the car's life as renewable energy sources come on line (including in Hawaii), while an ICE vehicle will have the same or worse emissions over its life since its 100% fossil fuel.

Would I like a suitable EV? For sure. But the model range we have available is lousy, they are double the price of an ICE vehicle and that's a killer. Plus I need a car that can tow a trailer up a steep-ish gravel driveway.

At the moment, the Tesla Model X is about the only EV with such capability sort of available here (most EVs available here at the moment don't permit towing), and in the spec needed for rural location the price for the 5 seat model is $174,114 on the road. Plus insurance. See the problem?
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 07, 2019, 06:20:24 PM
It's getting to the point where, environmentally, we should be worrying more about greenhouse gasses (CO2) rather than other environmental effects (smoke; particulates, etc.)

By that standard, diesel is better than gasoline.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 07, 2019, 06:27:44 PM
It's all bad. Trading one for the other doesn't gain us anything, it just might damage us slightly less.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 07, 2019, 06:30:02 PM
It's all bad. Trading one for the other doesn't gain us anything, it just might damage us slightly less.

CO2 and greenhouse gasses and global warming can kill us all.

Particulate pollution and smog can only kill a few of us.

We're not there yet, but I don't think it won't be long before global warming becomes the only thing.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 07, 2019, 06:43:48 PM
This pollution triage thing got me thinking and I wonder what the forum thinks.

There is a requirement for some California utilities that they purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

This is good, right? Less emission of greenhouse gasses.

Well, environmentalists are pushing to have hydro-electric power not counted as renewable.

Why? Because they don't like the environmental impact of dams.

Personally, I don't like dams very much. I was an avid whitewater rafter/kayaker, and love wild rivers.

But, modern dams are built with fish ladders and other features that mitigate the environmental impact, and the lakes are more beneficial to wildlife than a river.

Plus, less CO2.

So I say, yes, hydro-electric is a renewable energy source and we should use more of it, even if it means damming some of our precious river.

Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 07, 2019, 06:46:02 PM
CO2 and greenhouse gasses and global warming can kill us all.

Particulate pollution and smog can only kill a few of us.

We're not there yet, but I don't think it won't be long before global warming becomes the only thing.

We have to stop using both in the immediate future. There's no reason to transition from petrol engines to diesel engines at this stage. Diesel engines still emit significant amounts of CO2, and there's been a lot of emissions cheating with diesel cars, so we should assume that they're worse than advertised.

I've also noticed environmentalists opposed to hydroelectricity, and it makes even less sense than their opposition to nuclear. Entire countries run off of hydroelectricity, often old infrastructure that can be made significantly more efficient with upgrades and maintenance, without adding more dams. And average rainfall is increasing many places, so it should be even better. If the reservoirs are used optimally.

We shouldn't build dams everywhere, but with dams it's very specific and controllable damage, unlike all fossil fuel power sources that spread various forms of pollution throughout the environment. Once it's built, it's entirely clean. No perpetual emissions, no waste products to find somewhere to store forever. Just need proper regulation as you do with any major projects, to ensure you're not chocking off water to rivers, etc.

We can start discussing which existing clean energy sources to shut down, after we've started producing far more than 100% of our energy from carbon free sources.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Tassie Dave on June 07, 2019, 08:38:59 PM
This pollution triage thing got me thinking and I wonder what the forum thinks.

There is a requirement for some California utilities that they purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

This is good, right? Less emission of greenhouse gasses.

Well, environmentalists are pushing to have hydro-electric power not counted as renewable.

Why? Because they don't like the environmental impact of dams.

Personally, I don't like dams very much. I was an avid whitewater rafter/kayaker, and love wild rivers.

But, modern dams are built with fish ladders and other features that mitigate the environmental impact, and the lakes are more beneficial to wildlife than a river.

Plus, less CO2.

So I say, yes, hydro-electric is a renewable energy source and we should use more of it, even if it means damming some of our precious river.

