Category Archives: Technology

A Weighty Question, by Eric Peters

Electric car batteries are heavy, which makes them more dangerous in a collision. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Here’s an interesting – a weighty – question:

If “safety” is so important to the government – i.e., to the busybodies in Washington who force us to buy what they think is important – then why don’t they think it’s important to protect us from the consequences of what they’re forcing us to buy?

Such as two-ton-plus electric cars that are a physical threat to other cars – and the people inside them?

A subcompact-sized electric car like the Chevy Bolt – which is only 163.2 inches long – weighs 3,589 pounds. A compact-sized car like the Hyundai Accent – which is 172.6 inches long and so a substantially larger car – weighs 2,679 pounds.

The difference between the two is 910 pounds.

It’s a big difference when a 3,589 pound car pile-drives into a 2,679 pound car. F=ma and all that.

It’s an even bigger difference when an electric half-ton truck like the Ford Lightning – which weighs in at more than three tons – 6,500 pounds – which is  a ton (2,000 pounds) heavier than a non-electric F-150 pick-up – pile-drives into a 2,679 pound compact like the Accent.

Or even another F-150.

Heck, even another Lightning. See that business about F=ma again.

Whatever happened to saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety first?

The more weight rolling around out there, the greater the risk to people who aren’t driving one of these massively heavy potential pile-drivers. Perhaps this is intentional; another way to get rid of cars that aren’t electric – and perhaps some of the people who don’t want them along the way. But the risk is also greater, for everyone.

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Information Is Broken, by Paul Rosenberg

Once upon a time, information purveyors had an economic incentive to make sure the information they purveyed was correct. From Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

Humanity is informed as never before; nothing in the historical record compares. This, unfortunately, is not a particularly good thing.

The provision of information, if it is to bless mankind, must have quality control built into it… it must have a feedback mechanism with teeth. Barring that, it can spiral out of control, as, indeed, it has.

Consider that almost everyone in the modern world is flooded with information. Even the poorest people walk around with phones beeping at them a dozen times per day, delivering little packets of it. And for active people the info-delivery is far greater. Even the delivery devices themselves, smart phones, have become status symbols.

But who is providing all that information, and what price do they pay for delivering bad information?

The previous era of information delivery was dominated by newspapers; they provided most of the information for daily living. And that system, problematic though it could be, had effective feedback mechanisms. Newspaper readers paid for the information they received. And so, if they made bad decisions because of bad information, the newspaper would have a problem on their hands.

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Hardly Able, by Eric Peters

They’re trying to kill love of internal combustion autos. They’ll never kill love of IC motorcycles. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

People who ride motorcycles still care about motorcycles – as opposed to all-too-many-drivers, who view cars as appliances. Who have been conditioned to view them as such.

Evidence of this disparity in attitude comes in the form of what sells – and what doesn’t.

Like electric “motorcycles” – the latter being an absurdity on par with a meatless vegan double “cheeseburger.” Those don’t sell, either. And neither has the Harley LiveWire, which is the electric scooter Harley hilariously thought people who like motorcycles would buy.

To be fair, Harley has sold a few LiveWires. As in 69 of them in the last quarter of 2022. Probably comparable to the number of “plant-based” (i.e., meatless) Impossible Whoppers sold by Burger King. Does anyone bother to wonder why a person who doesn’t want a burger would go to Burger King?

Harley apparently hasn’t thought about essentially the same question. An electric scooter being essentially the same thing (on wheels) as an Impossible Whopper on your plate; i.e., something ersatz. And even that isn’t quite accurate since “ersatz” simply means substitute, as in margarine rather than butter. An electric “motorcycle” – like a meatless “burger” – is a kind of fraud. A thing that wants to be taken for the real thing. 

Motorcycle people won’t abide it. 

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Truth About Tanks: How NATO Lied Its Way to Disaster in Ukraine, by Scott Ritter

Tanks are certainly not the be-all and end-all of modern industrial warfare. From Scott Ritter at unz.com:

Tank warfare has evolved. The large force-on-force armored battles that were the hallmark of much of WWII, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, which served as the foundation of operational doctrine for both NATO and the Soviet Union (and which was implemented in full by the United States during Operation Desert Storm in 1991), has run its course.

