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The Boiling Desert

Record temperatures in Kuwait

  • The Middle East will become unlivably hot
  • There are ways to green the desert, and create a cooler climate
  • Solar resources are such that this is a economically viable solution
  • CO2 sequestration potential is huge, same situation as in Chile

Today temperatures in Kuwait are up to 54 degrees Celsius. This is unbearably hot. The country is dry and sandy, wich was once different, long ago, when the oil deposits where formed. Then it was a tropical place with swamps where plants sank into capturing Carbon from the atmosphere and storing it. Enormous amounts of it for millions of years.

In those days it was hot as well, up to 12 degrees hotter. This means that even though Kuwait is a desert, and neighbouring Saudi Arabia is as well, it doesn’t have to be. It’s a matter of adding water. Of course the crust of the Earth has moved around and opened and closed water bodies and changed winds, but if we lool at the Saudi peninsula we can cleary see how the winds blow, over it, and we can see where we would have to inject water to cause more rains, more plants to grow, trees, to cool the air and remove CO2. The potential is there.

Water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the hotter it gets, the more water vapour, the hotter it will get

Maybe we should focus on regions where it is easy to plant and grow trees first. India is planting trees en masse, it is one of those things nature doesn’t do too efficiently by itself, just like shaping the landscape to catch water. A tree seed is a lottery ticket for the species, it might become viable and grow into a new member. Every apple has 8 or so seeds that can grow in a new apple tree, look at the exponential factor that would be in place 1 tree, maybe 20 apples per year, 8 seeds, that’s 160 new trees every year, after year 5 you get 160 x 160 new trees every year, after another 5 160 x 160 x 160 = 4.096.000 trees, and 5 years later 655.360.000.

India plants 50 million trees 

in one day

“In December, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares

Desalination as we reported on it is making quick strides in becoming less complicated or expensive, less energy intensive. Ionic desalination can be delived in a long lasting installation that uses only a fraction of now common RO desalination plants, and it can run on solar heat or electricity. In humid climates water is in the air, the only trick is to get it out. This can be done by solar electric cooling mechanisms, some of which are also highly durable (say a panel and a peltier element, or some kind of ammonia filled heat pump).

Death valley, until today the place with the hottest temps on record..no longer! Here during a flash flood, that does not permeate the ground (see this post)

In the desert the material for larg scale structures like channels or aquaducts is readily available : sand. No need for cement when you have TerraWatts of solar energy pounding down from the sky. Lots of power to run electric devices that do whatever is necessary. Even brine water as found in the Dead Sea is a rich source of energy, and energy can be used to irrigate, desalinate, plant and manage new life. The formula for loss of life today is largely “We added human technology” but this same method can reverse the trends. Technology combined with renewables can make the planet green again, robots that plant, dig, manage crops. Its done in the fossil fertized intensive farming industry, but why not use the tools to do the same without the intention to harvest?

Assuming that regional warming will make cities uninhabitable requires the assumption of no action at al

The use of the 80’s invention called the Saltwater Greenhouse, if kept out of the impractical hands of big investors and into that of smart entrepeneurs, can mean more food, more crops, more green stuff growing while also delivering more fresh water for plants growing outside. The art will be to use the available resources, try to create cascading (positive effects).


The art of water allocation, counted by the minute..

“Using the normal measure of temperature, the study shows 45C would become the usual summer maximum in Gulf cities, with 60C being seen in places like Kuwait City in some years.” (by 2070)

With the application of available technologies, including that of making solar grade silicon for panels using solar heat, the Middle East can turn itself green, removing considerable amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere in the process.

Deadly heatwaves predicted in the Gulf States

Persian Gulf Would Experience Deadly Heat

Sensible Temperature Reaches 165 Farenheit in Iran

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How to Not Be The Asshole

Elon Musk thrills this morning by publishing his “Master plan part deux” to build an electric truck and passenger bus, and working to make it possible to share your Tesla to increase its utility (and cut emissions from taxi’s and other modes of transport). He shows us that you can drive towards a new world by creating it. Other companies are doing the same, we listed some that make electric trucks or work on it already. Tesla is not the only company with a mind to bring about the advent of sustainable energy, but there could be a lot more.

How does Elon do this? He focusses on what he wants to achieve, then relentlessly works to achieve it. He chooses his goals so he can care as a person for its succes.

In general we see a division in society between the ones that want quick wins from actions that support the fossil/banking system, and ones that struggle against the pro fossil media and smears and frankly open attacks to bring about things that will make us healthier, strongers, safer, more peacefull. These people, with Donald Trump as a prime example, are the assholes of this world.