You have pretty much summed up why I loathe the Tasmanian Greens Party (which was founded on the back of dam protests in the 70s and 80s)

Their opposition to Hydro electric power through the late 70s and onwards held back this state (Tasmania) from being 100% renewables power for decades. We had to use diesel generators and coal powered plants to make up the shortfall for 40 extra years. Crazy  ???
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 07, 2019, 10:18:24 PM
This pollution triage thing got me thinking and I wonder what the forum thinks.

There is a requirement for some California utilities that they purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

This is good, right? Less emission of greenhouse gasses.

Well, environmentalists are pushing to have hydro-electric power not counted as renewable.

Why? Because they don't like the environmental impact of dams.

Personally, I don't like dams very much. I was an avid whitewater rafter/kayaker, and love wild rivers.

But, modern dams are built with fish ladders and other features that mitigate the environmental impact, and the lakes are more beneficial to wildlife than a river.

Plus, less CO2.

So I say, yes, hydro-electric is a renewable energy source and we should use more of it, even if it means damming some of our precious river.

You have pretty much summed up why I loathe the Tasmanian Greens Party (which was founded on the back of dam protests in the 70s and 80s)

Their opposition to Hydro electric power through the late 70s and onwards held back this state (Tasmania) from being 100% renewables power for decades. We had to use diesel generators and coal powered plants to make up the shortfall for 40 extra years. Crazy  ???

You basically sum up why I’d never consider giving the Greens my first preference in elections.  I still haven’t forgiven them for opposing Rudd’s greenhouse gas legislation in 2007, because it wasn’t perfect, which gave us the Coal-ition’s subsequent do-nothing policies for the past 12 years.  And a further 3 years.  Sigh...
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Tassie Dave on June 07, 2019, 11:52:20 PM
This pollution triage thing got me thinking and I wonder what the forum thinks.

There is a requirement for some California utilities that they purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

This is good, right? Less emission of greenhouse gasses.

Well, environmentalists are pushing to have hydro-electric power not counted as renewable.

Why? Because they don't like the environmental impact of dams.

Personally, I don't like dams very much. I was an avid whitewater rafter/kayaker, and love wild rivers.

But, modern dams are built with fish ladders and other features that mitigate the environmental impact, and the lakes are more beneficial to wildlife than a river.

Plus, less CO2.

So I say, yes, hydro-electric is a renewable energy source and we should use more of it, even if it means damming some of our precious river.

You have pretty much summed up why I loathe the Tasmanian Greens Party (which was founded on the back of dam protests in the 70s and 80s)

Their opposition to Hydro electric power through the late 70s and onwards held back this state (Tasmania) from being 100% renewables power for decades. We had to use diesel generators and coal powered plants to make up the shortfall for 40 extra years. Crazy  ???

You basically sum up why I’d never consider giving the Greens my first preference in elections.  I still haven’t forgiven them for opposing Rudd’s greenhouse gas legislation in 2007, because it wasn’t perfect, which gave us the Coal-ition’s subsequent do-nothing policies for the past 12 years.  And a further 3 years.  Sigh...

I vote the Greens dead last at almost every election. They were saved this most recent election, only because The Fraser Anning, One Nation and Palmer (UAP) parties were slightly crazier  ;)

Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 08, 2019, 12:43:07 AM
There are two types of hydro:

There are the very large hydro facilities which are dams fed by natural water courses and in which the water only flows one way, down, to generate electricity. These have been in successful operation for well over a century. It's well proven and efficient technology and has a very long operational life span.

Then there are pumped hydro facilities, which are smaller facilities with two water reservoirs, one at a higher altitude than the other. The water flows down to the lower reservoir to generate power when needed, and when excess power from solar PV and wind turbines is available, the water is pumped back up from the lower to the higher reservoir. It's quite an efficient (good round trip efficiency) form of energy storage, and the scale of the storage is really only a function of the size of the reservoirs. These don't need to be massive like regular hydro electric dams as they really only need to store enough water to generate power for hours to days.

