Cars Are the Problem

When I was young, a friend of  the family said  to me “if you could see  the pollution a car makes, they would be illegal”. I was pretty young and this perhaps in the mid-1970s.  The friend was an old Cajun carpenter (not some sort of scientist)  who was doing some work on the house for my father.  I’m not sure what our conversation was, about but for  some reason it stuck with me.  I suppose I seldom, if ever, heard people criticizing cars, especially in those days.  From The New Republic:

The Modern Automobile Must Die

If we want to solve climate change, there’s no other option.

I assume they mean petroleum powered cars and not electrics.  From the article:

In 2010, a NASA study declared that automobiles were officially the largest net contributor of climate change pollution in the world. “Cars, buses, and trucks release pollutants and greenhouse gases that promote warming, while emitting few aerosols that counteract it,” the study read. “In contrast, the industrial and power sectors release many of the same gases—with a larger contribution to [warming]—but they also emit sulfates and other aerosols that cause cooling by reflecting light and altering clouds.”

In other words, the power generation sector may have emitted the most greenhouse gases in total. But it also released so many sulfates and cooling aerosols that the net impact was less than the automobile industry, according to NASA.


My Tesla 3 Charging Experience

The big deal with EVs is charging.  We ordered a T3 and sprung for the extended range, something we haven’t regretted.  But we have been through several phases when it comes to charging.

First, this was intended to be my wife’s car and not for a daily commute.  We figured we could get by on 110V in out garage.  That added about 4 or 5 miles of range per hour of charging.  Basically you keep it plugged in all night and whenever you are home.  Also, the plug wasn’t in a convenient spot, so we had an extension cord and you would have to step over it.  Not terrible, but not ideal, either.

We decided to supplement this with ChargePoint, a commercial charger that happened to have chargers in the garage where I parked for work.  For $25 for 4 months you got unlimited charging.  The plan was that I would take the wife’s car once a week or so and top it off.  And I would even get a better parking place out of the deal.

The ChargePoint gave 24 miles of range per hour of charge. Which was awesome compared to our garage 110V plug.  For a while this was ok.  Then I began talking to a friend at work with an older Model S who had a charger put in at his house.  Required extra wiring but he was getting (I forget exactly) but something way better than ChargePoint, which surprised me.  I (secretly) wanted one, but wasn’t keen on the expense.

Our daughter was going to college about 100 miles away and this put the Tesla 3 just out of range for a round trip.  We figured we could use ChargePoint there to get a small boost to make sure we got home.  The first time we found a sad little charger at a library that gave us enough of a boost after an hour or two to get us home without the dreaded Range Anxiety.

The next trip we found a charger at a Hilton across from where we were having dinner.  We were Hilton Honors members and the desk clerk let us charge up, even though we weren’t guests for that night.

It was a revelation.

I could watch the T3 charge on the app while we had lunch.  Almost a mile a minute.  By the time we were done with lunch we were almost topped off.  I knew there was no going back.

We got home and I called the electrician who did my pal’s Model S charger.  Our electric service came in on the other side of the house and we would have to run a new wire up to the attic across to the other side of house, back down and into the garage.  It was gonna be about $2k, but there were some rebates from the power company involved.   We went for it.  One of the best purchases I have ever made.  We get about 45 miles of range for every hour of charge.

It has totally changed the way we used the Tesla.  No more worrying in the back of my mind about scheduling the next charge.  It is now (literally) more convenient than a regular car, since you don’t have to go to the gas station and fill up.  A few times a week, just grab the charger (which is about two feet from the charge port of the car) and plug it in.

On two other recent trips (Waco to the north and San Marcos to the south) we checked out the Superchargers.  These are crazy fast.  Over 100 miles of charge per hour of plug in.  I would count on these for a longer road trip, with a bit of planning, of course.

All in all we really like the T3. I would say having a fast home charger makes a big difference, convenience-wise, but chargers outside of the home are still a good option.



Deer in Pool

I was sitting on the couch talking to my wife and daughter when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, in the yard.  I thought it was a dog at first, but the back yard is fenced in.  Then I realized it was a baby deer!  We have lots of deer in this neighborhood and have seen a few babies recently.  Probably just squeezed through the bars in the iron fence out back.  Before I could say anything he scampered toward the pool.  I figured he wanted a drink, but he dove right in.  Maybe he does this all the time.

Paul Allen

Not even going to apologize for another obit.  Not as good as I expected, but worth a read for anyone interested in that era in computing.  Nothing about their falling out or about Paul’s very private personal life (he deserves his privacy as much, maybe more than anyone).  I admit that I never realized Paul Allen and Bill Gates were high school friends.

Bill Gates’ Amazing Tribute to Paul Allen–With Rare Photos From His Private Collection

Facebook Eavesdropping

I have had this experience a few times and it put me off of using Facebook completely.  Occasionally I would mention something (not emailed it googled, just mentioned out loud) and I would get an add for the product described.  I did figure if Facebook was literally listening to my mobile phone mic someone would have found out about it.

A friend suggested an experiment: say an obscure, but random word a few times in conversation and see if Facebook reacts.  I’m tried; it didn’t.

A recent article from USA Today describes how Facebook does this.  While it doesnt actually eavesdrop  on you, it does something maybe even creepier.

Is Facebook listening to me? Why those ads appear after you talk about things