You can sit by a buffet and wait until you get your shrimp cocktail, or you can go out in the field and sow and harvest the grains you turn into bread. Many interpret that as being either on top or at the bottom of the food chain. We wonder whether eating meat makes this feeling stronger, this preditory fantasy. The fact is, if you are waiting for shrimp you are dealing with a catering service (banks/fossil fuel companies) that will not be able to keep serving shrimp. The fossil/banking system will deplete shrimp, and all other foods, because they destroy the habitat of shrimp, quite literally. This fossil fuel economy is like fireworks, amazing when it happens, until it stops happening.

Don’t be the asshole that waits for the shrimps, or champagne, or at least not all the time. Spend some time replacing the fossil fuel system, give support to people that try to, give a voice to the opportunities of renewables and sustainability. Work to achieve a better world, not a world tagged with ‘economic growth’. You don’t have to work for anyone if you work for a world in which there is abundance of life and resources. You don’t have to fight and kill anyone if you work for a world where people don’t feel abused or lacking of resources. Don’t hate others, they are in the same perdicament as you. Cooperate with them because renewables can bring much more wealth than fossil fuels ever could.

Being green is not about being weak or lax or lazy, in fact it is harder than using fossil fuels. It takes more attention, although renewable products like solar panels are becoming more and more plug and play products (also because of Solar City). This is because at least right now, with renewables, you are asked to take control. You have to have an idea where you going, like no more power bill, or no more gas bill, or more trees in the street so it is cooler in the summer.

How to not be an asshole? Have a vision of cooperation and support while being strong yourself, not one filled with foes, imagining yourself to be weak and vulnerable. Renewables can give you that strength and autonomy, that is why we promote renewables and renewable technology.

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Drone Boats


Nicola Tesla demonstrated a radio controlled boat about a century ago..

Flying drones now come in all shapes and sizes, from quadcopters to high altitude planes. On land drone cars and robots have also been build. We have an interest in water drones, autonomous ships, as this allows us to work on ecorestoration for the oceans in remote places.

A number of system already exist. The biggest differentiator is the intention and budget of the projects in question. DARPA and the Pentagon have been working on AI/autonomous devices for decades now. It would be shamefull if they had not already combined the available tech.

A home grown project that aims to cross the pacific is a bit more heroic. It also shows it can be done on a shoestring budget.

Another project similar to the above is

At the university of Delft students constructed a solar hydrofoil boat, which not only runs on solar but can travel at hydrofoil speeds and efficiency. Visibly carrying at least 70 kg at considerable speed.

We are building an autonomous boat just to see if we can and to create a cheap platform for oceanic applications. We think we need the folloing features :

  1. GPS
  2. Compass
  3. Radio contro
    1. LoRa
    2. GSM?
  4. A computer on board
  5. Ability to control servos
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The Carbon Credit System Responds (with a Threat)

If you would read that the prime minister of Canada is now the PM of England, and will go to Canada to talk business you’d wonder how the hell that was possible. Don’t leaders have to be from their own soil to have authority? Mark Carney doesn’t attract such responses, even though he is part of a system that is more powerfull than parliament, the banking system. In it he switched jobs from Bank of Canada governor to Bank of England governor. As if there where no nations really.

Banks are our governments. They control the amount of money we have, our behaviour, in response to the availability of fossil resources.

The banks are powerfull, we know it because they seem to dictate a lot of what happens, they are after all the managers of our economies, and our economies are holy. We have written about what banks really represent : They represent our access to fossil fuels, also our ability to organize. The access to fossil fuels aspect we call it’s membership of the carboncredit system, because money is carbon credit. You can only buy oil in Dollars, you constantly need more Dollars, Euro, Yen to keep going, because most things you or manufactureres of what you need do requires fossil fuels. Those fuels get burned and evaporate (H2O and CO2) and then we need more money.

In a fossil fuel economy we need to find money time and time again because we spend it on fuel, which we burn.

The role of the banks has been to manage the amount of money that can be spend on fossil fuels (directly or indirectly) so that prices remain stabile. It is easy to see this is the case, because if a bank loans you $1 billion and the gas station has no fuel or there is no gas or coal, your billion will not be worth anything. Nothing will be for sale. On the other hand, if you are loaned $100 and there is plenty of fuel for sale you will find prices of everything will be very low, as all fuel suppliers compete for the same $100. The beauty of this system is that 1. The price of fuel says nothing about how much is available. 2. The banks can tell you stories about ‘weak economy’ or ‘bullish prospects’ and control how much money you have, while you think they, like you respond to external circumstances. The means of exchange (money) has become the means of control.

