The Electric Vehicle Takeover


Click to enlarge

❝ Do you want the big thing or the new thing?…More importantly: Do you want to invest in the big thing or the new thing?

It’s a question that haunts any industry vulnerable to disruption, which is pretty much all of them these days.

❝ Take the automotive business. Bloomberg New Energy Finance just released its latest long-term outlook for electric vehicles. It posits, startlingly, that sales of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will overtake those using internal combustion engines within roughly two decades…

The late 2030s may sound like a long way away. But they aren’t when put in the context of an automotive industry that’s only been around for a century or so.

❝ Looked at differently, BNEF’s projection suggests electric vehicles account for all the growth in global vehicle sales within a decade from now…

Based on BNEF’s projections, global sales of vehicles will rise by 1.67 million in the year 2026. But sales of electric vehicles are forecast to rise by 2.06 million, while the number of vehicles using internal combustion engines will fall slightly, by around 400,000. To be clear, absolute sales of electric vehicles in that year are expected to be just over 10 million, versus almost 87 million for their traditional counterparts…

❝ And while it is tough for incumbents to pivot to a new business, it is not impossible…it was critical for Facebook that, even as it was launching its IPO in 2012, it was also overhauling its business to focus on smartphones rather than its desktop PC product — despite the latter accounting for 89 percent of the company’s advertising revenue that year…

Facebook’s desktop product dominated its advertising revenue in 2012 — but all the growth potential was in smartphones.

More examples dot the financial map. VW planning on investing $10 billion into electric vehicle manufacture – mostly in the United States for global distribution. The Brits announced, today, legislation to end registration of diesel or gasoline-powered motor vehicles in the UK by 2040.

Those drops of water appearing under your front door look like the beginning of a flood to me.

Girl Scouts versus Trump

❝ In an extraordinary rebuke of the President of the United States, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. have obtained a restraining order against Donald J. Trump.

The order, which the Girls Scouts were granted on Monday night, prevents Trump from coming within three hundred feet of any gathering of the Scouts’ organization.

❝ Carol Foyler, a Girl Scouts spokesperson, said that while the G.S.U.S.A. sought the restraining order “out of an abundance of caution,” the girls themselves were “in no way, shape or form” afraid of President Trump.

“They’re prepared to deal with bobcats and bears,” she said. “They can handle a malignant narcissist.”

❝ Trump wasted little time responding to the Girl Scouts’ action, lashing out at the organization in a blistering early-morning tweet storm.

“Failing Girl Scouts bad (or sick) guys,” Trump wrote. “Mints, cookies terrible. Sad!”

Good satire, successful satire depends on getting really close to the truth. The scumbag in the White House, our proto-fascist so-called president, fits into this piece by Andy Borowitz like the stink of old dead fish on melted ice.

The Protocols of Trump


beastrabban.com

❝ It is an odd quirk in the history of logic that the blameless Cretans should have given their name to the famous “liar paradox.” The Cretan Epimenides is supposed to have said: “All Cretans are liars.” If Epimenides was lying, he was telling the truth – and thus was lying.

❝ Something similar can be said of US President Donald Trump: Even when he’s telling the truth, many assume he is lying – and thus being true to himself. His trolling is notorious. For years, he claimed, with no evidence other than unnamed sources that he called “extremely credible,” that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was fraudulent. During the Republican primary, he linked his opponent Senator Ted Cruz’s father to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He has promoted the quack idea that vaccines cause autism, and has masterfully deployed the suggestio falsi – for example, his insinuation that climate change is a Chinese hoax designed to cripple the American economy.

❝ There has always been a thriving market for fake information, forgeries, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories. “History is a distillation of rumor,” wrote Thomas Carlyle in the nineteenth century…Modern history provides us with some famous examples. The Zinoviev letter, a forgery implicating Britain’s Labour Party in Kremlin-led Communist sedition, was published by the Daily Mail four days before the United Kingdom’s general election in 1924, dashing Labour’s chances.

Perhaps the most famous such forgery was The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Possibly manufactured for money, The Protocols purported to be evidence of a Jewish plan for world domination…it became the foundation of the anti-Semitic literature of the first half of the twentieth century, with horrendous consequences.

❝ So what is new? The attention being paid to fake information today arises from the hugely expanded speed with which digitally manufactured information travels around the world. In the past, one had to be able to hoodwink more or less reputable news outlets to plant fake stories. Now misinformation can go viral through social media, like a modern Black Death.

The important question is how this will affect democracy. Will the unprecedented ease of access to information liberate people from thought control, or will it strengthen it to such an extent that democracy simply drowns in a sea of manipulation?

Skidelky has no conclusive answer, RTFA for his analysis – and warning.

Trump signed a global death warrant for thousands of women

❝ Six months ago, one powerful white man in the White House, watched by seven more, signed a piece of paper that will prevent millions of women around the world from deciding what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.

