Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.
The English love to talk about the weather; when an Englishman meets a friend or acquaintance they could spend a good hour or so discussing the weather.
The thing is, there are so many topics polite Englishmen almost never talk about; feelings, money, politics, religion, and sex to name just a few taboo topics.
The other thing is; we get so much weather in England. American tourists in London can never understand that, no matter how sunny and fine a day it is when they leave their hotel, within a hour it will be pouring with rain.
We English also have many, many interesting words and phrases to describe our weather. Brass Monkeys, Raining Cats and Dogs, A Bit Parky, Chucking It Down, It’s a Scorcher, It’s Just Drizzling, It’s a Bit Damp, Pea Souper, Sea Fret… to quote a few.
English weather is pretty clement, not usually extreme at all. For us 40 degrees Fahrenheit is bloody cold, and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is bloody hot. We don’t often get very strong winds, and even though it rains almost all the time, we don’t often get torrential downpours.
Mostly I like the weather in England, at least from April to September / October I like it here. From October to April it’s bloody awful and everyone in England will have colds, or flu, or even pleurisy. (I’m just recovering from a bout of pneumonia.)
So, if ever you’re in England, expect to be bored spitless by everyone always talking about the damn weather.
And, by the way, no sensible Englishman believes in Climate Change.
Environmentalists are killing the planet, destroying the economy, and stealing your children’s future.
A bunch of rabid environmentalists have forced the British Government to announce that all petrol and diesel cars will be banned from the year 2040. Nobody ever accused rabid environmentalists of being intelligent, or having any common sense. Banning diesel and petrol cars, (or will it be all cars that have exhaust emissions?), has staggering implications that the officials, politicians, and environmentalists haven’t properly thought through.
In Sweden, Volvo has announced that from 2019 all of its new models will be either completely battery powered or hybrid vehicles. There’s a couple of interesting points here. Firstly this move will put a whopping premium on the price of all new Volvo’s. And secondly, hybrid cars still have to have a petrol or diesel engine that will produce nasty polluting exhaust fumes.
Diesel exhausts are killing us all, allegedly.
Across Europe several major cities, (Paris, Madrid, Athens), say that diesel cars will be banned from entering their environs from 2025. The Hell-Hole that is Mexico City has followed suit ~ ha! The mayor of London, Mad Sadiq Khan, wants to ban Petrol and Diesel cars from London by 2050.
These headline grabbing moves will achieve absolutely nothing except to cost consumers and taxpayers trillions of Pounds / Euros / Dollars. Banning diesel and petrol cars in the UK will impose vast costs on drivers for little environmental benefit.
There is no conceivable way that the British electricity generating and distribution systems will ever be able to provide enough power for all those battery powered cars, (and vans and busses, and trucks?). Just where will all the extra power come from? The back of an envelope estimate is that all these electric vehicles will add an extra 30 gigawatts to UK peak demand, and that means we would need 50% more generating capacity. That’s equivalent to another half-dozen huge nuclear power plants like Hinkley Point, or another 20,000 wind turbines, (which only work some of the time). I have no idea how many acres of solar collectors it would take to generate that amount of power, but they don’t work at night, which is when most people will be charging their electric vehicles.
The British Government says it will install a fast charging point every 20 miles on major roads ~ imagine how many holes in the road and road works delays that will mean.
The British Government are also considering slashing the maximum speed on our motorways to 60 mph, and what is that supposed to achieve except more fines from speeding tickets?
This all seems a bit rich considering that the whole man-made global warming agenda has been exposed as nothing more than a massive fraud. The best estimate is that if all the trillions of dollars Obama proposed to spend on his Clean Power Plan to tackle non-existent man-made global warming was actually spent, then global temperatures would perhaps be reduced by 0.057 degrees Fahrenheit ~ one five-hundredth of a degree.
Climate change is a normal, natural, and perpetual process which occurs, and has always occurred, with sublime indifference to man’s puny input. ~ James Delingpole.
There are a few inconvenient truths that politicians and environmentalists would rather the public didn’t wake up to;
- Man-made global warming / catastrophic anthropogenic climate change doesn’t actually exist in any meaningful form ~it’s nothing but a fraud, a massive scam designed to give politicians back control over an increasingly independent populace.
- There is no such thing as completely clean power. Green Energy produces nastier and longer term environmental pollution than does burning fossil fuels. Nuclear Energy is a case in point, look at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Wind turbines have a massively negative impact on the environment, are bad for wildlife, and a blot on the landscape. All batteries are inherently polluting, expensive, and dangerous.