To maintain price stability the amount of money we can spend and the amount of resources available need to be carefully matched, most importantly the amount of fossil fuels. Price stability means steady incomes, no contract renegotiations or failures.

Recently the carboncredit system has gotten some pressure from divest movements. Divesting from fossil fuel companies will not shut fossil fuel down. This is because to drill for oil you do not need money, you need fossil fuels. If from the start of the oil era there had been no money, dollars, there would still have been an oil boom, because you drill using diesel powered machines, not money powered machines. This independence of the credit system makes the fossil industry so damn powerfull. They decide what they do. If a bank or investor divests it really doesn’t have any effect on them. Imagine what happens when Shell comes to you and says “Hey, we need your truck for this drilling job, if we are done we pay you with 1000 barrels of oil”. Would you say yes? Did they need money?

You can drill oil without money, you can pay for everything in oil

The banking part of the carboncredit system does suffer from divestment movements, because it reduces their control (which was more or less voluntarily to begin with), and loss of control over the fossil fuel industry means loss of control over everything. Renewables are also undermining that control, we strongly advocate for more renewables, because they reduce cashflow, which means banks earn less and become less influentual. But banks need to respond to the divestment threat. It is real because renewables are slowly becoming cheaper than fossil alternatives, so that even in a system where the money supply is geared to the fossil fuel supply, and prices of energy are thus zero (if you supply credit to the system so that peopel can buy fuel the cost to the people is zero) renewables become preferred. This slippage of the carboncredit system is a serious threat to banking and we welcome it.

“The thing that keeps central bankers up at night is the sort of sudden change in risk. We saw that in 2007- 2008,” he said. “We’ve had risk of that in recent years and we don’t want to have one around climate.” (source)

Mark Carney want to avoid ‘risk around climate’. He does not aknowledge that banks are this risk. They banks that keep investing and promoting fossil fuel use through driving expansion of the economy. What assets is he talking about, coal fired power plants? Gas power plants? Grid infrastructure? Kerkosine airtraffic? He frames the situation in the usual powerless way..

Climate change is what Carney called the “tragedy of the horizon,” an allusion to the classic environmental economic problem the “tragedy of the commons,” but amplified because the impacts of climate change will be felt by future generations.

Of course this is a perfect way to suggest we wait until we arrive at the horizon, which we never will. This is necessary because Carneys banking system only works if it can create credit that can be used to buy resources that can allow one to manufacture, transport in other words, fossil fuels. Carney basically rings the canadian bell wondering if the tarsand oil will keep flowing, if the UK will get access to the trees for its power plants, fracking gas, so the Bank of England can keep creating Pounds that can buy stuff made with that energy.

“because the impacts of climate change will be felt by future generations” Wake up Carney!

In Canada in the mean time we find Trudeau who seems to have a green splinter in his finger, he and Obama seem to make a green front. Renewables are taking over the conservative states, they are adding to the wealth in the US, they are becoming a lobbying force to recon with. You can live a healthy and prosperous life in the US without ever being a lakey of the fossil fuel industry. As a result the banking industry also loses it’s influence. Their gatekeeper role in the distribution of energy, and thus productive power is waning.

The moment renewable energy sources can be made by a production chain that only uses renewable energy sources the banks are no longer relevant. Lets call this the RoboEconomic Singularity.

The thing Carney worries about the most is the independence of the production of renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines from bank credit. This is largely prevented by still huge land costs, and the fact that the production process of renewable energy sources is dependent on fossil fuels, fossil powered logistices etc. But this can change. Why is that such a big deal? Because when we make wind turbine blades with wind energy the cost of those blades drop to the maintenance cost of the turbine, which can be paid for with turbine energy. This means banks play no role in the whole renewable industry. Also the turbines delivered by a 100% renewables powered production chain will be priced very low and growth of the wind industry (in this example) will not be limited by the willingness of banks to allocate credit towards it. This is the roboeconomic singularity if you want to give it a name.

[Carney] noted that global commitments to reduce carbon represent $5-$7 trillion (U.S.) a year in clean infrastructure opportunities. (if you build it with fossil fuel credit)

So not only does Carney face a dramatic fall in looting potential (depleting natural resources), an attack on bank control over fossil resources by divestment movements, a threat of catastrophic failure of food and water security (and security in general) and thus trade (take for example Russia that took it’s grain off the world market when they recently experienced a drought), but also one of irrelevance of bank credit because industrial production moves to renewables they can make without fossil fuels. Even in this clusterfuck of threats Carney manages to present the damage banks do by driving the fossil fuel economy as a ‘tragedy on the horizon’ in other words, his desire is to keep going. This is why we aught to dispise bankers.

