Wishful Thinking

This worldwide health issue has all of our lives disrupted … not because of what is happening now, here but because we have, as a nation, decided to do something to avoid what is a known terrorizing risk.

There is a lot to be learned from all this.  We will begin to think differently about many social constructs that perhaps are silly because they expose us to colds and the flu.  After all, many churches “concentrate” our senior citizen populations and they are the most at risk for the worst medical outcomes.  Many of us stopped shaking hands and hugging in church during the flu season.  Things to think about for sure.

We will also be a bit less cavalier about the fragile segment of our population …  those who are working poor who normally never get much notice here because they just quietly go to work providing many of the goods and services we take for granted … until now.

And, of course, we have those who predate on situations like this.  These are the despicable segments of our society and the world who take advantage of this to profit.

Finally, this also brings out the creativity in society that is refreshing and uplifting … unless it is purely wishful thinking.  An example of this was sent to me yesterday.  And, no, just because it works on avocados does not mean it will work on toilet paper!

Be safe and be wise … we will get through this working together as a nation.




The rest of the story?

I always enjoyed the broadcasts of Paul Harvey on things you and I always took for granted.  I guess, as an engineer, I am a bit suspicious of anyone who tells me there are simple answers to seemingly complex questions.  I guess I intrinsically know there are dimensions to life that are simply unanswerable in simple terms.  I am OK with that, and I hope you are as well.

It is OK to say we don’t know while we seek to know.  I remember the first problems with windmills killing birds and bats which then resulted in more careful siting rules.  Now wind turbines are built so tall and spin with blade tips that are traveling so fast we probably can’t find the shreds of any bird they have hit.  So, do we now know how many birds or bats we kill?

Lately, I have been reading several articles indicating that our largest solar arrays are killing birds because the birds think they are landing on water.  Here is a carefully written article on the subject from a noteworthy source: Scientific American.

Our house has killed several birds because of our large windows that make approaching birds think another bird is in their territory. Years ago we had a bird that would repeatedly strike one of our picture windows at certain times in the morning when it saw its reflection.  It finally killed itself in one of those attempts.

What happens if we deplete a species of bird so much that it becomes environmentally threatened?  Haven’t we seen evidence in the past that snail darters and peregrine falcons can alter the acceptability of power plant sites?

I know, all we need to do is erect a bird proof fence high enough to discourage birds from flying over the solar farms.

Why is it we think we can control nature?


Impossible Pork

Perhaps you have tried the meatless hamburger at Burger King and elsewhere.  I have and it isn’t all that bad … really.  So, I guess I wasn’t surprised to see the same company to introduce a plant-based pork version this month.  And, as you listen to the CEO you can see the plan for a truly diverse meatless array including chicken, fish, and on from there. Listen to David Lee, CEO, Impossible Foods.

It is fascinating to me that we have rushed into this without any long term testing to side effects.  Maybe it is because it is made from plant materials.  But, if a drug company introduced its products with this kind of reckless abandon the lawsuits when something went wrong would bankrupt the company … and perhaps rightfully so.

So, why the rush to adopt the meatless alternative?  It seems to me that it is in part due to the public opinion and advocacy group fever over having an alternative that could have a huge impact on the environment.  They all know cows and pigs and even chickens raised on grain are a huge user of water and are unsustainable as the world population grows. We also can see the consequences of doing nothing on the destruction of the Amazon.

But, my other question is whether “Impossible Pork” is kosher?  Perhaps, given it is plant-based, it should be.  But, if you call it pork and pork is specifically forbidden in the Old Testament, does that make it wrong to eat?  For that matter, a cheeseburger is not kosher either, but would an “Impossible Cheese Burger” be OK?  How can the process of declaring it kosher happen when the Rabbi in charge can’t see how it is made?

Oh, the problems of modern technology!  Oy Vey!

It ain’t over …

Well, those of you with a penchant to follow electric vehicles probably heard the recent news on two fronts.  First, several European nations, most notably Sweden, have vowed to phase out gasoline and diesel automobiles.  While vague at best and in truly questionable reasoning, it is one more example of how public officials promise things to appeal to the masses.

I am sure everyone in those countries would like big incentives to buy one, or better yet, just get one for free.  Never the less, this is extremely newsworthy because automakers are clearly listening.  But, you then have to face the vague timelines here.  Building electric vehicles for a future market is not an easy task.

Perhaps more notable was a news brief that shows Tesla is rolling out its next generation of chargers that will add 75 miles of range in just 5 minutes.  For those of you who do not speak the EV language, that is adding 25 kWh to the battery in just five minutes.  Going back now to most of you who speak electricity, that is 300 kWh an hour making each car the equivalent of a major commercial building.  Charging stations are typically 8 bays and let’s assume that they are not all at this high rate of charge … you still have 2 MW of load … typically right there in the parking lot of a mall.

Read more about it here. 

Nope … that is not going to happen easily on today’s 480 kW transformer station.

Let’s just say that the future of EVs is exciting.  Things are moving in the right direction on many fronts.  Two-wheel EVs (bikes) are certainly going to gain traction in Europe.  They already have motorbikes everywhere there.  Just take a look at our cities with the locust-plagues of two-wheel electric scooters that are popping littering the streets especially around college campuses.  Lots to talk about … lots of questions to consider.

But, rumors of the death of EVs have been greatly exaggerated.