- Switching to electric-powered private transport will require at least a 50% increase in electricity generating capacity in any country that tries it.
- A vast investment in an infrastructure of new charging points to support all these new electric vehicles will be needed.
- Electric vehicles cost a hell of a lot more than an exactly equivalent bike / car / van / truck / bus powered by an internal combustion engine.
- Electric vehicles are less capable, and have a shorter life-span, (about 5 years), before major maintenance is required, (new batteries), than do ‘conventional’ cars, trucks, and busses.
- There aren’t enough qualified mechanics to maintain the huge increase in the number of electric vehicles the politicians propose.
- Disposing of all of the ‘dead’ batteries will require a huge investment in a recycling technology that, as yet, doesn’t actually exist.
- The value of used vehicles powered by petrol and diesel engines will plummet, destroying the economies of the developed world. There is a vast investment in lending to finance vehicle purchases.
- Internal combustion engines don’t have to run on either petrol or diesel fuel. Is a ban on ethanol / methanol / vegetable oil / propane / butane fuelled vehicles also proposed?
- Are politicians also proposing to ban aircraft / railway engines / ships / electricity generators powered by fossil fuels ~ otherwise what’s the point?
- If Politicians think the backlash against Hillary Clinton was an isolated aberration, they’ve got a big surprise in store after all this banning cars crap.
In my life I’ve seen some insane ideas put forward by politicians at the behest of special interest groups, but a total ban on the internal combustion engine running on fossil fuels has got to be maddest thing I’ve ever heard. But then, politicians, special interest groups, and bureaucrats have never been known for putting much thought into anything.
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. ~ Henry Ford
At least I have the personal benefit of being able to totally and completely ignore all this banning petrol and diesel fuelled cars crap. Not only that, because I live in a democracy I can cast my vote in ways designed to discomfort the current crop of lightweight, insane, political pygmies. (And that’s an insult to pygmies and the mentally ill.)
Meanwhile, the Lotus 7 is 60 years old this year. Now that’s a great car.
read about the Seven
Big Brother is watching You.
Sometimes it’s called Political Correctness, and sometimes Equality and Diversity, and sometimes Inclusively, but by whatever name it’s a sickness taking over our society in the name of Human Rights. If you say the wrong thing, if your opinions don’t fit in, if anyone thinks you show disrespect towards minorities, you too could be prosecuted for a hate crime.
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. ~ George Orwell, from 1984.
Along with many, many other UK Institutions All Souls College, Oxford, now has a diversity officer, whose job it is to warn or discipline colleagues who stereotype, show disrespect towards minorities, or create a climate in which an individual might feel their dignity infringed. That sounds a lot like thought police to me.
Campuses that were once havens of free speech are now patrolled and regulated by thought police. Intellectual dishonesty has become a job requirement for University Administrators. ~ Michael Barone.
A woman, 26, appeared in court accused of raping a man, twice. How the hell does that work? How can a woman rape a man? Turns out that the rapist, Katie Brennan, was born a man, but we weren’t initially allowed to know that because of the political correctness surrounding misgendering. To qualify as rape I assume that Katie Brennan still had male genitals at the time of the assault, but we aren’t allowed to know that either. I do know that, for a woman, the transgender Katie Brennan looks like a bloke.
The militant transgender lobby are powerful, and have found natural allies within the left-leaning liberal BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation). Anyone who questions the self-proclaimed ‘rights’ of transgender people will be silenced.
Axe, machete, knife, truck, and bomb attacks all across Europe are responded to by anti-terror squads, even though nobody in the media ever calls these incidents terrorism, and certainly never Islamic religious terrorism. In order to fit in with multiculturalism we are usually told that the attacker comes from somewhere that isn’t on President Trump’s list of banned countries, (until the real story comes out). Even the British Government are keen to push this non-Islamic terrorism line by saying that one in three terror suspects arrested in Britain last year was white. Which means that two-thirds of those arrested in the UK on suspicion of being a terrorist was non-white. Only 10% of the censored UK population is non-white ~ so 10% of our population commit 66% of terrorist attacks. Yet, nobody is ever allowed to say that Islamic extremism is a problem in Great Britain ~ because of Political Correctness.
