Number of indocumentados reaches 12-year low

❝ The estimated number of undocumented immigrants living in the USA reached a 12-year low in 2016, continuing a decade-long decline in which that population fell from a high of 12.2 million in 2007 to 10.7 million in 2016…

Researchers from the Pew Research Center, which conducted the analysis, said economics played a major role in that fall. The Great Recession wiped out millions of jobs that attracted undocumented immigrants to the USA, while the Mexican economy steadily improved, giving Mexicans more reasons to stay in their country…

❝ In fact, Pew concluded in 2015 that more Mexicans returned to their home country than entered the USA, a historic shift in the source of illegal immigration.

Anyone who works building trades along the southern border could have told USA Today the same.

Why are reporters leaving Fox News?


Adam HousleyRichard Shotwell/Invision/AP

❝ Another on-air reporter is leaving Fox News over frustrations with the direction and tone of the network, the second in the last three weeks to defect for those reasons.

Adam Housley, a Los Angeles-based reporter who joined Fox in 2001, felt there was diminished opportunity at the network for reporters and disapproved of the tenor of its on-air discussion…

❝ Housley believed that as the network’s focus on Trump has grown — and the number of talking-head panels during news shows proliferated — it had become difficult to get hard reporting on air, according to one of those former employees.

Housley’s objections to the Trump-era Fox News are widely shared within the network’s reporting corps, according to current and former employees of the network. Conor Powell, the former Fox News Jerusalem bureau reporter, left the network earlier this month for similar reasons…

I’m a news junkie for decades. Never had the slightest inclination to waste time at Fox News. Too many other legitimate sources available on the Web.

Driverless toaster delivers pizza

❝ In an abandoned lot on the outskirts of Sacramento, R1, a domed gray vehicle half the size of a Toyota Corolla, is practicing driving itself…as other self-driving vehicles do on test courses in Silicon Valley, Detroit, and China. But R1, made by a startup called Nuro, doesn’t need to be as good. It can make a jolting brake if it sees something on the road or cruise untroubled over a small bump — wrinkles that companies building autonomous taxis work tirelessly to remove. Nuro spent less time on this, because its robots aren’t designed to ferry people. “A lot of those problems can be solved when you remove the passenger,” says co-founder Dave Ferguson. “The pizza doesn’t care if you’re going a little slower.”

❝ Almost every company making self-driving cars, including Alphabet’s Waymo, General Motors, and Ford Motor, says the second move will be delivery vehicles. Nuro, whose co-founders spent years on Waymo LLC’s car project when it was still part of Google, is focused on delivery first…

❝ Without human labor costs, Nuro’s robot has a better chance to make on-demand delivery profitable than the string of failed startups that have littered Silicon Valley in recent years…but it will take a little getting used to…for consumers.

RTFA. Poisonally, I can hardly wait for my favorite pizza delivery spot to send one of these to our driveway.

Reinventing the [Electric] Wheel


Click to enlarge

❝ Electric motors are round. Wheels are round. It’s a pretty natural impulse to combine the two. No lesser automotive luminary than Dr. Ferdinand Porsche did it first, inventing the wheel-hub motor in 1897. He mounted two of them to his front-driven battery-electric prototype “Lohner-Porsche.” Three years later he invented the gas-electric hybrid by fitting four hub motors to his elaborate four-ton “Mixte” coach. The one tiny rub: Those 14-hp motors weighed around 320 pounds. Each.

Modern materials and engineering have enabled dramatic improvements. For about seven years, Protean Electric has been selling a 100-hp hub motor that weighs just 68 pounds. So why do all volume-produced EVs still mount their motors inboard? To minimize unsprung weight for optimal ride quality.

❝ Enter Silicon Valley inventor and serial startup founder Marcus Hays and co-inventor Scott Streeter. They wondered if it might be possible to develop a wheel and motor system that weighed no more than a conventional aluminum wheel…Without the gear reduction of a body-mounted motor, a hub motor needs high torque to act through the 1-foot lever arm from the hub to the contact patch. Wheels then need hefty structure to transmit these acceleration, braking, and cornering forces between the hub and the rim.

Hays’ radical solution: do away with the hub entirely and power the rim

❝ Mass, cost, and rotational inertia instantly plunge with this approach. Mounting the motor so that it drives a rim-mounted ring gear…lowers the required torque to get the wheel spinning. It also greatly increases the electric motor’s top speed. And guess what? Motors wound for high rpm instead of high torque, like those on a drone copter, can deliver the same power as high-torque motors using vastly less copper and hence weighing one-twentieth as much. Bam — a cost- and weight-savings twofer.

RTFA. Reanalysis of how and why electric power can be delivered to the road for transit – private or public-size vehicles – much more efficiently.