They are far less environmentally intrusive than their larger cousins and they can use existing infrastructure and facilities such as old mine sites, which are perfect for this sort of application. There are already enough such sites for orders of magnitude more power storage than the global economy needs.

This is the hydro of the future - modest sized pumped hydro storage facilities in local regions to firm up power obtained from local solar PV and wind farms.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 08, 2019, 12:49:01 AM
This pollution triage thing got me thinking and I wonder what the forum thinks.

There is a requirement for some California utilities that they purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

This is good, right? Less emission of greenhouse gasses.

Well, environmentalists are pushing to have hydro-electric power not counted as renewable.

Why? Because they don't like the environmental impact of dams.

Personally, I don't like dams very much. I was an avid whitewater rafter/kayaker, and love wild rivers.

But, modern dams are built with fish ladders and other features that mitigate the environmental impact, and the lakes are more beneficial to wildlife than a river.

Plus, less CO2.

So I say, yes, hydro-electric is a renewable energy source and we should use more of it, even if it means damming some of our precious river.

You have pretty much summed up why I loathe the Tasmanian Greens Party (which was founded on the back of dam protests in the 70s and 80s)

Their opposition to Hydro electric power through the late 70s and onwards held back this state (Tasmania) from being 100% renewables power for decades. We had to use diesel generators and coal powered plants to make up the shortfall for 40 extra years. Crazy  ???

You basically sum up why I’d never consider giving the Greens my first preference in elections.  I still haven’t forgiven them for opposing Rudd’s greenhouse gas legislation in 2007, because it wasn’t perfect, which gave us the Coal-ition’s subsequent do-nothing policies for the past 12 years.  And a further 3 years.  Sigh...

I vote the Greens dead last at almost every election. They were saved this most recent election, only because The Fraser Anning, One Nation and Palmer (UAP) parties were slightly crazier  ;)

I generally give them my second preferences, since they’re the 2nd least objectionable of the major/minor political parties.  I give the Coal-ition parties my last preferences on principle.  After that it’s a turkey shoot regarding the micro-/fringe groups.  I allocate preferences more or less randomly, with the exception of Fraser Anning.  Or One Nation.  Or anything with ‘Christian’ in the party name, which automatically go towards the end.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 08, 2019, 12:57:26 AM
There are two types of hydro:

There are the very large hydro facilities which are dams fed by natural water courses and in which the water only flows one way, down, to generate electricity. These have been in successful operation for well over a century. It's well proven and efficient technology and has a very long operational life span.

Then there are pumped hydro facilities, which are smaller facilities with two water reservoirs, one at a higher altitude than the other. The water flows down to the lower reservoir to generate power when needed, and when excess power from solar PV and wind turbines is available, the water is pumped back up from the lower to the higher reservoir. It's quite an efficient (good round trip efficiency) form of energy storage, and the scale of the storage is really only a function of the size of the reservoirs. These don't need to be massive like regular hydro electric dams as they really only need to store enough water to generate power for hours to days.

They are far less environmentally intrusive than their larger cousins and they can use existing infrastructure and facilities such as old mine sites, which are perfect for this sort of application. There are already enough such sites for orders of magnitude more power storage than the global economy needs.

This is the hydro of the future - modest sized pumped hydro storage facilities in local regions to firm up power obtained from local solar PV and wind farms.

There’s the ‘problem’ that large dams might precipitate earthquakes by causing more weight on tectonic plates and increasing strain on the junctions between plates.  That said, earthquakes are inevitable.  The strain must be relieved some time regardless.  The earthquakes would just be occurring earlier.  But it’s like the murderer who can’t excuse his crime by noting that his victim was going to die some time anyhow.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 08, 2019, 02:47:39 AM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 08, 2019, 05:55:44 AM
There’s the ‘problem’ that large dams might precipitate earthquakes by causing more weight on tectonic plates and increasing strain on the junctions between plates.