Like most military technological innovations, the ability to make a modern main battle tank survivable has been outstripped by the fielding of defensive systems designed to overcome such defenses. If a modern military force attempted to launch a large-scale tank-dominated attack against a well-equipped peer-level opponent armed with modern anti-tank missiles, the result would be a decisive defeat for the attacking party marked by the smoking hulks of burned-out tanks.

Don’t get me wrong: tanks still have a vital role to play on the modern battlefield. Their status as a mobile bunker is invaluable in the kind of meat-grinder conflicts of attrition that have come to define the current stage of large-scale ground combat. Speed and armor still contribute to survivability, and the main gun of a tank remains one of the deadliest weapons on the modern battlefield.

But the modern tank performs best as part of a combined arms team, supported by infantry (mounted and unmounted) and copious amounts of supporting arms (artillery and close air support.) As part of such a team, especially one that is well-trained in the art of close combat, the tank remains an essential weapon of war. However, if operated in isolation, a tank is simply an expensive mobile coffin.

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Why Smart Meters Are Good for Utility Companies, Bad for Consumers by Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D.

The usual suspects are pushing smart meters, which means heavy skepticism is in order. From Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D., at childrenshealthdefense.org:

Proponents of smart meters say the devices promote energy conservation by providing detailed feedback to consumers about their habits, but critics say the technology can be harmful to health and it poses real privacy concerns.

Smart meters — or “advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) installations” — are wireless devices that use radiofrequency (RF) radiation to transmit information about how much water, gas and electricity consumers use to utility companies.

The U.S. rolled out its first smart meters in 2009 when Congress introduced the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

According to the SGIG website, the program “aimed to accelerate the modernization of the nation’s electric transmission and distribution systems.”

In 2015, smart meters got a big push from the Obama administration, which funded the rollout of about 18 million smart meters.

In 2021, U.S. electric utility companies installed more than 111 million smart meters — roughly 88% of the meters were installed in personal residences.

Promoters of the technology argue the meters promote energy conservation because they measure and record electricity usage frequently and provide the data to the utility company and consumer at least once a day, allowing the consumer to get detailed feedback on their energy habits.

However, critics say the technology can be harmful to health, especially for those who experience electromagnetic sensitivity — and especially for children.

They also cite privacy and personal liberty concerns about how utility companies use the data collected by smart meters — and who they share that data with.

‘People unwittingly sleep … on the other side of the wall and get very, very ill’

“Smart meters are a bad idea because they use two-way radiofrequency microwave radiation to send your usage data for electric, gas, water, solar and propane energy,” said Cecelia Doucette, a technology safety educator and the director of Massachusetts for Safe Technology.

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Are You Ready for “Brain Transparency” and AI Reading your Mind? By Igor Chudov

Believe or not, the technology exists. From Igor Chudov at igorchudov.substack.com:

The WEF and “The Battle For Your Brain”

The WEF’s annual meeting in Davos held a very important and exciting seminar discussing “Brain Transparency.” It featured new but working technology that allows scanning of the human brain via wearable devices (no electrodes needed). Such scans allow AI-enabled computers to read and interpret the wearer’s state of mind by instantly understanding recorded brain waves.

The devices they are discussing already exist.

Artificial intelligence systems paired with such devices allow unprecedented insight into the mental and emotional state of the wearer.

The picture above shows a female worker having amorous thoughts about a new male coworker (02:02 in the video). A wearable brain-scanning earpiece instantly notifies the company office about such forbidden desires, which could impair her productivity. The message “INTRA-OFFICE ROMANCES ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN” immediately pops up on her screen, returning her to a productive mindset and reminding her who the boss is.

A cartoonish illustration of such machinery is here:

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Paying People to Not Buy What Sells, by Eric Peters

Nowadays, car company executives figure out what’s selling and what’s not and then make fewer of the former and more of the latter. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

There is so much buyer interest in the Ford Bronco – which isn’t electric – that Ford can’t build enough to meet demand and is actually offering people who ordered one $2,500 store credit to cancel their order in favor of something else.

Some have been waiting more than a year for a Bronco – which Ford revived for the 2021 model year (my review can be found here). It has been a hugely successful vehicle for Ford. It is – clearly – the kind of vehicle lots of people want to buy.

No subsidies – or mandates – needed.