The term ‘Political Correctness’ has always appalled me, reminding me of Orwell’s ‘Thought Police’ and fascist regimes. ~ Helmut Newton
The thought police are powerful enough to stifle scientific debate, change world politics, and even dictate the car you drive to work. Anyone who dares to challenge the politically correct view that man-made carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic anthropogenic climate change will be labeled a ‘denier’. This is the language of religious intolerance and has nothing to do with science. You know what? The whole man-made global warming industry is a scam, and pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes will have the proponents of global warming going into fits of apoplexy. But respectable scientists never question the man-made global warming mantra because to do so would mean that they never again get published, never get another grant, see their tenure cut off… Question anthropogenic climate change and your career as a scientist is over.
Women can say anything they want to men, or blacks to whites, with impunity. But strong words in the other direction can bring down the wrath of the thought police, as well as punishments… ~ Thomas Sowell
I am English, and I like to think I’m a Gentleman, so there are some things I would never say in public, and there are some opinions which are an anathema to me. However, there are some things I’d like to say, and some thoughts I’d like to think, that I’m not allowed to for fear of running up against the Politically Correct, Diversity Inclusive, Thought Police. I thought we’d spent the last few hundred years working and fighting for freedom of thought and expression.
Maybe not. Maybe I am a prisoner in my own land.
Remember, Big Brother is watching You.
every snowflake is the last of the great individualists
In English, there’s often a new meaning for an old word, it happens every day. Yet, never in my long and interesting life have I seen such a meteoric rise of an all-purpose insult created out of a familiar word, in the way that Snowflake has instantly appeared everywhere. I like snowflakes, real snowflakes that is.
To be clear, a snowflake usually refers to; often a younger person, prone to taking offence, emotionally vulnerable, unable to cope with views that challenge their own, easily distressed when met with rejection, incapable of seeing an opposing point of view, unable to hold a cogent argument, and liable to pointlessly futile demonstrations of anger. In my time I’ve met a hell of a lot of people like that.
Back in the day we had a few other words for those of the snowflake ilk; wazzock, prat, jessie, dil, and many more that are considered extremely politically incorrect today. All in all I quite like snowflake. There, there, don’t cry.
Older snowflakes do exist; for example our own Archbishop of Canterbury, who used a major speech to call President Trump, (and almost everyone else), a Fascist. Oh! Do get a grip Welby. Then there’s loathsome Ken Loach, who used the BAFTA awards ceremony to say the that current UK Government is callous, brutal, and disgraceful. Champagne Socialist is a good insult to Loach the Roach. And, my award for Old Snowflake of the Year goes to that limousine liberal ~ Meryl Streep. In a speech at a New York Gala, mad Meryl seemed to equate President Trump with Hitler, and intimated that Mr. Trump was likely to start a nuclear war. No dear, that was your beloved JFK in 1962. It’s always nice to see the old Buffs again.
When they are not using awards ceremonies to give us unopposed foul-mouthed tirades, or shouting down opponents, or holding pointless marches, snowflakes have their own interesting range of insults. My own political views could easily get me labeled as an old-fashioned, misogynist, racist, war-mongering, climate change denier, and supporter of populist politics. I’ll admit to a couple of those.
My views are mine, and mine alone. Other than I will not usually break the law, I will not be told what to do, and I will not be told what to think. My views are based on things like a lifetime’s study of; hard science, engineering, geography, geology, history, finance, literature, current affairs… My views do not come pre-packaged from the pages of the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the New Statesman, or even the BBC.
Providing that you are polite, I will take care to hear your opinions, and the opinions of anyone else for that matter ~ your opinions tell me many things about you, and that’s interesting. But that’s about as far as it goes. If you think the Earth is flat, the Moon is made of green cheese, and that man-made carbon dioxide is destroying the planet, then that’s interesting too. Those views will tell me that your opinions are mostly misguided, that you don’t know much hard science, and that you need to widen your circle of friends. Have a nice day.
If you regularly use social media like twitter and Facebook, then that tells me a lot about you too. It tells me that your brain is slowly turning to mouldy oatmeal, that you have a lot of ‘friends’ you’ve never actually met, and that you really don’t know anything that’s worth listening to. (Or, maybe you still do, but soon you won’t.) By demographic definition, all regular users of twitter and Facebook are soft snowflakes.