Err, then don't build them on fault lines....  ;)

As I said, there are orders of magnitude more suitable locations for pumped hydro facilities than the global electricity energy demand. The ability to choose geologically and environmentally suitable sites isn't really a constraint.

e.g. this old flooded open cut gold mine site in Queensland is being converted to a pumped hydro facility. 250MW with 6 hours storage capacity:

(https://reneweconomy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Screen-Shot-2018-07-09-at-10.49.45-am.jpg)

There are sites like this all over the globe.

Here's another, an old copper mine in South Australia, to be converted to a 250MW / 2GWh pumped hydro facility...
https://reneweconomy.com.au/agl-plans-250mw-pumped-hydro-plant-in-south-australia-as-replacement-for-gas-17008/

The investor building it?
A gas company.

and another one in North Queensland, 250MW / 2GWh (8 hours storage):
https://www.genexpower.com.au/project-details.html

Expected life cycle of this facility?
80 years.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 08, 2019, 06:07:13 AM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 08, 2019, 06:16:16 AM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

The US are miles away from such a change. They're not even inching their way to metric. We may not be able to fathom it, and I guess it would take more than a pint sized effort over acres of ground to move the ton of paperwork required. US Letter sized sheets of course...
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 08, 2019, 10:31:17 AM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

I do not think you understand the realities of the U.S. political system at all.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Skepmic on June 08, 2019, 03:57:51 PM
US Letter sized sheets of course...

US letter size is indeed utter madness.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 08, 2019, 04:41:34 PM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

I do not think you understand the realities of the U.S. political system at all.

Yes, I do realise the realities of the U.S.political system.  It’s a symptom of American exceptionalism.  Doing something that doesn’t work, or is suboptimal, and then claiming that it’s best.  Including the health system, education, the system of measurements, the political system, etc.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: Alex Simmons on June 08, 2019, 05:23:17 PM
US Letter sized sheets of course...

US letter size is indeed utter madness.

(click to show/hide)

In another lifetime when I was working in corporate world, I was running a bid response to a tender for service to a local subsidiary of US multinational company. One of the requirements was that all tender responses had to be printed on US Letter paper or they would not be accepted.

It required locating a supplier of such paper and this turned out to be the most difficult part of the tender!
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 08, 2019, 05:59:19 PM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

I do not think you understand the realities of the U.S. political system at all.

Yes, I do realise the realities of the U.S.political system.  It’s a symptom of American exceptionalism.  Doing something that doesn’t work, or is suboptimal, and then claiming that it’s best.  Including the health system, education, the system of measurements, the political system, etc.

No, you don’t understand it at all. It’s not about American exceptionalism at all; we don’t necessarily think our system is better.  The real issue is that we don’t assume that our government knows better.  In fact, we have a deep-seated suspicion of our government that is baked into both our political system and our national ethos: we fear our government far more than we fear inefficiency or suboptimal policy.  This is a fundamental, almost primal aspect of our national character.

When you say “You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it,” you reveal a fundamental lack of understanding.  Perhaps in Australia it is possible for the government to pass such a policy change in the face of public opinion and have people just accept that it knows best and fall in line, but it simply isn’t here.  If the government wants to pass such a policy, it simply has to win hearts and minds first.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 08, 2019, 06:32:35 PM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

I do not think you understand the realities of the U.S. political system at all.

Yes, I do realise the realities of the U.S.political system.  It’s a symptom of American exceptionalism.  Doing something that doesn’t work, or is suboptimal, and then claiming that it’s best.  Including the health system, education, the system of measurements, the political system, etc.

No, you don’t understand it at all. It’s not about American exceptionalism at all; we don’t necessarily think our system is better.  The real issue is that we don’t assume that our government knows better.  In fact, we have a deep-seated suspicion of our government that is baked into both our political system and our national ethos: we fear our government far more than we fear inefficiency or suboptimal policy.  This is a fundamental, almost primal aspect of our national character.

