Tesla’s Supercharger Network is a head start over ALL Competition

We know about the cars, rocket ships, and tunnels; Ludicrous, Twitter, and Grimes. But for all of Musk’s achievements, including putting Tesla on track to sell 1.4 million EVs globally in 2022, his most underrated breakthrough may be Tesla’s biggest modern edge: the Supercharger network.

“Without the Supercharger network, we wouldn’t be talking about Tesla today,” says Dan Ives, a Wall Street tech analyst and regular television commentator on Tesla and EVs. “It was the core DNA of their success, along with innovation and engineering. Now it’s the linchpin of their brand and their competitive moat against other automakers.”

Along with Tesla’s wizardly innovations in batteries, software, and controls, the sleek Superchargers pushed free DC electricity into the groundbreaking sedans at unheard-of speeds, courtesy of 90 kW of charging power.

“We knew we could charge at faster rates than had ever been done,” says Ali Javidan, a former Tesla engineer who led prototype R&D. “We knew road trips were a big deal, not just because of the family fantasy, but because that’s a decision-maker in car buying. So we started choosing our favorite corridors and putting in Superchargers.”

And that’s the difference that makes all the difference…between Tesla and their competition. Even though I’m an ancient retiree, that network will make a significant difference in whatever choices my wife and I will consider if and when we decide to move on from our hybrid Ford Maverick. [Which ain’t soon likely. This critter performs better than expected in ALL categories. AND generates her own electricity.]

Giant floating solar electric flowers

More than 92,000 solar panels in the shape of plum blossoms, floating on the surface of a reservoir in South Korea, offer a vision of how land-scarce developed nations can overcome local resistance to giant renewable-energy projects.

The 17 giant flowers on the 12-mile-long reservoir in the southern county of Hapcheon are able to generate 41 megawatts, enough to power 20,000 homes, according to Hanwha Solutions Corp., which built the plant…

It’s one of the biggest floating solar plants in the world, and it’s in a nation that has been a laggard in adopting renewable energy, even though South Korea’s industrialized economy relies heavily on imported fossil fuels…

At a commissioning ceremony for the plant in November, South Korea’s President Moon-Jae in said floating solar can help the nation reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 with the potential to add 9.4 gigawatts, or the equivalent of nine nuclear reactors.

It’s a shame the official religion of the US government forbids doing anything smart and truly useful. Otherwise, we might try something like this. Eh?

Viruses May Be “Watching” – Lying in Wait Before Multiplying and Attacking

For many viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the “mindless killer” moniker is essentially true. However, there’s more to virus biology than meets the eye.

A suitable illustration is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is a retrovirus that does not immediately go on a killing spree when it enters a cell. Instead, it integrates itself into your chromosomes and chills, waiting for the proper opportunity to command the cell to make copies of it and burst out to infect other immune cells and eventually cause AIDS…

The best-studied phage, lambda, works a bit like HIV. Upon entering the bacterial cell, lambda decides whether to replicate and kill the cell outright, like most viruses do, or to integrate itself into the cell’s chromosome, as HIV does. If the latter, lambda harmlessly replicates with its host each time the bacteria divides…

However, like HIV, lambda is not just sitting idle. It uses a special protein called CI like a stethoscope to listen for signs of DNA damage within the bacterial cell. If the bacterium’s DNA gets compromised, that’s bad news for the lambda phage nested within it. Damaged DNA leads straight to evolution’s landfill because it’s useless for the phage that needs it to reproduce. So lambda turns on its replication genes, makes copies of itself, and bursts out of the cell to look for other undamaged cells to infect.

Scary stuff; but, interesting and perhaps even necessary information. If you’re serious about living a healthy life, there is always a need for more info about both the good guys and bad guys that live within your body.

Prices keep falling…US installs record solar capacity

This week, the US Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab released its annual analysis of solar energy in the US. It found that nearly half the generating capacity was installed in the US during 2021 and is poised to dominate future installs. That’s in part because costs have dropped by more than 75 percent since 2010; it’s now often cheaper to build and operate a solar plant than it is to simply buy fuel for an existing natural gas plant…

Five states now receive more than 15 percent of their electricity from solar power, including Massachusetts and Vermont, with California receiving 25 percent of its electricity from the Sun.

Solar’s expansion has largely been driven by falling costs. The DOE estimates that the price of building a solar plant has been dropping by an average of about 10 percent a year, leading to a fall of over 75 percent since 2010. That has left prices averaging about $1.35 for each watt of capacity in 2021. Large-scale plants benefit the most, with projects over 50 megawatts costing about 20 percent less than those under 20 MW.

Say “Amen”…