Generally, I find a lot of sound sense in most blogs I read. It takes time and effort to write a decent blog post. It takes a lot of time, effort, and a little money, to maintain a regular, high-quality blog. Any wazzock can write 140 badly worded characters and stick it on twitter. Maybe President Trump is a snowflake too? Anyhow, where I come from trump is just another word for fart.
these views are mine and mine alone
Should You Make Your Next Car A Diesel?
The first thing I need to tell you is that, contrary to everything Governments, Left Leaning Liberal Media, The Green Lobby, and exponents of Man-Made Global Warming have been saying for years, diesel cars are no cleaner and no better for the environment than petrol, (gasoline), engined vehicles. Like so-called renewable energy, all these green lunatics are costing us the Earth banging on about various means of powering a vehicle. Electric cars are not green, the electricity has to come from somewhere.
There is a huge difference between the manufacturer’s official pollution figures, and the amount of nasty stuff diesel cars chuff out in the real world. Volkswagen, (VW), have just reached an agreement to pay $4.3 billion in fines after fiddling the fuel consumption and pollution figures of its vehicles ~ and that’s after agreeing a $14.7 billion settlement to recompense aggrieved VW diesel owners in the USA. In the United Kingdom VW diesel owners are looking for a settlement of £3,000 each for the German car maker’s lies. Respectable scientists even say that diesel cars produce ten times more pollutants than buses and trucks. I don’t believe that either.
Jumping on the anti-diesel bandwagon the mayors of four major cities; Athens, Madrid, Mexico City, and Paris have announced that diesel cars will be banned from entering their towns from 2025. Who gives a damn? These cities are so bad to drive in that you’d have to be mad to take your car into the centre, and come 2025 it can only be worse than today. Banning diesels won’t make these urban areas any better, the exhaust from petrol engines is just as ruinous to your health.
One should never believe anything car manufacturers are car salesmen tell you, because they always lie about everything. For example, in the real world most cars use twice as much fuel as the car makers’ own fuel consumption figures, and some bad and aggressive drivers get terrible fuel consumption. It’s obvious that the more fuel you use, the more pollution you create. And bad, aggressive drivers often end up in accidents, which also create a lot of pollution, and death. Death in car accidents is bad.
However, diesel / compression ignition cars have two major advantages over an exactly comparable car powered by an exactly comparable petrol, (gasoline), engine. Firstly, you get about 50% more miles to the gallon from a diesel engine. Secondly, properly looked after a diesel engine should last for twice as long as the equivalent petrol engine. Longevity is good for the environment as the real pollution of any car should be measured over its dust to dust lifespan.
Right now diesel fuel costs just a few pence / cents more than the same amount of petrol / gasoline. However, you get far more miles from a gallon of diesel than you do from a gallon of petrol / gasoline. Take a new Kia Sportage as an example.
- Petrol / Gasoline 37 miles per gallon (Imperial)
- Diesel 61 miles per gallon (Imperial)
The diesel engined car is perhaps 5% more expensive to buy than the petrol car, and perhaps it’s 5% slower, but one gets about 165% of the mileage from each tank of fuel. Diesels are a lot more fuel efficient than petrol cars. (Don’t actually believe the total fuel consumption figures, most drivers won’t get that in the real world.) So, if you are a higher mileage driver, (more than 6,000 miles a year), or you want to keep your car a long, long time, (100,000 miles plus), then a diesel makes a lot of sense. And, there is always the likelihood that a diesel car will depreciate slightly slower than its petrol engined equivalent, (although with all the controversy over diesel cars this may be a good time to pick up a used bargain).
Except in terms of extreme speed and acceleration there is nothing wrong with the performance of modern diesel-engined cars ~ in fact Audi, (another German manufacturer), has won at Le Mans and other endurance races with a diesel racing car. Bentley’s new diesel SUV, the Bentayga will go from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds and on to 187 mph, mind you, you will pay in excess of £160,000 for the privilege.
So, the bottom line is, would I buy a diesel car? And the answer is maybe. If I expected to do a hell of a lot of miles, take transcontinental road trips, and keep the car a long time, then a diesel wins hands down. But then I don’t live in California smog all the time, and I don’t care one jot about man-made global warming, or inner city pollution.
I would buy a classic SAAB diesel convertible in a New York Second.
these opinions are mine,
and mine alone
Now that autumn is drawing in, there’s nothing much nicer than sitting near a crackling log fire. Cats love being near the warmth, and the flames seem to fascinate the little assassins. Almost every woman you meet will love to curl up in front of a log fire, if you’re lucky right next to you ~ or the cat anyhow. Burning wood is environmentally friendly, (more or less), and it’s a much cheaper and nicer way to heat your living-room than oil or gas.