When you say “You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it,” you reveal a fundamental lack of understanding.  Perhaps in Australia it is possible for the government to pass such a policy change in the face of public opinion and have people just accept that it knows best and fall in line, but it simply isn’t here.  If the government wants to pass such a policy, it simply has to win hearts and minds first.

American exceptionalism also includes thinking that the government, or rather the state (since governments come and go, there are very incompetent governments who don’t know and who are generally incompetent - as shown by the Trump administration - the state persists) doesn’t know best.  In Australia, and most other developed countries, the state is responsible for providing vital public services, such as health care, education and public transport.  Any government that interferes with these services almost always suffers electorally.

Australia also has compulsory voting since 1924.  It was also just done.  It also means that the voting rate is very high, and political parties can’t rely on ‘dog whistles’ to get their voting base out (and relying on gerrymanders and discriminatory voting laws to prevent supporters of their opponents from voting - as the Republicans do, denying democracy).
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: CarbShark on June 08, 2019, 08:27:13 PM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

I do not think you understand the realities of the U.S. political system at all.

Yes, I do realise the realities of the U.S.political system.  It’s a symptom of American exceptionalism.  Doing something that doesn’t work, or is suboptimal, and then claiming that it’s best.  Including the health system, education, the system of measurements, the political system, etc.

No, you don’t understand it at all. It’s not about American exceptionalism at all; we don’t necessarily think our system is better.  The real issue is that we don’t assume that our government knows better.  In fact, we have a deep-seated suspicion of our government that is baked into both our political system and our national ethos: we fear our government far more than we fear inefficiency or suboptimal policy.  This is a fundamental, almost primal aspect of our national character.

When you say “You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it,” you reveal a fundamental lack of understanding.  Perhaps in Australia it is possible for the government to pass such a policy change in the face of public opinion and have people just accept that it knows best and fall in line, but it simply isn’t here.  If the government wants to pass such a policy, it simply has to win hearts and minds first.

American exceptionalism also includes thinking that the government, or rather the state (since governments come and go, there are very incompetent governments who don’t know and who are generally incompetent - as shown by the Trump administration - the state persists) doesn’t know best. 


Yeah, another thing is the difference between the US system and Parliamentary system.

Our government doesn't come and go. It's been the same government since 1787.

Different administrations come and go, but they're not free to enact their programmes the way they are in Parliamentary systems.  There are numerous checks and balances built into the system that limit the power of the President, the legislature and the judicial branches.  There is no equivalent to a Prime Minister, and there is no equivalent to a no-confidence vote or new elections when one side has lost the majority.

The bureaucracy is relatively stable, and professional. And all must follow the constitution, which designates who has what power and provides rights to the people and the states.

So, no, we couldn't just do it when it comes to things like going metric or compulsory voting.

We don't give our government that power.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: The Latinist on June 08, 2019, 09:28:47 PM
To be more accurate, our Constitution does explicitly give Congress the power to set a standard of weights and measures. It’s one of the least ambiguous provisions in the document.  So it’s not that Congress doesn’t have the power. The obstacle is one of realpolitik: if people are not sold on it, they won’t accept it, they won’t let it go, and they won’t just obey. And they will vote the people they believe are responsible out of office.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: bachfiend on June 08, 2019, 10:22:12 PM
You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it.

Without public buy-in, such a change will simply not work.

Yes, it would.  Just mandate that goods have to sold in litres, kilograms or grams.  Speed limits in km/hy, distances in km or metres.  Etc.  the same way it was done in Australia 50 years ago.  There was no vote.  It just was done.

I do not think you understand the realities of the U.S. political system at all.

Yes, I do realise the realities of the U.S.political system.  It’s a symptom of American exceptionalism.  Doing something that doesn’t work, or is suboptimal, and then claiming that it’s best.  Including the health system, education, the system of measurements, the political system, etc.