In the old normal, Ford would build more Broncos to meet the market demand for them. The whole point of being in the car business once-upon-a-time being to sell as many vehicles as people wanted to buy. But we live in the New Abnormal. It is characterized by – among other things – the building of vehicles for which there isn’t market demand, because government requires them to be built.

Irrespective of whether they can be sold at a profit.

We all know which vehicles these are.

Two figures will make the point.

The first one is 39,458. This is the number of Mach-e “Mustangs” (my review of this one can be found here) that Ford sold last year (2022). The second number is 94,031. That is the number of Broncos Ford sold during the same time period. In other words, Ford sold more than twice as many Broncos as Mach-e “Mustangs” – and could have sold many more had there been more Broncos to sell.

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Fuel Costs Of Electric Vehicles Overtake Gas-Powered Cars: Study, by Allen Zhong

This is funny, and it’s happening when uptake of electric vehicles is still fairly low. From Allen Zhong at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

The cost to fuel electric vehicles in the United States is higher than gas-powered cars for the first time in 18 months, a consulting company said.

“In Q4 2022, typical mid-priced ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car drivers paid about $11.29 to fuel their vehicles for 100 miles of driving. That cost was around $0.31 cheaper than the amount paid by mid-priced EV drivers charging mostly at home, and over $3 less than the cost borne by comparable EV drivers charging commercially,” Anderson Economic Group (AEG) said in an analysis.

A Tesla Inc. electric vehicle charges at a supercharger station in Redondo Beach, Calif., on Jan. 4, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

However, luxury EVs still enjoy a cost advantage against their gas-powered counterparts.

It costs luxury EV owners $12.4 to drive every 100 miles on average if they charge their cars mostly at home or $15.95 if they charge their cars mostly at commercial charger stations in the 4th quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, the fuel costs for luxury gas-powered cars are $19.96 per 100 miles on average.

AEG is a consulting firm based in Michigan that offers research and consulting in economics, valuation, market analysis, and public policy, according to the company’s website.

The fuel costs in the analysis are based on real-world U.S. driving conditions including the cost of underlying energy, state taxes charged for road maintenance, the cost of operating a pump or charger, and the cost to drive to a fueling station, AEG said.

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EV Competition Finally Produces Results: Ford Cuts Prices on Mustang Mach-E, after Tesla, Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Nissan Cut Prices on their EVs, by Wolf Richter

Now the question is: will anyone make money on their EVs. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

EVs now start at $27,000, about $20,000 below the average new-vehicle transaction price. That’s a good thing all around. Except for stock prices.

Ford announced today that it cut the MSRP of its 2023-model-year Mustang Mach-E, depending on model, by a range from $600 to $5,900, and its extended-battery option by $1,600. This brings the low end of the Mach-E to $45,995, which is just below the average transaction price for all new vehicles of $46,400.

Ford is not cutting prices, and thereby its profit margins, out of the goodness of its heart, but because it’s forced to by competition – and it’s lagging behind. Ford admitted as much: It said the price cuts are designed to keep the Mach-E “competitive in the marketplace.” It said, “We are not going to cede ground to anyone.” The Mach-E was the third-best-selling EV in the US in 2022, after Tesla’s Model Y, and Tesla’s Model 3.

Tesla has gone on a big round of price cuts in January in the US, including for its Model Y, a crossover SUV that competes directly with the Mach-E. Chevrolet cut the prices of its mass-produced EVs, the BOLT and the BOLT EUV. Kia and Hyundai also cut prices on their electric crossover models. Nissan cut the price of its EV.

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The Sound Police, by Eric Peters

Internal combustion engines are noisy, electrical car batteries are not. Suddenly everyone’s interested in noise pollution. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

One of the ways the people who want to punish driving have gone about it is by attacking the burning of gas and the “emitting” of gasses. Another – related – way is by attacking the “emitting” of  . . . noise.

Because guess what kind of car doesn’t make any?

Electric vehicles do produce artificial sounds but these can be turned off. You cannot turn off the sound produced by an engine, which will always make some “noise,” as the sounds made by engines are styled by those who hate engines.

his brings us to New York City – which is of course a city. In other words a place that is noisy by definition even in the absence of vehicles with engines because it is a city – and there are myriad other sources of noise, such as the electric subways, for instance. But never mind them and the obnoxious screeches and clattering sounds they make.

Nor the sounds of obnoxious “street performers,” either.

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