Well, let me tell you, if you’ve never had a log fire, (or a wood burning stove), then it’s all a lot more complicated than you’d think. First of all do you have a fireplace, or a wood burning stove? Do you even have a chimney? Look outside, are there neatly stacked plies of seasoned firewood?
Start with the basics, and assume that you at least have a fireplace.
When was the last time the fireplace / stove was used, and when was the chimney last swept? Burning wood creates ash, smoke, soot, and tar, which then goes up the chimney, and some of it sticks there. Birds and other creatures nest in chimneys, or on top of chimneys. Dead stuff and other crap falls into chimneys. If in doubt thoroughly clean out the fireplace and chimney, (this should be an annual job anyway). If you’re a useless wimp and in real doubt get some guy to do it for you, (if you have never seen a fall of soot you have no idea how filthy, stinking, dirty that is). If you don’t have a clean chimney some very bad things could happen; the fire may not light, your house may burn down, you may die.
Do you have some firewood? Have you any idea how much seasoned firewood you can get through in one winter ~ even if you only light the fire / stove at weekends? Do you know the difference between hardwood and softwood? Have you ever used an axe, log splitter, saw, chainsaw? Do you own a truck?
We could see that gas was costing us too much money. That’s why we made the choice to go to the wood burner. It’s easy to do. Cutting firewood is putting a little sweat equity into it, is all. ~ Jerry Lambert.
An average sized home could easily get through two cords of wood in a winter, just to heat the lounge in the evenings ~ Jerry Lambert must be one fit actor, or he buys in his firewood by the truck load. I have cut, hauled, split, stacked, and brought firewood into my home ~ and let me tell you it’s hard work requiring some expertise in everything from forestry to using hand tools.
The Finns have a proverb; Judge a man by his firewood. If you can haul enough firewood to heat your lounge in a cold winter, then you’re a real man.
Open log fires can spit sparks onto the hearthrug, burning embers can fall out, and they are quite inefficient, (maybe 10 to 15%). Really, an open log fire is for looks, cooking the odd whole side of lamb, (cooking with wood is by far the best way to do a lot of meat), and for snuggling near in the flickering light, (much better than scented candles).
To actually get some heat into your home by burning wood, what you need is a wood-burning stove. These are heavy, expensive, usually iron or steel, use much less wood for the amount of usable heat you get, and you can also get your hot water and central heating from the thing. Some come with pretty glass doors so you don’t lose the joy of watching the flames, (or you can open the doors while your girl is snuggling with the cat).
If you don’t already have a stove, you may need a professional installer to put the thing in for you ~ or you could start learning some practical skills. One benefit of a wood-burner is that you do not need a working chimney, you can run a steel flue outside of the house. (If you don’t understand that, then you do need a professional installer.)
The choice of stoves is huge, and mostly limited by your wallet.
The last time I built my own place I had a pretty little stove with glass doors in the lounge, and a much bigger, utilitarian, stove in the kitchen for cooking, central heating, and hot water. I also owned 18 acres of woodland, a tractor, and passed my chainsaw certificate. My cat, Pyewacket, loved those stoves, but I was always too damn busy shifting firewood to take his picture sitting next to one.
Burning coal is the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce large amounts of electricity. Unless you happen to live in an underpopulated country that is also blessed with many large lakes, mountains, and rivers, or Iceland.
However, apart from in the industrial powerhouse countries like China, Germany, and India, the idea of burning coal is an anathema to politicians, left-leaning media, and the metropolitan elite. They all
believe profess to believe that burning coal causes global warming, and unless every country in the world stops burning coal we are all going to die / drown / choke / starve.
We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. ~ Hillary Clinton
In that one sentence Hillary Clinton conclusively demonstrated that she is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. Either she in scientifically uneducated, or a liar, or both. She shows that she cares far more for the few fashionable metropolitan elite than for the vast majority of real Americans. She demonstrates that she has no grasp of day-to-day economics, hard science, or industrial strategy.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t like coal or coal miners. Next to coal, the most cost effective way for Britain and America to generate large amounts of electricity is to burn natural gas obtained by fracking.