A $1 trillion investment in renewable powered production of renewable energy sources will make the expense and emissions associated with the other $4-$6 Trillion unnecessary

The way the reasonable governments, those that see all alternatives, not only the ones that secure their lifestyle, should respond is by instituting control over both banks and the fossil industry at once. Use the army to do that. The economic forces will deplete all resources, the banks are their main proponents, economics is a marketing strategy for fossil fuels, both need to be controlled at one time. Then the exit to renewables needs to be dictated in an orderly fashion.

“If they do not face the issue head on, he said, the global economy could face a “climate Minsky moment.” This refers to economist Hyman Minsky, who suggested that bankers, traders and other financial players periodically cause financial crises, a recent example being the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S.”

So Carney threatens the world, he says his comrades in banks and financial institutions will throw a fit, will pretend there is a huge crisis, contract liquidity, starve us suddenly, to make sure we all suffer and choose to obey their control. While we should control the banks. To do this we need to wake up to its role, not only look for money, but for the thing we buy with money, and decide we no longer wish to depend on it. If Carney where a union leader, say of the medical sector, and he would say in parliament “We will strike and cause grave damage to all of you if you threaten to make us obsolete” the response would be that a judge ruled that no medical staff could go on strike because all citizen need to be protected against potentially lethal wanton chaos. We need to take this threat seriously and respond by taking control of the carboncredit system and organize its orderly end.

P.S.

In the dutch financial times there’s a piece about the instability that will be caused by the energy transition. It says that we will need the army to ensure order if we don’t slow down the change to renewables.

“Als we niet bereid zijn om onze eigen energietransitie geleidelijker te laten verlopen, zullen we nu al militaire maatregelen moeten voorbereiden om hernieuwde onrust aan onze grenzen het hoofd te bieden.” (bron)

“If we are not willing to slow down our own energy transition we will have to make preparations for military action to quell renewed unrest at our borders”

This as we said is a threat to our adress by the financial/fossil sector. One we should not accept.

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Bombing Forrests Into Existence

In the category swords to ploughshares


I can has me some contour trenches! EEhaw!

Just for the typical pro fossil crazy who likes a big explosion or burning stuff, this may be your go-to geoengineering solution. It involves airplains and high explosives. Cluster bombing of land that no is dry and barren. It’s just a thought but be sure this will come to pass before the decade is over..

We have written about countour trenching, a technique used and promoted by Peter Westerveld. It is a way to shape flat landscape so it absorbs more rainwater. Simply said land that is very dry often also looses out on rainwater because when it rains there is a sudden flood that instead of permeate the ground flushes over it, even washes away the topsoil. The hardened top layer doesn’t allow water in so this chance for life to grow passes and drought returns for the rest of the time.

To break this cycle of lost opportunities the top layer must be shaped, by digging trenches perpendicular to the direction of the rainfloods. When this is done, the floods will fill the trenches, sink into the ground and form a reservoir that can feed plants when there is no rain. It can even form underground rivers feeding into cool lakes and wells that spring year round. All this is exactly what plants need. Natural processes by itself make gullies, not perpendicular trenches.

It is only a small step then to think “How can we make trenches fast in remote regions” The answer can be to send out robot diggers running on solar energy. Drone diggers can dig for years on end, being maintained by few people or maybe even other automated systems. This robotic approach is appealing but can be considered time consuming. We believe such systems will be created and used for this purpose.

Another is a bit more fun for the BBQ loving redneck in us (or the US) : Bomb the ground to create trenches. This can require precision bombs or special devices that can be dropped above a field that will hit the ground and explode to form a long trench in the landscape.

Its clear that this creates a nice task for people that like quick solutions to problems, preferably one which involves blasting things. Who now dry and empty regions can be treated by smart trench forming bombs that elegantly land along the isoclines to blast and form the ground into a water absorbing life generating shape. It is a technical challenge fit for the engineers used to making lethal devices, even the possible planting of trees by cluserbombing the now water carrying land later.

As Peter Westerveld showed, trenches create growth of schrubs and trees, growth brings rain, and rain in turn greens the land.

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The Threat of Hard Biometrics

Dutch : Scientists, Big Data Needs a Counterforce

Privacy and Eugenics, how Big Data opens the door to unnatural selection

At the start of the second world war some people in Amsterdam realized that the Nazi’s that would prosecute the jews in Holland, would find it very easy to locate them using the city register. So the resistance decided to torch the archive located in Artis.

Records on 70.000 jews in Amsterdam partially destroyed by freedom fighters..

