Thursday, March 16, 2023

Will cities give land back to humans from cars?


"But a reliance on cars for work and life is ingrained in the DNA of most American environments, and there has been vigorous pushback. Newly proposed bike lanes have become politically explosive and cities have struggled to formalize once-popular streeteries. Business owners worry that fewer parking spaces means fewer customers. Some warn of gentrification, others of gridlock.

With traffic returning to pre-virus levels — and bringing with it an alarming rise in pedestrian deaths — the future of America’s streets still hangs in the balance."

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The United States has long ago given over its cities to cars.  We need to look to Europe to see how to make cities human-centric again.



Monday, March 13, 2023

City buses will save the day


Today, there’s renewed interest in improving bus service in the U.S., inspired by innovations around the globe. The Brazilian city of Curitiba, which is well known for its innovations in urban planning, set a model in the 1970s when it adopted bus rapid transit – buses that run in dedicated lanes, with streamlined boarding systems and priority at traffic signals.

Curitiba helped popularize bi-articulated buses, which are extra-long with flexible connectors that let the buses bend around corners. These buses, which can carry large numbers of passengers, now are in wide use in Europe, Latin America and Asia. 

Cities across the globe, led by London, have also aggressively expanded contactless payment systems, which speed up the boarding process. Advanced bus systems and new technologies like these flourish in regions where politicians strongly support transit as a public service.

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Buses do not replace cars, they reduce the number of cars needed in a city.  They are cheaper for the rider than owning a car.  If the city sets up a useable system, cities can reduce the severe impact cars have on the air, and the areas dedicated to vehicles.



Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Drowning the world in plastic


An unprecedented rise in plastic pollution has been uncovered by scientists, who have calculated that more than 170tn plastic particles are afloat in the oceans.

They have called for a reduction in the production of plastics, warning that “cleanup is futile” if they continue to be pumped into the environment at the current rate.

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I think what's needed in business today is not first how to make money, but first how to do no harm.  If you CAN make money burying the earth in your product, should you be allowed to?


Thursday, February 23, 2023

Time to switch to a heat pump, Inflation Reduction Act will help!

"Heat pumps’ real climate superpower is their efficiency. Heat pumps today can reach 300% to 400% efficiency or even higher, meaning they’re putting out three to four times as much energy in the form of heat as they’re using in electricity. For a space heater, the theoretical maximum would be 100% efficiency, and the best models today reach around 95% efficiency."




"Beginning in 2023 state programs offer low- and moderate-income households rebates for heat pumps at the point-of-sale, cutting costs of purchase and installation up to $8,000. If home electrical upgrades are needed to integrate new heat pumps, rebates of up to $4,000 are available to households."


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Heat pumps have gotten very efficient, and now with tax incentives and rebates available, it's the time to switch!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

repurposing old electric vehicle batteries


"The idea of repurposing electric vehicle batteries has been around for a while. To work in a car, the batteries need to be able to meet certain standards in terms of capacity and rate of discharge, but that performance declines with use. Even after a battery no longer meets the needs of a car, however, it can still store enough energy to be useful on the electric grid. So it was suggested that grid storage might be an intermediate destination between vehicles and recycling."


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Cool idea!  I hope this works out until some better recycling process comes along.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Using religion to hide wealth


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a nonprofit entity that it controlled have been fined $5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission over accusations that the religious institution failed to properly disclose its investment holdings.

In an order released Tuesday, the SEC alleged that the church illicitly hid its investments and their management behind multiple shell companies from 1997 to 2019. In doing so, it failed to disclose the size of the church’s equity portfolio to the SEC and the public.

The church was concerned that disclosure of the assets in the name of the nonprofit entity, called Ensign Peak Advisors, which manages the church's investments, would lead to negative consequences in light of the size of the church’s portfolio, the SEC said.

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So, perhaps we need to review our rules on religious tax exemptions.


Monday, February 20, 2023

Will Russia ever learn from starting wars?


From the very beginning it was obvious to all that there was no legal basis for Russia to invade Finland. Nikita Krushchev, Russian leader in the 1950s, wrote that “There's some question whether we had any legal or moral right for our actions against Finland. Of course, we didn't have any legal right. As far as morality is concerned, our desire to protect ourselves was ample justification in our own eyes.” [p. 17] Finland had only become an independent nation in 1918, and even then quickly devolved into a civil war that lasted several months. This meant that the fledgling Finnish army was slow to develop. By 1939 there was not much of an army, navy, nor air force. It would be difficult for Finland to find outside help as well, since World War II had just begun, and other potential allies had military and political quagmires of their own.


Russia is in Groundhog Day mode, repeating many of their same mistakes and assumptions from the Winter War against Finland in 1939.  There are many eerie similarities, but suffice it to say that Russia is still willing to upset the world and kill their own for goofy reasons.