By the time we get through all of my conditions I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. ~ Hillary Clinton
The really sad thing is that the other candidate for president is probably even worse than the harsh voiced harridan, albeit in different ways.
Where do the proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change think the carbon in that coal came from in the first place? Outer space? (Well actually, it did, but that’s another matter.) It came from the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Plants turn carbon dioxide into more plants, then over millennia that turns into coal.
It’s an inconvenient truth that predictions of doom by the man-made global warming alarmists, like Hillary Clinton, just have not come true.
If anyone bothered to learn some real hard science they would know that the only way mankind can possibly change the Earth’s climate is through all-out and total nuclear war. There is no empirical or hard scientific evidence that burning coal, oil, or gas can ever change the Earth’s climate. There is plenty of empirical and hard scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels in cities causes stinking smog ~ just look at London before the Clean Air Act, and Los Angeles, and any number of cities in China today.
Climate change is a normal, natural, and perpetual process which occurs, and has always occured, with sublime indifference to man’s puny input. ~ James Delingpole
Smog is not climate change. And, the ultimate cause of smog today is cars, buses and trucks. If some of the bone-idle, lazy, and indolent people would get out of their cars once in a while and actually walk places for a change, then there wouldn’t be anything like as much smog either.
Do yourself a favour and stop looking stupid by banging on about non-existent anthropogenic climate change. Learn some hard science, or just take a walk instead.
(By the way, the stuff coming from those ‘chimneys’ in the pictures is steam, not smoke.)
these opinions are mine and mine alone
Electric automobiles have been around since the 19th century, Englishman Thomas Parker built the first production electric car in 1884. The land speed record was held by en electric car until 1900. Not much has changed since The Electric Construction Corporation’s car to today’s Tesla. (Nikola Tesla was a Serbian physicist.)
ALL electric cars have 5 main systems;
- The Vehicle. Since the early days this has standardised around 4 wheels, a chassis, and something to keep the rain off. The modern Tesla is maybe better looking and a hell of a lot more sophisticated than a 19th century dog-cart.
- The Electric Motors. These convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, (and nowadays they also convert mechanical energy back into electrical energy via braking regeneration). Again these are far, far better and more sophisticated than they were in Victorian England, but the basic principle hasn’t changed at all. Electric motors as used in cars have one huge advantage over the internal combustion engine ~ massive torque at low rpm, so no separate gearbox is needed.
- The Control System. Modern methods of controlling the amount of electricity that gets to and from the electric motor / dynamo are light years ahead of how it used to be done, which was basically a variable resistor. The Tesla has computerised Intelligent Motor controllers.
- The Batteries. This is the Achilles Heel of electric cars. Batteries are bulky, heavy, expensive, can burst into flame, and have a limited life. Early electric cars had a lot of damn heavy lead-acid batteries, of exactly the same type as a normal car has at the heart of it’s electrical systems. The Tesla uses a hell of a lot of lithium-ion batteries, of exactly the same type that powers your mobile phone and laptop / tablet…
- The Power Source. Electricity doesn’t appear for free out of thin air, it has to be generated from a primary energy source. For pure electric cars, like the Tesla Model S, this means plugging them into mains electricity to charge the onboard batteries. Hybrid cars also have an onboard internal combustion electricity generator. (Which makes one wonder why all the batteries and other complicated stuff? Why not just connect the petrol engine directly to the wheels? Oh, we’ve done that, it’s called a normal car.)
The Weak Point of any electric car is battery life. This comes in 2 flavours;
- Range. How far can one drive on one battery charge? The Tesla Model S is supposed to do either 230 miles, or 320 miles, on one charge. (Depending on how big a battery you’ve bought.) That’s assuming a constant 55mph, (and that you’re not killing the A/C). Also, charging a battery at a normal plug in socket will take 30 hours. In normal, everyday, long-distance motoring, that’s as much use a cell phone in a lifeboat, in the middle of the Atlantic ~ no damn use at all.
- Total Battery Life. How long will the vastly expensive lithium-ion battery pack last before it’s only so much junk? All batteries have a finite life, so how long will the battery in a Tesla last? If you drive it every day, then my guess is performance will start to fall off, (a lot), after 4 or 5 years. Total usable life? I have no real idea. Hey, I know the theory of making baked Alaska, but any real attempt by me would be just embarrassing. (If you want to be an expert start with Arrhenius’ Law.)