This act, which was only partially succesfull, illustrates a risk in information gathered on people. We have written here before about the eugenic aspect of big data gathering. The most important point is that there are people who want to improve the genepool by causing deaths, and those that want to do so by preventing lives. The first want to restrict medical care to unsuccesfull people, keep them poor and use them to sell stuff to that is harmfull (like drugs, sigarets, fatty food etc.) The latter wants to educate all individuals equally, hoping that this will cause women to control their lives better, reducing childbirths (as is seen in developed countries) and increasing overal population health and prosperity. We belong to this last group.

FBI scans 430,000 irises

As we can see in the US at the moment, ignorance, years of undermining education and bad influence projected by the republicans is now resulting in a voter population that will allow itself to be lied to and swayed by the weakest and most infantile of arguments and individuals, Donald Trump. He banks on the golden rule of “Catch me if you can” : People only know what you tell them.

Now as we can see Donald is not mild against his opponents, and as we can see many dictators in the history of the western world have used every means available to find and disable opponents, how can we allow there to be databases which can assist in our definitive identification as individuals. We may be the suppressed majority, as was the case in Chile, Russia under stalin and communism, East Germany, Zimbabwe, Egypt to a large extent, etc. etc. etc. The examples are endless.

Many leaders wish or have to be tirants, and hard biometric data enables them

Even in Holland, where one can feel pretty safe, the close ties of the right political groups with the US, their weakness when it comes to datasharing and privacy (as opposed to Germany and Russia that do not want alien control over data and privacy information), means that even here one can not be certain to be safe from the abuse of information by unofficial or covert groups. This is the paranoid, but completely vindicated view of what goes on in the world. As long as everybody is happy there is no risk, but come trouble the attitude of some may change, and then the data is there.

Hard and Soft Biometrics

If you photograph an iris, that counts as a hard biometric datapoint. Companies like Citylens do that. Do they share that data? Will they be used as a data source in the future? Fingerprints are another example. You can barely remove them. A lot of other aspects of our person can be recorded that be used at any time to make an exact determination on who we are dealing with. This kind of biometrics should always remain in the hands of the individual, never in the hands of a government. This should be the goal. The biometric data held by the individual in a passport or should be tied to a number in the government systems, and that number should be the only way to identify the individual. Maybe additional data can be revealed if the individual shares a password.


Disappeared opponents under Pinochet..

The above scheme would constitute a soft biometric system can not be abused by a rogue government, because the individual will destroy his document and the id number does not reveal any aspect of his person. This way the cooperation with the government remains voluntary, which it is assumed to be, after all, people vote for it, or against it. That choice would be denied if the government could force itself on the individual, even when none of the voters agrees with its actions any longer.

Diamonds

An example of soft biometrics is a now existing blockchain database of diamonds in trade. It is created to protect the diamond business against the growing number of artificially grown diamonds, which are hard to tell apart from real ones. The system stores the id of the diamonds using an american system of characterization. The aspects of the diamond itself are translated to a number, a code, known by the US agency. This means that if all the data of that agency is destroyed the meaning of the number is lost and diamonds can no longer be identified or given their provenance. To inject artificial diamonds in the world trade one would have to do that. But what if there was a way to characterize a diamond in a number that would always work, be easily repeated (like taking a picture of an iris). That number stored in a distributed data system like a blockchain would mean that the diamonds in it would always be found, artificial diamonds either excluded or injected as the keepers of these records saw fit. Total control over the world market for ever. That is the risk of hard biometrics.

Adaptability

We see companies form and fail constantly, and this is a normal thing in the economy, but what about governments? They should form and fail as the situation changes. Brexit shows that conservatives needed a shakeup, UKIP ran its course, Boris Johnson had to leave and give Gove an excuse to fail and leave. This type of flexibility may not serve the public, but is necessary for governments to respond to reality. Similarly voting citizen have to be allowed to move and change their minds. This means it has to be impossible to coerce them unless they clearly break the law or intent to. If you have all their biometric data you can coerce them outside the public eye, and if you are a Nazi or Stasi government you will simply find them and put them in some camp to rot, thus terrorizing the population into compliance with (in the case of Hitler) the hatefull and destructive nightmare of one individual.

The fossil banking system is the only one with an interest in hard biometrics

A government is a system we choose to comply with, not a system that has our compliance or can force it. The only reason why you could find a government like that is that it is clear there are solutions to every problem. And this is the case if one uses fossil fuels. Even in the US, up until recently it was clear that all the corruption, all the supression of renewables, all the denial of climate change, was to make sure banks and oil companies could continue their businesses unhindered. It is them who drive the terror threat, it is them who created ISIS and Al Quaida, it is them who thrive of arms trade and who create Homeland Security, it is them who funded the NSA and will work to have a indestructable database with hard biometrics on all of us.