No, you don’t understand it at all. It’s not about American exceptionalism at all; we don’t necessarily think our system is better.  The real issue is that we don’t assume that our government knows better.  In fact, we have a deep-seated suspicion of our government that is baked into both our political system and our national ethos: we fear our government far more than we fear inefficiency or suboptimal policy.  This is a fundamental, almost primal aspect of our national character.

When you say “You don’t ‘sell’ the metric system to the public.  You just do it,” you reveal a fundamental lack of understanding.  Perhaps in Australia it is possible for the government to pass such a policy change in the face of public opinion and have people just accept that it knows best and fall in line, but it simply isn’t here.  If the government wants to pass such a policy, it simply has to win hearts and minds first.

American exceptionalism also includes thinking that the government, or rather the state (since governments come and go, there are very incompetent governments who don’t know and who are generally incompetent - as shown by the Trump administration - the state persists) doesn’t know best. 


Yeah, another thing is the difference between the US system and Parliamentary system.

Our government doesn't come and go. It's been the same government since 1787.

Different administrations come and go, but they're not free to enact their programmes the way they are in Parliamentary systems.  There are numerous checks and balances built into the system that limit the power of the President, the legislature and the judicial branches.  There is no equivalent to a Prime Minister, and there is no equivalent to a no-confidence vote or new elections when one side has lost the majority.

The bureaucracy is relatively stable, and professional. And all must follow the constitution, which designates who has what power and provides rights to the people and the states.

So, no, we couldn't just do it when it comes to things like going metric or compulsory voting.

We don't give our government that power.

Well, no.  America has been the same state since 1787, but has had many different governments with different powers.  It’s bizarre claiming that America has had the same government since 1787 when one president can reverse the previous president by presidential decree, for which there is little congressional oversight.

Your bureaucracy isn’t relatively stable or professional when there’s so many directly appointed by the president as part of the spoils of victory.  At least the Senate has the final say in the  confirmation process with some posts.

Australia’s compulsory voting actually advances democracy, unlike America’s voluntary system.  The Australian Electoral Commission, which runs elections, is independent of politicians, and has decided that since voting is compulsory, then voting should be easy and relatively painless, so there’s adequate numbers of polling centres, with adequate staffing, and voting is on a Saturday, not a workday Tuesday.  And voting can usually be completed in 15 minutes, instead of hours.

Compulsory voting actually takes power away from governments.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: daniel1948 on June 09, 2019, 01:03:50 AM
I believe the U.S. has built just about all the large hydroelectric dams that there's room for. Hydro is by definition a renewable energy source because the rain keeps falling. At least until we fuck up the climate so badly that the rain moves elsewhere.

There is another kind of hydro, though: Micro-hydro is suitable where you have small demand and a steep gradient with water flowing. The wilderness hiking lodges I visited in Canada before moving to Maui all have micro-hydro. They typically either build a weir to capture a small part of the flow of a stream and then run it through a PVC pipe down to a turbine, or they put the intake of the pipe right in a small lake and run that down to the turbine. This is analogous to putting solar panels on your roof (which these places usually do also, though the insolation is less that far north). Environmental impact is small to negligible since they only divert a small amount of the water, for a short distance, and then it goes back into the stream.

The idiocy of environmentalists opposing hydro comes from the same emotionally-driven science denial that has them opposing conventional agriculture and GMOs and amalgam tooth fillings. One of them told me today that Roundup was proven to cause cancer. Nothing I could say could change his mind. He'd read that somewhere and now, for him, it's fact. Yes, hydro has environmental impacts. But far less than burning coal or oil or even natural gas to produce the same amount of electricity. The anti-science fringe of the environmental movement wants a middle-class lifestyle without any of the technology that has made that lifestyle possible.
Title: Re: Episode #725
Post by: 2397 on June 09, 2019, 04:57:29 AM
There are problems with conventional agriculture, but none of them are solved by organic agriculture. They're solved mainly by doing what would be necessary to do to make organic farming viable.