In that moment, on his very first Monday morning in office, Donald Trump effectively signed the death warrants of thousands of women. He reversed global progress on contraception, family planning, unsustainable population growth and reproductive rights. His executive order even has implications for the battle against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

❝ Rarely can the presidential pen have been flourished to such devastating effect. The policy it reintroduced will shut health clinics in Uganda and HIV programmes in Mozambique; it will compel women from Nepal to Namibia to seek out deadly back-street abortions…

“Girls are kicked out of school if they get pregnant. They are very often forced to marry the fathers. Very often they have to live in their in-laws’ house, where they have to do unpaid labour. It is a violation of women’s rights. We need to see this as a gender issue and very much as a power issue.”

Tewodros Melesse, director general of the the International Planned Parenthood Federation…said the US move “seeks to restrict the rights of millions of women. It asks us as a health provider, to stop providing services which are entirely legal in countries through our members – where some of the most poorest women, depend on them.

RTFA. Congressional Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats, don’t care. As usual.

Professional analysts respond to Republican incompetence and cowardice


Don’t omit avarice

❝ Top Republican legislators have spent months now attacking the Congressional Budget Office. House Speaker Paul Ryan derided the agency’s Obamacare numbers as “bogus,” speaking to reporters at an event in Massachusetts Thursday.

The CBO directors are fighting back. All eight signed on to a letter Friday to raise a “strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency.”

❝ The letter continues:

Relying on CBO’s estimates in the legislative process has served the Congress  —  and the American people  —  very well during the past four decades. As the House and Senate consider potential policy changes this year and in the years ahead, we urge you to maintain and respect the Congress’s decades-long reliance on CBO’s estimates in developing and scoring bills.

❝ This is the first time, I’m told, that all eight former directors have signed on to a joint letter. The group includes those appointed by Republicans and Democrats

❝ The CBO directors don’t expect to become a regular presence in the fight over the office’s numbers. One reason there was some hesitation to put out the letter is that they didn’t want to commit to an ongoing feud with Congress — but felt the attacks had become fevered enough to warrant a response.

As the former CBO director I spoke with put it to me, “We believe in the norms of our political system. And we believe, strongly, that the CBO is one of those norms.”

Like many nations, the United States can count on the dedication and professionalism of virtually the whole of our civil service. Most could earn more in private industry. The concept of serving your country is meaningful to most civil servants as it is to our military lifers.

Which is different from the sort of lifers we encounter all too often in Congress. Not all. But, too many.

Obama’s energy efficiency policy saves taxpayers over $500 billion – of course Trump’s pimps oppose it!


Just another Trump pimp who can’t figure out how to sign his name

❝ A leaked draft study of the electric grid requested by Energy Secretary Rick Perry found that federal energy efficiency policies are in the process of saving U.S. consumers and businesses more than a half trillion dollars.

So…the new administration is halting energy efficiency policies and gutting funding for energy efficiency improvements for American homes. Perry’s department is currently being sued by 11 states for stalling efficiency mandates for air conditioners and other high-energy products.

❝ Back in April, Perry ordered a study from Department of Energy (DOE) staff to back up his claims that solar and wind power were undermining the U.S. electric grid’s reliability. But a July draft obtained by Bloomberg debunked that attack. Instead, the authors found that “the power system is more reliable today” than ever.

❝ …ThinkProgress reported the study concluded a large fraction of America’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear plants are simply not economic to operate anymore.

The study has a long discussion of why coal and nuclear aren’t going to become economic anytime soon. For instance, it’s increasingly clear that, for the foreseeable future, natural gas prices will stay low — and that renewable sources of power like solar and wind will continue the stunning price drops they’ve seen in the past two decades, which have upended the global power market…

❝ No good policy goes unpunished in the Trump administration, however, so California and New York are leading a coalition of states in a lawsuit to force DOE to publish five efficiency standards that were finalized under the Obama administration but were undergoing a 45-day review period (typically used for catching typographical errors and other minor problems…) when Trump took office. Six months later, the new administration still hasn’t sent the rules to the Federal Registrar to be published.

Three Bronx cheers for Trump efficiency in government. Not only is he – and his True Believers – incompetent at introducing and passing legislation which might benefit average Americans, they refuse to carry through simple publication of improvements like this which would save consumers a half-trillion dollar$.

Fukushima: robot finds massive deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel


Click to enlargeInt’l Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning/Kyodo News

❝ Images captured by an underwater robot on Saturday showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1m on the bottom inside a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

❝ On Friday, the robot spotted suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and destroyed the plant. The three-day investigation of Unit 3 ended on Saturday.

Locating and analysing the fuel debris and damage in each of the plant’s three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The search for melted fuel in the two other reactors has so far been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels…

When you screw-up a nuclear-fueled power plant the sort of damage you produce is generational in scope.