A renewables powered world is local, doesn’t need a global spying and controlling government

A renewable powered world will not have banks like we have now, it will not need global cooperation because it will not create needyness by separating consumers and producers. It will not need to have a ‘growing economy’, it will have local governments that won’t have to know how to identify each citizen exactly. It will not be as competitive because we now compete over access to fossil fuels. Renewables are 2500 times more abundant, we will have more than enough to surivive and restore our planet. But if we don’t protect ourselves against the possibility of a government weeding out whoever wants to end the fossil reign, which has been show to happen (fossil fuel companies paying private armies and individuals to infiltrate opposition, trying to bring them to criminal acts so they can be prosecuted) we may not be able to until fossil fuels have truely destroyed life on our planet.

Rule : Identification of an indivial must remain voluntary at all times. This means hard biometric data should not be allowed in the hands of anyone

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Silent, Emissions Free Airflight

Siemens made a breakthrough in low weight electro motor design, they published a press release on their 260 kW electro motor of only 50 Kg, which is 5 times lighter than was possible up to now. They equiped a small stunt plane with the motor and it flew near silent.

From the press release :

  • Technical milestone: maiden flight of an electric aircraft with a 260-kilowatt power output
  • Siemens motor powers Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane in near silence
  • Technology to be integrated into development of hybrid-electric aircraft in cooperation with Airbus

This is the second electric plane, that looks a lot like a regular one. Airbus developed one, but Airbus is not an electro motor design company like Siemens. Of course lighter motors will also make EVs more cost effective, so Siemens is tapping a vast and expanding market.

Airbus e-fan

Imagine that your airport makes next to no noise, and you have no smog at all (also no toxic chemicals that are used to prevent moldin the fuel tanks). This would immediately increase the value of property around airports. If Siemens finds a way to make practical sizes motors for passenger Airbusses, it will be clear that this has huge advantages. The main obstacle seems to be battery weight.

” Electric drives are scalable, and Siemens and Airbus will be using the record-setting motor as a basis for developing regional airliners powered by hybrid-electric propulsion systems. “By 2030, we expect to see initial aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers,” 


Less noise, less maintenance, more power.. (more pictures here)


Its an water/air cooled brushless electromotor with three coils.

“The RX1E can fly 120km/h after just 90 minutes of charging, but will the first electric plane approved for commercial use really take off?” (source source)

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Killer Robots and AI

AI and robotics are presented as threats to the workforce. We are told we have to compete with them, but we have been competing with machines for more than a century now : Machines in factories running on fossil fuel or fossil derived electricity. AI, automation just has gotten more easy to achieve, more liquid, pervasive, and this (in our humble opinion) spells chaos.

Cyber crime becomes the biggest form of crime in the UK

Already we are facing a situation in which we really can’t trust the media anymore. The ability to create artificial images and video of real world individuals has advanced to the point that making a video in which Elvis sings a duet with Lady Gaga is peanuts. What if we apply that technology to newscasts, to video of well known politicians. As that technology exists, and we wrote about it here what media can you trust?

AI and robots are not like workers, they don’t sit at home watch footbal on tv in the evening or go have a beer. These things are tools, like hammers, nails. And they are tools for whomever picks them up. They find uses with those that want to advance the economy, and with those that want to steal from it. They will find use with people that want to run a decent society and those that would welcome the return of human slavery. So there is a real serious risk. Summing up the possibilities would give people ideas. We are thinking of building a system that will demonstrate what we mean, but in short AI’s and Robots can do the job of assholes and criminals without us being able to punish them.

Example : Police robot blowing up assailant. In the news is a case of a bomb squad robot detonating a charge that kills a suspect. Not only is this risk free for the police, it is a cruel method of execution, and a kill without proper cause in our book. Ok, the sniper killed 5 police officers, but gas would have worked as well. The officer that decided to use the robot said he would do it again. How far are we from roaming flying drones with machine guns shooting random people while the rest of us assumes they had it coming just because we have no means to resist or protest for real?

Source. What do you think robotics and AI will mean to this criminal demographic?

We have hesitated to write about this for some time, but now we think the examples are mounting, like the online world has a large criminal hacker community, the offline world will develop an AI/Drone/Robotics based criminal hacker scene that is very hard to combat if you don’t remove the technology. The opposite has happened. We can think of many ways this can go the wrong way, and we are sure police and the justice system are not prepared for what is possible. This will all add to a chaos we can not use right now, we need the opposite, calm, controlled environment, not polluted (like where this blog is written), not corrupted, to execute a transition to renewable energy sources that can bring peace and prosperity instead of the growing desperation under a shrinking fossil ration..