Tesla make great looking, technologically advanced cars, with one huge flaw ~ all batteries eventually die, even sophisticated rechargable batteries die eventually. One day the battery pack in your Tesla will reach the end of its usable life. But the Tesla is a fashionable throw-away product, made for fashionable throwaway people. (It’s also very unethical and environmentally damaging. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is damn difficult. You get toxic waste, not wildflowers.)
I would drive an electric car, if I had to. I would not choose any electric car for a cool road trip. The Tesla is very sexy looking, but it’s got no soul. For the price of a Tesla, I could buy a really cool car instead.
Amidst the latest brouhaha and persecution of ‘climate change deniers’ there’s one good reason I can’t get at all excited about catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, (man-made global warming), and ‘green energy’. The fact is that the Northern Hemisphere is still in the last hurrah of the last ice age.
Some 10,500 years ago, (the blink of an eye in cosmic and geological time), most of the people on Earth lived in Africa because everywhere else was too damn cold. In fact, the last ice age hasn’t yet really ended, so any time in the next few hundred or few thousand years Europe, North America, and Northern Asia could be again covered by sheets of ice miles thick.
Much of the geology of these continents was structured by ice ~the Great Lakes in North America were formed 20,000 years ago as a result of the last period of glaciation. Where I live now was covered by a sheet of ice three miles thick only 10,000 years ago ~ and the ice reached as far south in England as where London is now. As I said 10,000 years is but the blink of an eye in terms of geology and the life-cycle of our sun and the planets.
Agriculture has only existed in England for 6,000 years, because before that it was too cold, so Mesolithic Man lived by hunting. Up until 6,200 years ago, so much of the seas’ waters were locked up in ice on the land that you could walk from what is now Germany to England, without getting your feet wet ~ over a stretch of dry land called Doggerland. Where the English Channel is now used to be part of what is now called the River Rhine.
Ice Ages have come and gone over the last 2.4 billion years, starting with Snowball Earth and the Lower Huronian Ice Age. It is thought that Ice Ages are caused by changes in the Earth’s orbit and the amount by which our planet tilts. Typically, a period of extreme glaciation could happen about every 100,000 years or so, (but can last for up to 200 or 300 million years.) The last one has only being running, (on and off), for around 100 million years. The Earth is now in an interglacial period, so we have a lot more worries over freezing to death than we have over global warming.
May I suggest that you don’t worry too much about global warming, but make certain you know how to cope with a hell of a lot of snow and ice.
Am I the only one who thinks that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help combat the Zika virus is a terrible idea?
Not quite. Local residents have launched a campaign to stop the release of these mutant bugs on the grounds that this kind of idiocy almost always has catastrophic unintended consequences. It seems a British company, (Oxitec), has programmed a strain of male Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to only have offspring which will die before they reach breeding age. Seems to me that these British scientists don’t know much about these nasty little critters. One obvious snag is there are just so many of these insects and they have such a fast life cycle. What’s worse is that these GM bugs have not undergone proper testing ~ the Florida Keys release is by way of a very large-scale test.
Another snag is that disease carrying mosquitoes are not just in Florida. If you believe in global warming they are also going to be a problem in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and California. And, just do not even think of going anywhere south of the Mexican border.
The US Food and Drug Administration loves to approve GM organisms which haven’t been thoroughly tested, and without understanding what the long-term effects are going to be. Why is that? Money or hubris?
Female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, (females are the dangerous, blood-sucking, ones), mate in a swarming cloud of males, and can lay a clutch of 100 or so eggs on a damp surface near stagnant water. The malarial mosquito was just about eliminated worldwide by DDT, (now banned), and completely eliminated in Panama during the building of the canal by eradicating the open, still water, on which the larvae depend. (Spraying water with oil works well…)
The disastrous results of previous animal releases still blight the world. Just ask the Australians what they think of bullfrogs and rabbits. Or the more enlightened New Zealanders what they think about cats. Come to that haven’t the Oxitec people ever seen Jurassic Park?
Three outcomes are likely from this release, none of them good;
- This GM mosquito technique will cost a fortune and won’t work at all.
- The genetically modified Aedes Aegypti will mutate into something else.
- This will work, the Aedes Aegypti will die out and something even nastier will take their place, (the Asian tiger mosquito, for example).
Man has a habit of doing things because they are possible, and not because they are such a good idea. Nature has a habit of finding a way to exploit man’s best intentions.
You don’t need to be Einstein to see that this is all going to end in tears.