Plug-in vehicles aren’t killing the grid — just saving money!

volt charging in garage

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the grid’s demise on account of more plug-in vehicles are greatly exaggerated. And, while time is money, when it comes to electric-vehicle charging, more money means less time. At least, less time during peak demand.

Plug-in vehicle owners in a cluster of Austin, Texas homes were used as a charging-behavior test group, and the early returns say that those households didn’t put much of a stress on the local power grid. And that’s even during peak-use summer afternoons when air conditioning units in central Texas tend to be set to full blast…citing a report from Pecan Street Research Institute.

The test included 21 Chevrolet Volts, nine Nissan Leafs and a solitary Tesla Model S. Of course, make ’em all Teslas and we might have a different story.

Additionally, half of those 30 vehicle owners were also part of a test in which the electricity price was adjusted to reflect peak demand times. Not surprisingly, those car owners were about half as likely (~12%) to plug-in during peak hours as the ones whose prices weren’t being adjusted (~22%). Regardless, the average cost of electricity used by those vehicles per month came out to $23.56, or the equivalent to about half a tank of gas. Yee-haw, indeed.

As the economies of scale kick in, I expect more and more folks to convert to straight-up electric vehicles. After all, the average American commute is 40 miles round trip. No range anxiety there unless you’re using a small electric bicycle. Even without a charging station at work, you should be able to make it to work and back to home – and charge overnight easily.

Making sense ain’t bad – especially when you end up saving money.

Shrink says dad incapable of care for 4-year-old son because he refused to take kid to McDonald’s

An Upper East Side father has filed a defamation lawsuit against a court-appointed psychologist, claiming she branded him “wholly” incapable of handling his 4-year-old son after he refused to take the boy to McDonald’s.

David Schorr, a former corporate attorney, said in court papers his son “threw a temper tantrum” Oct. 30 when he said no to Mickey D’s.

Schorr said he drew the line at the Golden Arches because his boy had been eating “too much junk food,” the papers state.

Instead, Schorr gave the boy two options: another restaurant or no dinner at all.

“The child, stubborn as a mule, chose the ‘no dinner’ option,” the papers state…

Dad should get a fracking medal!

So the dad returned the hungry boy to his mother, Bari Yunis Schorr. And the angry boy ratted on his pop.

Schorr claims the mom then alerted psychologist Marilyn Schiller, who reported the “incident” to the judge and recommended that Schorr’s visitation time be reduced after questioning him…

Adding insult to injury, Schorr said, “My wife immediately took him to McDonald’s…”

Nothing like letting your child know they can get their way by screaming loud enough. And eating crap food is OK.

6 Confederate states say they have a right to be bigots

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On the morning of Sept. 3, the first day the Pentagon said they could, Alicia Butler and her spouse, Judith Chedville, who is a Texas Army National Guard officer, went to Austin’s Camp Mabry so Ms. Butler could get a military spouse identification card and register for the same federal marriage benefits provided to wives and husbands of heterosexual service members.

The two women handed a sheaf of official papers, including their 2008 California marriage license, to a clerk who glanced at the documents and declared, “It’s one of those.” She then called over her boss, who told the couple that they would have to travel to a federal military base like Fort Hood, 70 miles to the north, to get the ID, Ms. Butler recalled.

The reason: Texas is one of six states refusing to comply with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s order that gay spouses of National Guard members be given the same federal marriage benefits as heterosexual spouses. Mr. Hagel’s decree followed the Supreme Court’s ruling in June striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act that had prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages…

But the six states are violating federal law, Mr. Hagel told an audience recently. “It causes division among the ranks, and it furthers prejudice,” he said. Mr. Hagel has demanded full compliance, but Pentagon officials have not said what steps they would take with states that do not fall in line…

The military grants a range of significant benefits to the spouses of active-duty guardsmen, including the right to enroll in the military’s health insurance program and to obtain a higher monthly housing allowance. Spouse IDs allow unescorted access to bases with their lower-priced commissaries.

RTFA if you think you’re going to find new lies to supplement those offered when bigots used the States Rights defense in their attempt to maintain segregation and all the other crimes of racism.

Civil Rights under the US Constitution have always been a class of laws where federal law eventually and appropriately takes precedence. Hypocrites and liars like Rick Perry and Mary Fallin, the governors of Texas and Oklahoma and their backwards peers vacillate between hatred and cowardice in their excuses. Nothing new to offer. The facts remain the same. Homophobia is just one more ignoranus crime against constitutional democracy and should be dealt with as such.

Typhoon Haiyan

Click to enlargeKaren L Nyberg/NASA/AP

Typhoon Haiyan is photographed by the astronaut Karen Nyberg aboard the international space station. Current guesses at the number of dead in and near Leyte are at 10,000.

Any help, any charity you donate to that is active in trying to help these folks can use whatever you can give. I’d suggest the Red Cross as a place to start. But, it’s up to you. Between CCTV and Al Jazeera, the scenes of disaster are truly national in scope. Wherever you live in the West, your networks will start to catch up with what has happened in the Philippines.