This computer powers itself by radio waves, so it can work without intervention for decades..

 

 

 

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Elon Musk and his Secret Sauce

We followed the actions of Elon Musk for a couple of years now. Fascinated by his bold steps and insight into the state of our planet and species, and his determination to bring change to it. There are books that try to explain his magic, but we don’t agree with the list presented. For examples the rules in this book are

  1. Bring hope
  2. Be a good observer
  3. Think big
  4. Play to win
  5. Move people

The above list is more or less what you can observe if you look at Elon, but it is not a list of what makes him succesfull. We believe that reason comes before what he did in Paypal, Tesla, SpaceX and what he inspired in Solar City.

The core of Elons mind has been educated differently form that of most people. We think that where most people did not have a chance to experience reality autonomously at an early age, and where not encouraged to (because they spend time in front of the TV in a city appartment) the relationship of most people with reality is intermediated by people, parents, teachers, governments. This intermediation causes people to be highly social (they adapt to ideas handed to them in the social context) but also potentially ignorant (because what people believe isn’t necessarily true). Elon believed a lot, he had a family member that flew around the world in a plane exploring, and he probably did some exploring outside and from books himself.

So the first rule is :

1.  Autonomously explore. Experience reality as it is. Read to extend your experience.

We know Elon read a lot, which means that his ratio, his inner dialog is very rich and full of references. Kids raised by parents with little time that don’t read won’t have that, except for a lot of social chatter, which is important of course. But the knowledge Elon gained by reading meant he could imagine and reason through more problems. And his interest in meta thinking, so thinking about thinking, or methods of thinking through a problem amplified that. Many people will never learn how to drill down on a problem, because they have never understood or thought about details below the level that they usually deal with.

For some a broken car is a broken car, for others it is a car broken because of a faulty bobine, dirty spak plugs, lack of oil etc. If you don’t like detail you can’t drill down. Tesla himself wrote about his ability to imagine physical devices so vividly he had trouble distinguishing them from reality. They would stick in his mind and be there until he learned something new. That was why he was very active and exploring, and why he could think through problems, which allows much more cost effective design of new inventions (a direction his mother! inspired Tesla towards).

Rule number two seems to work only for some people, because some simply are not born to be inventers or analysts. It is the ability to let go of what you deal with, and look at its constituents, causal orgin, and look at those aspects and dig still further.

2. Learn to analyse problems below the level of day to day interaction.

If you sit in a car and you need to switch on the headlights and the switch is behind you you will think “Who the hell designed this car!”, that is so inconvenient. Once you look at things beyond their day to day appearance you may experience the same. So you read that shrimp are caught in the  East Sea (North of Denmark) then flown to Morocco to be hand pealed, then flown back to Holland to be traded, then shipped across the world. That’s insane. If you just look at the shrimp in the supermarket it looks ok. That why so many people don’t mind buying shrimp that have seen more of the world than the buyer. Than you have grey and light coloured shirmp. The light colored one have been soaked in water to make them more volumous. If you buy those you pay a shrimp price for water.

The same happens to chicken breast. If you look with the analist mind you wonder what is going on. This only happens if you actually care. If you don’t care about how chickens are treated or how people pay more for their nutrition than they should, or how the health of people is affected by meat processed with dodgy additives, nothing can be done. You can not be ‘Musk’ succesfull. You have to care about humans, you have to want to be usefull to others. Then when you analyse the world you will find things you want to change. Then you can do that with your heart in it.

3. Care about what happens to humanity

Elon tells us that he thought about what he could do when he was in his twenties (or even earlier). He did this having read the work of many authors that wrote about life and what can be achieved. Elon thought he’d try to do something to prevent human extinction due to climate change, and something to drive the move from fossil to renewables in energy. Anyone with some talent in understanding physics can reason towards the conclusion that there is no reason to stay under this insane fossil regime. It is a massochistic exercise people rallied against in 1900 already. But Elon did not know how when he thought about it.

Fortune struck planet Earth when Elon and his brother Kimbal tried to build an digital version of the Yellow Pages, then Elon started X.com which turned into Paypal. Some of this was Uber style stealing, some of it was clever thinking. Paypal payed you money to start an account, so that people would use it, so it became usefull (because what use is a bank account if nobody else has one).

When Elon sold Paypal he had upwards of $150 mln in cash. He never cared much for banks, stock exchanges. And he had his dreams. He decided to take the initiative on an electric roadster that the original builders did not want to take further, which became the Tesla Roadster. He also looked for ways to drive progress in space flight, and found he could best do this himself. He didn’t actively manage Tesla until it got in trouble.

In both cases Elon did not expect to succeed. The odds are strongly against building a car brand, and space he found out, is hard. Building a spacecraft is a bit like building a machine that has to travel on its own to about 35,786 km while basically being a bomb continuously exploding for several minutes and still cary usefull cargo : a spacecraft. So rule 4 above is patently wrong : Elon did not play to win, he played to lose, but then worked his ass off to win. Probability of success has to be non-zero, then, provided other benificial factors are potentially there to be gained, Elon will go for it.

4. Accept long odds if you believe you can beat them, and maybe even if you don’t

If you have these four principles only one is left to be added to become an Elon Musk type entrepeneur and achiever, and this is persistence, focus, tanacity, unwavering determination. The thing is that if you start from your analysis of reality which is sound because you had real experiences, because you exposed yourself to learn how things actually work, because you adopted methods to make things work (study engineering or engineering texbooks), if you want to do good, and if you accept and understand long odds, then your choices might as well have been those of Elon Musk. We also experience that every time someone asks us why we care about climate change the answer is  “How can you not care? Can’t you see how it is killing us?”, most people can’t and that is due in part to nurture, in part to nature. Rule nr. 5 is simple :

5. If you, based on your sound analysis, believe what you want to do is right. Do it. Persistence is a result of lack of fundamental change in the situation that set you on a course of action

There is a rational and irrational part to Elon Musks mind, but he tries to keep it as rational as possible. This is constant work. This means he has to constantly detach and reapply his understanding of what the real basic premises are, not what people believe they are. This is the empirical cycle in the production lines. This is the creation of indicators so that he knows what is going on, what he can optimize. He has made a choice to live by his mind, and this also makes perfect sense. Why live by any other persons rules if you can understand them and see your own rules are wiser, better, more exciting, fullfill you more. If you ask what’s Elon Musks secret sauce, we would say it is not the sauce he pours over things that creates his perspective, but the fact he tasted and worked with reality until he understood how to turn it into a great sauce.

   To our Podcasts

Generational Care

If you think climate change surprised the world from around the 1990s, you are wrong. The idea that burning coal, oil and gas causes global warming and climate change is more than a century old. In the 50s when oil use expanded significantly and the rise of CO2 started to exceed the historic variations it was perfectly clear what was going on. Below video shows you what we mean..

It is still the case that baby boomers, people that will likely die in the next 30 years, show very little concern with the situation they created. This may be because they are simply to old to care, most of them. Another reason is that when you are in the grips of healthcare and pension arrangement you don’t want to rock the boat. But still the apathy is surprising.


We worked hard all our lives..(of course not as a construction worker)

We think part of it is that the fossil fuel economy created a situation in which the wealth of children is only marginally dependent on that of the parents, and where there is no real objects of generational care and ownership for most people. Houses are bought based on expected income in a job that is often not related to that of the parents. There is little land ownership and keeping land depends more on how it is used than who uses it.


Cities are like markets..

For a city dweller there is little to connect generations really. There is little control over poltics (economics so banks shape policy), little control over neigbourhoods, so what is there to be attached to? You can feel you are attached to anything of course, but for most people things can be taken away, they don’t control them or own them. Even consumer products like cars and  motorcycles are bought with debt and need to be sold and returned. The rented economy gives people everthing for a low price, but takes away control.

Why are you where you are? Why don’t you own land and a house, without any mortgage? Becase of the needs of the banks that want to profit of the general economy

In this situation it is no surprise generations don’t connect too well. It is no surprise the future has little meaning for many, because nothing they own or care for has a future, except their kids. The kids meanwhile see life as a struggle to achieve the same independence as their parents, an independence that banks decided is simply not for everyone. An independence of illusions of ownership, now real but increasingly virtual to boot.

This is where life can find a future and people can believe in one..

How are people going to care about the future if they have no ownership of it. If they can’t rely on their pensions, if they can’t rely on being in control or able to afford things in the future. the economy is totaly ok with people not belieiving there is a future. Economics never stops seeking profit it just does its thing until it can’t and then moves on. For those that look at the indicators and see them all run into the red due to this short sighted amnesia inducing system it seems the solution is to drive ownership more than anything. Ownership and local power, dependence on local activities for food and energy, not on remote suppliers of the same. So that the causal relation between people, what they do and where they live, and more importantly how they care for the things they own, regains its importance. Then people’s horizon will grow further ahead and the peace of mind returns to plan and act to maintain and care for what we own.

Once we find that we have cared for something that can in turn care for those we care about, like fertile land, a living thriving planet, clean air and waters, oceans full of fish, then maybe we have really cared to the best of our abilities, and we can count ourselves true humans.